Farewell Sermon

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Not to be confused with the Farewell Discourse by Jesus.
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The Farewell Sermon (Arabic: خطبة الوداع‎, Khuṭbatu l-Wadāʿ), also known as Muhammad's Final Sermon or The Last Sermon, was delivered by the Islamic prophet, Muhammad on the 9th of Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 AH (9 March 632) in the Uranah valley of Mount Arafat, during the Islamic pilgrimage of Hajj.

Muhammad al-Bukhari refers to the sermon and quotes part of it in his Sahih al-Bukhari. [1][2][3] Part of it is also present in Sahih Muslim.[4] and Sunan Abu Dawood[5] Various versions of the sermon have been published, including several English translations. The sermon consists of a series of general exhortations for Muslims to follow the teachings that Muhammad had set forth in the Quran and sunnah.

Narrations in hadith literature[edit]

In a lengthy hadith included in Sahih Muslim, Sunan Abi Dawud, and Sunan Ibn Majah, Jabir ibn Abd Allah narrated details of Muhammad's pilgrimage and reported the following words of his sermon:

Verily your blood, your property are as sacred and inviolable as the sacredness of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this town of yours. Behold! Everything pertaining to the Days of Ignorance is under my feet completely abolished. Abolished are also the blood-revenges of the Days of Ignorance. The first claim of ours on blood-revenge which I abolish is that of the son of Rabi'a b. al-Harith, who was nursed among the tribe of Sa'd and killed by Hudhail. And the usury of the pre-Islamic period is abolished, and the first of our usury I abolish is that of 'Abbas b. 'Abd al-Muttalib, for it is all abolished. Fear Allah concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of Allah, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of Allah. You too have right over them, and that they should not allow anyone to sit on your bed whom you do not like. But if they do that, you can chastise them but not severely. Their rights upon you are that you should provide them with food and clothing in a fitting manner. I have left among you the Book of Allah, and if you hold fast to it, you would never go astray. And you would be asked about me (on the Day of Resurrection), (now tell me) what would you say? They (the audience) said: We will bear witness that you have conveyed (the message), discharged (the ministry of Prophethood) and given wise (sincere) counsel. He (the narrator) said: He (the Holy Prophet) then raised his forefinger towards the sky and pointing it at the people (said): "O Allah, be witness. O Allah, be witness," saying it thrice.[6]

Other ahadith:

Narrated Amr ibn al-Ahwas al-Jushami: Amr heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say in his farewell address on the eve of his Last Pilgrimage, after he had glorified and praised Allah, he cautioned his followers: "Listen! Treat women kindly; they are like prisoners in your hands. Beyond this you do not owe anything from them. Should they be guilty of flagrant misbehaviour, you may remove them from your beds, and beat them but do not inflict upon them any severe punishment. Then if they obey you, do not have recourse to anything else against them. Listen! You have your rights upon your wives and they have their rights upon you. Your right is that they shall not allow anyone you dislike, to trample your bed and do not permit those whom you dislike to enter your home. Their right is that you should treat them well in the matter of food and clothing. [7]

It was narrated that: Sulaiman bin Amr bin Ahwas said: “My father told me that he was present on the Farewell pilgrimage with the Messenger of Allah. He praised and glorified Allah, and reminder and exhorted (the people). The he said: 'I enjoin good treatment of women, for they are prisoners with you, and you have no right to treat them otherwise, unless they commit clear indecency. If they do that, then forsake them in their beds and hit them, but without causing injury or leaving a mark if they obey you, then do not seek means of annoyance against them. You have rights over your women and you women have rights over you. Your rights over you women are that they are not to allow anyone whom you dislike on treat on your bedding (furniture), not allow anyone whom you dislike to enter your houses. And their right over you are that should treat them kindly with regard to their clothing and food. (Sahih Hadiith) Ibn Majah 3:9:1851[8]

The following hadith is reported in Musnad Ahmad:

From Abi Nadrah: Someone who heard the sermon of the Messenger of Allah in the middle of the days of at-Tashriq narrated to me that he said, "O people! Indeed, your Lord is one and your father is one. Indeed, there is no superiority of an Arab over a non-Arab, nor of a non-Arab over an Arab, nor of a white over a black, nor a black over a white, except by taqwa. Have I conveyed the message?" They replied, "You have conveyed it, Messenger of Allah!" Then he said, "What day is this?" They replied, "A sacred day." Then he said, "What month is this?" They replied, "A sacred month." Then he said, "What city is this?" They replied, "A sacred city." He said, "Allah has made your blood and your property (the narrator said, 'I don't know if he said "and your honor" or not') as sacred as this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this city of yours. Have I conveyed the message?" They replied, "You have conveyed it, Messenger of Allah!" He said, "Let whomever is present tell whomever is absent."[9]

Reports by historian Ibn Ishaq[edit]

An account of the sermon was collected by the early historian Ibn Ishaq, as quoted in Ibn Hisham's Sirah an-Nabawiyah and at-Tabari's Tarikh, with minor differences.[10][11] The narration is translated by I. K. Poonawala in The History of al-Tabari, vol. IX: The Last Years of the Prophet (1990), as follows:

Ibn Ḥumayd—Salamah—Ibn Isḥāq—‘Abdallāh b. Abī Najīḥ: Then the Messenger of God proceeded to perform his pilgrimage, showing the people its rites and teaching them its customs. Then he addressed them in a speech and elucidated [certain things]. After he had praised and glorified God, he said, "O people, listen to my words. I do not know whether I shall ever meet you again in this place after this year. O people, your blood and your property are sacrosanct until you meet your Lord, just as this day and this month of yours are sacred. Surely you will meet your Lord and He will question you about your deeds. I have [already] made this known. Let he who has a pledge return it to the one who entrusted him with it; all usury is abolished, but your capital belongs to you. Wrong not and you shall not be wronged. God has decreed that there will be no usury, and the usury of ‘Abbās b. ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib is abolished, all of it. All blood shed in the pre-Islamic days is to be left unavenged. The first such claim I revoke is that of Ibn Rabī‘ah b. al-Ḥārith b. ‘Abd al-Muṭṭalib, who was nursed among the Banū Layth and was slain by the Banū Hudhayl. His is the first blood shed in the pre-Islamic days with which I shall set an example. O people, indeed Satan despairs of ever being worshipped in this land of yours. He will be pleased, however, if he is obeyed in a thing other than that, in matters you minimize. So beware of him in your religion, O people, intercalating a month is an increase in unbelief whereby the unbelievers go astray; one year they make it profane, and hallow it another, [in order] to agree with the number that God has hallowed, and so profane what God has hallowed, and hallow what God has made profane. Time has completed its cycle [and is] as it was on the day that God created the heavens and the earth. The number of the months with God is twelve: [they were] in the Book of God on the day He created the heavens and the earth. Four of them are sacred, the three consecutive [months] and the Rajab [which is called the month of] Muḍar, which is between Jumādā [II] and Sha‘bān."

"Now then, O people, you have a right over your wives and they have a right over you. You have [the right] that they should not cause anyone of whom you dislike to tread on your beds; and that they should not commit any open indecency (fāḥishah). If they do, then God permits you to shut them in separate rooms and to beat them, but not severely. If they abstain from [evil], they have the right to their food and clothing in accordance with custom (bi’l-ma‘rūf). Treat women well, for they are [like] domestic animals (‘awānin) with you and do not possess anything for themselves. You have taken them only as a trust from God, and you have made the enjoyment of their persons lawful by the word of God, so understand and listen to my words, O people. I have conveyed the Message, and have left you with something which, if you hold fast to it, you will never go astray: that is, the Book of God and the sunnah of His Prophet. Listen to my words, O people, for I have conveyed the Message and understand [it]. Know for certain that every Muslim is a brother of another Muslim, and that all Muslims are brethren. It is not lawful for a person [to take] from his brother except that which he has given him willingly, so do not wrong yourselves. O Allah, have I not conveyed the message?" It was reported [to me][note 1] that the people said, "O God, yes," and the Messenger of God said, "O God, bear witness."[12]

  1. ^ Addition from Ibn Ishaq

The sermon is also translated by A. Guillame in The Life of Muhammad: A Translation of Isḥāq's Sīrat Rasūl Allāh (1955), which is based on the work of Ibn Hisham.[13] Poonawala does not differ much with Guillame in regards to meaning, but notable differences are his translation of bi’l-ma‘rūf as "with custom" and ‘awān as "domestic animals", whereas Guillame translates the passage as, "If they refrain from these things they have the right to their food and clothing with kindness. Lay injunctions on women kindly, for they are prisoners with you having no control of their persons."

Ibn Ishaq also narrates the method in which the sermon was delivered:

Ibn Ḥumayd—Salamah—Muḥammad b. Isḥāq—Yaḥya b. ‘Abbād b. ‘Abdallāh b. al-Zubayr—his father ‘Abbād: The man who used to repeat the Messenger of God's words loudly to the people was when he was on ‘Arafah was Rabī‘ah b. Umayyah b. Khalaf. The Messenger of God would say to him. "Say: O people, the Messenger of God says, do you know what month this is?" and they would say, "The sacred month." Then he would say, "Say to them: God has made your blood and your property sacrosanct until you meet your Lord, like the sanctity of this month of yours." Then he said [to him], "Say: the Messenger of God says, O people, do you know what land this is?" Rabī‘ah would call out loudly and they would say, "The Holy Land." He would say, "Say: God has hallowed your blood and your property until you meet your Lord like the sanctity of this land of yours." Then he said, "Say: O people, do you know what day this is?" Rabī‘ah repeated [this] to them and they said, "The day of the Greater Pilgrimage." He said, "Say: God has made your blood and your property sacrosanct until you meet your Lord like the sanctity of this day of yours."[12]

See also[edit]