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 ﷺ 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 ﷺ. 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 ﷺ 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 ﷺ was
sending Muʿadh ibn Jabal to Yemen, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ went out with him to give him his last recommendations.
Muʿadh was mounted while the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was walking by Muʿadh's mount. When he finished he said: "O Muʿadh.
It may be that (ʿasa an) you shall not meet me again after this year in
which I find myself. Perhaps you will (laʿallaka) pass by my mosque here,
and my grave [i.e. to visit me]?" At this Muʿadh wept uninterruptedly at
the thought of parting with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ. 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
Muʿadh! Weeping is from Shaytan."
Both versions are narrated by Imam Ahmad in his Musnad with two sound
chains as stated by al-Haythami in Majmaʿ 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 ʿalayhi 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 ﷺ just as in
the Qur'an, the word ʿasa on his part or on the part of Allah Subhan wa
Taʿala denotes certainty rather than probability as in normal usage; and
he communicated that knowledge to Muʿadh; while the word laʿallaka here
denotes a strong wish on the part of the Prophet to Muʿadh, whom he loved
especially, to visit him at his grave. And Allah Almighty knows best.
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