The Muslim Bishop and Hercules
The head of the Byzantine clergy during the reign of Hercules adopted a similar position amongst his people with respect to the invitation to accept Islam to that of Abdullah, the son of Salaam, was amongst the Jews in AlMadinah. They both bore witness that the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, was foretold of in their scriptures and announced their faith in him and his message and conversion to Islam.
When the Prophet Mohammad, peace be upon him, sent Dahia AlKalbi, may Allah be pleased with him, to Hercules, the ruler of the Roman Empire, with a letter inviting him to Islam ( Letter to Hercules ) , Hercules found the following contents:
“In the name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful:
From Muhammad the Messenger of Allah to Heraclius, the ruler of Rome. Peace be upon everyone who follows the right path.
I invite you to accept Islam. If you become a Muslim you will be safe, and Allah will double your reward. If you reject this invitation of Islam, you will be committing a sin by misguiding your subjects.
‘O people of the scripture! Come to a word common to you and us that we worship none but Allah and that we associate nothing in worship with Him, and that none of us shall take others as Lords beside Allah. Then, if they turn away, say: Bear witness that we are Muslims.’ (Quran 3:64).
When Hercules finished reading the letter, there was an uproar in his court. (AlBukhari, Hadith 4278)
Hercules sent the letter to the head of the Byzantine clergy to consult him in the issue. The bishop said, “This is what we were waiting for. Jesus already told us about this. As for me, I believe in him (the Prophet Mohammad) and I will follow him. Hercules said, “As for me, if I do the same as you, I will lose my kingdom”.
The bishop then said to the messenger of the Prophet, peace be upon him, “Take this message and return to your companion. Convey to him the greeting of peace and inform him that I bear witness that there is no god worthy of worship but Allah and Mohammad is His Messenger, and that I believe in him and what he preaches, even if my people reject it. Then the bishop announced this in front of his people and they killed him.
When Dahia returned to Hercules, Hercules told him, “We are afraid for our own welfare. The bishop was more esteemed amongst the people than I am. (Fath AlBari, Explanation of Sahih AlBukhari, volume 1, pages 42-43)