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The Historical Sermon of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) at the Farewell Haj

By: Ayatullah Ja'far Subhani
On that day the land of 'Arafah witnessed a great and splendid gathering, the like of which had not till then been seen by the people of the Hijaz. The voice of monotheism and the slogans of the worship of One Allah were ringing in that land. The place which had been, till only a little time earlier, the residence of the polytheists and idolaters became, forever, the base for the worshippers of One Allah. The Prophet offered the noon and the afternoon prayers in ''Arafah along with 100,000 persons, and the victory of Islam over blasphemy became decisive and final. Thereafter, the Prophet mounted his camel, and delivered the historical sermon, which was repeated by one of his companions, who had a loud voice, so that those at a distance might also come to know what the Prophet was saying. On that day he commenced his sermon thus: "O people! Hear my words, for it is possible that I may not meet you at this spot in future".
"O people! Your blood and property (honour and reputation[1]) are respectable for one another, like this day and this month, till the day on which you meet Allah, and every transgression in this behalf is unlawful".
In order to be sure of the desired impression of his words on the people about the respectability of the lives and property of the Muslims the Prophet asked Rabi'ah bin Umayyah to ask them: "Which month is this?" -All of them replied: "It is a respectable month and warfare during this month is prohibited and unlawful". Then the Prophet said to Rabi'ah: "Tell them: Allah has declared your blood and property unlawful and respectable for one another like this month until you leave this world." He again said to Rabi'ah: "Ask them which land is this?" - All of them replied: "It is a respectable land and bloodshed and transgression in it is strictly prohibited". He then said to Rabi'ah: "Tell them your blood and property are respectable like this land and every sort of transgression in it is prohibited ".
Thereafter the Prophet said to Rabi'ah: "Ask them which day is this?"-They replied: "It is the day of Haj-i Akbar (the Great Haj)". The Prophet said: "Tell them your blood and property are respectable like this day".[2]
"Yes, O people! You should know that the blood, which was shed during the Days of Ignorance should be forgotten and should not be avenged. Even the blood of Ibn Rabi'ah (a relative of the Prophet) should be forgotten.
You will return to Allah soon and in that world your good and bad deeds will be weighed. I tell you. One, to whom something has been entrusted, should return it to its owner.
Yes, O people! You must know that usury is strictly prohibited in Islam. Those, who have invested their capital to earn interest can take back their capital only. They should neither oppress nor be oppressed. And as regards the interest which the debtors of Abbas owed to him before Islam the same has lapsed and he has no right to claim it.
"O people! Satan has lost hope of his being worshipped in your land. However, if you follow him in small matters he will be happy and pleased. So do not follow Satan."
Making change[3] in the sacred months (i.e. those months in which warfare etc. is unlawful) shows excessiveness of blasphemy, and those unbelievers, who are not acquainted with the sacred months are misguided because of this change and consequently a sacred month becomes lawful in one year and prohibited in another. They think that by doing so they change things made lawful by Allah into unlawful and vice versa.
It is necessary that the arrangement of lawful and sacred months should be according to the days on which Allah created the skies, the earth, the moon and the sun. In the eyes of Allah the number of months is twelve and out of these He has declared four months to be sacred. They are the months of Zil Qa'd, Zil Haj and Muharram, which are consecutive, and then the month of Rajab.
"Yes, O people! Your women have rights over you and you too have rights over them. Your right is that they should not admit anyone in the house without your consent, and should not be guilty of something unfair, failing which Allah has authorized you to quit their beds and also chastise them. In case, however, they revert to the path of truth, you should treat them with kindness and love and should provide them with comfortable means of life".
I recommend to you on this land that you should be kind to your women, because you hold them in trust from Allah and they have become lawful for you according to His laws.
"Yes, O people! Hear my words carefully and ponder over them. I am leaving two memorable things amongst you-one of them is the Book of Allah and the other is my speech and Sunnah,[4] and if you abide by them you will never get astray."
"Yes, O people! Hear my words and think over them. Every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim and all Muslims of the world are brothers of one another. And anything out of the property of the Muslims is not lawful for a Muslim except when he acquires it with an honest intention." [5]
"Yes, O people! Those present should communicate these remarks to those who are absent. After me there will be no prophet and after you Muslims there will be no ummah.[6]
"O people! You should know that I am announcing it today that I have banned all the ceremonies and beliefs of the Age of Ignorance and am informing you of their falsity".[7]
At this Juncture the Prophet discontinued the sermon and making a sign towards the sky with his forefinger said: "O Allah! I have communicated your message". Then after saying thrice: "O Allah! Be witness to it", he brought the sermon to an end.
The Prophet stayed in Arafah on the ninth of Zil Haj till sunset and before the sun was hidden in the western horizon and the atmosphere became somewhat dark he mounted his camel and spent a part of the night in Muzdalifah, and the time between dawn and sunrise in Mash'ar. On the tenth day he proceeded to Mina and performed the ceremonies of Rami-i Jamrah, sacrifice and taqseer. Then he proceeded to Makkah to perform other ceremonies of Haj and thus he practically taught the same to others. In the terminology of Hadith and history this historical journey is called Hijjatul Wida' (the farewell Haj) and at times it is also named Hajul Balagh (Haj of the delivery of the message) and Hajul Islam (Haj of Islam). Each of these names has some associations, which are quite evident.
In the end it may be mentioned that it is commonly known amongst the traditionalists that the Prophet delivered this sermon on the day of 'Arafah, but some of them believe that this sermon was delivered on the 10th day of Zil Haj.[8]
References:
[1] Khisal by Shaykh Saduq, vol. II, page 84.
[2] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 605.
[3] The custodians of the Ka'bah used to change the sacred months after taking money from those people, who were keen to wage war during these months.
[4] In this historical sermon the Prophet recommended the Holy Qur'an and the Sunnah to the people; and in the sermon delivered at Ghadir and at the time of his death he recommended to them the Book of Allah and his own progeny. There is nothing contradictory between these two versions which were delivered on two different occasions, because there can be no objection to the Prophet treating Sunnah as equivalent to the Qur'an and announcing both of them as memorable things on one occasion and recommending his family and successors on another occasion and insisting upon their following them, which is in fact following the Prophet and his Sunnah. Some ulema of Ahl Sunnat have imagined in their exegeses that the Prophet said these words on one occasion only, and have mentioned his progeny in the footnotes as an alternative, whereas we do not stand in need of any such correction, because, as a matter of principle, there is no contradiction between the two narratives.
[5] Seerah-i Ibn Hisham, vol. II, page 605.
[6] Khisal by Shaykh Saduq, page 84.
[7] Biharul Anwar, vol. XXI, page 405.
[8] Tabaqat-i Ibn Sa'd, vol. II, pp. 184-186.

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