Abdullah Ibn Hudhafah As-Sahmi

Meanwhile, Khusraw wrote to Badhan, his deputy in the Yemen, to send two strong men to “that man who has appeared in the Hijaz” with orders to bring him to Persia.

Badhan despatched two of his strongest men to the Prophet and gave them a letter to him in which he was ordered to go with the two men to meet Khusraw without delay. Badhan also asked the two men to get whatever information they could on the Prophet and to study his message closely.

The men set out, moving very quickly. At Ta’if they met some Quraysh traders and asked them about Muhammad. “He is in Yathrib,” they said and they went on to Makkah feeling extremely happy. This was good news for them and they went around telling other Quraysh, “You will be pleased. Khusraw is out to get Muhammad and you will be rid of his evil.”

The two men meanwhile made straight for Madinah where they met the Prophet, handed him the letter of Badhan and said to him, “The king of kings, Khusraw, has written to our ruler Badhan to send his men to get you. We have come to take you with us. If you come willingly, Khusraw has said that it will be good for you and he will spare you any punishment. If you refuse, you will know the power of his punishment. He has power to destroy you and your people.”

The Prophet smiled and said to them, “Go back to your mounts today and return tomorrow.”

On the following day, they came to the Prophet and said to him, “Are you prepared to go with us to meet Khusraw?”

“You shall not meet Khusraw after today,” replied the Prophet. “God has killed him and his son Shirwaih has taken his place on such a night and on such a month.”

The two men stared in the face of the Prophet. They were completely dumbfounded.

“Do you know what you are saying?” they asked. “Shall we write about this to Badhan?”

“Yes,” replied the Prophet, “and say to him that my religion has informed me about what has happened to the kingdom of Khusraw and that if he should become Muslim, I would appoint him ruler over what he now controls”.

The two men returned to the Yemen and told Badhan what had happened. Badhan said, “If what Muhammad has said is true, then he is a Prophet. If not then we shall see what happens to him.”

Not long afterwards, a letter from Shirwaih came to Badhan in which he said, “I killed Khusraw because of his tyranny against our people. He regarded as lawful the killing of leaders, the capturing of their women and the expropriating of their wealth. When this my letter reaches you, take the allegiance of whoever is with you on my behalf.”

As soon as Badhan had read Shirwaih’s letter, he threw it aside and announced his entry into Islam. The Persians with him in the Yemen also became Muslim.

That’s the story of Abdullah ibn Hudhafah’s meeting with the Persian king. His meeting with the Byzantine emperior took place during the caliphate of Umar ibn alKhattab. It too is an astonishing story.

In the nineteenth year after the Hijrah, Umar despatched an army to fight against the Byzantines. In it was Abdullah ibn Hudhafah. News of the Muslim force reached the Byzantine emperior. He had heard of their sincerity of faith, and their willingness to sacrifice their lives in the way of God and His Prophet. He gave orders to his men to bring to him any Muslim captive they might take alive.

God willed that Abdullah ibn Hudhafah should fall captive to the Byzantines and he was brought before the Emperor. The Emperor looked at Abdullah for a long time. Suddenly he said, “I shall make a proposal to you.” “What is it?” asked Abdullah.

“I suggest that you become a Christian. If you do this, you will be set free and I shall grant you a safe refuge.”

The prisoner’s reaction was furious: “Death is preferable to me a thousand times to what you ask me to do.”

“I see that you are a bold man. However, if you respond positively to what I propose to you, I will give you a share in my authority and swear you in as my aide.”

The prisoner, shackled in his chains, smiled and said, “By God, if you give me all that you possess and all that the Arabs have in exchange for giving up the religion of Muhammad, I shall not do so.”

“Then I shall kill you.”

“Do what you want,” answered Abdullah.

The emperor then had him put on a cross and ordered his soldiers to throw spears at him, first near his hands and then near his feet, all the while telling him to accept Christianity or at least give up his religion. This he refused over and over again to do.

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