What Miracles Mean
My understanding is that death is Allah S.W.T 's secret and is only revealed to His malaikat [angels]
Wa alaykum as-salam,
Allah SWT reveals to His Prophet what He likes including, if He
likes, knowledge of the "five things" that are hidden to all and which
includes the time and place of death.
This knowledge, in turn, may be passed on to those purified awliya' who
are close to the Prophet . Thus we see that countless awliya'
announced news of their death hours, or days, or weeks before it took
place as is well-known in the biographical sources.
So the truth is that Allah SWT reveals this to whomever He likes. Allah
SWT is not bound by anything or anyone to reveal this only to the angel of
The Prophet himself certainly knew of his own passing in advance
(if you ask how long, the face of the evidence says: a year; and probably
earlier than that; and possibly before the angel of death was appraised of
Here is a report to that effect:
At the time the Messenger of Allah was
sending Mu`adh ibn Jabal to Yemen, the Messenger of Allah went out with him to give him his last recommendations.
Mu`adh was mounted while the Messenger of Allah was walking by Mu`adh's mount. When he finished he said: "O Mu`adh.
It may be that (`asa an) you shall not meet me again after this year in
which I find myself. Perhaps you will (la`allaka) pass by my mosque here,
and my grave [i.e. to visit me]?" At this Mu`adh wept uninterruptedly at
the thought of parting with the Messenger of Allah . Then he [the Prophet] turned and, facing Madina, said: "Those closest
to me are those who guard themselves from Allah (al-muttaqun), whoever
they are and wherever they are." Another version adds: "Do not weep, O
Mu`adh! Weeping is from Shaytan."
Both versions are narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad with two sound
chains as stated by al-Haythami in Majma` al-Zawai'd.
This is a highly charged hadith which contains so much that I ask
forgiveness of Allah to pass over it so quickly, but the person who is
asking for information seems impatient to get answers to the question
asked. (Namely, it is a proof for travelling to visit the Prophet's grave,
Sallallahu `alayhi wa Sallam.)
So it suffices to say that the hadith contains information about the
Prophet's knowledge of the *time and place* of his death, because in the
speech of the Messenger of Allah just as in
the Qur'an, the word `asa on his part or on the part of Allah Subhan wa
Ta`ala denotes certainty rather than probability as in normal usage; and
he communicated that knowledge to Mu`adh; while the word la`allaka here
denotes a strong wish on the part of the Prophet to Mu`adh, whom he loved
especially, to visit him at his grave. And Allah Almighty knows best.
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