Friday, March 28, 2008

Rabiul Awwal & The death of Prophet (saw)

The following is a transcript of a circle given by a brother.

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِنَّا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ شَاهِدًا وَمُبَشِّرًا وَنَذِيرًا (45) وَدَاعِيًا إِلَى اللَّهِ بِإِذْنِهِ وَسِرَاجًا مُنِيرًا

“O Prophet! Truly We have sent thee as a Witness, a Bearer of Glad Tidings, and Warner, and as one who invites to Allah’s (grace) by His leave, and as a lamp spreading light (Siraajan-Muniraa).” [TMQ Al-Ahzab 33:45-46]

Rabiul awwal is the 3rd month of Islamic calendar. The month of Rabiul Awwal has special significance in the history of Islam. There are 3 main significant issues we have in Islamic history in this month of Rabiul Awwal. They are mainly:

• Birth of Prophet (saw)
• Hijra to Madina and establishment of the Islamic state (known as Dar al-Hijra and Khilafah after the death of the Prophet).
• Death of Prophet (saw) and selection of 1st Khalifah Abu Bakr Siddiq (ra).

So, to understand the significance of this month we have to look deep into Seerah of Prophet (saw). Because by scrutinizing these incidents we have lot of things to follow especially in our age of decline.

Birth of Prophet (saw)

This is the month in which our beloved Prophet (saw) was born who liberated the people from darkness (days of jahilliyah) to the light of Islam. The Islamic Ummah are obliged to love their Prophet (saw) more than their life and it is directly linked to the Iman. Allah (swt) says,

لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِمَنْ كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآَخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا
“Indeed in the Messenger of Allah you have a good example to follow for him who hopes in (the Meeting with) Allah and the Last Day and remembers Allah much” [TMQ Al-Ahzab 33:21]
Anas narrated that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:

«لا يؤمن عبد حتى أكون أحب إليه من أهله وماله والناس أجمعين»

“None of you can believe until I become more beloved to him than his family, wealth and all the people.” (Agreed upon).

These ayah and hadith are interrelated. Allah is ordering us to follow Prophet (saw) and Prophet (saw) said that none of us have Imaan until we love him more than anything of us. Our question is how we can follow someone or love someone if we don’t know about his life? That is why knowledge of Seerah is important to every Muslim.

Lessons we got from this month is mainly to have love for Allah and his messenger (saw) more than anything else. But unfortunately today many people claim that they love Prophet (saw) without understanding of true meaning of love for Allah and his messenger. So maximum time they end up doing wrong actions like bid’a and even worst than it. The classical scholars of Islam like Al-Azhari said: “A servant’s love for Allah and His Messenger means obeying them and following their command.” Al-Baydaawi said: “Love is the will to obey.” Az-Zajjaaj said: “Man’s love for Allah and His Messenger is to obey them and to accept what Allah (swt) has commanded and the Messenger of Allah (saw) has brought.” Love for Allah and his messenger (saw) has greatest of reward in Islam.

Brothers, you may say we follow Prophet (saw) but unfortunately we follow him only in few aspects. Let us compare some of our daily routine,

• We follow him when eating food but do we follow him in how to interact with the opposite sex?
• We follow him in prayer but do we follow him when we trade?
• We follow him in fasting but do we follow him on ruling?

If we judge carefully may be we will see lot of contradiction in our life. So let us know about our beloved Prophet (saw) studying authentic Seerah and act according to it throughout our life.

The Prophet (saw) was born in a notable family of Quraish (Bani Hashim) in the year of 571 C. E that was 9th or 12th of Rabiul Awwal, Monday. Eventually He got revelation from Allah through Jibreel at the age of 40.


The Prophet (saw) made hijrah to Madina and he (saw) reached there on Friday 12th of Rabiul Awwal. From the very first day he (saw) established the authority for Islam. The Establishment of Islam in Madina was the first day of joy for the Muslims.

Allah’s Messenger implemented Islamic laws from the very first day he arrived in Madinah and began to structure it by forming the society on a solid foundation as well as by gathering the appropriate force in order to be able to protect the State and convey the Message. With this accomplished, he could begin to remove the material obstacles that stood in the way of the spreading of Islam. The Prophet (saw) was the ruler of Madina (the first Islamic state) until his last day in duniya. He established a strong state that was a superpower for over 1000 years and it rules continued until 1924.

Death of Prophet (saw)

• As we have previously discussed the issue of Hijra in detail at the beginning of Muharram, today I want to focus upon the events regarding the death of the Prophet (saw) and what happened immediate after that.

As for the Messenger (saw), he began his preparation by praying for the forgiveness of those in the graves, and this was during the illness which he died from, where Abu Muwayhiba, the servant of the Prophet (saw), narrated: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) called for me in the middle of the night and said to me: “Oh, Abu Muwayhiba, I have been ordered to pray for forgiveness for the people of the graves, so come with me.” So I departed with him, and when he (saw) stood between them, he said, “Peace be upon you, dwellers of the graves. What you are in is more comfortable than what the people are in, for tribulations have approached like dark patches of night, one following another, and each one is worse than the one before it.” Then he came near to me, and said: “Oh, Abu Muwayhiba, I have been given the keys to the treasures of the world and lasting life in it, then Paradise, and was given a choice between this and the meeting of my Lord and Paradise, so I chose to meet my Lord and Paradise.” So I said: May my father and mother be sacrificed for you, take the keys to the treasures of the world and lasting life in it, then Paradise. But he said, “No, by Allah, oh Abu Muwayhiba, I have chosen to meet my Lord and Paradise.” He then prayed for forgiveness for the people of the graves and left, when the pain that he (saw) was going through showed upon him.

As the pain increased, he (saw) said to Al-Fadhl, with his head wrapped, due to the overwhelming pain, “Take my hand, Fadhl”. So Al-Fadhl took his hand until he sat on the Minbar, then said to Al-Fadhl: “Call the people.” So they gathered. He then praised Allah, and prayed for peace upon the companions of Uhud, and forgiveness for them and prayed much for them, then said: “and furthermore, oh people, I praise Allah between you, of whom there is no Lord worthy of worship other than Him. It has been made known to me that there are some (unful-filled) rights between yourselves, so whoever I have whipped his back (unjustly), this is my back, so take back your right, and if I have vilified someone’s honour, this is my honour, so take back your right. Although resentment is not in my nature, nor my disposition, but you would be beloved to me if you took from me what was rightfully yours, or if you forgave me the right, so I can meet Allah with my soul at ease, and even this, I do not see as sufficient until I undertake (the responsibility) over and over again.” He then stepped down and prayed Dhuhr, then returned and sat upon the Minbar, returning to his speech regarding resentment, and other matters. A man then stood and said:

“Oh, Messenger of Allah, I have with you three Dirhams.” So he (saw) said: “Fadhl, give it to him.” Then he (saw) said: “Oh, people, whoever has something to finish, he should, and (do not fear) the embarrassment of this world, for the embarrassment of this world is less than that of the Akhirah.” So a man then stood, and said: “Oh, Messenger of Allah, I have three Dirhams which I took (unjustly) in the way of Allah.” He (saw) then asked: “Why did you take it?” The man replied: “I needed it.” He (saw) then said: “Take it from him, Fadhl.” and said: “Oh people, whoever fears something of himself, he should come forth and I will pray for him.” So a man stood, and said: “Oh Messenger of Allah, I am a liar and indecent and I sleep too much.” So he (saw) said: “Oh, Allah, bless him with truthfulness, Iman and lift away his sleep if he so wished.” and another man stood and said: “By, Allah, Oh Messenger of Allah, I am a liar and a hypocrite and there is not one crime that I have not committed.” when ‘Umar b. Al-Khattab (ra) stood and said: “You have disgraced yourself.” So the Messenger (saw) said: “Oh son of Al-Khattab, the disgrace of the worldly life is less than that of the afterlife; may Allah bless him with truthfulness, Iman and lead his matter to a good end.”

The Prophet (saw) urged the people to take care of the Ansar, and said: “…and furthermore, oh group of Muhajireen, it has become that you are increasing (in number), and the Ansar are not increasing (in number), (they will remain) as they are today. The Ansar are my cover who extended to me their aid. So be generous to their generous and look past their shortcomings.” The Messenger (saw) then said: “A certain slave of Allah (swt) has been given the choice between whatever he wishes of the delights of this world, or what Allah (swt) has to offer, so he chose what Allah (swt) has to offer.”

Upon hearing this Abu Bakr (ra) wept as he understood that the Prophet was talking about himself and that the choice meant his imminent death and said: “We sacrifice ourselves, our fathers, our mothers and our sons for you, oh Messenger of Allah (swt).” The people were surprised by the reaction of Abu Bakr (ra), and some said: ‘Look to this Shaykh; The Messenger of Allah (swt) informs us of a slave who has been given a choice by Allah (swt), and he says, "we sacrifice our fathers and mothers?"' The Messenger (saw) then said, in reply to Abu Bakr (ra): ‘Be at ease, Abu Bakr). Do you see these open doors of the Mosque (in Makkah), close them, except for the one that is facing the home of Abu Bakr, for the most gracious of people in his friendship and his wealth to me is Abu Bakr, and if I were to take from the slaves (of Allah (swt)), a bosom friend I surely would take Abu Bakr as a bosom friend, but it will remain as companionship and brotherhood in Iman until Allah (swt) brings us together in His company.’

The mother of the believers, 'A'ishah (ra), said: 'I saw the Messenger of Allah (swt) as he was dying. With him was a container of water, where he would put his hand into the container then wipe his face, saying: ‘La 'ilaha 'illAllah, truly death has its agonies. Oh Allah, help me with the agonies of death.’ and held his finger up, saying: ‘Nay, the Most High companion, the Most High companion.’ He (saw) then turned his sights, focusing them on the roof of the house, and said: ‘Oh Allah (swt). The Most High companion.’ where he (saw) then died, his hand falling into the water.

Election of Abu Bakr (ra)

The Prophet (saw) died on Monday, 12th of Rabiul Awwal. The news of the Prophet’s death was so hard upon close companions and Muslims that some of them refused to believe that he had passed away. (At the close of his death, he looked youthful as if in his forties and his face always shown a great radiance). Upon hearing this, Abu Bakr (ra) who was later to become the first caliph went to the mosque and delivered one of the noblest speeches: “O People! If Muhammad is the sole object of your adoration, then know that he is dead. But if it is Allah (The One God) you Worshiped, then know that He does not die.”

He then recited the following verse from the Qur'an, 3:144, which was revealed after the Battle of Uhud:

وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَى أَعْقَابِكُمْ وَمَنْ يَنْقَلِبْ عَلَى عَقِبَيْهِ فَلَنْ يَضُرَّ اللَّهَ شَيْئًا وَسَيَجْزِي اللَّهُ الشَّاكِرِينَ

“Muhammad is no more than an Apostle: many were the Apostles that passed away before him. If he died or were slain, will you then turn back on your heels? If any did turn back on his heels, not the least harm will he do to Allah; but Allah (on the other hand) will swiftly reward those who (serve Him) with gratitude.”

Instead of burying Prophet (saw) immediately the Sahaba (companions) did certain actions which give us a lesson to learn and act. Generally if a Muslim dies, it is obligatory for Muslims to bury him as soon as possible. But the Sahaba did not bury the Prophet (saw) immediately; rather they involved themselves seriously in selecting the Khalifah for Muslims, who is the one to take care of the affairs of the Muslims.

Ibn Hisham reported in his book of Seerah that Ibn Ishaq said that when the Ansaar met in the saqeefah, similar narrations are also in other books of narration like Bukhari, Abdullah b. Abu Bakr narrated from the way of Abdullah b. Abbas that he said that Omer said, “…from our news when Allah took His prophet (saw) to death, the Ansaar disagreed with us. They met with their leaders in the saqeefah of Banu Saa’idah. Ali bin Aby Talib, Zubair bin al-Awwam and others did not join us. The Muhajiroon gathered with Abu Bakr, so I said to Abu Bakr; ‘Let us rush to these brothers from the Ansaar.’ So we rushed to them…” Then Omer continued; “…until we came to them in the Saqeefah of Banu Saa’idah. All of a sudden there was amongst them a cloaked man. I asked, ‘Who is this?’ They replied, ‘Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah’. I then asked, ‘What is the matter with him?’ They said, ‘He is not well.’ When we sat down, their speaker said the Shahadah, then praised Allah and said, ‘After all, we are the Ansaar of Allah, and the battalion of Islam, and you, the people of the Muhajiroon, are part of us. A group of your people rushed in…’ Then he said, ‘Suddenly they wanted to depose us from our origin and usurp the matter (power) from us.’

When he stopped speaking, I wanted to speak. I prepared in my mind a word that I liked, and wished to present it before Abu Bakr and I was hiding my anger from him. Abu Bakr said, ‘Oh Omer, be patient’, so I hated to make him angry. He spoke and he was more knowledgeable and more respected than me. By Allah, he did not leave any good word I had prepared, save he said it or the like of it, or better than it, by his nature until he finished. He said, ‘As regards what you said of good (khair) in you, you are worthy of it. The Arabs would not acknowledge this matter (power) except to this tribe from Quraish. They are in the heart of the Arabs in terms of lineage and place. I accept from you one of these two men, so give bai’ah to whom you like from them.’ He took my hand and the hand of Abu Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah while he was sitting between us. I did not hate what he said except that, by Allah, I preferred that I be killed, without becoming sinful, rather than become an Ameer over a people whom Abu Bakr is part of.”

Omer continued, “Some speaker from the Ansaar said, ‘I am the one who is most fit and most experienced for it. One Ameer is from us and one Ameer is from you, Oh people of Quraish.’” He continued; “Noise increased and voices rose until I feared that disagreement would occur. So I said, ‘Extend your hand O Abu Bakr.’ He extended his hand so I gave him the Bay’ah, then the Muhajiroon gave him the Bay’ah, then the Ansar gave him the Bay’ah. We leapt over Sa’d bin ‘Ubadah. One of them said, ‘You killed Sa’d ibn ‘Ubadah.’ I said, ‘May Allah kill Sa’d bin Ubadah.’” Ibn Katheer narrated in the prophetic Seerah similar to that.

At-Tabari narrated: “That Abu Ubaidah bin al-Jarrah had intervened in the matter (discussion) at the crucial moment. So he stood up and spoke to the Ansaar and said: “O people of the Ansaar, you were the first of those who helped and supported, so do not be the first of those who have changed and reverted”.

When Al-Ansaar heard these words from Abu Ubaydah they were moved. So Bashir b. Sa’d from the leaders of Al-Khazraj stood up and said: “By Allah, even if we were of great advantage in the Jihad against the Mushrikeen, and the precedent in this Deen, all we only wanted from that was the pleasure of our Lord, the obedience of our Prophet, and to strive for ourselves. It is not fitting that we be insolent in this over the people, and we do not seek the pleasure of this world, for Allah is the Provider of this honour to us. Nonetheless, Muhammad (saw) is from Quraysh, and his tribe are more appropriate and deserving, and by Allah, I do not want Allah to see me ever dispute with them in this matter. So fear Allah, and do not disagree or contest with them.”

This word of Bashir was comforting, and the people of Al-Khazraj were convinced by it.

At this moment, Abu Bakr took by the hands of Umar and Abu Ubaydah, as he was sitting between them, and said to the Ansaar: “This is Umar, and this is Abu Ubaydah, you can pledge allegiance to whoever one of them you wish,” and he called them to stick together, and warned them against dissent.

Umar here, witnessing the argument and fearing of the disagreement, raised his voice and shouted: “Stretch out your hand Abu Bakr” Abu Bakr stretched out his hand, and Umar pledged allegiance to him, saying: “Did not the Prophet order that you lead, O Abu Bakr, the Muslims in prayer, so you are the Khaleefah of Rasoolullah. We are pledging allegiance to you so as to pledge allegiance to the best beloved person by Rasoolullah of us all’’. Then Abu Ubaydah stretched out his hand and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, saying: “You are the best of Al-Muhajireen, and the only and second companion in the cave, and the Khaleefah of Rasoolullah in prayer, the best of the Muslims in Deen. Who else is supposed to come before you, or take care of this matter over you?”

Al-Bashir b. Sa’d rushed and pledged his allegiance to Abu Bakr. Usaid b. Hudhayr, head of Al-Aws, looked up to his people who witnessed what Bashir b. Sa’d had done, and said to them: “By Allah if Al-Khazraj were to be appointed once, they will still have with this the advantage over you, and they would not make to you any share in it with them at all. So stand up and pledge allegiance to Abu Bakr”. The Al-Aws stood up and did so. Then people rushed and pledged allegiance to Abu Bakr, until the place of the Saqeefah was overflowing with the crowds.

The Bai’ah of the Saqeefah (hall) was thus concluded, and the body of Allah’s Messenger (saw) was still laid on his bed unburied. Once the Bai’ah was concluded, people dispersed from the hall. The next day, Abu Bakr sat in the Masjid, and Umar stood up and addressed the people, apologising for what he uttered that the Messenger of Allah (saw) had not died, then he went on to say “And verily Allah has left you His Book by which He guided His Messenger, so if you held on to it, Allah would guide you as He did with His Messenger, and verily Allah has united your affairs (authority) over the guardianship of the best man amongst you, the companion of Allah’s Messenger (saw) and the second man in the cave, so get up and give your Bai’ah.” Then all the people did so, and the Bai’ah was concluded. Abu Bakr then stood up and addressed the people; it was his first Khutba as Khaleefah, He said: “O people, I have been appointed upon you as your leader even though I am not the best amongst you, so if I do right help me, and if do wrong correct me. Truth is a trust and lying is treason, the weak amongst you is strong before me till I return to him his right, Allah willing, and the strong amongst you is weak before me till I take the right from him Allah willing. Any people who abandon Jihad in the way of Allah, Allah will strike them with humiliation. If indecency spread amongst any people, Allah would subject them to great tribulations. Do obey me as long as I obey Allah and His Messenger. If I ever disobeyed Allah and His Messenger, I am not entitled to your obedience to me. Get up for prayer, may Allah send His mercy upon you”.

Al-Bukhari reported on the authority of Anas bin Malik: That he heard 'Umar's second speech he delivered when he sat on the pulpit on the day following the death of the Prophet 'Umar recited the Tashahhud while Abu Bakr was silent. 'Umar said, "I wish that Allah's Apostle had outlived all of us, i.e., had been the last (to die). But if Muhammad is dead, Allah nevertheless has kept the light amongst you from which you can receive the same guidance as Allah guided Muhammad with that. And Abu Bakr is the companion of Allah's Apostle He is the second of the two in the cave. He is the most entitled person among the Muslims to manage your affairs. Therefore get up and swear allegiance to him." Some people had already taken the oath of allegiance to him in the shed of Bani Sa'ida but the oath of allegiance taken by the public was taken at the pulpit."

For this they gathered in the courtyard of bani Saida and after the discussion of two days they came to a conclusion that Abu bakr (ra) should be their Khalifah. After appointing the Khalifah, the Sahaba’s then made preparation for the burial of Prophet (saw). By their actions we come to know the importance of appointing an Imam for the Muslims within three days and it should be dealt as life or death issue like the Sahaba did. This is an Ijma of sahaba but now we are living without an Imam who takes care of the affairs of the Ummah for more than eight decades. So all the problems we face today is due to the one reason that is we forget the issue which was dealt by the sahaba’s as vital i.e. the Khilafah. We will definitely revive by establishing the Khilafah rashidah, if we have firm belief in Allah (swt) and follow the sunnah of Prophet (saw).

Al-Haythami (d. 1405 CE) said, “It is known that the Sahabah (ra) consented that selecting the Imam after the end of the era of Prophethood was an obligation (Wajib). Indeed they made it (more) important than the (other) obligations whilst they were busy with it over the burial of the Prophet (saw).” [Al-Haythami, Sawaa'iq ul-haraqah, p. 17]

The Prophet was buried two days after his death at the same place where he died. The place of his burial was decided by his saying as related by Abu Bakr (ra): “Allah does not cause a prophet to die but in the place where he is to be buried.”

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