Muhammad Had Their Backs

from Shane's Muslim Connect

I flat out love it when I discover something I’d never known before. Given how little I know, finding something new should not be surprising, but it is! And pleasantly so. 

Did you know that back around 625 AD Muhammad made an agreement to protect the monks of St. Catherine’s monastery in Egypt ? I didn’t! He pledged to guard them, to not tax them unduly and let them practice their faith freely. (Tweet this.)

The document is called the Ashtiname of Muhammad. While there’s significant debate about it’s authenticity, here are three things people like us might want to know about it.

  1. Based on the opening lines of the letter, it’s protection extends well beyond the monks of St. Catherine’s, including, “the followers of Jesus the Nazarene in the East and West, the far and near, the Arabs and foreigners, the known and the unknown.” That’s pretty much all of the Jesus people.
  2. At the end of the covenant we find its mandate binds all Muslims for all time. Muhammad says, “It is positively incumbent upon every one of the followers of Islam not to contradict or disobey this oath until the Day of Resurrection and the end of the world.”
  3. Although many Muslims don’t know about this agreement, some hold it up as a guide for Islamic behavior toward Christians today. In fact, it was referenced recently when Asia Bibi’s death sentence for blasphemy was reversed by the Pakistani Supreme Court.


Of course the agreement is not followed enough, and Jews, Hindus and others are not covered. But I’m encouraged to know about it and pray it will be more widely read and implemented for the sake of brothers and sisters doing their best to follow Jesus in challenging situations.