Reflections on the Prophet’s Last Sermon in Light of Palestine

The day of Arafah is considered to be the best of days in the Islamic calendar. During the 10th year after Hijrah, Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. delivered, on the day of Arafah, what is now known as the Farewell Sermon, addressing important themes such as social justice, human rights, and moral conduct. This article presents a reflection on the sermon as guidance to navigate a world fraught with challenges.
by NUS Muslim Society 2024-06-20 • 18 min read
NUSMS was first established back in 1963 to provide a platform for students and staff to engage in activities to serve the Muslim community on campus. Today, the society provides a range of activities from volunteering opportunities to camps to cater to the Muslim community.
2024-06-20 • 18 min read

This reflection piece was written by Mirza Nabil from the NUS Muslim Society in consultation with Ustaz Dr Rafi Rashid

Mirza Nabil is currently pursuing his undergraduate degree in Nursing at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Alongside his academic pursuits, he serves as the Programme Director for the NUS Muslim Society, where he plays a pivotal role in organising and leading various programs and initiatives. Mirza is passionate about healthcare, community service, and fostering a supportive environment for students of diverse backgrounds. His dedication to both his studies and community involvement reflects his commitment to making a positive impact in society.

Ustaz Dr Rafi Rashid is a Senior Lecturer at the NUS Graduate School and Associate Director of Studies at Tembusu College, NUS. Concurrently, he is the Staff Advisor of the NUS Muslim Society. He is also an accredited Islamic teacher under the Asatizah Recognition Scheme (ARS). For the past 11 years, he has been teaching various courses at the Muslim Converts’ Association of Singapore, including the “Knowing Islamic Session”, the “Beginners Course on Islam”, Quranic exegesis, and the Sirah (biography) of Prophet Muhammad.


In times of crisis, the true measure of a community is revealed not just by its resilience but also by its capacity for empathy, solidarity, and action. The ongoing situation in places like Palestine, Congo and Sudan starkly reminds us of the fragility of human life and the immense value of every individual, as highlighted in Islamic teachings.

global crisis, israel and Palestine, ceasefire now

A Message To Humanity

يَا أَيُّهَا النَّاسُ أَلَا إِنَّ رَبَّكُمْ وَاحِدٌ وَإِنَّ أَبَاكُمْ وَاحِدٌ أَلَا لَا فَضْلَ لِعَرَبِيٍّ عَلَى أَعْجَمِيٍّ وَلَا لِعَجَمِيٍّ عَلَى عَرَبِيٍّ وَلَا لِأَحْمَرَ عَلَى أَسْوَدَ وَلَا أَسْوَدَ عَلَى أَحْمَرَ إِلَّا بِالتَّقْوَى أَبَلَّغْتُ

"O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favour of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?"

(Musnad Ahmad)

Read: 5 Incredible Lessons from The Prophet's ﷺ Last Sermon

the day of Arafah, Arafat, Arafah plain, zulhijjah, Hajj season

This profound message from Prophet Muhammad’s s.a.w. last sermon, delivered on the 9th of Zulhijjah, 10 A.H (632 C.E), on Mount Arafah in Makkah, emphasises the equality of all human beings regardless of race or ethnicity and advocates for a universal brotherhood. His sermon addressed themes of social justice, human rights, and moral conduct, urging Muslims to transcend divisions and recognise the inherent dignity and worth of every individual, fostering a sense of unity and mutual respect.

Read: What is the Day of Arafah?

Reflect On Our Responsibilities

As we witness the displacement of over 80,000 individuals from Rafah due to ongoing bombardments by Israel, we must reflect on our collective responsibility to uphold the dignity and rights of every human being. The Prophet's teachings remind us to treat others as how we wish to be treated, promoting peace and avoiding harm. In light of this, we must ask ourselves: how can we, as a global community, come together to support those in need?

The international response has called for an immediate ceasefire and the unhindered delivery of humanitarian aid. These efforts are crucial, but they also remind us of the power and necessity of unity. The Quran's teachings and the Prophet's sunnah urge humanity to show love and care for one another, fostering a deep sense of interconnectedness. This principle extends beyond religious boundaries, inspiring all of us to act with compassion and solidarity.

humanitarian crisis in Palestine, Gaza, Rafah, ceasefire now, humanitarian aid, global support

Imagine a world where communities everywhere reflect on their words and actions, striving to bring comfort and aid to those suffering. What steps can we take to foster such a global community? How can we, in our own lives, contribute to peace and support the vulnerable?

Reflecting on these questions can help us build a community that transcends geographical and cultural divides, united in its commitment to humanity and justice. As we ponder the situation in Gaza, Rafah and Palestine, let us not only be moved by the immediate need for aid and resolution but also be inspired to cultivate a lasting sense of unity, mercy and compassion in our everyday lives.

No Sincere Effort Is Too Small

While our capacity to assist those in Palestine may be limited, it does not absolve us from engaging in meaningful actions. Actions such as donating, praying, and educating ourselves about the historical and political aspects of the ongoing devastation there, described by the International Criminal Court of Justice on January 26, 2024, as a plausible case of genocide, can make a significant impact; only Allah s.w.t. knows the true outcomes of our efforts.

Read: 4 Ways to Respond to the Suffering Faced by the Palestinian People

Especially in the month of Zulhijjah, we should seize this opportunity to increase our hopes and prayers to Him with the certainty that He will grant a way out for the Palestinians. At the same time, we can also devote our remaining efforts and energy to supporting our communities here in Singapore. Our families, friends, and the broader community deserve our care and attention as well.

Cherish Our Family & Community

One profound lesson we can draw from this situation is the finite nature of life. It urges us to cherish those who mean the most to us and appreciate the precious time Allah has granted us with them.

When was the last time we asked our parents how their day was, told them that we loved them, and embraced them? When did we last sit down and share a meal with our siblings? Have we taken the time to check in with our friends to see how they are truly doing? Let's make these moments count. There is no such thing as an action too small. Whatever we do indeed makes a difference, especially to the ones we love the most.

Singapore religious harmony, multi racial, multi religious, peace

Seeking Guidance From The Prophet’s Life

Amidst the challenges we face, let us turn to the Sirah (biography) of the Prophet s.a.w. for guidance. By immersing ourselves in the history and context of the crisis and drawing inspiration from the Prophet’s s.a.w. life, we can navigate the complexities of our present circumstances more effectively.

Read: The Prophet of Mercy: Showing Care and Concern for Others

The resilience, patience, and wisdom demonstrated by the Prophet s.a.w. and the early Muslim community in the face of adversity can serve as a guiding light for us. Through this dual approach of learning and spiritual reflection, we can cultivate a deeper understanding and contribute more meaningfully to peace and justice.

Reflecting on the tribulations faced by early Muslims illuminates the harrowing ordeals they endured. Sumayyah bint Khabbab and her husband Yasir r.a, both slaves, suffered unspeakable cruelty under their master, Abu Jahl. Despite familial influence, the Prophet s.a.w. himself faced adversity, with Umm Jamil, the wife of Abu Lahab, routinely dumping refuse at their doorstep.

In one horrifying incident, a member of the Quraysh draped camel intestines over the Prophet's s.a.w. prostrating form, halted only by his daughter Fatima's r.a. intervention. Bilal r.a, another slave who embraced Islam, endured public humiliation and physical abuse under Umayya ibn Khalaf's tyranny.

Makkah city, area, hira

During this tumultuous period spanning twelve relentless years, the Muslim community confronted escalating persecution orchestrated by the Quraysh of Makkah. Hostilities peaked when Abu Talib, the Prophet's uncle, defied the Quraysh's demands, eliciting a severe response. In retaliation, the Quraysh enacted a pact, severing all trade ties with the Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib (the Prophet’s tribe and family) and forbidding intermarriage with their women. This social and economic boycott was an attempt to pressure Prophet Muhammad s.a.w. and his followers into abandoning their faith and isolate them from the rest of Makkan society.

This pact, enforced rigorously, forced Abu Talib's clans to relocate to the inhospitable valley known as Shi'b of Abu Talib. Lasting three grueling years, the boycott inflicted immense suffering on the Banu Hashim and Banu Al-Muttalib. Yet, amid the anguish, the Prophet and his steadfast community clung to their faith, displaying unwavering resilience in the face of relentless adversity.

Read: 5 Books To Read About Prophet Muhammad s.a.w.

Madinah, Prophet Muhammad resting place, Masjid Nabawi

Hardships In Life

As Muslims, we must view hardships as opportunities to draw closer to Allah s.w.t, realising that His love sustains us through all trials. Witnessing the steadfastness of Palestinians, exemplified in their declaration of “Hasbunallah wa ni'mal wakeel” (Allah is Sufficient for us, and He is the Best Disposer of affairs), reminds us of the power of faith. We, too, must hold fast to our faith, trusting in Allah's wisdom and plans.

Read: The Meaning of Hasbunallah Wani’mal Wakil

Believing in His wisdom entails earnestly supplicating for the Palestinians and seeking His mercy. If the Prophet s.a.w. sought His mercy, how much more should we? There is humility in seeking His mercy and recognising its presence even in hardships.

Read: Trusting Allah in Difficult Times

Reflection on life, contemplation, hardship, ease

Conclusion

In conclusion, the challenges faced by those in Gaza, Rafah, and Palestine call for a response that transcends mere sympathy. It requires us to engage in meaningful actions such as donations, prayers, and education about the historical and political dimensions of this crisis.

While our capacity to help may seem limited, every effort counts and is known by Allah. Our contributions can also have a profound impact on our local communities. By supporting our families, friends, and neighbours, we embody the compassion and solidarity that our faith calls us to practice. Cherishing the finite nature of life, let us prioritise those who mean the most to us, appreciating the precious time Allah s.w.t has granted us.

Furthermore, it's imperative to look to the Prophet's Sirah (biography) for guidance. Beyond that, understanding the roots of the Gaza crisis, which extend far beyond recent events, is crucial. By educating ourselves and others, we can foster a more informed and empathetic global community.

Let us commit to learning about the complexities of this issue through recommended readings and continued dialogue. At the end of the day, we are all united in our shared values of justice, compassion, and the pursuit of peace.

Peace, harmonious living, Muslim community

By embracing these principles and drawing inspiration from the Prophet's life, we can contribute to a world that upholds the dignity and rights of every human being, ensuring that our actions, no matter how small, create ripples of positive change across the globe.

وَمَا تَكُونُ فِى شَأْنٍ وَمَا تَتْلُوا۟ مِنْهُ مِن قُرْءَانٍ وَلَا تَعْمَلُونَ مِنْ عَمَلٍ إِلَّا كُنَّا عَلَيْكُمْ شُهُودًا إِذْ تُفِيضُونَ فِيهِ ۚ وَمَا يَعْزُبُ عَن رَّبِّكَ مِن مِّثْقَالِ ذَرَّةٍ فِى ٱلْأَرْضِ وَلَا فِى ٱلسَّمَآءِ وَلَآ أَصْغَرَ مِن ذَٰلِكَ وَلَآ أَكْبَرَ إِلَّا فِى كِتَـٰبٍ مُّبِينٍ

“(O Prophet!) Whatever you may be engaged in, whether you recite any portion of the Qur'an, or whatever else all of you are doing, We are witnesses to whatever you may be occupied with. Not even an atom's weight escapes your Lord on the earth or in the heaven, nor is there anything smaller or bigger than that, except that it is on record in a Clear Book.”

(Surah Yunus, 10:61)

This verse reminds us that, ultimately, our actions, no matter how small, contribute to a greater tapestry of unity and compassion and that Allah sees all that we do. As we reflect on our roles within both local and global contexts, let us strive to embody the principles of justice, empathy, and mutual respect, working together to support those in need and build a better world for all.

As a concluding note, let us draw profound lessons from the Palestinians on the essence of Taqwa or God-consciousness. Countless videos circulating online depict their unwavering and persistent faith in God, demonstrating a resolute belief that His help is perpetually imminent, and there exists profound wisdom behind every unfolding event. Their unyielding spirit is a testament to the strength found in steadfastness. If they refuse to surrender despite the trials they face, then surely, we too can emulate their resilience and fortitude.

هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ ٱلسَّكِينَةَ فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوٓا۟ إِيمَـٰنًا مَّعَ إِيمَـٰنِهِمْ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا.هُوَ ٱلَّذِىٓ أَنزَلَ ٱلسَّكِينَةَ فِى قُلُوبِ ٱلْمُؤْمِنِينَ لِيَزْدَادُوٓا۟ إِيمَـٰنًا مَّعَ إِيمَـٰنِهِمْ ۗ وَلِلَّهِ جُنُودُ ٱلسَّمَـٰوَٰتِ وَٱلْأَرْضِ ۚ وَكَانَ ٱللَّهُ عَلِيمًا حَكِيمًا

“He is the One Who sent down serenity upon the hearts of the believers so that they may increase even more in their faith. To Allah (alone) belong the forces of the heavens and the earth. And Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise.”

(Surah Al-Fath, 4:4)


 

اللّهُمّ انْصُرْ إِخْوَانَنَا اْلمُسْتَضْعَفِيْنَ فِي رَفَح وَفِي غَزّةَ وَفِيْ فِلِسْطِيْنَ وَفِيْ كُلِّ مَكَانٍ، يَا أَرْحَمَ الرّاحِمِيْنَ

O Allah, aid our vulnerable brothers and sisters in Rafah, in Gaza and in Palestine, and in all places, O Most Merciful of the Merciful.

Ameen

Read: Duas for Palestine

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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