Thursday, 4 December 2014

Pave the Way Foundation places spotlight on controversial covenants said to be by Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)

Source: PTWF.
Pave the Way Foundation (PTWF), a nonsectarian public foundation working to identify and resolve obstacles between religions, has initiated an international advertising campaign to publicise what it says are the original covenants of the Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) that order his followers to protect the people of the book (Jews and Christians), their synagogues, churches and holy shrines until the end of days.

The online ads provide images of the Covenants of Protection, some of which are signed with the Prophet's palm print or the wax seal of his ring. There are also links to more information on the foundation's website, where images and translated text from the covenants can be found.

According to Imam Ilyas 'Abd al-'Alim Islam (Dr John Andrew Morrow) and author of The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World, these covenants carry the same legal authority as the Quran. Imam Islam also stated that those who have committed acts of violence against innocent people have insulted the Prophet Muhammad (
ﷺ) and insulted Islam and should be punished for these violations.

"Imam Ilyas 'Abd al-'Alim Islam is a respected Islamic scholar and recently published a book of his research into the over 20 Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Jews and Christians of the World," said Elliot Hershberg, Chairman of PTWF. "Imam Islam also started the Covenants Initiative, where hundreds of important Islamic leaders have signed on to indicate the validity and importance of these documents. These covenants give peace-loving Muslims a tool to combat those who have hijacked their religion by committing acts of violence against innocent Jews, Christians and Muslims around the world in the name of Islam."

Gary Krupp, President of PTWF, stated, "We have found that knowledge of these covenants can make a difference in addressing important issues. In 2012, on behalf of 300 million Orthodox Christians, PTWF requested that the Turkish government reopen the Halki Seminary in Istanbul, closed since 1971. In partnership with international Muslim leaders, we sent a letter containing information about the existence of these covenants to Prime Minister Erdogan of Turkey. As a direct result of this effort, Dr Mehmet Gormez, the highest Islamic authority in Turkey, visited Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew of Constantinople on July 5, 2012, embracing him and stating that, in the name of Islam, the seminary should be opened."

While Imam Ilyas and PTWF are convinced that the documents are authentic, there is still controversy about this, with detractors noting that people of one religion might have forged documents that would allow them to escape harm from people of another religion. A 2012 discussion on a forum note that the letter to the monks of St Catherine's Monastery in Sinai, Egypt is a copy of an alleged original, and not the original, but that various rulers did indeed abide by the sentiments of the content. 

A Reddit thread also raises questions about the type of Arabic script used, which would not have existed at the time of the Prophet, though it could of course be argued that a copy of the document would have used the more modern script of the day.

Other commenters on both forums have however noted that the content of the covenants is generally in line with sentiments in the Quran and other authenticated sources about Islam.