The Prophet’s (Sallallāhu 'alayhi wasallam) ) fear most for Muslims
By Adil Salahi
In the Name of Allāh, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful;
All the praise and Thanks is due to Allāh, The Lord of al-'ālamīn. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allāh, and that Muhammad, sallallāhu alayhi wa sallam, is His Messenger.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wasallam) said: “…. I fear for you that you will be preoccupied with competition for worldly matters”.
As the Prophet Muhammad (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) approached the end of his blessed life, he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) used to do things that appeared, with hindsight, to indicate that he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) was bidding farewell to life. When he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) addressed the people who joined him in his pilgrimage, he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) reportedly said to them: “I may not see you after this year.” Another of these actions was his visiting the graves of the martyrs of the Battle of Uhud.
Uqbah ibn Amir (radiallāhu`anhu) reports:
“The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) went out one day and offered prayer for the people of Uhud in the same way as Solat al-Janazah. He (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) then came back to the mosque where he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) stood on the pulpit and said:
“I will be going ahead of you, and I am a witness for you. By Allāh, I am now looking at my pond (Al-Kawthar in Paradise), I have been given the keys of the earth treasures (or he might have said the keys of the earth.) By Allah, I do not fear that you may revert to polytheism after I am gone, but I fear for you that you will be preoccupied with competition for worldly matters.”
(Related by al-Bukhāri)
This visit to the graves of the martyrs of Uhud took place a few weeks before the end of the Prophet’s blessed life. Perhaps we should mention that the Battle of Uhud took place just outside Madinah. The other battles Muslims fought during the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) lifetime were far from Madinah. Those martyrs at Uhud fell while fighting for the cause of Islam eight years earlier than the Prophet’s (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) visit. The unbelievers attacked Madinah hoping to crush Islam, but although they achieved military victory in that battle, their ultimate purpose was foiled and Islam gained strength. In his visit, the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) remembered that those noble martyrs were his companions and that he would be meeting up with them in the hereafter. Hence, he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) prayed for them and offered the regular solat al-Janazah, i.e. prayer for deceased people. His visit may be described as bidding farewell to their graves and bodies before the eventual spiritual meeting in the hereafter.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) then continued, practically bidding farewell to the living. This was in the form of admonition, as he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) never lost an opportunity to remind people of the need to be always diligent in following the teachings of Islam. He (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) told his companions and his followers in all generations that he ((Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) would depart this life ahead of them, but he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) would remain a witness for them. In other hadiths we are told that our deeds are shown to the Prophet ((Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) . Hence, he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) will be a witness for every one of his followers. When our deeds are shown to him, he (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) will praise God for every good action done by any one, and would pray for the forgiveness of our misdeeds.
The Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) mentions his water pool which will be granted to him on the Day of Judgment. People will come to him for a drink, and he will give drinks to believers, while others will be barred from it by the angels.
What are the keys of the treasures of the earth the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) mentions?
Needless to say, these were not physically given to him, but rather the fact that his followers defeated both the Byzantine and Persian Empires, the two superpowers of the time, is what is meant here. This is not the source of worry expressed by the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) . He (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) did not fear that his ummah, as a community, would return to the worship of idols or multiple deities. Some individuals may do, but the whole community will not.
What worried the Prophet (Sallallāhu 'alaihi wa sallam) was that Muslims would be preoccupied with rivalry for world riches. The life of this world is short, albeit a temporary one, and the real treasure that matter most is that kept for the hereafter. It is that they should aspire and strive in every cause by being always keen to do well and steer away from “the misguided ways and matters and sin “other than Islam.
Indeed Allāh has promised:
“You are the best of peoples ever raised up for mankind; you enjoin Al-Ma`ruf (all that Islam has ordained) and forbid Al-Munkar (all that Islam has forbidden), and you believe in Allāh. And had the People of the Scripture believed, it would have been better for them; among them are some who have faith, but most of them are Fasiqun (rebellious).They will do you no harm, barring a trifling annoyance; and if they fight against you, they will show you their backs, and they will not be helped.) They are stricken with humility wherever they may be, except when under a covenant (of protection) from Allāh, and a covenant from men; they have drawn on themselves the wrath of Allāh, and destitution is put over them. This is because they disbelieved in the Ayat of Allāh and killed the Prophets without right. This is because they disobeyed (Allāh) and used to transgress (the limits set by Allāh).”
[Al-‘Imran, 3: 110-112]
Allāh Almighty Knows Best
[Excerpted with modification from Arab News (Aspects of Islamic Faith, No: 79): Published Nov 11, 2010]