Dear brothers, today is a momentous day in the Islamic calendar. Today is the day of Arafat.
Millions of Muslims are gathered today on the mountain plains of Arafat, supplicating to their Lord and thus sealing their Hajj pilgrimage.
Today also marks the day in which millions over the world are stepping up their acts of worship. Many are fasting on this day in order to seek the pleasure and forgiveness of Allah SWT.
Besides the exhilaration that the events of this day brings, there is also a tinge of sadness associated with this day as it is the day that our beloved Prophet SAWS delivered his final sermon to his nation or Ummah.
His final sermon, like everything else in his speech, was full of love and compassion for all. Allah SWT mentions the messenger SAWS in Sura Al Toba:
There has certainly come to you a Messenger from amongst yourselves. Grievous to him is what you suffer; he is concerned over you and to the believers is kind and merciful.
Dear brothers, we are so blessed to belong to his nation, his ummah. Allah SWT tells us in the Quran how lucky we are in Sura Al-Baqarah. In this ayat, prophet Ismael (peace be upon him), is supplicating to Allah SWT for our Prophet’s arrival:
Our Lord, and send among them a messenger for themselves who will recite to them Your verses and teach them the Book and wisdom and purify them. Indeed you are the Exalted in might, the wise.
Dear brothers, the final sermon by the Prophet SAWS was delivered on this day and shortly before his death and is considered by many to be one of the earliest declarations of human rights in written history.
In this sermon, Muslims find their deep commitment to the universal human values such as sacredness of life and property, equality, justice, peace and more. Upon these high universal values, the religion of Islam was built.
What follows is his final sermon for us all to ponder upon in this blessed day:
“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, 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 obligation 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 in order 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 anyone 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 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 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 life style and the behavioral mode 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.”
Dear brothers, that concludes the final sermon of our beloved messenger SAWS. May Allah SWT give us the ability to appreciate the words of his final sermon. May Allah SWT enable us to adhere to the guidance given in his final sermon. And may Allah SWT include us in his mercy on this blessed day of Arafat.
Ameen wal hamdullilahi rabilalameen.