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Symptoms of Farewell

Months before the prophet peace be upon him passed away, he showed certain symptoms signalling his upcoming death. Allah (S.W) revealed this ayah during the farewell pilgrimage ‘hijjatul wad’a’: “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” [Al-Qur’an 5:3] which was the signal of the completion of deen and faith and that the prophet’s duty and role on this earth was only a matter of days before it ended too. Some of the symptoms he showed were:

• In Ramadan in the tenth year of Al-Hijra he secluded himself for twenty days for I’tikaf in contrast to the usual last ten days he did in the previous years.

• The angel Jibril reviewed the Qur’ân twice with him instead of once like he would do in previous years.

• His words in the Farewell Pilgrimage (i.e. Al-Wida‘):”I do not know whether I will ever meet you at this place once again after this current year.”

• The revelation of An-Nasr Chapter amid At-Tashreeq Days. So when it was sent down on him, he realized that it was the parting time and that Surah was an announcement of his approaching death.

• On the early days of Safar in the eleventh year of Al-Hijra, the Prophet [pbuh] went out to Uhud and observed a farewell prayer to the martyrs. It looked like saying goodbye to both the dead and the living alike. He then ascended the pulpit and addressed the people saying: “I am to precede you and I have been made witness upon you. By Allâh, you will meet me at the ‘Fountain’ very soon. I have been given the keys of worldly treasures. By Allâh, I do not fear for you that you will turn polytheists after me. But I do fear that acquisition of worldly riches should entice you to strike one another’s neck.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/585]

• One day, at midnight he went to Al-Baqee‘ cemetry, and implored Allâh to forgive the martyrs of Islam. He said: “Peace be upon you tomb-dwellers! May that morning that dawns upon you be more relieving than that which dawn upon the living. Afflictions are approaching them like cloudy lumps of a dark night — the last of which follows the first. The last one is bearing more evil than the first.” He comforted them saying: “We will follow you.”
Beginning of ailment

On Monday the twenty-ninth of Safar in the eleventh year of Al-Hijra, he participated in funeral rites in Al-Baqee‘. On the way back he had a headache, his temperature rose so high that the heat effect could be felt over his headband. He led the Muslims in prayer for eleven days though he was sick. The total number of his sick days were either thirteen or fourteen.

When his sickness grew severe he asked his wives: “Where shall I stay tomorrow?” “Where shall I stay?” They understood what he wanted. So they allowed him to stay wherever he wished. He moved to ‘Aishah’s room and it was there that he spent the last week of his life. During that period, ‘Aishah used to recite Al-Mu‘awwidhat (Chapters 113 and 114 of the Qur’ân) and other supplications which he had already taught her.

Five days before his death, he made a speech to his people and said amongst other things “The curse of Allâh falls upon the Jews and Christians for they have made their Prophets’ tombs places of worship.” Then he said: “Do not make my tomb a worshipped idol.” He also said:

“Allâh, the Great, has given a slave of His the opportunity to make a choice between whatever he desires of Allâh’s provisions in this world, and what He keeps for him in the world, but he has opted for the latter.” Abu Sa‘îd Al-Khudri said: “Upon hearing that, Abu Bakr cried and said: ‘We sacrifice our fathers and mothers for your sake.’ We wondered why Abu Bakr said such a thing. People said: ‘Look at that old man! The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] says about a slave of Allâh who was granted the right between the best fortunes of this world and the bounty of Allâh in the Hereafter, but he says: We sacrifice our fathers and mothers for your sake!’ It was later on that we realized what he had aimed at. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] was the slave informed to choose. We also acknowledged that Abu Bakr was the most learned among us.” [Mishkat Al-Masabih 2/546]

On the evening of the fourth day before his death, he grew so sick that he could not overcome the strain of disease or go out to enter the Mosque. Whenever he wanted to stand up to go to the masjid, he would faint, over and over again. Eventually he sent that Abu Bakr should lead the prayers. Aishah (peace be upon her) tried to convince the prophet to exempt her father Abubakr from leading the prayers due to his high level of gentleness but he refused and said: “You (women) are like the women who tried to entice Joseph (Yusuf) into immorality. Convey my request to Abu Bakr to lead the prayer.”

The Last Day Alive

In a narration by Anas bin Malik, he said: “While the Muslims were performing the dawn prayer on Monday — led by Abu Bakr, they were surprised to see the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] raising the curtain of ‘Aishah’s room. He looked at them while they were praying aligned properly and smiled cheerfully. Seeing him, Abu Bakr withdrew to join the lines and give way to him to lead the prayer. For he thought that the Prophet [pbuh] wanted to go out and pray.” Anas said: “The Muslims, who were praying, were so delighted that they were almost too enraptured at their prayers. The Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] made them a gesture to continue their prayer, went into the room and drew down the curtain.”

This was the last prayer witnessed by the prophet peace be upon him. During the day, Muhammad (S.A.W) called for his daughter Fatima. He then whispered something to her in secret and she wept. Then he whispered something else and she smiled. After the prophet’s death Aishah asked her about the strange incident and Fatima replied, “The first time he disclosed to me that he would not recover from his illness and I wept. Then he told me that I would be the first of his family to join him, so I laughed.” He gave Fatimah glad tidings that she would become the lady of all women of the world.

Fatimah witnessed the great pain that afflicted her father. So she said: “What great pain my father is in!”. To these words, the Prophet [pbuh] remarked: “He will not suffer any more when today is over.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/641]

The prophet then requested for his grandchildren Al Hasan and Al Husain. He kissed them and recommended that they be looked after. He asked to see his wives. They were brought to him. He preached to them and told them to remember Allâh.

Pain grew so much severe that the trace of poison he had at Khaibar came to light. It was so sore that he said to ‘Aishah: “I still feel the painful effect of that food I tasted at Khaibar. I feel as if death is approaching.” He ordered the people to perform the prayers and be attentive to slaves. He repeated it several times.
His last moments

Aishah (peace be upon her) was blessed to have had the last moments of the prophet with him leaning on her.
She is known to have said: “One of Allâh’s bounties upon me is that the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] died in my house, while I am still alive. He died between my chest and neck while he was leaning against me. Allâh has mixed his saliva with mine at his death. For ‘Abdur Rahman — the son of Abu Bakr — came in with a Siwak (i.e. the root of a desert plant used for brushing teeth) in his hand, while I was leaning the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] against me. I noticed that he was looking at the Siwak, so I asked him — for I knew that he wanted it — “Would you like me to take it for you?” He nodded in agreement. I took it and gave it to him. As it was too hard for him, I asked him “Shall I soften it for you?” He nodded in agreement. So I softened it with my saliva and he passed it (on his teeth). In another version it is said: “So he brushed (Istanna) his teeth as nice as he could.” There was a water container (Rakwa) available at his hand with some water in. He put his hand in it and wiped his face with it and said: “There is no god but Allâh. Death is full of agonies.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 2/640]

As soon as he had finished his Siwak brushing, he raised his hand or his finger up, looked upwards to the ceiling and moved his lips. So ‘Aishah listened to him. She heard him say: “With those on whom You have bestowed Your Grace with the Prophets and the Truthful ones (As-Siddeeqeen), the martyrs and the good doers. O Allâh, forgive me and have mercy upon me and join me to the Companionship on high.” Then at intervals he uttered these words: “The most exalted Companionship on high. To Allâh we turn and to Him we turn back for help and last abode.”
This event took place at high morning time on Monday, the twelfth of Rabi‘ Al-Awwal, in the eleventh year of Al-Hijrah. He was sixty-three years and four days old when he died.”

His Burial

There was a lot of confusion and disruption after the prophet’s death. The sahabas were at unrest and were unsure who deserved to take lead after the prophet. With all that arguments and dialogues that were happening between the Ansar and Muhajirun, time went by fast while the prophet’s body was still lying on his bed covered with an inked-garment. He was locked in the room.

Finally they acknowledged Abu Bakr (peace be upon him) as a caliph due to his special status in the prophet’s eyes as well as the fact that the prophet let Abu Bakr lead the prayers during his ailment period (among other reasons). They spent the whole Monday there till it was night and to the next day Tuesday.

On Tuesday, his body was washed with his clothes on. He was washed by Al-‘Abbas, ‘Ali, Al-Fadl and Qathm — the two sons of Al-‘Abbas, as well as Shaqran — the Messenger’s freed slave, Osamah bin Zaid and Aws bin Khauli. Al-‘Abbas, Al-Fadl and Qathm turned his body round, whereas Osamah and Shaqran poured out water. ‘Ali washed him and Aws leant him against his chest. They shrouded him in three white Sahooli cotton cloth which had neither a headcloth nor a casing and inserted him in. A sort of disagreement arose with regard to a burial place.

Abu Bakr said: “I heard the Messenger of Allâh [pbuh] say: ‘A dead Prophet is buried where he dies.’ So Abu Talhah lifted the bed on which he died, dug underneath and cut the ground to make the tomb. People entered the room ten by ten. They prayed for the Prophet [pbuh]. The first to pray for him were people of his clan. Then the Emigrants, then the Helpers. Women prayed for him after men. The young were the last to pray. This process took Tuesday long and Wednesday night (i.e. the night which precedes Wednesday morning). ‘Aishah said: “We did not know that the Prophet [pbuh] was being buried till we heard the sound of tools digging the ground at the depth of Wednesday night.” [source: the sealed nectar. Page:549-561]

We may look in the books of history, we may look at the up-coming legends, we may look around us to find the best role model and the most amazing of mankind, but no one will ever be better than Muhammad (peace be upon him). May Allah guide us and make us amongst those who follow the footsteps of the Rasul and be a positive influence to mankind. Ameen.


We have now reached the end of our series. I hope and pray that you have gained something from this in shaa Allah. Kindly remember me in your duas 🙂

P.S I am not a scholar and this is my little effort in spreading the knowledge therefore in case of any mistake/correction/addition needed in this article about the prophet (p.b.u.h) and his life, kindly email me at:

Concerning the fundraising for our sister Nuru Salim, we are currently at 80,000/= However, we have organized an event this Sunday and a food bazaar to make more money for her treatment in shaa Allah. Kindly avail yourself and share with others. Shukran.


A freelance writer, journalist, poet and blogger venturing mainly in social and community issues, study and analysis of behaviour and life, and the plight of the under-dogs in the society. 'I feed on human stories.'

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