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Further reading: 

Masjid Nabawi, Madinah.

˚Ziarats at Masjid Nabawi
Mustahab Acts in Masjid Nabawi

˚Ancestry of Prophet Muhammad

˚All for the Love of a Prophet

˚The Holy Prophet of Islam ('s)

Prophet Muhammad ('s)

˚Anniversary of the Demise of the Prophet Muhammad ('s)

˚Eid Mubahalla

˚Sinlessness of The Prophets

˚The Tragedy of Thursday 

˚History of Al-Baqi in Madinatul Munawwarah

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Published on1st May, 2003

Anniversary of the Demise of the Prophet Muhammad ('s)

Guidance in the Prophet’s Will

By Ayatullah Sayyid Muhammad Husayn Fadhlullah

Masjid Nabawi in Medina. Photo by S.Abidin

Praise be to Allah Lord of the Worlds, and peace and blessings be on our master, Muhammad, his purified progeny, his select companions and all God’s Messengers.

Taking to His Prophet, Allah says:

 {Lo! You will die, and Lo! they will die} 
{We appointed immortality for no mortal before thee; if thou die, can they be immortal?} 
{Muhammad is but a messenger, (the like of whom) have passed away before him. 
Will it be that, when he dies or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels? 
He who turned back does no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful}

The 28th of Safar, is the anniversary of the death of the Prophet. On this painful day in which the contact between earth and heaven was broken, we have to learn about Muhammad’s ('s) last days, according to the historians.

The Prophet’s Will

The late Sheikh Al-Mufid (may Allah bless his soul) wrote in his book "Al-Irshad": When the Messenger felt that he was severely sick, he took Ali ('a) and they  were followed by a group of Muslims and went to Al-Baqi’ (the cemetery of Medina) There the Prophet ('s) said:

"I was commanded to ask forgiveness to the occupants of Baqi". He added when he reached an overlooking spot:

‘Peace be on you, O people of the graves. I congratulate you on your situation compared to that of the living”.

It was as if he was saying to them that leaving this world and meeting their Lord is better than living. It was as though he was feeling the pain and bitterness that resulted from the movements and plots of the hypocrites; that is why he added:

“Tribulations are coming like the dark pieces of night”.

He knew that many plots were in the making, especially since he was witnessing that some people stalled in executing his commands and even forgot what he had said at Ghadir (a stopping-place on the road between Mecca and Medina): that Ali ('a) is the master of all those who consider Muhammad ('s) to be their master.

Then when the Prophet ('s) was about to die, he asked for some papers to write a document that will save the Muslims from deviation after his death forever. But the people did not obey immediately. Instead, some said that the Quran was enough, while others considered that he was hallucinating. Then when they became quiet, they asked the Prophet ('s) if he still wanted the papers, but he replied that it was useless once they had said what they said. He also wanted many of the believers to join the expedition to fight Rome, but some people stalled without a valid excuse, thus creating the circumstances for a conflict that followed his death when Imam Ali ('a) was deprived of his legitimate position as caliph.

From this story, we learn that visiting the graveyard is lawful, in contrast with those who say it is not. Secondly, we notice that the Prophet greeted the people there, which shows us that it is as if their souls are there, and that he can great them. Thus, when we go to the cemetery, we can greet the dead there and ask God to forgive them, and not turn our visit into a social call.

Doing Good Is the Only Key to Heaven

Then the Prophet turned to Ali ('a.) and told him:

“Gabriel used to show me the Quran once every year, but this year he did it twice. I believe it is because my time has come”, and he added:

“I was given the choice between the wealth of this world and Heaven, and I chose Heaven and meeting my Lord ”.

The Messenger used to live in seclusion in the mosque for the last 10 days of the month of Ramadan, but in his last year he changed it to 20 days. Then he left for his home and stayed in bed for 3 days. He then went to the Mosque with a band on his head and helped by Imam Ali ('a) who held his right hand and Al-Fadl ibn Al-Abbas who held his left hand. He than made a speech in which he told the people that he was about to die and asked them to ask for their trusts or debts, if there were any. Then he said:

“O, People, there is not between anybody and Allah anything that would make him bestow His grace on him or keep an evil away except one’s actions”.

Meaning that there are no advantages for anybody, and no lineage or social and economic position will get him nearer to Allah (swt). Such a statement when the Messenger is the one who is saying it, means everybody without exception –

“No one should claim or wish so, for by Him who sent me a prophet (to call) for the right, nothing saves except deeds with mercy- you should act in doing good and ask Allah to forgive your sins-If I would sin I would have fallen down, O God, Have I conveyed?”

It is as if the Prophet ('s) were repeating two Ayats in the Holy Quran:

{It will not be in accordance with your desires or the desires of the people of the Scripture. 
He who does wrong will have the recompense thereof, and will not find against Allah any protecting friend or helper} 

{Say I fear if I disobey my Lord, the torment of fateful day}

Do not say that since we are Muslims we will not go to hell. It is not a matter of wishes. The relationship between Allah and man is based on the latter’s action. And he who disobeys Allah does not have any privileges. True, there are intercessions but they are only for those who do good, and being related to someone or having a certain social rank will do you no good. That is why the Prophet said: “The only thing that gives salvation is action along with mercy”.

Being Related to the Prophet is no Privilege

It is reported that when the Prophet ('s) was on his deathbed, he was accompanied by his uncle Al-Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib, his aunt Safiah and his daughter Fatima Al-Zahra ('a). He turned to each of them, calling them by name and saying:

“Do good for the sake of Allah, for I can do nothing for you”, even if it were Fatima ('a), his daughter. That is why Imam Ali ('a) said: “Muhammad’s (s) friend is he who obeys Allah even if he is not related to him, while Muhammad’s enemy is he who disobeys Allah even if he is a close relative”.

Being a relative of Muhammad ('s) only means that your responsibility is greater. That is why it is reported that when someone saw Ali bin Al-Hussain ('a) crying in prayer despite the fact that his grandfather was the Messenger ('s) and Imam Ali ('a), while his grandmother was Fatima ('a) and Al-Hussain ('a) was his father, he told him that Allah created heaven for those who obey him even if they were slaves and he created hell for those who disobey him even if they were from the nobility of Quraish (the most noble Arabian tribe).

Islam is God’s Trust

Having reviewed some of the events and the general atmosphere around the Prophet in his last days, we turn our attention to the following verse

Muhammad is but a messenger, (The like of whom) have passed away before him
Will it be that, when he dies or is slain, ye will turn back on your heels 
He who turned back does no hurt to Allah, and Allah will reward the thankful 

Each prophet lives for a certain time only and then he is bound to die. Our commitment to Islam should not end with the death of the Prophet. Islam is Allah’s trust which we should keep by learning it and by adhering to its teachings and commands in our individual and social affairs, as well as teaching it to our children, so as to make the new generation a Muslim one

We have to learn Islam, each according to his abilities, so that we will become propagators to it. We ought to make our visits, social occasions and all our affairs full of Islam, so as to deeply root it in our lives. The call for Islam is not the duty of the religious scholars only, but rather that of every Muslim. Moreover, we have to shoulder the responsibility of Islam as it was held by Imam Ali ('a), the role model and the great champion of Islamic unity, when he gave up his legitimate right of caliphate to prevent any division and strife among Muslims. We have to uphold the unity and strength of Islam to be able to face all challenges.

Walhamdo Lillahi Rabbil Aalameen

The Tomb of the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings be upon him and his chosen descendants) in Medina.

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