In my previous article I had reproduced the translated text of the last sermon, ‘Khutbatul Widah’, delivered by our Holy Prophet (pbuh). This week, I would like to give some more information about the atmosphere that had prevailed three days before the death of the Prophet (pbuh).
Three days before his demise, the Prophet (pbuh) was staying with his wife Memuna (RA). He asked her to call all his other wives. When they had all gathered together, he asked them for permission to pass his days of indisposition in the chamber of Hazrat Ayesha (RA); to which they unanimously agreed. He tried to get up but could not due to extreme weakness. Hazrat Ali (RA) and Hazrat Fazal Bin Abbas (RA) then helped him to the chamber of Hazrat Ayesha (RA). This was the first time that his companions had seen him in this condition and they were shocked.
A large number of people gradually gathered at the mosque. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) was perspiring heavily and Hazrat Ayesha (RA) said she could hear him whisper: “There is no God but Allah – death has its own hardship.”
Meanwhile, the gathering in the mosque became a bit noisy and the Prophet (pbuh) inquired what the commotion was all about. “The people are concerned about your health, O Apostle of Allah,” Hazrat Ayesha (RA) replied. He then asked to be taken to the mosque. Those present helped him get up, took him into the mosque and put him on the mimber (pulpit from where khutbas are delivered). This was the last time he spoke to the people.
He said: “O people, perhaps you are afraid of my death”, to which they replied in the affirmative. He then said: “O people, this world is no longer our meeting place. We will meet again at the Hauz-e-Kausar. By Allah, I can see it right now from here. O people, I am not afraid that you will be short of wealth, etc, but of the over-abundance of wealth. I am afraid that you might indulge in a competition of acquiring wealth, just as past generations have done, and that you might be destroyed, as happened to them. O people, be afraid regarding prayer, be afraid of Allah, promise that you will abide by the performance of prayers.”
This he repeated many times. “O people, be afraid of Allah regarding the rights of women. I advise you to treat them with love and respect. O people, you have the prerogative to choose this world or the hereafter, which is with Allah.”
Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) was the only one who understood that what he had said he meant for himself. Hazrat Ayesha (RA) said that later, when they came back in her chamber he had called their daughter, Fatima (RA) and whispered something in her ear, upon hearing which she started crying. He again whispered something and she started crying even louder. When he whispered something for the third time, she looked very happy. Later, when asked, Fatima (RA) replied that the first time he had told her that he was going to leave them that night. When he saw her crying loudly, he had whispered: “Fatima, you will be the first one from my family to meet me.” That is what had made her happy.
The Prophet (pbuh) then asked everyone to leave except Hazrat Ayesha (RA). He asked her to sit near him, rested his head on her chest and raised his hands towards the sky. She said: “I realized that he had decided to meet the Almighty.” Then descended angel Jibreel, greeted the Holy Prophet (pbuh) and said that the angel of death awaited outside and seeks his permission to enter and perform his duty.
He had never before asked for permission to perform his duty. The Holy Prophet (pbuh) said: “Please let him come in.” The angel of death entered the chamber, greeted the Prophet (pbuh) and said: “I have been commanded by the Almighty to seek your choice between staying in this world or to meet the Almighty.” The Prophet (pbuh) replied: “I prefer the best and kind company.” The angel of death (Hazrat Israeel) then went in and stood by his head and said: “O sacred spirit, the spirit of Allah’s Apostle, go towards the Almighty who is kind and compassionate.” At that moment the Prophet’s (pbuh) head tilted.
“I could feel it becoming quite heavy on my chest,” said Hazrat Ayesha (RA), “and I realised that the Apostle of Allah had gone to his creator. I opened the door to the mosque and loudly said that the Apostle of Allah has gone, whereupon there was loud moaning and crying.”
Hazrat Ali (RA) and Hazrat Usman (RA) sank to the ground and lay motionless. Hazrat Omar (RA) pulled out his sword and said that if anyone claimed that the Prophet (pbuh) was dead, he would chop their head off. “My Prophet (pbuh) has gone to meet Allah and he will return, just as Hazrat Musa (RA) did. He will be back soon.” The only person who controlled his feelings was Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA). He entered the chamber where the Holy Prophet (pbuh) lay, put his head on the Prophet’s (pbuh) chest, wept and said: “O my dear colleague, O my dear mentor, O my Apostle of Allah.” Then he kissed the Prophet’s (pbuh) forehead and said: “Ya Rasul Allah you were honest and pious and you are leaving honest, pious and God-fearing”.
He then left the chamber and spoke to the people present in the mosque. Hazrat Abu Bakr (RA) said: “O people, listen! Those who worshiped Muhammad (pbuh), he has passed away, but those who worshipped Allah Almighty must know that He is alive forever and He will never die.” Upon hearing this, the sword from Hazrat Omar’s (RA) hands fell, and he looked for a quiet corner where he could sit and cry. Hazrat Fatima (RA) then asked the people how they would find the courage to cover the Holy Prophet’s (pbuh) face with sand. Then she cried: “My dear father has died, my dear father has died. He has gone to his creator. My father has reached the Heaven near to the Almighty. O my father, I give you the tidings of the arrival of angel Jibreel (peace be upon Muhammed, Allah’s last Apostle)”.
I hope this information will encourage all to follow the instructions given to us by the Holy Prophet (pbuh).