Shaykh Tabarsi has narrated that when the Holy Prophet (S) returned from the Farewell Hajj he was informed that his end was near. So he used to regularly sermonize the people and restrain them from the mischiefs that were to follow his death. And he used to exhort them not to disobey his instructions. He used to emphasize that they don’t abandon his Sunnah and that they don’t create innovations in the religion of Allah.
They should remain attached to his progeny and his Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), and consider their obedience, help, protection and following obligatory on themselves. The Prophet used to warn to him against apostasy and about falling into disputes. He used to regularly tell them: O people I am going before you and you will meet me at Hauze Kauthar. Then I will ask you how you dealt with those two important things that I left among you; which is the Book of Allah and my progeny and Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).
Therefore, you should mind how you behave with them. Doubtlessly, the Kind and the Informed Lord has informed me that these two will not separate till they reach me at Hauze Kauthar. Doubtlessly, I am leaving these two among you, therefore, you must not precede my Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) in any matter and do not separate from them; do not fall short in fulfillment of their rights, or you would be destroyed.
And don’t teach them anything as they are more learned than you. I should not find you turning away from religion and to turn apostates and pull out swords against each others. After which you meet me on the battlefield against me and Ali. You should know that Ali is my brother and successor. He will fight for the interpretation of Qur’an just as I have fought for its revelation. Thus the Holy Prophet (S) stressed these points in various gatherings.
Then he formed an army of hypocrites and mischief-makers and placed it under the command of Usamah bin Zaid and ordered him to take the companions and march to Rum to the place where his father had been martyred. And the reason of sending that army was to assure that Medina is cleared of hypocrites and mischief-makers. And that no one should dispute with Amirul Momineen (a.s.) so that the matter of Caliphate is decided in his favor.
Thus Usamah was sent upto Jarf and ordered to camp there till the forces gather around him. And he emphasized much that people should join him and appointed some to assure that people obey these instructions. Meanwhile the Messenger of Allah (S) was affected by his terminal illness. When he fell ill he took the support of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and went to Baqi graveyard and most companions were with him.
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: The Almighty Allah has commanded me to pray for those buried at Baqi. When he reached there, he said: “Peace be upon you, O people of the graves; be of good cheer in what you have attained over (living) people. Seditions have come, thick and dark as a black night; the beginnings of some follows quickly upon the ends of others!”
He said further: “Jibraeel used to review the Qur’an with me once a year, but this year he reviewed it with me twice. I see this as an indication of the coming of my end.” Then addressing Ali (a.s.), he continued: “I was, O Ali, given the choice of the treasures of this world and eternal life or Paradise, but I chose Paradise and meeting my Lord. When I die, you should wash me and cover my nakedness, for no one shall look upon it except that he would be blinded.”
The Prophet then returned to his home, where he remained ill for three days. On Wednesday, he went out to the mosque with his head tightly bandaged with a cloth. He was leaning on Ali with his right hand, and on Fazl bin Abbas with the other. He sat on the pulpit and praised Allah repeatedly, then said: “O people, my term among you shall soon come to an end.
Let, therefore, anyone who has entrusted me with an object of value come to me that I may return it to him. Anyone to whom I am in debt, let him come and declare it to me.” A man rose up and said: “O Apostle of Allah, you owe me a promise; I married, and you promised me three ounces of precious metal.” He said: “Give them to him, O Fazl.”
His condition was thus on Wednesday and Thursday, but on Friday, he again sat on the pulpit and spoke to the people. He said: O people, there is nothing which can stand between Allah and anyone that could benefit a man or ward off evil from him except good deeds. O people, let no ambitious man claim anything, or one full of desires, desire anything!
For by Him Who sent me with the truth, only good deeds coupled with Allah’s mercy can lead to salvation. Even I, had I rebelled against Allah, would have fallen. O Allah, I have thrice conveyed (that is, Allah’s command concerning Ali).” He then stepped down and led the people in prayer, then entered his chamber. He was at the time in the house of Umm Salma.
He remained there for one or two days; then Ayesha came asking him to move to her chamber in order that she might nurse him. He agreed and moved to the house in which Ayesha lived. His illness persisted for some days, until he became seriously ill. Bilal then came at the time of Morning Prayers, while the Messenger of Allah (S) was overwhelmed by his illness, and called out: “Time for prayers, may Allah, have mercy on you!” The Prophet answered: “Let one of the men lead the rest in prayers.” Ayesha added: “Order Abu Bakr to lead people in prayers!” Hafasa said: “Order Umar!”
The Prophet retorted: “Cease, for you two are like Yusuf’s little women!” He then rose, even though he was unable to stand because of weakness, He leaned on Ali and Fazl and went to the mosque dragging his feet in weakness. When he entered, he found that Abu Bakr had already stood facing the niche. He beckoned to him, and Abu Bakr stepped back. The Messenger of Allah (S) stood up, and uttering the formula of consecration (Takbiratul Ahram) he began the prayers.
When he had done and returned to his chamber, he called for Abu Bakr and Umar along with others who were present and said: “Did I not command you to go in Usamah’s army?” Abu Bakr replied, “I had already set out, but I returned to see you.” Umar said: “I did not go because I did not wish to be absent, thus have to inquire of the caravans to get news about you.” He repeated three times: “Send off Usamah’s army. Curse be on one who does not join Usamah’s army.”
He then fell into a swoon because of the fatigue which he suffered. He remained thus unconscious for a while, so that the Muslims began to weep and his wives and children began to wail loudly. But he regained consciousness and said: “Bring me a pen and shoulder blade that I may inscribe for you a writ after which you shall never go astray!”
Again he lost consciousness. One of his companions present was about to go and fetch pen and shoulder blade, but Umar said to him: “Come back, for he is hallucinating!” When the Prophet again regained consciousness, some of his companions said: O Messenger of Allah (S), should we not bring you a pen and shoulder blade?” “No” he said, “not after what you have said! Rather, keep well my memory through kindness to the Zimmis, and feed the poor. Observe regular prayers, be kind to the women whom your right hands possess.”1
Kulaini has narrated through authentic chains from Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) that he said: I asked my father, Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.): Was it not possible from Imam Ali (a.s.) to write the will of the Prophet as the latter dictated and the proximate angels should have witnessed it?
Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) fell silent and then he said after some moments: “This is what happened, but when the time of the death of the Prophet approached, Jibraeel with proximate and trustworthy angels brought a complete document from the Almighty Allah which was sealed and he said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), command all the people to leave the place except Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) so that your successor Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) may accept the heavenly document from us. And that you may appoint us as witnesses that you have entrusted this matter to Ali and made him responsible to act whatever is mentioned in it.”
The Holy Prophet (S) sent all the people out of the room, except Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) and Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) who was behind the curtain. Jibraeel said: O Messenger of Allah (S), your Lord sends you His greetings; this document is one about which I had firstly taken your promise on the Night of Meraj and then on other occasions also, and I had myself witnessed it and made other angels as witnesses even though I was myself sufficient as a witness.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) began to tremble in the fear of the Almighty and he said: “O Jibraeel, my Lord is clean of all defects, and every kind of well being is from Him and every good thing is from Him only. My Lord has stated the truth and He has fulfilled His promise. Give me the document.” Jibraeel handed the document to the Holy Prophet (S) and said: “Please pass it to Amirul Momineen (a.s.).”
The Prophet handed it to Imam Ali (a.s.) and said: “Read it.” Imam Ali (a.s.) read it word by word, till the end. After that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “This is the promise and oath of my Lord that He has given me and it is His trust that He had given me and I have conveyed it to you. And I have fulfilled all the conditions of well being of the Ummah. And I have completed the messages of God. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: “May by parents be sacrificed on you, I witness that you have delivered the message and acted for the well being of the Ummah, I testify for you what you said and my flesh and skin, ear, eyes and blood witness.”
Jibraeel said: “I am also a witness to all that you have mentioned.” Then the Holy Prophet (S) said: “O Ali, you have obtained my will and have understood and you have become a guarantor from me and Allah, that you will fulfill all the oaths that are mentioned in this document. Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: “Indeed, O Messenger of Allah (S), may my parents be sacrificed on you, I guarantee that and it is upon Allah to give me the good sense to act upon it and help me in this.”
The Messenger of Allah (S) said: “O Ali, I want to take the witness on this document so that when you come to me on Judgment Day, it should witness that I had exhausted the arguments on you.” Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “You may appoint your witnesses.” The Holy Prophet (S) said: “Jibraeel and Mikaeel have arrived with proximate angels and they are present here and they are witnesses between me and you.” Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “Yes I also make them witnesses on you, may my parents be sacrificed on you.”
Thus the Prophet made those angels witnesses and among the condition that had been stated by Jibraeel under the command of the Almighty Allah included that the Holy Prophet (S) said: “O Ali, you will fulfill the condition that you love and be friendly to one who is the friend of Allah and Prophet and you will be inimical to and be aloof from those who are enemies of Allah and the Prophet. And that you will observe patience on their oppression when they usurp your rights and take away your share and destroy your sanctity.” Imam Ali (a.s.) said: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (S), I will do exactly as you say.”
Then Amirul Momineen (a.s.) says: “By the one who split the seed and created the creatures, I heard from Jibraeel say to the Messenger of Allah (S): O Messenger of Allah (S), inform Ali that hypocrites will dishonor his sanctity even though his sanctity is the sanctity of Allah and the Prophet and they will dye his beard in his blood.” When I heard this from Jibraeel, I fell unconscious and I said: “I have accepted it. Even though people may trespass my sanctity, render my practice invalid, cut up the Qur’an into pieces, destroy the Kaaba and dye my beard with my blood, I will be patient in all this and hope for rewards from Allah till I come to you in an oppressed condition.”
Then the Holy Prophet (S) called for Lady Fatima, Hasan and Husain and informed them also like he had informed Amirul Momineen (a.s.). They also accepted all the conditions like Imam Ali (a.s.). After that he sealed the document with seals of gold from Paradise whose gold had not been melted in fire. And then the document was entrusted to Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
When Imam Musa Kazim (a.s.) reached this point, the narrator asked: “What else was mentioned in that document?” Imam (a.s.) replied: “It contained the practices of Allah and His Messenger.” The narrator also asked: “Was it also mentioned that hypocrites will usurp the Caliphate of Imam Ali (a.s.)?” Imam (a.s.) replied: “Yes, perhaps you have not heard the following statement of Allah:
إِنَّا نَحْنُ نُحْيِي الْمَوْتَىٰ وَنَكْتُبُ مَا قَدَّمُوا وَآثَارَهُمْ ۚ وَكُلَّ شَيْءٍ أَحْصَيْنَاهُ فِي إِمَامٍ مُبِينٍ
“Surely We give life to the dead, and We write down what they have sent before and their footprints, and We have recorded everything in the manifest Imam.”2
“Is Imam Mubeen (manifest Imam) Lauhe Mahfuz (Protected Tablet) or it is Amirul Momineen (a.s.)?” Imam (a.s.) then said: “The Messenger of Allah (S) asked Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.), did you understand what I told you? And do you agree to act upon it?” Both agreed to act on it, saying: “We have accepted it as it deserves to be accepted and we will be patient in those things that will be difficult for us and we would not become angry.”
Kulaini has narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) that Jibraeel, the trustworthy brought the news of the death of the Holy Prophet (S) when he was not suffering from any illness. By the command of the Prophet, announcement was made and all people gathered in his audience.
The Holy Prophet (S) ordered the Emigrants and Helpers to arm themselves. Then he mounted the pulpit and informed the people about his passing away and he said: “I remind of Allah, to the one who will be the ruler of the community after me, he should indeed have mercy on Muslims, he should consider their elders respectable and be kind to their young, honor their scholars and not harm them in any way, which may degrade them and not make them poor which would lead them to infidelity.
And he must not close the door (of justice) so that their strong may oppress the weak. And must not post them in boundaries of infidels for a long time, which would cause their generations to be cut off. Then he said: I have conveyed the message and I have been your well wisher, so you all must be witnesses. Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) said: This was the last discourse of the Prophet from a pulpit.”
Kulaini, Ibn Babawayh, Shaykh Tusi, Shaykh Mufeed and most Shia and Sunni tradition scholars have narrated from authentic chains, from Imam Zainul Abideen (a.s.), Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) etc. that when the time of the death of the Holy Prophet (S) approached and his illness took a serious turn, the Prophet called for Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and Abbas. The house of the Prophet was crowded by the Companions of the Prophet, and Emigrants and Helpers.
The Messenger of Allah (S) placed his head in the lap of Amirul Momineen (a.s.) and His Eminence, Abbas was standing in front of the Prophet and with the corner of his sheet was fanning the face of the Messenger. His Eminence, opened his eyes and said: O Abbas, O uncle of the Messenger, accept my will regarding my family members and my wives. Take my inheritance and repay my debts and fulfill the promises I have made with others and free me from responsibility.
Abbas said: O Messenger of Allah (S), I have grown old, and you are more kind than the Ruh-e-Asif (wind) and more generous than the spring cloud. My personal wealth will not be sufficient to fulfill your generosities and promises. And you turn this matter to one who is stronger than me. The Holy Prophet (S) repeated this thrice to Abbas and Abbas replied in the same way every time. The Prophet said: “To whom should I give my inheritance who will accept it like it is wont to be accepted and who will not ask to be excused like you?”
Then the Prophet glanced at Imam Ali (a.s.) and said: “O Ali, you take my inheritance as my inheritance is only restricted to you and no one can dispute with you and accept my bequest, fulfill my promises and repay my loans. O Ali, you are my Caliph on my family members and you will propagate my messages.” Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: “I looked at the blessed head of the Prophet that it was shaking due to illness in my lap.
I became restless and tears came to my eyes and fell on the holy face of the Prophet and my heart became agitated and I could not give any reply to him.” The Prophet repeated his words but again my voice choked in my throat due to grief. At last in a very weak tone, I said: “All right, O Messenger of Allah (S), may my parents be sacrificed on you.” At that time, the Holy Prophet (S) told him to make him sit up. I made him sit up and supporting his back with my chest, I also sat up with him.
His Eminence, said: “O Ali, only you are my brother in the world and the Hereafter and my successor and Caliph on my Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and my Ummah.” Then he told Bilal, get my helmet which is called Zuljabeen, my coat of mail called Zulfadool, my standard called Uqab, my Zulfiqar, my turban, Sahab, another turban, Tahiya, my chador, pot, small cane and walking stick, Mamshooq. Abbas says: I had never seen that earthen jar before. When it was brought, it was so luminous that it almost blinded the onlookers.
Then His Eminence, said: “Jibraeel brought this garment for me said: O Messenger of Allah (S), insert this into the circles of your coat of mail. And tie it to your waist instead of a belt. Then he called for two pairs of Arabian shoes, one was laced and another plain; and called for the robe that he had worn on the night of Meraj. And the garment he had worn on the day of Uhud.
And called for all his three caps one of which he wore on journeys, another on Eid days, and the third he wore when meeting his companions. Then he said: O Bilal, bring my two mules, Shahba and Duldul. And he called for his two she-camels, Ghazba and Sahba and his two horses, Junah and Haidhoom. Junah used to remain at the gate of the Masjid. When the Prophet used to send someone on an errand he used to ride that animal.
And Haidhoom was one that the Holy Prophet (S) rode in the Battle of Uhud. And Jibraeel was exhorting it to move forward. He also called for his ass, Yafur. Thus when Bilal brought all these things, the Holy Prophet (S) told Abbas to sit in Ali’s place supporting his back. And he said to Ali (a.s.): Get up and take charge of all these things during my lifetime so that all the people present here may witness it. And no one may dispute about it with you after me.
Imam Ali (a.s.) says: I arose with the command of the Prophet but my feet were not strong enough to walk. Thus with lot of difficulty, I went ahead and took all the things to my home, then I came back and stood before the Prophet. After that the Messenger of Allah (S) took off his ring and put it on my finger. At that time all Bani Hashim and other Muslims were crowding in the house.
Due to weakness the head of His Eminence was not stable, sometimes it turned to the right and sometimes to the left. In that same condition His Eminence, said in a loud voice which was audible to all: O Muslims, Ali is my brother, my successor and my Caliph in my Ummah.
Only he will repay my debts, fulfill my promises. O sons of Hashim and O sons of Abdul Muttalib, and O Muslims, do not be inimical to Ali and do not disregard his commands or you shall go astray. Do not feel jealous of him, and do not become aloof from him and be inclined to others, or you will become deniers.” After that he told Abbas: “Get up from Ali’s place.”
Abbas said: “You are making an old man stand up and making a youth sit in his place?” the Prophet said thrice and each time Abbas gave the same reply. After that he gave up and arose from there and Imam Ali (a.s.) went and sit in that place. When the Messenger of Allah (S) saw that Abbas was angry, he said: “Don’t do something that may cause me to depart from the world while I am angry with you and my anger takes you to Hell.” When he heard this, he took his seat. The Prophet said: “O Ali, make me lie down.” When he made to lie down, he said to Bilal: Call my sons, Hasan and Husain.”
They were summoned there and the Prophet embraced them and he began to smell and kiss the two blossoms of prophethood. Imam Ali (a.s.) says: “Since I feared that the two boys would cause discomfort to the Prophet, I stepped forward to separate them from him. His Eminence, said: “O Ali, leave them, so that I may smell them and they may smell them and that they may derive comfort from my company and I seek solace from their love, because after me, terrible calamities will fall on them. And curse of Allah be on one who terrifies them and oppresses them.
O Allah, I entrust them and the best of the believer, that is Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) to You. After that Shaykh Mufeed narrates that the Holy Prophet (S) said farewell to the people and all went out, except for Abbas and his son, Fazl, Imam Ali (a.s.) and some family members. Abbas said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), if this matter of Caliphate is given to us Bani Hashim, please give us its glad tidings so that we are pleased by it.
And if you think that people would oppress us and take away the Caliphate from us, you may plead to the companions about us.” The Prophet said: “After me they will weaken you and you will be overpowered by others.” Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) began to weep at this information and they became hopeless of life of the Holy Prophet (S). During that time Amirul Momineen (a.s.) used to remain in the service of the Prophet and he never went out except for some urgent and necessary errands.
Ibn Babawayh, Shaykh Mufeed, Shaykh Tusi, Shaykh Tabarsi, Ibn Shahr Ashob and other scholars of tradition have narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Ali (a.s.), Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.), Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) and Umm Salma, Ayesha etc. that in the last stage of the Prophet’s illness Amirul Momineen (a.s.) had gone out for some work, when the Prophet said: “Call my helper, my friend and my brother.” Ayesha sent someone to Abu Bakr and Hafasa to Umar and called them. When they arrived and the Prophet saw them, he covered his head and face with a cloth. The two went away. Then the Prophet removed the cloth from his face and said: “Call my friend, my beloved and my brother.”
Then the two wives called their respective fathers. When they arrived, the Prophet turned away from them or concealed his face. They said: “Not us, he has called for Ali.” Lady Fatima summoned Amirul Momineen (a.s.). When he arrived, the Prophet embraced him and placed his holy mouth to his blessed ear and covered his face with his cloth and spoke to him in private for a long time till perspiration dripped from their faces.
People had gathered behind the house of the Prophet. Abu Bakr and Umar were also standing at the door outside. When Amirul Momineen (a.s.) emerged, people asked, “What private talk did the Holy Prophet (S) have with you?” His Eminence, replied: “He taught me a thousand chapters of knowledge, and each chapter opened into thousands of doors.” According to another report, Prophet Khizr was present in the vestibule.
He asked Imam Ali (a.s.): “Did the Messenger of Allah (S) mention some secrets to you?” Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said: “Yes, he taught me a thousand types of sciences and each opened thousands of channels for me.” Khizr (a.s.) asked: “Did you understand and memorize all the sciences?” “Yes,” he replied. He asked: “What are the dark spots in every moon?” His Eminence, replied: “The Almighty Allah says:
وَجَعَلْنَا اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ آيَتَيْنِ ۖ فَمَحَوْنَا آيَةَ اللَّيْلِ وَجَعَلْنَا آيَةَ النَّهَارِ مُبْصِرَةً
“And We have made the night and the day two signs, then We have made the sign of the night to pass away and We have made the sign of the day manifest…”3
Khizr (a.s.) said: “You are right, O Ali.” And it is mentioned in the report of Ayesha that when Amirul Momineen (a.s.) arrived, the Holy Prophet (S) took him under his blanket and spoke to him in private till his soul departed from his body and the hand of the Prophet was on Amirul Momineen (a.s.).
Ibn Babawayh has narrated from Amirul Momineen (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that when the death of the Prophet approached he called me and said: “O Ali, only you are my successor and Caliph on my Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and on my Ummah during my lifetime and after my death.
Your friend is my friend and my friend is the friend of Allah. And your enemy is my enemy and my enemy is the enemy of Allah. O Ali, whoever denies your Imamate after me, will be such that he has denied my prophethood during my lifetime, because you are from me and I am from you.”
Then he called me near and taught me a thousand chapters of knowledge and each chapter opened thousands of doors of knowledge. According to another report he said: “He taught me a thousand chapters of all the lawful and prohibited and all that which was to occur till Judgment Day and each chapter opened thousands of chapters. So much so that I also came to know about the death of people and the calamities that would befall them. And I came to know how to judge with truth.”
Saffar has narrated from Imam Ja’far Sadiq (a.s.) through authentic chains of narrators that one day the Holy Prophet (S) during his illness performed the Morning Prayer in the Masjid. Then he recited a sermon and mentioned the commands and prohibitions to the people and gave them good counsel with reminders of the Hereafter.
Then in order to warn the people, he said: “O Fatima, perform good deeds, and worship Allah, because without action no one can grant any benefit to you.” People were pleased on hearing this and they enjoyed his company. His wives were also happy that his illness was cured. Then he combed his hair, applied antimony to his eyes. But he passed away from the world, the same day. The narrator asked: “When did the Prophet teach a thousand chapters to Amirul Momineen (a.s.)?” Imam (a.s.) replied: “Before that day.”
Shaykh Mufeed has narrated through reliable chains from Abdullah bin Abbas that Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.), Abbas and Fazl bin Abbas during the terminal illness of the Prophet, came to him and said: The men and women of Ansar are present in the mosque and they are weeping for you. The Prophet asked why they were crying. He was told: “Because they fear that you will leave them in this illness.”
The Prophet said: “Hold my hand,’ then he came out wrapped in a sheet and wearing a turban. Then he mounted the pulpit and after praise and glorification of Allah said: O people, why did you deny the death of your Prophet? I have regularly informed me about my and your death. If any prophet had remained in the world forever before me, I would also have remained thus. You should know that I am leaving this world and leaving among that which if you remain attached to it you will never go astray.
And it is the Book of Allah that you recite every morning and night. So do not be inclined to materialism and do not be jealous of each other. Do not cultivate mutual enmity. And live like brothers as the Almighty Allah has commanded you. And indeed I leave my Ahlul Bayt (a.s.), my progeny among you and advise you about them and advise about the Ansar that you must observe their rights and value their efforts about Allah, and His Prophet and the believers.
You should know that they allowed you to live in their homes. Shared half their fruits with you and preferred your self over themselves even though they were themselves in need. So one who rules over the Muslims, should be kind and affectionate to the righteous ones of the Ansar and should forgive their wrong-doers.” Thus this was the last instance of the Prophet coming on the pulpit, till he passed away from the world.
Shaykh Mufeed has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that when the last moments of the Holy Prophet (S) approached, Jibraeel arrived and said: “O Messenger of Allah (S), would you like to go back to the world?”
“No,” said the Messenger, “I have fulfilled all the duties of prophethood.” Jibraeel asked: “Would you not like to remain alive any more?” “No,” he replied, “I prefer to join my exalted friends; that is prophets, legatees and the saints of the Almighty Allah.” Then the Prophet advised the people and said: “O people, there will be no Prophet after me and there will no Sunnah after my Sunnah.
So anyone who claims prophethood after me or creates some heresy in my religion, his claim and heresy will be in Hellfire. And one who makes such a claim should be put to death and one who follows such a one, will go to Hell. People keep retaliation and rights alive and do not be disunited. And remain Muslims and follow the leaders of religion so that you are secured from the punishment of the world and the Hereafter.” Then he recited the following verse:
كَتَبَ اللَّهُ لَأَغْلِبَنَّ أَنَا وَرُسُلِي ۚ إِنَّ اللَّهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ
“Allah has written down: I will most certainly prevail, I and My apostles; surely Allah is Strong, Mighty.”4
Moreover, through authentic chains of narrators it is narrated from Abu Saeed Khudri that the last sermon that the Prophet delivered was the sermon that he recited in his last illness and he came out of the house leaning on Ali and Maimoona, his freed slave girl. Then he mounted the pulpit and said: “O people, I leave two important things among you.” Then he fell silent. A person stood to ask what those two important things were.
The Prophet was angry at this so much that his face turned red, and he asked: “Have I not informed you about it? But now I want to explain it. But I am breathless due to the illness.” Then he said: “One of them is Qur’an which is like a rope hanging from the heavens to the earth, one end of which is in the hand of the Almighty and another end is with you. And the next thing is my Ahlul Bayt (a.s.).”
Then he said: “I am telling you about this but I know that some are still in the loins of polytheists but in spite of your majority I am more hopeful of them. By Allah, none loves my Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) except that the Almighty Allah will bestow him with an effulgence on Judgment Day. Till they will reach me at Hauze Kauthar. And no one is inimical to them but that the Almighty Allah doesn’t deprive him of His mercy on Judgment Day.” The narrator says: “I narrated this tradition to Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and he certified its veracity.”
Shaykh Tusi has narrated through authentic chains of narrators that Salman said: I was in the service of the Messenger of Allah (S) during his last illness. I was sitting with him and asking about his well being. And when I wanted to leave, the Prophet told me to be seated so that I can also be a witness of the most meritorious facts. So I sat down and suddenly I saw some persons from the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet and some companions arrive there. Lady Fatima also came but when she saw her father’s weakness she was moved to tears and her voice was choked.
When the Holy Prophet (S) saw this, he asked, “Why are you weeping, my dear; may Allah brighten your eyes and may you never have to weep.” When Fatima said, “How I cannot weep on seeing you in this condition?” His Eminence, said: “O Fatima, trust in the Lord and observe patience as your ancestors from the prophets had done. And be patient like the wives of the prophets. O Fatima, do you want me to give you a good news?” “Yes, father,” she replied. His Eminence said: “Don’t you know that the Almighty Allah selected your father from all the creatures and sent him as a prophet on all the creatures.
After that He selected Ali (a.s.) and commanded me to perform your wedding with him. And with the command of Allah, I appointed him as my vizier and successor. O Fatima, the right of Ali (a.s.) on all Muslims is much more than the rights of others and his Islam is the earliest and his knowledge is more than all others and his forbearance is most, and he is having the most value among the people.”
Lady Fatima was pleased at this and the Prophet asked: “O Fatima, have I made you happy?” “Yes,” she said, “O respected father.” His Eminence asked: “Would you like me to state more in the excellence of your husband and my cousin?” “Yes,” she said, “O respected father.” So the Prophet said: “Ali is the foremost in this Ummah to believe in Allah and His Prophet and after that the first of those who brought faith was your mother, Khadija and the first to help in my prophethood was Ali (a.s.).
O Fatima, there is no doubt that Ali is my brother, me selected one and the father of my sons. Indeed the Almighty Allah has gifted good qualities to Ali (a.s.), such that no one else is bestowed and neither will anyone else be given such qualities after him, therefore you must observe a good patience and know that very soon, your father is to go into the court of the Lord.”
Lady Fatima said, “Father, first you made be happy, and in the end you have made me aggrieved.” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “My dear, the affairs of the world are like this only, its happiness is joined with its sorrow and its cleanliness is mixed with its filth. Do you want me to state more?” “Yes,” she said, “O the Messenger of Allah (S).” The Holy Prophet (S) said: “The Creator of the Universe created the creatures and divided them into two; and appointed me and Ali (a.s.) among the best people, from the People of the Right. And he divided families in both the parts and made me and Ali (a.s.) among the best of the families as mentioned by Him:
وَجَعَلْنَاكُمْ شُعُوبًا وَقَبَائِلَ لِتَعَارَفُوا ۚ إِنَّ أَكْرَمَكُمْ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ أَتْقَاكُمْ
“…and made you tribes and families that you may know each other; surely the most honorable of you with Allah is the one among you most careful (of his duty)…”5
Then from those tribes he appointed the clans and made us to be from the best of the clans, as He has said:
إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ اللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنْكُمُ الرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ الْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
“Allah only desires to keep away the uncleanness from you, O people of the House! and to purify you a (thorough) purifying.”6
Then he selected me from my Ahlul Bayt and chose Ali, Hasan, Husain and you from them. So I am the best from the descendants of Adam and Ali is the best among the Arabs and you are the best among all the women of the world and Hasan and Husain are the best among the youth of Paradise and the Mahdi will be from your progeny through whom the Almighty Allah will fill up the earth with justice and equity as it would be fraught with injustice and oppression before that.”
Furat bin Ibrahim has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Jabir bin Abdullah Ansari that the Holy Prophet (S) said Lady Fatima during his last illness: “May my parents be sacrificed on you, send someone and call your husband.” Lady Fatima asked Imam Husain (a.s.) to call his father. When Amirul Momineen (a.s.) arrived, he heard that Fatima was saying: “O father, how sad we feel due to your pain.”
And the Prophet was saying: “After today there will be no discomfort for your father, and O Fatima, you should note that in my grief you should not tear your collar and hit at your face, and neither should you wail in unreasonable way; you must say only what your father had stated at the death of his son, Ibrahim: The eyes weep and the heart is pained but I don’t say anything that can earn divine anger; and O Ibrahim we are aggrieved for you.”
Then the Messenger of Allah (S) said, “If Ibrahim had been alive, he would have been a prophet.” Then he said, “O Ali come near me.” When he arrived, the Prophet said, “Bring your ear near to my mouth.” Ayesha and Hafasa tried to hear what the Prophet was saying but he said: O Allah, block their hearing so that they may not hear what I am saying.” Then he said, “O my brother, have you heard what the Almighty Allah has said in Qur’an?”
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ أُولٰئِكَ هُمْ خَيْرُ الْبَرِيَّةِ
“(As for) those who believe and do good, surely they are the best of men.”7
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said that he had indeed heard that. The Holy Prophet (S) said, “It is you and your Shia and helpers and they and I have been promised Hauze Kauthar on Judgment Day, when all the nations would be pleading for forgiveness and their deeds will be presented before the Almighty Allah. At that time the Almighty Allah will call you and your Shias and you will arrive with illuminated faces and limbs in a satiated condition. O Ali, have you heard what the Almighty Allah has said in Qur’an:
إِنَّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِنْ أَهْلِ الْكِتَابِ وَالْمُشْرِكِينَ فِي نَارِ جَهَنَّمَ خَالِدِينَ فِيهَا ۚ أُولَٰئِكَ هُمْ شَرُّ الْبَرِيَّةِ
“Surely those who disbelieve from among the followers of the Book and the polytheists shall be in the fire of hell, abiding therein; they are the worst of men.”8
Amirul Momineen (a.s.) said, “Yes, O Messenger of Allah (S).” The Holy Prophet (S) said, “They are Jews, Bani Umayyah and their followers, and your enemies and the enemies of your Shias. On Judgment Day they will be raised hungry, thirsty and black faced and they will be involved in a terrible chastisement.” The same tradition is mentioned in Kitab Sulaym bin Qays from Ali (a.s.).
In Tafsir Muhammad bin Abbas bin Mahyar it is narrated from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) and Ibn Babawayh has narrated through authentic chains of narrators from Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) that the Holy Prophet (S) during his last moments said to Lady Fatima: “When I have gone, do not injure your face in my grief and neither should you tear out your hair; you should not wail and protest at my death and don’t call for dirge singers.”
It is mentioned in Basharatul Mustafa that when the Messenger of Allah (S) was in his terminal illness, Lady Fatima (s.a.) arrived with Hasan and Husain. When she saw the Holy Prophet (S) in this condition she became restless and she threw herself on the Messenger of Allah (S) and clinging to his holy chest, she wept much. His Eminence, said, “O Fatima, do not cry, be patient.” Fatima arose; the Prophet was also weeping. Then he said thrice: O Allah, these are my Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and I entrust them to every believer.”
Shaykh Mufeed has narrated that when the end of the Prophet was near, he said to Amirul Momineen (a.s.), “O Ali, place my head in your lap, the command of the Lord has arrived. And when my soul has left my body, pull out your hands from below me and pass them over your face and turn my face to the Qiblah. Then prepare for my last rites. And you should be the first to pray on me and don’t leave me alone till you don’t lay me in the grave. In all these matters, seek help only from the Almighty.”
Thus when Amirul Momineen (a.s.) took his head in his lap, the Prophet became unconscious. Lady Fatima used to glance at his holy face and weep and wail and she recited a couplet as follows: “The Prophet had such an illuminated face that people sought rains through it. And he was a helper of the orphans and refuge of the widows.” When the Prophet heard Lady Fatima’s voice he opened his eyes and said in a thin voice: Dear daughter, this was composed by your uncle, Abu Talib. On the contrary you should say:
وَمَا مُحَمَّدٌ إِلَّا رَسُولٌ قَدْ خَلَتْ مِنْ قَبْلِهِ الرُّسُلُ ۚ أَفَإِنْ مَاتَ أَوْ قُتِلَ انْقَلَبْتُمْ عَلَىٰ أَعْقَابِكُمْ
“And Muhammad is no more than an apostle; the apostles have already passed away before him; if then he dies or is killed will you turn back upon your heels?”9
Lady Fatima cried bitterly, and the Holy Prophet (S) called her near and confided a secret to her which made her extremely happy. When the Holy Prophet (S) passed away, Imam Ali (a.s.) removed his hand from under the holy face of the Prophet and passed it over his face, and he closed the eyes of the Messenger of Allah (S), covered him with a cloth.
Someone asked Lady Fatima: “What did the Messenger of Allah (S) tell you?” She replied: “He told me that I would be the first to join him from Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) and I will not live much longer after the passing away of the Holy Prophet (S). Due to this my grief was dispelled and I understood that I will not remain separated from my father for a long time.”