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Know Your Prophet (His Last Days)

March 29, 2006

During his (prayers and peace be upon him) last days on earth, the Prophet’s daughter Fatimah (blessings of Allah be upon her), spent a lot of time with him. One day, the Prophet made a gesture to Fatimah to come closer to him. She came closer, and he whispered something in her ear that made her weep. Then, he whispered something in her ear that made her laugh. People were astonished at this, but she would not reveal what he said until after his death.

The mother of the believers, A’isha, then asked her about this and Fatimah replied, “In the first instance my father informed me about his death and stated that he was not likely to recover from his illness. Hence, I began weeping. However, when he talked to me for the second time he told me that I would be the first person from amongst his Ahl al-Bayt who would join him. This made me happy and I understood that I would be joining my dear father very soon.”

During the last moments of his life the Prophet opened his eyes and said: “Call my brother so that he may come and sit by my side.” All those present understood that he meant no one other than Ali. Ali sat by the side of his bed but felt that he wanted to rise from his bed. He, therefore lifted the Prophet from his bed and made him rest on his own chest.

A number of traditionists have narrated that, before the Prophet died, the Angel Jibreel came to him and gave him the option of recovering from his illness and continuing his life in this world or for the Angel of Death to come to him, take his soul, and proceed to the next world and live among those referred to in the verse, “These are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favours from among the Prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and they are the best friends that one can have.” (Surah al-Nisa, 4:69). The Prophet replied, “No. With the Divine Companion” and passed away.

The Messenger of Allah, the Chosen One, the Seal of the Prophets, returned to Allah, Glorified and Exalted, on Monday, the 28th of Safar.

Imam Ali (peace be upon him) bathed the sacred body of the Prophet and shrouded him, as the Prophet had directed that his body should be bathed by one who was nearest to him and such a person could be no one except Ali. Then he uncovered the Prophet’s face while he was bitterly weeping and said, “O Prophet of Allah! I love you more than I have loved my parents. Your death put an end to the prophethood, to revelation, and to the messengers from the Lord. While death of other Prophets had not resulted in this way. Your death caused a grief that every other grief was forgotten. The grief of your separation became common sorrow and everybody felt it. If you had not ordered us to be patient and not to lament and bemoan loudly, we would have kept weeping and lamenting ceaselessly, though all this lamenting could not have compared with the actual loses of your separation. But death is an inevitable event, nobody can turn death back and nobody can stop it from coming. Please remember us before Allah“. (Nahjul Balaghah, Sermon No. 23).

“The first person who offered prayers for the Prophet was Imam Ali. Thereafter the companions came in groups and offered prayers and these rites continued till Tuesday noon. Thereafter it was decided that the sacred body of the Prophet might be buried in the same house in which he had breathed his last. The grave was prepared by Abu ‘Ubaydah bin Jarrah and Zayd bin Sahl and the obsequies were performed by Imam Ali with the assistance of Fadl and Abbas.

Adapted from “The Message” by Ayatullah Ja’far Subhani

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