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The Night When Muhammad Died
By: - Othman Ali

 

 

The Night When Muhammad Died

Published in April 17, 2018

Written by: Dr. Othman M. Ali

Translated by: Ahmed Fathy

 

 The Egyptian Coptic priest Morqos was a merchant of herbal medicines and spices who worked and resided in the city of Belbeis, in the eastern region of the Egyptian Nile Delta; he and his wife, Dimyana Shukry, were religious Coptic Orthodox Christians who served in their local church, read the Gospel a lot, and prayed regularly. Both Morqos and Dimyana believed that Jesus was a mortal prophet and he was the penultimate one; they believed in the prophecy that the ultimate prophet, or the seal of all prophets, will be sent by God as per the glad tidings mentioned about him in the Torah and the Gospel, whose name is Ahmad. Both Morqos and Dimyana waited eagerly and wished they could live and meet with this prophet mentioned in the prophecies of Moses and Jesus and to declare their monotheistic faith in God to this prophet as they will believe with him in the Celestial Message; they ardently desired to read God's Last Message which will be conveyed by this prophet, as they have read these prophecies in the Scriptures given to Moses and Jesus and other prophets.

 One day, both Morqos and Dimyana received in their house, for the first time, a Yemenite merchant of coffee beans, herbs, and spices named Salman, whose father used to visit them within trade caravans twice a year to provide them with the needed merchandise. When the priest, Morqos, asked the merchant, Salman, about the reason behind the absence of his father who typically visited Egypt himself, Salman told Morqos that his father deserted the trade and distributed his business among his children in order to spend the rest of his life near Prophet Muhammad and to live in Yathreb like him. The heart of Morqos skipped a beat; he felt happy and asked Salman about what he meant by "Prophet Muhammad". Salman told him that about 20 years ago, the ministry of Muhammad as a prophet began in Arabia and that he immigrated from Mecca to Yathreb and so did all believers; Salman was surprised that Morqos never heard of Muhammad before. Morqos felt overjoyed that the last of God's prophets has been sent by God during the his lifetime and that of his wife, as both longed ardently to see this prophet.

 Morqos left Salman and hurried to his wife, Dimyana, to bring the glad tidings to her. Morqos told Dimyana that Prophet Muhammad has been sent by God in Al-Hejaz region and that he lives in Yathreb; Dimyana was overjoyed of course; both she and her husband decided to travel to Yemen with Salman, through the Red Sea, and then from Yemen to Yathreb to meet with Muhammad; they desired to live in Yathreb and hear and read the Scripture revealed by God to Muhammad. Morqos returned to Salman and told him he will be his honored guest in his house during his stay in Egypt until he would finish all his trade dealings, and then, they will accompany him in the caravan to the Red Sea to take the boat to Yemen and then take a caravan to Yathreb to embrace God's Last Message on earth. Salman felt happy that both Morqos and Dimyana desire to convert to Islam and to go to Yathreb to meet with Muhammad and read the Quran, but he told them that the trade caravan contained many merchandise which would be sold in Egypt, Tunisia, and Morocco and the caravan will return laden with other merchandise to be sold in Egypt and Yemen. This means that the journey of the trade caravan would go on for several months before returning to Yemen. Salman suggested to Morqos and Dimyana to wait for his return from the African coasts to Belbeis so that they accompany him to Yemen. Morqos agreed to wait so that he would have time to sell his house, shop, trade merchandise, and stretches of land, as they intended to settle in Yathreb for the rest of their lives with Muhammad. Salman, the Yemenite merchant, stayed as a very welcome guest at the house of Morqos for a month, before he resumed his journey to the African coast.

 Morqos and Dimyana began selling all their possessions and they prepared their luggage, while waiting eagerly and impatiently for seven months until Salman returned to Belbeis while heading another trade caravan laden with merchandise. Both Morqos and Dimyana insisted to have Salman as their guest again in their house and they readily helped him sell the merchandise within days in the cities of Belbeis, Al-Matariyya, Ain Shams, and Qalyoub. Finally, Morqos and Dimyana, with their luggage, joined the caravan that headed to the Red Sea and then embarked on the boat that made them reach Yemen. Another caravan transported Salman, Morqos, and Dimyana to Yathreb, and they felt excited as they entered Yathreb at night; Salman desired to visit his father and to see Muhammad as well; Morqos and Dimyana headed at once towards the Yathreb mosque, feeling very eager to hear and read the Quran and to pray alongside with Muhammad, the last prophet of God. Yet, the three travelers felt strange movements in the city of Yathreb and its pathways; its dwellers seem to be outdoors together at the same time and everyone was hurrying towards the Yathreb mosque and the chambers of Muhammad and his wives which were adjacent to it. Morqos and Dimyana headed with Salman towards the house of his father to put their luggage first, and Salman found his father weeping in sorrow; this father told the two guests (who were his old friends) and his son that Muhammad died this very night. Morqos and Dimyana felt shocked as they had arrived to Yathreb when it was too late; they wept bitterly in their turn; they wished they could have arrived earlier to have the honor of meeting with Muhammad, praying with him to the Almighty Lord, and hearing him as he read the Quran, the Last Message from the Lord God. Salman asked his father about the strange movements of the Yathreb dwellers who hurried towards the Yathreb mosque and the chambers of Muhammad and his wives. Salman's father said that he did not know what was going on and he is too sad, old, and weak to leave his house now. Salman and his two guests hurried to the Yathreb mosque; on their way, they heard loud voices of men quarreling and arguing inside one house; it was said to them that this was the house of the leader of "the supporters" or the original Yathreb dwellers, whose name is Saad Ibn Eibada. Morqos and Salman knocked at the door and requested the permission to enter, as they hoped to end the quarrel. They asked a man among the bystanders about those men who quarreled; he told them that the old man was Saad Ibn Eibada, and the man brandishing his sword at the old man was Omar Ibn Al-Khattab; the other men were the sons and the paternal uncles' sons of this leader. One of the men inside the house was Abou Bakr, the man whom Omar insisted that he must be instituted as caliph/ruler over Yathreb, Mecca, and all Arabia and that people must swear fealty to him at once. Morqos and Salman were told further that Omar was furious as the dwellers of Yathreb chose Saad Ibn Eibada as caliph and ruler of Yathreb after the death of Muhammad; he desired that Abou Bakr would be instituted as caliph by force. The Egyptian man, Morqos, and the Yemenite man, Salman, got out of this house and joined Dimyana on their way to the Yathreb mosque, they told her about what they had heard; the three of them expressed their surprise as such quarrels occurred before the corpse of Muhammad would be buried. Salman told his guests that he thought that the burial must take place first and then all Muslims should hold a general assembly of Shura consultation inside the mosque to discuss and choose a ruler. Upon arriving to the mosque, and before entering it, they found people praising the Lord God and weeping as they mourn the death of Muhammad. Salman and his two Egyptian guests heard two men (an old man and a young man) who stood outside at the door of the chamber of Aisha, one of the wives of Muhammad, talking about the fact that Muhammad never talked about appointing a certain ruler after him; the older of them told the other younger man that they should enter into the mosque to discuss choosing him as a ruler, and if people would agree, fealty would be sworn to him before Abou Bakr and the violent Omar would enter into the mosque. The young man told the old man who expressed this suggestion that the body of Muhammad should be buried first and the topic of choosing a ruler would be discussed later on. Salman, Morqos, and Dimyana were told that the old man who suggested to the young man to be instituted as caliph was Abbas Ibn Abdul-Mutalib, the paternal uncle of Muhammad, and that the young man was Ali Ibn Abou Talib, the son of one of the paternal uncles of Muhammad and the husband of Muhammad's daughter Fatima. Within one distant corner, there were some male children; some of them were weeping, some remained silent, and one of them patted a kitten he carried. When Salman and his two Egyptian friends asked about those male children, they were told that they were Anas Ibn Malik, the servant of Muhammad, Abdullah Ibn Abbas Ibn Abdul-Mutalib, Abdullah Ibn Omar Ibn Al-Khattab, Abdullah Ibn Al-Zubayr Ibn Al-Awwam, Hassan Ibn Ali Ibn Abou Talib, Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibn Al-'As, and the child carrying the kitten was Abou Hurayrah, along with other children of the Muslims of Yathreb. Salman and his two Egyptian friends eventually entered into the mosque, and they sat beside Abdullah Ibn Masood, Zeid Ibn Thabet, and Abou Zar Al-Ghifary. They waited with the rest of the Muslims until a burial location was dug inside the chamber of Aisha; people witnessed the burial of Muhammad and they prayed for him after the burial was finished; people whispered among one another that Omar and Abou Bakr did not attend the burial. Salman and his two Egyptian guests returned to the house of the father of Salman to rest and sleep. In the next morning, Dimyana told her husband that the three of them should offer their condolences to Fatima, the daughter of Muhammad, and visit her in her house. Salman agreed to accompany them to the house of Ali and Fatima after performing the noon prayers inside the Yathreb mosque. Morqos and Dimyana waited inside the mosque till Salman finished the congregational prayers; yet, once the prayers are finished, Omar stood and urged the people present inside the mosque to swear fealty to Abou Bakr, who was standing beside Omar, as caliph and ruler over Arabia; many people did that, except some men of the Hashemite faction of Qorayish (to which Muhammad belong), including Ali and Abbas; the Hashemites assumed that Ali had the right to be instituted as caliph instead of Abou Bakr. Salman and his two Egyptian guests left the mosque to head towards the house of Ali and Fatima, and when they entered the house, they were told that Omar was inside the house before the noon prayers, as he broke into the house to threaten both Fatima and Ali that he would burn their house while they are inside it if they would not swear fealty to Abou Bakr or at least remain silent and never protest against his institution as caliph. Morqos, Dimyana, and Salman remained for a month inside the house of Salman's father. Morqos decided to return to Egypt, the land of peace, security, and real life by the River Nile, as this was their homeland where their good friends, neighbors, and family members lived; besides, it was pointless now to stay in Yathreb since Muhammad died. Dimyana reminded her husband that they had not learned anything yet about Islam; they should read the Quran and get news about the lifetime of Muhammad from those who lived in the same city with him. Morqos reminded her that they desired to meet with Muhammad to declare before them their embracing Islam; Muhammad now died and they must return to Belbeis; he told her he would get a copy of the Quran to read and study in Egypt. All details they should know about Muhammad and his lifetime are found in the Quran. Morqos told his wife further that life with such Arabian people would be very dangerous; they are belligerent, violent people since they disputed and quarreled over rule even before giving Muhammad a decent burial; they are evil men, like those who conspired against Jesus and tried to put him to death. Morqos predicted that such bad people of Arabia would destroy their cities and fight among themselves; he could not live in such unwelcome environment; such evil men may even invade other countries, including Egypt, as they sought the transient possessions of this world and never sought to be true Muslims who gratify their Lord God. Salman offered to his guests parchments that contained many, but not all, Quranic Chapters written by Muhammad himself; he promised to bring them a copy of the rest of the Quranic Chapters, from his father, upon his next journey to Egypt when he would pass by Belbeis. Morqos and Dimyana felt very happy to get what they ardently sought for within this journey; Salman taught them how to pray; after they performed prayers inside the Yathreb mosque for the first time, they traveled to Mecca to perform pilgrimage alongside with Salman who taught them about everything they needed to know about pilgrimage. Salman saw them off as they left Mecca and returned to Egypt, where they restored their house, shop, trade, and stretches of land in Belbeis, their native city. Months later, Salman came from Yemen again, and he fulfilled his promise; upon his arrival to Belbeis, he visited Morqos and Dimyana and gave them a copy of the rest of the Quranic Chapters. Both Morqos and Dimyana, as monotheistic Muslims, kept reading and studying the Quranic text; they adhered to the testimony of (There is no God but Allah), to the Quranic teachings, and the Islamic acts of worship. Months later, Morqos and Dimyana heard the news that Abou Bakr as caliph made his military troops invade the Levantine region. Weeks later, the good man Morqos died; Dimyana as a widow remained as a recluse inside her house, spending her time reading the Quran and performing acts of worship. Months later, the military troops of the caliph Omar, headed by Amr Ibn Al-'As, invaded Egypt, and they confiscated the trade, shop, and merchandise left by Morqos to Dimyana; they imposed on Dimyana heavy taxes for her stretches of land because she was a Coptic Christian; when she told the Arab invaders that she converted to Islam even before the caliph Omar himself converted, as she has been a monotheist all her life, no one believed her words; those belligerent Arabs invaded Egypt (and other countries) for the sake of looting and never for the sake of spreading 'Islam' as they have claimed among their many lies. Dimyana realized that her late husband was right when he said that those violent Arabs will invade Egypt; Egypt was like a cow milked dry by them and all its riches, fruits, and treasures were distributed among the Qorayish people in Mecca and in Yathreb. May God have mercy on the souls of Muhammad and all monotheists who dedicated their religion and worship only to the Almighty Lord God. May God have mercy on the souls of the Egyptian monotheists, Morqos and Dimyana, who searched for the Truth and followed it wholeheartedly, and they believed in it within piety, monotheism, and deep faith.              

 


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