A Grief to Absorb the Whole Universe

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What is a grief to absorb the whole universe?

Upon the passing away of the Blessed Prophet  -upon him blessings and peace-, Fatimah  -Allah be well-pleased with her- bewailed, as she said behind tearful eyes, “My dearest father, who for His Lord there is nobody closer! My dearest father who as attended the invitation of His Lord! My dearest father whose rank is the Paradise of Firdaws! My dearest father whose passing away we have notified Jibril!” After he was buried, she said to Anas -Allah be well-pleased with him-:

“How did your hearts allow you to throw soil on the Messenger of Allah?” (Bukhari, Maghazi, 83; Darimi, Muqaddimah, 14)

Out of courtesy, Anas -Allah be well-pleased with him- did not respond; yet the somber look in his eyes said, “No, Fatimah, our hearts did not allow us but we forced ourselves to comply with the Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- order!” (Kâmil Mîras, Tecrîd Tercemesi, XI, 25)

Packed inside the Masjid, the Believers were wailing when they were interrupted by the voice of Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him-. “Do not let me hear anyone say ‘Muhammad -upon him blessings and peace- is dead” he shouted with despondent anger, “or I will sever his neck with my sword. The Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- has fainted in the same manner as Musa -upon him peace-!” He prolonged his fuming speech, to the point where his mouth even began to froth.

Immediately upon receiving the sad news, Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- mounted his horse and had it gallop to the Masjid in Medina. The first thing he did was uncover the Blessed Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- face from beneath the shroud. Throwing himself on his sacred corpse, he wept as he kissed him on his forehead, shortly after which he remarked:

“By Allah, the Messenger of Allah has passed away. We belong to Allah and to Him is our return (Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi rajiun). May my parents be ransomed for you! I promise that Allah will not let you taste the pain of death twice! You have died once and you have now passed the threshold of the destined death! Never shall there be death for you anymore, my dearest Prophet…” He then leaned over and kissed once more the Prophet’s beautiful face. Lifting his head once more, he wailed, “Oh my dearest friend!” as he landed another kiss on the forehead of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and then another.

“You were beautiful in life as you are in your death! How beautiful is, both your life and death!” he commented, after which he replaced the shroud over the face of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- and walked out into the Masjid. Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- was in the meantime still continuing his heated speech urging Believers to deny the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- had actually passed away.

“Time you sat down now, Omar”, Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- remarked.

Beset with inexpressible feelings of grief, Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- had no intention of sitting down. Only after Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- repeated his advice a few more times could he regain his composure and draw back to assume a seat. Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- then began his speech:

“Allah, glory unto Him, had informed His Prophet of his imminent passage while he was still alive. He has also informed you all of your death, when the time comes. Not a single person among you shall survive death. Whosoever worships Muhammad -upon him blessings and peace- let him know that Muhammad -upon him blessings and peace- has passed away! But whosoever worships Allah, know that Allah is Ever-Alive, Immortal! Allah, glory unto Him, says:

‘And Muhammad is no more than a messenger; the messengers have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels? And whoever turns back upon his heels, he will by no means do harm to Allah in the least and Allah will reward the grateful.” (Al-i Imran, 144)

Reminded of the ayah, people slowly began coming to terms with the fact that the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- had actually passed away. So stunned were they, however, in hearing Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- recite the ayah that it was like they had no idea that it had been revealed long before.

“By Allah,” Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- later confessed, “it was like I had never heard that ayah until that day. Hearing it from Abu Bakr, I was terrified. My feet could not carry me; my knees suddenly grew weak and I collapsed on the spot!” (Ibn Saad, II, 266-272; Bukhari, Maghazi, 83; Haythami, IX, 32; Abdurrazzaq, V, 436)

Not long after Abu Bakr’s  -Allah be well-pleased with him- piercing speech, Omar  -Allah be well-pleased with him- rushed to the Blessed Prophet’s -upon him blessings and peace- corpse, leaned over and kissed him on the forehead. His eyes swelling with tears, he said:

“May my parents be ransomed for you, Messenger of Allah! The date log, against which you used lean, had begun to weep from the pangs of your separation and had only gone quiet when you placed your hand on it…But your friend is worthier of weeping and moaning over your separation than that date log!

May my parents be ransomed for you, Messenger of Allah! Your Lord has said:

‘Whoever obeys the Prophet has obeyed Allah’ (an-Nisa, 80). He counts obeying you on level par with obeying Himself, whereby he raises your supremacy in His Sight to the highest rank!

May my parents be ransomed for you, Messenger of Allah! Despite sending you as the last of all prophets, Allah has again raised your virtue to the highest rank, by obtaining an oath of allegiance[1] from all the previous prophets, to believe and help you!

May my parents be ransomed for you, Messenger of Allah! The longing the dwellers of Hellfire will develop tfor you while being punished, as they will say:

‘…if only we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!’ (al-Ahzab, 66), has elevated your worth in the Sight of Allah to its ultimate degree!” (Kastallani, II, 492)

Recounting the sad memories of that day below is Umm Salamah -Allah be well-pleased with her-:

“We had gathered around the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- and were crying the day he passed away. His beautiful corpse was still inside our house and we were consoling ourselves by looking at him. When we heard the sounds of picks just after dawn, we wailed; so did the crowd waiting inside the Masjid. Medina shook by the sound of a solitary scream. Especially hearing Bilal -Allah be well-pleased with him- sob while calling out the adhan when he came to the part Ashadu anna Muhammadan Rasulullah, aggravated our grief all the more. As people began charging towards the grave, those inside shut the door on them. How painful a day that was! Whenever we were burdened by another trouble thereafter, we would instantly remind ourselves of the pain we felt the day the Messenger of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- passed away, and not take any notice of it.” (Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah, V, 256)

As they loved him more than everyone and everything else, the Companions found separating from the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- agonizingly difficult. There were many among the Companions who no longer wished to live a life without him, to have eyes that were no longer going to catch sight of him or ears that were never to hear him speak again. The Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- had in fact foretold of their plight long ago in a hadith:

“By Allah, in whose Hand of Might the life of Muhammad resides, a day will come when you will no longer be able to see me. Seeing me in your company, then, will become dearer and worthier to anyone of you than his family and entire wealth!” (Muslim, Fadail, 142; Bukhari, Manaqib, 25)

They saw out the remainder of their lives in anticipation of the day when they would once again reunite with the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace- and enjoy his sight eternally.

Othman -Allah be well-pleased with him- explains:

“If there was ever a person among the Companions to grieve the most over the passing away of the Messenger of Allah  -upon him blessings and peace- , that surely was me. Others, it is true, grieved over him, too. There were even some who developed anxiety after his bereavement. While I was sitting under the shade of a wall, Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- had apparently walked passed me and greeted me. I did not even take notice of his greeting, let alone seeing him walk pass. It turns out that Omar later went to Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- and said, ‘I just walked past Othman, greeted him but he did not greet me back. Could there be a thing more bizarre?’

I later noticed the two of them come by. They greeted me, after which Abu Bakr asked, ‘Your brother Omar came to me, telling me that he greeted you, without you responding. What is the reason?’

‘I did not do anything of the kind’ I replied, to which Omar immediately countered by saying, ‘By Allah, you did!’

‘By Allah, I was neither aware of you walking past or nor of you greeting me!’ I said.

‘Othman speaks the truth’, concluded Abu Bakr.” (Ahmad, I, 6)

Shortly after the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- passed away, Omar  -Allah be well-pleased with him- suggested to Abu Bakr -Allah be well-pleased with him- they should visit Umm Ayman -Allah be well-pleased with her-, as the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- did during his life. So they did. Upon seeing them, Umm Ayman -Allah be well-pleased with her- broke down in tears.

“Why are you crying?” they asked. “Don’t you know that the blessings prepared by Allah for the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- are much better than the world?”

“I am not crying because of that”, she replied. “Of course I know that the blessings prepared by Allah for the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- are much better than the world. I am crying because Revelation has come to an end.” Her sensitive considerations sent Abu Bakr and Omar -Allah be well-pleased with them- into a stir of emotion. They, too, joined her in shedding tears. (Muslim, Fadail’us-Sahabah, 103)

Years later, as Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- was patrolling the streets of Medina as Caliph, he noticed a candlelight shining forth from inside a house. As he came closer, he saw an old woman inside, spinning wool and at the same time reciting a poem to herself.

“Upon Muhammad -upon him blessings and peace- be the peace of the righteous…For your mercy, Muhammad, let every unique soul pray…You used to worship at night and weep at dawn…Death approaches closer to all, day by day…The abode of the Hereafter will reunite me with you…If only I could say!”

Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- sat down and cried awhile. He then knocked on the door.

“Who is it?” asked the elderly woman.

“It is Omar ibn Khattab.”

“What is Omar doing here at this time of night; what can he want from me?” she inquired, fretfully.

“For your love of Allah, please open the door. Do not be afraid!” beseeched Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him-, upon which she opened the door ajar.

“Read the poem you read moments ago”, he then insisted. She began to. Just before she came to the final line, Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- interrupted and said, “I beg you to add me in your company, too!”

She then changed the final line of her poem to, “The abode of the Hereafter will reunite me with you and Omar…If only I could say; Allah, the Forgiver, have mercy on Omar!” Omar -Allah be well-pleased with him- then left, gratified. (Ali al-Muttaqi, XII, 562/35762)

Anas -Allah be well-pleased with him- used to say, “Not a single night comes to pass without me seeing my Beloved (the Prophet -upon him blessings and peace-) in my dream”, and cry. (Ibn Saad, VII, 20)

The Companions used to refer to the Blessed Prophet as habibi (my beloved) or khalili (my dearest friend), expressions of the overflowing love they nurtured for him.[2]

By virtue of incessantly sending salat’us-salam to the Prophet of Allah -upon him blessings and peace-, they were showing their undying love and attachment to him; yet their remembering of the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- was not reserved exclusively to that. Their uncompromising abidance by his path, their adherence to his sunnah, their constant mention of his ahadith at every given opportunity, among the many other deeds they embodied, were ways of keeping his loving memory ever alive.

Abu Dharr  -Allah be well-pleased with him- states, “I promise by Allah that the Messenger -upon him blessings and peace- left us in such a state when he left for the Hereafter that even a bird flapping its wings in the sky would remind us of a saying of his. For he had truly said, ‘…whatever may take you closer to Paradise and distance you from Hell, has all been disclosed.’” (Ahmad, V, 153, 162; Haythami, VIII, 263)

It is an imperative of Islam that all Muslims love the Blessed Prophet -upon him blessings and peace- more than everyone and everything else in the world, prefer his commands and prohibitions to their own desires and unconditionally abide by his entire words and actions.

[1] See, Âl-i İmrân, 81.

[2] Bukhari, Tahajjud, 33; Sawm, 60; Muslim, Musâfirîn, 85; Ibn Majah, Sadaqât, 10; Darimî, Sawm, 38; Ahmad, V, 159; Ibn Saad, IV, 229.

Source: Osman Nuri Topbaş, The Prophet Muhammed Mustafa the Elect II, Erkam Publications

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