Muhammad’s Protection of Christians – St. Catherine’s Monastery

Muhammad’s Protection of Christians - St. Catherine's Monastery

Mount Sinai, Eygept

By Faysal Burhan
Published: 2002

Sinai’s St. Catherine’s Monastery, a Patent from Prophet Mohammed (pbuh)

Prophet Muhammad Covenant of Christians Protection

Per a preserved information at Sinai’s St. Catherine’s Monastery, a Patent (see image) from Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) was given to a Christian delegation who visited him in Medina in 628 AD. The Patent was sealed with an imprint representing Muhammad’s hand.

The Prophet personally granted by the charter the rights and privileges to the monastery, including freedom of worship and movement, freedom to appoint their own judges and to own and maintain their property. Here is an English translation of the charter.

“This is a message from Muhammad 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. The 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 in the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).” 

Some History of this Document

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.

The monastery was under the protection of the Prophet Mohammed, Arab and Turkish leaders and Napoleon, which helped to preserve it virtually undamaged. In the walled compound, there is a Fatimid mosque built next to the Orthodox church, a rare coexistence of religions in today’s World.

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