on thursday, four days before the death of the messenger of allâh [pbuh], he said to people — though he was suffering from a severe pain: "come here. i will cause you to write something so that you will never fall into error." upon this ‘umar bin al-khattab said: "the prophet of allâh [pbuh] is suffering from acute pain and you have the qur’ân with you; the book of allâh is sufficient unto you." others however wanted the writing to be made. when muhammad [pbuh] heard them debating over it, he ordered them to go away and leave him alone. [sahih al-bukhari 2/637]
that day he recommended three things:
- jews, christians and polytheists should be expelled out of arabia.
- he recommended that delegations should be honoured and entertained, in a way similar to the one he used to do.
- as for the third — the narrator said that he had forgotten it. it could have been adherence to the holy book and the sunnah. it was likely to be the accomplishment and the mobilization of osamah’s army, or it could have been performance of prayers and being attentive to slaves.
in spite of the strain of disease and suffering from pain, the prophet [pbuh] used to lead all the prayers till that thursday — four days before he died. on that day he led the sunset prayer and recited:
"by the winds (or angels or the messengers of allâh) sent forth one after another." [al-qur'an 77:1] [mishkat al-masabih 1/102]
in the evening he grew so sick that he could not overcome the strain of disease or go out to enter the mosque. ‘aishah said: the prophet [pbuh] asked: "have the people performed the prayer?" "no. they haven’t. they are waiting for you." "put some water in the washing pot." said he. we did what he ordered. so he washed and wanted to stand up, but he fainted. when he came round he asked again "have the people prayed?" then the same sequence of events took place again and again for the second and the third times from the time he washed to the time he fainted after his attempts to stand up. therefore he sent to abu bakr to lead the prayer himself. abu bakr then led the prayer during those days. [sahih al-bukhari 1/99] they were seventeen prayers in the lifetime of muhammad [pbuh].
three or four times ‘aishah talked to the prophet [pbuh] to exempt abu bakr from leadership in prayer lest people should despair of him, but he refused and said:
"you (women) are like the women who tried to entice joseph (yusuf) into immorality. convey my request to abu bakr to lead the prayer."