Farewell Pilgrimage – the Last Journey of the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.A.) to Makkah
Compiled by: Ahmad Ahmadi Birjandi
A few years had been left of the Holy Prophet (S)'s blessed life. It was 10/631 when the Prophet (S) announced to people to get prepared for performing the Hajj pilgrimage. Over one hundred thousand people were gathered. The Holy Prophet (S) donned the garb of a pilgrim (ihram) by wearing two pieces of white cloth from the Mosque of Shajara near Medina and so did the Muslims.
Labbaik Allahumma Labbaik, La Sharika Laka Labbaik was the melodious chanting reverberating in the air. Thousands of people were repeating this heavenly call of the Prophet (S). It was a manifestation of the magnificence of the Islamic unity, equality, and brotherhood.
The Holy Prophet (S) taught the sacred rites of the Hajj pilgrimage to the Muslims for the first and the last time. This great Journey represented fruitful outcome of long time efforts of the Holy Prophet (S) who sincerely had dedicated his life and wealth to the actualization of the Islamic ideals and Divine decrees, and delivered Divine messages to the people of the world. On ‘Arafat, after noontime and afternoon prayers, the Holy Prophet (S) addressed thousands of pure-minded Muslims as follows: “O people! Listen to me! Maybe I won't meet you again at this place. O people! Your blood and wealth are respected like this day and month, and any intrusion on them is unlawful, until the day you stand before the Exalted Allah.”
Then he called people to equality and brotherhood, advised them to observe women's rights, admonished them not to exceed Divine bounds, bewared them of violating one another's rights, and exhorted them to piety.
In the Arena of Ghadir Khumm
On the way back to Medina when the Holy Prophet (S) and tens of thousands of Muslims reached a place called Ghadir Khumm, the Revelation Angle, Gabriel, descended on the Prophet (S) and inspired the Divine Message in him as follows: “O Messenger! Proclaim whatever (Message) has been sent to you from your Lord. If you do not, you would not have fulfilled and proclaimed your Mission. Allah will guard you against people's evil.”8
The people wondered what the fulfiller of religion was, without which the true religion would not be complete. That was truly the Prophet (S)'s last measure to determine the line of Executorship (wisaya) and Imamate. The Prophet was to – by God's command – clarify people's duty after his demise.
Under the scorching sun and on the hot sands of the desert, the Holy Prophet (S) introduced ‘Ali (as), through a long sermon, as his wali (guardian) and successor to the people, particularly by uttering this statement: “Whoever I am the master (mawla) of, ‘Ali is also the master of”, which has been narrated by both Sunni and Shi‘a scholars.
On that day, 18th of Dhu'l- Hajja, people swore allegiance to ‘Ali (as).
About two months later, that is, on the latter days of Safar 11 AH, the Holy Prophet (S) closed his eyes to the world and was laid to rest next to the mosque constructed by himself.
This Holy Shrine is now a center of pilgrimage for over a billion Muslims from all over the world.