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The Farewell Pilgrimage and the Demise of the Prophet

The Farewell Pilgrimage and the Demise of the Prophet

The Farewell Pilgrimage and the Demise of the Prophet

The Farewell Pilgrimage

The founder of °ajj, the most prominent politico-religious ceremony, was Prophet Abraham. In the second chapter of this book, we discussed the chaotic status of religion and the power and influences of Quraysh prior to the rise of Islam. We also mentioned that until the appearance of Islam, Quraysh and all unbelievers performed °ajj and `Umrah ceremonies. However, it was not °ajj in the true sense of the word. They had altered the Abrahamic °ajj and performed it in a defective form mingled with superstitions.

We should mention here that Quraysh called themselves the true dwellers of God's shrine[1] and since Mount `Araf¡t territory is located outside the shrine, Quraysh, contrary to all unbelievers, would not go to `Araf¡t in the °ajj seasons; rather, they would stay at al-Muzdalifah[2] from where they headed for Min¡. On the other hand, the people of Yathrib used to put on the °ajj uniform (i¦r¡m) next to the idol Man¡t, which was on the Mecca-Yathrib route at the seashore[3] and those who put the °ajj form on from there would not cross the distance between ¯af¡ and Marwah, which they had to cross seven times.[4] The unbelievers, contrary to the Abrahamic traditions, moved to al-Muzdalifah from `Araf¡t prior to sunset.[5]

All these had contributed to the deformation of the true features of the Abrahamic °ajj and to its mixing with all sorts of superstitions.

With the revelation of the verse on the obligation of °ajj (22:27), the Holy Prophet informed the Muslims in advance and headed towards °ajj with great numbers of the people of Medina and nomads.[6] He taught the Muslims the genuine Abrahamic °ajj for the first time. He insisted that Muslims should learn the ceremony very carefully.[7] He used to say, “Take good care of all the rituals of °ajj because they are handed down to us by Prophet Abraham.”[8]

During this journey, the Holy Prophet could abolish all the innovations of the unbelievers, especially those of Quraysh. Despite the fact that he himself was from Quraysh, he stayed at `Araf¡t and then moved to al-Muzdalifah.[9] This was an order issued by Allah, stating,

Then, hasten on from the place from which the people hasten on and ask the forgiveness of Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful. (2:199)

After sunset, the Holy Prophet left `Araf¡t.[10]

Due to its different aspects of significance, this pilgrimage is called by different titles: Farewell Pilgrimage (°ijjat al-Wad¡`), the Islamic °ajj (°ijjat al-Isl¡m) and the Conveyance Pilgrimage (°ijjat al-Bal¡gh).[11]

The Prophet's Historical Sermon

During his farewell pilgrimage on the day of `Arafah, on the desert of `Araf¡t, and among all pilgrims, the Holy Prophet delivered a very significant and historical sermon in which he spoke about important issues and declared specific recommendations. As the attendants testified to the sacredness of that month (Dhu’l-°ijjah) and the sacredness of that day (Yawm `Arafah), the Holy Prophet declared:

O people! Up to the day on which you will meet God, your blood and property are as sacred as this month and this day; making aggression against them is forbidden. The bloodshed at the era of negligence and ignorance could not be prosecuted at this time; furthermore, usury is forbidden now.

The Holy Prophet then considered as blasphemy the changing and delaying of the Forbidden Months.

Concerning women's rights, he emphatically said,

Act kindly to women since they are God's assets in your hands and are made legal for you through Divine laws.

Let those who are present inform others that there shall be no prophet after me and there shall be no ummah after you, Muslims.

Towards the end of his speech, the Holy Prophet declared null and void the customs and ceremonies of the Ignorance Era.[12]

A great virtue

Great scholars have pointed out that it was a great point of honor for these four persons; namely, `Al¢, F¡§imah, °asan and °usayn to take part in that Mub¡halah together with the Holy Prophet. This is because this event showed that °asan and °usayn are the sons of the Holy Prophet and they, together with Imam `Al¢, are his true life. F¡§imah, his daughter, was the only woman who had taken part in the ceremony of Mub¡halah and the word nis¡' could only refer to her.

`ª'ishah is reported to have said that on the day of Mub¡halah, the Holy Prophet asked these four persons to gather under his black clock. He then reciting this verse of the Holy Qur'¡n:

Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the house, and to purify you a thorough purifying. (33:33)[13]

Both Sunni and Sh¢`ite scholars unanimously agree that these four persons took part in Mub¡halah together with the Holy Prophet.[14] Emphasized this great virtue, Sa`d ibn Ab¢-Waqq¡¥ is reported to have said, “When the verse of Mub¡halah was revealed to the Holy Prophet, he called `Al¢, F¡§imah, °asan and °usayn, saying “O God, these are my Household.”[15]

Having reported the issue of Mub¡halah and `ª’ishah's narration, al-Zamakhshar¢ says, “This issue is the most rationale for the virtue and righteousness of the Holy Prophet's Household.”[16]

After narrating the event of Mub¡halah, al-Bay¤¡w¢, says, “This indicates the righteousness of the Holy Prophet and the virtue of his Household.”[17]

In his book entitled Sa`d al-Su`£d, Sayyid Ibn ±aw£s writes, “Mu¦ammad ibn al-`Abb¡s ibn Marw¡n, in his book of M¡ Nazala min al-Qur'¡n f¢ al-Nab¢ wa Ahli Baytih¢, has narrated the event of Mub¡halah on the authority of fifty-one reporters among whom were grand companions of the Holy Prophet.”[18]

At the end of this article, it is worth mentioning that there are disagreements concerning the year, month and day of the Mub¡halah.[19]



[1] al-Azraq¢, Akhb¡r Makkah 1:176; Ibn `Abd-Rabbih, al-`Iqd al-Far¢d 3:313.

[2] al-W¡qid¢, al-Magh¡z¢ 3:1102; Zayn¢ Da¦l¡n, al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 2:143.

[3] Hush¡m Kalb¢, al-A¥n¡m, pp. 13. Ibn Hush¡m, al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 1:88; Ma¦m£d Shukr¢ al-ªl£s¢, Bul£gh al-Irab 2:202.

[4] °alab¢, al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah 3:317.

[5] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, 3:1104.

[6] Shaykh al-Kulayn¢, al-Fur£` min al-K¡f¢ 21:390.

[7] Ibn Sa`d, Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 2:181; °alab¢, op cit, 3:327.

[8] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, pp. 1104.

[9] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, pp. 1102; Zayn¢ Da¦l¡n, op cit, 2:143; al-Majlis¢, op cit, 21:392.

[10] al-W¡qid¢, op cit, pp. 1104; al-Majlis¢, op cit, pp. 379.

[11] Zayn¢ Da¦l¡n, op cit 2:143.

[12] Ibn Hush¡m, al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah 4:250-252; °alab¢, al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah 3:312; Ibn Sa`d, Al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 2:186; al-W¡qid¢, al-Magh¡z¢ 3:1111; al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 21:380. It is worth mentioning that according to both Ibn Sa`d and al-W¡qid¢, the Holy Prophet delivered this sermon at the desert of Min¡.

[13] Zamakhshar¢, op cit. Fakhr R¡z¢, without mentioning the name of `ª'ishah, records this narration and adds, “Both Sunni and Sh¢`ite scholars consider this narration authentic.” (al-Tafs¢r al-Kab¢r 8:82). Al-Shablanj¢ says, “Various reference books reckon this narration as valid.” (N£r al-Ab¥¡r, pp. 111).

[14] The following reference books deal with this same topic: Tafs¢r al-Kashsh¡f 1:193; Maf¡t¢¦ al-Ghayb 8:82; al-Durr al-Manth£r 2:231-233, as narrated by al-°¡kim, Ibn Mardawayh, Ab£-Na`¢m in al-Dal¡’il; Muslim, al-Tirmidh¢, Ibn al-Mundhir, al-Bayhaq¢, in al-Sunan, and Ibn Jar¢r; T¡r¢kh al-Ya`q£b¢ 2:71; Sharaf al-Nab¢, pp. 262; al-Bay¤¡w¢, Anw¡r al-Tanz¢l, pp. 74; N£r al-Ab¥¡r, pp. 111; Man¡qib `Al¢ Ibn Ab¢-±¡lib by Ibn Mardawayh, pp. 226.

However, the most detailed description of this report can be found in Sayyid Ibn ±aw£s’s Iqb¡l al-A`m¡l 2:310-348.

Despite the existence of so many narrations concerning al-Mub¡halah, some historians, influenced by their prejudices, have manipulated the narrations adding or subtracting materials according to their whims and desires. For instance, al-Bul¡dhar¢, Ibn Kath¢r and al-Shi`b¢ have omitted the name of `Al¢ from the narration. (See Fut£¦ al-Buld¡n, pp. 75, al-Bid¡yah wa’l-Nih¡yah 2:232.) °alab¢ and Zayn¢ Da¦l¡n both have put the names of `ª'ishah and °af¥ah among the participants; they have reported `Umar as having said, “If I wanted to partake in the Mub¡halah with those people (i.e. the Christians), I would let `Al¢, °asan, °usayn, F¡§imah, `ª'ishah and °af¥ah take part.” (al-S¢rah al-°alabiyyah 3:236; al-S¢rah al-Nabawiyyah wa’l-ªth¡r al-Mu¦ammadiyyah 2:144-145). Al-Suy£§¢ narrates from Ibn `As¡kir that the Prophet invited Ab£-Bakr and his children and `Al¢ and his children for Mub¡halah! (Al-Durr al-Manth£r 2:333).

The effects of forging and distortion are so obvious in these narrations that we do not need for further explanation of the issue. It only suffices to mention that if the word nis¡'an¡ included the Prophet's wives, why should only two of them, namely `ª'ishah and °af¥ah were worthy of to take part in Mub¡halah?

[15] ¯a¦¢¦ Muslim 15:176.

[16] Tafs¢r al-Kashsh¡f 1:193.

[17] Anw¡r al-Tanz¢l, pp. 74.

[18] Al-Majlis¢, Bi¦¡r al-Anw¡r 21:350.

[19] For more information, see Mak¡t¢b al-Ras£l 1: 179; Fur£gh-e-Abadiyyat 2:441-445.

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