teacher and student


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 death.

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 it).

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.

GF Haddad ©





latest update: Thu, 12 Feb 2009
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