THE LAST SERMON OF THE HOLY PROPHET OF ISLAM
The farewell Pilgrimage of the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam may rightly be called the culminating point in his Prophetic career. It was the sixty-third year of the Prophet’s life which coincided with the close of the 10th of Hijra that he decided to perform Hajj, which in history, goes by the name of Hajja-tul-Wada. The Prophet’s mission, had, by this time, been completed to all intents and purposes. To a people steeped in ignorance, he gave light and inspired them with belief in Allah, the sole Creator, Master and Sustainer of the Universe. To a disunited mass, engaged in perpetual warfare, he gave unity of thought and action. He had revealed the love of God and His will to mankind and had given it a visible expression by founding a society on the basis of righteousness, piety and God-consciousness, the like of which is not to be found in the whole history of mankind. In short, Muhammad sallallahu alaihe wasallam had delivered to the human race the final Truth with all its necessary implications.
The completion of his prophetic mission implied his departure from his earthly home to his heavenly abode. The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasllam had clearly visualised it. He, therefore, decided to give the finishing touch to his massive work and imprint its salient points on the minds of his devoted followers so that they might always keep before them the system of life-values enunciated by Islam. It was with this object in view that messengers were sent to all parts of Arabia inviting people to join him in this great Pilgrimage.
Five days before Dhu-al-hijjah, the Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasllam put on the pilgrim’s garb and set out to Makkah with more than 114,000 Muslims. All his wives accompanied him. As he rode, he recited “Labbaik, Labbaik,” signifying, “Here I am at Thy service, here I am, O’ Lord, here I am to declare that there is no partner with Thee. All praise and blessings belong to Thee and all sovereignty is Thine. I am here at Thy service, and Thou hast no partner, O’ Allah.” As the Holy Prophet recited the above call, all his Companions repeated the same loudly.
The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasllam reached Makkah on the 5th of Dhu-al-Hijjah. He made seven circuits (tawaf) of the Ka’bah, offered two rak’ats of prayer at ‘Maqam-e-Ibrahim’ and climbing the Mount of Safa declared, “There is no god but Allah, He has no partner, all sovereignty and praise belong to Him. He gives life and brings death. He is All-Powerful and Supreme over everything.”
On the 8th of Dua-al-Hijjah, the Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasllam left with his Companions for Mina and passed the night there, and on the 9th, after the morning prayer, he proceeded to Arafat where he delivered the famous sermon which we have the honour to to present in these pages.
The sermon of the Holy Prophet is not only remarkable for its eloquence, but it contains a sublime message for the whole of the human race. The world has not been able to lay down better principles of ethics and morality than those enunciated in it. Every word of it breathes a spirit of magnanimity and aims at establishing righteousness and fair dealing among men on a workable basis. It establishes brotherhood among Muslims irrespective of the divergence of their geographical, racial and colour backgrounds and provides an outline of a social order, perfectly free from oppression and injustice.
The Holy Prophet sallallahu alaihe wasallam
“All praise is due to Allah, so we praise Him, and seek His pardon and we turn to Him. We seek refuge with Allah from the evils of ourselves and from the evil consequences of our deeds. Whom Allah guides aright there is none to lead him astray; and there is none to guide him aright whom Allah leads astray. I bear witness that there is no God but Allah, the One, having no partner with Him. His is the sovereignty and to Him is due all praise. He grants life and causes death and is Powerful over everything. There is no God but Allah, the One; He fulfilled His promise and granted victory to His bondsman, and He alone routed the confederates (of the enemies of Islam). O’ People! Listen to my words, for I do not know whether we shall ever meet again and perform Hajj after this year. O’ Ye people! Allah says, O’ people We created you from one male and one female and made you into tribes and nations, so as to be known to one another. Verily in the sight of Allah, the most honoured amongst you is the one who is most God-fearing. There is no superiority for an Arab over a non-Arab and for a non-Arab over an Arab, nor for the white over the black nor for the black over the white except in God-conciousness.
All mankind is the progeny of Adam and Adam was fashioned out of clay. Behold; every claim of privilage whether that of blood or property, is under my heels except that of the custody of the Ka’bah and supplying of water to the pilgrims, O’ people of Quraish, don’t appear (on the Day of Judgement) with the burden of this world around your necks, whereas other people may appear (before the Lord) with the rewards of the hereafter. In that case I shall avail you naught against Allah.
Behold! All practice of the days of ignorance are now under my feet. The blood revenges of the days of ignorance are remitted. The first claim on blood I abolish is that of Ibn Rabiah bin Harith who was nursed in the tribe of Sa’ad and whom the Hudhayls killed. All interest and usurious dues accruing from the times of ignorance stand wiped out. And the first amount of interest that I remit is that which Abbas ibn Abd-al Muttalib had to receive. Verily it is remitted entirely.O’ people! Verily yor blood, your property and your honour are sacred and inviolable until you appear before your Lord, as the sacred inviolability of this day of yours, this month of yours and this very town (of yours). Verily you will soon meet your Lord and you will be held answerable for your actions. O’ people! Verily you have got certain rights over your women and your women have certain rights over you. It is your right upon them to honour their conjugal rights, and not to commit acts of impropriety, which if they do, you are authorised by Allah to separate them from your beds amd chastise them, but not severely, and if they refrain, then clothe and feed them properly. Behold! It is not permissible for a woman to give anything from the wealth of her husband to anyone but with his consent. Treat the women kindly, since they are your helpers and not in a position to manage their affairs themselves. Fear Allah concerning women, for verily you have taken them on the security of Allah and have made their persons lawful unto you by words of Allah. O’ people! Allah, the Mighty and Exalted, has ordained to every one his due share (of inheritance). Hence there is no need (of special) testament for an heir (departing from the rules laid down by the Shari’ah). The child belongs to the marriage-bed and the violator of wedlock shall be stoned. And Reckoning of their (deeds) rests with Allah. He who attributes his ancestry to other than his father or claims his clientship to other than his master, the curse of Allah is upon him. All depts must be repaid, all borrowed property must be returned, gifts should be reciprocated and a surety must make good the loss to the assured. Beware! No one committing a crime is responsible for it but himself. Neither the child is responsible for the crime of his father, nor the father is responsible for the crime of his child. Nothing of his brother is lawful for a Muslim except what he himself gives willingly. So do not wrong yourselves. O’ People! Every Muslim is the brother of every other Muslim, and all the Muslims form one brotherhood. And your slaves; see that you feed them with such food as you eat yourselves, and clothe them with the clothes that you yourselves wear.
Take heed not to go astray after me and strike one another’s necks. He who (amongst you) has any trust with him, he must return it to its owner.
O’ people! Listen and obey, though a mangled Abyssinian slave is appointed your Amir, provided he executes (the Ordinance of) the Book of Allah among you.
O’ people! No Prophet would be raised after me and no new Ummah (would be formed) after you.
Verily I have left amongst you that which will never lead you astray, the Book of Allah, which if you hold fast you shall never go astray.
And beware of transgressing the limits set in the matters of religion, for it is transgression of (the proper bounds of) religion that brought destruction to many people before you.
Verily, the satan is disappointed at ever being worshipped in this land of yours, but he will be pleased by obedience in anything (short of worship that is) in matters you may be disposed to think insignificant, so beware of him in your matters of religion.
Behold! Worship your Lord; offer prayers five times a day; observe fast in the month of Ramadhaan; pay readily the Zakat (poor due) on your property; and perform pilgrimage to the House of God and obey your rulers and you will be admitted to the Paradise of your Lord.
Let him that is present, convey it unto him who is absent, for many people to whom the message is conveyed may be more mindful of it than the audience.
And if you were asked about me, what would you say?”
They answered, “We bear witness that you have conveyed the trust (of religion) and discharged your ministry of Prophethood and looked to our welfare.”
Thereupon Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) lifted his forefinger towards the sky and then pointing towards people said,