Misconception 2 – His admitting to following his desires and being inclined towards the world at his death

Misconceptions related to his integrity: Misconception 1 – Characterising him as treacherous
December 8, 2021
Misconception 3 – The fortune he left behind after his death
December 8, 2021

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Misconception 2 – His admitting to following his desires and being inclined towards the world at his death

 

This is based on the accounts recorded by Ibn ‘Asakir regarding the regret ‘Amr ibn al ‘As displayed at the time of his death and his continued sobbing when faced with the realities of the next world.[1]

Amongst those accounts are the following narrations:

Narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu, who said:

 

دخلت على عمرو بن العاص وقد احتضر فقلت يا أبا عبد الله كنت تقول أشتهي أني أرى عاقلا يموت حتى أسأله كيف تجد قال أجد السماء كأنها مطبقة على الأرض وأنا بينهما وأراني كأنما أتنفس من خرق إبرة ثم قال لا بريء فأعتذر ولا قوي فأنتصر ولكن لا إله إلا الله فجعل يرددها حتى فاض

I came to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As when he was in the pangs of death and I said to him, “You used to say, ‘I would like to be present at the death of an intelligent person so I may inquire of him, his condition.’”

He commented, “I feel as though the sky has become one with the earth and I am between the two trying to breathe through a pin-hole.” He then said, “I am not infallible that I may be excused nor strong that I be of help. Yes, there is (hope) in is the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah.” He continued repeating it until he passed away.

 

Narrated from Ibn Shamasah al Mahriyy who said:

 

حضرنا عمرو بن العاص وهو في سياقة الموت يبكي طويلا وحول وجهه إلى الجدار فجعل ابنه يقول يا أبتاه أما بشرك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بكذا أما بشرك رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم بكذا قال فأقبل بوجهه فقال إن أفضل ما نعد شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله وأن محمدا رسول الله إني قد كنت على أطباق ثلاث لقد رأيتني وما أحد أشد بغضا لرسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم مني ولا أحب إلي أن أكون قد استمكنت منه فقتلته فلو مت على تلك الحال لكنت من أهل النار فلما جعل الله الإسلام في قلبي أتيت النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم فقلت ابسط يمينك فلأبايعك فبسط يمينه قال فقبضت يدي قال ما لك يا عمرو؟ قال قلت أردت أن أشترط قال تشترط بماذا قلت أن يغفر لي قال أما علمت أن الإسلام يهدم ما كان قبله وأن الهجرة تهدم ما كان قبلها وأن الحج يهدم ما كان قبله وما كان أحد أحب إلي من رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ولا أجل في عيني منه وما كنت أطيق أن أملأ عيني منه إجلالا له ولو سئلت أن أصفه ما أطقت لأني لم أكن أملأ عيني منه ولو مت على تلك الحال لرجوت أن أكون من أهل الجنة ثم ولينا أشياء ما أدري ما حالي فيها فإذا أنا مت فلا تصحبني نائحة ولا نار فإذا دفنتموني فشنوا علي التراب شنا ثم أقيموا حول قبري قدر ما تنحر جزور ويقسم لحمها حتى أستأنس بكم وأنظر ماذا أراجع به رسل ربي

We went to ‘Amr ibn al ‘As when he was about to die. He wept for a long time and turned his face towards the wall. His son said, “Did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not give you glad-tidings of such? Did Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam not give you glad-tidings of such?”

He turned his face (towards the audience) and said, “The best thing which we can count upon is the testimony that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. Verily I have passed through three phases. The first one in which I found myself averse to none else more than I was averse to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and there was no other desire stronger in me than the one that I should overpower him and kill him. Had I died in this state, I would have been definitely one of the occupiers of the Fire. When Allah instilled the love of Islam in my heart, I came to the Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and said, ‘Stretch out your right hand so that may pledge my allegiance to you.’ He stretched out his right hand, I withdrew my hand.

He said, ‘What has happened to you, O ‘Amr?’

I replied, ‘I intend to lay down some conditions.’

He asked, ‘What condition do you intend to put forward?’

I said, ‘I should be granted pardon.’

He observed, ‘Are you not aware of the fact that Islam wipes out all the previous misdeeds? Verily migration wipes out all the previous misdeeds, and verily the pilgrimage wipes out all the previous misdeeds?’

And then no one was as dear to me other than the Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and none was more sublime in my eyes than he. Never could I pluck courage to catch a full glimpse of his face due to its splendor. So, if I am asked to describe his features, I cannot do that for I have not eyed him fully. Had I died in this state I had every reason to hope that I would have been among the dwellers of Paradise.

Then we were given leadership roles in the light of which I am unable to know what is in store for me. When I die, let neither female mourner nor fire accompany me. When you bury me, fill my grave with earth, then stand around it for the time within which a camel is slaughtered and its meat is distributed so that I may take solace in your company and (in your company) ascertain what answer I can give to the angels of Allah.

 

Ibn Abi al Hadid said:

 

فإن قلت فما الذي يقوله أصحابك المعتزلة في عمرو بن العاص قلت إنهم يحكمون على كل من شهد صفين بما يحكم به على الباغي الخارج على الإمام العادل ومذهبهم في صاحب الكبيرة إذا لم يتب معلوم فإن قلت أليس في هذه الأخبار ما يدل على تويته نحو قوله ولا مستكبر بل مستغفره وقوله اللهم خذ مني حتى ترضى و قوله أمرت فعصيت ونهيت فركبته وهذا اعتراف وندم وهو معنى التوية قلت إن قوله تعالى وَلَيْسَتِ ٱلتَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِيْنَ يَعْمَلُوْنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ ٱلْـَٔـٰنَ يمنع من کون هذا توبة وشروط التوبة وأركانها معلومة وليس هذا الاعتراف والتأسف منها في شيء

If you were to ask, “What do you, the Mu’tazilah, say regarding ‘Amr ibn al ‘As?”

I would say, “They say regarding those who took part at Siffin what they say regarding those who rebel against a just ruler. And their view regarding the one who commits a major sin and does not repent is well known.”

If you were to ask, “Doesn’t the narrations indicate his repentance? Such as him saying, ‘not haughty but seeking forgiveness’, ‘Oh Allah take from me until you are pleased’, and ‘you instructed but I disobeyed and you prohibited but I did’. These are words of confession and regret which is the crux of repentance.

I would say the following verse prevents this from being regarded as repentance:

 

وَلَيْسَتِ ٱلتَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِيْنَ يَعْمَلُوْنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ ٱلْـَٔـٰنَ

But repentance is not [accepted] of those who [continue to] do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “Indeed, I have repented now,[2]

 

The conditions and elements of repentance are well known. This kind of confession and regret form no part of it.[3]

 

Al Mahmudi said:

 

وما أشبه بفرعون حين أيقن بالهلاك فقال آمنت بالله الذي آمنت به بنو إسرائيل فأخذ جبرئیل كفا من حما البحر وأدخله في فيه وقال له الآن وقد عصيت قبل وكنت من المفسدين أو ما كان يدري أنه أشهر مصادیق قوله تعالى وَلَيْسَتِ ٱلتَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِيْنَ يَعْمَلُوْنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ ٱلْـَٔـٰنَ

He greatly resembles Firoun. When the latter faced imminent death he said, “I believe in the Allah that the Bani Isra’il believe in.” Jibril then took a handful of sea sand and filled his mouth with it saying, “Now? And you had disobeyed [Him] before and were of the corrupters?” Did he not know that he was to be the manifestation of the verse:

 

وَلَيْسَتِ ٱلتَّوْبَةُ لِلَّذِيْنَ يَعْمَلُوْنَ ٱلسَّيِّـَٔاتِ حَتَّىٰٓ إِذَا حَضَرَ أَحَدَهُمُ ٱلْمَوْتُ قَالَ إِنِّى تُبْتُ ٱلْـَٔـٰنَ

But repentance is not [accepted] of those who [continue to] do evil deeds up until, when death comes to one of them, he says, “Indeed, I have repented now,[4]

 

Answer

First Narration

The first narration, that of Ibn ‘Abbas is weak. Ibn Sa’d[5], al Hakim[6], and Ibn ‘Asakir[7] have narrated it with the following chain of transmission:

Hisham ibn Muhammad ibn al Sa’ib al Kalbi — from ‘Uwanah ibn al Hakm — from ‘Amr ibn al ‘As.

 

There are three defects in this chain of transmission:

 

 

The first defect

‘Uwanah ibn al Hakm

He is ‘Uwanah ibn al Hakm ibn ‘Uwanah ibn ‘Iyad al Akhbari al Kufi. He narrated much from the Tabi’in with very few, if any, reaching to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam (Musnad). ‘Abdullah ibn al Mu’taz narrated — from al Hassan ibn ‘Alil al ‘Anzi who said regarding ‘Uwanah ibn al Hakm, “He was an ‘Uthmani who would fabricate narrations in favour of the Banu Umayyah. He died the year 58 A.H.[8]

 

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The second defect

Hisham ibn Muhammad ibn al Sa’ib al Kalbi

  • Ahmed ibn Hambal said, “He was a story teller and a genealogist. I don’t think anyone narrated from him.”
  • Al Daraqutni and others said, “He is suspected of forgery.”[9]

 

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The third defect

Inqita’

There is a break between ‘Uwanah ibn al Hakm and ‘Amr ibn al ‘As. We have already stated he passed away the year 58 A.H.

 

Second Narration

As for the narration of Ibn Shamasah al Mahriyy, it is recorded in Sahih Muslim. However, there is nothing therein by which the claims they make can be substantiated. In fact, it refutes their claim. The convoluted substantiations they make can be answered in the following six ways:

  1. In the narration, there is mention of the glad-tidings of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would only give glad-tidings to a believer.
  2. His honesty with regards to his condition before and after his acceptance of Islam removes the possibility of hypocrisy.
  3. The narrations have elements of confession and regret which is the essence of repentance. Further, the door of repentance remains open until the soul begins to emerge from the body. Ibn ‘Umar radiya Llahu ‘anhu reports that Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam said:

 

ان الله يقبل توبة العبد ما لم يغرغر‏

Indeed Allah accepts the repentance of a slave as long as the soul does not reach his throat.[10]

 

The Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum were not infallible. Every human errs. It is incorrect to say though that he repented at seeing the punishment, since there is no evidence of this and this too is supposing he had been committing major sins. Both aforementioned suppositions are baseless. How do they know that he had seen the angels of punishment and how could it be said regarding one whom Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam attested to in so far as faith and piety and whom the Khalifas appointed to positions of leadership to have been preoccupied in committing major sins? And do we attribution the commission of major sins to every such person who turns to Allah in repentance? What would we then say of the repentance of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam? Is he not the one who said:

 

انّه ليُغان على قلبي وإني لأستغفر الله في اليوم مائة مرة

Sometimes I perceive a shadow over my heart, and I supplicate Allah for forgiveness a hundred times in a day.[11]

 

  1. The narration indicates the fear of ‘Amr for Allah and in facing Him. Consider his profuse sobbing, turning to the wall, his instruction to wait at his grave and pray for him, his placing his face in hand, and so on.

Fear is one of the greatest motivators of forgiveness. Ibn Taymiyyah said:

 

الكلام الصادر عن خوف العبد من الله يدل على إيمانه بالله وقد غفر الله لمن خافه حين أمر أهله بتحريقه وتذرية نصفه في البر ونصفه في البحر مع أنه لم يعمل خيرا قط وقال والله لئن قدر الله علي ليعذبني عذابا لا يعذبه أحدة من العالمين ، فأمر الله البر فجمع ما فيه وأمر البحر تجمع ما فيه وقال ما حملك على ما صنعت قال من خشيتك يا رب فغفر له أخرجاه في الصحيحين فإذا كان مع شكه في القدرة والمعاد إذا فعل ذلك غفر له بخوفه من الله علم أن الخوف من الله من أعظم أسباب المغفرة للأمور الحقيقية إذا قدر أنها ذنوب

The speech of a slave that is driven by the fear of Allah is an indication of his faith in Allah. A man was forgiven due to his fear of Allah even though he failed to do a single act of good. He instructed his family to cremate him and spread his ashes over the earth and sea and said, “I swear, if Allah takes hold of me, he will punish me such that he hasn’t punished any other in the worlds.”

Allah instructed the earth and the sea to gather his remains and asked him, “What led you to doing this?”

He replied, “Your fear my Lord.”

Allah, thus, forgave him. This narration is recorded in the Sahihayn. Look, he had doubts regarding the power of Allah and the afterlife but he was still forgiven due to his fear for Allah.

We learn from this that the fear of Allah is one of the greatest motivators of forgiveness.[12]

 

  1. His desire to be in complete adherence to the sunnah of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam even after death is an indicator of his passing in a good state.

Al Qadi ‘Iyad commented on his statement, “When I die, let neither female mourner nor fire accompany me” by saying, “This was said in accordance to the prohibition of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam as reported by Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu, ‘The bier should not be followed by wailing or fire.’”[13]

Al Qadi ‘Iyad commented on his statement, “When you bury me, fill my grave with earth” by saying, “This is the sunnah method in throwing earth over the body in the grave.”[14]

Al Nawawi commented on his statement, “Then stand around it for the time within which a camel is slaughtered and its meat is distributed so that I may take solace in your company and (in your company) ascertain what answer I can give to the angels of Allah” by saying, “There are several lessons we learn from this. Amongst them, the reality of the punishment of the grave and the questioning of the two angels which is the view of the true scholars. We also learn the desirability of waiting for a few moments at the grave after the burial as has been mentioned.”[15]

The desire to adhere and implement the sunnah at such a precarious time indicates Divine aid (tawfiq). There are very few who would give the instruction to adhere to the sunnah or still be preoccupied in spreading knowledge whilst facing death.

 

  1. His statement, “Then we were given leadership roles in the light of which I am unable to know what is in store for me” is qualified by the narration recorded in Musnad Ahmed which goes as follows, “Then I associated closely with the Sultan and acted in those avenues, I do not know if those actions will be recorded in my favour or against me.”

By this he meant the governorship and the wars that took place between Muawiyah radiya Llahu ‘anhu and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhu. His statement was not due to his admittance of committing a major sin, it was due to his abundance of piety. It should not be misconstrued that he had evil intent, rather his fear of Allah and knowledge of the reckoning that lies on the shoulders of leaders should shine through. Similarly, one should take full cognizance that the wars that occurred between Muawiyah and ‘Ali radiya Llahu ‘anhuma and the role he played was based on ijtihad and a mujtahid may be correct or may err.

One researching the lives of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum and the Tabi’in after them will find them fearful of facing Allah. They don’t consider themselves secure due to their actions, no matter how great, they don’t make claims of greatness, nor do they regard themselves pure. Rather, they go to great lengths in doing good acts and in that precarious moment they are fearful of not having fulfilled their dues to Allah and are also fearful of the rejection of their acts in the Divine court.

 

Hereunder are some cases in point:

— Amir al Mu’minin ‘Umar ibn al Khattab radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

When he was stabbed and was in severe pain, Ibn ‘Abbas radiya Llahu ‘anhu tried to comfort him by saying:

 

يا أمير المؤمنين و لئن كان ذاك لقد صحبت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و آله و سلم فأحسنت صحبته ثم فارقته و هو عنك راض ثم صحبت أبا بكر فأحسنت صحبته ثم فارقته و هو عنك راض ثم صحبت صحبتهم فأحسنت صحبتهم و لئن فارقتهم لتفارقنهم و هم عنك راضون قال أما ما ذكرت من صحبة رسول الله صلى الله عليه و آله و سلم و رضاه فإنما ذاك من الله تعالى من به علي و أما ما ذكرت من صحبة أبي بكر و رضاه فإنما ذاك من الله جل ذكره من به علي و أما ما ترى من جزعي فهو من أجلك و أجل أصحابك و الله لو أن لي طلاع الأرض ذهبا لافتديت به من عذاب الله عز و جل قبل أن أراه

O Amir al Mu’minin, never mind what has happened to you, you have accompanied Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and you kept good relations with him. You then parted with him while he was pleased with you. Thereafter you were in the company of Abu Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu and kept good relations with him. You parted with him while he was pleased with you. Then you were in the company of the Muslims, and you kept good relations with them, and if you leave them, you leave them while they are pleased with you.

‘Umar said, “Regarding what you mentioned about Rasulullah’s salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam companionship and pleasure, this is the special favour of Allah which He bestowed upon me. Concerning what you mentioned about Abu Bakr’s companionship and pleasure, it is a special favour of Allah which He favoured me with. And with regards to my anxiety; what you see, it is because of you and your companions. By Allah, had I possessed the earth filled with gold, I would have ransomed myself from the punishment of Allah before I meet Him.”[16]

 

— The eminent Sahabi Salman al Farsi radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

 

وهذا الصحابي الجليل سلمان الفارسي به اشتکی فعاده سعد فرآه يبكي فقال له سعد ما يبكيك يا أخي أليس قد صحبت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم أليس أليس قال سلمان ما أبكي واحدة من اثنتين ما أبكي ضنا للدنيا ولا كراهية للآخرة ولكن رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم عهد إلي عهدة فما أراني إلا قد تعديت قال وما عهد إليك قال عهد إلي أنه يكفي أحدكم مثل زاد الراكب ولا أراني إلا قد تعديت وأما أنت یا سعد فاتق الله عند حكمك إذا حكمت وعند قسمك إذا قسمت وعند همك إذا هممت قال ثابت فبلغني أنه ما ترك إلا بضعة وعشرين درهما. من نفقة كانت عنده

When he took ill Sa’d visited him and saw him crying.

Sa’d asked him, “What makes you cry? Brother, did you not accompany Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, did you not do such and such?”

Salman replied, “I am not crying out of eagerness for this world, nor out of aversion to the next. However, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam had advised me and I see myself having gone beyond his advice.”

Sa’d asked, “And what did he advise you to do?”

Salman said, “That I should only collect what is sufficient as provision for a traveler. I see myself having accumulated more than this. As for you Sa’d, Fear Allah when you pass judgments, distribute wealth, and make decisions.”

Thabit said, “It has reached me that he only left behind some twenty odd dirhams which he owned.”[17]

 

— The eminent sahabi Abu Hurairah radiya Llahu ‘anhu:

He is one of those who narrated the most hadith from Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam. He was crying in his final sickness. It was said to him, “What makes you cry?” He replied:

 

أما إني لا أبكي على دنياكم هذه ولكني أبكي على بعد سفري وقلة زادي وإني أمسيت في صعود مهبطة على جنة ونار لا أدري إلى أيتهما يؤخذ بي

I am not crying over this world of yours, rather I am crying over this long journey of mine and my lack of provisions. I will soon alight a conveyance that goes to paradise or the fire and I don’t know which way it will take me.[18]

 

— The grandson of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam and the leader of the youth of paradise, al Hassan ibn ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib radiya Llahu ‘anhuma:

 

لما حضرته الوفاة بكي بكاء شديداً فقال له الحسين ما يبكيك يا أخي وإنما تقدم على رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم وعلى علي وفاطمة وخديجة وهم ولدوك وقد أجرى الله لك على لسان نبيه أنك سيد شباب أهل الجنة وقاسمت الله مالك ثلاث مرات ومشيت إلى بيت الله على قدميك خمس عشرة مرة حاجاً وإنما أراد أن يطيب نفسه قال فوالله ما زاده إلا بكاء وانتحاباً وقال يا أخي إني أقدم على أمر عظيم وهول لم أقدم على مثله قط

He cried profusely at the time of his death. Al Hussain said to him, “What makes you cry brother? You are going to Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ‘Ali, Fatimah, and Khadijah. They are your forefathers. Besides, Allah has given you the glad tidings on the tongue of his Nabi that you are the leader of the youth of paradise. You distributed all of your wealth [amongst the needy] on three occasions and you walked fifteen times to the House of Allah for pilgrimage.”

He intended to console him with these words. But by Allah, this caused him to cry and lament even more. He said, “My brother, I am facing a momentous moment and a terrifying time such that I have never faced before.”[19]

 

These are few examples of the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum which demonstrates their fear at facing Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala. This condition wasn’t restricted to the Sahabah radiya Llahu ‘anhum, the Tabi’in too were the same.

 

Hereunder are some instances of the pious:

— Masruq ibn al Ajda’:

His wife said:

 

ما كان يوجد إلا وساقيه قد انتفختا من طول الصلاة قالت وان كنت والله لأجلس خلفه فأبكي رحمة له فلما احتضر بكى فقيل له ما هذا الجزع فقال ومالي لا أجزع وانما هي ساعة ثم لا أدري أين يسألك ربي

His calves would always be inflamed due to standing in salah for lengthy periods of time. By Allah, I would sit behind him crying out of sympathy for him. When he was on his deathbed he was crying. It was said to him, “What is this weeping?”

He replied, “Why should I not weep. I only have this moment after which I know not how my Lord will deal with me.”[20]

 

—’Umar and Abu Bakr the two sons of Ibn al Munkadir:

 

لما حضر أحدهما الموت یبکی فقيل له ما يبكيك إن كنا لنغبطك بهذا اليوم قال أما والله ما أبكي أن أكون ركبت شيئا من معاصي الله اجتراء على الله ولكني أخاف أن أكون أتيت شيئا هينا وهو عند الله عظيم

When they were on their deathbed it was said to them, “Why do you weep? We are envious of you this day.”

They said, “By Allah! I am not crying because I have committed some major sin. Rather I am fearful of having done something thinking it to be insignificant whereas in the sight of Allah it was something of grave consequence.”

 

قال وبکی الآخر عند الموت فقيل له مثل ذلك فقال إني سمعت الله يقول لقوم وَبَدَا لَهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يَكُوْنُوْا يَحْتَسِبُوْنَ فأنا أنتظر ما ترون والله ما أدري ما يبدو لي

Another wept at his death bed and was asked about it. He said, “I have heard Allah saying:

وَبَدَا لَهُم مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ مَا لَمْ يَكُوْنُوْا يَحْتَسِبُوْنَ

And there will appear to them from Allah that which they had not taken into account

I lie in wait now. By Allah, I do not know what will appear before me.[21]

 

— Imam al Shafi’i

I conclude these accounts with that of Imam al Shafi’i. Al Muzani said:

 

دخلت على الشافعي في مرضه الذي مات فيه فقلت يا أبا عبد الله كيف أصبحت فرفع رأسه وقال أصبحت من الدنيا راحلا ولإخواني مفارق ولسوء عملي ملاقية وعلى الله واردة ما أدري روحي تصير إلى جنة فأهنيها أو إلى نار فأعزیها ثم بكى وأنشأ يقول

جعلت رجائي دون عفوك سلما

ولما قسا قلبي وضاقت مذاهبي

بعفوك ربي كان عفوك أعظما

تعاظمني ذنبي فلما قرنته

تجود وتعفو منة وتكرما

فما زلت ذا عفو عن الذنب لم تزل

ولو دخلت نفسي بجرمي جهنما

فإن تنتقم مني فلست بآيس

فكيف وقد أغوى صفيك آدما

ولولاك لم يغوى بإبليس عابد

وأعلم أن الله يعفو ترحما

وإني لآتي الذنب أعرف قدره

I came to al Shafi’i during his final illness and asked, “Abu ‘Abdullah! How are you this morning?”

He raised his head and replied, “I awoke journeying from this world, separating from my brothers, meeting my ill-actions, and arriving to Allah. I do not know if my soul will be taken towards paradise that I may congratulate it, or hell, that I may console it. He then wept and said the following couplets:

When my heart became stiff and my path narrow;

I took my hope to Your pardon as an escape.

My sins appeared great, but when I compared them to your forgiveness;

I found your forgiveness to be much greater.

You are and still remain the One who forgives sins;

You provide and forgive out of Your benevolence and generosity.

Indeed, I will not despair if You avenged me;

Or due to my sins into the hell You brought my soul.

Were it not for You, no worshipper would withstand Satan;

How and he already has lured your chosen Adam.

I know the weight of my sins;

Just as I know Allah forgives by his mercy.

Al Dhahabi said, “The chain of transmission is established from him.”[22]

This fear, panic, and weeping that one finds in the lives of the pious predecessors; amongst the Sahabah, Tabi’in, and those after is a manifestation of the verse:

 

وَٱلَّذِيْنَ يُؤْتُوْنَ مَآ ءَاتَوْا وَّقُلُوْبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ رَٰجِعُوْنَ

And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord.[23]

 

It is narrated from Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha that she asked Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam regarding the verse:

 

وَٱلَّذِيْنَ يُؤْتُوْنَ مَآ ءَاتَوْا وَّقُلُوْبُهُمْ وَجِلَةٌ أَنَّهُمْ إِلَىٰ رَبِّهِمْ رَٰجِعُوْنَ

And they who give what they give while their hearts are fearful because they will be returning to their Lord.[24]

 

She asked:

 

أهم الذين يشربون الخمر ويسرقون قال لا يا بنت الصديق ولكنهم الذين يصومون ويصلون ويتصدقون وهم يخافون ألا تقبل منهم أولئك الذين يسارعون في الخيرات وهم لها سابقون

Does this verse refer to those who drink wine and steal?

He replied, “No, O daughter of al Siddiq. It refers to those who fast, pray, and give alms yet they fear it may not be accepted from them.

 

أُولَـٰٓئِكَ يُسَـٰرِعُوْنَ فِىْ ٱلْخَيْرَٰتِ وَهُمْ لَهَا سَـٰبِقُوْنَ

It is those who hasten to good deeds, and they outstrip [others] therein.”[25]

 

It is this prayer of acceptance that Allah speaks of regarding his Khalil, Ibrahim ‘alayh al Salam:

 

وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَٰهِيْمُ ٱلْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ ٱلْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَـٰعِيْلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ

And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us.”[26]

 

Ibn Abi Hatim recorded from the narration of Muhammad ibn Yazid in Khanis al Makki — from Wuhayb ibn al Ward that he recited:

 

وَإِذْ يَرْفَعُ إِبْرَٰهِيْمُ ٱلْقَوَاعِدَ مِنَ ٱلْبَيْتِ وَإِسْمَـٰعِيْلُ رَبَّنَا تَقَبَّلْ مِنَّآ

And [mention] when Abraham was raising the foundations of the House and [with him] Ishmael, [saying], “Our Lord, accept [this] from us.”[27]

 

He wept and said, “O Khalil of al Rahman! You raise the foundations of the House of al Rahman and yet you are fearful it may not be accepted from you.[28]

 

Note:

There are some other weak narrations recorded by Ibn Sa’d, Ibn Abi al Dunya, and Ibn ‘Asakir regarding the passing of ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu which some have regarded as dubious considering the lengthy narration of al Bara’ as it bears similarity to the death of the sinful when their souls are being extracted. This doubt is a result of not differentiating between the illness of death and the moment of soul extraction. The condition mentioned of ‘Amr radiya Llahu ‘anhu is that of sakrat (pangs of death) which precedes actual death. It is the illness and severity that comes before the soul is extracted. This is quite obvious since one is unable to advise of the sunnah rites and speak of their condition whilst in the very throes of death at which one loses their sanity[29]. These conditions are established by way of the Qur’an and Sunnah.

Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala says:

 

وَجَآءَتْ سَكْرَةُ ٱلْمَوْتِ بِٱلْحَقِّ ذَٰلِكَ مَا كُنْتَ مِنْهُ تَحِيْدُ

And the intoxication of death will bring the truth; that is what you were trying to avoid.[30]

 

The leader of mankind and the most beloved salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam did not escape the sakrat of death. At the time of his death he salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would place his hands in water and wipe his face saying:

 

لا إله إلا الله إن للموت سكرات

There is none worthy of worship but Allah, surely death has agonies.

 

This narration is recorded by al Bukhari on the authority of Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha.[31] In another narration she said:

 

مات النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم وإنه لبين حاقنتي وذاقنتي فلا أكره شدة الموت لأحد أبدا بعد النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم

Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam died lying between my breast and my collarbone. I will never feel bad about anyone having a painful death after what I saw Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam suffer.[32]

 

In yet another narration she said:

ما اغبط احدا بهون موت بعد الذي رايت من شدة موت رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم

I do not envy an easy death after having seen the severity of the death of Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam.[33]

 

Al Hafiz Ibn Hajar comments:

 

أن شدة الموت لا تدل على نقص في المرتبة، بل هي للمؤمن إما زيادة في حسناته، وإما تكفير لسيئاته

The narration shows that experiencing severity at the time of death does not indicate a lesser stage. Rather, for a believer, it is a means of the increase of their status or a means for the forgiveness of their sins.[34]

 

Al Qurtubi said:

 

 فأحب الله أن يبتليهم أي الأنبياء تکميلا الفضائلهم ورفعة لدرجاتهم عنده وليس ذلك في حقهم نقصا ولا عذابا بل هو كما قال كمال رفعة مع رضاهم بجميل ما يجزي الله عليهم فأراد الحق سبحانه أن يختم لهم بهذه الشدائد مع إمكان التخفيف والتهوين عليهم ليرفع منازلهم ويعظم أجورهم قبل موتهم

Allah wished to test them–the Prophets–in order to complete their virtue and raise their status. This is in no way an indication of a lesser stage nor a punishment for them. But, as explained, a manner to raise their status with them being desirous for the reward. Though Allah could have brought an end to their worldly abode with ease, He chose to do so with difficulty in order to raise their status and increase their rewards before their deaths.[35]

 

Al Mubarakpuri said:

 

لما رأيت شدة وفاته علمت أن ذلك ليس من المنذرات الدالة على سوء عاقبة المتوفي وأن هون الموت وسهولته ليس من المكرمات وإلا لكان صلى الله عليه وسلم أولى الناس به فلا أكره شدة الموت لأحد ولا أغبط أحد يموت من غير شدة

When I saw the difficulty of his passing, I knew this is not of the warnings issued of ill-death and evil. I also understood that an easy death is not necessarily a sign of goodness. If this was the case, Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam would have been most deserving of it. I, thus, do not dislike a difficult death for anyone and neither am I envious of anyone who has an easy death.[36]

 

When ‘Abdur Rahman ibn Abi Bakr radiya Llahu ‘anhu passed away at Hubshiy—a mountain in the lower region of Makkah—a few miles from Makkah, Ibn Safwan brought him to Makkah for his burial. When Aisha radiya Llahu ‘anha heard of her brothers passing she said:

 

ما آسى من أمره إلا على خصلتين إنه لم يعالج ولم يدفن حيث مات

I have but two regrets over his passing. He did not suffer the pangs of death[37] and he was not buried where he passed away.

 

Nafi’ said:

وكان مات فجأة

He died a sudden death[38]

 

‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul ‘Aziz said:

 

ما أحب أن تهون على سكرات الموت إنه آخر ما يكفر به عن المرء المسلم

I do not wish for the pangs of my death to be easy. It is the last condition by which a Muslims sins are forgiven.[39]

 

NEXT⇒ Misconception 3 – The fortune he left behind after his death


[1] Al Mahmudi: Nahj al Sa’adah, vol. 8 pg. 362.

[2] Surah al Nisa’: 18.

[3] Ibn Abi al Hadid: Sharh Nahj al Balaghah, vol. 6 pgs. 323-325.

[4] Al Mahmudi: Nahj al Sa’adah, vol. 8 pg. 3662.

[5] Ibn Sa’d: Al Tabaqat al Kubra, vol. 4 pg. 260.

[6] Al Hakim: Al Mustadrak, vol. 3 pg. 514.

[7] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 46 pg. 192.

[8] Ibn Hajar: Lisan al Mizan, vol. 4 pg. 386.

[9] Al Dhahabi: Mizan al I’tidal, vol. 4 pg. 304; Al Jawzi: Al Du’afa’ wa al Matrukin, vol. 3 pg. 176.

[10] Musnad Ahmed: 60160. Al Albani has authenticated it in Sahih al Jami’: 2784.

[11] Sahih Muslim, book on remembrance, prayer, repentance, and forgiveness. Hadith: 2702. The shadow or covering of the heart has been explained by those moments wherein Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam becoming unmindful of the remembrance of Allah subhanahu wa ta ‘ala which he was otherwise continuously preoccupied with and, thus, considered it a wrong and repented. Others have stated it refers to those moments wherein Rasulullah salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam was informed of the future condition of the Ummah and thus he would fall into worry and seek forgiveness on their behalf. See, Ikmal al Mu’allim Sharh Sahih Muslim, vol. 8 pg. 197.

[12] Ibn Taymiyyah: Minhaj al Sunnah, vol. 5 pg. 484.

[13] Ikmal al Mu’allim Sharh Sahih Muslim. The narration has been recorded by Ahmed: 9515; and Abu Dawood: 3173. The wording is of Abu Dawood.  Al Albani said, “There is a narrator not named in the chain of transmission but the narration is corroborated by other marfu’ and mawquf narrations.” Shu’ayb al Arna’ut said, “The narration is hassan li-ghayrihi”

[14] Ibid.

[15] Sharh al Nawawi al Sahih Muslim, vol. 2 pgs. 138-139.

[16] Sahih al Bukhari, book on merits, chapter on the merits of ‘Umar ibn al Khattab: 3692.

[17] Ibn Majah: 4104 and the words are of it; Ibn Abi Sahybah: 35453; Ibn Abi al Dunya in al Muhtadarin, vol. 1 pg. 175.

[18] Al Zuhd: Ibn al Mubarak, vol. 2 pg. 38; al Zuhd: Ahmed, vol. 1 pg. 153.

[19] Al Muhtadarin: ibn Abi al Dunya: vol. 1 pg. 175.

[20] Hadith Abi Fadl al Zuhri, vol. 2 pg. 99 Hadith: 598.

[21] Al Muhtadarin: ibn Abi al Dunya: vol. 1 pg. 236.

[22] Al Dhahabi: Siyar A’lam an-Nubala’, vol. 10 pg. 76.

[23] Surah al Mu’minun: 60.

[24] Surah al Mu’minun: 60.

[25] Musnad Ahmed: 25263; al Tirmidhi: Book of Tafsir, chapter of Surah al Mu’minun: 3175. The wording is his; Ibn Majah: Book of Abstinence: 1404. Al Albani has authenticated it in al Sahihah, vol. 1 pg. 304.

[26] Surah al Baqarah: 128.

[27] Surah al Baqarah: 128.

[28] Al Tafsir, vol. 1 pg. 233.

[29] Tafsir al Baydawi, vol. 5 pg. 141.

[30] Surah Qaf: 19.

[31] Al Bukhari: Book of Maghazi, chapter on the illness and death of Nabi salla Llahu ‘alayhi wa sallam: 6145.

[32] Al Bukhari: 4181.

[33] Al Tirmidhi: Book of Jana’iz, chapter of the difficulty of death: 979.

[34] Ibn Hajar: Fath al Bari, vol. 11 pg. 363.

[35] Al Tadhkirah, vol. 1 pg. 20.

[36] Tuhfah al Ahwadhi, vol. 3 pg. 37.

[37] Thereby being a means of his forgiveness.

[38] Ibn ‘Asakir: Tarikh Dimashq, vol. 35 pg. 38.

[39] Ahmed: al Zuhd, col. 1 pg. 298; Abu Nuaim: al Hilyah, vol. 5 pg. 317.

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