I am grateful to Saadi to have forwarded me the this amazing ancient text.

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The Letter of Prophet Muhammad

Below is the English translation of the extra-ordinary letter by Prophet Muhammad as a Charter of Privileges to Christians monks of St. Catherine Monastery at Mt. Sinai. It consists 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. It bears the hallmark of Islam and Prophet’s attitude about the right[s] of other religious practitioners.

* 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 of the nation (Ummah, the Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).

The letter stands out as a beacon of extra ordinary pluralism and how deep the attitude of respect for another religious group can be extended.

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