Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As-Sahmi

Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As-Sahmi Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As-Sahmi radiya.gif (1087 bytes)

History would have by-passed this man as it had by- passed thousands of Arabs before him. He, like them, would have had no claim to attention or fame. The greatness of Islam, however, gave to Abdullah ibn Hudhafah the opportunity to meet two world potentates of his time Khusraw Parvez the King of Persia and Heraclius, the Byzantine emperor.

The story of his encounter with Khusraw Parvez began in the sixth year of the hijrah when the Prophet decided to send some of his Companions with letters to rulers outside the Arabian peninsula inviting them to Islam.

The Prophet attached great importance to this initiative. These messengers were going to distant lands with whom there was no agreement or treaty. They did not know the languages of these lands nor anything about the ways and disposition of their rulers. They were to invite these rulers to give up their religion and forsake their power and glory and enter the religion of a people who shortly before were almost their subjects. The mission was undoubtedly hazardous .

To make known his plan, the Prophet called his companions together and addressed them. He started by praising God and thanking Him. He then recited the Shahadah and went on:

“I want to send some of you to the rulers of foreign lands but don’t dispute with me as the Israelites disputed with Jesus, the son of Mary.

“O Prophet of God, we shall carry out whatever you wish,” they responded. “Send us wherever you desire.”

The Prophet commissioned six of his Sahabah to carry his letters to Arab and foreign rulers. One of these was Abdullah ibn Hudhafah. He was chosen to take the Prophet’s letter to Khusraw Parvez, the Persian king.

Abdullah got his camel ready and bade farewell to his wife and son. He set out, alone, and traversed mountains and valleys until he reached the land of the Persians.

He sought permission to enter into the king’s presence informing the guards of the letter he was carrying. Khusraw Parvez thereupon ordered his audience chamber to be made ready and summoned his prominent aides. When they had assembled he gave permission for Abdullah to enter.

Abdullah entered and saw the Persian potentate dressed in delicate, flowing robes and wearing a great, neatly arranged turban. On Abdullah was the plain, coarse clothes of the bedouin. His head though was held high and his feet were firm. The honour of Islam burned fiercely in his breast and .he power of faith pulsated in his heart.

As soon as Khusraw Parvez saw him approaching he signalled to one of his men to take the letter from his hand.

“No,” said Abdullah. “The Prophet commanded me to hand over this letter to you directly and I shall not go against a command of the Messenger of God.”

“Let him come near to me,” Khusraw said to his guards and Abdullah went forward and handed over the letter. Khusraw then called an Arab clerk who originally came from Hira and ordered him to open the letter in his presence and read its contents. He began reading: “In the name of Allah, the Beneficent the Merciful. From Muhammad, the Messenger of God, to Khusraw the ruler of Persia. Peace on whoever follows the guidance . . .”

Khusraw only heard this much of the letter when the fire of anger burst within him. His face became red and he began to perspire around the neck. He snatched the letter from the clerk’s hand and began tearing it to pieces without knowing what else it contained and shouted, “Does he dare to write to me like this, he who is my slave”? He was angry that the Prophet had not given him precedence in his letter. He then commanded Abdullah to be expelled from his assembly.

Abdullah was taken away, not knowing what would happen to him. Would he be killed or would he be set free? But he did not want to wait to find out. He said, “By God, I don’t care what happens to me after the letter of the Prophet has been so badly treated.” He managed to get to his camel and rode off.

When Khusraw’s anger had subsided he commanded that Abdullah be brought before him. But Abdullah was nowhere to be found. They searched for him all the way to the Arabian peninsula but found that he had gone ahead.

Back in Madinah, Abdullah told the Prophet how Khusraw had torn his letter to pieces and the Prophet’s only reply was, “May God tear up his kingdom”.

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