O pilgrims! Whenever the month of Dhu’l-Hijjah comes and the time for Hajj nears, a radiant chapter from the history of Islaam becomes apparent. One important factor of Hajj, aside from the rituals, is the extremely significant and poignant words and principles that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam conveyed to the Muslims during his Hajj, which was a year before his death. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam did not merely express these principles as empty slogans, rather these were the same principles that he had propagated from the very dawn of Islaam when he was vulnerable, oppressed and had few followers. These principles never changed for any reason, whether it was the small number of his followers, the particular circumstances of war or peace, or the fact that life was extremely difficult and he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was at times in a state of great difficulty and dire need. These were well-grounded principles that hesallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam instilled in the souls of his followers so that they could convey them to the world in order for mankind to achieve felicity, tranquillity and success.
Since these principles were firm and well-founded, they did not fade away or weaken due to the passing of time; nor did they fade as generations succeeded one another; rather, they are solid and are actually revived when people act on these teachings and propagate them. Tears were shed when these principles were being laid down, as this was the last sermon of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam and this is why it was called ‘The Final Hajj Sermon’. The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam warned during his speech against the fatal disease of shirk that destroys humanity, disunites it, detaches it from the source of goodness and causes it to be driven by its whims and desires. Therefore, the meaning or focal point of Hajj and indeed the entire religion of Islaam is the unity of Allaah.
During his speech he sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Your blood, wealth and honour are as sacred as this day (the day of ‘Arafah), this land and this month (Dhu’l-Hijjah)” (Muslim & Bukhaari). These are eternal human rights which no man-made law or system could ever dictate or administer. To safeguard people’s blood, Allaah says that which translates as: “There is for you in legal retribution (saving of) life” (Al-Baqarah: 179). To safeguard peoples wealth Allaah says that which translates as: “As for the thief, the male and female, amputate their hands” (Al-Maa’idah: 38). To preserve the honour and dignity of mankind, Allaah says that which translates as: “The (unmarried) woman or (unmarried) man found guilty of sexual intercourse – lash each of them with a hundred lashes” (An-Noor: 2).
Islaam respects and safeguards life if it is led in a pure and righteous manner and not when it is led in an immoral, oppressive and tyrannical way. This respect would be of no value if it was not supported by a comprehensive and just system which is well organised.
Islaam protects the human’s right to have an honourable and upright life which is led in peace, security and stability. Islaam also ensures that Muslims do not become a source of harm and danger and therefore establishes justice based on the Sharee’ah of Allaah; Islaam also establishes the power and influence that is required to establish itself as a comprehensive system. Also, Islaam builds the brotherhood and fraternity between the Muslims that leads to the honouring of rights and obligations towards all; this includes the upkeep of family ties, dutifulness to parents, kindness to neighbours, honouring the rights of marriage and ultimately, relations between nations who are to be judged and ranked by virtue of their piety.
One of the protected principles in Islaam is that a Muslim cannot be impartial while a fellow Muslim is being harmed in his presence, nor can he allow anyone to insult them in their absence, whether this harm is physical or emotional, by action or words. Therefore, Islaam forbade hitting others without due right as well as bad mouthing, mocking, making fun of and cursing. ‘Umar Ibn Al-Khattaab, may Allaah be pleased with him, narrated the story of a man who used to drink khamr (intoxicants) often and be punished. One day he was brought before the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam who commanded him to be flogged, then a man said: “O Allaah! Curse him for he did this many times” the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam responded: “Do not curse him, for I swear by Allaah I know that he loves Allaah and His Messenger” (Bukhaari & Muslim).
Islaam not only honours and protects mankind during life but also after death as it has commanded that the dead be washed, shrouded, prayed over and respectfully buried. Islaam forbids breaking the bones of the dead or damaging corpses in any other way. ‘Aa’ishah narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Do not curse the dead for they are facing the consequences of what they have set forth” (Bukhaari).
O pilgrims! The new civilisation, or to put it more accurately, the purely materialistic civilisation, propagates its own version of the principles of human rights. In reality, these rights are weak, deficient, geared only towards greed and driven by foul racism. Moreover, these rights are not underpinned by faith, nor is there any belief behind them that would revive them, nor any enforceable legislation that would protect them. Consequently, you see them violated in the worlds most materialistically advanced civilizations, the very places from which they are propagated! Where are these human rights when Jerusalem is occupied, the sanctity of Al-Aqsaa violated, its peoples wealth confiscated and their blood spilt – for many years? Where are the human rights in such a war that has no principles to control it; does not respect human morals and flagrantly destroys the very notion of human rights?
Another thing that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said during his Hajj speech was: “All matters from Jaahiliyyah (The pre-Islamic era) are under my foot (i.e. valueless)” (Muslim).
During Jaahiliyyah the shedding of blood was easy and widespread; killing was simple and done as a business and initiating wars was a common practice. The people were unguided with no divine message or faith to purify and regulate them. Then Islaam came to change and uplift their principles and use these as a basis to govern all areas of life. Islaam valued the sanctity of human life and made murder a crime against humanity, Allaah says that which translates as, “We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul – unless it be for murder or for spreading mischief in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely” (Al-Maa’idah: 32).
Before the message of Islaam, tribalism was deeply rooted in society and well structured, yet the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam was able to eliminate all types of prejudice and racism, which people lived for, praised and boasted about. Stressing this point in his speech, hesallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “All of you descend from Aadam and Aadam was created from clay; The most honourable amongst you in the sight of Allaah are the most pious. There is no preference for an Arab over a non-Arab, a non-Arab over an Arab, a coloured person over a white person or a white person over a coloured person except based on piety” (Al-Bayhaqi, Ahmad and others). Therefore, based on this, all worldly values and differences vanish. People’s colour, wealth, worldly position and lineage are not to be taken into consideration when evaluating a person, because these are things which where granted by Allaah without a person having any choice on whether to accept these or not. Therefore, the only criterion is as Allaah says that which translates as: “Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allaah is the most righteous of you” (Al-Hujuraat: 13).Having mentioned all of this, it is distressing to see some of our own people trying to revive the tribalism and racialism of Jaahiliyyah, boast about it and trying to spread its evil, despite the fact that the messenger of Allaah sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “Abandon it (tribalism and racialism), for it is foul” (Bukhaari & Muslim).
He sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam further said: “The first ribaa (interest-based transaction) I cancel is that of Al-‘Abbaas Ibn Al-Muttalib (his uncle) – I cancel it all” (Muslim). Allaah forbade ribaa because of its great harm and evil; it ruins man’s conscience and corrupts societies due to it causing greed and selfishness to spread. It also kills the sense of community spirit, causes enmity between people and instils hatred in their hearts. For all these reasons, Allaah declared war against all those who deal with ribaa and spread it. The war in this life is by causing prices to inflate, financial crises, psychological problems and the deprivation of the sense of cooperation and sacrifice. As for the Hereafter, the war is in the form of a painful punishment. Allaah says that which translates as: “Those who consume interest cannot stand (on the Day of Resurrection) except as one stands who is being beaten by Satan into insanity” (Al-Baqarah: 275). The ribaa based financial-system of the world is responsible for many of the financial and economical crises that have overwhelmed individuals, communities and countries throughout recent history.
Islaam has honoured women and protected their rights; the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said in his speech: “Fear Allaah in your dealings with women, for they are entrusted with you” (Muslim). Islaam honoured the woman as a mother, wife and daughter; it took care of her from the time of her birth until her death; Islaam protected her body and made it unlawful to be looked at after it was openly on display for all to see; Islaam gave her the right to inherit, be educated and made her equal to man in worship, obligations and rewards. Allaah says that which translates as: “Whoever does righteousness, whether male or female, and has faith – We will surely cause them to live a good life” (An-Nahl: 97). We will not address women’s rights as deceitful hollow theories or thoughtless conventions, instead, we invite all people to read the biographies of the believing women like Khadeejah, Sumayyah, Asmaa’, ‘Aa’ishah, Hafsah and Al-Khansaa’, may Allaah be pleased with them all. This will show the glorious pages of our history and present the lives of the Muslim women as living examples and brilliant role-models. We invite everybody to observe and reflect on how Islaam elevated the status of women, purified her soul, reformed her behaviour and made her objectives and wishes far more dignified and honourable than what they were prior to Islaam.
Actions of the believing women throughout history will eternally be remembered as clear proofs and real evidence of their dignity and status in Islaam. We are aware of those who claim to be reformers, leading women to ‘enlightenment’ and accusing those who want to preserve the chastity of women as being stupid, old fashioned and narrow-minded. However, when one analyses their methodology and looks closely at their objectives, one would clearly notice abnormality and irrationality in thinking, perversion from human-nature and sick souls that have became captives of their base-desires. In actuality, these people only seek to deprive women of their dignity, chastity, honour and ultimately render her valueless.
The Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam said: “I have left with you that which if you adhere to, you will never be misguided – The Book of Allaah” (Muslim). Allaah created man and He knows that his ultimate happiness and contentment lies in his adherence to the Qur’aan and the Sunnah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam. Allaah says that which translates as: “Indeed this Qur’aan guides to that which is most suitable” (Al-Israa’: 9). The Qur’aan will guide to that which is best in dealings, financial transactions, judicial laws, politics, economics, finance, education, upbringing and morals, Allaah says that which translates as, “We have omitted nothing from the Book” (Al-An’aam: 38).
He who seeks might will find it in the guidance of the Qur’aan, Allaah says that which translates as: “And to Allaah belongs all honour, and to His Messenger, and to the believers” (Al-Munaafiqoon: 8). He who wants to attain peace and security, will find the solution in the Qur’aan, Allaah says that which translates as: “It is those who believe and do not mix their belief with injustice – those will have security” (Al-An’aam: 82). He who wants the economy to flourish, will achieve it by following the instructions in the Qur’aan, Allaah says that which translates as: “If only the people of the cities had believed and feared Allah, We would have opened (i.e. bestowed) upon them blessings from the heaven and the earth” (Al-A’raaf: 96). As for he who seeks power, the Qur’aan instructs the Islamic state to acquire and prepare the required power, Allaah says that which translates as: “Prepare against them whatever you are able of power and of steeds of war by which you may terrify the enemy of Allaah and your enemy” (Al-Anfaal: 60). The Qur’aan also lays the foundation for the protection of human rights and sets principles for the preservation of human dignity, Allaah says that which translates as: “We have certainly honoured the children of Aadam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with (definite) preference” (Al-Israa’: 70).
The Salaf (first three generations of Muslims) became leaders of guidance, by the will of Allaah, when they took it upon themselves to live by and adhere to the teachings of Qur’aan. Therefore, they were able to establish a merciful Islamic state. When Muslims abandoned these morals and teachings, they disintegrated into groups that cursed and fought one another. This was something that the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam warned against in his speech saying, “Do not go back to disbelief after my death by killing one another”(Bukhaari & Muslim).
When the Muslims gave up these fine teachings and principles, our sacred places were lost, our women raped and our blood easily spilt. This is the Khutbah of the Prophet sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, it is a call to the Muslim nation to re-evaluate itself as well as to respond and adhere to the call of the master of messengers.