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His Death Sickness & Abu Bakr Leads People in Prayer I

Thursday 04/06/2009

After the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), returned from the Farewell Hajj, he stayed in Madeenah for the rest of Thul-Hijjah and the following months of Muharram and Safar. He also equipped the army of Usaamah ibn Zayd, may Allah be pleased with him.

Towards the end of Safar, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), began to feel unwell. It was perhaps the 22nd or the 29th of Safar, or it may have been at the beginning of Rabee‘ Al-Awwal. The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), prayed for the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud and supplicated to Allah The Almighty for them. He went to the dead of Al-Baqee‘, extended salaam to them and supplicated to Allah The Almighty for them as if he was bidding them farewell. He returned from Al-Baqee‘ and found ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, complaining of a headache, saying, “O my head!” The Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), said: “By Allah, ‘Aa'ishah, it is my head that aches.”He added:“There would be no harm on you if you died before me and I prepared you, shrouded you, performed your funeral prayer and buried you.”She said, “By Allah! If I died, I feel that you would return home and have intercourse with another of your wives.”Upon hearing that, the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), smiled. [Ahmad, Ibn Maajah and Al-Bayhaqi] The pain intensified until the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), could not bear it, and this was while he was in the house of Maymoonah, may Allah be pleased with her. Then, he called his wives and asked their permission to be nursed at the house of ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her. The pains culminated when the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), was in the house of Maymoonah, so he sought their permission to be nursed in the house of ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her. [Muslim] They gave him permission to, and he could not walk, so ‘Abbas ibn ‘Abdul-Muttalib and another man supported him.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said, When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) arrived at my house and the pain became severer, he said: ‘Pour water on me from seven water-skins whose mouths are tied. Perhaps I could then give advice to people.’ We placed the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) in a washtub that belonged to his wife Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, then, started pouring water on him from those skins until he gestured to us to stop. Afterwards, he went out to the people, led them in prayer and delivered a Khutbah [sermon]. [Bukhari and Muslim]
 
This was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, saying,
 
When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) became seriously ill, he asked if people had performed the prayer. We said, “They are waiting for you, O Messenger of Allah!” He ordered us to fill a washtub with water in which he bathed. He then tried to stand up, but fell unconscious. When he recovered, he asked again if people had performed prayer. We said, “They are waiting for you, O Messenger of Allah!” He ordered us to fill a washtub with water in which he bathed. He then tried to stand up, but fell unconscious. The same thing happened a third time. When he recovered, he asked if people had performed prayer. We replied, “They are waiting for you, O Messenger of Allah!” ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that the people had stayed at the Masjid, waiting for the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) to perform the 'Ishaa' prayer. She added, “The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) sent a man to Abu Bakr asking him to lead people in prayer. The man went to Abu Bakr and said, ‘The Prophet orders you to lead people in prayer.’ Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, who was a man with a soft heart, asked ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, to lead people in prayer on his behalf. ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with him, declined, stating that Abu Bakr was more entitled to this task.” [‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said that Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, then led people in prayer throughout these days]. Later on, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) felt a slight improvement and could go out supported by Al-'Abbaas and ‘Ali, may Allah be pleased with them, for Thuhr prayer. At that time, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was leading people in prayer. When he saw the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) he moved back, but the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) beckoned to him to stay. He ordered Al-‘Abbaas and ‘Ali to sit him beside Abu Bakr, and they did. In this prayer, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was led by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) who was sitting during the prayer; whereas the rest of the prayer performers were led by Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
This was the Thuhr prayer and the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), was keen to make Abu Bakr Imaam. He reiterated this many times. It was narrated on the authority of ‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, that she said:
 
When the Messenger of Allah  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) fell ill, Bilaal came to tell him that it was time for prayer. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said:“Tell Abu Bakr to lead the people in prayer.”  I said: “Abu Bakr is a softhearted man [who weeps upon reciting the Quran] and people will not be able to hear his recitation when he stands for prayer in your place. I suggest that you order ‘Umar to do so, instead.”The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) repeated: “Order Abu Bakr to lead people in prayer.”I asked Hafsah to tell him that Abu Bakr was a soft-hearted man who would weep whenever he recited the Quran and to suggest that he should assign ‘Umar. When she told him that, the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “You (women) are [exactly like] the female companions of [Prophet] Yoosuf (Joseph). Tell Abu Bakr to lead the prayer.” Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with her, said to me, “I have never gotten any good from you.” Abu Bakr went out to lead the prayer. In the meantime, the condition of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) improved slightly and he came out with the help of two men one on each side, while his legs were dragging on the ground until he entered the Masjid. Hearing the voice of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) Abu Bakr wanted to step back, but the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) beckoned him to remain in his place. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) sat on Abu Bakr’s left. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) led people in prayer while he was sitting and Abu Bakr, who was praying while standing, followed the prayer of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and people followed the prayer of Abu Bakr.[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
‘Aa'ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, mentioned the reason why she argued with the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), on his order to allow Abu Bakr to lead people in prayer, saying, “I had discussed the order of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) with him several times just because I thought people would never love any person who filled the place of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and would regard any person who stood on his place to be ominous. For this reason, I wished the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) had chosen another man.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
It was thus that the Prophet,  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ), addressed her and Hafsah, may Allah be pleased with them, saying: “You [women] are [exactly like] the female companions of [Prophet] Yoosuf [Joseph].”[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]
 
Imaam Ibn Katheer  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him stated, “This giving of preference to Abu Bakr by the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is an indisputably well-established matter in Islam, and indicates that Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, was the most knowledgeable and the best reciter of the Quran among the Companions. It was authentically narrated that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Let the best reciter of the Quran lead people in prayer.”[Muslim] Indeed, Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, possessed these qualities.”

The beginning of the Death Sickness of the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) and his Ordering Abu Bakr to Lead People in Prayer – II

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