Abdulrahman was standing anxiously at his sister’s house door that led into the mosque. The palms of his hands sweat and his heart raced. He nervously brushed his teeth with a Miswaktwig as he waited for the permission to enter. It was so quiet that he could hear himself breathing heavily. So quiet, that he almost forgot the hundreds of men who were sitting in rows all around. There were so many of them on the mosque’s floor that he had to skip over their shoulders as he came through, yet they were as silent as statues of stone. No wonder Abdulrahman forgot about them; pigeons could have rested on their lifeless limbs and not a twitch was expected of them.
Yet, those men were not to be blamed for their numbing grief. The last few days were agonizing to the whole community, and above all, to his sister. He really hoped for the best as he waited at her door, but given that she has sent for him in that early hour of the day, no less than the worst was expected.
At last, and after a minute of waiting that lasted for hours, the door opened revealing a very dark room. “What happened?” Abdulrahman asked the helper who looked out the crack of the door. “He summoned his daughter,” she said softly, “and when she came to him, he whispered into her ears. I don’t know what he had told her, but Fatima went out crying after that.” She stopped for a moment and pondered at her feet. “Your sister has been splashing his face with water all night long to ease the heat of pain,” she looked up with soaked eyes and said, “Aisha knows it is very soon.”
Abdulrahman has always been expecting the worst, but he was in a state of denial like the rest of the men around him. Is it the end, he asked himself, just like that? Despite the stabbing ache in his heart, he had no reaction to offer. None, until he walked into the dark room.
The whole mud-built house was only twelve feet long and fifteen feet wide. He was standing at the room’s only door that opened to the prayer hall. There was a small window with a curtain that promised blinding bright light if only opened. The room was dark, but the tiny strings of sunshine that escaped the curtain were just enough for Abdulrahman to see. And, there was not much to see in that simple empty house save the silhouette of two humans on the floor. As he walked closer, his heart wrenched to the scene that he wished he would never witness.
Aisha, his sister, was sitting on the floor and leaning at the wall facing him. Her legs laid straight with her husband sitting in between, his back leaning at her chest and his head resting between her neck and shoulder. She had one arm around his shivering body and a hand palming his wet forehead. As much as she wanted to ease the agony of her beloved husband, she could not. Their shirts soaked with his sweat as if they just got out of the water. Seeing his sister and her beloved husband in that state was painful enough for Abdulrahman, but once her sad and tiresome eyes found his, he felt his heart shred into pieces. He knew that what all Muslims feared in the past few days was happening. The Last Prophet of God to humanity will die today, and there shall be no prophet to be sent to this Earth after him.
“Prophet of God,” Aisha spoke softly to her husband’s ear as she hugged his torso from behind, “do you want it?” she said and pointed at her brother’s Miswak. The prophet was eyeing it since Abdulrahman walked in. He nodded to her in agreement. Her brother came closer and handed the twig to her. She squeezed at it and found it too stiff for him. “May I soften it for you?” she asked. He nodded again. So, she bit a small piece and spat. Then, she chewed on the fresh new tip until it became soft and wet. The Prophet reached to the Miswak and passed it on his teeth. “There is no God worthy of worship except the one true God” he barely uttered, “Death is full of agonies.”
Suddenly, Abdulrahman saw his sister grind her teeth. It seemed as if the body of the Prophet has become too heavy on her. The Prophet dropped his head back at her and muttered. They heard him recite:
… with those on whom You have bestowed your grace; the prophets, the truth-bearers, the martyrs and the good.
He labored a moan, and exhaled painfully: “O Allah, forgive me, have mercy upon my soul and join me to the most exalted companionship.”
Then, there was it; that sound of ringing bells with no source to be found. A sound that the Prophet’s companions used to hear when he was receiving revelations. Abdulrahman and Aisha knew that the Archangel was present in the room. The Prophet always trembled at Gabriel’s presence. After all, he was the first Angel. He was the only direct messenger between the Creator and his creation. He was there when Adam ate from the forbidden tree. He was with Noah when his Ark rode the mountainous waves, with Abraham when he sat unharmed amidst the blazing fire of the pagans who wished him harm, with Moses when the great sea split asunder and with Jesus when he rose to his Lord untouched. Surely, the presence of the Holy Spirit was always trembling, but this time was different. The Prophet raised his head as droplets of sweat shined like pearls at his forehead. There was silence for a moment except for the weeping of Aisha. Then, he raised his hand and pointed to the heavens. “Nay! The most exalted companionship,” he said. At last, as if the Archangel himself was giving him a choice between life and death, he repeated: “Nay! The most exalted companionship!”
“The most exalted companionship!”
The hand of Prophet Muhammed, peace and blessings be upon him, fell to his side as he gave his last breath. “We belong to Allah, and to him we return,” Aisha cried as she buried her face in her husband’s neck. She was indeed sad for the loss of her loving husband, true, but she was also mourning for all of humanity. The last Prophet died, and no prophet will come after him. The last link between the heavens and Earth was severed; never to be tied again.
She then turned to her brother. “Bring my father to me!” she said, “bring the Truth-bearer!”
(End of Part I)
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