36.8 The Last Prayer
On the last day, Mohamed had slept a quiet sleep. The fever had abated to the extent that he was allowed to go out to take leave of his Companions for the last time. He went out to attend the dawn prayers, leaning on Ali ibn Abi Talib and Al-Fadl ibn Al-Abbas. When people saw he was better, their hearts leapt for joy for they loved him dearly. They made way and could hardly keep their places, but he made a sign to them to attend to their prayers. Abu Bakr, who was leading the prayers, sensed how suddenly the people were overjoyed and how they made way and realized it could be for no one but Mohamed. He was about to leave his place and allow Mohamed to lead the prayer, but Mohamed put his hand on his arm to detain him and quietly sat beside him to pray.
When prayers were terminated, he spoke to the people,
"The fire is stirred high and temptations come like dark patches of the night. I have not allowed you except what the Koran allows, and I have not forbidden you except what the Koran forbids."
He also said,
"After me you will differ much. Whatever agrees with the Koran is from me; whatever differs from the Koran is not from me."
The Muslims gathered around their Messenger, all so happy to see him better, and Usama son of Zayd came and asked permission for the army to start out on its mission. Abu Bakr asked permission to go to his home on the outskirts of the city, and all the people returned to their homes optimistic and in good spirits. But their happiness did not last long, for the Prophet's revival was only long enough to allow him to see his Companions before he left. He began to feel weaker and weaker every moment and knew that he had only a few hours to live. When the fever was high, he put his hand in a bowl of cool water and wiped his forehead. He said,
"My Lord, help me bear the pangs of death."
And his last words were in answer to a question unheard by those around him. They were,
"Nay, the Eternal Companion in Paradise."