The Secret to Success

During the time of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), there were two major kingdoms in the nearby lands; Rome and Persia.

On the night of the birth of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), a tremor had struck the palace of the Persian ruler, causing fourteen towers of his palace to collapse. This was an indication that the Persian kingdom would have fourteen more rulers, after which it would collapse and be no more. (Taareekh Tabari vol. 2, pg. 258 – 260)

During the period of peace between the Muslims in Madeenah Munawwarah and the Quraish (after the treaty of Hudaibiyah), Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) sent epistles (letters) to the rulers of Rome and Persia, inviting them to Islam. As far as Caesar (the Roman emperor) is concerned, then on receiving the epistle of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), he honoured it and showed it respect, though he did not accept Islam.

As for Chosroes (the Persian ruler), he displayed scorn and utter disrespect and disregard for the epistle of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). He thus destroyed it by tearing it into pieces. When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) was informed of this, he made du‘aa for Allah Ta‘ala to tear his kingdom apart, just as he had torn the blessed epistle of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). (Saheeh Bukhaari #4424)

Allah Ta‘ala accepted the du‘aa of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and caused the Persian kingdom to be torn apart by infighting. As a result, the once-mighty Persian empire collapsed with the death of its last ruler in the era of Sayyiduna Uthmaan (radhiyallahu ‘anhu).

It is reported that when the armies of Yazdajird, the last ruler of Persia, continued to suffer defeat at the hands of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum), he was at his wits end and was desperate for assistance. He thus wrote a letter to the Emperor of China, imploring him to send reinforcements. (Al-Bidaayah wan Nihaayah vol. 7, pg. 277)

When the Emperor of China received the letter, he said to the Persian messenger, “I am aware that it is incumbent on kings to assist one another against those who threaten their power. However, I want you to describe to me these people who have removed you from your land, as you have mentioned that their soldiers are few in number and your forces outnumber them. If it is as you mention, that despite their inferior numbers, they have managed to dominate and overpower you, then it can only be on account of some good qualities which they possess, while you are plagued by evil qualities.”

The messenger responded to the Emperor saying, “Ask me whatever you wish to know (regarding these people).” The Emperor asked, “Do they fulfil their promises and keep to their word?” The messenger replied, “Yes, they do.”

The Emperor next asked, “What do they say to you before they engage you in battle?” The messenger answered, “They place three options before us. The first option is for us to accept the Deen of Islam. If we accept this option, then we will become one of them (and will enjoy the same rights that they do). The second option is for us to pay the jizyah to them (a payment made by non-Muslims living in a Muslim state). (If we reject these two options,) then (the final option) is war.”

The Emperor then asked, “What level of obedience do they show to their leader?” The messenger replied, “They are the most obedient of people before their leader.” The Emperor next asked regarding that which the Muslims regarded as permissible and impermissible in Islam, and the messenger informed him accordingly.

Then, the Emperor asked, “Tell me, do they treat permissible as impermissible, and treat impermissible as permissible? (i.e. do they respect and uphold the laws of their religion or do they break the laws and sin?)” The messenger responded, “No, (they abide by the laws of their religion).”

When the Emperor heard this, he remarked, “These people will never be defeated and destroyed until they treat permissible as impermissible, and treat impermissible as permissible.”

The Emperor next enquired regarding their clothing, and after the messenger described the clothing of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) to him, he asked regarding the conveyances which the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) rode, to which the messenger described the Arabian horses and camels to him.

Finally, the Emperor wrote the following reply to Yazdajird:

“It is not ignorance of my royal duty that prevents from sending a large army to your aid – an army so large that the vanguard will arrive in Marw while the rear guard is still departing China. (The reason for me not sending an army to assist you is that) your messenger has described these Muslims to be such (that so long as they hold on firmly to their Deen, they will enjoy such divine assistance) that if they tried to flatten a mountain, they would succeed in doing so, and if they managed to reach my kingdom, they would remove me from my land as well.

“Thus, my advice is that you enter into a peace treaty with them, accept living among them, and do not provoke them so long as they do not provoke you.” (Taareekh Tabari vol. 5, pg. 161)


1. When Chosroes showed disrespect to the blessed letter of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) and tore it apart, Allah Ta‘ala caused his kingdom to be torn apart. Hence, it is vital that we always show respect to Deen or anything related to Deen (e.g. the azaan, masjid, Quraan Majeed, the Sahaabah [radhiyallahu ‘anhum], etc.). If we do so, Allah Ta‘ala will bless us and reward us greatly.

2. On account of the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu ‘anhum) holding onto Deen and the sunnah firmly, they enjoyed the divine assistance of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, wherever they went in the world, and whichever nation they encountered, they remained successful and victorious – even though they were often outnumbered. Thus, the secret to success, in this world and the next, and the key to acquiring the divine assistance of Allah Ta‘ala, is to remain committed to Deen and the sunnah.

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