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Muhammad: A Blessing For Mankind (Part 2)


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Prophet Muhammad

Muhammad as a man had already died, but as a Prophet he left behind him a legacy in the form of the Quran and the Sunnah.

Jamal Badawi

Part 1

Farewell Pilgrimage

In time the whole Arabia had become the land of Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) intended to perform the Hajj (pilgrimage). He announced his intention to the Muslims in Madinah and the surrounding areas and asked them to join him. This was in fact the only Hajj performed by him during his life time. On this occasion he taught those who were present with him and to the whole world about the Hajj and the divine message that Allah had entrusted him to all mankind. At the last gathering with the Ummah (nation) during the Hajj season, the Hajj of Wada’ (Farewell) a sermon was delivered by the Prophet Muhammad at the valley of Arafat about 81 or 82 days before his death. It contained the very fundamentals of Islam. Seated on his camel, he spoke with a clear tone and asked who heard his speech to convey it to those who were not present there. Among others he said: “O people, lend me an attentive ear, for I know not whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and take these words to those who could not be present here today. O people, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Hurt no one so that no one may hurt you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. Allah has forbidden you to take usury, therefore all interest obligation shall henceforth be waived. Beware of Satan, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hopes that he will be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things. O people, it is true that you have certain rights with regard to your women, but they also have rights over you. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in mildness. Do treat your women well and be kind to them for they are your partners and committed helpers. And it is your right that they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to commit adultery. O people, listen to me in earnest, worship Allah, say your five daily prayers, fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your wealth in zakat. Perform hajj if you can afford to. You know that every Muslim is the brother of another Muslim. You are all equal. Nobody has superiority over the other except by piety and good deeds. Remember, one day you will appear before Allah and answer for your deeds. So beware, do not go astray from the path of righteousness after my death. O people, no Prophet or Messenger will come after me and no new faith will be born. Listen well, therefore, O people, and understand my words, which I convey to you. I leave behind me two things, the Quran and my example, the Sunnah, and if you follow these you will never go astray. All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O’ Allah that I have conveyed Your message to Your slaves.”

The importance of this sermon can be seen from the Prophet’s perception that this occasion may be the last one during his lifetime. He felt that this was the right time to summarize the principles of Islam to his fellow brothers and sisters. By the perfection of this religion, it means that there’s no need for humanity, and for the Muslims in particular, to look for another alternative way of life. As long as one holds fast to the two things left behind by the Prophet (the Qur’an and the Sunnah), one will never go astray.

Death

About two months after returning from Makkah for Pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad became ill but he was still able to perform his prayers in the mosque and give directives to the companions. His health was deteriorating day by day. At the last moment he asked Abu Bakr to lead the prayers in the mosque. Every member of his family and every companion was worried about his health. It was on Monday, 12th Rabi’Al-Awwal, the year 11A.H., when he passed away at the age of sixty three years. Many people did not believe that he had passed away. They thought that the Messenger of Allah would live forever. It was Abu Bakr, who had the feeling, since the Farewell Pilgrimage that the death of the Prophet was coming near, He convinced the congregation that the Prophet had actually passed away. Abu Bakr said to the congregation that if they worshipped Muhammad, Muhammad had died, and if they worshipped Allah, He lives forever. Then he recited from the Quran: {Muhammad is not but a Messenger like the Messengers who had surely passed away before him: will you, then, if he dies or be slain, turn round on your heels?} (Quran 3: 144)

A Guidance to follow

Muhammad as a man had already died, but as a Prophet he left behind him a legacy in the form of the Quran and the Sunnah. He stressed the urgent need to hold firmly to these two sources during his farewell speech in the valley of Arafat. If people hold fast to them, they will never go astray. The teachings he left for us if put into practice in their true spirit and proper way will bring a happy life in this world and besides the indubitable rewards that will be received by those who believed in them in the life after death. In this sense, Islam is a worldly religion which cares first for the worldly affairs of humanity. The Hereafter is merely a continuation of the worldly life. It is difficult to portend that man can be saved in the Hereafter without being saved in this world. The safe way is to follow the way shown to us by the Prophet Muhammad. When his wife, Aisha, was asked by a companion about the Prophet’s daily conduct, Aisha replied that the conduct of the Prophet was the Quran which is the guidance from God and Muhammad was given authority by God to interpret it. That is why his conduct was the exemplary of human conduct. Islam as brought by the Prophet Muhammad is very much misunderstood, as a religion perceived to contain souls and rituals like prayers, fasting, almsgiving and pilgrimage. Thanks to the new developments in the world, Islam is now looked upon in a wider perspective than the narrow-minded view in the past. The increased interest in Islamic studies by Muslims and non-Muslims supported by the advanced printing technology has begun to open the eyes of the world about the true teachings and intrinsic values of Islam.

Source: Muhammad.net

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