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A Friday in history

The event was the first and the only Hajj the messenger of Allah performed in his lifetime and the place was the Arafat ground at…

The event was the first and the only Hajj the messenger of Allah performed in his lifetime and the place was the Arafat ground at the foot of the famous mountain, Jabal-Arafat or Mount Arafat some 20 kilometres east of the holy city of Makkah. It was the 9th year after Hijira just less than 100 days before his death after spending almost 23 years delivering the message of Allah the Almighty to the humanity, the first thirteen years of which he had spent in his native Makkah before his forced migration to Madina where he spent the remaining ten years.
He delivered the sermon before a mammoth crowd of more than one hundred and twenty four thousand of his faithful companions, which was quite massive compared with the world population then in general and the population of the Arab world in particular. Lucky indeed were those faithful companions among whom were the “As-sabiqunal-auwalun” who were the first to embrace Islam and who migrated from Makkah to Madina thirteen years earlier, “Al-ansar” i.e. the Madinans who extended helping hands, accommodated and supported the prophet and the other Makkan migrants, including also those who embraced Islam afterwards and over the subsequent years of the prophet’s lifetime; all of whom were guaranteed and indeed granted Allah’s Pleasure and Mercy. (See Qur’an, Chapter 9, Verse 100)
Though the prophet’s companions in particular were obviously preferred by Allah the Almighty for destining and choosing them to be His messenger’s companions, Muslim generations over the centuries and out of their sheer love for him also have always maintained a near-perfect mental image of him as they often imagine him as though he is still alive and amid them also. This imagining is particularly inspiring today, Friday as the Muslim pilgrims converge right now for the same purpose and on the same Arafat ground where he delivered his Farewell Sermon.
Bareheaded and simply dressed in his Ihram i.e. two pieces of cloth worn by the pilgrims, just like companions, the exceptionally charismatic prophet (pbuh) delivered his Farewell Sermon from which I will quote some excerpts as authentically collected by Sheikh Safiyur-Rahman Al-Mubarakpuri, from various Hadith sources, in his authoritative collection of the prophet’s biography, Ar-Raheeq-Al-Makhtum, while heavily relying on its English version, The Sealed Nectar by Issam Diab.
Throughout his sermon, the prophet repeatedly hinted at his growing feeling that the end of his life on earth was fast approaching. That was quite obvious right from the beginning of his sermon where he said “O people! Listen to what I say. I do not know whether I will ever meet you at this place once again after this current year” He therefore summarized the essence of his mission on earth as the last messenger of Allah, which, in addition to guiding the humanity to Allah the Almighty, includes among other things, safeguarding people’s lives, properties and honour as well as laying the foundation for the establishment of a global civilization befitting the status and dignity of the human race in all aspects of life.  
He for instance said “It is unlawful for you to shed the blood of one another or take (unlawfully) the fortunes of one another. They are as unlawful, (Haram) as shedding blood on such a day as today and in such a month as this Haram month and in such a sanctified city as this sacred city (i.e. Makkah and the surrounding areas).”
He also reconfirmed the fact that, Muslims’ only protection against going astray lies exclusively in their unwavering commitment to the Qur’an, as he said “Verily, I have left amongst you the Book of Allah which if you hold fast, you shall never go astray.” which by implication and indeed necessarily includes the authentic Sunnah as the Qur’an itself maintains and the prophet himself also confirmed in various authentic hadiths.
Moreover, maintaining that he is the last messenger of Allah to the mankind, the prophet continued in his sermon “O people, I am not succeeded by a Prophet and you are not succeeded by any nation. So I recommend you to worship your Lord, to pray the five prayers, to fast Ramadan and to offer the Zakat (poor-due) of your provision willingly. I recommend you to do the pilgrimage to the Sacred House of your Lord and to obey those who are in charge of you then you will be awarded to enter the Paradise of your Lord.”
After addressing many other aspects of his mission on earth, the messenger of Allah rounded off his sermon with a question to his companions, which was clearly inspired by his belief that Allah The All-knowing will definitely ask them if he i.e. the prophet indeed delivered the message assigned to him. He therefore asked them “You shall also be asked about me, so what would you say?” They replied: “We bear witness that you have conveyed the message and discharged your ministry.” He then raised his fore skywards and then moved it down towards people while saying: “O Allah, Bear witness.” He said that phrase thrice.
There and then, Allah the Almighty revealed a Qur’anic verse to him, which among other things confirmed that his departure from the earth was indeed imminent. Allah the Almighty said   “This day I have perfected your religion for you, completed My Favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.” (Qur’an, Chapter 5, verse 3)

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