On the 9th of Dhu’l-Hijjah 10 AH at sunrise the Nabi Muhammad (s.a.w) left Mina for ‘Arafat, and there while seated on his camel, In front of a large gathering of his people during his final Hajj, he delivered the Jummuah Khutba, known as the Khutbatul Wada, the final sermon. I am embarrassed to say that I have only read it this year while being a student at the Madina Institute, this is one of the greatest gifts our Nabi (s.a.w) has given us and after reading and pondering over the his final sermon I found that it is as relevant today as it was the day it was said.
We have been given a basic guideline on the way we are truly meant to live our lives, Prophet Muhammad(s.a.w) starts out by saying, “Oh people, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again.”, before going on to advise the ummah, on how we are supposed to handle money and business dealings and that as human beings we are to respect eachother. That no person is better than the other, no matter the colour of their skin, the country they come from or what religion they were raised with, except in piety and good action. The Nabi(s.a.w) also speaks about the rights that men and women have over eachother, and together we are to aspire for our hearts to be closer to Allah(s.w.t) and that if we follow the two things he left behind, the Quran and his example, the sunnah we will never go astray. Yet here we are in the year 1439AH, there is war and poverty, we take part in trade dealings only to be cheated by one another and we treat the man on the street trying to earn an honest living as if he is going to rob us, because of the colour of his skin. We have men and women with the same job description yet men are being paid more because they are seen as worth more.
Sheikh Ninowy at RISTalks in 2015 says in his talk ,“The Beloved(s.w.t) sent His beloved(s.a.w) out of love, to teach love, with love for the sake of love.”, I immediately connected with this statement because it not only re-enforces the fact that Islam starts and ends with love, it also shows us that being a Muslim is more than just knowing and understanding the rules surrounding why we are Muslim. The Nabi(s.a.w) is the best of mankind, the best of leaders, the one we should look up to as an example and a role model, and in the Khutbatul Wada the Nabi(s.a.w) said, “All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again;..”, it is useless we gain all this information only to go back to our regular scheduled lives. So as a student of deen I feel the weight of what was said to share the lessons I learn, to take the knowledge I have gained and transform it into action.
I have recently done a self-reflection on my own personal leadership journey and it was not easy, as I have never seen myself as a leader, and the concept of being a ‘follower’ has always had a negative connotation. Allah says to Prophet Muhammad (s.a.w) to the believers in surah Al-Imran, ayat 31: “Say, “If you do love Allah, follow me: Allah will love you and forgive you your sins: For Allah is Oft Forgiving, Most Merciful.””, this ayat teaches us that to be a follower is not to be looked down on, but that in being a follower you are leading by example, which links directly with a quote that says, “To lead we need to learn how to follow first”.
The khutbatul Wada has shown me that now at this time in my life I am beginning to explore the true meaning of what being a leader means within myself. True, to be a leader one has to be confident, comfortable with being responsible and with delegation, while also having the ability to inspire others and more, but I also feel that a leader encompasses more than a list of qualities. It is about understanding and accepting your responsibility, which was given to us by Nabi Muhammad(s.a.w) to not just pass on his teachings of Islam, tolerance, unity and love but to be the example described in these words, like Allah says in surah An-Nahl, ayat 125, “ Invite (all) to the Way of thy Lord with wisdom and beautiful preaching; and argue with them in ways that are best and most gracious: for thy Lord knoweth best who have strayed from His Path, and who receive guidance.”
This is where my leadership journey truly begins. The definition of a warrior is: ‘a brave or experienced soldier or fighter’. To be a warrior of love and Islam to me, means to stand up and be proud of what I believe in. To go out into a world full of sadness, evil and negativity, most directed at the way I live my life, and challenge them to see things the Nabi Muhammads (s.a.w) way, from a place of love, for Allah (swt) says in surah Al-Anbiyah, ayat 107, “We sent thee not, but as a mercy for all creatures”.