The Year of Delegations
After Makkah had been conquered and the Prophet had returned victorious from Tabuk, Arab delegations began to pour into the heart land of Islam. They learned about Islam, saw the character of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah, and the life-style of his Companions. Tents were erected for them in the courtyard of the mosque; they heard the Qur'an recited; watched the Muslims praying and asked the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah to explain the faith to them. He impressed them with his eloquence and wisdom, and he constantly quoted verses from the Qur'an. They believed what they heard and were well satisfied. They returned to their homes full of zeal, calling on their people to accept Islam and decrying paganism and its negative effects.
Dimam ibn Tha'labah came to Madinah representing the Banu Sa'd ibn Bakr. He was a Muslim when he returned to his people and he was determined to invite them to Islam.
The first thing he said to them was, 'Al-Lat and al-Uzza are evil!'
They answered in alarm, 'Stop, Dimam! Beware of leprosy. Beware of elephantiasis! Beware of madness!'
He said, 'Confoundedly you ! By Allah, they can neither hurt nor heal. Allah has sent a Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) and given a Book to him through which He seeks to deliver you from your sorry state. I testify that there is no god but Allah without and associate and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam). I have brought you what He has commanded you to do and what He has forbidden you.
Before that night was over there was not a man or a woman in his tribe who had not become a Muslim. Adi the son of Hatim, whose generosity was well-known, came to Madinah. He became a Muslim after witnessing the character and humility of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah.
'By Allah!' he said, this has nothing to do with the way all the kings behave.
The Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah sent Mu'adh ibn Jabal and Abu Musa to Yemen to invite the people to Islam and he advised them, 'Make things easy and not difficult. Cheer them up and do not make them afraid.'
The Farewell Hajj
THE PROPHET'S FAREWELL HAJJ:
When Allah had purified the Ka'bah from desecration and the idols were destroyed, the Muslims yearned to perform hajj again. The mission of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah was also nearing completion and it was necessary for him to bid farewell to his loving Companions. So Allah gave permission to His Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) to take them for hajj. It was the first hajj for him since he began his mission.
He left Madinah for many reasons: to perform hajj; to meet Muslims from far and near; to teach them their faith and its rituals; to bear witness to the truth; to hand over the trust; and to give his final instructions, He would administer an oath binding on the Muslims to follow his teachings and to be rid of the last traces of Jahiliyyah. More than a hundred thousand Muslims performed hajj with him. This is known as Hajjat al-Wada' (the 'Farewell Hajj') and Hajjat al-Balagh (the Hajj of Conveying').
THE PROPHET PERFORMS HAJJ:
Once the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah had decided to go on hajj he informed the people of his intention and they started to prepare for the journey.
When news of it spread outside Madinah, people flocked to the city wanting to go on hajj with the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah. Huge throngs also joined him on the way. The crowds stretched in front of him, behind him, and to his right and left as far as the eye could see. He left Madinah on Saturday, 25 Dhu'l-Qa'dahl after praying four rak'ats for Zuhr. Before the prayer, in a sermon, he explained the essentials of putting on ihram, the pilgrim dress, and the obligations and sunan of the hajj.
As he departed he said the talbiyah: 'At Your service, O Allah, at Your service! You have no partner. At Your service! Praise and Blessing are Yours and the Kingdom. You have no associate.' The crowd chanted the talbiyah along with him as they continued their journey
He entered Makkah on 4 Dhu'l-Hijjah and went straight to the Masjid al-Haram. He performed tawaf of the Ka'bah and the sa'y between Safa and Marwah. He stayed in Makkah for four days and then on the Day of Tarwiyah, 8 Dhu'l-Hjjiah, he made for Mina with his Companions He prayed Zuhr and 'Asr there and spent the night.
At sunrise on 9 Dhu'l-Hijjah, he left Mina and made for Arafat followed by all the pilgrims. It was a Friday. Down in the valley, he delivered a great khutbah to the people while seated on his camel. He confirmed the principles of Islam and struck at the roots of idolworship and jahiliyyah. He commanded the people to treat as inviolable and sacrosanct those issues on which all religions agree life, property, and honour.
He declared that all the customs of Jahiliyyah were trampled under foot and that all usury was eliminated and made void. He commanded that people treat women well and he mentioned the rights men have over women and those which women have over men, adding that it was obligatory to provide food and clothing for them.
He commanded his community to hold fast to the Book of Allah; as long as they did this they would not be misguided, he said. Finally, he told them that on the Day of Judgement Allah would ask them about him. He asked them to bear witness that he had conveyed to them the message as he had been commanded.
They replied as one voice, 'We testify that you have conveyed the message and that you have fulfilled your task.
He pointed to the sky and called on Allah three times to bear witness to it. Then he commanded those Present to convey the message to those who were absent.
When the khutbah was over, he called on Bilal to give the adhan. Then the iqamah was given and he prayed Zuhr with two rak'ats and after the iqamah for 'Asr had been given he prayed that, too, with two rak'ats.
When he had finished the prayers, he mounted his camel and rode until he came to Mawqif, the halting place at Arafat. Remaining on his camel, he made supplication, prayed and glorified Allah until sunset. In his supplication he raised his hands to his chest, like a pauper begging for food, and pleaded,
O Allah, You hear my words and You see where I am. You know my secrets and what I reveal. Nothing can be hidden from You. I am the poor unfortunate who seeks help and protection. I am fearful and apprehensive, confessing and acknowledging my wrong actions.
I ask You as a poor wretch asks and I entreat You with the entreaty of a humble, sinful person. I make supplication to You as a fearful, blind person does; one who bows low before You and whose eyes overflow with tears for You, whose body is humble and who is powerless against You. O Allah, do not make me despair in my calling on You, Lord. Be merciful and compassionate; to me, O best of those who are asked and best of` givers!
Then it was revealed to him: 'Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing on you, and I have approved Islam for your religion.'(5: 3)
At sunset, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah moved from 'Arafat to Muzdalifah. There he prayed Maghrib and 'Isha' and then slept until morning. At dawn he prayed Fajr for its first time then rode until he came to the Mash'ar al-Haram the sacred site at Muzdalifah. He faced the qiblah and began to make supplications. He recited the takbir ('Allah is great') and the tahlil ('There is no god but Allah'). He left Muzdalifah before sunrise and travelled quickly to the jamrat al-Aqabah at Mina, and threw pebbles at this symbol of Shaytan.
He delivered a meaningful sermon in Mina in which he informed the Muslims of the sanctity of the Day of Sacrifice, of its inviolability and its favour with Allah. He also reminded them of the sanctity of Makkah over all other cities. He commanded them to obey their leaders according to the Book of Allah; to adopt the hajj practices he had used; and not to revert to being unbelievers after his time or to start fighting amongst themselves. He commanded that they pass on his words. 'Worship your Lord, pray your five prayers, fast your month, and obey the One in command and you will enter the Garden of your Lord, ' he said. Then he bade the people farewell. Thus this hajj was named 'The Hajj of' Farewell.'
Next, the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam) of Allah went to the place of sacrifice at Mina and sacrificed sixty-three camels, one for each year of his life. He commanded Ali to sacrifice the rest of the hundred camels brought from Madinah. When the prophet had finished making the sacrifice, he called for the barber and had his head shaved. He divided his hair between those who were near him. Then he rode to Makkah and performed tawafal-Ifadah, which is also called tawaf az-Ziarah. At the well of Zamzam he drank while standing before returning to Mina that same day where he spent the night. The next morning he waited until the sun had declined before going to perform the ritual stoning of Shaytan. He started with the stoning of Jamrat-al-'Ula, then of Jamrat-al-Wusta and lastly of Jamrat-al-Aqabah. This was repeated over the three days of ayyam at-Tashriq following the Day of Sacrifice.
After the three days of Tashriq, he went to Makkah and performed the tawaf of Farewell before dawn. Then he asked his Companions to prepare for their departure to Madinah. On their return journey they stayed the night at Dhu'l-Hulayfah.
When he first saw Madinah on his return from Makkah, he recited the takbir three times and then said,
There is no god but Allah, alone with no partner. His is the kingdom and His is the praise. He has power over all things. We are returning, repenting, worshipping, prostrating to our Lord, and praising Him. Allah has been true to His promise and has helped His slave and defeated the enemies alone.'
He entered Madinah in broad daylight.
The Death of the Messenger(sallallahu alaiyhi wassallam)
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'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.
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)'
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.'
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.), 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 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.'
A miracle is a marvellous event caused by a supernatural agency, Almighty Allah Ta'ala. The Holy Qur'an uses words (Aayat,Burhan,etc.) which mean 'sign','argument',etc., instead of the word 'Mu'jizah' (miracle).
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