By Ibrahim Usman
The Islamic Movement in Nigeria has on Saturday, 28th Safar 1436 (20th December, 2014), commemorated the passing away of the Seal of the Prophet, Muhammad Bin Abdullah (SAWA), held at the Hussainiyyah Baqiyyatullah, Zaria, Nigeria.
The occasion attended by multitude of mourners dressed in black attires, was addressed by His Eminence, Sheikh Ibraheem Yaqoub Zakzaky, Leader of the Islamic Movement in Nigeria.
Sheikh Zakzaky briefly read out the last will and testament of the Holy Prophet when his death approached from Bihar al-Anwar (Vol. 22).
The Holy Prophet predicted his departure
Among those things Allah has bestowed on the Holy Prophet was knowledge of the unseen and what would happen after him. When his death neared, and after he has appointed Imam Ali as his successor at Ghadeer Khum, he ensured that Ali constantly remind the Ummah of the obligation of holding firm to his Sunnah and the general teachings of Islam, warned them against disunity and deviation, as well as love, care, assistance and emulation of his Ahlul Bayt (AS) as models.
The Holy was reported to have addressed the people accordingly: “O, people! I will precede you, and you will come to me at my Fountain and I will surely ask you about how you treat these two weighty things (Qur’an and Ahlul Bayt). Watch out how you treat them after me, for Allah Has told me that these two weighty things will never separate from each other until they meet me at the Fountain. I requested from Allah concerning that, and He has granted my request. O listen, I have left for you the Book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt (Pure Progeny). Do not precede (overtake) or tread behind them, for either way, you will disintegrate and go astray. Do not (try) to teach them (religion), for they know better than you. O, you people! I fear that you turned and deviated (from the path) after me, killing each other and meet me as an army in disarray (gone astray). O, Listen. Ali Bin Abi Talib, is my brother and successor. He will fight over interpretation of the Qur’an after me, as I did over its revelation”.
The Holy was reported to have continuously repeated this message at various instances over time. Having full knowledge of those who will dispute his will and testament, the Holy Prophet dispatched an army under the command of Usman Bin Zaid (Jaysh Usama), and included those people from Muhajer and Ansar in the army. The idea was to disperse from Madinah all those people aspiring for leadership (after him), in place of the Ahlul Bayt (AS) successively, and also dispute Imam Ali’s imamate. He insisted that, they proceed immediately to Jarf under the command of Usama, and strongly warned them against delay and disobedience.
As sickness intensified on the Holy Prophet, leaned on the arm of Ali for support, accompanied by some people to Baqi (graveyard), and said: “I was ordered to seek forgiveness for people of Baqi”. At the graveyard the Holy Prophet further said: “Peace unto you, O people of Baqi (graveyard). Congratulate yourselves over situation you found yourself, over that which the people would find themselves. There emerged anarchy (fitna) like the darkness of the night, one following the other in sequence”. He took time at the graveyard praying for forgiveness for the people of Baqi, then faced Ali (AS) and said: “Indeed, Jibra’eel used to make me recite the Holy Qur’an once every year, but this year he asked me to recite it two times. I see this as a sign of my (heavenly) departure. O, Ali! I am given the choice of dwelling in worldly comfort, including its luxuries and treasures forever, and the heavenly bliss in Jannah. I chose to meet my Lord and Jannah. When I die, you wash me, for none dares see my (naked) except that he went blind”.
The Holy Prophet then returned home and spent three days in severe sickness in bed. He came out to the mosque with his head down, supported by Ali Bin Abi Talib on the right and Fadhl Bin Abbas on the left. He was helped unto the pulpit and addressed the people: “O, you people, the time has come for me to depart. Let anyone whom i am indebted to come forward with it. Know that, none of you has any wealth that he can present to the other before Allah, or wards off with it evil, except his good deeds. Let no one make any express any proposal, or aspire to any status, for by He Who sent me as a messenger, nothing can save man but good deeds and mercy of Allah. Had I erred, I would have stumbled. O, Allah, have I delivered (the message)?”
The Holy Prophet then stepped down the pulpit and went inside his house. However, when his sickness intensified the more, Bilal came (at the time of Subhi prayer), to remind the Holy Prophet of the time of prayer, as he had been doing. The Holy Prophet ordered that someone lead the prayer. On hearing that She (one of the wives), ordered that her father be brought forth to lead the prayer. The other also ordered that her father be brought forth to lead the prayer, too. Seeing the imminent confusion and danger that would be caused, the Holy Prophet asked them to refrain and came out, despite his poor condition of health, supported by Ali and Fadhl and led the people in prayer, just when one of those called was about to do that.
When the Holy Prophet returned home after the prayer, he sent for those two men and others who were present in the mosque and said: “Did I not command you to go with Usama’s army (Jaysh Usama)?” “Yes”, they answered. “Why didn’t you go?” He further asked them. The duo replied that they delayed because, they were much worried and concerned over the poor health of the Prophet of Allah. “Proceed with the army of Usama! Proceed with the army of Usama! Proceed with Usama’s army! Allah has cursed those who deviated from Usama’s army”! Said the Holy Prophet. This has caused the Prophet so much torment that he fainted, and there loud wailing from the people around.
When the Holy Prophet regained consciousness, he looked around him and saw these men and other people surrounding him, he asked for a pen and paper, “That I will write down for you that which if you adhere to, you will never go astray (deviate)”. He fainted again. As others were demanding that the pen and paper be brought to the Holy Prophet, someone stood firm that it will not be given to him. He sent back the pen and paper that, the Prophet was speaking in “delirium”! What a calamity, what a Black Thursday it was! There was disagreement and rowdiness as the people were divided into two. Many were regretting the action of the few, who opposed presenting the pen and paper, as it amounted to offending Allah and His Prophet. While the unruliness lasted, the Holy Prophet regained consciousness. As some insisted that the pen and paper be brought to him, said: “Not after what you said”. (Meaning, he heard all that they have said, and there was no need for writing down the message, for it will dismissed as a message from a delirious mind!). “But I urge you to treat my Ahlul Bayt with kindness”, he told them and turned his face away from the people. All the people dispersed, except Ali, Fadhl, Abbas and his closest kinsmen. Abbas asked: “O, Prophet of Allah, if this imamate lie in us, tell us. If we will be overpowered and deprived, advise us”. “You will be weakened and deprived after me”, he told them. They all cried. When they left, the Prophet asked that Ali and Abbas stay back. He demanded that his sword, ring, staff and other personal belongings be handed over to Ali as a symbol of inheritance.
The next day, visiting the Prophet was highly restricted as a result of his severe condition. Ali was with him, attending to him all the time. One time he went out, the Prophet asked that his brother be called, his two wives called for their fathers. The Prophet turned his face away from them, as they were ushered in. However, Ummu Salmah pointed out to them it was Ali he wanted, and Ali was called. The Prophet engaged Ali in a very close and private consultation, his ears very close to his mouth for a long period of time. The duo came forward and asked Ali what transpired between him and the Holy Prophet. He said: “He taught and opened to me thousand gates of knowledge, which further opened up thousand gates of (additional) gates of knowledge. He also told me of that which I should firmly execute by the grace of Allah”.
The Heavenly Departure
When the Holy Prophet died, there none in the room, except Ali, Fatima, Hassan and Husain. He died in his room, which said to be Fatima’s room. He held Hassan and Husain by his side, Fatima close to him, while his head rested on Ali’s thighs. While this was going on, there came voice asking for permission to come. Fatimah decline, that no visitor would be allowed in, in view of the severity of the Prophet’s condition. As the Holy Prophet woke up, he asked if a visitor had come to the door, Fatima said she declined his request to come in. The Prophet told her that it was the angel pf death. Then he came again, and said: “Peace unto you, O Alhlul Bayt of the Prophet, am I permitted to come in?” in a frail and shaky voice, Fatima asked him to come in. he stepped in and saluted the Prophet. He said, “O, you Prophet, I have never asked or given a choice to anyone before taking his life. But here I am before you asking, O, Prophet. Do you permit me to take it?” The Holy Prophet asked him to take his life.
The Holy Prophet asked Ali to fully rest his head on his thighs. He also told that when he died, he should wipe his (Ali’s) face with his hand, perform his funeral and never leave him until he places him in the grave; that he should also seek for Allah’s assistance towards that. They all watched as the Hoy Prophet made the eternal journey to the heavenly abode. As Ali wiped his face with the lifeless hand of the Holy Prophet, he fainted. Fatima fell on the lifeless body of her father, reciting sorrowful elegy.
And Ali performed as commanded. He washed the body of the Prophet assisted by angel Jibra’eel, and Fadhl blinded folded so as not to see the body of the Prophet.
As preparation was being made to prepare the body of the Holy Prophet for burial in his room, Umar called out Abubakar and four of them proceeded to Saqifah where they chose a Caliph amidst chaos. People were also forced to extend allegiance. Only six people performed funeral prayer for the Prophet, the first batch. Then Ali led people in batches to pray for him. Only Ali laid the Holy Prophet in his grave, none but him!
What followed were series of calamities on the Ahlul Bayt (AS), one after the other, as predicted by the Holy Prophet.