In the Sahih-Bukhari, a generally accepted collection of the times and sayings of the Prophet, there are a number of reports of contacts with other nations & empires; for example:

Allah's Apostle wrote a letter to Caesar saying, "If you reject Islam, you will be responsible for the sins of the peasants (i.e. your people)."


Allah's Apostle sent his letter to Khusrau and ordered his messenger to hand it over to the Governor of Bahrain who was to hand it over to Khusrau. So, when Khusrau read the letter he tore it. Said bin Al-Musaiyab said, "The Prophet then invoked Allah to disperse them with full dispersion, (destroy them (i.e. Khusrau and his followers) severely)".

What independent corroboration of official contact between the Early Islam (the ummah) and the nations surrounding them is there during the Prophets time?

  • What is your question? Your title asks about Muhammed, your final sentence asks about "the community of Islam", whatever that is. So which is the actual question? Also, the policy of the site is not to ask for sources or references so you should revise it so it is not asking for "documentary evidence". Jun 16, 2014 at 23:26
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    This question appears to be off-topic because it is asks for sources. Jun 16, 2014 at 23:27
  • @Durden: How is asking for historical sources 'unhistorical'? Can you point me to the sites policy on this as I can't find it. Since you don't care for the term community of Islam - what do you propose I call it? It isn't an empire, nation or country. If I asked for diplomatic correspondance, say between King Henry VIII & Maximillian I and then said between the Tudors and the Habsburg, or between England and the Holy Roman Empire most people will be able to follow the train of thought there. Jun 17, 2014 at 0:53
  • Go to Help, Help Center, What Topics can I ask about? Jun 17, 2014 at 1:37
  • This question has been asked on Islam. islam.stackexchange.com/q/14580 Jun 17, 2014 at 5:32

2 Answers 2


Hoyland wrote Seeing Islam as other saw it which contains:

The book contains an extensive collection of Greek, Syrian, Coptic, Armenian, Latin, Jewish, Persian, and Chinese primary sources written between 620 and 780 AD in the Middle East, which provides a survey of eyewitness accounts of historical events during the formative period of Islam.

He believes that 'the first explicit reference to Muhammad in a non-Muslim source' is in a 7th Century Manuscript by Thomas the Presbyter

"In the year 945, indiction 7, on Friday 7 February (634) at the ninth hour, there was a battle between the Romans and the Arabs of Muhammad (tayyaye d-Mhmt) in Palestine twelve miles east of Gaza. The Romans fled, leaving behind the patrician Bryrdn, whom the Arabs killed. Some 4000 poor villagers of Palestine were killed there, Christians, Jews and Samaritans. The Arabs ravaged the whole region".

Another book which presents the historiography of Early Islam is Hagarism. They "They introduced methods from biblical studies as a new way of analyzing the history of the Koran and Islam, for instance, the use of contemporary texts in languages other than that used in the holy text, and incorporating evidence from archeology and linguistics".


The answer to your question is very simple: there is no contemporary historical evidence concerning Muhammad, in the same way that there is no contemporary evidence about Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, Zoroaster etc. etc.

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    True, if you ignore Josephus (Antiquities of the Jews book 20) and Tacitus (Annals book 15), and in the case of Buddha, the archeological evidence.
    – andy256
    Jun 17, 2014 at 0:08
  • I don't see it as being as simple as you make out. Jun 17, 2014 at 1:03
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    Josephus wrote around AD 75 and Tacitus wrote around AD 116. Thus neither can be called a “contemporary” witness for the man Jesus, who is supposed to have died around AD 30. As you presumably know, the relevant passage in Josephus is generally regarded as either interpolated or at least manipulated by a Christian copyist.
    – fdb
    Jun 17, 2014 at 7:36
  • The testimony of Thomas the Presbyter, likewise, is not from the lifetime of Muhammad as known from the sira, which says that the prophet died in 632.
    – fdb
    Jun 17, 2014 at 7:40
  • There is strong evidence for the existence of the Buddha. Moses and Jesus nobody knows. Its just an opinion that they, specially Jesus existed. Also after the Buddha, there is evidence for the existence of Muhammad. Moses also might be a real person but about Jesus nobody knows and there is no evidence.
    – Rolen Koh
    Sep 12, 2017 at 6:18

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