The Death of The Prophet Muhammad(pbuh)
The Journey to Allâh, the Sublime
Symptoms of Farewell:
When the Call to Islam grew complete and the new faith dominated the whole situation. The Messenger of Allâh started to develop certain symptoms that bespoke of leave-taking. They could be perceived through his statements and deeds:
In Ramadan in the tenth year of Al-Hijra he secluded himself for twenty days in contrast to ten, previously.
The archangel Gabriel reviewed the Qur’ân twice with him.
His words in the Farewell Pilgrimage (i.e. Al-Wida‘):
"I do not know whether I will ever meet you at this place once again after this current year."
The revelation of An-Nasr Chapter amid At-Tashreeq Days. So when it was sent down on him, he realized that it was the parting time and that Surah was an announcement of his approaching death.
On the early days of Safar in the eleventh year of Al-Hijra, the Prophet went out to Uhud and observed a farewell prayer to the martyrs. It looked like saying goodbye to both the dead and the living alike. He then ascended the pulpit and addressed the people saying:
"I am to precede you and I have been made witness upon you. By Allâh, you will meet me at the ‘Fountain’ very soon. I have been given the keys of worldly treasures. By Allâh, I do not fear for you that you will turn polytheists after me. But I do fear that acquisition of worldly riches should entice you to strike one another’s neck."
One day, at midnight he went to Al-Baqee‘ cemetry, and implored Allâh to forgive the martyrs of Islam. He said: "Peace be upon you tomb-dwellers! May that morning that dawns upon you be more relieving than that which dawn upon the living. Afflictions are approaching them like cloudy lumps of a dark night — the last of which follows the first. The last one is bearing more evil than the first." He comforted them saying: "We will follow you."
The Start of the Disease:
On Monday the twenty-ninth of Safar in the eleventh year of Al-Hijra, he participated in funeral rites in Al-Baqee‘. On the way back he had a headache, his temperature rose so high that the heat effect could be felt over his headband.
He led the Muslims in prayer for eleven days though he was sick. The total number of his sick days were either thirteen or fourteen.
The Last Week:
When his sickness grew severe he asked his wives: "Where shall I stay tomorrow?" "Where shall I stay?" They understood what he wanted. So they allowed him to stay wherever he wished. He moved to ‘Aishah’s room leaning — while he was walking — on Al-Fadl bin Al-‘Abbas and ‘Ali bin Abi Talib. Head banded as he was, he dragged his feet till he came into her abode. It was there that he spent the last week of his life.
During that period, ‘Aishah used to recite Al-Mu‘awwidhat (Chapters 113 and 114 of the Qur’ân) and other supplications which he had already taught her.
Five days before death:
On Wednesday, five days before he died the Prophet’s temperature rose so high signalling the severeness of his disease. He fainted and suffered from pain. "Pour out on me seven Qirab (water skin pots) of various water wells so that I may go out to meet people and talk to them." So they seated him in a container (usually used for washing) and poured out water on him till he said: "That is enough. That is enough."
Then he felt well enough to enter the Mosque. He entered it band-headed, sat on the pulpit and made a speech to the people who were gathering together around him. He said:
"The curse of Allâh falls upon the Jews and Christians for they have made their Prophets’ tombs places of worship."
Then he said:
"Do not make my tomb a worshipped idol."
Then he offered himself and invited the people to repay any injuries he might have inflicted on them, saying:
"He whom I have ever lashed his back, I offer him my back so that he may avenge himself on me. He whom I have ever blasphemed his honour, here I am offering my honour so that he may avenge himself."
Then he descended, and performed the noon prayer. Again he returned to the pulpit and sat on it. He resumed his first speech about enmity and some other things.
A man then said: "You owe me three Dirhams." The Prophet said: "Fadl, pay him the money." He went on saying:
"I admonish you to be good to Al-Ansar (the Helpers). They are my family and with them I found shelter. They have acquitted themselves credibly of the responsibility that fell upon them and now there remains what you have to do. You should fully acknowledge and appreciate the favour that they have shown, and should overlook their faults."
In another version:
"The number of believers would increase, but the number of Helpers would decrease to the extent that they would be among men as salt in the food. So he who from among you occupies a position of responsibility and is powerful enough to do harm or good to the people, he should fully acknowledge and appreciate the favour that these benefactors have shown and overlook their faults."
"Allâh, the Great, has given a slave of His the opportunity to make a choice between whatever he desires of Allâh’s provisions in this world, and what He keeps for him in the world, but he has opted for the latter."
Abu Sa‘îd Al-Khudri said: "Upon hearing that, Abu Bakr cried and said: ‘We sacrifice our fathers and mothers for your sake.’ We wondered why Abu Bakr said such a thing. People said: ‘Look at that old man! The Messenger of Allâh says about a slave of Allâh who was granted the right between the best fortunes of this world and the bounty of Allâh in the Hereafter, but he says:
"We sacrifice our fathers and mothers for your sake!’ It was later on that we realized what he had aimed at. The Messenger of Allâh was the slave informed to choose. We also acknowledged that Abu Bakr was the most learned among us."
Then the Messenger of Allâh said:
"The fellow I feel most secure in his company is Abu Bakr. If I were to make friendship with any other one than Allâh, I would have Abu Bakr a bosom friend of mine. For him I feel affection and brotherhood of Islam. No gate shall be kept open in the Mosque except that of Abu Bakr’s."
Four days before his death:
On Thursday, four days before the death of the Messenger of Allâh , he said to people — though he was suffering from a severe pain: "Come here. I will cause you to write something so that you will never fall into error." Upon this ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab said: "The Prophet of Allâh is suffering from acute pain and you have the Qur’ân with you; the Book of Allâh is sufficient unto you." Others however wanted the writing to be made. When Muhammad heard them debating over it, he ordered them to go away and leave him alone.
That day he recommended three things:
1. Jews, Christians and polytheists should be expelled out of Arabia.(The vicinty of makkah and medina and the holy places)
2. He recommended that delegations should be honoured and entertained, in a way similar to the one he used to do.
3. As for the third — the narrator said that he had forgotten it. It could have been adherence to the Holy Book and the Sunnah. It was likely to be the accomplishment and the mobilization of Osamah’s army, or it could have been performance of prayers and being attentive to slaves.
In spite of the strain of disease and suffering from pain, the Prophet used to lead all the prayers till that Thursday — four days before he died. On that day he led the sunset prayer and recited:
"By the winds (or angels or the Messengers of Allâh) sent forth one after another." [77:1]
In the evening he grew so sick that he could not overcome the strain of disease or go out to enter the Mosque. ‘Aishah said: The Prophet asked: [COLOR="red"]"Have the people performed the prayer?" [/COLOR]"No. They haven’t. They are waiting for you." "Put some water in the washing pot." Said he. We did what he ordered. So he washed and wanted to stand up, but he fainted. When he came round he asked again "Have the people prayed?" Then the same sequence of events took place again and again for the second and the third times from the time he washed to the time he fainted after his attempts to stand up. Therefore he sent to Abu Bakr to lead the prayer himself. Abu Bakr then led the prayer during those days. They were seventeen prayers in the lifetime of Muhammad .
Three or four times ‘Aishah talked to the Prophet to exempt Abu Bakr from leadership in prayer lest people should despair of him, but he refused and said:
"You (women) are like the women who tried to entice Joseph (Yusuf) into immorality. Convey my request to Abu Bakr to lead the prayer."
A Day or Two prior to Death:
On Saturday or on Sunday, the Prophet felt that he was well enough to perform the prayer; so he went out leaning on two men in order to perform the noon prayer. Abu Bakr, who was then about to lead the prayer withdrew when he saw him coming; but the Prophet made him a gesture to stay where he was and said: "Seat me next to him." They seated him on the left hand side of Abu Bakr. The Prophet led the prayer, and Abu Bakr followed him and raised his voice at every ‘Allâhu Akbar’ (i.e. Allâh is the Greatest) the Prophet said, so that the people may hear clearly.
A Day before his Death:
On Sunday, a day before he died, the Prophet set his slaves free, paid as a charity the seven Dinars he owned and gave his weapons as a present to the Muslims. So when night fell ‘Aishah had to borrow some oil from her neighbour to light her oil-lantern.
Even his armour was mortgaged as a security with a Jew for thirty Sa‘ (a cubic measure) of barley.
The Last Day Alive:
In a narration by Anas bin Malik, he said: "While the Muslims were performing the dawn prayer on Monday — led by Abu Bakr, they were surprised to see the Messenger of Allâh raising the curtain of ‘Aishah’s room. He looked at them while they were praying aligned properly and smiled cheerfully. Seeing him, Abu Bakr withdrew to join the lines and give way to him to lead the prayer. For he thought that the Prophet wanted to go out and pray." Anas said: "The Muslims, who were praying, were so delighted that they were almost too enraptured at their prayers. The Messenger of Allâh made them a gesture to continue their prayer, went into the room and drew down the curtain."
The Messenger of Allâh did not live for the next prayer time.
When it was daytime, the Prophet called Fatimah and told her something in a secret voice that made her cry. Then he whispered to her something else which made her laugh. ‘Aishah enquired from her after the Prophet’s death, as to this weeping and laughing to which Fatimah replied: "The first time he disclosed to me that he would not recover from his illness and I wept. Then he told me that I would be the first of his family to join him, so I laughed."
He gave Fatimah glad tidings that she would become the lady of all women of the world.
Fatimah witnessed the great pain that afflicted her father. So she said: "What great pain my father is in!". To these words, the Prophet remarked:
"He will not suffer any more when today is over."
He asked that Al-Hasan and Al-Husain be brought to him. He kissed them and recommended that they be looked after. He asked to see his wives. They were brought to him. He preached them and told them to remember Allâh. Pain grew so much severe that the trace of poison he had at Khaibar came to light. It was so sore that he said to ‘Aishah: "I still feel the painful effect of that food I tasted at Khaibar. I feel as if death is approaching." He ordered the people to perform the prayers and be attentive to slaves. He repeated it several times.
The Prophet breathes his Last:
When the pangs of death started, ‘Aishah leant him against her. She used to say: One of Allâh’s bounties upon me is that the Messenger of Allâh died in my house, while I am still alive. He died between my chest and neck while he was leaning against me. Allâh has mixed his saliva with mine at his death.
For ‘Abdur Rahman — the son of Abu Bakr — came in with a Siwak (i.e. the root of a desert plant used for brushing teeth) in his hand, while I was leaning the Messenger of Allâh against me. I noticed that he was looking at the Siwak, so I asked him — for I knew that he wanted it — "Would you like me to take it for you?" He nodded in agreement. I took it and gave it to him. As it was too hard for him, I asked him "Shall I soften it for you?" He nodded in agreement. So I softened it with my saliva and he passed it (on his teeth).
In another version it is said: "So he brushed (Istanna) his teeth as nice as he could." There was a water container (Rakwa) available at his hand with some water in. He put his hand in it and wiped his face with it and said:
"There is no god but Allâh. Death is full of agonies."
As soon as he had finished his Siwak brushing, he raised his hand or his finger up, looked upwards to the ceiling and moved his lips. So ‘Aishah listened to him. She heard him say: "With those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace with the Prophets and the Truthful ones (As-Siddeeqeen), the martyrs and the good doers. O Allâh, forgive me and have mercy upon me and join me to the Companionship on high." Then at intervals he uttered these words: "The most exalted Companionship on high. To Allâh we turn and to Him we turn back for help and last abode." This event took place at high morning time on Monday, the twelfth of Rabi‘ Al-Awwal, in the eleventh year of Al-Hijrah. He was sixty-three years and four days old when he died.
The Companions’ concern over the Prophet’s Death:
The great (loss) news was soon known by everybody in Madinah. Dark grief spread on all areas and horizons of Madinah. Anas said:
"I have never witnessed a day better or brighter than that day on which the Messenger of Allâh came to us; and I have never witnessed a more awful or darker day than that one on which the Messenger of Allâh died on."
When he died, Fatimah said: "O Father, whom his Lord responded to his supplication! O Father, whose abode is Paradise. O Father, whom I announce his death to Gabriel."
‘Umar, who was so stunned that he almost lost consciousness and stood before people addressing them: "Some of the hypocrites claim that the Messenger of Allâh died. The Messenger of Allâh did not die, but went to his Lord in the same way as Moses bin ‘Imran did. He stayed away for forty nights, but finally came back though they said he had been dead. By Allâh, the Messenger of Allâh will come back and he will cut off the hands and legs of those who claim his death."
Abu Bakr’s Attitude:
Abu Bakr left his house at As-Sunh and came forth to the Mosque on a mare-back. At the Mosque, he dismounted and entered. He talked to nobody but went on till he entered ‘Aishah’s abode, and went directly to where the Messenger of Allâh was. The Prophet was covered with a Yemeni mantle. He uncovered his face and tended down, kissed him and cried. Then he said: "I sacrifice my father and mother for your sake. Allâh, verily, will not cause you to die twice. You have just experienced the death that Allâh had ordained."
Then he went out and found ‘Umar talking to people. He said: "‘Umar, be seated." ‘Umar refused to do so. People parted ‘Umar and came towards Abu Bakr, who started a speech saying:
"And now, he who worships Muhammad . Muhammad is dead now. But he who worships Allâh, He is Ever Living and He never dies. Allâh says:
‘Muhammad ()is no more than a Messenger, and indeed (many) Messengers have passed away before him. If he dies or is killed, will you then turn back on your heels (as disbelievers)? And he who turns back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allâh, and Allâh will give reward to those who are grateful.’" [3:144]
Ibn ‘Abbas said: "By Allâh, it sounded as if people had never heard such a Qur’ânic verse till Abu Bakr recited it as a reminder. So people started reciting it till there was no man who did not recite it."
Ibn Al-Musaiyab said that ‘Umar had said: "By Allâh, as soon as I heard Abu Bakr say it, I fell down to the ground. I felt as if my legs had been unable to carry me so I collapsed when I heard him say it. Only then did I realize that Muhammad had really died."
Burial and Farewell Preparations to his Honourable Body:
Dispute about who would succeed him broke out even before having the Messenger of Allâh’s body prepared for burial. Lots of arguments, discussions, dialogues took place between the Helpers and Emigrants in the roofed passage (portico) of Bani Sa‘ida. Finally they acknowledged Abu Bakr - may Allah be pleased with him - as a caliph. They spent the whole Monday there till it was night. People were so busy with their arguments that it was late night — just about dawn of Tuesday — yet his blessed body was still lying on his bed covered with an inked-garment. He was locked in the room.
On Tuesday, his body was washed with his clothes on. He was washed by Al-‘Abbas, ‘Ali, Al-Fadl and Qathm — the two sons of Al-‘Abbas, as well as Shaqran — the Messenger’s freed slave, Osamah bin Zaid and Aws bin Khauli. Al-‘Abbas, Al-Fadl and Qathm turned his body round, whereas Osamah and Shaqran poured out water. ‘Ali washed him and Aws leant him against his chest.
They shrouded him in three white Sahooli cotton cloth which had neither a headcloth nor a casing and inserted him in.
A sort of disagreement arose with regard to a burial place. Abu Bakr said: "I heard the Messenger of Allâh say: ‘A dead Prophet is buried where he dies.’ So Abu Talhah lifted the bed on which he died, dug underneath and cut the ground to make the tomb.
People entered the room ten by ten. They prayed for the Prophet . The first to pray for him were people of his clan. Then the Emigrants, then the Helpers. Women prayed for him after men. The young were the last to pray.
This process took Tuesday long and Wednesday night (i.e. the night which precedes Wednesday morning). ‘Aishah said: "We did not know that the Prophet was being buried till we heard the sound of tools digging the ground at the depth of Wednesday night."
The Prophetic Household
1. Khadijah Bint Khuwailid: In Makkah — prior to Hijra — the Prophet’s household comprised him and his wife Khadijah bint Khuwailid. He was twenty-five and she was forty when they got married. She was the first woman he married. She was the only wife he had till she died. He had sons and daughters with her. None of their sons lived long. They all died. Their daughters were Zainab, Ruqaiya, Umm Kulthum and Fatimah.
Zainab was married to her maternal cousin Abu Al-‘As bin Al-Rabi‘ and that was before Al-Hijra. Ruqaiya and Umm Kulthum were both married to ‘Uthman bin ‘Affan - may Allah be pleased with him - successively (i.e. he married one after the death of her sister). Fatimah was married to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib; and that was in the period between Badr and Uhud battles. The sons and daughters that Fatimah and ‘Ali had were Al-Hasan, Al-Husain, Zainab and Umm Kulthum.
It is well-known that the Prophet was exceptionally authorized to have more than four wives for various reasons. The wives he married were thirteen. Nine of them outlived him. Two died in his lifetime: Khadijah and the Mother of the poor (Umm Al-Masakeen) — Zainab bint Khuzaima, besides two others with whom he did not consummate his marriage.
2. Sawdah bint Zam‘a: He married her in Shawwal, in the tenth year of Prophethood, a few days after the death of Khadijah. Prior to that, she was married to a paternal cousin of hers called As-Sakran bin ‘Amr.
3. ‘Aishah bint Abu Bakr: He married her in the eleventh year of Prophethood, a year after his marriage to Sawdah, and two years and five months before Al-Hijra. She was six years old when he married her. However, he did not consummate the marriage with her till Shawwal seven months after Al-Hijra, and that was in Madinah. She was nine then. She was the only virgin he married, and the most beloved creature to him. As a woman she was the most learnčd woman in jurisprudence.
4. Hafsah bint ‘Umar bin Al-Khattab: She was Aiyim (i.e. husbandless). Her ex-husband was Khunais bin Hudhafa As-Sahmi in the period between Badr and Uhud battles. The Messenger of Allâh married her in the third year of Al-Hijra.
5. Zainab bint Khuzaimah: She was from Bani Hilal bin ‘Amir bin Sa‘sa‘a. Was nicknamed Umm Al-Masakeen, because of her kindness and care towards them. She used to be the wife of ‘Abdullah bin Jahsh, who was martyred at Uhud, was married to the Prophet in the fourth year of Al-Hijra, but she died two or three months after her marriage to the Messenger of Allâh .
6. Umm Salamah Hind bint Abi Omaiyah: She used to be the wife of Abu Salamah, who died in Jumada Al-Akhir, in the fourth year of Al-Hijra. The Messenger of Allâh married her in Shawwal of the same year.
7. Zainab bint Jahsh bin Riyab: She was from Bani Asad bin Khuzaimah and was the Messenger’s paternal cousin. She was married to Zaid bin Haritha — who was then considered son of the Prophet . However, Zaid divorced her. Allâh sent down some Qur’ânic verses with this respect:
"So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e., divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage." [33:37]
About her, Allâh has sent down some verses of Al-Ahzab Chapter that discussed the adoption of children in detail — anyway we will discuss this later. The Messenger of Allâh married her in Dhul-Qa‘dah, the fifth year of Al-Hijra.
8. Juwairiyah bint Al-Harith: Al-Harith was the head of Bani Al-Mustaliq of Khuza‘ah. Juwairiyah was among the booty that fell to the Muslims from Bani Al-Mustaliq. She was a portion of Thabit bin Qais bin Shammas’ share. He made her a covenant to set her free at a certain time. The Messenger of Allâh accomplished the covenant and married her in Sha‘ban in the sixth year of Al-Hijra.
9. Umm Habibah: Ramlah, the daughter of Abu Sufyan. She was married to ‘Ubaidullah bin Jahsh. She migrated with him to Abyssinia (Ethiopia). When ‘Ubaidullah apostatized and became a Christian, she stoodfast to her religion and refused to convert. However ‘Ubaidullah died there in Abyssinia (Ethiopia). The Messenger of Allâh dispatched ‘Amr bin Omaiyah Ad-Damri with a letter to Negus, the king, asking him for Umm Habibah’s hand — that was in Muharram, in the seventh year of Al-Hijra. Negus agreed and sent her to the Prophet in the company of Sharhabeel bin Hasnah.
10. Safiyah bint Huyai bin Akhtab: From the Children of Israel, she was among the booty taken at Khaibar battle. The Messenger of Allâh took her for himself. He set her free and married her after that conquest in the seventh year of Al-Hijra.
11. Maimunah bint Al-Harith: The daughter of Al-Harith, and the sister of Umm Al-Fadl Lubabah bint Al-Harith. The Prophet married her after the Compensatory ‘Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage). That was in Dhul-Qa‘dah in the seventh year of Al-Hijra.
Those were the eleven women that the Messenger of Allâh had married and consummated marriage with them. He outlived two of them — Khadijah and Zainab, the Umm Al-Masakeen. Whereas the other nine wives outlived him.
The two wives that he did not consummate marriage with were, one from Bani Kilab and the other from Kindah and this was the one called Al-Jauniyah.
Besides these, he had two concubines. The first was Mariyah, the Coptic (an Egyptian Christian), a present gift from Al-Muqauqis, vicegerent of Egypt — she gave birth to his son Ibrâhim, who died in Madinah while still a little child, on the 28th or 29th of Shawwal in the year 10 A.H., i.e. 27th January, 632 A.D. The second one was Raihanah bint Zaid An-Nadriyah or Quraziyah, a captive from Bani Quraiza. Some people say she was one of his wives. However, Ibn Al-Qaiyim gives more weight to the first version. Abu ‘Ubaidah spoke of two more concubines, Jameelah, a captive, and another one, a bondwoman granted to him by Zainab bint Jahsh.
Whosoever meditates on the life of the Messenger of Allâh , will conceive that his marriage to this great number of women in the late years of his lifetime, after he had almost spent thirty years of his best days of youth sufficing himself to one old wife — Khadijah and later on to Sawdah, was in no way an overwhelming lustful desire to be satisfied through such a number of wives. These marriages were in fact motivated by aims and purposes much more glorious and greater than what normal marriages usually aim at.
The tendency of the Messenger of Allâh towards establishing a relationship by marriage with both Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and his marriage to ‘Aishah and Hafsah — and getting his daughter Fatimah married to ‘Ali bin Abi Talib, and the marriage of his two daughters, Ruqaiyah and Umm Kulthum to ‘Uthman — indicate clearly that he aimed at confirming the relationship among the four men — whose sacrifices and great achievements in the cause of Islam are well-known.
Besides this, there was that tradition of the Arabs to honour the in-law relations. For them a son or a daughter-in-law was a means by which they sought the consolidation of relationship and affection with various phratries. Hostility and fights against alliances and affinities would bring an unforgettable shame, disgrace and degradation to them.
By marrying the Mothers of believers, the Prophet wanted to demolish or break down the Arab tribes’ enmity to Islam and extinguish their intense hatred. Umm Salamah was from Bani Makhzum — the clan of Abu Jahl and Khalid bin Al-Waleed. Her marriage to the Messenger of Allâh produced good results. Khalid’s deliberately undecisive attitude at Uhud — for instance — was due to the Messenger’s marriage to Umm Salamah. Khalid went even further than that, in a short time he willingly became a keen obedient Muslim.
After the Messenger of Allâh’s marriage to Umm Habibah, Abu Sufyan, her father, did not encounter him with any sort of hostility. Similarly his marriage to Juwairiyah and Safiyah made the two tribes stop all sorts of provocation, aggression or hostility against Islam. Better still, Juwairiyah, herself, was one of the greatest sources of blessing to her own people. On the occasion of her marriage to the Prophet , his Companions set a hundred families of her people free. They said: "It is for their affinity with the Messenger of Allâh ." No need to say what great good impression this gratitude had on everybody’s soul. One of the greatest motives of all is Allâh’s bidding his Prophet to educate and purify the souls of people who had known nothing whatsoever about courtesy, education and culture. He had to teach them to comply with the necessities of civilization and to contribute to the solidification and the establishment of a new Islamic society.
An essential fundamental rule of the Muslim society is to prohibit mixing of men and women. Providing direct education for women, though highly compelling, is impossible in the light of this Islamic norm. Therefore, the Prophet had to select some women of different ages and talents, and indoctrinate them systematically in order to educate she-bedouins and townswomen, old and young, and thus furnish them with the instruments of propagating the true faith. The Mothers of believers (i.e. wives of the Prophet ) were in such a convenient position that they could convey the state of the Prophet and his affairs to people (men and women). Being educated and taught the teachings and rules of Islam, his wives, especially those who outlived him, played a very important role in conveying Prophetic traditions Ahadith to the Muslims. ‘Aishah, for instance, related a large number of the Prophet’s deeds and statements.
His marriage to his paternal cousin Zainab bint Jahsh was a peculiar case which aimed at eradicating a deeply rooted pre-Islamic tradition — i.e. the adoption of children. In Al-Jahiliyah the Arabs used to consider an adopted person exactly like a real son or daughter as far as rights and sanctities are concerned. That Jahiliyah tradition had been so deeply rooted in their hearts that it was not easy to remove or uproot it. This tradition in fact affronts the basic principles of Islam; especially those concerned with marriage, divorce and inheritance and some other cases, and brought about lots of corruptions and indecencies. Naturally Islam stands against such deeds, and attempts to remove them from the Islamic society.
For the eradication of this tradition, Allâh, the Exalted, bid His Messenger to marry his cousin Zainab bint Jahsh, who was an ex-wife to Zaid. She was at variance with Zaid to an extent that he intended to divorce her — that was at the time when the Confederates (Al-Ahzab) were making an evil alliance against the Messenger of Allâh and against the Muslims. The Messenger of Allâh feared that the hypocrites, the idolaters, and the Jews would make a propaganda out of it and try to influence some Muslims of weak hearts. That was why he urged Zaid not to divorce her, in order not to get involved into that trial.
Undoubtedly this hesitation and partiality were alien to the character of the Prophet . They did not apply to the power of determination and will with which he had been sent. Allâh, the Exalted, blamed him for that by saying:
"And (remember) when you said to him (Zaid bin Haritha may Allah be pleased with him - — the freed slave of the Prophet ) on whom Allâh has bestowed grace (by guiding him to Islam) and you (O Muhammad too) have done favour (by manumitting him), ‘Keep your wife to yourself, and fear Allâh.’ But you did hide in yourself (i.e. what Allâh has already made known to you that He will give her to you in marriage) that which Allâh will make manifest, you did fear the people (i.e. Muhammad married the divorced wife of his manumitted slave) whereas Allâh had a better right that you should fear him." [33:37]
Finally Zaid divorced Zainab and the Messenger of Allâh married her at the time he laid siege to Bani Quraiza. That was after she had finished her Iddat (i.e. period during which a widow or a divorcee may not remarry). Allâh Himself had already ordained it, and so gave him no other alternative. Allâh had even started the marriage Himself by saying:
"So when Zaid had accomplished his desire from her (i.e. divorced her), We gave her to you in marriage, so that (in future) there may be no difficulty to the believers in respect of (the marriage of) the wives of their adopted sons when the latter have no desire to keep them (i.e. they have divorced them)." [33:37]
And that was in order to break down the tradition of child adoption in practice after He had done it in words:
"Call them (adopted sons) by (the names of) their fathers, that is more just near Allâh." [33:5]
"Muhammad is not the father of any man among you, but he is the Messenger of Allâh, and the last (end) of the Prophets." [33:40]
Lots of deeply-rooted traditions cannot be uprooted or demolished or even adjusted by mere words. They must be matched and associated with the action of the advocate of the Message himself.
This could be perceived through the deeds practised by the Muslims at Al-Hudaibiyah ‘Umrah (Lesser Pilgrimage) during which ‘Urwah bin Mas‘ud Al-Thaqafi saw certain Muslims tend to pick up any expectoration that fell down from the Prophet . He also saw them race to the water of his ablution and they almost quarrelled for it. There were others who competed to pledge allegiance to death and some others pledged not to flee from (the battlefield). Among those people, were eminent Companions like ‘Umar and Abu Bakr, who although dedicated all their lives to the Prophet and to the cause of Islam, but refused to carry out the Messenger’s ordres with respect to slaughtering sacrificial animals after the ratification of Al-Hudaibiyah Peace Treaty, the thing that perturbed and caused the Prophet to feel anxious. However, when Umm Salamah - may Allah be pleased with her - advised that he take the initiative and sacrifice his animals, his followers raced to follow his example; a clear evidence in support of the saying: Actions speak louder than words, in the process of exterminating a deeply-established tradition.
Hypocrites aroused a lot of suspicions and made a broad false propaganda against that marriage. Their acts and talks about that marriage had ill-effects on those Muslims whose Faith was still weak, particularly that Zainab was the fifth wife — and the Noble Qur’ân limited the number up to four only; Zaid was traditionally his son, and so a father marrying his son’s divorcee was a heinous sin in the eyes of the Arabians.
Al-Ahzab Surah was revealed to shed full light on the two issues, i.e. Islam does not recognize adoption of children, and the Prophet is given (by Allâh) more freedom as regards the number of wives he can hold than other Muslims in order to achieve noble and honourable purposes.
However, the treatment of the Messenger of Allâh to his wives was of honourable, noble, and superb nature. His wives were on tops in respect of honour, satisfaction, patience, modesty, and service (that is to say the performance of housework and marriage duties). Although the Messenger’s house-life was hard and unbearable, none of his wives complained. Anas said about the Prophet’s life: "According to my knowledge, the Messenger of Allâh has never tasted a thin flattened loaf in all his lifetime, nor has he ever seen with his own eyes roasted mutton."
‘Aishah said: "Over two months have elapsed — during which we have seen three crescents — and yet no fire has been kindled in the houses of the Messenger of Allâh (i.e. they did not cook food)." "What did you eat to sustain yourselves?" ‘Urwah asked. She said "The two blacks: dates and water". Lots of information about the hard life of the Prophet were told.
In spite of these hardships, straits and adversity of life in the house of the Prophet , none of his wives uttered a word of complaint worthy of reproach — but once. This exception was required by human instinctive inclinations. However, it was not so important and consequently it did not require the decree of a legislative rule. Allâh has given them an opportunity to choose between two things, as clearly stated in the following verses:
"O Prophet (Muhammad )! Say to your wives: ‘If you desire the life of this world, and its glitter, — then come! I will make a provision for you and set you free in a handsome manner (divorce). But if you desire Allâh and His Messenger, and the Home of the Hereafter, then verily, Allâh has prepared for Al-Muhsinat (good doers) amongst you an enormous reward.’" [33:28,29]
They were so noble and honest that none of them preferred ‘the life of this world and its glitter’ to the abode in the Hereafter.
Although they were many in number, nothing of the dispute occurrences that normally happen among co-wives, took place in their houses. Very few cases could be the only exception; but they were quite normal. Allâh reproached them for that, so they ceased to do such a thing. This incident is mentioned in At-Tahreem Chapter:
"O Prophet! Why do you ban (for yourself) that which Allâh has made lawful to you …" [66:1] (to the end of the fifth verse).
Discussing polygamy — in my opinion — is not a necessity; since a person who is familiar with the Europeans, and indecent practices, sufferings, wickedness, their sorrows and distresses, the horrible crimes they commit in this respect as well as the trials, the disasters that they are involved in, and which emanate directly from their disregard of the principle of polygamy form a good reason (to justify the soundness of polygamy). The distorted picture of life in Europe with the ill-practices featuring it, could truthfully justify the existence and practice of polygamy. In this, there are Divine signs for all people possessed of lucid mind.
The Prophet,Attributes and Manners
The Prophet combined both perfection of creation and perfection of manners.
This impression on people can be deduced by the bliss that overwhelmed their hearts and filled them with dignity. Men’s dignity, devotion and estimation of the Messenger of Allâh were unique and matchless. No other man in the whole world has been so honoured and beloved. Those who knew him well, were fascinated and enchanted by him. They were ready to sacrifice their lives for the sake of saving a nail of his from hurt or injury. Being privileged by lots of prerogatives of perfection that no one else had been endowed with, his Companions found that he was peerless and so they loved him.
Here we list a brief summary of the versions about his beauty and perfection. To encompass all which is, addmittedly, beyond our power.
Beauty of Creation:
Describing the Messenger of Allâh , who passed by her tent on his journey of migration, Umm Ma‘bad Al-Khuza‘iyah said to her husband:
"He was innocently bright and had broad countenance. His manners were fine. Neither was his belly bulging out nor was his head deprived of hair. He had black attractive eyes finely arched by continuous eyebrows. His hair glossy and black, inclined to curl, he wore long. His voice was extremely commanding. His head was large, well formed and set on a slender neck. His expression was pensive and contemplative, serene and sublime. The stranger was fascinated from the distance, but no sooner he became intimate with him than this fascination was changed into attachment and respect. His expression was very sweet and distinct. His speech was well set and free from the use of superfluous words, as if it were a rosary of beads. His stature was neither too high nor too small to look repulsive. He was a twig amongst the two, singularly bright and fresh. He was always surrounded by his Companions. Whenever he uttered something, the listeners would hear him with rapt attention and whenever he issued any command, they vied with each other in carrying it out. He was a master and a commander. His utterances were marked by truth and sincerity, free from all kinds of falsehoods and lies."
‘Ali bin Abi Talib describing him said: "The Messenger of Allâh was neither excessively tall nor extremely short. He was medium height among his friends. His hair was neither curly nor wavy. It was in between. It was not too curly nor was it plain straight. It was both curly and wavy combined. His face was not swollen or meaty-compact. It was fairly round. His mouth was white. He had black and large eyes with long haired eyelids. His joints (limbs) and shoulder joints were rather big. He had a rod-like little hair extending from his chest down to his navel, but the rest of his body was almost hairless. He had thick hand palms and thick fingers and toes. At walking, he lifted his feet off the ground as if he had been walking in a muddy remainder of water. When he turned, he turned all. The Prophethood Seal was between his shoulders. He is the Seal of Prophets, the most generous and the bravest of all.
His speech was the most reliable. He was the keenest and the most attentive to people’s trust and was very careful to pay people’s due in full. The Prophet was the most tractable and the most yielding companion, seeing him unexpectedly you fear him and venerate him. He who has acquaintance with him will like him. He who describes him says:
‘I have never seen such a person neither before nor after seeing him.’ "
Jabir bin Samurah reported that Allâh’s Messenger had a broad face with reddish (wide) eyes and lean heels.
Abu At-Tufail said: "He was white, good-looking. He was neither fat nor thin; neither tall nor short."
Anas bin Malik said: "He had unfolded hands and was pink-coloured. He was neither white nor brown. He was rather whitish. In both his head and beard there were as many as twenty grey hairs, besides some grey hairs at his temples." In another version: "and some scattered white hairs in his head."
Abu Juhaifa said: "I have seen some grey colour under his lower lip." Al-Bara’ said: "He was of medium height, broad-shouldered, his hair went up to his earlobes. I saw him dressed in a red garment and I (assure you) I have never seen someone more handsome. At first he used to let his hair loose so as to be in compliance with the people of the Book; but later on he used to part it."
Al-Bara’ also said: "He had the most handsome face and the best character." When he was asked: "Was the Messenger’s face sword-like?" "No," he said: "it was moon-like." But in another version: he said, "His face was round." Ar-Rabi‘ bint Muawwidh said: "Had you seen him, you would have felt that the sun was shining." Jabir bin Samurah said, "I saw him at one full-moony night. I looked at him. He was dressed in a red garment. I compared him with the moon and found that — for me — he was better than the moon."
Abu Huraira said: "I have never seen a thing nicer than the Messenger of Allâh . It seems as if the sunlight were moving within his face. I have never seen one who is faster in pace than the Messenger of Allâh . It seemed as if the earth had folded itself up to shorten the distance for him. For we used to wear ourselves out while he was at full ease."
Ka‘b bin Malik said: "When he was pleased, his face would shine with so bright light that you would believe that it was a moon-piece." Once he sweated hot at ‘Aishah’s, and the features of his face twinkled; so I recited a poem by Abu Kabeer Al-Hudhali:
"If you watch his face-features, you will see them twinkling like the lightning of an approaching rain."
Whenever Abu Bakr saw him he would say:
"He is faithful, chosen (by Allâh), and calls for forgiveness. He shines like a full-moon light when it is far from dark (clouds).''
‘Umar used to recite verses by Zuhair describing Haram bin Sinan:
"Were you other than a human being, you would be a lighted moon at a full-moon night."
Then he would add: "Thus was the Messenger of Allâh .
When he got angry his face would go so red that you would think it were "an inflected red skin-spot with pomegranate grains on both cheeks."
Jabir bin Samurah said: "His legs were gentle, delicate and in conformity. His laughter is no more than smiling. Looking at him will make you say ‘He is black-eyed though he is not so.’"
Ibn Al-‘Abbas said: "His two front teeth were splitted so whenever he speaks, light goes through them. His neck was as pure and silvery as a neck of doll. His eyelids were long haired but his beard was thick. His forehead was broad; but his eyebrows were like the metal piece attached to a lance, but they were unhorned. His nose was high-tipped, middle-cambered with narrow nostrils.
His cheeks were plain, but he had (little hair) running down like a rod from his throat to his navel. He had hair neither on his abdomen nor on his chest except some on his arms and shoulders. His chest was broad and flatted. He had long forearms with expansive palms of the hand. His legs were plain straight and stretching down. His other limbs were straight too. The two hollows of his soles hardly touch the ground. When he walks away he vanishes soon; but he walks at ease (when he is not in a hurry). The way he walks seems similar to one who is leaning forwards and is about to fall down."
Anas said: "I have never touched silk or a silky garment softer than the palm of the Prophet’s ; nor have I smelt a perfume or any scent nicer than his." In another version, "I have never smelt ambergris nor musk nor any other thing sweeter than the scent and the smell of the Messenger of Allâh ."
Abu Juhaifa said: "I took his hand and put it on my head and I found that it was colder than ice and better scented than the musk perfume."
Jabir bin Samurah — who was a little child then — said: "When he wiped my cheek, I felt it was cold and scented as if it had been taken out of a shop of a perfume workshop."
Anas said, "His sweat was pearl-like." Umm Sulaim said: "His sweat smelt nicer than the nicest perfume."
Jabir said: "Whoever pursues a road that has been trodden by the Messenger of Allâh , will certainly scent his smell and will be quite sure that the Messenger of Allâh has already passed it." The Seal of Prophethood, which was similar in size to a pigeon’s egg, was between his shoulders on the left side having spots on it like moles.
The Perfection of Soul and Nobility:
The Prophet was noted for superb eloquence and fluency in Arabic. He was remarkable in position and rank. He was an accurate, unpretending straightforward speaker. He was well-versed in Arabic and quite familiar with the dialects and accents of every tribe. He spoke with his entertainers using their own accents and dialects. He mastered and was quite eloquent at both bedouin and town speech. So he had the strength and eloquence of bedouin language as well as the clarity and the decorated splendid speech of town. Above all, there was the assistance of Allâh embodied in the revealed verses of the Qur’ân.
His stamina, endurance and forgiveness — out of a commanding position — his patience and standing what he detested — these were all talents, attributes and qualities Allâh Himself had brought him on. Even wise men have their flaws, but the Messenger of Allâh , unlike everybody, the more he was hurt or injured, the more clement and patient he became. The more insolence an ignorant anybody exercised against him the more enduring he became.
"The Messenger of Allâh , whenever he is given the opportunity to choose between two affairs, he always chooses the easiest and the most convenient. But if he is certain that it is sinful, he will be as far as he could from it. He has never avenged himself; but when the sanctity of Allâh is violated he would. That would be for Allâh’s not for himself. He is the last one to get angry and the first to be satisfied. His hospitality and generosity were matchless. His gifts and endowments manifest a man who does not fear poverty."
Ibn‘Abbas said: "The Prophet was the most generous. He is usually most generous of all times in Ramadan, the times at which the angel Gabriel - peace be upon him - comes to see him. Gabriel used to visit him every night of Ramadan and review the Qur’ân with him. Verily the Messenger of Allâh is more generous at giving bounty or charity than the blowing wind."
"The Prophet would never deny anything he was asked for."
His courage, his succour and his might are distinguishable. He was the most courageous. He witnessed awkward and difficult times and stoodfast at them. More than once brave men and daring ones fled away leaving him alone; yet he stood with full composure facing the enemy without turning his back. All brave men must have experienced fleeing once or have been driven off the battlefield at a round at a time except the Prophet . ‘Ali said: "Whenever the fight grew fierce and the eyes of fighters went red, we used to resort to the Prophet for succour. He was always the closest to the enemy."
Anas said: "One night the people of Madinah felt alarmed. People went out hurriedly towards the source of sound, but the Prophet had already gone ahead of them. He was on the horseback of Abu Talhah which had no saddle over it, and a sword was slung round his neck, and said to them: ‘There was nothing to be afraid for.’"
He was the most modest and the first one to cast his eyes down. Abu Sa‘îd Al-Khudri said: [COLOR="red"]"He was shier than a virgin in her boudoir. When he hates a thing we read it on his face. He does not stare at anybody’s face. He always casts his eyes down. He looks at the ground more than he looks sky-wards. His utmost looks at people are glances. He is willingly and modestly obeyed by everybody. He would never name a person whom he had heard ill-news about — which he hated. Instead he would say: ‘Why do certain people do so....’"[/COLOR]
Al-Farazdaq verse of poem fits him very much and the best one to be said of:
"He casts his eyes modestly but the eyes of others are cast down due to his solemnity, and words issue out of his mouth only while he is smiling." The Prophet is the most just, the most decent, the most truthful at speech, and the honestest of all. Those who have exchanged speech with him, and even his enemies, acknowledge his noble qualities. Even before the Prophethood he was nicknamed Al-Ameen (i.e. the truthful, the truthworthy). Even then — in Al-Jahiliyah — they used to turn to him for judgement and consultation. In a version by At-Tirmidhi, he says that ‘Ali had said that he had been told by Abu Jahl that he (Abu Jahl) said to the Messenger of Allâh : "We do not call you a liar; but we do not have faith in what you have brought." In His Book, Allâh, the Exalted, said about them:
"It is not you that they deny, but it is the Verses (the Qur’ân) of Allâh that the Zaliműn (polytheists and wrong-doers) deny." [6:33]
Even when Heraclius asked Abu Sufyan: "Have you ever accused him of lying before the ministry of Prophethood?" Abu Sufyan said: "No."
He was most modest and far from being arrogant or proud. He forbade people to stand up at his presence as other people usually do for their kings.
Visiting the poor, the needy and entertaining them are some of his habits. If a slave invited him, he would accept the invitation. He always sat among his friends as if he were an ordinary person of them. ‘Aishah said that he used to repair his shoes, sew or mend his dress and to do what ordinary men did in their houses. After all, he was a human being like others. He used to check his dress (lest it has some insects on). Milking the she-sheep and catering for himself were some of his normal jobs. The Prophet was the most truthful to his pledges, and it is one of his qualities to establish good and steady relationship with his relatives — ‘Silat-Ar-Rahim’. He is the most merciful, gentle and amiable to all people. His way of living is the simplest one. Ill-manners and indecency are two qualities completely alien to him. He was decent, and did not call anybody names. He was not the sort of person who cursed or made noise in the streets. He did not exchange offences with others. He pushed back an offence or an error by forgiveness and overlooking. Nobody was allowed to walk behind him (i.e. as a bodyguard). He did not feel himself superior to others not even to his slaves (men or women) as far as food or clothes were concerned.
Whoever served him should be served by him too. ‘Ugh’ (an utterance of complaint) is a word that had never been said by him to his servant; nor was his servant blamed for doing a thing or leaving it undone. Loving the poor and the needy and entertaining them or participating in their funerals were things the Prophet always observed. He never contempted or disgraced a poor man for his poverty. Once he was travelling with his Companions and when it was time to have food prepared, he asked them to slaughter a she-sheep. A man said: I will slaughter it, another one said: I will skin it out. A third said: I will cook it. So the Messenger of Allâh said: I will collect wood for fire. They said: "No. We will suffice you that work." "I know that you can do it for me, but I hate to be privileged. Allâh hates to see a slave of his privileged to others." So he went and collected fire-wood.
Let us have some of the description of Hind bin Abi Halah: "The Messenger of Allâh was continually sad, thinking perpetually. He had no rest (i.e. for long). He only spoke when it was necessary. He would remain silent for a long time and whenever he spoke, he would end his talk with his jawbone but not out of the corners of his mouth, i.e. (snobbishly). His speech was inclusive. He spoke inclusively and decisively. It was not excessive nor was it short of meaning. It was amiable. It was in no way hard discoroning. He glorified the bounty of Allâh; even if it were little. If he had no liking for someone’s food, he would neither praise nor criticize.
He was always in full control of his temper and he would never get seemed angry unless it was necessary. He never got angry for himself nor did he avenge himself. It was for Allâh’s sanctity and religion that he always seemed angry.
When he pointed at a thing he would do so with his full hand-palm, and he would turn it round to show surprise. If he were angry he would turn both his body and face aside. When he was pleased, he cast his eyes down. His laughter was mostly smiling. It was then that his teeth which were like hail-stones were revealed.
He never spoke unless it was something closely relevant to him. He confirmed the brotherhood relationship among his Companions; and thus he made them intimate and did not separate them or implant enmity among them. Those who were honourable with their peoples, were honoured and respected by him and were assigned rulers over their own peoples. His cheerfulness was never withdrawn at anyone’s face; even at those whom he warned his people from or those whom he himself was on the alert of. He visited friends and inquired about people’s affairs. He confirmed what was right and criticized the awful and tried to undermine it. He was moderate in all affairs. He was equal to others and was not privileged. He would never act heedlessly, lest the others should get heedless. Each situation was dealt with in its proper due.
Righteousness was his target; so he was never short of it nor indifferent to it. People who sat next to him were the best of their people and the best of them all were — for him — those who provided common consultations. For him, the greatest ones and the highest in ranks were the best at providing comfort and co-ordination and succour. Remembrance (of Allâh) was a thing he aimed at and established whenever he sat down or stands up. No certain position was assigned for him to sit on. He sits at the end of the group, seated next to the last sitter in the place. He ordered people to do the same. He entertained his participiants in social gatherings alike so that the one addressed would think that there was no one honoured by the Prophet but himself. He whoever sat next to him or interrupted him in order to ask for his advice about an affair of his, would be the first to start the talk and the one to end it. The Prophet would listen to him patiently till he ended his speech. He never denied a request to anyone, if unapproachable, then few gratifying words would work, instead.
His magnanimity, broad mindedness his tolerance could embrace all people and entitled him to be regarded as father for them all. In justice, all of them were almost equal. Nobody was better than another except on the criterion of Allâh fearing. A favoured one, to him, was the most Allâh fearing. His assembly was a meeting of clemency, timidness, patience and honesty. Voices were not raised in rows or riots. Inviolable things were never violable. Fearing Allâh and worship were their means to sympathy and compassion. They used to esteem the old and have mercy on the young. They assisted the needy and entertained strangers.
The Messenger of Allâh was always cheerful, easy, pleasant-tempered and lenient. He was never rude or rough nor clamorous or indecent. He was neither a reproacher nor a praiser. He overlooked what he did not desire, yet you would never despair of him. Three qualities he disposed of: hypocrisy, excessiveness, and what was none of his concern. People did not fear him in three areas: — for they were not qualities or habits of his —: He never disparaged, or reproached nor did he seek the defects or shortages of others. He only spoke things whose reward was Divinely desirable. When he spoke, his listeners would attentively listen casting down their heads. They only spoke when he was silent. They did not have disputes or arguments about who was to talk. He who talked in his presence would be listened to by everybody till he finished his talk. Their talk would be about the topic discussed or delivered by their first speaker. The Messenger of Allâh used to laugh at what they laughed at and admired what they used to admire. He would always show patience with a stranger’s harshness at talk. He used to say:
"When you see a person seeking an object earnestly, assist him to get his need. And never ask for a reward except from the reward-Giver, i.e. Allâh."
Kharijah bin Zaid said: "The Prophet was the most honoured among the people with whom he sat. His limbs could hardly be seen. He was often silent and rarely talked when speech was not a necessity. He turned away from those whose speech was rude or impolite. His laughter was no more than a smile. His speech, which was decisive, it was neither excessive nor incomplete. Out of reverence and esteem and following the example of their Prophet , the Companions’ laughter at his presence — was smiling, as well."
On the whole the Prophet was ornamented with peerless attributes of perfection. No wonder to be like that for he was brought up, educated and taught (the Qur’ân) by Allâh. He was even praised by Allâh:
"And verily, you (O Muhammad ) are on an exalted standard of character." [68:4]
Those were the attributes and qualities that the Prophet enjoyed which made the hearts of souls of the people close to him, draw near to him and love him.
Those traits made him so popular that the restraint and enmity of his people grew less and they started to embrace Islam in large crowds.
This description is in fact no more than a rapid review or rather short brief lines of Muhammad’s aspects of full perfection. Trying to encompass the whole perfect picture of the Prophet . No one can ever claim to be possessed of full knowledge or complete mastery of the great attributes of the greatest man in this universe. No one can ever give this man, the top of perfection, his due descrpition. He was a man who always sought Allâh’s light, to such an extent that he was wholly imbued with the Qur’ânic approach.
O Allâh! send your blessings (and the Holy Words of Yours) upon Muhammad and the family of Muhammad, as You have send blessings upon Ibrâhim and the family of Ibrâhim. You are worthy of all praise, All Glorious.
O Allâh! bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad as You have already blessed Ibrâhim and the family of Ibrâhim. You are worthy of all praise, All Glorious.
Taken From The Book: AR-RaheeQ Al-Makhtum (THE SEALED NECTAR)- Memoirs of the Noble Prophet
Written By: Safi'Rurahman al-Mubarakpuri