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The Last Messenger’s Last Message

The Prophet envisioned a Muslim community devoid of racism, and during his 11 years in Medina, he indeed succeeded in establishing a color-blind society. Presence of tribalism and racism, in open as well as in ingeniously hidden forms, among the Muslims shows how much we have deviated from the right path. Just look at the tragedy unfolding in Darfur between the Arab Sudanese and the African Sudanese – Muslims looting, raping, and killing Muslims!

The last public address of the last Messenger of God, Muhammad al-Mustafa (peace be upon him and his progeny) was given to the biggest audience of his life – during the last pilgrimage.

What you see below are the main points of the speech that the Prophet gave during the Hajj as well as on the 18th of Dhil Hajj at Ghadir Khum.

Importance of the Message

O People, listen (carefully) to what I explain to your since I am not sure whether I will be able to meet you after this year in this (sacred) place.

The Prophet announced that his death was approaching and therefore asked the people to listen to this message carefully. He talked about important issues of life which are relevant for all times and places.

Sacredness of Life, Honor, and Property

O People, verily your lives, your honor, and your properties are sacrosanct to one another…just as you regard this month (of Dhil Hajj), this day (of ‘Arafah), and this city as sacred. O Allah, be witness (that I have conveyed the message).

Life, honor, and property of Muslims are sacrosanct. The term “Muslim” – from silm – conveys the meaning that others are protected from the hands and tongue of the Muslims. Similarly, the term Mo’min – from amana – stresses the virtue of honesty and trustworthiness in handling the property of others.

A Muslim’s honor and dignity is even more sacrosanct. So be careful before insulting or defaming someone, especially in the age of telephones and emails – think about what you write before pressing the “Send” button on your screen. How far some Muslims have moved away from the teachings of the Prophet can be seen in example of suicide bombers in Pakistan and Iraq who enter mosques and kill Shias. This takfiri Islam (presently manifesting in form of Wahhabism) is surely alien to the traditions and values preached by the Prophet Muhammad. How can those who explode bombs in Miladun Nabi (as seen previously in Karachi) be considered followers of the Prophet Muhammad?

Equality Among Muslims

O People, verily your Lord is One, and your father is one: all of you are from Adam, and Adam from the dust; and verily the most honorable of you in eyes of Allah is the one who is most pious. And therefore, an Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; neither a white person has any superiority over a black person, nor a black person has any superiority over a white person – except on basis of righteousness. Have I conveyed the message?

(The people responded, “Yes.”)

So let the one who is present, convey this to those who are absent.

The Prophet envisioned a Muslim community devoid of racism, and during his 11 years in Medina, he indeed succeeded in establishing a color-blind society. Presence of tribalism and racism, in open as well as in ingeniously hidden forms, among the Muslims shows how much we have deviated from the right path. Just look at the tragedy unfolding in Darfur between the Arab Sudanese and the African Sudanese – Muslims looting, raping, and killing Muslims!

Our first sense of identity should be Islam and not ethnicity and tribalism. The sense of pride should be based on piety, righteousness, and not on color or race.

Interest and Usury

Whosoever has an item entrusted to him for safekeeping must be return to the owner. All interest/usury (riba) due on anyone from the pre-Islamic era (Jahiliyya) are henceforth being waived. Your capital is yours to keep (but you cannot ask for its interest). The first usury that I am waiving is the usury that was due to Abbas ibn Abdul Muttalib.

The Prophet prohibited usury, starting with a member of his own family – his uncle Abbas. An ideal Islamic society would eliminate the exploitation of the poor by the rich.

On personal level, Islam promotes giving of interest-free loan, and on a commercial level, it prefers partnership between investors and workers who would share in profit and loss.

Women

O people, fear Allah in matters regarding your women. Verily, they have upon you certain rights, and you also have rights over them. They have to maintain their chastity, and they should not allow anyone whom you dislike to visit your houses except with your consent. You have to provide for them their food, clothing, and shelter in a just manner. Remember that you have taken them (as your wives) as Allah’s trust and have made them halal according to Allah’s book. Therefore, fear Allah in matters regarding your women and be kind to them.

In his last public address, the Prophet gave great importance to mutual rights between husband and wife. Wives are Allah’s trusts for husbands, and therefore they should be treated accordingly. And of course, the wives also have to respect of their husbands’ rights, especially in matters of decent behavior.

Shaitan’s Attempt to Misguide Muslims

O people, verily the Shaitan has lost all hopes of being worshipped in this land of yours, but he will be pleased to be obeyed in matters that you consider minor from your deeds.

The Prophet warned us that the Shaitan will try to misguide us in minor issues, and so we should realize that when minor sins pile up, they themselves turn into major sins.

Moreover, even if the Shaitan fails in preventing you from the ritual aspects of good deeds like prayers and charity, he will surely try to rob you of the spiritual aspects of these rituals. So always be vigilant against such satanic snares.

Sanctity of Others’ Properties

O people, Allah has fixed the share of each heir in the inheritance; no heir is allowed more than one-third (of what is bequeathed to him)…

O People, the believers constitute one brotherhood. Nothing from the property of a believer can be legitimate to the other except by his consent. Have I conveyed the message?

(The people responded, “Yes.”)

O Allah, be witness.

Again, the Prophet returns to the importance of respecting others’ properties and not taking anything more that what is rightfully ours. He singles out the example of the shares of inheritance: no Muslim should take more than what is his or her rightful share as assigned by the Qur’an.

It was so sad to see some “liberated Muslims” in Canada passionately campaigning against the Shari’ah laws, even though it was being promoted as an optional dispute resolution mechanism. They specifically opposed the laws of inheritance which are clearly delineated in the Qur’an itself. These misguided souls didn’t realize that being “liberated Muslim” is a contradiction in terms; it is indeed an oxymoron. A true Muslim liberates himself or herself from the shackles of personal whims and desires and then submits to the will of God.

Guidance after the Prophet

I am a human being, and I fear that the messenger of God (i.e. the angel of death) will call me and I will have to accept that call. Therefore, I am leaving among you two important things, and as long as you hold onto them, you will never go astray: firstly, the Book of Allah, and second, my Progeny, my family. Verily the Graceful and Aware God has informed me that these two shall never separate (from one another) until they join me at the Fountain (of Kawthar in the hereafter). Have I conveyed the message?

(The people responded, “Yes.”)

O Allah, be witness.

Aware of his impending death, the Last Messenger of God could not have ignored the issue of succession. A Prophet who explained the minor things like physical cleanliness and purity could not have ignored the major issue of leadership after his death.

The Prophet clearly introduced the Qur’an and the Ahlul Bayt as the two main sources of guidance for Muslims. And he enforced this in Ghadir Khumm by declaring Ali bin Abi Talib (peace be upon him) as the Guide and Leader after himself. He said, “Whomsoever’s mawla (leader, master) am I, this Ali is also his mawla.”

Carry My Message Forward

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.

The message given by the Prophet to the Muslims at his last Hajj and at Ghadir Khum must be conveyed to each generation of Muslims.

Editor’s Note: This article originally appeared in the author’s Al-Furqan newsletter. It has been published here with permission.

About Huda Jawad

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One comment

  1. Salaam Alaikum Sayyid,

    A beautiful piece. May Allah (SWT) continue to guide you and all of us on the Right Path, ameen ilahi ameen.

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