Skip to main content

Farewell sermon of Prophet: Justice, peace, forgiveness, women’s rights

Inscription proclaiming Muhammad as the messenger of God
By Moin Qazi
As you read these lines, 1.6 billion Muslims across the world, from Morocco toIndonesia, will be paying homage to the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) on his birthday (18th October).
This day, 1,431 years ago, Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) delivered the historic Last Sermon (khutabat al-wida) on the parched terrain of Mount of Mercy (Jabal ar-Rahmah) in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat, 20 kilometres east of Mecca in Saudi Arabia. It was precisely on the ninth day of Dhu al-Hijjah(12th and last month of the Islamic year -6 March 632)) in the tenth year of hijrah(migration from Mecca to Medina) that the Prophet addressed 1,44,000 pilgrims The sermon, though seemingly addressed to a Muslim gathering, had a universal message. It consists of summarized exhortations based on some core teachings of the Qur’an and Sunnah (Prophetic practices). It captures the ethos of Islam and provides a great lens for viewing the religion. Some of his advices have become the fundamental touchstone of the Islamic faith.
Muslims use the occasion as a propitious time to rededicate themselves to the universal human values such as the sacredness of life and property, equality, justice, peace, forgiveness, non-violence, women’s rights, the pillars of Islam and more. Upon these lofty principles, the religion of Islam was built. The Prophet died after unifying Arabia and his lifelong declared love of learning protected and contributed to classical knowledge and continued the tradition of Persian scholarship during the dark ages of Christendom.
For centuries, the Prophet inspired the Muslim world to thrive economically, culturally, scientifically and artistically. More than 1,400 years on, the divine providence of his philosophy, among myriad other socio-economic and political factors continue to anchor Muslim civilization.
We still have so much to learn from this 1,400-plus-year-old cry and we are so much in need of this message of Prophet Muhammad(PBUH) to soothe and heal our broken times where we continue to struggle with almost identical issues in our global human community.
The content of the message was powerful and intense and was redolent with Islam’s lofty values such as individual liberty, respect for the rule of law, social responsibility, mutual respect, and tolerance of those of different faiths and are inherently Islamic. The teachings of the Qur’an are unambiguous on being inclusive and treating others with equality and justice.
The Prophet began by stating that he did not know whether he would meet the pilgrims again ‘in this place after this year’. After praising God and declaring the basic creed, ‘There is no deity but Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger’, he went on to speak on various themes. He then reminded them of the sacred character of the place and month, as well as that of their lives, their honour, and their belongings.
He explained that the period of ignorance had come to an end, and so had its practices, its rivalries, and its conflicts based on power and profit. Henceforth, all Muslims were united by faith, fraternity and love, which were to transform them into witnesses of Islam’s message. They must under no circumstances accept being ‘either oppressors or oppressed. They were to learn of the equality of all people in front of God and the desired humility because he said “You all descend from Adam and Adam was created from dirt. The noblest in the sight of God is the most pious. No Arab is superior to a non-Arab, except by their intimate consciousness of God [piety].”
He reiterated the need for tolerance to people of all denominations: ‘an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.'
The Prophet reminded all Muslims to treat their wives gently and added: “Be intimately conscious of God as regards women, and strive to be good to them.” He then added, as if to show the way and its conditions to all the faithful present and all those who were to follow his teachings through the ages: “I have left among you what will, if you keep to it firmly, preserve you from error: clear guidance, the Book of God and His Prophet’s tradition.” After each teaching that he reminded them of, the Prophet added: ‘Have I conveyed the Message? O God, be my witness!” At the end of the sermon, the pilgrims answered: “We bear witness that you have faithfully conveyed the message, that you have fulfilled your mission, and that you have given your community good advice.”
Concluding the sermon, the Prophet said, “You will be questioned about me (on the Day of Judgment). What answer will you give?” They replied, “We will bear witness that you conveyed to us what you were entrusted with….” The Prophet then pointed towards the people and said, thrice: “O Lord bear witness!” O God, be my witness! …. And let whoever is present convey this message to whoever is absent.”
A few hours later, near the summit of Arafat, the final revelation came down: “…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My Grace upon you, and have chosen Islam for you as your religion…” (Quran 5:3).
The last cycle of prophethood was drawing to its close, and the Messenger was to return to the place of his election, his home beyond this life, in proximity to the One.
Here is his sermon.
“O People, listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be among you again. Therefore, listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today.
“O People, just as you regard this month, this day, and this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (riba), therefore all riba obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity. God has judged that there shall be no riba and that all the riba due to `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived.
“Every right arising out of homicide and blood-killing in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabi`ah ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib.
“O people, the Unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar to make permissible that which God forbade and to forbid that which God has made permissible. With God, the months are 12 in number. Four of them are sacred, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Sha`ban. Beware of the devil, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
“O People, it is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under God’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers. It is your right and they do not make friends with any one of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste.
“O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God (The One Creator of the Universe), perform your five daily prayers (salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your financial obligation (zakah) of your wealth. Perform hajj if you can afford to.
“All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety and good action. Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.
“Remember, one day you will appear before God (The Creator) and you will answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
“O People, no prophet or messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words, which I convey to you. I am leaving you with the Book of God (the Quran) and my Sunnah (the sayings and practices as evidenced in the behavioural model of the Prophet). If you follow them you will never go astray.
“All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.” (Reference: See Al-Bukhari, Hadith 1623, 1626, 6361) Sahih of Imam Muslim also refers to this sermon in Hadith number 98. 
Imam al-Tirmidhi has mentioned this sermon in Hadith nos. 1628, 2046, 2085. Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal has given us the longest and perhaps the most complete version of this sermon in his Masnud, Hadith no. 19774.)

Comments

TRENDING

Zakir Naik tumult, Catholic Church power abuse: will Anwar Ibrahim save Malaysia?

Anwar Ibrahim By Jay Ihsan*  Anwar Ibrahim, a hardcore reformist who took a punch to his eye in 1998 from then inspector-general of police, Rahim Noor, has finally been given the mandate by Malaysians to serve as the nation's 10th prime minister. Anwar knows too well the burden of staying true to both trust and faith the people have in him requires every once of commitment and dedication. The question is will he be apologetic for his transgressions enroute to "rebuilding" Malaysia? In his overzealousness to get the job done, Anwar, 75, needs to safeguard every bit of gumption to address prickling issues plaguing the safety of the nation especially those involving communal sensitivities. For one, dare Anwar get rid of terrorist hate preacher and fugitive Zakir Naik for inciting religious unrest in Malaysia? In November 2016, India’s counter-terrorism agency filed an official complaint against Naik, holding him responsible for promoting religious hatred and unlawful activi

Although sporting genius, Wasim Akram was mascot of cricket globalisation era

By Harsh Thakor*  Since Independence India and Pakistan produced a galaxy of cricketing stars that permeated cricketing artistry of legendary heights. Amongst this bunch.Wasim Akram manifested pure cricketing genius to the greatest height.I speculate how India’s fortunes would have changed had partition not taken place and Wasim playing for India. Wasim Akram explored realms untranscended in bowling wizardry, like a painter devising new art forms or a scientist experimenting. He simply re-defined the art of reverse swing, reversing the ball in and out. There were bowlers quicker, more accurate and with better records, but none equalled Wasim in an all-round package. He was more lethal with a new and old ball than any fast bowler ever. Wasim could produce balls that were surreal, with his reverse swing, defying laws of bio mechanics He was simply the epitome of versatility, possessing a repertoire of six different deliveries within an over itself, disguising deliveries in the manner of

Galileo-Catholic church affair: must history repeat at Malaysia’s St Francis Xavier church?

By Jay Ihsan*  Christianity is the enemy of liberation and civilization -August Bebel Christianity taught men that love is worth more than intelligence -Jacques Maritain Real Christianity can be summed up in two commands: Love God and love people. - Joyce Meyer Pious XI was too neutral to mention the gas chambers; decent people like my own family were turned into devils by crude Christianity - Lionel Blue Religious doctrines cannot escape the liberty of thoughts and expression. To each their own, so it is said. From all things nice to all things that make one cringe - religion is polarised and in this regard, Christianity has over time faced the wrath of bigotry espoused by those "bequeathed" to protect it. Take Pope Francis for example. He had a secret meeting with giant pharma Pfizer chief executive officer Albert Bourla last year while the world struggled to make sense of the word "lockdown" and suffer adverse effects of the Corona virus vaccines produced by Pfiz

Qatar World Cup has a strong Bangladesh connection: stadium construction, t-shirts

By Mashrur Siddique Bhuiyan*  The FIFA World Cup fever has unquestionably cut through the minds of mass people all over the world. Stadiums in Qatar are buzzing with football fans and athletes representing their countries at the “Greatest Show on Earth". The magic of the FIFA World Cup is so enormous that even being unable to participate does not matter much to the fans who support different nations. This is one of the highest viewed events in the world, with the 2018 event viewed by about 3.6 billion people worldwide. But this crowd is not aware of the contribution of migrant workers who helped build the very stadiums where the matches are playing in. Qatar won the bid in 2010 to host the FIFA World Cup 2022, which got the oxymoron of celebration and controversy. This also created the potential for Qatar to Showcase its monumental economic achievements and unique culture on the global stage. The motto for Qatar’s bid team in 2010 was ‘Expect Amazing’ and migrant workers across th

Floods: As ax falls on most vulnerable, Pak seeks debt cancellation, climate justice

By Tanupriya Singh  Even as the floodwaters have receded, the people of Pakistan are still trying to grapple with the death and devastation the floods have left in their wake. The floods that swept across the country between June and September have killed more than 1,700 people, injured more than 12,800, and displaced millions as of November 18. The scale of the destruction in Pakistan was still making itself apparent as the world headed to the United Nations climate conference COP27 in Sharm el-Sheikh, Egypt, in November.  Pakistan was one of two countries invited to co-chair the summit. It also served as chair of the Group of 77 (G77) and China for 2022, playing a critical role in ensuring that the establishment of a loss and damage fund was finally on the summit’s agenda, after decades of resistance by the Global North. “The dystopia has already come to our doorstep,” Pakistan’s Minister for Climate Change Sherry Rehman told Reuters. By the first week of September, pleas for h

A classic, 'Gandhi' ignores merciless cruelty unleashed on militant freedom fighters

By Harsh Thakor  The movie ‘Gandhi’ produced by Richard Attenborough, which was released 40 years ago on November 30th, 1982, was classic in it's own right. Ironical that it took an Englishman to embark upon the making of a film on this legendary figure. I can't visualize a better pictorial portrayal of Gandhi's life or an actor getting in the skin of the character an exuding the mannerisms as actor Ben Kingsley. Episodes are crafted and grafted surgically, illustrating how Gandhi wove fragmented bits into a cohesive force, to confront he British empire. Most boldly the movie unfolds how British colonialism subjugated the Indian people to barbaric cruelty. With great mastery the cinematography captures the vast Indian landscapes and essence of livelihood of Indians under colonial rule. The movie most illustratively shows the crystallisation of anti-colonial fervour from the embryonic stage and how it fermented into an integrated movement. In a most subtle manner it illustr

Implementing misleading govt order to pollute Hyderabad's 100 year old reservoirs

Senior activists* represent to the Telangana Governor on GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by the Municipal Administration and Urban Development (MA&UD), Government of Telangana: ‘...restrictions imposed under para 3 of said GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996 are removed...’: *** Ref: GO Ms 111 dated 8.3.1996: ‘To prohibit polluting industries, major hotels, residential colonies or other establishments that generate pollution in the catchment of the lakes upto 10kms from full tank level as per list in Annexure-I...’ We come to your office with grievance that GO Ms 69 dated 12.4.2022 issued by Government of Telangana not only contains false information issued ‘By Order and in the name of the Governor of Telangana’ , without any scientific or expert reports, but also that implementation of the said GO is detrimental and can be catastrophic to the Hyderabad city as two 100 year old reservoirs Osman Sagar and Himayath Sagar were constructed as dams on river Moosa and river Esa, with the first and

Bangladesh's ties with Myanmar, Nepal, China need connectivity with India's NE states

By Samara Ashrat*  On 26th November, India's External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said that India is trying to improve trade and connectivity with Bangladesh and Myanmar on his two-day visit to India's Northeast region. He emphasized the importance of linking Northeastern India to the rest of the nation and reiterated Delhi is working to improve connectivity and infrastructure in the region. By taking the G20 presidency India will try to showcase the true spirit of the Northeast to the world, with its tourism benefits. But, the umbilical cord between the Indian mainland and North Eastern Region is Chicken's Neck or Siliguri corridor which brings Bangladesh into the Indian equation of northeastern development. Not only that, Bangladesh has very close relations with West Bengal, Assam, Meghalaya, and Tripura in terms of language, culture, and history. These factors make Bangladesh an inextricable element of the development of the northeastern states. Tourism Sector and Con

25 years of CHT peace accord: A glorious chapter of conflict resolution in Bangladesh

By Kamal Uddin Mazumder*  Conflicts between the Bangladesh army and Shanti Bahini persisted in the Chittagong Hill Tracts for more than two decades. On December 2, 1997, Parbatya Chattagram Jana Samhati Samiti (PCJSS) and the Bangladeshi government signed the CHT Accord, putting an end to the violent armed conflict and improving the life of a lot of the people there. It has been made possible through just seven meetings under the worthy leadership of Sheikh Hasina. The historic peace agreement created an atmosphere of peace in the mountainous region. An atmosphere of peace has been established by ending the armed conflict. The geographical features and ethnic diversity of Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) are distinctive. The 13,184 square kilometer territory is bordered by Myanmar and the Indian state of Mizoram on the East and Tripura on the North. With its 1.6 million people, it entails great importance to Bangladesh for its geopolitical location. Due to the conflict-prone Northeast Indi

Film on evidence of viability of in situ communitarian urban water management

By Rahul Banerjee  Over the past few years it has become increasingly clear that centralised urban water management in India is in deep crisis. Water supply is both inadequate and extremely costly, water harvesting and recharging and used water treatment and reuse are mostly absent and storm water management is a disaster. Under the circumstances, the only viable solution is communitarian in situ water management and this is what has been proposed in the latest guidelines of both the Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation and the Swacch Bharat Mission. Our NGO, Mahila Jagat Lihaaz Samiti , has not only implemented communitarian in situ water management but has also carried out research to provide evidence of the unviability of centralised water management and the suitability of the former. Here is a film based on a detailed research that I did on urban water management in Chhattisgarh for the National Institute of Urban Affairs, New Delhi, that succinctly critiques cen