The Calamity of the Prophet’s Death : Effects on the Muslim Nation
Refuting those who Say that the Death of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) was not a Calamity
Zayd ibn Lubayd (ra) related,
The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) mentioned something and then said, “That is when knowledge departs.” I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! How will knowledge depart when we recite the Quran, teach its recitation to our children – with each generation teaching their children until the Day of Resurrection?’ He (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, “Zayd, may your mother lose you! I had seen you as the one most possessed of understanding in Madinah. Do not the Jews and Christians recite the Torah and the Bible? Yet they apply nothing that is in them!” [Related by Al-Tirmidhi, Ahmad, Ibn Majah in Sahih Ibn Majah (3272), and others.]
Before us we have Allah’s Book and the Prophet’s Sunnah, but where is the practical application of the two? And who conveys their messages to others? But before action and propagation, where is the authentic knowledge? Therefore, there is no place for a claim such as the one being discussed here, nor is it anywhere near the truth.
The entire Muslim Nation was pleased with Muhammad (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) as their Messenger, Prophet, leader, ruler, and educator. Whom does the Muslim Nation agree upon today? Would that we truly understood how the world was during his time and how it has become now. Muslims enjoyed honour, superiority, and status, and here we find ourselves now – in the depths of darkness, hoping for mercy from the ‘greater’ nations of today, fearing lest they destroy and subjugate us.
In the newspapers, we read about what we are afflicted with – death, subjugation, tyranny, and plots that are weaved in order to destroy us. Among our own ranks, we are afflicted by partisanship and division, each group being satisfied and pleased with what it has. In the name of Islam – Islam, scholars, and callers to Islam are attacked; and in the name of the Prophet’s family, people curse the Prophet’s family. Few are the seekers of Paradise, many the seekers of the Hellfire.
People have fabricated lies upon the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam), and it has become difficult for the masses to distinguish between the authentic and the weak; it has become easy for every man of desire to fabricate ahadith. Innovations are revered as if they represent the foundations and pillars of Islam. The man of the Sunnah is considered to be an innovator, and the innovator is considered to be a man of the Sunnah!
There is a vast wilderness that separates us from the truth. If one gives a speech, saying, “The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said,” we would have to search out for its authenticity, not knowing, will we meet one whom Allah has blessed with the true and precise criteria with which he is able to distinguish the authentic from the weak.
And if the hadith that is quoted ends up being authentic – unfortunately, it is very often weak – we must acquaint ourselves with the true meanings of the hadith and the rulings that it imparts. We must plunge into the depths of the principles of Fiqh, perhaps that we may come onto the shores of safety with results – with a further necessity of plunging into the depths of the Arabic language, its rules, idioms, and nuances.
After all of that, even if we finally arrive at safety, we forget to apply that which we have learnt, and we sit idle, not conveying to others the message – except for those whom Allah has shown mercy to, and few they are indeed.
Are not all of the above-mentioned calamities and difficulties from the results of the Prophet’s death? Are they not also from the results of the death of his Companions (ra)? Are they not also from the results of not applying Allah’s Book and His Messenger’s Sunnah?
After the Death of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam)
Eyes have shed their tears and hearts have quaked, but what does one do? The answer is to apply Allah’s Book and the Messenger of Allah’s Sunnah, for the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) has informed us that the Jews and Christians strayed because they did not apply the Torah and the Bible.
Therefore we must work, scrutinisihg texts, taking those narrations that are acceptable, and leaving those that are not. This affair is Religion and Law, so let us see whom it is we take our Religion from. [This is a saying of Muhammad ibn Sirin – may Allah have mercy on him.] We must learn, but more to the point, learn from scholars.
Let us contemplate the advice of ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-’Aziz (May Allah have mercy on him), as he was writing to Abu Bakr ibn Hazm:
“Gather the hadith of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) and write it down, for I fear the disappearance of knowledge and the passing away of scholars. And accept only the hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). Spread knowledge and sit to teach until he is taught who does not know, for indeed, knowledge is not destroyed until it becomes a secret.” [Al-Bukhari: The Book of Knowledge; Chapter: How Knowledge is Removed, mu’allaq, but with words that evince sureness. Al-Hafiz related that Aba Nu’aym included it connected in Akhbar Asbahan.]
In a sense, through gatherings of knowledge, we accompany the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). An Arab poet said:
“The people of hadith are the people of the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam),
If they do not accompany him in person, they accompany his breaths and utterances.”
So let us accompany the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) in his prayer, in his fast, in his Zakat, in his Hajj, in his behaviour, and in his Jihad. And let us accept only the hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam). His hadith is a cure and a light; in it there is safety, success, and happiness. [This does not suggest that one should not benefit from the sayings and interpretations and rulings of the scholars, for indeed, misguidance lies in forsaking their books and understanding, just as misguidance lies in blindly and intransigently following their sayings, or giving preference to them over the hadith of the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam).]
Contemplate his Final Advice
All excellent people with their passing leave behind important advice; has the Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) left for us some final advice? Yes, he has left for us words that constitute a most comprehensive set of advices and admonitions.
‘Abdur-Rahman ibn ‘Amr Al-Salami related that ‘Irbed ibn Sariyah (ra) who was known for his gentle nature and frequent crying – said:
The Messenger of Allah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) prayed in the early morning and then faced us. He delivered to us an eloquent and profound sermon, one that caused eyes to shed tears and hearts to quake. A man said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! It is as if this is a farewell sermon!’ He (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said, ‘Fear Allah, and upon you is to listen and obey (i.e. to those in authority), even if he (i.e., the one in authority) is an Ethiopian slave. Whoever from you lives after me will see much conflict; then upon you is my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly-guided Khalifahs after me: bite on it (i.e. my Sunnah…) with your molars. And beware and stay away from innovated matters, for every innovation is misguidance.” [Related by Abu Dawud in Sahih Abu Dawud (3851), by Al-Tirmidhi in Sahih Sunan Al-Tirmidhi (2157), and by Ibn Majah in Sahih Sunan Ibn Majah (40)]
We must contemplate this sermon; we must live with it and have it live with us; and we must remember it in all of the affairs of our lives – in times of ease, pain, happiness, and tragedy; in times of peace and trial; in times of harmony and discord, for indeed, it is a sermon that contains in it the ingredients of happiness, the secrets of safety and success.