Thameenah Abrahams is an English graduate from the University of Cape Town. She is currently a Usul ad-Din student at Madina Institute.
Reflections on the Farewell Sermon: How to be Muslim
The Last Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad, delivered a year before his departure, took place on the 9th of Dhul Hijja, 10 years AH in Makkah al Mukarramah; the birthplace of Islamic monotheism. From the outset of hearing the sermon, or an attempt of what we consider to be the original Last Sermon, it still has the potential to have a striking effect on the one who is witnessing it, either through the medium of words, or oral transmission.
Moreover, the Prophet Muhammad is the most gifted rhetorician. As a result, it would only be appropriate that his last admonishment for the Muslims at the time was one of a universal message that needed to be applied to the Arabs, as well as the people of other nations. Essentially, his words speak to the core of an individual’s humanity. In Islam, in the eyes of God, there is no hierarchy amongst men except in taqwa. Shaykh Ninowy describes the possessor of taqwa as the ‘one who contributes more to self and others.’ The person who contributes positively to himself, and then others is considered to be a person of honour. On the 9th Dhul Hijja, the speech of the Prophet consists of that which goes beyond racial, cultural, and ethnic barriers. Essentially, at the heart of his final admonishment is a prophetic will of how to be human.
When we align ourselves to what the Messenger of Allah wants, we align ourselves to what God wants. We are naturally disposed to goodness. Subsequently, the final will and instruction from the Prophet is an instruction that aids us in connecting and recognising our fitra, which can be loosely translated as the ‘primordial nature’ of man.
The Last Sermon of the Prophet Muhammad is concerned with upholding the Prophetic definition of a Muslim. The Muslim is the one whom people (all people) are safe from the harms of his tongue and the harms of his hand