The final will of Imam Ali (p) contains some of those most important pieces of…
The words and instructions of the most perfect of creations, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh&hp) contain wisdom and insights that have the potential to change our lives. Even though time separates us from the presence of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp), his advice still offers lessons to those who reflect upon it. God states about the Prophet, “The Messenger of [God] is certainly a good example for those of you who have hope in [God] and in the Day of Judgment and who remember [God] very often.”1 Thus, it is important that we reflect upon his wisdom and insights. And among the most profound words uttered by God’s final messenger are those in his final advice to his community. His final public address, known as the Prophet’s Sermon in the Farewell Hajj, consists of a series of instructions for all of humanity in terms of how to live a life that is God – centric.
Building a Community
A great deal of the prophetic advice in this sermon speaks to the importance of community, unity, and brotherhood. When the Prophet is offering advice to his community during this incredibly important sermon, he begins by advising them to fulfill their trusts, by talking about the importance of honoring one another’s dignity, and by speaking of laws that govern a successful community [the laws of blood money and property, for instance].2 The Messenger of God made great strides during his prophethood in the elimination of the social diseases facing the community, such as idolatry, wars and battles, burying infants alive, and mistreatment of women. And this sermon of the Prophet once again reiterates the importance of building a progressive community.
Hadith al-Thaqalayn (Narration of the Two Weighty Things)
At the center of the sermon lies a piece of advice that the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) proclaimed on numerous occasions. It is vital to recognize that in this sermon that is one of his final public statements, he repeats the message, “I have left among you [two valuable things] which will never lead you astray if you adhere to them. They are the Book of God and my family—my household. Oh God, be the witness!”3 Earlier in the sermon, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) mentions that, “I may not meet you all in the next year in this situation [(meaning alive)],”4 and in this part of his address, he offers the community a way to attain success in this life and the next even without his blessed presence. This way to success is to hold steadfast to the teachings of the Holy Quran and his infallible family (pbut).
Eradication of Racism
Later in the sermon the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) speaks to the communal issue of pride and racism. He states, “Oh people, your Lord is One… and you all are from Adam, and Adam was created from dust. The best of you [in the eyes of God] is the most God-fearing. Except by means of piety, no Arab person is preferred to a non-Arab. Have I conveyed [so that you understand]? [Those in attendance] must convey this to the absent.”5 Reminding ourselves that we can all trace our lineage back to Prophet Adam (p) and that we all came from dust and we will return to dust is a humbling experience. But all too often, pride overcomes our hearts and we act arrogantly with others because of where we come from or the color of our skin. Hence, the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) emphasizes the fact that we are all humans, and no one is better than anyone else.
Bits of Advice
1. Be God conscious: After his initial praises of God, the first piece of advice delivered by the Prophet was, “Oh servants of God, I command you to be God-Conscious and advise you to obey Him. I begin with [in the name of] God, who is the source of everything good.”6 We should make sure to do all that God has made obligatory for us (praying, fasting, and being good to our parents, for instance) and stay away from all that he prohibited us from doing (lying or backbiting, for example).
2. Hold steadfast to the Holy Quran and the Ahl al-Bayt (pbut): Among the most important pieces of advice from the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp) is the tradition of the two weighty things as mentioned earlier. It is important to honor both dimensions of this prophetic advice. We should spend time in contemplation of the Holy Quran just as much as we gather in commemoration of the Ahl al-Bayt. This way, we will be holding onto both weighty things.
3. Maintain a sense of brotherhood: As mentioned above, in this final address of the Holy Prophet (pbuh&hp), he advised his followers of the importance of maintaining a sense of community. He states, “O people, the believers are each other’s’ brothers.”7 It is important for us to spend time reconciling our differences, spending time with one another, and socially benefiting from each other’s presence.
1. The Holy Quran 33:21, Muhammad Sarwar’s translation.
2. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 73, p. 348.
3. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 73, p. 350.
4. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 73, p. 349.
5. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 73, p. 350.
6. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 73, p. 348.
7. Bihar al-anwar, vol. 73, pg. 350.