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  • 3/28/2006

The Demise of the Prophet Mohammad (PBUH)

The Holy Qur'an says:

"This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion." (5:3)

On the 25th of the 10th year of Hijra (Hazrat Mohammad's migration from Mecca to Medina in 522 AD) the Prophet (PBUH), accompanied by hosts of Muslims as well as his family members, made a last pilgrimage toMecca. This last trip to the Holy Ka'ba was known as the `Farewell Pilgrimage', because shortly afterward the Holy Prophet (PBUH) passed away.

Hazrat Mohammad (PBUH) arrived inMecca on Zulhajjah 4, and circumambulated the Ka'ba on horseback in order to have a complete view of the multitude of pilgrims, among whom was Imam Ali (pbuh), who had just arrived fromYemen. Upon the completion of the rites and rituals, the pilgrims' caravans set off for Medina.

At a place called Ghadir-e Khum (the Pond of Khum), there came a revelation unto the Holy Prophet (PBUH), who, immediately, ascended a pulpit which had just been erected by a pile of wood borne by the caravan camels. The Prophet (PBUH) delivered a sermon in which he said that his end was approaching. He then took Ali (pbuh) by the arm, and seriously and loudly declared, "Who so ever's master I am, Ali is his master, too. Whoever helps me has helped him, too. And whoever is my enemy, is his enemy, too."

It was then that the above-mentioned Quranic verse was revealed onto the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH).

Some among the pilgrims were not pleased with this declaration and plotted an attempt on the Prophet's life. However, their attempt proved abortive, thanks to the Angel Gabriel who informed the Prophet (PBUH) of the danger.

The long and tiring pilgrimage to Mecca made the Prophet (PBUH) ill. But he recovered his health, though for a short time.

The Prophet's (PBUH) main concern after the Farewell Pilgrimage was northern Arabia. There was no threat from the south at the time. The fact was that after the Battle of Mutta, in which Muslims did not come out victorious, the Prophet (PBUH) had always been worried about the Roman Empire in the north.

He thus ordered to prepare for a fight against Rome and, accordingly, appointed Ossama bin Zeyd, a young man of 20, to command the Muslim army.

Back from Roman territories, the Muslim army stopped shortly at a place near Medina to gather strength to head for Palestine. The news about the Prophet's (PBUH) illness reached the army. Muslim warriors, who loved the Prophet, could not set off and thus postponed the journey to the east.

It is narrated that on the night before the Prophet's (PBUH) illness, he paid a visit toBaqiCemetery, to beseech God's grace for the souls of those buried there. He was then confined to bed due to serious illness at the house of Aishah.

One day, when the Prophet (PBUH) had a high fever, he ordered the pouring of seven Mashks (water-skins) of water, taken from seven different wells, onto his body. When his fever subsided, he went to the mosque to pray to God, the Almighty, beseeching Him to forgive the sins of his companions and those who had helped him and accompanied him in his migration from Mecca to Medina. He told the congregation to do good to their friends, and not to retaliate against their adversaries. "However, if I have wronged anyone, I am ready for requital."

The Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) passed way on the same day, the 28th of Safar, at the age of 63.  His Holy body was given a holy ablution by Imam Ali (pbuh) and Ibn Abbas (the Prophet's uncle) and some near kin. His wives cried sadly over his death. People who had seen the Prophet (PBUH) earlier that morning did not believe he was dead.

Following his death, people came and paid their last tribute to the Holy Prophet of Islam. There was a disagreement over the place of the burial, with some saying that the Prophet (PBUH) should be buried inside a mosque, while others said in theBaqiCemetery.

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