There were a lot of teary eyes during last Thursday’s halaqa. We talked about the Prophet’s Farewell Pilgrimage, Farewell Sermon and Death. His legacy is truly attests to the fact that through perseverance the victory of truth over falsehood can be realized. It shows the possibility that through faith one person can revive and change the world forever. Belief and success in a Muslims life are intertwined–both this world and the Hereafter.
We are not a “Nobel Prize Ummah.” For us the most prestigious prize is as Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an,” . . . whoever is spared Hell and is admitted to Paradise shall surely triumph” (3:185)–and if along the way according to “human” criteria we win a Nobel Prize so be it. But it is not our ultimate goal. It is not a goal in and of itself, for Allah (swt) warns us,” . . . the life of this world (with all its luxuries, wealth and privileged positions. awards, prizes etc) is nothing but an enjoyment of self-delusion” (3:185). This is a powerful concept, one that those dealing with Muslims would pounce on rather than crinkle their noses at. You see when a person works for a financial goal, a person’s time and effort is worth how much one is paid. Consequently when paid less the hours worked and the effort follow suit. And if one is not paid enough, then there is no reason for one to work at all–it simply is not worth it. The same applies if one is not appreciated through raises and promotions.
But imagine when Muslims do all that they do in this world solely for the sake of Allah (SWT). It is a life-long powerful concept and motive. Whether they are paid or not, appreciated or not, promoted or not in this dunya it does not matter because they have their eyes on the real prize–a life of eternity close to Allah (SWT) in a Jannah whose width is that of the earth and the heavens. This is what Umar Ibn Al-Khattab meant when he said, “We are a people whom Allah has elevated with Islam, and if we sought elevation through any other means we will be humiliated and disgraced.”
This is what makes us Muslims unique–sets us apart from other “wordly” nations. And amongst ourselves we should also seek uniqueness–so if by praying, fasting, doing hajj or umrah, and wearing hijab you think you are already unique think again? Millions pray, fast, do hajj or umrah, and wear hijab ! This is the collective uniqueness about the Muslim Ummah–something you share with the whole Ummah. But what really makes you unique among them? What are you doing for Islam that is unique? If you can’t answer this question yet, you have not found your niche in Islam. The best job you can ever have is with Allah (swt)–all the Prophets (as) worked for Allah (swt). He (swt) was their boss. So, if you are truly sincere, hand in your job application to Allah (swt) through dua, and He (swt) will guide you to your job “title” and “description.” Insha Allah. Be sincere and motivated, Allah (swt) only accepts the best among His slaves to work for Him (swt). Are you up for it?
Now to the farewell pilgrimage and sermon. They were witnessed by 100,000 Muslims. In it he (saw) showed them and us the rulings for pilgrimage–and to this very day we imitate him (saw) to a T. As for his farewell sermon, it was a message both to the Ummah during his time and the Ummah at large. They were his final commandments that he (saw) wanted us to hold on to firmly after his death. He begins:
O People! Lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I will be amongst you. Therefore, listen carefully to what I am saying and take these words to those who could not be present here today. O People! Just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, your deeds.
He then warned us against Shaytan,” Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.” The “big” things are those that are like “associating gods with Allah (swt) and worshipping them either with or instead of Allah.” But remember he can lead us astray in other ways. See my summary on the BB4 Muslimas Halaqa on Shaytan.
He (saw) did not forget to warn men about our rights over them, and to remind us of our rights over men:
O People! It is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.
Throughout the Seerah we have witnessed how much the Prophet (saw) was a supporter of women’s private and public roles and rights–whether in the home or in society at large. Yea even in warfare, he (saw) never excluded women. If you ever come across someone who claims the opposite, now you know. Doubt yourself and your understanding of what you come across about his sayings related to women, but never doubt the Prophet (saw).
He (saw) warned against discrimination and racism–at a time way before anti racism, discrimination and abolition movements:
All mankind is from Adam and Eve, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over black nor a black over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly.
Furthermore, he (saw) reminds us that he (saw) will boast about us on the Day of Judgment to other nations, and in turn asks us not to shame him on that day by coming with sins that will prevent him (saw) from it. Then the most emotional part of all in the whole sermon was when he (saw) said:
I am a human being, and I will die. Allah will ask you about me, what are you going to tell Him?” The companions said, “We will tell Him that you had informed us with His message and you had done your best. We will ask Him to reward you with the best thing He will ever reward any prophet with. Will you bear witness that he (saw) did? Will you be able to say, ““We will bear witness that you have conveyed (the message), discharged (the ministry of Prophethood) and given wise (sincere) counsel”?
Saying it is not enough, but acting upon, implementing and applying it is the only way to appreciate it. By doing so you are attesting that it is a message that it is worth following. Nothing other than that will bear witness–i.e being true to your word. For complete farewell sermon click here. Finally on the day of Arafa, on a Friday, the following verse signaling the completion of Allah’s favor upon us is revealed. Allah (swt) announces the completion and perfection of our religion in the verse, ” Today I have completed your relgion for you, and I have perfected My favor on you, and I am satisfied with Islam as a religion for you” (5:3).
Now back in Medina, the Prophet (saw) addresses the people of Medina saying, “O my people. I am pleased with Abu-Bakr, Omar, Ali, Othman, Talha, Al-Zobayr, Sa’d, Ibn-Ouf, Al-Muhajireen, and Al-Ansar. I am asking you to take care of my family, and companions.” He (saw) warns against “whipping” others with our tongues, “Do not ever talk ill of anybody without a proof.” Then the beautiful hadith mentioned in Bukhari and Muslim by Ibn ‘Abbas (raa) said:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “All the nations were shown to me and I saw a Prophet with a small group, and a Prophet with one or two men, and a Prophet with no one at all. Then an enormous mass was shown to me and I thought that they were my community. I was told, ‘This is Musa and his community, but look to the furthest horizon,’ and there was an enormous mass. It was said to me, ‘This is your community. Among them are seventy thousand who will enter Paradise without reckoning or punishment.'”
The Prophet (saw) then fell ill, during this time he (saw) led the prayer sitting. Also during this time the last verse of the Qur’an was revealed, “And protect yourselves against a Day in which you will be returned to Allah. Thereafter ever self will be paid in full what it has earned, and they will not be done injustice” (2:281)
During the Prophet’s (saw) final days he thought about us, yes us. He missed us then without knowing us, so you can imagine what a reunion with him (saw) for real will be like insha Allah. Abu Hurayra reported:
The Messenger of Allah (saw) came to a graveyard and said, ‘Peace be upon you, abode of believing people. Allah willing, we will join you. I wish that we could see our brothers.’ They [the companions] said, ‘Are we not your brothers, Messenger of Allah?’ He said, ‘You are my Companions. My brothers are those who will come after me, and will believe in me without seeing me. I missed them so I cried’”(Related by Muslim and Malik in Al-Muwata).
The last three days he (saw) was too sick to lead prayer and accordingly he ordered that Abu Bakr to take his place. He (saw) then gathered his wives and asked them to grant him permission to be nursed at his wife Aishah’s (raa), and they all agreed. The prophet (saw) experienced the agony of death and said, “There is no God but Allah; death indeed has agonies.” The Muslims started to worry about him (saw). So, he (saw) with difficulty addressed them on the pulpit reminding them of the final meeting place by Al-Kawthar. He (saw) added, “Allah (SWT) gave a choice to one of (His) slaves either to choose this world or what is with Him in the Hereafter. He chose the latter.” Abu Bakr (raa) wept profusely–he understood that the world would forever weep over the loss of the noblest man who walked this earth.
Then the prophet (saw) said, “To whoever I whipped, come and whip me. To whomever I took money from, come and take my money. To whoever I cursed, come and curse me.” The prophet (saw) continued, “Fear Allah in Salah. Fear Allah in your relatives. Fear Allah in women, and take care of them.” Realize the importance of prayer. Then he (saw) made dua for this Ummah, “May Allah shelter you, grant you victory , protect and support you”. Finally he said, “Remember me to all the Muslims who will come after my death till the Day of Judgment.” He sent his salams to you back then. Wa Alaikum Assalaam O Prophet of Allah.
It is the final night, and Fatima (raa) came to see her father. She sensed that it was the end, because for the first time in his life he did not greet her at the door and kiss her on the forehead. He (saw) asked her to come close so that he (saw) could tell her a secret. He (saw) whispered in her ear and she started to cry. He whispered again, and she smiled. When asked later by Aishah (raa) she said, “He told me that it was his last night, so I wept. Then he told me that I will be the first of his family to follow him, so I laughed.”
It is the final hour, and the Prophet’s (saw) head is resting between the chest and chin of his wife Aishah (raa). Angel Gabriel (as) entered and asked permission for the entry of the Angel of Death and he (saw) granted permission, at which the Angel of Death said, “Allah sent me to ask you if you want this world or the Highest Companion?” He (saw) chose the latter, at which the Angel of Death stood at the Prophet’s forehead and said, “O good soul of Muhammad Ibn Abdullah, come out to a Lord who is totally pleased with you.” I wonder how the Angel of Death will address our souls? Will it say, “Come to a Lord who is totally pleased with you” or otherwise?
The death of the Prophet (saw) was a hard blow on the companions–how could it no be when they had spent 23 years, if not more, with him (raa). Even Umar (raa) was in shock. He drew his sword and threatened anyone who claimed that he (raa) was dead. In the midst of this all, Abu Bakr (raa) the most soft hearted of all the companions after confirming the Prophet’s (raa) death and bidding his body farewell saying, “Let my father and mother be sacrificed for you. By Allah, Allah will never cause you to die twice. As for the death which was written for you, it has come upon you.” stood up and said:
If anyone amongst you used to worship Muhammad, then Muhammad is dead. But if anyone of you used to worship Allah, then Allah is Alive and shall never die. Allah said , “And in no way is Muhammad (anything) except a Messenger; the Messengers have already passed away before him. Then, will it be that, in case he dies or is killed, will you turn (Literally: turn (s) over on) on your heels? And whoever turns (Literally: turn (s) over on) on his heels) he will never harm Allah in anything; and Allah will recompense the thankful” (3:144).
He (raa) shook the Ummah to its senses.
But despite the fact they were sad, and with sadness and difficulty they washed, shrouded, prayed over and buried the body of the Prophet of Allah (saw). With heavy hearts they went home, and grieved for the greatest calamity that had ever befallen them. Umar Ibn Al-Khattab from that moment on used to say, “Whenever a calamity befell me after that, I would compare it to the loss of the Prophet of Allah (saw) and it would seem very trivial.”
The following Fajr Bilal (raa) called for prayer and on reaching, “I bear witness that Muhammad is His Prophet,” he (raa) broke down crying as did the whole of Madinah. He (raa) asked to be relieved from that duty, a request that Abu Bakr (raa) granted.
We wept last Thursday overcome with an immense feeling of loss. But remember the real loss is if you are not reunited with him (saw) by Al-Kawthar, the promised meeting place where he (saw) will be waiting to meet you. If your lifestyle in this world is far from that of his (saw) Sunnah, it would indeed make you ineligible to be one of his companions in Jannah. He was unique in every way, are you?