THE political influence which the Persians exercised over certain parts of the Arabian Peninsula and the neighbouring countries in and before Muhammad's time was very considerable; as we learn from Arabian and Greek writers alike. Abu'l Fida, for example, informs us that, early in the seventh century of the Christian era, Khusrau (or, as the Arabs called him, Kisra') Anushiravan, the great Persian conqueror, invaded the kingdom of Hirah on the banks of the Euphrates, dethroned the king Hirah, and placed upon the throne in his stead a creature of his own, named Mundhir Mai's Sama. Not long afterwards Anushiravan sent an army into Yaman, under a general called Vahraz, to expel the Abyssinians who had taken possession of the country, and to restore the Yamanite prince Abu's Saif to the throne of his ancestors 1. But the Persian force remained in the country, and its general ultimately himself ascended the throne and handed it down to his descendants 2. Abu'l Fida tells us 3 that

1 Abu' Fida, cap. ii.
2 Siratu'r Rasul, pp. 24, 25.
3 Ut supra:
كانت المناظرة آل نصر بن ربيعة عمالاً للآكاسرة على عرب العراق

the princes of the family of Mundhir who succeeded him in Hirah, and ruled also over the Arabian 'Iraq, were merely governors under the kings of Persia. He says with reference to Yaman that four Abyssinian rulers and eight Persian princes held sway there before it acknowledged Muhammad's 1 sovereignty. But even earlier than Muhammad's time there was much intercourse between the North-West and West of Arabia and the Persian dominions. We are informed that Naufal and Muttalab (who were the brothers of Muhammad's great-grandfather), when they were the leading chiefs of the Quraish, made a treaty with the Persians, by which the merchants of Mecca were permitted to trade with 'Iraq and Fars (the ancient Persia). In the year 606, or about that time, a party of merchants headed by Abu Sufyan reached the Persian capital and were received into the king's presence 2.

When Muhammad laid claim to the prophetic office in 612 A.D., the Persians had overrun and held possession for a time of Syria, Palestine, and Asia Minor. At the time of the Hijrah in A.D. 622, the Emperor Heraclius had began to retrieve the fortunes of the Byzantine Empire, and not long after the Persians were obliged to sue for peace.

1 ثم ملك اليمن بعدهم من الحبشة أربعة ومن الفرس ثمانية ثم صارت اليمن للإسلام
2 Sir W. Muir, Life of Mahomet, pp. xcvii and 31, 32.