Prophet Muhammad’s farewell sermon: Answer to humanity’s crying call for social justice and racial equality

The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) delivered his last sermon on the ninth of Dhul Hijjah (12th and last month of the Islamic year), 10 years after Hijrah (migration from Makkah to Madinah) in the Uranah Valley of mount Arafat. The words he parted with were beyond beautiful, defining equality, social justice and the exploration of the one true faith- Islam.

The message was truly for the whole of humanity, meeting the needs of every generation to come and reaching out to each and every one of us.

The sermon emphasized the sacredness of a Muslim’s life, promoting the rights and treatment of women, including points of modesty and chastity. Further, the sermon set reminders that everyone was fully accountable for their own deeds and that Allah (Glorified and Exalted) would take every person individually. Amongst the most widely celebrated points, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) called for equality amongst all people- Blacks, Whites, Arabs, non-Arabs, pushing the notion that all were equal under the eyes of Allah (Glorified and Exalted). This further led to
the point of justice and ensuring the justice could be served on earth as well as the hereafter.

We often relate back to the final sermon but do we contemplate over its message? What does the message teach us? Do we agree on the concepts but then not act upon them? Take this time to read through the sermon again, use your initial thought and see how you can make a small change to your life with this forever deep message.

After praising and thanking Allah (Glorified and Exalted) the Prophet (peace be upon him) said:

“O People, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst 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. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your LORD, and that HE will indeed reckon your deeds. ALLAH has forbidden you to take usury
(interest), therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer any inequity. Allah has Judged that there shall be no interest and that all the interest due to Abbas ibn ‘Abd’al Muttalib (Prophet’s (peace be upon him) uncle) shall henceforth be waived…

Beware of Satan, 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.

People, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under Allah’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. Do treat your womenwell and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that 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 ALLAH, say your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat. 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 black nor does a black have any superiority over white except by piety (taqwa) 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 ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.

People, NO PROPHET OR APOSTLE 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 leave behind me two things, the QURAN and my example, the SUNNAH and if you follow these 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 ALLAH, that I have conveyed your message to your people”.

References: Al-Bukhari, Hadith 1623, 1626, 6361, Muslim Hadith 98, Imam al-Tirmidhi Hadith 1628, 2046, 2085, Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal Hadith no. 19774.
** In another version of the Hadith recorded in Tirmidhi Saharif, it is stated,

Jabir bin Abdullah said: “I saw the Messenger of God during his Hajj, on the Day of Arafah (on his last pilgrimage). He was upon his camel Al-Qaswa, giving a Khutbah, so he said: O People! Indeed, I have left among you, that which if you hold fast to it, you shall not go astray: The Book of God (Qur’an) and my Family, the People of my House (Ahlul-Bayt). (Sahih)

Sunan al-Tirmidhi , Volume 6, Chapter 31, Hadith No. 3786:

Salawat Al-Fatih / The Salutation of the Victor

اَللَّهُمَّ صَلِّ عَلى سَيِّدِنَا مُحَمَّدٍ اَلْفَاتِحِ لِمَا أُغْلِقَ وَ اَلْخَاتِمِ لِمَا سَبَقَ نَاصِرِ الْحَقِّ بَالْحَقَّ وَ الْهَادِي إلى صِرَاطِكَ الْمُسْتَقِيمِ وَ عَلَى آلِهِ حَقَّ قَدْرِهِ و مِقْدَارِهِ الْعَظِيم

Allahumma salli `alaa Sayyidinaa Muhammadini ‘l-faatihi limaa ughliq, wa ‘l-khaatimi limaa sabaq, naasiri ‘l-haqqi bi ‘l-haqq, wa ‘l-haadi ilaa Siraatika ‘l-Mustaqeem, wa `alaa aalihi haqqa qadrihi wa miqdaarihi ‘l-`azheem.

Scholars have said if you recite this once, it is as if you recited Dala`il al-Khayrat 600,000 times! Another says if you recite salawaat on the number of human beings from the time of Sayyidina Adam (a) until Judgment Day that is the value of Salaat al-Faatih!

O Allah, bless our Master Muhammad, who opened what was closed and sealed what was before. He makes the truth victorious by the truth and he is the guide to Your Straight Path. And bless his Household as it befits his immense stature and splendor.