In the year 632 A.D., the Holy Prophet felt that his mission was nearing completion, and understanding that the end of his life was near; he decided to make a farewell pilgrimage to Mecca. After completing the various ceremonies of the Hajj, the Prophet addressed the people gathered there from the top of the Mount of Mercy, in the Plain of Arafat:
“O people, listen to my words; for I do not know if I shall be among you after this year. Remember that you have to appear before your Lord Who will demand from you an account of all your actions.
“O people, you have rights over your wives and your wives have rights over you. Remember, you must always treat your wives with kindness. Woman is weak and cannot protect her own rights. When you married, God appointed you the trustees of those rights. You brought your wives to your homes under the Law of God. You must not, therefore, insult the trust which God has placed in your hands.
“O people feed your slaves as you feed yourselves and clothe your slaves as you clothe yourselves. If they commit a fault which you are unable to forgive, then pass them on to someone else. They are part of God’s creation and are not to be harshly treated.
“O people, listen to my words, and remember that all Muslims are brothers one of another. As you are one brotherhood, you will not take your brother’s belongings which he does not give you of his own goodwill. And guard yourself against committing injustice.
“O people, take note that I trample under foot all un-Islamic customs and traditions. All blood feuds are wiped out. As God has made you one brotherhood, so be not divided. An Arab has no superiority over a non Arab, nor a non Arab over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one. This day, retaliation for all murders committed in the days of ignorance is cancelled and all sums of interest are remitted.
“O people, worship your Lord, observe Prayer, observe the Fast during Ramadhan, pay the Zakat cheerfully, perform the Pilgrimage, and obey those in authority among you; God will admit you to His paradise”
And he concluded:
“What I have said to you, you shall tell the others who are not present”
With these words the Prophet finished his address when a revelation came to him:
“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed upon you my favour and have chosen for you Islam as Religion (5:4)
This is believed to be the last revelation received by the Holy Prophet and with it the process of Quranic revelations, spanning a period of twenty two years, came to a close.
THE PROPHET’S ILLNESS
Two months after returning from the farewell pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet fell ill. One day, after having led the Prayer, he addressed the people present in the mosque. He said, “There is a slave among the slaves of God to whom God has offered the choice between this world and that which is with Him. And the slave has chosen that which is with God.” When Abu Bakr heard these words, he began to weep; for he understood that the Holy Prophet was speaking of himself and that the choice he referred to was his imminent death. The Holy Prophet continued, “O people, the most beneficent of men unto me in companionship and generosity has been Abu Bakr; and if I were to select from all mankind an inseparable friend, he would be Abu Bakr. But real companionship and brotherhood is ours when God unites us all in His presence”.
When the Prophet became so ill that he could not even come to the mosque, he asked that Abu Bakr lead the daily Prayers. Hazrat A’isha knew that her father was very sensitive and prone to weeping and would be greatly distressed taking the Prophet’s place. She, therefore, suggested Omar’s name instead. But the Holy Prophet insisted that it be Abu Bakr.
One day the Prophet was feeling a little better so he asked to be taken to the mosque. Ibne Abbas and Ali supported him from each side and, with his feet dragging on the ground, took him to the mosque. Abu Bakr had already started leading the Prayer. As Ibne Abbas and Ali took the Prophet to the front row, the people tried to give Abu Bakr a hint by clapping their hands. Abu Bakr, however, was too engrossed in the Prayer and did not take any notice. Finally he became aware of the Prophet’s presence behind him and wanted to move back. The Prophet, however, indicated to him to continue leading the Prayer and asked lab Abbas and Ali to put him down next to Abu Bakr. The Prayer then continued in such a manner that Abu Bakr was following the Holy Prophet seated next to him while the people behind were following Abu Bakr. After the Prayer was over the Prophet asked Abu Bakr why he didn’t continue leading the Prayer after he was asked to do so. Abu Bakr replied, “How dare the son of Abu Qahafa lead the Prayer in the presence of the Messenger of God.”
As the Prophet’s illness advanced, he requested his wives to allow him to spend his last days with A’isha, to which they all agreed. One day Fatimah, his daughter, came to see him. A’isha saw the Holy Prophet whisper something in Hazrat Fatimah’s ear, upon which Fatimah began to cry. Then he whispered something else in her ear, which made her smile through her tears. When A’isha queried Fatimah on what the Holy Prophet was whispering to her, she answered that it was a secret not to be divulged. Much later, she told A’isha that the Holy Prophet had informed her that he was going to die in that illness and this had made her cry. Then the Holy Prophet told her that she, Fatimah, would be the first from the Prophet’s house to join him, and this had cheered her up.
The Prophet’s Mosque in Medinah was adjacent to his residence. One day the Prophet stood by the window and looked outside at the Muslims getting ready to say their Fajr Prayers behind Abu Bakr. The people looked at the Holy Prophet’s face and waited for him to join them. He smiled at them and indicated with his hand for Abu Bakr to go ahead with the Prayer. That was the last time the Muslims saw their Prophet’s face; that day at noon, the Holy Prophet passed away. On June 8, 632 A.D., the Holy Prophet was buried and thus ended the glorious career of the Prophet of Islam, the greatest man of Arabia, indeed of the whole world.
When Omar was told of the Prophet’s death, he did not believe it. He always thought that the Holy Prophet was going to outlive all of them. He, therefore, proceeded to the mosque and started telling the people that the Prophet was merely absent in spirit and will return soon.
When Abu Bakr heard the sad news, he went straight to his daughter A’isha’s house and drew back the cloak which covered the Prophet’s face. He looked at the face of his departed friend and then bent down and kissed it. “Dearer than my father and mother,” he said, “thou hast tasted the death which God decreed for thee. Thou art too precious with the Lord for another death to befall thee.”
After this, Abu Bakr went out where Omar was still addressing the people. He asked Omar to be quiet but Omar paid no attention. Finally Abu Bakr started to speak to the people himself:
“O people, whosoever worships Muhammad, let him then know that Muhammad is dead. But whosoever worships God, let him know that the Lord is living and does not die”
Abu Bakr then recited the following Quranic verses which were revealed after the Battle of Uhud:
“And Muhammad is only a Messenger. Verily, Messengers have passed away before. If then he dies or is slain, will you non back on your heels?” (3:145)
Hazrat Abu Bakr’s words put a hush on the crowd. Omar himself was astounded. When realization finally sank in that the Holy Prophet was really dead, his legs could not carry him and Omar fell to the ground.
The Holy Prophet’s body was bathed and laid out in the chamber of A’isha where he had died. Next morning, the inhabitants of Medinah came and visited it, praying over his remains. Abu Bakr and Omar entered the chamber and prayed as follows:
“Peace be upon thee, O Prophet of God, and mercy from the Lord and His blessing. We bear witness that the Prophet of God has delivered the Message revealed to him; has fought in the way of God until God gave his religion victory; has fulfilled his words, has drawn us to himself, and been kind and tenderhearted towards the believers; has sought no recompense for delivering the Faith to us, neither has he sold it for a price at any time.”
In the evening, the final rites were performed and the body was buried in a grave dug in A’isha’s chamber, at the same place where the Prophet had breathed his last. Later on, when Abu Bakr died, he was buried in the same chamber and, in due time, Omar as well. Thus was fulfilled a dream of A’isha that three moons fell, one after another, into her chamber.
WIVES OF THE HOLY PROPHET
1. HAZRAT KHADIJAH (Marriage: 595 A.D.)
A fairly well to do lady of Mecca, Khadijah was twice widowed, and fifteen years his senior, when she married the Prophet Muhammad. Her former husbands were named Abu Halah and Ateek.
Her marriage with the Holy Prophet lasted twenty five years fifteen years before and ten years after the beginning of his prophetic mission. As long as the Holy Prophet was married to Khadijah, he did not take any other wife.
Khadijah died about two years before the Hijrah when the Holy Prophet was fifty years old. She was buried in Mecca. Khadijah was the Prophet’s only wife who bore him children that lived past infancy.
The Prophet’s love and regard for Khadijah was so great that even after her death the manner in which he remembered her often made even the likes of A’isha very jealous. On one occasion Khadijah’s younger sister, Halah came to visit the Holy Prophet. When he heard her voice he became startled and remarked:
“It must be Halah; her voice is so much like Khadijah’s.”
At this A’isha could no longer control herself and remarked:
“How come, you always think of the old woman who is dead, while God has given you better wives?”
The Holy Prophet replied:
“It is not so. When people rejected me she stood by me; when people disbelieved, she believed and accepted Islam; when I had no support, she helped me.”
2. HAZRAT SAUDAH (Marriage: 620 A.D.)
Saudah held the distinction of being the first lady the Holy Prophet married after the death of Khadijah. At the time of her marriage to the Holy Prophet Saudah was a widow of nearly fifty years of age. The name of her former husband was Sakran who was an early convert to Islam. Both of them had migrated to Abyssinia but had returned to Mecca about the time Khadijah died. Very soon afterwards Sakran died, leaving Saudah a widow.
At the time of Khadijah’s death, two younger daughters of the Holy Prophet – Umm al Kalthum and Fatimah – were still young and unmarried. At the suggestion of the wife of one of his Companions, the Holy Prophet married Saudah to be relieved of domestic worry.
The marriage took place in Mecca, a few months after Khadijah’s death. When the Holy Prophet migrated to Medinah, Saudah also joined him there. She died in 22 A.H. during the Khilafat of Omar.
3. HAZRAT A’ISHA (Marriage: 622 A.D.)
A’isha was the daughter of Abu Bakr and his wife Zaynab (Umm Roman). At the time of the Prophet’s marriage to Saudah, the name of A’isha was also brought to his attention. But A’isha was then engaged to Jubayr bin Mutim. Later on Jubayr who had not embraced Islam – broke the engagement due to Abu Bakr’s close companionship with the Holy Prophet.
After her engagement with Jubayr was dissolved, the Holy Prophet married A’isha with Abu Bakr performing the “nikah” ceremony. The marriage, however, was not consummated till after the Prophet’s migration to Medinah.
A’isha spent nine years with the Holy Prophet and died in 57 A.H., at the age of sixty six years. She was buried in the graveyard in Medinah, known as Janna-tul-Baqih.
A’isha was very dear to the Holy Prophet not only because of her youthfulness but also because of her intelligence, quick wittedness and piety. More than one quarter of all the Ahadith quoted by the great compilers of the Prophet’s Traditions are narrated by Hazrat A’isha.
4. HAZRAT HAFSAH (Marriage: 624 A.D.)
Hafsah was the daughter of Omar bin Khattab. The Holy Prophet married her in the third year of the Hijrah, soon after her former husband, Khumays, died of wounds sustained in the Battle of Badr.
Hafsah was a very learned lady, and the standard text of the Holy Quran, in the sequence laid down by the Holy Prophet, was kept in her custody.
Hazrat Hafsah died in 45 A.H., at the age of sixty and was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih.
5. HAZRAT ZAYNAB BINT KHUZAYMAH (Marriage: 625 A.D.)
Zaynab was first married to Tufayl bin Harith who had divorced her. She then married Abdullah bin Hajash who became a martyr in the Battle of Uhud. In consideration of her bereavement, several Muslims offered to marry her but she declined them all. However, when the Holy Prophet proposed to her she accepted the honour. The marriage took place soon after the Battle of Uhud, in 3 A.H. She was thirty years old at the time.
Zaynab bint Khuzaymah, however, did not live long and died within two or three months after her marriage. Besides Khadijah, Zaynab bint Khuzaymah was the only other wife of the Holy Prophet who died within his lifetime. The funeral prayer was performed by the Holy Prophet himself, and Zaynab was buried in the Janna tul-Baqih.
5. HAZRAT UMM SALMAH (Marriage: 626 A.D.)
Her real name was Hind and she was the daughter of Suhayl and Atikah. She was fast married to Abdullah bin Abdul Asad who had taken the “kunniyat” of Abu Salmah.
Both Umm Salmah and her husband had embraced Islam in the early years of the Prophet’s mission and were also among the first emigrants to Abyssinia. Later on they returned to Mecca and after the Holy Prophet’s migration to Medinah, followed him there.
Abu Salmah suffered some bad wounds in the Battle of Uhud and eventually succumbed to blood poisoning some eight months later. Umm Salmah was a mature lady with four children when she became a widow.
When the Holy Prophet proposed to her, she initially made some excuses regarding her advanced age and having many children but later on accepted the honour. They were married around 4 5 A.H.
Umm Salmah died in 63 A.H., at the age of eighty four, and was the last of the Prophet’s surviving wives. She was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih, alongside the Holy Prophet’s other wives.
7. HAZRAT JOWA’RIAH (Marriage: 626A.D.)
Formerly known as Barrah, Juwayriah was the daughter of Harith, the Chief of the Banu Musta’liq tribe. She was married to Musafi who lost his life fighting against the Muslims in the Expedition of Banu Musta’liq, in the fifth year of the Hijrah.
With the defeat of the Banu Musta’liq, a large amount of booty and prisoners of war came into the hands of the Muslims. Juwayriah fell to the lot of a warrior who demanded as ransom quantity of gold beyond her means to pay. She then came to the Holy Prophet beseeching him for help. He offered to marry her to which she, as well as her master, agreed. She was about twenty years old at the time.
When the Muslim warriors learned of this marriage, they freed all captives of the Banu Musta’liq clan since they had all now become relatives of the Holy Prophet by virtue of his marriage to Juwayriah.
Juwayriah died in 50 A.H., at the age of sixty five. She was also buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih in Medinah.
8. HAZRAT ZAYNAB BINT JAHSH (Marriage: 626 A.D.)
Zaynab was the daughter of Umaymah, a sister of the Prophet’s father Abdullah and thereby a cousin of the Holy Prophet. She belonged to the noble clan of Hashim and was proud of this fact.
When the Prophet launched his drive for Islamic brotherhood and tried to remove all signs of racial and ethnic superiority, he arranged the marriage of his cousin Zaynab to his freed slave, Zayd.
Zaynab, however, could never get adjusted to the idea of marrying a freed slave and her marriage with Zayd eventually led to a divorce due to mutual incompatibility.
Since the Holy Prophet had been responsible for arranging her marriage and had guaranteed her upkeep, he decided to marry her himself. Zaynab was about thirty eight years old at the time and the marriage took place in the fifth year of the Hijrah.
Zaynab was the most generous of the Holy Prophet’s wives and used to give away most of her annual stipend to the poor. Before his death the Holy Prophet once remarked to his wives:
“The first to join me among you is the one with the longest hand.”
The Prophet’s wives took the hint literally and started comparing the lengths of their hands. It was after the death of Zaynab that the other wives realized that the Holy Prophet’s words actually alluded to the person’s generosity. Zaynab died in 20 A.H., at the age of fifty-three.
9. HAZRAT UMME HABIBAH (Marriage: 628 A.D.)
Her real name was Ramlah and she was the daughter of Abu Sufyan, a staunch enemy of the Holy Prophet. She had married Ubaydullah bin Jahsh and both had embraced Islam in the early days of the Prophet’s mission. To avoid the persecution of the Muslims in Mecca, both Umm Habibah and her husband went to Abyssinia with the Second Emigration of the Muslims to that country.
On reaching Abyssinia, her husband converted to Christianity while Umm Habibah remained steadfast in her faith. After his conversion, Ubaydullah separated from his wife and later on died.
In the seventh year of the Hijrah, the Holy Prophet sent his envoy from Medinah to Negus, King of Abyssinia, asking for Umm Habibah’s hand in marriage. Negus conveyed the Prophet’s proposal to Umm Habibah to which she readily consented. Negus himself presided over the marriage ceremony and afterwards sent Umm Habibah to Medinah under proper escort. At the time of her marriage to the Holy Prophet, Umm Habibah was about thirty sin years of age.
Umm Habibah died in 44 A.H. at the age of seventy three and was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih in Medinah.
10. HAZRAT SAFIYAH (Marriage: 628 A.D.)
Her real name was Zaynab and she was the daughter of Haiy bin Akhtab, a chieftain of the Banu Nadir tribe of the Jews. The Banu Nadir had been expelled from Medinah after the Battle of Uhud and had settled down at Khyber.
Safiyah’s first marriage to Sallam bin Mishkan ended in divorce. She then married Kinanah, a Jewish warrior at Khyber. During the Battle of Khyber her husband and father were both killed and Safiyah, along with other women, was captured. In deference to her status among her own people, the Holy Prophet released her and invited her to embrace Islam. The Holy Prophet then asked for her hand in marriage, to which she readily agreed. She was about eighteen years old at the time.
Being of Jewish origin and an outsider, Safiyah often received a discriminatory treatment from the Holy Prophet’s other wives. Once A’isha called her a “shrimp” on account of her short stature. The Holy Prophet overheard the remark and said to A’isha:
“A’isha, you have said a word which, if dropped in the sea, would pollute the whole water.”
On another occasion A’isha and Zaynab teased Safiyah regarding their ethnic superiority by saying that they were not only the Prophet’s wives but were also related to him. When Safiyah complained about this to the Holy Prophet, he said:
“Safiyah, why didn’t you reply saying that your father was Aaron, your uncle Moses and your husband is Muhammad; so how can they be superior to you?”
Safiyah died in 50 A.H., at the age of sixty one and was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih.
11. HAZRAT MAIMOONAH (Marriage: 629 A.D.)
Maimoonah was the daughter of Harith of the Hawazin tribe and a sister in law of the Prophet’s uncle, Abbas. She first married Masood bin Amr who divorced her. She then married Abu Rahm who died soon after.
On the suggestion of Abbas, the Holy Prophet married Maimoonah, after the three day pilgrimage in the seventh year of the Hijrah. The Holy Prophet wanted to have the marriage ceremony in Mecca and invite the Quraysh, but the Meccans did not allow him to stay in the city more than the three days agreed upon in the Treaty of Hudaybiya. The marriage ceremony, therefore, took place at Sarif, north of Mecca, and was performed by Abbas. Maimoonah was about thirty years old at the time.
Maimoonah died in 50 A.H., at the age of seventy three and was buried at Sarif, according to her will. Besides Khadijah, Maimoonah is the only wife of the Holy Prophet who was not buried in the Janna tul Baqih in Medinah.
12. HAZRAT MARIAH QIBTIAH (Marriage: 629 A.D.)
After the Treaty of Hudaybiya, the Holy Prophet sent his envoys to various kings and rulers inviting them to embrace Islam. One of the recipients of these envoys was Muqauqis, the Ruler of Egypt. Muqauqis did not embrace Islam but, very diplomatically, sent some presents to the Holy Prophet including two Coptic maidens named Mariah and Sirin.
Both these girls embraced Islam. Mariah was taken into marriage by the Holy Prophet while Sirin, her sister, was married to a Companion of the Prophet. The marriage of Mariah took place in the seventh or eighth year of the Hijrah.
Mariah held the distinction of being the only wife, other than Khadijah, to bear the Holy Prophet a child, a son by the name of Ibrahim. This son, however, died in the tenth year of the Hijrah when he was only eighteen months old.
Mariah herself did not live long and died five years later. She was buried in the Janna-tul-Baqih graveyard.
A list of the Major Battles and Expeditions in which the Holy Prophet took part
|Battle||Muslim Forces||Date, A.D.||Date, A.H.|
|Battle of Badr||313||Jan. 624||Ramadhan 2|
|Battle of Uhud||700||Jan. 625||Shawwal 3|
|Campaign of Badr||Oct. 625||Rajab 4|
|Campaign of Dhata-Reqa||400||Apr. 625||Muharram 5|
|Campaign of Dawmtaul Jandal||1000||Jul. 626||Rabiul-Aw. 5|
|Expedition of Banu Musta’liq||Dec. 626||Shaaban 5|
|Battle of the Ditch||3000||Feb. 627||Dhul-Qada 5|
|Campaign of Banu Lihyan||Aug. 627||Jamadi-I 6|
|Treaty of Hudaybiya||1500||Mar. 628||Dhul-Hijja 6|
|Battle of Khyber||1600||Mar. 628||Muharram 7|
|Battle of Mutah *||3000||Sep. 629||Jamadi-I 8|
|Conquest of Mecca||10,000||Jan. 630||Ramadhan 9|
|Battle of Hunayn||12,000||Jan. 630||Shawwal 9|
|Siege of Ta’if||Jan. 630||Shawwal 9|
|Campaign of Tabuk||30,000||Oct. 630||Rajab 9|
|* The Holy Prophet did not participate in this battle.
Note: No fighting took place during the Campaigns.
A NOTE ON THE BATTLES FOUGHT DURING THE LIFE OF THE HOLY PROPHET
Much criticism is raised against Islam today, attributing its rapid spread to the use of sword and physical compulsion. This however, is not borne out by historical facts.
For the first fourteen years of his twenty two year prophetic career, the Holy Prophet passively bore all sorts of persecutions and aggressions afflicted upon him. And when finally the permission to fight was granted by God (22:39) the Holy Prophet fought only in self defense or to check the enemy’s war preparations or to establish peace in the area.
It should be noted that during the eight year period from the Battle of Badr to the Campaign of Tabuk, the total number of battle casualties in the whole of Arabia was only about 1250. Of these about 250 were Muslims and about 1000 non-Muslims. These are extremely small numbers even by the standards of those days, and put the degree of warfare carried out by the Muslims in its proper perspective.