There were persistent remours and reports that the Romans were preparing for war. The Prophet made ready to meet the new danger. The season was hot and the journey was long. The enemy had large armies. Muslims could not raise even a fraction of it. They did not have much money. The Prophet made an appeal for funds. Abu Bakr came with all that he had. Others too gave generously. Othman gave 300 camels and a big amount of ready cash. When the Muslim army reached Hajar, the Prophet forbade them to drink the water of that place. The Samud, a rich tribe, used to live there in the past. They had ill treated their prophet Hud. They had been punished. God had been angry with that land. The Prophet, therefore, would not touch even the water of the place. Next day there was heavy rain. Muslims had plenty of fresh water to drink. When the Prophet reached the frontier, he found no sign of Roman concentrations. There was no fight, therefore. The Prophet made the frontier secure. The rulers of the area were Christians. Treaties were made with them.
The Prophet’s son Ibrahim passed away. It grieved him deeply but he remained patient and resigned to the will of God.
After the return of the Prophet from Tabuk, the whole of Arabia realized that Islam had become a great power. Tribe after tribe came from far and near to join the ranks of the new faith. There were both pagans and Christians. The Prophet sent teachers and governors to the new areas. He advised Muaz who was appointed governor of Yemen, in these words:
“Make things easy for the people. Do not make it hard for them. Give them happiness and do not create hate.”
It was the tenth year of the Hijra now. Muslims were the rulers of Arabia. They were one brotherhood. They worshipped one God and followed one Prophet. Past enmities had been forgotten. New friendships had grown fast and firm. The Prophet made known that he would be going to Mecca for Hajj. Men from all over Arabia rushed to Medina. There were to be seen hundreds of tents around the capital. The Prophet left for Mecca with about one hundred thousands Muslims. Next day they put on the Ihram dress – two sheets. They all looked alike, the rich and the poor, the master and the servant. Then all turned to God with these words:
“At Thy service, o Lord, at Thy service! There is no partner with Thee; we are at Thy service. For Thee is all praise, from Thee are all gifts and to Thee are all thanks. We are at Thy service; there is no partner with Thee; we are at Thy service.”
On reaching Mecca, the Prophet and the Muslims performed all the rites of Hajj. On the ninth of Zilhajj, the Prophet went to Arafat. Mounted on a camel, he said:
“O ye people, hear my speech. I do not know whether I will be meeting you here after this year. O ye people, your blood and your property and your honour are sacred amongst you until you meet your Lord as is sacred this day, this month, this town. Whoso has with him the trust of the other he should render it to him. Every kind of interest is forbidden this day. The interest due to Abbas bin Muttabib is remitted today. All the bloodshed in the time of ignorance is forgiven. I forgive first the blood of Ibne Rabia bin Harith bin Abdul Muttalib.God has appointed for every one a share in the property. No “will” shall now be accepted that wrongs a rightful heir. A child born in a house shall be regarded the child of the father in the house.
O men, you have some rights over your wives. Your wives also have rights over you. Your right over them is that they should lead chaste lives and not take ways that bring shame to the husband in the sight of the people.
Your duty is to provide them with food and garments and shelter according to your standard. Remember, you should always treat your wives well. God has charged you with the duty of taking good care of them. Woman is weak and cannot protect her own rights. God has appointed you the trustee of those rights.
O men, you still have with you some prisoners of war. I advise you to feed them and clothe them in the same way and style as you feed and clothe yourselves.
O men, what I say to you, you should hear and remember. All Muslims are as brethren to one another. All of you are equal. All men of whatever nation or tribe, and whatever position are equal.”
Then lifting two hands, the Prophet joined the fingers of one to the fingers of the other and said,
“Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, nor any preference to claim over another. You are brothers.”
Then he asked,
“Do you know what month is this? What city we are in? What day of the year it is today?”
It was the sacred day, the Prophet announced:
“Even as this month is sacred, this land sacred and this day sacred, so has God made the lives, property and honour of every man sacred.”
Proceeding he said:
“What I command you today is not for today only. It is for all times to come. You should remember and obey until you leave this world and go to the next to meet your Creator.What I have said to you, carry it to the ends of the world. May be the one who has not heard benefits from it more than the one who has.”
On his way back to Medina, the Prophet said it to a gathering of the companions:
“O ye people, I am only a man, perhaps God’s angel might come and I have to accept the call. I am leaving in your midst two things. The first is the Book of Allah which has guidance and light. Hold fast to the Book of Allah, therefore, hold fast to it; and my house-hold. I remind you of Allah in respect of the people of my house.”
After his return from his last Hajj to Medina, the Prophet fell ill. The day before he became indisposed, he had ordered an army to be sent to the Roman frontier, Usama bin Zaid as its commander, to avenge the murder of his envoy. He remained ill for some thirteen days. For the first few days he could move about. When he became too weak to walk he went to the house of Ayesha. There he stayed laid up with high fever till his death. As long as he could, he would lead the prayers even in extreme illness. But during the last three days he was too weak to do that. He appointed Abu Bakr to do the duty of Imam (prayer leader). Once when he felt a little better he came to the mosque. After prayers he made a short speech. He said God has granted a person one of two things. It could be happiness of this world or presence before the Lord. The servant of God has chosen the latter, said the Prophet. Abu Bakr burst into tears. He knew the Prophet had hinted at this approaching death. The Prophet then said that of all men he was greatly obliged to Abu Bakr, for the help and sincere companionship he had given him. He next advised Muslims against worshipping their Prophet and their saints.
The Prophet also advised his followers to honour the good Ansars and to overlook the errors of the weak among them.
“They have done their duty. Now you have to do your to them,”
As his condition grew gradually worse, death seemed laying its hand on him. He was last heard murmuring the prayer,
“Allah the best friend.”
When the breathing became hard he uttered his last advice,
“Mind your prayers and your slaves.”