THE ḤADÎTH OF Heraclius continues, and Heraclius says to Abû Sufyân, after the latter answers his questions:

If what you say is true, then his [that is, the Messenger of Allah’s ﷺ] kingdom will reach where my very feet are standing. And, indeed, I knew that he [the Final Messenger] was about to appear. Yet I did not know he would be from you. Moreover, if I knew that I could make it safely to him, I would do all I could to meet him. And if I were with him, I would have washed his feet.

  1. Heraclius said: “…Where my very feet are standing.”
  • Heraclius was referring to Jerusalem, for that is where he was settled when he met Abû Sufyân. So he meant that the Muslims would conquer Jerusalem. Or, he was referring to Ḥimṣ, which was his Capitol (the Roman seat of power at the time?). If this is the case, then his statement means that Muslims would conquer Al-Shâm [inclusive of Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. It is also possible that Heraclius knew from previous Revelations that the realm of the Final Messenger ﷺ would ultimately reach wherever night and day reach.]
  1. Heraclius said: “And, indeed, I knew that he (the Final Messenger) was about to appear.”
  • It is very well established in the Evangel [the Revelation of Jesus] that a final messenger would appear, along with descriptions of his character, other signs of when he would appear, and who he would be. Thus Heraclius, being a learned man of Christianity, knew that the Messenger ﷺ was about to emerge based on these prophecies from the remnants of previous Revelation, as well as signs he said that he saw in the stars, which he mentions later on in this ḥadîth.
  1. Heraclius said: “And if I knew I could make it safely to him…”
  • This shows that Heraclius was sure that if he accepted Islam that he would be killed. Moreover, he knew this because his peer, who was the highest man of the religious hierarchy of the city of Rome (who’s story is also mentioned later in this ḥadîth) did accept Islam and was immediately assassinated. Al-Ṭabarâni narrated that Heraclius said: “I know that he is the Messenger [of God] but I cannot follow him, for if I do, I will lose my kingdom and the Romans will kill me.” However, the reality is that Heraclius did not have reason to fear, for in the letter that the Prophet ﷺ sent to him, it was written: “Accept Islam, and you will be safe.”
  1. Heraclius said: “…I would have washed his feet.”
  • This shows how much Heraclius desired to honor and serve the Prophet ﷺ, as well as showing that if he went to the Prophet ﷺ, he would request from him neither status nor power. Rather, he would want only what blessings he could receive by being near the Prophet ﷺ. In another narration, Heraclius states that he wanted to kiss the head of the Prophet ﷺ and wash his feet. [It is a sign of the Prophethood of Muhammad ﷺ that he was an orphaned shepherd in the desert of Arabia and yet came to be honored, loved, and held in awe by the emperor of Rome. If one tries to imagine a similar situation in our contemporary circumstance, the miracle of this appears even clearer.]

Omar Abdl-Haleem

Omar Abdl-Haleem is a fourth generation Muslim in America. He has a BA from Al-Azhar University in Usul Al-Din, specializing in Hadith, and was about to finish his Master’s Degree from Al-Azhar in Hadith, when he had to leave Egypt for safety reasons in the fall of 2013. He has translated most of Ibn Al-Jawzi’s book: Sayd Al-Khatir into English, which he intends to complete (some episodes of Omar’s translation of this book have appeared in Aljumuah Website). He is also working on a Hadith book for English speakers that explains and teaches Mustalah Al-Hadith (Hadith Terminology) in common terms. His Arabic is native, having studied in Egypt since he was 14, and then full time after completion of High School in the US. He is invaluable for AlJumuah in accessing scholarly texts. He intends to complete his graduate studies in Hadith.

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