We are nearing the month of Hajj (Muslim Pilgrimage to Mecca.)
The Hajj is the 5th pillar of Islam and is mandatory for all of those Muslims who can afford to go and are in good health. Hajj is in the lunar month of Dhul Hijjah which happens to fall towards the end of October this year. My family and I, with the Grace of God Almighty have been invited this year to perform the Hajj following in the footsteps of our Prophet Muhammad(pbuh).
As I prepare for this journey of a lifetime I cannot help but to ponder over how grateful I am to be a part of the Nation of Muhammad (pbuh) and how after nearly 1500 years his tradition still goes on. Prophet Muhammad’s mission as God’s Messenger was achieved after 23 hard years of persecution, patience, steadfastness, and perseverance. He was able to bring belief in the Oneness of God throughout the entire Arabian Peninsula and beyond. Many of the rituals and invocations of Hajj can be traced back to Adam (pbuh) and Abraham (pbuh), the two forefathers of this monotheistic faith. When Islam spread to Mecca in the last year of his life, nearly 600 years after Jesus(pbuh), Muhammad (pbuh) was 63 years old and he had performed his first and last Hajj which he concluded with his famous “Farewell Sermon” to the new Muslims of his time. Today as I read his sermon I can not help but feel sad and yet happy at the same time. Sad, that we no longer have him amongst us and that many of the leaders of this world have failed to benefit from his legacy. The happiness comes from knowing that I belong to his Nation which brings me the hope of a better world. Just MAYBE one day we can dream of a day we can be united under one world, one people and one GOD. Listen to his final pearls of wisdom as they apply to us even today.
Muhammad (pbuh) after praising, and thanking God (Allah) had 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, 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 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.
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 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 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 ALLAH and answer your deeds. So beware, do not stray 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 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”.
(Reference: See Al-Bukhari, Hadith 1623, 1626, 6361) Sahih of Imam Muslim also refers to this sermon in Hadith number 98. Imam al-Tirmidhi has mentioned this sermon in Hadith nos. 1628, 2046, 2085. Imam Ahmed bin Hanbal has given us the longest and perhaps the most complete version of this sermon in his Masnud, Hadith no. 19774.)