When did Mohammed die?
To this simple and short question, I am afraid I cannot respond with precise details. There is indeed difference of opinion regarding the exact date when the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) died. It is however certain that he departed from this world in the 11th year after Hijrah1 the month of Rabi ul Awwal2. However, historian are of different views as regards the exact day of this third month. Three dates of Rabi ul Awwal have been reported in this connection namely the first, the second and the twelfth.
According to the research carried out by Syed Suleiman Nadv3, which itself is based on the work of Imam Suheili, the more probable date is the first of Rabi ul Awwal. Mr. Nadvi has based his assertion on two facts: The first is that it is certain that the Prophet (pbuh) died on Monday and the second is that the day on which the Prophet (pbuh) delivered his last sermon on the occasion of Pilgrimage to Makkah on 10th Hijrah in the month of Zu’l Hajj4 was Friday. He contends that even considering the three months before the Rabi ul Awwal5 to be of any combination of twenty nine (29) days a month or thirty (30) days a month, Monday never falls on the 12th Rabi ul Awwal. However, Monday does fall on the second day of Rabi ul Awwal if all the three succeeding months are taken to be of twenty nine days each – a possibility of three consecutive months to be of same days is remote according to the lunar movements. The only plausible choice is then the first of Rabi ul Awwal. This date may be arrived at by taking any of these months as thirty days’ month and the other two as twenty nine days’ month. On these grounds, I seem to subscribe to Mr. Nadvi’s opinion that the Prophet (pbuh) died on the first day of Rabi ul Awwal in the eleventh year of the Hijrah.
September 17, 2003
- i.e., migration [↩]
- i.e., the third month according to the lunar calendar followed by the Muslims for the purpose of Ramadan and Hajj. [↩]
- Nadvi, Syed Suleiman, Sirutu al-Nabi 4th ed., vol 2, (Lahore: Al-Faisal Nashran Kutub, Urdu Bazar) pp. 106. [↩]
- i.e., the last month according to the calendar. [↩]
- Three months before Rabi ul Awwal are: Zu’l Hajj, Muharam and Safar. [↩]