There are many controversies surrounding how prophet Muhammed died. Some argued that the cause of his death is unknown, others say he died of fever, i.e of natural causes, some school of thought say that he died of poisoning.
In this article, we shall highlight all the scenarios on how prophet Mohammed died, citing authoritative sources to back our findings while we call on Muslim scholars and the Islamic faithful to give their opinion as we try to unearth the real cause of the death of Muhammed.
Brief Biography on the Life of Prophet Muhammed
Muhammad is the prophet of Islam who was born around 570 CE in the year of the Elephant in the Arabian city of Mecca. He was orphaned at an early age and was raised under the care of his uncle Abu Talib. It was said that Mohammed would seclude himself in a mountain cave named Hira for several nights of prayer where he was visited by an angel. He received his first revelation from Allah in this mountain after which he went preaching publicly that “Allah is One”, and that complete “surrender” to Allah is the right course of action.
During the early years of preaching Islam, Muhammad gathered few disciples, and met hostility from some Meccan tribes. In a bid to escape persecution, Muhammad sent some followers to Abyssinia before he and his disciples migrated from Mecca to Medina (then known as Yathrib) in the year 622. This event, the Hijra, marks the beginning of the Islamic calendar, also known as the Hijri Calendar. In 632, a few months after returning from the Farewell Pilgrimage, it was said that he fell ill with fever and died. Before his death, most of the Arabian Peninsula had converted to Islam.
The revelations of Mohammed known as Ayah, form the verses of the Quran and is widely regarded by the Muslims as the “Word of Allah” and around which the religion is based. Besides the Quran, Muhammad’s teachings and practices (sunnah), can be found in the Hadith and sira literature and are used as sources of Islamic law, Sharia.
Various Accounts On The Death of Prophet Muhammed
As said earlier, there are various accounts on the circumstances surrounding Muhammed’s death. An account which is mostly accepted by Muslims say that he died of illness (fever) on the arms of his wife Aisha while the Jewish source say he died as a result of being poisoned by a Jewish woman, following the conquest of Khaibar, where he took Safiyah as a wife, and ordered the torture and beheading of her husband Kinana, the chief of the Jews at Khaibar.
Poisoned by a Jewess Safiyah
According to Jewish Sources, Muhammad was poisoned by a Jewish woman, following the conquest of Khaibar, where he took Safiyah as a wife, and ordered the torture and beheading of her husband Kinana, the chief of the Jews at Khaibar.
Narrated Anas bin Malik: A Jewess brought a poisoned (cooked) sheep for the Prophet who ate from it. She was brought to the Prophet and he was asked, “Shall we kill her?” He said, “No.” I continued to see the effect of the poison on the palate of the mouth of Allah’s Apostle .
Sahih Bukhari 3:47:786
….Narrated ‘Aisha: The Prophet in his ailment in which he died, used to say, “O ‘Aisha! I still feel the pain caused by the food I ate at Khaibar, and at this time, I feel as if my aorta is being cut from that poison.”
Sahih Bukhari 5:59:713
The reason behind her action was the killing of her people and family by Muhammad.
The apostle of Allah sent for Zaynab and said to her, “What induced you to do what you have done?” She replied, “You have done to my people what you have done. You have killed my father, my uncle and my husband, so I said to myself, “If you are a prophet, the foreleg will inform you; and others have said, “If you are a king we will get rid of you.”
Ibn Sa’d p. 252
It was no secret among the wives, that Aisha was Muhammad’s favorite, and he made this clear as death approached.
Narrated ‘Aisha: that during his fatal ailment, Allah’s Apostle, used to ask his wives, “Where shall I stay tomorrow? Where shall I stay tomorrow?” He was looking forward to Aisha’s turn. So all his wives allowed him to stay where he wished….
Sahih Bukhari 7:62:144
….He came out with the help of two men and his legs were dragging on the ground. He was between Al-Abbas and another man [Ali Ibn Abi Talib].”….
Sahih Bukhari 1:11:634
Died in the Arms of Aisha
Even from his death-bed, Muhammad was issuing orders and cursing Christians and Jews.
….Then he [Muhammad] ordered them to do three things. He said, “Turn the pagans out of the ‘Arabian Peninsula; respect and give gifts to the foreign delegations as you have seen me dealing with them.” (Said bin Jubair, the sub-narrator said that Ibn Abbas kept quiet as rewards the third order, or he said, “I forgot it.”)
Sahih Bukhari 5:59:716
Narrated ‘Aisha and Ibn ‘Abbas: On his death-bed Allah’s Apostle put a sheet over his-face and when he felt hot, he would remove it from his face. When in that state (of putting and removing the sheet) he said, “May Allah’s Curse be on the Jews and the Christians for they build places of worship at the graves of their prophets.” (By that) he intended to warn (the Muslim) from what they (i.e. Jews and Christians) had done.
Sahih Bukhari 4:56:660
On the 8th of June, 632 AD Aisha watched Muhammad finally die, slumped on her bosom.
Narrated Aisha:….In front of him there was a jug or a tin, (The sub-narrator, ‘Umar is in doubt as to which was right) containing water. He started dipping his hand in the water and rubbing his face with it, he said, “None has the right to be worshipped except Allah. Death has its agonies.” He then lifted his hands (towards the sky) and started saying, “With the highest companion,” till he expired and his hand dropped down.
Sahih Bukhari 5:59:730
….’Aisha added: He died on the day of my usual turn at my house. Allah took him unto Him while his head was between my chest and my neck and his saliva was mixed with my saliva.
Sahih Bukhari 7:62:144
From the above two narrations, there have since being a conflict on which hold the true account of the death of prophet Muhammed. He was buried near the Mosque of the Prophet in Medina.