Diplomacy and International Relations of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH)

Diplomacy and International Relations of the Prophet of Islam (PBUH)


by Mohammad Saeid Taheri Moosavi*: In order to emphasize the universality of Islam, the Prophet (PBUH) as soon as the power was established in Medina, introduced himself as the last prophet and invited other civilizations to Islam and called for good relations based on the principle of non-aggression, the principle of equality of states in the international arena and the principle of unity based on common points of civilization.
In the month of Muharram in the seventh year of AH, he wrote letters to “Heraclius”, the Roman Emperor, “Khosrow Parviz”, the Emperor of Persia, “Al-Najāshī”, the King of Abyssinia, “Al-Muqawqis”, the Ruler of Egypt, “Hawza bin Ali”, the Ruler of Yamama, and “Harith bin Abi Shamir”, the Ruler of Ghassan.

In these letters, the Prophet (PBUH), while inviting them to Islam, called for good neighborliness and good relations based on the principle of equality of nations at the international level. According to the texts that have reached us from these letters, the international policy of the Prophet (PBUH) towards the powers and close countries can be summarized as follows:

1. Introducing himself as the Prophet and Messenger of God,
2. Inviting the emperors and their nations to Islam,
3. Emphasizing his goal as a promising worldly and otherworldly happiness and a warner of hell,
4. Invitation to emphasize the common values ​​of Tawhid (monotheism) and Nubuwwah (prophecy),
5. Emphasis on renouncing wars of conquest and observing of good neighborliness and creating confidence in this area for governments,
6. Emphasis on the principle of equality of countries and rejection of hegemony and mutual supremacy.

It is noteworthy that these letters were sent to the far and near superpowers who were more likely to go to war because of the fear of the Islamic world and its dispossession, and therefore no letter was recorded to the heads of other countries such as China and other lands, however, the absence of these letters can not be absolutely confirmed. In response to the above letters, the reactions of the empires were different.

Although history has spoken of the confirmation of the Prophet’s prophecy by Heraclius after examining the veracity of the Prophet’s (PBUH) claim, it was in his time that the battle between Rome and the Islamic world began. It is said that the Prophet (PBUH) sent him a total of three letters. He received the first letter personally, the bearer of the second letter, who was the ambassador of the Prophet, was killed by the representative of Heraclius, and in the third letter, the Prophet (PBUH) warns that if he does not accept Islam, citing verse 29 of Surah Tawbah, the Romans and others should pay Jizya.

Although the letter emphasizes that: “If you are not willing to pay Jizya, then in relation to the citizens, do not prevent them from entering the religion of Islam or giving Jizya”, so the Prophet (PBUH) did not seek to attack Rome, to receive Jizya or the development of Islam, and he only conveyed the message of the Quran and demanded Heraclius to respect the principle of religious freedom in his land. Apparently, the assassination of the ambassador of the Messenger of God (PBUH) and these letters, as well as Roman military movements to prevent the infiltration of Islam and prepare for war with the Prophet (PBUH), led the Prophet (PBUH) to order to the formation of an army, which eventually clashed in the Mu’tah area of ​​present-day Jordan, resulting in a relative victory for the Roman army and the retreat of the Islamic armies.

Before his death, the Prophet (PBUH) equipped the “Usama Corps” to oppose and defend the Islamic lands against the Roman invasion, but after his death and the defiance of the elders of Medina to accompany Usama ibn Zayd, the young commander of the Islamic Corps who had lost his father in the battle of Mu’tah, he was forced to delay the movement towards the borders of Islam, but in any case, the Islamic Army this time returned victorious to Medina.
We consider this battle to be basically a defensive battle, because it was fought to prevent the enemy army from invading Islamic lands, and after the victory, they did not seek territorial expansion and returned to Medina.

Regarding the response of other governments to the letters of the Prophet (PBUH), it is written that Khosrow Parviz, the Emperor of Iran at that time (570-628 AD), became angry with the letter of the Prophet (PBUH) as he noticed that the Prophet (PBUH) had written his own name before king’s and this proved too hard for him to digest. He tore the letter in fury, and wrote to Badhan, who was Governor of Yemen, a Persian province: “It has reached my ears that a person has claimed Prophethood in Hijaz. Arrange to send two brave and courageous persons to him so that they may bring him to me as a captive.”

But the envoys of the king of Yemen were still in Medina when Khosrow fell and his belly was torn by his own son.
Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) called in the Persian messengers and told them of the killing of their King. They took all the news to the King of Yemen with astonishment, and after a while it became clear that the matter was still what the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had reported. It is written that the king of Yemen himself and a large number of Yemenis, ruled by Badhan ibn Sasan, later converted to Islam, and with them a large group of Iranians living in Yemen also converted to Islam. The Prophet also retained Badhan ibn Sasan as the Ruler of Yemen in that land.

Of course, the Prophet (PBUH) in the tenth year of AH, after Badhan was killed and power in Yemen was divided among his commanders, sent Imam Ali (A.S) to Yemen to invite the people there to Islam and to establish peace and reconciliation between them. The Yemeni people also accepted Islam at the hands of Imam Ali (A.S) without war, and Yemen has been in the territory of the Islamic world since that date.

Regarding the kingdom of Egypt, the response of the king of this land, who was Christian, to the letter of the Prophet (PBUH) was ambiguous and in the end he did not give a positive answer to the Prophet (PBUH). Egypt entered the Islamic world during the time of the Rashidun Caliphat, but not peacefully, but after the Muslim campaign during the time of the second caliph and in the year 21 AH, it was conquered by Amr ibn Aas.

Bahrain, which was also part of the Persian Empire, was ruled by Munzir ibn Sawa Al-Tamimi. In the reply to the letter of the Prophet (PBUH), he acknowledged his mission and converted to Islam and invited others to Islam. Most Bahrainis apparently believed, except for a few who remained Zoroastrians, Jews, and Christians and were forced to pay Jizya. In other lands, Islam flourished too, to the point that during the time of the Prophet (PBUH) the Islamic lands included the entire Arabian Peninsula, and the annexation of these lands to the Islamic world took place without any aggressive war.

In general, the diplomacy of the Prophet (PBUH) has been so active that some writers mention the total number of treaties, letters, peace treaties and letters sent by the Prophet to the leaders as two hundred and forty-six, which shows the dynamism and maturity of the government of the Prophet (PBUH) in the field of foreign relations.

*Dr. Mohammad Saeid Taheri Moosavi is a specialist in Public Law and Political Sciences.



Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.