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Aspects of Islamic Faith - 79: What The Prophet Feared For Muslims

Islamic Perspectives - Muslim Journals

Arab News & Information - By Adil Salahi

As the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) approached the end of his blessed life, he used to do things that appeared, with hindsight, to indicate that he was bidding farewell to life. When he addressed the people who joined him in his pilgrimage, he said to them: "I may not see you after this year." Another of these actions was his visiting the graves of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud.

Uqbah ibn Amir reports: "The Prophet went out one day and offered prayer for the people of Uhud in the same way as the janasah prayer. He then came back to the mosque where he stood on the pulpit and said: "I will be going ahead of you, and I am a witness for you. By God, I am now looking at my water reservoir. I have been given the keys of the earth treasures (or he might have said the keys of the earth.) By God, I do not fear that you may revert to polytheism after I am gone, but I fear for you that you will be preoccupied with competition for worldly matters." (Related by al-Bukhari.)

This visit to the graves of the martyrs of Uhud took place a few weeks before the end of the Prophet's blessed life. Perhaps we should mention that the Battle of Uhud took place just outside Madinah. The other battles Muslims fought during the Prophet's lifetime were far from Madinah. Those martyrs at Uhud fell while fighting for the cause of Islam eight years earlier than the Prophet's visit. The unbelievers attacked Madinah hoping to crush Islam, but although they achieved military victory in that battle, their ultimate purpose was foiled and Islam gained strength. In his visit, the Prophet remembered that those noble martyrs were his companions and that he would be meeting up with them in the life to come. Hence, he prayed for them and offered the regular janasah prayer, i.e. prayer for deceased people. His visit may be described as bidding farewell to their graves and bodies before the eventual spiritual meeting in the hereafter.

The Prophet then continued, practically bidding farewell to the living. This was in the form of admonition, as he never lost an opportunity to remind people of the need to be always diligent in following the teachings of Islam. He told his companions and his followers in all generations that he would depart this life ahead of them, but he would remain a witness for them. In other hadiths we are told that our deeds are shown to the Prophet. Hence, he will be a witness for every one of his followers. When our deeds are shown to him, he will praise God for every good action done by any one, and would pray for the forgiveness of our misdeeds.

The Prophet mentions his water reservoir which will be granted to him on the Day of Judgment. People will come to him for a drink, and he will give drinks to believers, while others will be barred from it by the angels.

What are the keys of the treasures of the earth the Prophet mentions? Needless to say, these were not physically given to him, but rather the fact that his followers defeated both the Byzantine and Persian Empires, the two superpowers of the time, is what is meant here. This indicates the source of worry expressed by the Prophet. He did not fear that his followers, as a community, would return to the worship of idols or multiple deities. Some individuals may do, but the whole community will not. What worried him was that Muslims should be preoccupied with rivalry for world riches. They should know better. They should know that this is a short life, and the real treasure is that kept for the hereafter. It is that they should aspire for by being always keen to do good and steer away from sin.




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