Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:

یٰۤاَیُّہَا الَّذِیۡنَ اٰمَنُوا اتَّقُوا اللہَ وَکُوۡنُوۡا مَعَ الصّٰدِقِیۡنَ ﴿۱۱۹﴾

  ‘O believers! fear Allah and be with the truthful.

(Al-Taubah 9, Verse 119)

Hadeeth:

عَنْ أبِيْ سُفْيَانَ صَخرِْ بْنِ حَرْبٍ – رضي الله عنه – فِيْ حَدِيْثِهٖ الطَّوِيْلِ فِيْ قِصَّةِ هِرَقْلَ، قَالَ هِرَقْلُ: فَمَاذَا يَأَمُرُكُمْ – يَعْنِيْ: النَّبِيُّ – صلى الله عليه وسلم – قَالَ أبُوْ سُفْيَانَ: قُلْتُ: يَقُوْلُ: «اعْبُدُوْا اللهَ وَحْدَهُ لَا تُشْرِكوُا بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَاتْرُكُوْا مَا يَقُوْلُ آبَاؤُكُمْ، وَيَأْمُرُنَا بِالصَّلَاةِ، وَالصِّدْقِ، وَالْعَفَافِ، وَالصِّلَةِ»

 مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيهِ.

Sayyiduna Abu Hurairah – may Allah be pleased with him – reported in course of his detailed narration about Heraclius when he questioned him about the teachings of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him, he said that: He told us: “Worship Allah Alone and do not associate a thing with Him; and give up all that your ancestors said. “He also commands us to perform Salat (prayers), to speak the truth, to observe modesty and to strengthen the ties of kinship.”

(Bukhari, Muslim)

Commentary:

Complete Hadeeth (Bukhari) & its Commentary from Fat’h al-Bari:

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو اليَمَانِ الحَكَمُ بْنُ نَافِعٍ قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنَا شُعَيْبٌ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ قَالَ: أَخْبَرَنِي عُبَيْدُ اللَّهِ بْنُ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عُتْبَةَ بْنِ مَسْعُودٍ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عَبَّاسٍ، أَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّ أَبَا سُفْيَانَ بْنَ حَرْبٍ أَخْبَرَهُ: أَنَّ هِرَقْلَ أَرْسَلَ إِلَيْهِ فِي رَكْبٍ مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ، وَكَانُوا تُجَّارًا بِالشَّأْمِ فِي المُدَّةِ الَّتِي كَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مَادَّ فِيهَا أَبَا سُفْيَانَ وَكُفَّارَ قُرَيْشٍ، فَأَتَوْهُ وَهُمْ بِإِيلِيَاءَ، فَدَعَاهُمْ فِي مَجْلِسِهِ، وَحَوْلَهُ عُظَمَاءُ الرُّومِ، ثُمَّ دَعَاهُمْ وَدَعَا بِتَرْجُمَانِهِ، فَقَالَ: أَيُّكُمْ أَقْرَبُ نَسَبًا بِهَذَا الرَّجُلِ الَّذِي يَزْعُمُ أَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ فَقَالَ أَبُو سُفْيَانَ: فَقُلْتُ أَنَا أَقْرَبُهُمْ نَسَبًا، فَقَالَ: أَدْنُوهُ مِنِّي، وَقَرِّبُوا أَصْحَابَهُ فَاجْعَلُوهُمْ عِنْدَ ظَهْرِهِ، ثُمَّ قَالَ لِتَرْجُمَانِهِ: قُلْ لَهُمْ إِنِّي سَائِلٌ هَذَا عَنْ هَذَا الرَّجُلِ، فَإِنْ كَذَبَنِي فَكَذِّبُوهُ. فَوَاللَّهِ لَوْلاَ الحَيَاءُ مِنْ أَنْ يَأْثِرُوا عَلَيَّ كَذِبًا لَكَذَبْتُ عَنْهُ. ثُمَّ كَانَ أَوَّلَ مَا سَأَلَنِي عَنْهُ أَنْ قَالَ: كَيْفَ نَسَبُهُ فِيكُمْ؟ قُلْتُ: هُوَ فِينَا ذُو نَسَبٍ، قَالَ: فَهَلْ قَالَ هَذَا القَوْلَ مِنْكُمْ أَحَدٌ قَطُّ قَبْلَهُ قُلْتُ: لاَ. قَالَ: فَهَلْ كَانَ مِنْ آبَائِهِ مِنْ مَلِكٍ؟ قُلْتُ: لاَ قَالَ: فَأَشْرَافُ النَّاسِ يَتَّبِعُونَهُ أَمْ ضُعَفَاؤُهُمْ فَقُلْتُ بَلْ ضُعَفَاؤُهُمْ. قَالَ: أَيَزِيدُونَ أَمْ يَنْقُصُونَ  قُلْتُ: بَلْ يَزِيدُونَ. قَالَ: فَهَلْ يَرْتَدُّ أَحَدٌ مِنْهُمْ سَخْطَةً لِدِينِهِ بَعْدَ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ فِيهِ قُلْتُ: لاَ. قَالَ: فَهَلْ كُنْتُمْ تَتَّهِمُونَهُ بِالكَذِبِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقُولَ مَا قَالَ قُلْتُ: لاَ. قَالَ: فَهَلْ يَغْدِرُ قُلْتُ: لاَ، وَنَحْنُ مِنْهُ فِي مُدَّةٍ لاَ نَدْرِي مَا هُوَ فَاعِلٌ فِيهَا، قَالَ: وَلَمْ تُمْكِنِّي كَلِمَةٌ أُدْخِلُ فِيهَا شَيْئًا غَيْرُ هَذِهِ الكَلِمَةِ، قَالَ: فَهَلْ قَاتَلْتُمُوهُ قُلْتُ: نَعَمْ. قَالَ: فَكَيْفَ كَانَ قِتَالُكُمْ إِيَّاهُ قُلْتُ: الحَرْبُ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَهُ سِجَالٌ، يَنَالُ مِنَّا وَنَنَالُ مِنْهُ. قَالَ: مَاذَا يَأْمُرُكُمْ قُلْتُ: يَقُولُ: اعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَحْدَهُ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَاتْرُكُوا مَا يَقُولُ آبَاؤُكُمْ، وَيَأْمُرُنَا بِالصَّلاَةِ وَالزَّكَاةِ وَالصِّدْقِ وَالعَفَافِ وَالصِّلَةِ. فَقَالَ لِلتَّرْجُمَانِ: قُلْ لَهُ: سَأَلْتُكَ عَنْ نَسَبِهِ فَذَكَرْتَ أَنَّهُ فِيكُمْ ذُو نَسَبٍ، فَكَذَلِكَ الرُّسُلُ تُبْعَثُ فِي نَسَبِ قَوْمِهَا. وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ قَالَ أَحَدٌ مِنْكُمْ هَذَا القَوْلَ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنْ لاَ، فَقُلْتُ: لَوْ كَانَ أَحَدٌ قَالَ هَذَا القَوْلَ قَبْلَهُ، لَقُلْتُ رَجُلٌ يَأْتَسِي بِقَوْلٍ قِيلَ قَبْلَهُ. وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ كَانَ مِنْ آبَائِهِ مِنْ مَلِكٍ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنْ لاَ، قُلْتُ فَلَوْ كَانَ مِنْ آبَائِهِ مِنْ مَلِكٍ، قُلْتُ رَجُلٌ يَطْلُبُ مُلْكَ أَبِيهِ، وَسَأَلْتُكَ، هَلْ كُنْتُمْ تَتَّهِمُونَهُ بِالكَذِبِ قَبْلَ أَنْ يَقُولَ مَا قَالَ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنْ لاَ، فَقَدْ أَعْرِفُ أَنَّهُ لَمْ يَكُنْ لِيَذَرَ الكَذِبَ عَلَى النَّاسِ وَيَكْذِبَ عَلَى اللَّهِ. وَسَأَلْتُكَ أَشْرَافُ النَّاسِ اتَّبَعُوهُ أَمْ ضُعَفَاؤُهُمْ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنَّ ضُعَفَاءَهُمُ اتَّبَعُوهُ، وَهُمْ أَتْبَاعُ الرُّسُلِ. وَسَأَلْتُكَ أَيَزِيدُونَ أَمْ يَنْقُصُونَ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنَّهُمْ يَزِيدُونَ، وَكَذَلِكَ أَمْرُ الإِيمَانِ حَتَّى يَتِمَّ. وَسَأَلْتُكَ أَيَرْتَدُّ أَحَدٌ سَخْطَةً لِدِينِهِ بَعْدَ أَنْ يَدْخُلَ فِيهِ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنْ لاَ، وَكَذَلِكَ الإِيمَانُ حِينَ تُخَالِطُ بَشَاشَتُهُ القُلُوبَ. وَسَأَلْتُكَ هَلْ يَغْدِرُ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنْ لاَ، وَكَذَلِكَ الرُّسُلُ لاَ تَغْدِرُ. وَسَأَلْتُكَ بِمَا يَأْمُرُكُمْ، فَذَكَرْتَ أَنَّهُ يَأْمُرُكُمْ أَنْ تَعْبُدُوا اللَّهَ وَلاَ تُشْرِكُوا بِهِ شَيْئًا، وَيَنْهَاكُمْ عَنْ عِبَادَةِ الأَوْثَانِ، وَيَأْمُرُكُمْ بِالصَّلاَةِ وَالصِّدْقِ وَالعَفَافِ، فَإِنْ كَانَ مَا تَقُولُ حَقًّا فَسَيَمْلِكُ مَوْضِعَ قَدَمَيَّ هَاتَيْنِ، وَقَدْ كُنْتُ أَعْلَمُ أَنَّهُ خَارِجٌ، لَمْ أَكُنْ أَظُنُّ أَنَّهُ مِنْكُمْ، فَلَوْ أَنِّي أَعْلَمُ أَنِّي أَخْلُصُ إِلَيْهِ لَتَجَشَّمْتُ لِقَاءَهُ، وَلَوْ كُنْتُ عِنْدَهُ لَغَسَلْتُ عَنْ قَدَمِهِ. ثُمَّ دَعَا بِكِتَابِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ الَّذِي بَعَثَ بِهِ دِحْيَةُ إِلَى عَظِيمِ بُصْرَى، فَدَفَعَهُ إِلَى هِرَقْلَ، فَقَرَأَهُ فَإِذَا فِيهِ  بِسْمِ اللَّهِ الرَّحْمَنِ الرَّحِيمِ، مِنْ مُحَمَّدٍ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ إِلَى هِرَقْلَ عَظِيمِ الرُّومِ: سَلاَمٌ عَلَى مَنِ اتَّبَعَ الهُدَى، أَمَّا بَعْدُ، فَإِنِّي أَدْعُوكَ بِدِعَايَةِ الإِسْلاَمِ، أَسْلِمْ تَسْلَمْ، يُؤْتِكَ اللَّهُ أَجْرَكَ مَرَّتَيْنِ، فَإِنْ تَوَلَّيْتَ فَإِنَّ عَلَيْكَ إِثْمَ الأَرِيسِيِّينَ  وَ {يَا أَهْلَ الكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْا إِلَى كَلِمَةٍ سَوَاءٍ بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ أَنْ لاَ نَعْبُدَ إِلَّا اللَّهَ وَلاَ نُشْرِكَ بِهِ شَيْئًا وَلاَ يَتَّخِذَ بَعْضُنَا بَعْضًا أَرْبَابًا مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ فَإِنْ تَوَلَّوْا فَقُولُوا اشْهَدُوا بِأَنَّا مُسْلِمُونَ} قَالَ أَبُو سُفْيَانَ: فَلَمَّا قَالَ مَا قَالَ، وَفَرَغَ مِنْ قِرَاءَةِ الكِتَابِ، كَثُرَ عِنْدَهُ الصَّخَبُ وَارْتَفَعَتِ الأَصْوَاتُ وَأُخْرِجْنَا، فَقُلْتُ لِأَصْحَابِي حِينَ أُخْرِجْنَا: لَقَدْ أَمِرَ أَمْرُ ابْنِ أَبِي كَبْشَةَ، إِنَّهُ يَخَافُهُ مَلِكُ بَنِي الأَصْفَرِ. فَمَا زِلْتُ مُوقِنًا أَنَّهُ سَيَظْهَرُ حَتَّى أَدْخَلَ اللَّهُ عَلَيَّ الإِسْلاَمَ. وَكَانَ ابْنُ النَّاظُورِ، صَاحِبُ إِيلِيَاءَ وَهِرَقْلَ، سُقُفًّا عَلَى نَصَارَى الشَّأْمِ يُحَدِّثُ أَنَّ هِرَقْلَ حِينَ قَدِمَ إِيلِيَاءَ، أَصْبَحَ يَوْمًا خَبِيثَ النَّفْسِ، فَقَالَ بَعْضُ بَطَارِقَتِهِ: قَدِ اسْتَنْكَرْنَا هَيْئَتَكَ، قَالَ ابْنُ النَّاظُورِ: وَكَانَ هِرَقْلُ حَزَّاءً يَنْظُرُ فِي النُّجُومِ، فَقَالَ لَهُمْ حِينَ سَأَلُوهُ: إِنِّي رَأَيْتُ اللَّيْلَةَ حِينَ نَظَرْتُ فِي النُّجُومِ مَلِكَ الخِتَانِ قَدْ ظَهَرَ، فَمَنْ يَخْتَتِنُ مِنْ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ قَالُوا: لَيْسَ يَخْتَتِنُ إِلَّا اليَهُودُ، فَلاَ يُهِمَّنَّكَ شَأْنُهُمْ، وَاكْتُبْ إِلَى مَدَايِنِ مُلْكِكَ، فَيَقْتُلُوا مَنْ فِيهِمْ مِنَ اليَهُودِ. فَبَيْنَمَا هُمْ عَلَى أَمْرِهِمْ، أُتِيَ هِرَقْلُ بِرَجُلٍ أَرْسَلَ بِهِ مَلِكُ غَسَّانَ يُخْبِرُ عَنْ خَبَرِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، فَلَمَّا اسْتَخْبَرَهُ هِرَقْلُ قَالَ: اذْهَبُوا فَانْظُرُوا أَمُخْتَتِنٌ هُوَ أَمْ لاَ، فَنَظَرُوا إِلَيْهِ، فَحَدَّثُوهُ أَنَّهُ مُخْتَتِنٌ، وَسَأَلَهُ عَنِ العَرَبِ، فَقَالَ: هُمْ يَخْتَتِنُونَ، فَقَالَ هِرَقْلُ: هَذَا مُلْكُ هَذِهِ الأُمَّةِ قَدْ ظَهَرَ. ثُمَّ كَتَبَ هِرَقْلُ إِلَى صَاحِبٍ لَهُ بِرُومِيَةَ، وَكَانَ نَظِيرَهُ فِي العِلْمِ، وَسَارَ هِرَقْلُ إِلَى حِمْصَ، فَلَمْ يَرِمْ حِمْصَ حَتَّى أَتَاهُ كِتَابٌ مِنْ صَاحِبِهِ يُوَافِقُ رَأْيَ هِرَقْلَ عَلَى خُرُوجِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَأَنَّهُ نَبِيٌّ، فَأَذِنَ هِرَقْلُ لِعُظَمَاءِ الرُّومِ فِي دَسْكَرَةٍ لَهُ بِحِمْصَ، ثُمَّ أَمَرَ بِأَبْوَابِهَا فَغُلِّقَتْ، ثُمَّ اطَّلَعَ فَقَالَ: يَا مَعْشَرَ الرُّومِ، هَلْ لَكُمْ فِي الفَلاَحِ وَالرُّشْدِ، وَأَنْ يَثْبُتَ مُلْكُكُمْ، فَتُبَايِعُوا هَذَا النَّبِيَّ فَحَاصُوا حَيْصَةَ حُمُرِ الوَحْشِ إِلَى الأَبْوَابِ، فَوَجَدُوهَا قَدْ غُلِّقَتْ، فَلَمَّا رَأَى هِرَقْلُ نَفْرَتَهُمْ، وَأَيِسَ مِنَ الإِيمَانِ، قَالَ: رُدُّوهُمْ عَلَيَّ، وَقَالَ: إِنِّي قُلْتُ مَقَالَتِي آنِفًا أَخْتَبِرُ بِهَا شِدَّتَكُمْ عَلَى دِينِكُمْ، فَقَدْ رَأَيْتُ، فَسَجَدُوا لَهُ وَرَضُوا عَنْهُ، فَكَانَ ذَلِكَ آخِرَ شَأْنِ هِرَقْلَ

Sayyiduna ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas – may Allah be pleased with them – narrated:

Abu Sufyan ibn Harb informed me that Heraclius had sent a messenger to him while he had been accompanying a caravan from Quraish.  They were merchants doing business in Sham (Modern day Syria, Palestine, Lebanon and Jordan combined), at the time when Allah’s Messenger – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – had a truce with Abu Sufyan and Quraish infidels.  So, Abu Sufyan and his companions went to Heraclius at Ilya (Jerusalem).  Heraclius called them in the court, and he had all the senior Roman dignitaries around him. He called for his translator who, translating Heraclius’s question said to them, “Who amongst you is closely related to that man who claims to be a Prophet?” Abu Sufyan replied, “I am his closest relative (amongst the group).”

Heraclius said, “Bring him (Abu Sufyan) close to me and make his companions stand behind him.” Abu Sufyan added, Heraclius told his translator to tell my companions that he wanted to put some questions to me regarding that man (The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him) and that if I told a lie they (my companions) should contradict me.” Abu Sufyan added, “By Allah! Had I not been afraid of my companions labeling me a liar, I would not have spoken the truth about the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him. The first question he asked me about him was:

‘What is his family status amongst you?’

I replied, ‘He belongs to a good (noble) family amongst us.’

Heraclius further asked, ‘Has anybody amongst you ever claimed the same (i.e. to be a Prophet) before him?’

I replied, ‘No.’

He said, ‘Was anybody amongst his ancestors a king?’

I replied, ‘No.’

Heraclius asked, ‘Do the nobles or the poor follow him?’

I replied, ‘It is the poor who follow him.’

He said, ‘Are his followers increasing or decreasing day by day?’

I replied, ‘They are increasing.’

He then asked, ‘Does anybody amongst those who embrace his religion become displeased and renounce the religion afterwards?’

I replied, ‘No.’

Heraclius said, ‘Have you ever accused him of telling lies before his claim (to be a Prophet)?’

I replied, ‘No. ‘

Heraclius said, ‘Does he break his promises?’

I replied, ‘No.  We are at truce with him but we do not know what he will do in it.’ I could not find an opportunity to say anything against him except that.

Heraclius asked, ‘Have you ever been to war with him?’

I replied, ‘Yes.’

Then he said, ‘What was the outcome of the battles?’

I replied, ‘Sometimes he was victorious and sometimes he lost.’

Heraclius said, ‘What does he order you to do?’

I said, ‘He tells us to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship anything along with Him, and to renounce all that our ancestors had said.  He orders us to pray, to speak the truth, to be chaste and to keep good relations with our Kith and kin.’

Heraclius asked the translator to convey to me the following, I asked you about his family and your reply was that he belonged to a very noble family.  In fact, all the Apostles come from noble families amongst their respective peoples.  I questioned you whether anybody else amongst you claimed such a thing, your reply was in the negative.  If the answer had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man was following the previous man’s statement.  Then I asked you whether anyone of his ancestors was a king.  Your reply was in the negative, and if it had been in the affirmative, I would have thought that this man wanted to take back his ancestral kingdom.

I further asked whether he was ever accused of telling lies before he said what he said, and your reply was in the negative.  So, I wondered how a person who does not tell a lie about others could ever tell a lie about Allah.  I then asked you whether the rich people followed him or the poor.  You replied that it was the poor who followed him. And in fact, all the Apostle have been followed by this very class of people.  Then I asked you whether his followers were increasing or decreasing.   You replied that they were increasing, and in fact this is the way of true faith, till it is complete in all respects. I further asked you whether there was anybody, who, after embracing his religion, became displeased and discarded his religion.  Your reply was in the negative, and in fact this is (the sign of) true faith, when its delight enters the hearts and mixes with them completely. I asked you whether he had ever betrayed. You replied in the negative and likewise the Apostles never betray.   Then I asked you what he ordered you to do. You replied that he ordered you to worship Allah and Allah alone and not to worship any thing along with Him and forbade you to worship idols and ordered you to pray, to speak the truth and to be chaste.  If what you have said is true, he will very soon occupy this place underneath my feet and I knew it (from the scriptures) that he was going to appear but I did not know that he would be from you, and if I could reach him definitely, I would go immediately to meet him and if I were with him, I would certainly wash his feet.’

 Heraclius then asked for the letter addressed by Allah’s Apostle which was delivered by Dihya to the Governor of Busra, who forwarded it to Heraclius to read.  The contents of the letter were as follows: “In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful (This letter is) from Muhammad the slave of Allah and His Apostle to Heraclius the ruler of Byzantine. Peace be upon him, who follows the right path. Furthermore I invite you to Islam, and if you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward, and if you reject this invitation of Islam you will be committing a sin by misguiding your Arisiyin (peasants).  (And I recite to you Allah’s Statement:)

‘O people of the scripture! Come to a word common to you and us that we worship none but Allah and that we associate nothing in worship with Him, and that none of us shall take others as Lords beside Allah. Then, if they turn away, say:

Bear witness that we are Muslims (those who have surrendered to Allah).’

(Aale ‘Imran 3, Verse 64)

Abu Sufyan then added, “When Heraclius had finished his speech and had read the letter, there was a great hue and cry in the Royal Court. So we were turned out of the court.  I told my companions that the question of Ibn-Abi-Kabsha) (the Prophet (ﷺ) Muhammad) has become so prominent that even the King of Bani Al-Asfar (Byzantine) is afraid of him.  Then I started to become sure that he (the Prophet) would be the conqueror in the near future till I embraced Islam (i.e. Allah guided me to it).”

The sub narrator adds, “Ibn An-Natur was the Governor of llya’ (Jerusalem) and Heraclius was the head of the Christians of Sham.  Ibn An-Natur narrates that once while Heraclius was visiting ilya’ (Jerusalem), he got up in the morning with a sad mood.  Some of his priests asked him why he was in that mood? Heraclius was a foreteller and an astrologer.  He replied, ‘At night when I looked at the stars, I saw that the leader of those who practice circumcision had appeared (become the conqueror).  Who are they who practice circumcision?’ The people replied, ‘Except the Jews nobody practices circumcision, so you should not be afraid of them (Jews).

‘Just Issue orders to kill every Jew present in the country.’

While they were discussing it, a messenger sent by the king of Ghassan to convey the news of Allah’s Messenger – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – to Heraclius was brought in.  Having heard the news, he (Heraclius) ordered the people to go and see whether the messenger of Ghassan was circumcised.   The people, after seeing him, told Heraclius that he was circumcised. Heraclius then asked him about the Arabs. The messenger replied, ‘Arabs also practice circumcision.’

(After hearing that) Heraclius remarked that sovereignty of the ‘Arabs had appeared.  Heraclius then wrote a letter to his friend in Rome who was as good as Heraclius in knowledge.  Heraclius then left for Homs. (a town in Syria) and stayed there till he received the reply of his letter from his friend who agreed with him in his opinion about the emergence of the Prophet, and the fact that he was a Prophet.  On that Heraclius invited all the heads of the Byzantines to assemble in his palace at Homs.  When they assembled, he ordered that all the doors of his palace be closed.  Then he came out and said, ‘O Byzantines! If success is your desire and if you seek right guidance and want your empire to remain then give a pledge of allegiance to this Prophet (i.e. embrace Islam).’

(Upon hearing the views of Heraclius) people ran towards the gates of the palace like onhangers but found the doors closed.  Heraclius realized their hatred towards Islam and when he lost the hope of their embracing Islam, he ordered that they should be brought back in audience.

(When they returned) he said, ‘What already had been said was just to test the strength of your conviction and I have seen it.’ The people prostrated before him and became pleased with him, and this was the end of Heraclius’s story (in connection with his faith).

(Sahih Bukhari Hadeeth No. 7)

Story of Heraclius:

It was the 6th year of Hijrah when the treaty of Hudaybiyah was signed.  It was agreed that there will be no war or aggression between the Meccans and the Muslims.  In this way, the entire Arab region was a place where no battles were taking place.  Trade caravans could go and come wherever they wanted to.  The Muslims took full advantage of this.

In fact, it was at this time that the message of Islam spread to all parts of the region and even outside Arabia.  The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – sent letters to various leaders in the region to accept Islam.  The Roman Empire was considered as the, super power of its era. In fact, very recently, it had defeated the Persian Empire and once again gained a stronghold in the region.

The Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – sent a letter to the Emperor of Rome.  His name was Heraclius.  The historians say that he was originally from Greece.

The letter was sent with Hadrat Sayyiduna Dahiyah bin Khalifah Kalbi – may Allah be pleased with him – who was from the famous tribe of the Banu Kalb.  It is reported that he was extremely handsome and even Jibra’eel Ameen appeared in his appearance on a few occasions.

At that time, Heraclius had come to Baitul Muqaddas from Hums.  What was his purpose of coming here, this we will found out, later.

Bear in mind that since the Persians and the Romans considered each other as super powers, there were always wars between them.  In fact, attacking each other and then enslaving the subjects of each other was a common practise among them.

The actual seat of power of the Romans was in Italy.  The area under Heraclius was in fact a principle state of the Romans.  The Romans had also captured parts of Syria prior to 64 B.C. and their rule continued for a long time. Bare in mind, that the Romans were also idol-worshippers. However, some time later, one of their rulers named Constantine accepted Christianity.

They were also divided into two religions, those who were in Constantinople were idol-worshippers and those who were in Rome were Roman Catholics.  As for the Persian Empire, it was a government which was filled with intrigue, internal strife, jealousy and all round misery.  There were major internal battles going on for power and wealth.  After losing the battle against the Romans, the ruler of Persia, namely Khusroe Pervez, was killed by his son, Sherowiyah, and he became the supreme leader of Persia.  Khusroe was a very evil and despicable person and he had torn up the letter of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

 His objection was that, how was it that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – had written his name before Khusroe’s name.  This was the depth of their ignorance and Jahaalat.  When the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – heard what this idiot had done with his letter, he mentioned to the blessed Ashaab that this person had actually torn up his own kingdom.  By now everyone is aware that this is what happened a few years later.

The peace accord between the Persians and Romans were signed with the condition that the Persians surrender the land captured from the Romans and they also return a cross which the Romans claimed that Jesus (Nabi ‘Isa – peace be upon him) was crucified on.  This is the reason that the Emperor had left Hums and come to Baitul Muqaddas to give thanks for this victory.  History also claims that that Emperor ruled the Byzantine Empire from 610 to 641.  When the Persians reached Baitul Muqaddas in the year 614, they had nearly destroyed the entire city.

This is when it is reported that they had taken this so-called original cross and taken it to Madaa’in.  The news of the defeat of the Romans is also mentioned in Surah Rum.  In fact, this was also one of the news of the Unseen which is to be found in the Qur’an.  In 624, the Romans finally defeated the Persians, and this is also the time when the Muslims were celebrating victory at the Battle of Badr. It is reported that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – sent a letter to Heraclius either in 628 or 629.

As we have stated, this was considered a time of peace and hence, Abu Sufyan was urged by the Meccans to prepare a trade caravan as the trade of the Meccans were badly affected through their hostility with the Muslims.  Abu Sufyan prepared the caravan and he was to be the leader of this caravan.  It is said that every person in Mecca had some share in this caravan.

It is mentioned that when the letter of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – reached Heraclius, at that moment, the Meccan caravan had reached the city of Ghazzah in Palestine and had camped there.

When Heraclius received this letter, he displayed great respect for it.  It is said that he kissed the letter, placed sweet fragrance on it and placed it in a leather pouch.  The majority of people are under the impression that the letter of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – which is found in the Istanbul Museum is actually this same letter.  It is also mentioned that he displayed great respect for Hadrat Sayyiduna Dahiyah Kalbi – may Allah be pleased with him – and gave him plenty of gifts.  Heraclius also commanded his soldiers to make sure that, as long as this person is in the city, he should be well protected.

Heraclius then called a meeting of his top advisers and asked them to go and search the market place for another Arab, preferably from the Quraish Tribe who might be in the city at that moment.  He wanted to question this person on the actual character of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.  They managed to find Abu Sufyan and his band of travellers.  They were then presented in the court of Heraclius within the Baitul Muqaddas.

The court of Heraclius was finely decorated and there were senior government officials that were also present.  Many of them were also fluent in Arabic. However, Heraclius adopted the policy of using a translator.  Heraclius was sitting on his throne and on his head was his royal crown.   He asked these people to step forward and also inquired from them who was the closest family to this person who was claiming Prophethood.  Obviously, Abu Sufyan stepped forward and when he was questioned about his relationship with the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – he replied that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – was the son of his own blood uncle.

The conversation between the both:

Heraclius then ordered that the rest of the Arab delegation step back and only Abu Sufyan was to come forward.  The translator was also told to inform the rest of the delegation that certain questions would be asked to Abu Sufyan and if they felt that he was speaking a lie, they should immediately correct this.  Abu Sufyan admits, “I swear by Allah! If I was not afraid that people would call me a liar, I would have certainly spoken lies against the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – at that moment.”

In other words, this also proves that in every generation, the famous and influential have always considered speaking the truth as a noble attribute.  In fact, lies were considered a most evil attribute.  Abu Sufyan also mentions that he knew that if he spoke any lie, his own companions would refute him. However, since Abu Sufyan considered himself as a true leader, he did not have the intention of speaking a lie.  Abu Sufyan also knew that if he returned home after he spoke lies, his own people would publicly call him a liar.

The interview then began.

Heraclius asked him, “What is the family lineage of this Prophet?”

Abu Sufyan replied, “His family lineage is the most excellent.”

Heraclius asked, “Did someone prior to him also lay claim to being a Prophet?”

Abu Sufyan replied that no one prior to him had made this claim.

Heraclius asked, “Was there ever a king among his ancestors?”

Abu Sufyan replied that no, there were no kings among the ancestors of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him.

Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan whether the rich and famous had accepted his message or the poor and weak.

Abu Sufyan replied that that poor and weak had accepted the message of Islam.

Heraclius asked, “Are his followers increasing or decreasing?”

Abu Sufyan replied that the Muslims were increasing every minute.

Heraclius asked, “Have there been people who had accepted his message and then gone against it?”

Abu Sufyan replied that none of his followers had gone against his message.

Heraclius asked, “Whatever he has claimed, were there any moments in the past where he was accused of speaking lies?”

Abu Sufyan replied that the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – was never ever accused of speaking lies.

Heraclius asked, “Has he ever broken his promises or oaths?”

Abu Sufyan replied, “At this time, there is a pact and agreement between us and I do not know what will happen in the future.” Abu Sufyan mentioned that he could not find a place to add another word in this regard.

Heraclius asked whether there had been wars between both and what was the result of these battles.

Abu Sufyan replied that at times, they won and at times, he won.

Heraclius then asked him to explain what the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – calls to.

Abu Sufyan replied, “He says that we should worship only One Creator Who is Allah.  We should never associate any partners with Him.  We should also refrain from the false beliefs and practises of our forefathers.  He also teaches us to be kind to family, he invites towards worship, towards piety and towards goodness.”

The effect of this conversation on Heraclius:

After he had spoken to Abu Sufyan, Heraclius turned to his interpreter and said, “I want you to make it plain to this person (Abu Sufyan) that I had asked him about the family lineage of this Prophet and he admitted that indeed he comes from the most noble of family lineage.  There is also no doubt that it has always been a fact that a Prophet comes from the most eminent of families.

“I asked him whether anyone among them had made this claim and he said that no one previously had made this claim. In fact, if there was anyone who had made this claim previously, I would been under the impression that this person was trying to impersonate someone else before him.

“I asked him whether there were any kings among his ancestors’ and he admitted that there were no kings in his family before.  If there were kings, then I would have been under the impression that perhaps this person wanted to reclaim his throne.

“I asked him whether this person was ever accused of lying previously, and he admitted that no, he had never been accused of lying. Therefore, if this person cannot be accused of lying against people, how can he be accused of lying against Allah Almighty?

“I asked him whether the powerful follow him or the weak and he admitted that the weak and poor follow this Prophet.  This has always been the case with the Prophet that it mostly the weak and poor who follow him.

“I asked him whether people who accept the new religion leave this new religion and he admitted that none of these people have left the new religion.  There is no doubt that when belief is impressed and accepted in the heart of someone, he never turns away.

“I asked him whether he goes against his promise or oath and he admitted that this person never goes against his oath or promise.  This is certainly the quality of a Prophet who never goes against his promise or oath.

“I asked him about which this Prophet calls to, and he admitted that he calls to and  worships One Creator and toward good behaviour.

“If this is what has been admitted by this person, then very soon, this person will even become the owner of the ground below my feet.  I knew that there was a  Prophet who would arrive in later years, however, I did not know that he would arrive among you people.  If I knew that I would reach him, I would certainly meet him and if I am present in front of him, I would certainly wash his blessed feet.”

After this, Heraclius called for the letter and read it himself.  After he had completed this letter, there were murmurs in the court.  Abu Sufyan mentions, “Heraclius then ordered us to leave the court and when we came outside, I mentioned to my companions that indeed the influence of the Holy Prophet – may Allah’s peace and blessings be upon him – had reached great heights and even the Romans are afraid of him.  From that moment onwards, I realised that the religion of Islam would certainly prevail over all other religions until Allah Almighty also opened my heart and I accepted the message of Islam.”

(Fat’h al-Bari)

Lying is the Root of All Evil and When it Gets Eliminated, One Abstains from Sinning – A Unique Story:

رُوِيَ أَنَّ وَاحِدًا جَاءَ إِلَى النَّبِيِّ عليه السلام وقال: إني رجل أريد أن أو من بِكَ إِلَّا أَنِّي أُحِبُّ الْخَمْرَ وَالزِّنَا وَالسَّرِقَةَ وَالْكَذِبَ، وَالنَّاسُ يَقُولُونَ إِنَّكَ تُحَرِّمُ هَذِهِ الْأَشْيَاءَ وَلَا طَاقَةَ لِي عَلَى تَرْكِهَا بِأَسْرِهَا، فَإِنْ قَنِعْتَ مِنِّي بِتَرْكِ وَاحِدٍ مِنْهَا آمَنْتُ بِكَ، فَقَالَ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ«اتْرُكِ الْكَذِبَ» فَقَبِلَ ذَلِكَ ثُمَّ أَسْلَمَ، فَلَمَّا خَرَجَ مِنْ عِنْدِ النَّبِيِّ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَامُ عَرَضُوا عَلَيْهِ الْخَمْرَ، فَقَالَ: إِنْ شَرِبْتُ وَسَأَلَنِي الرَّسُولُ عَنْ شُرْبِهَا وَكَذَبْتُ فَقَدْ نقضت الْعَهْدَ، وَإِنْ صَدَقْتُ أَقَامَ الْحَدَّ عَلَيَّ فَتَرَكَهَا ثُمَّ عَرَضُوا عَلَيْهِ الزِّنَا، فَجَاءَ ذَلِكَ الْخَاطِرُ فَتَرَكَهُ، وَكَذَا فِي السَّرِقَةِ، فَعَادَ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَقَالَ: مَا أَحْسَنَ مَا فَعَلْتَ، لَمَّا مَنَعَتْنِي عَنِ الْكَذِبِ انْسَدَّتْ أَبْوَابُ الْمَعَاصِي عَلَيَّ، وَتَابَ عَنِ الْكُلِّ.

Once a man came in the court of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – and said, “I wish to bring Iman on you but I love drinking, committing adultery, stealing and lying.  People say that you forbid these things whereas I do not find it in me that I would ever give up on them all together.   So, if you are satisfied with me giving up on just one of them then I would embrace Islam and have Iman in you.  The Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – said to him, “Abstain from lying.”  He accepted it and embraced Islam.  When he left the court of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him, some people offered him liquor.  He thought to himself that if he drank that and the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – asks me if I had consumed alcohol, then if I lie then I will have broken the promise and if I speak the truth then he would punish me.  So, he left drinking.  Someone then offered him an opportunity to commit adultery and steal but he abstained from them due to the same reasons, so he abstained from these evils as well.   He then returned to the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – and said, “What a beautiful advice you gave!  Since you have stopped me from lying, the doors of evil have been closed shut on me.”  He repented from all his evil traits.

(Tafseer al-Kabeer under Surah Taubah 9, Verse No. 119)

Advice of Sayyiduna ‘Umar as to How One should be Judged:

وَأخرج الْبَيْهَقِيّ فِي الشّعب عَن عمر بن الْخطاب قَالَ: لَا تَجِد الْمُؤمن كذابا

وَأخرج الْبَيْهَقِيّ عَن عمر بن الْخطاب قَالَ لَا تنظروا إِلَى صَلَاة أحد وَلَا إِلَى صِيَامه وَلَكِن انْظُرُوا إِلَى من حدث صدق وَإِذا ائْتمن أدّى وَإِذا أشفى ورع

وَأخرج الْحَاكِم وَصَححهُ وَالْبَيْهَقِيّ عَن عَائِشَة رَضِي الله عَنْهَا قَالَت مَا كَانَ خلق أبْغض إِلَى رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم من الْكَذِب

Sayyiduna ‘Umar – may Allah be pleased with him – said:

You will not catch a believer telling a lie.

He also added:

Do not look at someone’s Salah and fast but observe if he lies when he speaks and whether he delivers if anything is entrusted to him.

(Al-Durr al-Manthoor under Al-Taubah 9, Verse 119)

Lying is the Mother of All Evil:

وَأخرج الْحَاكِم وَصَححهُ وَالْبَيْهَقِيّ عَن عَائِشَة رَضِي الله عَنْهَا قَالَت مَا كَانَ خلق أبْغض إِلَى رَسُول الله صلى الله عَلَيْهِ وَسلم من الْكَذِب

Sayyidah ‘Ayesha – may Allah send peace and blessings upon her – said:

Lying was the most disliked of all habits in the eyes of the Holy Prophet – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him.

(Ibid)

Lesson:

  • In this Hadith an enemy acknowledges the veracity of the Holy Prophet’s – may Allah send peace and blessings upon him – teachings, because Sayyiduna Abu Sufyan – may Allah be pleased with him – made this admission when he was a pagan.
  • Lying is the worst of all evil.
  • If one could abstain from lying, chances are he would hold back from committing other sins as well in sha Allah.
  • Salah and other forms of worship are not the ideal criteria to judge someone’s character but rather observe as to how truthful or how honest a person is.