Mar 30, 2013

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Seerah Series Part 18 : The Demise of the Messenger(saw)

Seerah Series Part 18 : The Demise of the Messenger(saw)

COMPLETION OF HIS TASK:
When Islam reached the pinnacle of perfection, these words were sent down by Allah:
‘Today ! have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing on you, and I have approved Islam for your religion.’(5: 3) The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had conveyed the message truthfully, he had fulfilled the trust placed in him and had striven for Allah as he should. Allah had delighted His Prophet when people entered Islam in throngs. At this stage, Allah gave His Prophet permission to leave this world and the hour of meeting drew near. Allah announced:

When comes the help of Allah and victory and you see people entering into the religion of Allah in throngs, then glorify the praise of your Lord and ask His forgiveness. He is Ever-turning. (110: 1-3)

THE PROPHET(saw)’S ILLNESS:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was taken ill shortly before the end of Safar. During the night he had been to Baqi’ al-Gharqad, a cemetery in Madinah now called al-Baqi’, to pray for the dead. The following morning he became ill.

A’ishah, Umm al-Mu’minin (may Allah be pleased with her) said, ‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah returned from al-Baqi’ and found me suffering from a headache. I was saying, “O my head!” He said, “Rather, by Allah, A’ishah, my head!” ‘

His pain increased. Then, in the house of Maymunah, he called his wives and asked them to permit him to be nursed in A’ishah’s house. All of them agreed. He came out walking between two men of his family, Fadl ibn Abbas and Ali ibn Abi Talib. His head was bandaged and his feet were dragging as he entered A’ishah’s house.

A’ishah said that during his final illness, he told her, ‘A’ishah, I still feel pain from the food I ate at Khaybar. I feel my aorta being cut because of that poison.’

THE LAST EXPEDITION:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had ordered Usamah ibn Zayd ibn Harithah to lead an expedition to Syria, commanding him to take the cavalry to the borders of al-Balqa’ and ad-Darun in Palestine.

Many of the leading Muhajirun and Ansar were in his army, the most eminent being Umar ibn al-Khattab. The Prophet’s illness took a serious turn when the army was at the border of al-Jurf. After his death, Abu Bakr(R.A.) sent forward the army under Usamah(R.A.) in order to carry out the Prophet’s last wishes and to fulfil what he had wanted.

During his illness, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah told the Muslims to offer hospitality to the delegations in the way that he had and to be generous with their gifts to them. They should not allow two religions to co-exist but should expel the idol-worshippers from the Arabian peninsula.

A CAUTION:
One day while he was ill, a group of Muslims gathered in A’ishah’s house. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah welcomed them and prayed for their guidance on the right path, their victory and their success. He said, ‘I advise you to fear Allah and I pray for Allah to watch over you. I am a clear warner to you from Him. Do not be arrogant where Allah’s servants and habitations are concerned. Allah has said to me and to you, “That is the Last Abode; We appoint it for those who desire not exorbitance in the earth, nor corruption. The ultimate issue is to the God-fearing. “(28: 83) and “is there not in Jahannam a lodging for those who are proud!” (39: 60)’

AN ASCETIC:
A’ishah said that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said during his final illness, A’ishah, what have you done with the gold!’ When she brought a few coins to him, he began to turn them over in his hand and said, ‘What could Muhammad say to his Lord if he were to meet Him with these! Give them away!’

CONCERN FOR THE PRAYER:
The pain was hard for the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to bear. He asked, ‘Have the people prayed? Those with him answered, ‘No, they are waiting for you, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.’

He said, ‘Pour some water into a basin for me.’
When they took it to him, he washed and tried to get up, but he fainted. When he regained consciousness, he asked,
‘Have the people prayed?’
‘No, they are waiting for you, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
‘Pour some water into a basin for me.
He washed again and tried to get up, but once again he fainted. When he regained consciousness, he asked,
‘Have the people prayed?’
Once more he was told, ‘No, they are waiting for you, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
He again said, ‘Pour some water into a basin for me.
He washed and struggled to get up, but once more he fainted. When he came to he asked, ‘Have the people prayed?’
‘No, they are waiting for you, Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.

CONCERN FOR THE IMAMAH OF ABU BAKR:
The people were sitting quietly in the mosque waiting for the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to lead the ‘Isha’ prayer. However, he sent for Abu Bakr to lead it instead. Abu Bakr, a tender-hearted man, said, “Umar, you lead the prayer!’

Umar replied, ‘You are more qualified to do it.’ So Abu Bakr led the people in prayer during that period.

When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah felt better he went out for the Zuhr prayer supported by two men, al-Abbas and Ali ibn Abi Talib (may Allah be pleased with them). When Abu Bakr saw him arrive, he began to move back but the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah motioned to him not to move. He asked al-Abbas and Ali to seat him by Abu Bakr who prayed standing while the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah prayed sitting.

THE FAREWELL ADDRESS:
Sitting on the mimbar with his head bandaged the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Allah gave one of His slaves the choice between this world or that which is with Him. His Slave chose that which is with Allah.’ Abu Bakr realised that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was referring to himself and broke into tears, saying, ‘We will ransom you with ourselves and our sons.

A LAST LOOK:
Abu Bakr led the Muslims in prayer until the Monday morning. While the Muslims performed the Fair prayer, the Prophet lifted up the curtain of A’ishah’s door and gazed at them standing before their Lord. He saw the fruits of his efforts to call people to Islam and jihad and Allah knew how happy he was. His face was beaming with joy.

The Companions Said, ‘He lifted the curtain of A’ishah’s room and stared at us while he was standing there. It was as if his face was an open page of the Qur’an; he smiled and we were put to the test by getting carried away with our delight. We thought he might be coming out to the prayer but he indicated to us to finish it. He then pulled the curtain down. That was the day on which he died.’

A WARNING:
One of the last pronouncements of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was, ‘May Allah fight the Jews and Christians! They turned the graves of their Prophets into places of worship. Two religions should not remain in the land of the Arabs.’

A’ishah and Ibn Abbas said, ‘When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was ill, he drew up his cloak over his face. When he was distressed, he uncovered his face and while he was like that, he said, “May Allah curse the Jews and the Christians who turned the graves of their Prophets into places of worship.” He was warning the Muslims against that practice.’

THE FINAL INSTRUCTIONS:
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was close to death, he repeated, ‘Be careful of prayer and those in your charge.‘ Then his breast began to heave and his speech became inaudible.

Ali said, ‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah commended the prayer and zakat to Muslims and to be generous to those in their charge.’

A’ishah said: ‘When he had his fatal illness I started reciting al-Mu’awwidhatayn as he used to do when he was ill. He raised his eyes to the Heaven and said: “With the Highest Companion, with the Highest Companion”.’

She added: ‘just at that moment, Abdur-Rahman ibn Abi Bakr came in with a small, green, freshly-cut twig in his hand. The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah looked at it and I thought that he wanted to use it as a miswak. I took it and chewed it to make it soft and pliable, then I handed it to him. He rubbed his teeth with it thoroughly. Then just as he tried to hand it back to me it fell from his hand.’

She also said, ‘In front of him was a small pot of water. He dipped his hand into it and wiped his face, saying, “There is no god but Allah. Verily there are pangs of death.” Then he raised his forefinger and began to say, “The Highest Companion, the Highest Companion!” until he died and his hand slipped into the water.’

A’ishah described his last moments: ‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was ill and his head rested on my thigh. He fainted and then regained consciousness and looked up at the ceiling. He said, “O Allah, the Highest Companion.” Those were the last words that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah spoke.’

LEAVING THIS WORLD:
When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah left this world, he controlled the entire Arabian peninsula and kings feared him. Yet he left not a dinar or dirham, not a male or female slave, nothing except his white mule, some weapons and a piece of land he had already given away as sadaqah, charity.

His armour had been pawned with a Jew for thirty sa’s of barley. He had been unable to find anything with which to redeem it before he died.

During his illness, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah set free forty slaves. He asked A’ishah to give away as sadaqah the six or seven dinars she was keeping for him.

A’ishah has related, ‘When the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah died, there was nothing in the house that a living creature could eat except a little barley on a shelf. It lasted for a long time until I weighed it and then it finished.’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah died on Monday, 12 Rabi’ al-Awwal, 11 A.H. in the heat of the afternoon. He was sixty-three years old. It was the darkest, hardest and most difficult day for the Muslims and an affliction for mankind just as his birth had been the happiest day on which the sun ever rose.

Anas and Abu Sa’id al-Khudri said, ‘The day on which the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah came to Madinah was the most radiant ever known but the day on which he died was the darkest ever.’

When people saw Umm Ayman weeping they asked why. She answered, ‘l knew that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah would die, but I weep for the revelation from heaven which has been taken from us.’

NEWS OF HIS DEATH:
News of the death of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah descended on the Companions like a thunderbolt. They were stunned because of their intense love for him. They had become used to his loving care for them just as children are assured of the protection of their parents, but even more so. Of his concern Allah Almighty says, ‘Now there has come to you a Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) from among yourselves: grievous to him is your suticering: anxious is he over you, gentle to the believers, compassionate.’ (9: 128)

Every one of his Companions reckoned that he was more gracious and considerate to him than to any other Companion. Some of them could hardly believe the news of his death. Umar ibn al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) rebuked the person who told him and then he went to the mosque and addressed the people, saying, ‘The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, will not die until Allah annihilates the hypocrites.’

ABU BAKR(R.A.):
Abu Bakr(R.A.), a man of determination and courage, was needed at this difficult hour. He rushed out from his house when the news reached him. At the door of the mosque he stopped briefly and heard Umar addressing the people. Then he went straight to A’ishah’s room where the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah lay covered with a cloak. He uncovered his face and kissed him, saving, ‘You are dearer to me than my father and mother. You have tasted the death which Allah has decreed for you. A second death will never overtake you.’ He replaced the cloak over the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s face and returned to the mosque. He found Umar still speaking to the people. He called softly, ‘Umar, be quiet.’

Umar was too excited to listen and went on talking. Abu Bakr realised that Umar was not in a mood to pay attention, so he stepped forward to speak. When the people heard his voice, they came over to him, leaving Umar. Abu Bakr praised Allah and then said, ‘O people! If anyone worships Muhammad, tell him that Muhammad is dead. But if anyone worships Allah, then Allah is alive and does not die.’

Then he recited this verse: ‘Muhammad is only a Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam). Messengers have passed away before him. Why, if he should die or is slain, will you turn about on your heels? If any man should turn about on his heels, he will not harm God in any way; and God will recompense the thankful.‘ (3: 144)

One man who witnessed the scene in the mosque, commented, ‘By Allah, it was as if the people did not know that this verse had been sent down until Abu Bakr recited it on that day. They listened to it and from then on it was always on their lips.’

Umar Said, ‘By Allah, when I heard Abu Bakr recite the verse, I was dumbfounded. I fell down as if my legs would not hold me up. I knew that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was dead.’

ABU BAKR(R.A.) IS PAID HOMAGE AS CALIPH:
In the Hall of Banu Sa’idah, the Muslims paid homage to Abu Bakr as the successor to the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. They were anxious to prevent devilish intrigues from destroying their unity. They were determined that the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah would leave this world with the Muslims unified and under a strong leader who could take charge of their affairs.

FAREWELL TO THE MESSENGER(SALLALLAHU ALAIYHI WASSALLAM) OF ALLAH:
The initial shock and grief experienced by the community were replaced by tranquillity and confidence. They concentrated on the task for which the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had trained them, beginning with the preparations for his burial.

After members of his family had finished washing and shrouding his body, they placed it in a bier in his house. Abu Bakr told them that he had heard the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah say, ‘No Prophet dies but that he is buried where he dies.’

The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s bed, in which he had died, was removed and a grave dug beneath it by Abu Talhah al-Ansari.

The people came to pay their respects and to say the funeral prayer over him. They came in groups. First the men entered, then the women and lastly the children. No one acted as Imam for his funeral prayer.

A SAD DAY:
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s death heralded a sad day in Madinah. When Bilal gave the adhan for Fajr, he could not mention the Prophet without breaking down. Hearing his sobs increased the Muslims’ sorrow. They were used to listening to the adhan while the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was in this world. Umm Salamah, the Umm al-Mu’minin, said, “What an affliction it was! No distress which befell us after that could compare with our loss of him, may Allah bless him and grant him peace.’

The Prophet(saw) had once said, ‘O people! Whoever of the people – or believers – has any affliction, they should take comfort by remembering their loss of me. None of my community will ever suffer a greater loss than my death.’

THE PROPHET(saw)’S WIVES:
Khadijah bint Khuwaylid al-Qurashiyyah al-Asadiyyah (may Allah be pleased with her) was the first of the Prophet’s wives. He married her before his prophethood when she was forty. She died three years before the hijrah. She bore him all of his children except for Ibrahim.

After her death he married Sawdah bint Zam’ah al-Qurashiyyah. Later he was wedded to A’ishah as-Siddiqah bint Abi Bakr as-Siddiq who was the most intelligent and knowledgeable of the women of the Ummah. Hafsah bint Umar ibn al-Khattab was his next wife, followed by Zaynab bint Khuzaymah who died two months later. He then married Umm Salamah, Hind bint Abi Umayyah al-Qurashiyyah al-Makhzumiyyah who was the last of his wives to die. He also married Zaynab bint ,Jahsh, the daughter of his aunt Umaymah. He married Juwayriyyah bint al-Harith ibn Abi Dirar al-Mustaliqiyyah, Umm Habibah bint Abi Sufyan and Safiyyah bint Huyayy ibn Akhtab, chief of the Banu’n-Nadir. His last wife was Maymunah bint al-Harith al-Hilaliyyah. When he died he had nine wives; only Khadijah and Zaynab bint Khuzaymah had died during his lifetime. All of them, except A’ishah, had been widows when he married them. Two bondswomen also survived. They were Mariyah bint Sham’un, the Egyptian Copt who had been presented to him by Muqawqis, the ruler of Egypt, and who was the mother of his son Ibrahim, and Rayhanah bint Zayd, of the Banu’n-Nadir. When she became a Muslim, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah set her free and married her.

THE PROPHET(saw)’S CHILDREN:
Khadijah bore him al-Qasim, by whom the Prophet had his kunyah; he was called Abul Qasim the father of al-Qasim. He died in infancy. Then Khadijah bore the Prophet four daughters: Zaynab, Ruqayyah, Umm Kulthum, Fatimah, and another Son, Abdullah, who was known as at-Tayyib and at-Tahir. Fatimah was the Prophet’s most beloved daughter. Of Fatimah, he said that she would be the leader of the women in Paradise. She married Ali ibn Abi Talib, the son of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah’s uncle. She had two sons, Hasan and Husayn, about whom the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah said, ‘Al-Hasan and al-Husayn are the leaders of the youths in Paradise.

Mariyah the Copt was the mother of Ibrahim who died while still an infant. When he died, the Prophet(saw) said in sorrow, “The eye weeps and the heart is sad, but we do not say anything to incur the anger of Allah. We are sad, O Ibrahim”.

Source: Jamiat Kwa Zulu Natal

 

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