So, today’s a special day in the Islamic Calendar. It’s the day of Arafat – a day when all the Hajj pilgrims descend upon Mount Arafat in Saudi Arabia under a state of “Ihram” (purity) and commune one on one with Allah. It’s an open doorway to the heavenly chamber where gratitude, asking for forgiveness, committing oneself and praying for anything really rule supreme.
Mount Arafat has a huge significance in Islam. It is believed that Adam and Eve found each other at that location after being cast out of paradise. It is also believed that Judgement Day will take place at that very mount. Perhaps, the most important thing about Mount Arafat for the world’s millions of Muslims is the fact that it was on that very mountain that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) “perfected” Islam with his final sermon.
For my Muslim brothers and sisters, I believe this is a great reminder about our rights and responsibilities as Muslims, and for how we should lead our lives. For everyone who’s ever wondered who a “good” Muslim is or should be, or what the real essence of Islam is, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s last sermon might give you some answers. Also, I think some of his words could resonate with anyone, regardless of religious affiliation (My faves are highlighted in blue). Please find below a transcript of The Last Sermon, as well as a video clip from the movie “The Message”. May God help each of us to be the best we can be and guide us through this life and the next. Eid Mubarak!
“O People! lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore, listen carefully to what I am saying and Take These Words to Those Who Could Not Be Present Here Today.
“O People! just as you regard this month, this day, 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 obligations shall henceforth be waived. Your capital 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 uncle) be waived. Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabiah ibn al-Harithiah.
“O Men! the unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calender in order to make permissible that which Allah forbade, and to prohibit which Allah has made permissible. With Allah the months are twelve in number. Four of them are holy, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Shaban.
“Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope of that he will 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 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 women well 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 anyone 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, fast during month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in Zakat (obligatory charity). 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 a black has 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 meet Allah and answer your deeds. So beware, do not astray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
“O 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 QUR’AN and my SUNNAH (i.e., sayings, deeds, and approvals) 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.”
Jemila Abdulai is the creative director, editor and founder of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com. A media and international development professional and economist by training, she combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. Besides writing and reading, she enjoys travel, global cuisine, movies, and good design.