The Death of the Last Prophet
In the tenth year after the Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad announced that he would lead that year's pilgrimage to Mecca (for more about pilgrimage, see Chapter 4). More than 30,000 men, women, and children congregated in Medina to join the Prophet on the pilgrimage. In Mecca, they performed the rites, then they gathered on Mount Arafat, thirteen miles from Mecca—a standard part of a pilgrimage—where Prophet Muhammad gave his last sermon. He spoke about morality, family, respect, and the greatness and oneness of Allah. The journey became known as the Farewell Pilgrimage.
In the months following the Farewell Pilgrimage and in the approach of the eleventh year after the Hijrah, Muhammad's health deteriorated. He was no longer able to lead prayers and was forced to stay in bed. On the last day of Muhammad's life, Allah blessed him with a surge of strength, and he was able to lead the dawn prayer one last time.
Muhammad's family was stricken with grief, knowing that he was living his last hours. His daughter Fatima was at his side when he whispered something that made her weep, followed by a whisper that made her laugh. Later, she said that she wept when her father told her he was about to die, and laughed when he told her she would be the first of his family to follow him to Heaven.
The angel of death descended upon Muhammad and asked permission to take his soul, something that he had never before done. The Prophet accepted, then his soul departed. Prophet Muhammad completed his message of Islam from Allah before he died at the age of sixty-three.