Abu Burdah, narrated that his father (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “We offered the sunset prayer (Maghrib) along with the Messenger of Allah Then we said, “It would be better to sit and observe the night prayer (Isha) along with Allah’s Messenger, so we sat down and he came to us and said, “Why are you still sitting here?” We said, “O Allah’s Messenger, we observed the evening prayer along with you, then we decided to sit down and observe the night prayer along with you ” whereupon he (Peace be upon him) said, “You have done well (or you have done right)” Then he lifted his head towards the sky, as he used to do, and said, “The stars constitute a source of security for the sky and when the stars disappear there comes to the sky what it has been destined And I constitute a source of security for my Companions and when I pass away there comes to my Companions what they have been destined And my Companions constitute a source of security for the Ummah and as they pass away, there comes to my Ummah what (its people) have been destined.
Explanation of the Hadith
I shall herein, comment on the first half of the hadith in which the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said,
“The stars constitute a source of security for the sky and when the stars disappear there comes to the sky what it has been destined.”
The disappearance of the stars means that they will fail and be destroyed. As for the fate destined for the sky, it refers to the time when it is split asunder, cleaved, parted, ripped, fractured, exposed, shaken violently, when it exhales smoke, and becomes like a valueless object.
Stars are celestial bodies spread throughout the nearest heaven (to the earth). Consisting of a mass of gases, stars are spherical or spheroid in shape, blazing, and self-luminous. They are held together by their own gravity even though they consist of a mass of gases. The stars, which are enormous in mass and size, and of extremely high temperatures, radiate both visible and invisible light in all wavelengths.
In their life cycle, stars go through stages of birth, youth and senility before they explode or collapse, and the star totally destroys itself in an immense blast or a huge explosion (Supernova). During this process, stars turn into what is seen as a great cloud of smoke in space that initiates a new star.
Stars spend 90% of their life in the stage of ordinary stars similar to that of our sun, before their explosion, (falling apart or their total destruction.) The last two stages end up with their explosion. Stars are also known as cosmic ovens, inside which chains of nuclear reactions take place. Through this process, known as nuclear fusion, the creation of all the elements needed by the earth and the nearest heaven, takes place.
In addition to the gravitational forces, which attract the stars of the nearest heaven together, there are other forces, which keep matter intact within the celestial bodies, in the nearest heaven and on earth. Of these forces are the following: The powerful nuclear force, the weak nuclear force, and the electromagnetic force. These four forces keep matter and energy in the visible part of the universe.
Due to the enormous mass of the stars, they tend to control, through the force of their gravity, all that revolve in their orbit, such as planets, asteroids, moons, comets and other forms of matter. Stars are pulled together through gravitational forces, and they gather together in larger cosmic units, which are also pulled together through gravitational forces. If these forces (pulling them together) fail apart, the stars would in turn fail apart and the whole universe accordingly would collapse.
We would thus realize how exceptional the Prophetic expression is:
“The stars constitute a source of security for the sky and when the stars disappear there comes to the sky what it has been promised, i.e. it meets the same fate.”
This hadith proves nothing but the truthfulness of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) and the Divinity of his source.
Reported by Imam Muslim, “Book of The merits of the Companions”, hadith no. 4596.