The Covenants Initiative: A Call for Peace and a Token of Hope


Editor’s Note: The Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad with the Christians of the World was a departure from what we usually publish at Angelico Press, but we thought it of vital importance in pointing to a new way for Christians to understand the ethos of early Islam, and for Muslims to conceive of Christian/Muslim relations, based on covenants established by the founder of Islam. 

The following is from the author, John Andrew Morrow, addressed primarily to his fellow Muslims, and thus it employs direct language appropriate for such. We realize that not all Angelico readers will agree with all of John’s statements, but we offer this in the hope of making more people aware of the persecution of Christians around the world, encouraging the condemnation of these acts, and furthering peaceful Muslim/Christian relations.

Dr. Morrow and Sayyid Yousif al-Khoei, grandson of Grand Ayatullah Abu al-Qasim al-Khoei, at Oxford University

By Dr. John Andrew Morrow

As the Middle East, North Africa, Western Africa, and other parts of the world continue their descent into Dante’s Inferno, spiraling down a whirlpool of hatred, violence, and intolerance, no true Muslim can remain mute. As Ginetta Sagan once said, “Silence in the face of injustice is complicity with the oppressor.”

This is particularly the case when those who are perpetrating atrocities against Christians profess to follow the Prophet Muhammad, a merciful and compassionate man who commanded all Muslims to protect peaceful Christians “until the Hour comes and the world ends.” As Muslims, all acts of terrorism, oppression, and injustice, committed in the name of the Messenger of Allah are profoundly injurious irrespective of whether the guilty parties are merely misguided Muslims, infidel heretics, or agents of foreign intelligence services.

Following the example of the Prophet Muhammad, who taught us that “The best jihad is the word of justice in front of an oppressive ruler” (related on the authority of Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi, and Ibn Majah), we have commenced what is called “The Covenants Initiative,” a movement which calls upon all Muslims to abide by the covenants that the Messenger of Allah concluded with the friendly Christian communities of his time and which he stated were binding until the Day of Judgment.

“How can this possibly help,” some will ask. “How can it possibly hurt” is the most adequate response. As we read in the Holy Qur’an: “Indeed, Allah will not change the condition of a people until they change what is in themselves” (13:11). Consequently, we must adopt a bottom-up approach and create an ambitious grass-roots movement aimed at inculcating a correct comprehension of Islam, particularly with regards to relations to minorities and members of other religions.

As the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad make abundantly clear, tolerance, mercy, respect, forgiveness, compassion, and love are at the heart of the Islamic message. As Almighty Allah states in the Holy Qur’an, Muhammad was sent as a mercy to the world (21:107). However, when one glances at the Muslim world today, one gets the impression that some Muslims were sent as a scourge to the world. It is true, and must never be forgotten, that the vast majority of Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding citizens, with sound morals and ethics. This does not exclude the fact that a minority of Muslims have been seduced, deluded, and brainwashed into becoming modern-day Kharijites, brutal, psychotic fanatics, who were excommunicated from the body of Islam by the Messenger of Allah himself.

These pseudo-Sunni Takfiri terrorists profess to practice the jihad of the sword, while violating all of its rules, when the Prophet taught us that the greatest jihad was that of spiritual struggle and social activism as well as scholarship and science. They claim to be Muslim, from the Arabic root SLM which means submission and peace, when they are not at peace with anyone. In reality, the Takfiris follow the religion of hatred and violence when traditional Muslims follow the religion, not of strict pacifism, but of love, peace, and justice. When forced to fight, in war of self-defense, they always adhere to Islamic norms of conduct and never engage in wars of aggression for, as the Holy Qur’an expresses, “Allah loves not the corrupters” (28:77) and “Allah loves not the aggressors” (2:190).

It is to defend the dignity and integrity of the Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings be upon him, that we promote the Covenants Initiative, a simple statement with potentially revolutionary consequences. Our goal is to educate, enlighten, and inspire. Our aim is to galvanize Muslims around the Qur’an and the Covenants of the Prophet, primordial pacts of protection which are truly a condensation of the authentic Sunnah. There are those who wish to exploit Islam for purposes of unjust war and there are people like us who faithfully follow Islam in the struggle to establish peace.

“Blessed be the peace makers” (Matthew 5:9) said Jesus, the Messiah, son of Mary, and, as the Covenants of the Prophet Muhammad make manifest, the Messenger of Allah was the greatest of peace makers, a man with a mission to apply both spiritual and material power to bring peace and harmony to the planet as a whole. And Allah guides whom He wills (2:272).

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Dr. John Andrew Morrow is a senior scholar specializing in Islamic, Indigenous, and Hispanic Studies.