Dear Captain and all,
Please excuse the length but here are some posts from your own Forum about the letter.
Having extensively visited the St. Catherine's Monastery and examined plenty of documents there for days in 1974, I never saw or heard about the exalted Prophet's reported letter there. And the staff including the deacons were very cooperative.
I suspect the authenticity of the document unless a scholar of Professor M.Rafi's caliber can come up with reliable proof - Prof Rafi Saheb especially since he posted "The Nabi's letter" for the first time on the Forum on 24 Nov 2011. See below.
But then, looking closely, some facets of the proclamation made in the reported letter of the exalted Prophet contradict the Qur'an.
Our Beacon Forum
The Nabi's letter
By:Muhammad Rafi, Karachi
Date: Thursday, 24 November 2011, 7:40 am
The Greek Orthodox monks living in the monastery at the foot of Mount Sinai have in their possession many precious documents going back many centuries. Their library is one of the finest in the world for ancient manuscripts. One of the most precious documents of all is the copy of a letter narrated by Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) to the monks in the year 628.
Its contents might come as a surprise to many, since in this precious manuscript Muslims are exhorted to protect the Christians living within their midst. The words are so beautiful that we repeat them in full here:• This is a message from Mohamed ibn Abdullah, as a covenant to those who adopt Christianity, near and far, we are with them.• Verily I, the servants, the helpers, and my followers defend them, because Christians are my citizens; and by Allah! I hold out against anything that displeases them. • No compulsion is to be on them.• Neither are their judges to be removed from their jobs nor their monks from their monasteries.• No one is to destroy a house of their religion, to damage it, or to carry anything from it to the Muslims’ houses. • Should anyone take any of these, he would spoil God’s covenant and disobey His Prophet. Verily, they are my allies and have my secure charter against all that they hate.• No one is to force them to travel or to oblige them to fight. • The Muslims are to fight for them.• If a female Christian is married to a Muslim, it is not to take place without her approval. She is not to be prevented from visiting her church to pray.• Their churches are to be respected. They are neither to be prevented from repairing them nor the sacredness of their covenants. • No one of the nation (Muslims) is to disobey the covenant till the Last Day (end of the world).
It should be quite clear from this that, far from being a threat, Islam is actually the guardian of the Christian presence in the Middle East. These words of Prophet Mohamed (pbuh) should be made known to Muslims and non-Muslims throughout the world.
Our Beacon Forum
Re: The Nabi's letter
By:shahid ali khan hyderabad
Date: Monday, 28 November 2011, 4:56 am
In Response To: The Nabi's letter (Muhammad Rafi, Karachi)
Rafi saab how authentic is this letter for the prophet does not call himself rasoolallah in this letter, when I emailed this letter to my N2I friends they lambasted me and said this letter is a forgery maybe because Bukhari &Co. have not mentioned this letter anywhere also.I would love to have some refrences or Photographs of this letter.
Our Beacon Forum
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
By: Irshad Syed, Aligarh
Date: Sunday, 19 June 2011, 6:06 pm
AsSalaam O Alaikum (Peace be always with you. AMEEN.)
Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Saint Catherine Area*
UNESCO World Heritage Site
St. Catherine's monastery
Criteria i, iii, iv, vi
Region** Arab States
Inscription 2002 (26th Session)
* Name as inscribed on World Heritage List.
** Region as classified by UNESCO.
Saint Catherine's Monastery (Greek: Μονὴ τῆς Ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης) lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of a gorge at the foot of Mount Sinai in the city of Saint Catherine in Egypt. The monastery is Orthodox and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the UNESCO report (60100 ha / Ref: 954), this monastery is one of the oldest working Christian monasteries in the world together with the Monastery of Saint Anthony, situated across the Red Sea in the desert south of Cairo, which also lays claim to that title.
* 1 History
* 2 About the monastery
* 3 Gallery of art at Saint Catherine's
* 4 See also
* 5 References
* 6 Further reading
* 7 External links
St. Catherine's Monastery possesses some of the earliest icons in existence, including this 6th-century hot wax icon.
The oldest record of monastic life at Sinai comes from the travel journal written in Latin by a woman named Egeriaabout 381-384. She visited many places around the Holy Land and Mount Sinai, where, according to the Hebrew Bible, Moses received the Ten Commandments from God.
The monastery was built by order of Emperor Justinian I(reigned 527-565), enclosing the Chapel of the Burning Bush ordered to be built by Helena, the mother of Constantine I, at the site where Moses is supposed to have seen the burning bush; the living bush on the grounds is purportedly the original. It is also referred to as "St. Helen's Chapel." The site is sacred to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.
Though it is commonly known as Saint Catherine's, the full, official name of the monastery is, The Sacred and Imperial Monastery of the God-Trodden Mount of Sinai, and the patronal feast of the monastery is theTransfiguration. The site was associated with Saint Catherine of Alexandria (whose relics were purported to have been miraculously transported there by angels) and it became a favorite site of pilgrimage.
Saint Catherine's monastery, photographed by Leavitt Hunt, first Americanto photograph the Middle East, 1852, George Eastman House
According to tradition, Catherine of Alexandria was a Christian martyr initially sentenced to death on the wheel. However, when this failed to kill her, she was beheaded. According to tradition, angels took her remains to Mount Sinai. Around the year 800, monks from the Sinai Monastery found her remains.
The Patent of Mohammed granted to the Monastery of Sinai:
The monastery possesses copies of an important historical document, the Achtiname, in which Muhammad is claimed to have bestowed his protection upon the monastery.
A Fatimid mosque was built within the walls of the monastery, but it has never been used since it is not correctly oriented towards Mecca.
During the seventh century, the isolated Christian anchorites of the Sinai were eliminated: only the fortified monastery remained. The monastery is still surrounded by the massive fortifications that have preserved it. Until the twentieth century, access was through a door high in the outer walls. From the time of the First Crusade, the presence of Crusaders in the Sinai until 1270 spurred the interest of European Christians and increased the number of intrepid pilgrims who visited the monastery. The monastery was supported by its dependencies in Egypt, Palestine, Syria, Crete, Cyprus and Constantinople.
The monastery is depicted as a scene on the back panel of the Modena Triptych by El Greco.
It is seen in the PBS documentary, Walking the Bible with Bruce Feiler.
About the monastery
The monastery library preserves the second largest collection of early codices and manuscripts in the world, outnumbered only by the Vatican Library. Its strength lies in Greek, Arabic, Armenian, Hebrew, Georgian, Syriacand old Udi texts. The Codex Sinaiticus, now in the British Library, left the monastery in the 19th century for Russia, in circumstances that are now disputed.
A panorama of St Catherine's
The complex houses irreplaceable works of art: mosaics, the best collection of early icons in the world, many in encaustic, as well as liturgical objects, chalices and reliquaries, and church buildings. The large icon collection begins with a few dating to the 5th (possibly) and 6th centuries, which are unique survivals, the monastery having been untouched by Byzantine iconoclasm, and never sacked.
The oldest icon on an Old Testament theme is also preserved there. A project to catalogue the collections has been ongoing since the 1960s.
The monastery, along with several dependencies in the area, constitute the entire Orthodox Church of Mount Sinai, which is headed by an archbishop, who is also the abbot of the monastery. The exact administrative status of the church within Eastern Orthodoxy is ambiguous: by some, including the church itself, it is considered autocephalous,  by others an autonomous church under the jurisdiction of the Greek Orthodox Church of Jerusalem.[dead link] The archbishop is traditionally consecrated by the Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem; in recent centuries he has usually resided in Cairo. During the period of the Crusades, marked by bitterness between the Orthodox and Catholic churches, the monastery was patronized by both the Byzantine Emperors and the rulers of the Kingdom of Jerusalem, and their respective elites. The monastery was an important centre for the development of the hybrid style of Crusader art, and still retains over 120 icons created in the style, by far the largest collection in existence. Many were evidently created by Latins, probably monks, based in or around the monastery in the 13th century. Prior to September 1, 2009, a previously unseen fragment of Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in the monastery's library.