There was a Jew of Damascus who was reading a holy book one day when he came across the name of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) written in it. Not liking this, he removed the name. But the next day he found it there again. Again he took out the name; but on the third day it had appeared again. He thought: "Perhaps this is a sign that a true Emissary has come. I will journey southwards to Madinah."
And he forthwith started out, not tarrying until he reached the city of the Prophet. When he arrived there, knowing nobody, he was near the Mosque of the Prophet when the Sahabi Anas (ra) arrived. He said to Anas: "Friend, take me to the Prophet."
Anas (ra) led him into the mosque, which was full of people in anguish. Abu Bakr (ra) the successor was sitting there at the head of the assembly. The old man went up to him, thinking he must be Muhammad, and said: "O Chosen Envoy of God, a strayed old man has come to offer you peace." Hearing the title of the Prophet used, everyone present burst into a flood of tears. The stranger was uncertain as to what to do. He said: "I am a foreigner and a Jew, and I am unaware of the rites of the Faith of Submission to the Will of Allah. Have I said something untoward? Should I have remained silent? Or is this a ritual observance? Why do you cry? If it is a ceremony, I have never heard of it."
Umar (ra) said to him: "We do not weep because of anything which you have done. But you must hear, unfortunate one, that it is a but a week since the Prophet left the earth. When we heard his name, grief took possession of our hearts anew."
As soon as he heard this, the ancient tore his clothes in anguish. When he had recovered a little, he said: "Do me one favour. Let me have at least a robe of the Prophet. If I cannot see him, at least let me have this."
Umar (ra) answered: "Only Fatima (ra) could give us one of his robes." Ali (ra) said: "But she will not allow anyone to go near her." But they went to her door and knocked, and explained what they wanted.
Fatima (ra) answered: "Verily, the Prophet spoke truly when he said, shortly before he died: 'A wayfarer, who has love towards me and who is a good man, will come to the house. He will not see me. Give him, therefore, this patchwork robe as if from me, and for me treat him gently, offering salutations.'"
The Jew put the robe on himself and, professing Islam, asked to be taken to the Prophet's grave. It was at this place that he breathed his last.
Conduct yourself in this world
as if you are here to stay forever,
and yet prepare for eternity
as if you are to die tomorrow.