In the 9th year of Hijra (630 CE) the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) decided to travel to Mecca to perform the Hajj – the pilgrimage to Mecca.
The Holy Prophet was aware that this would be his last pilgrimage. Accompanied by more than 100,000 Muslims he reached the planes of Arafat. Mounted on a camel, the Holy Prophet delivered a sermon that is widely known as the “Farewell Sermon”.
The Farewell Sermon reminds us of the importance of equality and justice, of rights and responsibilities, and briefly encompasses the Islamic message of dignity, justice and freedom for all. The need to follow the teachings of the Holy Qur’an as guidance for humanity is also highlighted. A portion of the sermon is:
“I do not think, O people, that we shall be gathered together here again. Your belongings, your honour, and your lives are sanctified and made inviolate like the sanctity of this day, this month and this city. You will soon appear before your Lord and He will call you to account for all your doings. Take heed that you do not go astray, after I am gone, and start slaying one another.
…All blood-feuds are utterly wiped out. I hereby remit everything owed to any member of my family on that account.
…O men, you have some rights against your wives, but your wives also have some rights against you… Remember you must always treat your wives well.
…Allah has made you brethren one to another, so be not divided. An Arab has no preference over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab over an Arab; nor is a white one to be preferred to a dark one, nor a dark one to a white one.”
While he was saying this, Prophet Muhammad raised his hands and joined the fingers of the one hand with the fingers of the other and then said:
“Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, any claim to superiority over one another. You are as brothers.
…I am leaving something with you that will safeguard you against all error, if you hold fast to it. That is Allah’s Book.”
As soon as he concluded, the revelation came, “This day have I completed My commandments -for you, and have brought to its fullness the favour that I have bestowed upon you, and have chosen Islam as your religion.” (Holy Qur’an – 5:4)