Chapter X: The Death Of The Holy Prophet

A few months after his Last Declaration at Ghadir-eKhum, the Holy Prophet took ill. His malady was developing, his fever returned and his illness took a serious turn and at times he was unconscious.

The Prophet hindered to record his will

On the Thursday preceding his death, when several of his chief Companions were present in the room, the Prophet, while lying on his bed, asked for writing materials saying, "Bring me paper and ink so that I may record for you a document which will prevent your ever backsliding into error." Omar, at once interposed thus : "The man wandereth in delirium, 'God's book is suflicient for us.' A large body of the Muslims take this phrase of Omar's as a move of separation from the orthodoxy established by the Prophet, who directed all to follow the Quran and his Progeny, declaring : 'I leave unto you two grand Precepts, each of which surpasses the other in grandeur, God's Book and my Progeny; the twain will not be separated till they meet me in Paradise.'

Some of those present said that the writing material should be furnished; others sided with Omar; a discussion ensued and the voices rose high to the annoyance of the Prophet. The ladies from behind the screens wished to provide the writing materials, but Omar chided them: 'Quiet', and said, 'Ye resemble the females in the story of Joseph, when your master falleth sick ye burst into tears, and the moment he recovereth a little ye begin teasing.' The Prophet hearing this said : 'Chide them not, verily they are still much better than ye are.'

Now some persons proceeded to ask the Prophet what his wishes were to be recorded. But he angrily recited verse 1 2 of Sura XLIX (O Believers! Raise not your voices above the voice of the Prophet; neither speak aloud unto one another, lest your works become vain, while ye perceive

________________________ 1 Ibn Khaldun, Tabari, Abul Fida.

aloud not) and said 'Begone, let me alone, for my present condition is better than that which ye call me to.'

Ibn Abbas lamented the irreparable loss sustained by the Muslims on this Thursday by the Prophet being hindered to record what he wished for the guidance of his followers. Remembering the incident he wept till his tears made his cheeks and beard wet.

The Prophet's last prayer and sermon in his mosque

The sickness of the Prophet assumed a serious turn from Saturday night and till Sunday night the fever continued unabated.

Early in the morning on Monday, the day of his death, the Prophet with his head bandaged, came out of his apartment supported by two men. After prayers, he delivered a short sermon with a voice that reached beyond the outer doors of the Mosque, which was unusually crowded with anxious people who had been seeking for the news of his health after the crisis of the preceding night. In the sermon the Prophet also said that evils were drawing near and the darkest part of asdark and tempestuous night was approaching.

The Prophet re-entered his apartment and lay down exhausted. His strength was rapidly failing.

He called Fatima, his beloved daughter and made her sit by his side and whispered something into her ear. She burst into tears. He then again whispered something to her and dried her tears with his own hands. She then appeared comforted and 1 smiled. He then called Hasan _______________________

_ 1 Rawdzat-al-Ahbab; Madarij-al-Nabowat.

and Husain, his dear children whom he had fondled in his lap for years, to embrace them for the last time. Hasan put his face upon the face of the Prophet, and Husain threw himself upon his breast. Both of them wept and cried so bitterly that everyone else in the room started to cry. The Prophet embraced them very affectionately, kissed them both and directed everyone present to treat them and their mother with utmost love and respect, as they were treated by himself. (It was usual with the Prophet that when he saw Fatima approaching, he always stood up, and, advancing a pace or two, received her with acclamations of joy, then kissing her hand, he used to sit in his own place.)

'Just before he breathed his last a little alter midday on 28th Safar 11 A.H. he sent for Ali 1.

He admonished Ali to bear with patience and self control all the troubles which he would be subjected to after his death. He desired Ali to pursue with patience the right path leading to the next world even though he may find others engrossed in this world. The Prophet took Ali's head inside his own mantle, so that it covered both of them, till Ali took out his head and announced the death of the Prophet. (Life of Ali by Dar Quti wal Razi, page 739; printed at Khadimal Talim Press, Lahore;

Madarij-al Nabowat.) 2 Ibn Sa'd and Hakim have recorded that the Prophet breathed his last with his head on the lap of Ali. ________________________

1 Rawdzat-al-Ahbab; Madarij-al-Nabowat;
2 Saiyid Safdar Husain-The Early History of Islam. Madarij-al-Nabowat.

The last words spoken by the Prophet, said Alt, were "The blessed companionship on high. Prayers," ,prayers after which he stretched himself gently and teen all was over.

A Strange Scene

Meanwhile a strange scene was being enacted at the Mosque. Shortly after the Prophet's death, Omar entered the apartment and raising the sheet which covered the body, gazed earnestly on the Prophet's features, which looked as of one peacefully sleeping. Softly replacing the covering he started up and exclaimed : "The Prophet is not dead. he hath gone to his Lord as aforetime Moses d id and remained forty days absent. He will yet return among us again." Brandishing his sword he exclaimed, "I will cut off the head of him who dares to say that the froPhet is dead." He was haranguing the people in a similar strain when Abubakr appeared. He listened to the wards of Omar for a moment and passed 'on to see the prophet. He entered, and, lifting the sheet which covered th4 body, stooped down and kissed the forehead. Then taking the head upon his hands, he slightly lifted it and minutely scanned the features. Replacing the head gently on its pillow, he exclaimed ; "Yes! Sweet thou wert in life and sweet thou dead indeed." art in death. Alas, my Master! thou art Covering the body, he issued forth and proceeded at once to the spot where Omar was bran dishing his sword and haranguing the people. "Be quiet Omar! sit thee down," cried Abubakr. But Omar would not listen to him. Turning therefore to the assemblage, he addressed them thus: "Do ye forget already the verse which was revealed to the Prophet after the battle of Ohad?"

'Muhammad is but a man with a Mission, verily other Apostles died before him; what then! If he were to die or to be killed, would ye turn upon your heels?' Again, know ye not the verse revealed to the Prophet, 'Verily 0 Muhammad! Thou shall die, and verily they shall die; Verse XXXIX-31; continuing he said : 'Whosoever worshippeth Muhammad, let him know that Muhammad is indeed dead; but whosoever worshippeth God, let him know that God is immortal, He liveth and dieth not. The truth now being known, the assemblage sobbed aloud. Omar on hearing these verses, trembled and dropped down, and then he knew of a certainty that the Holy Prophet was indeed dead.

In the afternoon there appeared a friend who came running hastily to Abubakr and Omar, and informed them that many a chief of Medina had assembled at Saqifa Bani Sa'da and that they were proceeding to choose Sa'd b. Obada as their leader. "If ye have a desire to secure the Supreme Authority," said he, "ye should not lose a minute to reach thither before the matter is settled and opposition becomes dangerous." Receiving the intelligence. Abubakr and Omar hurried to Saqifa, in company with Abu Obeida and several others.

Meanwhile Ali, regardless of the movement outside was busy inside the apartment with preparation for the bathing of the Prophet's body, in company with Abbas, his two sons Fazl and Qutham, Osama and Saleh. Having closed the door of the apartment they took the body in for bathing. 1 Ali was the only man named by the Prophet to bathe his body, (as predicted by him while he was giving the first bath to Ali at the time of

________________________ 1 Saiyid Safdar Husain-The Early History of Islam.

his birth) as he had said that any one, other than Ali, that looked upon his nakedness, would forthwith turn-blind. So Ali bathed the body and others helped him with their eyes bandaged.

After bathing the body, they laid it out, putting on it the garments in which he died. Two sheets of fine white cloth were wound over the garment, and then it was wrapped in a sheet of striped Yemen. Then came the parties for praying over the dead body. First the relations and next to them the followers and companions of the Prophet entered the apartment in batches of ten at a time and prayed over him. Thus the body remained till the time of burial.

Opinions differed as to where the burial should take place! The matter was settled by Ali, who said that he had heard the Prophet saying, that at whatsoever spot a Prophet dies, he should be buried there. Accordingly the grave was dug, and the burial took place on the night of Tuesaay or early in the morning on Wednesday. The body was lowered into its last resting place by the same near relations who had bathed and laid it out. Ali was the last person to leave the interior of the grave, weeping bitterly. He was never seen to cry like that before or after that occasion. When -he came out of the grave, he lifted his hands in supplication and said, "Lord! He was Thy first creation, his apparent death is not a sign of his mortality, he lifted the gloom prevailing before creation started, he was the proof of Thy Glory, and was our guide towards that Realm. His soul was thb Emblem of Thy Supreme Might, his body was a master-piece of Thy Creation and his mind was Thy Treasure House."


The acknowledged superiority of Hashimites over all Arab tribes in respect of their lineage, gallantry, hospitality and ethical attributes did always evoke the jealousy of Umayyads against them. And, thus, the Umayyads were constantly bent on ruining the honour and vilifying the integrity of Hashimites by all means.

Abu Hatim Sajistani writes in his book, 'Kitab-ulMuammarin' :

"One day Muawiya expressed his wish to some of his associates to meet some aged man who could describe the antiquity and past events. The people brought before him Abad Bin Amad, a man of three hundred and sixty years old, hailing from Hazramoot.' Muawiya enquired of him if he had ever seen Hashim. The old man answered, "Yes! Hashim was a man of high stature and elegant personality". He further asked him if he had also seen Umayyah. The man said, "Yes! I have seen him too. He was blind and a man of short stature and meanness was obvious on his countenance." Hearing this, Muawiya turned pale and was taken aback. Ibne Aseer, commenting upon the cause of malice between Hashimites and Umayyads, writes, "When Hashim became the heir of his father Abd-e-Manaf and inherited his fortune, the jealousy of Umayyah, the son of Abd-ush-Shams, kindled the spark of malice against Hashim forever." The gulf between Hashimites and Umayyads was widened till, in the third generation of Hashim, Hazrat Mohammad was born. Abu Sufian, the son of Harb, was the leader of Umayyads at that time who, right from the declaration of Hazrat Muhammad's prophethood till the fall of Mecca,

remained the perpetual instigator behind all the wars against the Muslims and steered the vehicle of the campaign of hostility towards the Holy Prophet and his religion.

The fall of Mecca compelled Abu Sufian to embrace Islam, which he did reluctantly. After the Holy Prophet's death, he induced Hazrat Ali to rise against the Caliph in power and thus to weaken the solidarity of Islam but could not succeed in his treacherous designs. The appointment of his son Muawiya, by Hazrat Omar, as a governor of Syria in 20 A.H., lifted up the morale of the Umayyads and provided them with an opportunity to be on the rise. In the year 22 A.H. the 'Shure' Counsel elected Hazrat Osman as a Caliph. "By this time," writes Ibne Abdul Bar in 'Isteeab,' "Abu Sufian found a golden opportunity for the realisation of his dreams. He approached Hazrat Osman and addressed him in the following words:

"Osman! After Bani Taim ( Hazrat Abubakr ) and Bani Adi (Hazrat Omar), the Caliphate has at last come to you. So roll it like a ball wherever you wish and strengthen its foundation with your own Umayyads as this is an empire, and I do hardly have any faith in the so-called Paradise and Hell." The Historians unanimously agree with the fact that, in the reign of Hazrat Osman, all the key posts were entrusted to Umayyads throughout the whole Islamic Empire and Muawiya had secured complete domination over Syria. The exchequers (Bait-ul-Mal) of Medina and Damascus were at the disposal of Muawiya to meet his selfish ends of nepotism and diplomacy. Syria became the centre of attraction for all materialists. The mammonists were bent upon extracting their share of wealth and honour by showering upon the ruling power their utmost flattery. Muawiya harnessed these very elements to achieve his ambitious designs of vilifying and degrading the prestige of the Holy Prophet and his Progeny, and, thus, satisfied his cherished grudge and enmity between his ancestor Umayyah and Hashim.

2. Difference of Faith and Religion :

The second factor of animosity between Hashimites and Umayyads was the difference of their Faith and Religion.

Hashim and all his descendants, except Abu Lahab and his followers, were Unitarians and adhered to the faith of Abraham. On the contrary, Umayyah and his offsprings were heathens.

Ibne Jurair, Tabari and Hakim have quoted from authentic sources, "Those who changed the religion of God with infidelity were Bani Umayyah and Bani Mughairah, the two famous tribes of Quraish."

Abu Sufian as well as the other members of Umayyads were, therefore, the deadliest enemies of the Holy Prophet and continued their greatest endeavours to uproot Islam as long as it was possible. They remained subdued as long as the Holy Prophet lived. But the spark of their animosity against Hashimites which was buried in the ashes of their diplomacy, was rekindled after the demise of the Holy Prophet, and the descendants of Abu Sufian availed a golden opportunity to realise their long-cherished dream.

"The persecutors of Muhammad," says Gibbon, "usurped the inheritance of his children and the champions of idolatory became the supreme heads of his religion and Empire. The opposition of Abu Sufian had been fierce and obstinate, his conversion was tardy and reluctant; his new faith was fortified by necessity and interest."

In malice, jealousy and animosity against the Ahl-ulBait, Moawiya like his son Yazid was no less than his father Abu Sufian. He first extracted the allegiance of the Syrians by presenting himself as a great religious leader and then addressed himself to the task of vilifying and degrading the Holy Prophet and his Progeny.

3. The virtuous attributes of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and his family :

The third important reason of the malice and grudge, existing between Bani Hashim and Bani Umayyah, was the virtuous attributes with which Prophet Muhammad and his Holy Progeny were gifted. The existence of Prophet Muhammad as a Hashimite was enough to awaken an inferiority complex among their rival tribe, the Umayyads, but what added fuel to the fire was the Holy Prophet's frequent elaboration upon the virtues of his family members to such an extent that the recognition of their integrity survived all the endeavours of the enemies to malign the world opinion against them.

To quote Ibne Abi Hadid al-Mutazali,

"The traditions, regarding Hazrat Ali's attributes, were quoted from the Holy Prophet to such an extent that the Umayyads, inspite of their kingdom and power, failed to erase them from the memory of the world; and were it not for the will of God, the records of the excellence of the Ahl-ul-Bait would not have survived the long reign of the Umayyads due to their intense malice and severe hatred against the Hashimites."

4. Services rendered to 'Islam'

All the members of the Hashimite family, irrespective of their age, excluding Abu-Lahab and his followers, devoted their all to the cause of Islam. Hazrat Jafar Tayyar's propagation, the holy war of Hazrat Hamza and the heroism of Hazrat Ali were the weapons to counteract the efforts of the enemies of Islam. As a matter of fact, Abu Sufian and his followers were the deadliest enemies of Islam till the conquest of Mecca, but whenever they opposed the Holy Prophet, the Hashimites came to his rescue. After embracing Islam, Abu Sufian could naturally not assassinate the Holy Prophet but his mission was later accomplished by his son Muawiya, who poisoned Imam Hasan through Juda Binte Ashas, and by his grandson Yazid who massacred Imam Husain and the progeny of the Holy Prophet in the field of Kerbala.

Islamic History can never forget the occasion when the revered family of the Holy Prophet were brought as captives to the court of Damascus and the slain head of Imam Husain was placed in a golden tray before Yezid; while he, touching the sacred teeth of the Apostolical Imam with his stick, was reciting the following verses :

"If my ancestors, who had been slain in the battle of Badr, would witness the way I have avenged their blood from Muhammad's progeny, they would admire my deed immensely and would say, Bravo, Yazid! May not thy hands get benumbed, and it was nothing but an imperialistic design of the Hashimites, as neither a Divine Message ever came to Muhammad nor was there any Revelation (Wahl)."

(Waseelat-un-Najat) These were the causes of the enmity between the Hashimites and Umayyads, instigated by Umayyah himself and remained till the decline of the Umayyad's Empire.

In short, the royal treasury of Damascus met the lavish expenses of Muawiya's project which attracted not only the aristocrats of Hejaz, Iraq, Egypt and other Islamic countries but also exposed the materialists behind the garb of spiritualist and religious scholars from Mecca and Medina who thronged the court of Damascus. The coining of false traditions came into operation, which, in no time, brought forth lacs of traditions eulogising Umayyads and censuring and degrading Prophet Muhammad and his Holy Progeny. Thus, the false contents and the raw materials formed the very nucleus of the so-called 'History of Islam.'