February 4, 2013 By Dr Ali Shariati

The Visage of Prophet Muhammad

The Prophet’s Death

More beautiful than all the periods of his life, was his death. We have been in the habit of considering death always as an uproarious affair. To borrow movie jargon, we appreciate action, battle and its clamor, scenes which have conflicts, panoramic backgrounds, hubbubs and in the words of actors, full of suspense and adventure. But we cannot feel and comprehend a peaceful death with all its tragic profundity, greatness, beauty and lesson. It is for this reason that we still are not totally aware of the dimensions of the Prophet’s death. Otherwise, for anybody who is capable of feeling and understanding such things, the death of the Prophet is a more sorrowful, tragic, profound and undoubtedly more glorious incident than the martyrdom of Hussien. The period of the Prophet’s last protracted illness lasted one year. From the time of the Hajjat al-Weda the Last Pilgrimage up to the time he could speak no more and was preparing himself for death. During this year his behavior radically changed and his speech assumed a completely different style. His relations with the Companions became calculated; and every one was treated in a particular manner, expressing a definite meaning. In his relationship with Ali, he grew more dependant upon him daily. He is obviously worried about the fate of this man and also seems to be anxious about the destiny of his own mission.

He wishes to give him support to recompense for his loneliness among the senior Companions by praising him more and giving him special treatment. He gives expression to this attitude repeatedly throughout the year.

As I have given a detailed account of the last days of the Prophet before, I shall not repeat it again here. If you are interested, I will read only the last pages concerned with the death of the Prophet. (Of course, in summary).

Man always conceals his true self throughout his life. He is always concealed from others behind the appearances that he assumes. Man always has a veil over his face. It is usually on two occasions in his life that he raises this veil from his face: inside a prison cell and on his death bed. It is on these two occasions that you find an opportunity to see the real face of every, person, especially in his death chamber!

As soon as man smells death, he becomes cordial and sincere. One reveals his real self on his death bed. The dread of death overtakes him in such a manner that he finds no time for simulation It is an event of such magnanimity that all other matters become insignificant in comparison. The soul steps out from its hiding place, where it had concealed itself all throughout life from the public view.

Dying is also an art and must be learnt and acquired like other arts. It is an extremely beautiful and profound drama, the most dramatic and spectacular scene of the human life. There are very few persons who have died beautifully. I have been searching for a long time in the annals of history for people who have died beautifully, trying to discover extremely beautiful and glorious deaths. Of course, the people who know how to die, also know how to live. For those people who know that living is not merely breathing also know that dying is not merely the suspension of breathing, but it is in itself an act, a great act just like living.

Grand deaths are not of one and the same nature. Everyone dies in the same fashion in which he lives. One of the most famous deaths was that of Vespasian, a Roman emperor. Lying in bed in the agony of death, with his officers standing nearby as soon as he realized that the hands of death had reached his throat, he jumped out of his bed and uttered: “An emperor ought to die standing,” and died in the arms of his officers. That is grand. But there are certain eyes which are able to witness the beauty and glory of such deaths, while some which cannot see beyond appearances, cannot. (The death of a general can be easily understood by a man, but). The grandeur of a battle scene, the beauty of a sword, the delicacy of a soft velvet are seen by ordinary eyes, but the grandeur of a soul, the beauty of an idea and the delicacy of a need are not perceivable to them. The death of Muhammad also belongs in the same category. It is not adorned with the lightning of the sword, with streams of blood, with the neighing of horses, with heroic war cries and it is for this very reason that near-sighted eyes remain incapable of perceiving its beauty. How can the occasion of Muhammad’s meeting with death be so simple? During (his last) this year, the signs of the end of life and the commencement of death were quite visible in the looks of the Prophet, in his speech, in his indefatigable social efforts, in his behavior and in his private life. Now the great commander of history, who has mobilized his grand army with the unceasing efforts of twenty-three years, has to assign new jobs to the future front of this army. This army is advancing to wage a war on a large scale. They are to fight everywhere, and at all times, with ignorance and the vileness of the soul, and wage war against the ‘Caesars’ and ‘Khusrows’ which rule the societies.

The wonderful prophetic mission of Muhammad has come to an end. The army is to be inspected for the last time. Whatever has been instructed during the span of twenty-three years is to be reviewed once again. A thorough and comprehensive inspection, an all embracing study of general issues, without ignoring a single detail is to be carried out, lest a single point remain untold and the things that are already mentioned remain unheeded. All these tasks are to be taken care of in advance before this (final) journey.

The eleventh year of the Hijrah has begun, and the fruitful life of Muhammad is coming to a close. The first job to do is to bid farewell to the people of Mecca, by the side of the Ka’bah.(The account of his last pilgrimage is a detailed one, which I shall omit. I shall mention here only an interesting incident that occurred there.) After the Tawaf (the ritual going around the Ka’bah),he performed two rak’ahs of prayer at the Place of Ibrahim (on the occasion of Hajat al- Weda’; the Last Pilgrimage.) Afterwards he kissed the Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone) for the second time, and immediately went towards Safa’ and walked briskly (sa’y) between Safa’ and Marwah. At this juncture, he made an announcement that those who had not brought sacrificial animals should perform ‘Umrah (visitation or Lesser Hajj) and take off their ihram; (the pilgrim’s dress). (This peculiar behavior is to be noticed). Many people hesitated, and expressed their unhappiness about it. The Prophet was so angered that his rage was expressed by his face. In a voice choked with anger, he ordered them to obey his command. He went to his tent in anger. Fearful and alarmed, Ayesha asked him who had made him so angry. Angrily he answered, “Why should I be not be angry when they do not obey my command?” One of his Companions came and saw the Prophet emotionally upset. He regretfully said: “O Prophet of God! May whoever has made you angry, be thrown into the fire by God.” The Prophet said: “Did you not see that I commanded the people to do something and they disobeyed me? Had I known it, I too would not have brought the offering, and would have taken off my ihram as well.”

The people came to know that the Prophet was very upset. They were ashamed of their behavior and took off their ihrams immediately. Fatimah, his daughter, and all other women who had not brought offerings did the same.

History, the slave of the aristocracy, was again in bewilderment! What is it, as to why this king, who has more than one hundred thousand servants at his command, does not punish the transgressors. (There were approximately one hundred and several thousand men with him at the time of Hajat al-Weda’.) Where is the executioner? Why does he not issue a decree for their massacre? (History is accustomed to such practices. Instead he returns to his tent in anger and dismay!)

How does this king rule? How has he conquered the country? Is it possible to rule without being in possession of a thing like fine silk and saffron-colored objects?

“It is gold that inscribes the name of a king, And the other thing is a shining pearl from Yeman. But the state is captured with two things, One is silken and the other is saffron-colored.”

One is the sword and the other is the gold coin. This king makes neither use of his sword, nor does he possess a treasure! How could he attain power?

Indeed, it is possible to do so. This uneducated fellow has come to teach people how to do it. What do the teaching institutions of Rome, Athens, Median, and those who are the products of the great Eastern and Western cultures know? They have never had any teachers other than jackals and foxes in their schools of politics.

Standing on the mount of ‘Arafat, (Jabal al-Rahmah) the Prophet appointed some persons to repeat his words (one conveys the words to the other and he in turn to another) asks Rabi’ah to say: “O, people. the Prophet of God says, do you know which month this is?” (This is the last speech.) Rabi’ah repeats these words in a loud voice. The Prophet waits (in order to see his words are accurately communicated). People consider it their duty to answer, and they say: “This is the sacred (Haram) month.” The Prophet continues: “Tell them that as long as you are in the presence of your God, God Almighty has consecrated your blood and your possessions in the same way as He has consecrated this month.” He asks Rabi’ah to say: “The Prophet of God asks you tell which month is this.” Rabi’ah repeats and the Prophet waits and listens to him. Again the Prophet asks him to say. “What day is it?” Rabi’ah repeats his question and people say: “The day of the Greater Pilgrimage.” He asks Rabi’ah to tell them: “God Almighty has consecrated your blood and your possessions as He has consecrated this day.” The Prophet continues his speech in the same fashion: “O people, listen to my words, I may never see you again here. As long as you are in the vicinity of the House of God, your blood and your possessions are consecrated by God in the manner of this day and this month. You will shortly meet your God, He will take account of your deeds. I ask you to return whatever was entrusted to your custody. All kinds of usury is futile, but your capital belongs to you. Neither oppress anyone, nor tolerate any oppression. God has forbidden usury, and all usury money due to ‘Abbas ibn’ Abd al-Muttalib is null and void (first he gives an account of his own family members then….). Every murder committed in the days of heathenism (Jahiliyyah) is not accountable and the first murder I pardon is the murder of ibn Rabi’ah ibn Harith ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib (for which I am a legitimate claimant).

The last great task assigned to him is at last completed. Today, the greatest of all men in history, who has accomplished the greatest of all the prophetic missions successfully, is to bid adieu to his city for ever, so that he may die in peace with a calm conscience and a sense of fulfillment among his faithful Companions in Madinah. Subsequent to this, the episode of Ghadir occurs in the course of his return Journey. He examines and evaluates each one of his Companions in order to anticipate to whom the people will gather in the future. He assesses as to what kind of persons are Uthman, Abu Bakr, Sa’d ibn Abi Waqqas and ‘Abd al-Rahman one by one, until he comes to ‘Ali(A). Among them ‘Ali has a definite eminence. (It is here that they criticized him by saying that after all, he preferred ‘Ali(A) to all others. How strange that a non-entity is placed at the top!) He is the only Companion of Muhammad who had no associations with the pre-Islamic heathen past. His is the generation that came into being with Islam and was cast in the mould of Muhammad’s revolution. His other distinction belongs to his bringing up. The kind hands of poverty brought him from his own house to the house of Muhammad at a tender age when all the basic dimensions of his soul and mind were being shaped and molded. This in an important incident that a child is entrusted to the custody of his cousin during the lifetime’ of his father (during those days it was an extraordinary thing that a child whose father was alive and enjoyed a distinguished position was placed under the guardianship of his uncle’s son), so that a blessed soul who was destined to be an ideal of humanity was to be trained in the school where Muhammad was the tutor and the Book that was introduced to him was the Quran, that too from the very beginning of revelation with a view that the blank tablet of the child’s heart might not receive any impressions of heathenism. A man of the sword, both rhetoric and politic, and possesses the subtlety of the feeling of an Aaref and the wisdom of a hakim (philosopher). His sense of piety and justice is so rigorous that he has become unacceptable to the Companions. His exact and accurate knowledge of the Quran is unanimously accepted by all (throughout his return journey after the Last Pilgrimage the Prophet had been making a mental comparison, assessing him and comparing him with the other Companions regarding the role they were to play in the future). The specific circumstances of his private life, his social and political activities, his relationship with the Prophet and especially his spiritual and intellectual position have been instrumental in bringing him closer to the real spirit of Islam, its deeper and profound meanings that remained hidden beneath the surface of the injunctions, beliefs and religious rites that are not visible to the eyes accustomed to the exoteric aspects of religion only. His feelings and his outlook have become one with the essence of Islam. He possesses the Islamic consciousness, which is something over and above mere faith in Islam.

Throughout the course of twenty-three years, since Muhammad launched his movement in the spiritual realm as well as society, Ali was always distinguishable from others. He always dwelt in the midst of dangers and did not waver even once. He never once showed the slightest signs of weakness during his whole life. What distinguishes ‘Ali more than any other thing is his multi-dimensional personality the spirit that surpasses all other heroes in all its diverse dimensions. He is a hero in the realm of thought as well as a hero on the battlefield. His capacity to love is great, equally at ease under the niche of a mosque or among people. A man who loves aloofness, yet is active in politics. The greatest enemy of all the forms of lewdness which cause human suffering. The embodiment of all the sublime aspirations that have been cherished by human hearts throughout the ages.

But, it is quite obvious that in a society which is separated by only ten years from the heathen Bedouin and tribal epoch, how alienated, how strange and unknown such a soul may find itself. It is a tragic record of history, and the fate of ‘Ali and his associates is the most tragic of all. There never existed such a big disparity between an individual and the society to which he belonged.

There is doubt that the Prophet had an intense feeling for ‘Ali in his heart of hearts. In various ways he revealed his special liking for ‘Ali. But he also knew full well that the elite of the Ummah would not easily accept the leadership of this young man a little older than thirty years, who had no refuge in the society except that of Muhammad’s love and had no wealth whatsoever except his sacrifices for Islam

The most powerful party in the Islamic politics is the party of Abu Bakr, the most eminent members of which are ‘Umar, Abu’ Ubaydah, Sa’d ibn Abu Waqas, ‘Uthman Talhah and Zubayr’s all of whom came to the fold of Islam at the same time with Abu Bakr, and these were the same persons who formed the Shura (the Council to elect a caliph) thirty-five years later. (How strange!) Today, at this stage, the Prophet’s task has assumed very serious and precarious dimensions. Proclamation that ‘Ali is the greatest and the most suitable person to take up the leadership can jeopardize and shake the base of unity attained with much effort in a tribal Bedouin Arab society, which is the solitary hope that can guarantee the life of the young Ummah. On the other hand, if Muhammad kept silent in regard to ‘Ali(A), would he not be sacrificing truth for prudence? Is it not true that ‘Ali’s social weakness is the result of his spiritual strength? Is the cause of his political isolation other than his steadfastness and unshakable commitment to the cause of Muhammad? Has his thunder like sword that spared no group unhurt, ever struck an individual except by the command of Muhammad and for the sake of God? Does the malice that is being nursed against him in many a heart, as the Prophet himself said a few days ago in Mecca, not owe its origin to his unceasing zeal in the way of God and for the sake of God?

Muhammad’s silence in ‘Ali’s case would render him defenseless in the course of history. The political conditions of the society, social structure, class prejudices, aristocratic values and political factionalism, all will conspire together to alienate ‘Ali and deprive him of his due right. His personality will be smeared and distorted to an extent in the history of Islam that the most pious of the Muslims will sincerely believe that to curse ‘Ali is the only way to seek nearness to God and Muhammad.

Did all this not happen after all? Should Muhammad not defend ‘Ali who had no other defender besides him? Will his silence not leave him at the mercy of history to be ravaged and tattered?

They have come ten miles away from Mecca. The Prophet has made up his mind. It is the place called Ghadir Khom. The episode (of Ghadir e Khom) is known to all.

‘Uthman camping on the outskirts of the city, has prepared his army for departure. The Prophet has worked hard to mobilize his army. The danger that has raised its head will soon start showing its teeth.

The headache has started. The Prophet cannot sleep at night. He feels the steps of death approaching and sees the black clouds gathering on the horizon with alarming speed It is midnight and the stillness is dreadful. The sorrow and distress that could never disturb his energetic soul during a life full of hazards and risks, has overcome his spirit. He notifies Abu Muwayhibah, Khadijah’s slave and he comes out of his quarters to attend to him. The loneliness of the Prophet is noticeable. From the height of his power and glory he calls on a slave to accompany him on his last visit to the graveyard.) It is a warm summer night of the end of the month of Safar or early Rabi’ al-Awwal. The slowly and softly flowing breeze awakens bitter memories and stirs his thoughts. He turns to the slave and says: O, Abu Muwayhibah, let us go, for I have been commanded to go and pray forgiveness for the dwellers of Baqi’.’ Both of them start walking and leave the city. The calm of the night has engulfed the graveyard of Baqi’. He stands there knowing that he will join them soon. He glances a moment and then begins speaking. The graves listen to him. “Peace be on you, o, inhabitants of the graveyard. Rest here undisturbed. Your days are better satisfied than the days of those who are left behind. (Nothing has happened. Why is the Prophet who has never been at the zenith of his success as he is today, so perturbed?) Calamities are pursuing us like the dark patches of night”.

The Prophet becomes silent for a while, then he turns towards his companion and says: “O, Abu Muwayhibah, they brought for me the keys to the worldly treasures and the eternal life therein, and then the Paradise was drawn near me, I was authorized to make a choice between these things on the one hand, and the beatific vision of the Most High and the bliss of the Paradise, on the other. I willingly opted for the beatific vision of my God.” Abu Muwayhibah became very upset and realized that the time for separation had arrived. In a broken voice, choking with tears, he said: “My father and mother be your ransom O Prophet! First get hold of the keys to the worldly treasures and the eternal life therein, and choose the Paradise afterwards.”

He said: “It will not be so, by God, Abu Muwayhibah, I have already chosen to go and see my Lord and enter Paradise.” Subsequently he asked forgiveness for those buried in Baqi’ and returned home.

His headache became severe and the illness and pain tormented him, so he went to ‘Ayesha’s apartment; ‘Ayesha too was suffering from headache and was groaning, “O my head, O my head.” The Prophet (S), who used to spend his moments of anguish outside the house, and entered the house only with a bright face and radiant smile, responded to ‘Ayesha’s lamentation, saying: “Not yours but my head, O head.” “O ‘Ayesha what was harm in dying before me? I would have attended your dead body and would have shrouded you, would have offered your funeral prayers and buried you.” ‘Ayeshah answered without hesitating: “Then you would have returned to my house and would sleep with one of your wives.” The Prophet laughed and tried to continue in the same zestful manner, but the pain did not permit him to do so. After a few hours when the pain subsided, the Prophet arose and visited the apartments of his wives one by one, and conversed with them. When in the house of Maymunah the pain again became acute. He called all his wives and asked them to grant him permission to rest in ‘Ayesha’s house. They who had seen his condition agreed. The Prophet entered ‘Ayesha’s house with his head bound in a cloth, his arms were supported by ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abd al-Muttalib and ‘Ali ibn Abu Talib, and his feet dragged on the floor. The pain had become severe and his body was burning with fever. Why has not the army marched yet? He knew the reason. He knew quite well that the senior members among his Companions would not leave Madinah in such conditions. He ordered: “Fetch water from different wells in seven vessels and pour it on me, so that I may go to the people and make a covenant with them.” Some people helped him to sit in the tub of water brought by his wife Hafsah, ‘Umar’s daughter, and splashed water over him, until he asked them to stop.

Then, with his face burning with fever and the head bound in a cloth, he went to the mosque. He asked Fadl ibn ‘Abbas to support his arms. Fadl helped him to sit on the pulpit. (It is worthwhile to visualize the scene and its details.) The people gathered around him, and he began speak. After praising God, first of all he recalled the memory of the martyrs of Uhud (Do you understand as to why he remembered the Companions of Uhud, whereas the Companions who took part in the Battle of Badr were more renowned? I think that since it was in the battle of Uhud that the treachery on the part of some of his Companions caused his defeat, and now he wanted to warn the people of another treachery, he was remembering Uhud, there is no other reason to offer than this). He asked forgiveness for them and pronounced benedictions for them repeatedly. Afterwards he said: “From among His slaves, God has chose one and blessed him with the freedom to choose between what belongs to this world and what takes him to the Lord’s presence, and he chose the latter.’ He pauses. The people could not see him with clear eyes, for tears had blurred their vision. Abu Bakr felt the gravity of the situation and wept loudly. With his tearful eyes fixed on his honored friend’s face, he said in a voice trembling with love and grief: “Be our lives and our children’s lives ransomed for you.” The Prophet said: “Calm yourself, Abu Bakr.”

The atmosphere of the mosque was loaded and charged with excitement and grief. Grief and anxiety had gripped the people so tightly that no one could utter a single word. The Prophet continued again: “O people go continue the task assigned to you under the command of Usama. I swear by my life that whatever you said regarding the commandership of Usama, you said about the commandership of his father also, whereas Usama is fully qualified to command you, just as his father deserved this position.”

In the meantime, he was again alarmed by dangers which had threatened his people. He continued. “Last night I dreamed that both of my hands were fastened by two golden handcuffs, which distressed me. I cast a spell over them and they disappeared I called those two (the false claimants to prophet hood) the liars of Yamamah and Yaman”.

He stopped speaking. The intensity of the fever was increasing every minute. The little comfort he managed to wrest away from the fever after splashing cold water over his fevered limbs and had helped him to arrive at the mosque had disappeared, and the illness was aggravated. He felt exhausted. The people could see that he was trying hard to speak to them again, but in vain. He writhed in pain and was unable to suppress his agony. This was his last meeting with the people. He should bid adieu to the people and to the mosque. Life will not offer another opportunity. Everything has come to an end. His association with the people has reached its finale. He should say farewell to the people and descend the pulpit forever, for death is awaiting him at Ayesha’s house. But, as if he has something to tell the people in the last moments of his life, he collects all his remaining energy with great effort, in order to say something. The people feel that he is endeavoring pitiably to muster enough energy to deliver his last message. An immensely moving scene. Even the Munafiqun (the hypocrites) were visibly touched. People hung their heads in grief. Their sense of grief was too great to be relieved by tears. Muhammad starts. Words come out of his feverish lips with great difficulty. Never has an individual said something with such a painful effort. But Muhammad must speak. He has to ask a certain question from the people, without asking which he will not find peace. “O men. I praise God, except whom there is no god, in front of you. Anybody whom I owe something must come forward. If I have caused anyone of you to be unjustly scourged, I have my own back to the lash of retaliation. If I have reviled anyone, he should come and proclaim my fault before this congregation. I have never had the spirit of a policeman, rather, I despised it. Verily, the most loveable among you is he who claims anything I owe to him, or who willingly declares to forgive me, so that I may be able to greet my God with a satisfied conscience. It appears that this request of mine is not enough and it is necessary to stand up and repeat it several times.” He came down from the pulpit, said his afternoon prayer. Fever, headache, exhaustion and the midday heat

wrested all his energy. The signs of death were visible from his countenance. It seemed as if his job with the people was not yet finished. What he required the people to do was not just an ethical formality, but it was such a serious affair that it kept even death away for a few moments. There was a feeling of wonder among the people who had seen the Prophet m the most difficult conditions. Some of them offered their support to him but he did not go home. He again returned to the pulpit, sat on it and again reiterated what he had said with much more insistence. This time his tone was extremely emphatic. After repeating his request he kept silent, glancing at the people with tired and feverish eyes expectantly The people felt that they were compelled to say something in answer; but what to say? They did not know. He had devoted his entire life to the welfare of the people. He imbued these Bedouin people with a sense of civility and honor. He spent Khadijah’s enormous wealth also for their sake. He did not lead a life that prospered by taking the rights of others nor did he ever allow himself to oppress anyone. He was himself the model of a Muslim, a Muslim whose face God portrayed with two bold strokes of his pen:

“They are firm with infidels, and compassionate among themselves.” He had never caused sorrow or pain to anybody. Only once he vented his anger upon a rude Bedouin who was riding along him neck to neck, and was riding in such a savage manner that his horse collided with Muhammad’s horse repeatedly causing severe pain to his foot; he lashed him with the whip, asking him angrily to keep a distance. When he reached Madinah he called him and apologized to him and paid him as a penalty eighty she goats. Now he has forgotten if he has injured someone or owes anyone something. But he still fears that in the course of his eventful life he might have behaved with someone rudely and is oblivious of it.

Muhammad is waiting and the people are ashamed of themselves. No one dared look in his eyes to be confronted with his expecting looks. All hung their heads and their shoulders trembled. The question posed by Muhammad was too difficult to be answered. An Arab got up and said: “O, Prophet of God, you owe me three dirhams.” (It was a strange society.) Some of the people could not bear it and they wept. Muhammad immediately asked Fadl to pay him his due. Fadl ib ‘Abbas paid him three dirhams and the Arab sat down. An uneasy painful calm fell on the atmosphere of the mosque. (The people were extremely ashamed of this man’s act.) The Prophet felt that this act on the part of the man who caused shame to the Prophet in front of the congregation had disturbed the people, and he said: “O, People. Whosoever owes anything to anyone should repay his debt and should not feel humiliated in this world, for it is easier to be ashamed here than on the Day of the Judgment.”

Another Arab arose and said: “O, Prophet of God, I have three dirhams that I must give in the way of God.” The Prophet asked him: “Why did you promise it?” He replied: “I was destitute at that time.” The Prophet asked Fadl to collect the amount from him. Another man arose, he directly looked in the Prophet’s eyes, while trembling with excitement. He said: “O Prophet of God, you lashed me across my abdomen in such and such a battle!” Suddenly silence falls on the audience, and hearts are torn to pieces. All had become stunned. No one had the courage to raise his head. With a calm face, the Prophet lifted his shirt that was drenched with sweat and bared his abdomen to the chest. He asked the man to come forward, and the people had dropped their heads on their knees in anguish. A painful moment passed. Suddenly a painful cry pierced the charged atmosphere and the mosque underwent a tremor. The people raised their heads and saw that the man had thrown himself on the bare chest of the Prophet and was kissing the place he wanted to lash in a state of frenzy. Everyone was overcome by streaming tears. The people who were feeling ashamed in front of the Prophet now had a sense of exultation. The passions of adoration and love had wiped off the shameful memories. The people were hilarious that they had expressed their love and respect for the Prophet (S), and the Prophet who himself loved his people intensely and who knew at the moment that he would not be able again to express his pure love for his brothers, made an amazing suggestion at a critical juncture. (This is also a sign of the Prophet’s humility that at that time when he could not do anything for them, he still wished to do something that could benefit them.) He suggested: “There is no eye in the world which comes to know the positive qualities of a beautiful soul, and remains untouched by tears. O, people! Anyone who is afraid for himself and has any infirmities should stand up, so that I may pray for him.”

These words filled the grim and grief struck atmosphere of the mosque with an amazing sense of exultation and hope (the Prophet praying for an ordinary human being!). The powerful spirit of faith manifested itself among the Arabs in an unprecedented manner. Hope had lifted the veils from the faces hidden behind them. A man stood up and said: “O Prophet of God, I am a liar to the core of my being; I am a wicked man; I sleep more than necessary.” The Prophet prayed for him: “O God, bless him with truthfulness and faith; whenever he wishes to wake up, take away the sleep from him.” Another one got up and said: “O Prophet of God, I am a compulsive liar, a hypocrite, and have never had an honest job in my life in which I did not cheat others.” ‘Umar arose and asked the man arrogantly to be ashamed of dis-honoring himself in public. The Prophet addressed ‘Umar reproachfully, saying, “O son of Khattab, humiliations of this world are easier to bear than the humiliations and dis-honor in the Hereafter. May God bless thee with truthfulness and faith and turn thine face toward good. ” He came down from the pulpit, and stepped forward with the intention of leaving the mosque. Suddenly he stopped and turned towards the people, saying, “O party of the Emigrants! (Muhajirun) I recommend you to be good with the Helpers (Ansar) The people will increase in number, but the Helpers will always remain what they have been.

(Source: http://www.shariati.com)


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