“And you will find the nearest of them in affection to the believers those who say, “We are Christians.” That is because among them are priests and monks and because they are not arrogant.” (Qur’an 5:82)
THE BLESSED PROPHET MUHAMMED’S LETTER TO THE MONKS OF ST. CATHERINE MONASTERY
This letter was written by the Prophet’s cousin Ali ibn Abu Talib (r.a).
In 628 C.E. Prophet Muhammed (saw) granted a Charter of Privileges to the monks of St. Catherine Monastery in Mt. Sinai. It consisted of several clauses covering all aspects of human rights including such topics as the protection of Christians, freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property, exemption from military service, and the right to protection in war.
An English translation of that document is presented below.
Sinaiticuso8 feel free to download the PDF document.
(Copy of the document outlining the privileges granted
to the monastery by the Prophet Muhammed (s.a.w) is given below)
“This is a message from Muhammed ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them. Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them.
No compulsion is to be on them. Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.
No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.
No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. Muslims are to fight for them. If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.
Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).”
The original letter was taken away in 1517 by the Turkish Sultan Selim I and is now in the Topkapi Museum in Istanbul, but the sultan gave the monks a copy of it and sanctioned its terms. From the enormous collection of ancient and modern rolls preserved in the monastery’s library, it is clear that the Covenant of the Prophet, whether or not authentic, was in some way or other renewed, and the privileges of protection and safe-conduct for the monks were upheld.
Comments: Now think about why he would choose this particular community? The monks are people who are literate. They can read and they can understand.
This is the model that the Prophet Muhammed (saw) gave us. Whoever is offending Christians in Egypt today or mounting any kind of assault upon them are doing so in complete disregard to the wishes of our blessed Messenger (saw). So whichever the third party is doing any acts of evil in hopes that tensions will increase between Christians and Muslims should fear Allah.
May Allah keep us on a way that is straight and bring more peace, understanding, and mutual respect towards Islam and Christianity. Amin!