Wednesday 27th of March 2019

The Signs of The Departure

The Signs of The Departure

Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) carried out the mission of his Lord to His people perfectly. He saved them from ignorance and bad habits and freed their minds from their rigidity and guide them to see the vast horizons of the noble life in this world and the afterworld.
The Prophet (p.b.u.h) suffered all kinds of calamities and hardships from the tyrants of Quraysh, the arrogants of the Arabs, and the cruel Jews. They accused him of madness, lying, and magic. They encouraged their children and fools to throw him with earth and stones. They punished those who followed him with the severest kinds of harms and torments. Because of that punishment, Yasir and Sumayyah (Ammar's parents) were martyred at the beginning of the mission. Then, the first Muslims were obliged to leave their homes and emigrate to Abyssinia.

At that period, the protector and defender of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) was his uncle Abu Talib the faithful of Quraysh, but after his death, the arrogants of Quraysh found the Prophet (p.b.u.h) alone and they deemed him weak. They sent forty men from their villains to surround his house in order to do away with him, but Allah made him escape them under the darkness of night towards Medina after having left his brother Ali bin Abi Talib (p.b.u.h) to sleep in his (the Prophet) bed wrapping himself in his (the Prophet) garment. Thus, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) was saved by the mercy of Allah the Almighty.

When the Prophet (p.b.u.h) arrived in Medina, he found among its people protection, security, and powerfulness until he took it as his capital. The people of Quraysh were filled with grudge and spite. They prepared armies to fight him from time to time; the battle of Badr, Uhud, al-Ahzab...all under the leadership of Abu Sufyan, the father of Mo'awiyah and the grandfather of Yazid.

However, all their attempts failed and they returned empty-handed but with disgrace. Allah supported His messenger and honored him with great victories until he won the greatest of them; the conquest of Mecca that made people embrace Islam groups by groups and made the arrogant men of Quraysh submit to the rule of Islam and Muslims.

Anyhow, after having carried out the mission of his Lord, the signs of the departure from this world to the better world appeared on the Prophet (p.b.u.h). From the signs of this departure was the following:

First, the Holy Qur'an was reviewed to him twice in that year whereas it was reviewed to him once a year before.[1] Therefore, he felt that his inevitable death was near.[2] He began announcing his coming death to the Muslims. He said to his daughter Fatima (p.b.u.h), "Gabriel used to review the Qur'an to me once every year, but this year he reviewed it to me twice. I do not see that for anything except that my death is near."[3]

Second, the following verses were revealed to him, (Surely you shall die and they (too) shall surely die. Then surely on the Day of Resurrection you will contend one with another before your Lord).[4]
After the revelation of these verses, Muslims heard him saying, "I wish I knew when that shall be."
Third, the Sura of an-Nasr was revealed to him and he felt that his death was about to come. After that, he often kept silent for a while in the prayer, and when Muslims asked him why, he said, "I am consoled for my life (I have been told that I am about to die)."[5]

The farewell Hajj

When the Prophet (p.b.u.h) was certain that he would soon leave to the better world, he saw that he should make a pilgrimage to the Inviolable House and to show to his nation the ways of its rescue and deliverance that would keep it safe from disasters and seditions and make it prevail over the nations of the earth. Therefore, he performed the hajj to the Kaaba to announce there before all Muslims that that was the last year that Muslims could see him among them. He said,

"I do not know. Perhaps, I will not meet you after this year in this place forever."

The hajjis felt worried and they said one to another: "the Prophet informs about his death."
In order to assure a good future for his nation, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "O people, I leave among you the two weighty things; the Book of Allah and my progeny, my household."

When the Prophet (p.b.u.h) finished the rites of the hajj, he stopped at the well of Zamzam and ordered Rabee'ah bin Khalaf to stand beside him and to repeat loudly what he would say. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said (before the hajjis), "Do you know which country this is? Do you know which month this is? Do you which day this is?"
They all cried out, "Yes, this is the inviolable country, and the inviolable month, and the inviolable day."

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) began announcing his high values saying, "Allah has prohibited to you your bloods and your properties[6] as the inviolability of this country, as the inviolability of this month, and as the inviolability of this day... Have I informed?"
They all said, "Yes, you have."

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) added, "Fear Allah and do not diminish the things of people, and do not act corruptly in the land. Whoever has had a trust, let him give it back to its owner...People in Islam are equal...all are from Adam and Eve. There is no preference for an Arab to a foreigner or for a foreigner to an Arab except by the fear of Allah...Have I informed?"
They all said, "Yes, you have."

He said, "O Allah, bear witness!
Do not come to me with your lineages[7] but come to me with your deeds...Have I informed?"
They said, "Yes, you have."

He added, "O Allah, bear witness. Every blood (that was shed) in the pre-Islamic era is put under my foot, and the first blood that I put under my foot is the blood of Rabee'ah bin al-Harith bin Abdul Muttalib. Have I informed?'
They said, "Yes."

He said, "O Allah, bear witness."
Then he said, "Every usury in the pre-Islamic era is put under my foot, and the first usury that I put under my foot is the usury of al-Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib. Have I informed?"

They said, "Yes, you have."
He said, "O Allah, bear witness."
Then he said, "O people, postponement (of the sacred month) is only an excess in disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled; they allow it one year and forbid it (another) year, that they may make up the number of the months which Allah hath hallowed...

I recommend you to be kind to women for they are deposits with you. They are weak. You have taken them by the deposit of Allah, and married them by the Book of Allah. You have rights on them and they have rights on you. They have a right on you that you provide them with clothes and sustenance, and you have a right on them that they should not betray you with anyone in your beds, and not permit anyone into your houses except with your knowledge and permission. ... Have I informed?"

They said, "Yes, you have."
He said, "O Allah, bear witness."
Then he said, "I recommend you to be kind to what your hands possess (servants). Feed them with what you (yourselves) eat and clothe them with what you (yourselves) wear...Have I informed?"
They said, "Yes, you have."

He said, "O Allah bear witness."
Then he said, "A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim. He should not cheat, betray, or backbite him. His blood (killing) is not lawful to him, nor anything of his property except by his permission willingly. Have I informed?"
They said, "Yes, you have."

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) kept on his precious speech that was full of Islamic morals, manners, and rulings. He ended his speech saying, "Do not turn back after me unbelievers leading people astray and subjugating one another. I have left among you what if you keep to, you shall not go astray; the Book of Allah and my progeny, my family. Have I informed?"
They said, "Yes, you have."
He said, "O Allah, bear witness."

Then he said to them, "You are responsible. Let the present of you inform the absent!"[8]

The conference of Ghadeer Khum

When the Prophet (p.b.u.h) performed his last hajj, he (with the Muslims) began his journey back to Medina. When he (and the Muslims) arrived in Ghadeer Khum, Gabriel came down to him carrying with him a very important message from the Heaven. It was to appoint Ameerul Mo'minin Ali bin Abi Talib a caliph over the Muslims (after the Prophet) and to announce that openly and with no moment of delay. The message of the Heaven was revealed in this verse, (O Messenger! deliver what bas been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people).[9]
Historians mention that this verse was revealed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h) in the Ghadeer Khum[10] and it had a strict warning to the Prophet (p.b.u.h) that if he did not carry out this order, it would be as if he had not carried out the mission of his Lord, and his efforts would go in vain.

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) determined to fulfill the will of Allah. He stopped at the desert and ordered the caravans of the hajjis to do the same. It was a very hot summer day that men put the ends of their abas under their legs to guard against hot. When Muslims, who were about one hundred thousands or more as historians say, gathered together, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) began making a speech before them.

First, he explained to them what he suffered for the sake of their guidance and to save them from the superstitions of the age of ignorance into a safe, noble life. Then, he said,

"See how you will obey me through (being loyal to) the two weighty things." Some one cried out, "O messenger of Allah, what are the two weighty things?"

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "The major weighty thing is the Book of Allah; its one end is in the hand of Allah and the other end is in your hands. Keep to it and do not deviate. The other is the minor weighty thing; it is my progeny. Kind Gabriel told me that they (the Book of Allah and the progeny) will not separate until they will come to me at the pond (in the Paradise), and I prayed my Lord to do that for them.

Do not antecede them that you may perish, and do not lag behind them that you may perish..."
Then, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) took Imam Ali's hand and announced his guardianship over the Muslims and appointed him a general leader over the nation. He raised Imam Ali's hand until the white of their (the Prophet and Imam Ali) armpits appeared and he addressed the Muslims loudly;

"O people, who is worthier of the believers than themselves?"

They all said, "Allah and His messenger are more aware."

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, "Allah is my guardian and I am the guardian of the believers, and I am worthier of them than themselves. Whoever I am his guardian Ali is to be his guardian."

He repeated that three times and then said, "O Allah, guard whoever follows him, be an enemy to whoever opposes him, love whoever loves him, hate whoever hates him, support whoever supports him, let down whoever betrays him, and turn the truth with him wherever he turns. Let the present inform the absent..."

The homage to Imam Ali

After the Prophet's speech, Muslims came to Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) congratulating and paying homage to him. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) ordered his wives to pay homage to Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) and they did.[11] Umar bin al-Khattab shook hand with the imam and said to him, "Congratulations O son of Abi Talib! You have become my guardian and the guardian of every believing man and believing woman."[12]
On that eternal day, this verse was revealed to the Prophet (p.b.u.h), (This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion).[13]

The religion was perfected and the great favor was completed to the nation by announcing the guardianship of Imam Ali (p.b.u.h), the pioneer of the truth and justice in Islam. The Prophet (p.b.u.h) had gathered his nation together on knowledge, faith, and piety by paying the homage to Imam Ali (p.b.u.h), for there was no one at all from among the Prophet's companions or family like Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) in any one of his qualities and ideals.

The allegiance to Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) was a part from the mission of Islam and a pillar from the pillars of the religion, and whoever denies that as if he has denied Islam as Allama al-Ala'ili says.

The Prophet and the caliphate

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) cared greatly about the matter of caliphate and imamate that would lead the nation after him. It was the continuity of his sharia and rule that he compared it to his mission of Islam at its beginning when he invited his family to believe him and believe in the principles he had received from the heaven. However, no one from his family responded to him except Ali bin Abi Talib (p.b.u.h). The Prophet (p.b.u.h) put his hand on Ali's neck and said, "This is my brother, vizier, guardian, and caliph (successor) among you after me. So you listen and obey him."[14]

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) also said, "Whoever dies while unknowing the imam (leader) of his time, he dies as unbeliever (of the pre-Islamic age of ignorance)."

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) dealt with all affairs of Muslims and found irrefutable solutions to them. The most important one of them was the appointment of a caliph after his death to achieve justice and to rule the nation due to the pure laws of Allah the Almighty. It is completely untrue to say that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) ignored this matter of the caliphate which was the first key of the nation's happiness and safety from deviation.

Definitely, ignoring this matter would destroy the social structure that Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) had built and would throw the nation into many dangers.

The disasters and violent disagreements that Muslims faced throughout most of their ages were, undoubtedly, the result of the purposely neglecting of the clear traditions and orders of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) that concerned the matter of caliphate. Surely, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) had appointed the caliphs after him and limited that to his progeny, who were the centers of the Divine Revelation and who were the propagandists of Allah in the earth.

Muhammad al-Keylani says, "The people disputed on the position of caliphate in a way that was unequalled in other nations. They committed for the sake of that what we ourselves refrain from nowadays. And consequently, many souls were ruined, towns were destroyed, villages were torn down, houses were burnt, women were made widows, children were made orphans, and great masses of Muslims were killed."[15]

Anyhow, the Prophet (p.b.u.h), who was sent by Allah the Merciful as mercy to people, would definitely not leave his nation in anarchy without appointing the leader who would be able and well-qualified to manage all its affairs.

The Prophet chooses Ali for the caliphate

The definite thing according to the sources of history, the scientific studies, and the pondering on the Prophet's life and conducts is that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) had actually appointed Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) as the caliph after him. He announced his leadership over the nation in many occasions. There are many true traditions transmitted from the Prophet (p.b.u.h) confirming this fact. According to these traditions Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) was the gate of the Prophet's town of knowledge, and he was with the truth and the truth was with him, and was to the Prophet as was Aaron to Moses, and other than that mentioned in hundreds of traditions all showing the virtues and high standing of Imam Ali (p.b.u.h).

Many people ask that why the Prophet (p.b.u.h) had chosen Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) to be the caliph and preferred him to his family and companions.

The answer to that is that the Prophet thought deeply of his family and companions, and he could not find anyone better than Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) or worthier of the caliphate than him; not because Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) was the closest one to the Prophet (p.b.u.h), but because he was the most aware of the mission from among all Muslims at all and the most aware of the rulings of Islam at all, and the best of the nation after the Prophet (p.b.u.h) at all. Most surely the Prophet (p.b.u.h) did not follow his emotions and sentiments in anything.

The Prophet (p.b.u.h) chose Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) to be the caliph after him according to the abilities and the high qualities he had that no one other than him from among all Muslims had ever had. The following are some of those qualities that made Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) unequalled and incomparable:

First, Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) had had scientific abilities that no one other than him had ever had especially what concerned the rulings of the Sharia, the affairs of religion, and the cases of judgment. He was the first authority after the Prophet (p.b.u.h) in all of that. Umar often said, "Were it not for Ali, Umar would perish." No one of the Prophet's companions was compared to Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) in judgment.

Besides, Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) was the best leader in the Islamic world concerning the political and administrative affairs. His book to Malik al-Ashtar was the clearest evidence on this fact. Whoever reviews the political documents mentioned in Nahjol Balagha will find wonderful pictures of the successful, honest policy that has adopted justice in all its faces.

As Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) was the most aware in the just political affairs that did not involve cheating, hypocrisy, and misleading, he was the most aware among all Muslims in other sciences like theology, philosophy, mathematics, astronomy, and others. Al-Aqqad says, "The Imam (p.b.u.h) opened many doors of sciences that were more than thirty sciences. With all these abundant scientific treasures how was it possible for the Prophet (p.b.u.h) not to choose him for the position of the caliphate on which the independence, freedom, and prosperity of the nation were based?

The infinite scientific abilities that the imam had determines, according to the Islamic logic that prefers the general interest to anything else, that he must be the candidate to lead the nation other than anyone else, for Allah the Almighty has said, (Are those who know equal with those who do not know?).[16]

There is nothing more ridiculous than to believe in the possibility of preferring the good one to the better one. Certainly this unscientific thought contradicts the Islamic values that make it obligatory to prefer the knowledgeable people to other than them and to nominate them to the important positions. To prefer other than them to them destroys the noble values and wrongs knowledge.

Second, Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) was the most courageous and the bravest one of all people. He said, "If all the Arabs gather together to fight me, I will not run away before them." Indeed,Islam was established by his sword and built by his struggle and efforts. He was the man of the memorable situations on the days of Badr, Hunayn, and al-Ahzab when he harvested with his sword the heads of the polytheists and did away with their heroes and chiefs and spread in their houses terror and sorrows.

No gap was opened against Islam by its enemies except that he was the one who closed and silenced it. For all that, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) preferred him to all others in entrusting him with the leadership of the Muslim armies. He did not lead Muslims in a war except that victory was theirs. It was he who subjugated and defeated the Jews and conquered their strong forts and finished off their power.

Surely courage is one of the main aspects that a man, who assumes the leadership of a nation and the management of its affairs, must have, but if he is weak and cowardly, the nation shall face different kinds of disasters.

Since courage in the full sense of the word was available in Imam Ali (p.b.u.h), then how was it possible for the Prophet (p.b.u.h) not to choose him for the caliphate and the leadership of the nation after him?

Logically and due to the incomparable aspects that Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) had, he must be the only one to be chosen to lead the nation even if there was no decree from the Prophet (p.b.u.h) concerning him.

Third, from the most important aspect that one, who assumes the leadership of a nation, must have is altruism and the preference of the interests of the nation to everything else. Undoubtedly, this aspect was so prominent in Imam Ali's personality that Muslims had never seen like him in asceticism and altruism. All historians mention unanimously that Imam Ali (p.b.u.h), during his reign, was so just in dealing with the public treasury that he did not take for himself or his family even one dirham. In fact, he spent even his own salary on the poor and the needy. He ran Muslims with utmost just policy in giving. He equaled the all in rights and duties. It did not happen in every religion or doctrine like what he legislated of high values and ideals of justice and truth.

Fourth, from the aspects that must be available in one, who assumes the leadership of a nation, is piety and righteousness in order not to prefer anything to the obedience of Allah. Definitely, no Muslim at all was better than Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) in this concern. It was he who said, "By Allah, if I am given the seven districts with all that under their skies to disobey Allah in a bran of a grain of barley that I deprive from a mouth of a locust, I will never do."

Surely, Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) was the best of Muslims at all after the Prophet (p.b.u.h). From the piety of the imam was that he refused to respond to the conditions of Abdurrahman bin Ouf who insisted on him to assume the caliphate after the murder of Umar bin al-Khattab on condition that the imam must act according to the policies of Abu Bakr and Umar in leading the nation. Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) refused and said that he would act, in his policy, according to the Book of Allah, the Sunna of His prophet, and his own opinion.

If the imam wished for rule and authority, he would respond to Abdurrahman first, and then he would act according to his (Imam Ali) policy, and if Abdurrahman objected to him, he would arrest and throw him into prison.
Humanity in all its experiments in the world of politics could not (and will not be able to) find throughout all periods of history a ruler like Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) in virtue, justice, honesty, knowledge, altruism, and abstinence.

Definitely and with no any bit of doubt, the Prophet (p.b.u.h) had appointed Imam Ali (p.b.u.h) a caliph and highest authority over the nation not according to the base of heredity or other accounts, but because of the unequalled qualities available in Imam Ali (p.b.u.h). It is not true at all to say that the Prophet (p.b.u.h) neglected the matter of the caliphate and the succession after him and left the nation to face anarchy and troubles after him.

Notes :

[1] Gabriel used to recite the whole Qur'an to the Prophet (p.b.u.h) once every year.
[2] Al-Khasa'is al-Kubra, vol. 2 p. 268.
[3] Tareekh ibn al-Atheer, vol. 5 p. 523.
[4] Qur'an, 39:30-31.
[5] Encyclopedia of Imam Ameerul Mo'minin Ali bin Abi Talib, vol. 2 p. 71-72.
[6] Allah has prohibited to shed each other's blood or to seize each other's property unlawfully.
[7] Do not pride on...
[8] The Life of Imam al-Husayn bin Ali (p.b.u.h), vol. 1 p. 195-298 quoted from Tareekh al-Ya'qubi, vol. 2 p. 90-92.
[9] Qur'an, 5:67.
[10] Tareekh Baghdad, vol. 8 p. 290, Asbab an-Nuzool by al-Wahidi, p. 150, ar-Razi in his Tafsir, vol. 4 p. 401, Majma' al-Bayan by at-Tabarsi, vol. 2 p. 152, ad-Durr al-Mantur, vol. 6 p. 117.
[11] Encyclopedia of al-Ghadeer.
[12] Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 4 p. 281.
[13] Qur'an, 5:3.
[14] This tradition is agreed on by most of historians and narrators.
[15] The Influence of Shiism in the Arabic Literature, p. 25.
[165] Qur'an, 39:9.

Taken from : The Life of Muhammad The Greatest Liberator The Holiest Prophet ,Author: Allama Baqir Shareef al-Qurashi ,Translator: Abdullah al-Shahin


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