The Farewell Pilgrimage (Hujjat al-wada) was the last and only Hajj pilgrimage of Prophet Muhammad [saw], in 632 CE (10 AH).
Prophet Muhammad [saw] met with Archangel Gabriel every Ramadan and read the verses which had been revealed up until then. In the month of Ramadan during the 10th year after the emigration (631), Gabriel said that they would read the Holy Quran twice. The Prophet understood this to mean that his life was coming to an end, and informed his daughter Fatima of this. The Prophet would perform itiqaf (retreating to a place to fast for the sole purpose of worshipping Allah) for ten days during the month of Ramadan, but in this last year, he performed itiqaf for twenty days.
An overview of the farewell pilgrimage (Hajj) of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him.
Then came the revelation of Surah Nasr:
Rasulullah [saw] understood that Allah was pleased with his modest work and gaining the impression of his approaching end, he announced his intention to perform Hajj, the ultimate ritual of every Muslim. He advised his Sahaba (R.A.) to do likewise.
The Holy Prophet [saw] began to prepare for pilgrimage in the same year (10, 632) and told everyone to join him. Accompanied by his wives and his daughter Fatima, he set out in the month of Dhu al-Qi’dah 26, year 10 (February 23, 632) with Muslims composed of residents of Medina immigrants, the Companions, and the tribes that had come to Medina. He put on the ihram (clothing consisting of white cloth, with no stitches, which pilgrims wear) in Zulhulayfa.
Since Mecca had embraced Islam, and the Battle of Tabuk had ended, most of the Arabian Peninsula was under Muhammad’s leadership, and there was a record high attendance to the pilgrimage.
He reached Mecca on the fourth day of the month of Dhu al-Hijjah on his camel, called Qasva (Qusva), accompanied by more people who had joined him on the way. After performing the pilgrimage, he stayed in a tent set up for him in the Abtah region. On 4 of Dhu al-Hijjah, a Thursday, he left Mecca, went to Mina, and spent the night there. On 9 of Dhu al-Hijjah, a Friday, he set out for Arafat after the sunrise, going along the Muzdalifa road and spent the night in a tent in Namira which he had asked to be set up. In the afternoon he made his famous speech, known as the Farewell Sermon, to a crowd of over 120,000 Companions in the valley of Arafat.
Then the Prophet finished the pilgrimage with the immigrants and residents of Medina and taught the Muslims how to perform this worship and then returned back to Medina.
The Farewell Sermon
Muhammad [saw] led the pilgrims from Mecca through the Valley of Mina and up to the Mountain of Arafat and then stopped them in the Valley of Uranah. They stood in front of him silently as he sat on his camel and delivered his Farewell Sermon.
This memorable speech outlines five basic principles of the Islamic programme of action, two of them work on the level of the individual and three relate to the structure of Islamic society. Islam moulds the character of the Muslim on the basis of two fundamental principles:
1– Islam severs all ties which a Muslim has with Ignorance, or Jahiliyyah, its idols, practices, financial dealings, usury transactions and so on, because the adoption of the religion of Islam means a start of a new life for a Muslim which is completely divorced from the erroneous ways of the past.
2– To guard against all forms of sin. The effects of sin are far more serious than the danger presented by any enemy in battle. The Prophet also made it clear that he did not mean by sin the sinking back into idolatrous worship.
The Prophet has also outlined three basic principles on which Islamic society is founded:
- The tie of Islamic brotherhood molds the proper relationship between all Muslims. It is this brotherhood that makes every Muslim a patron of every other Muslim, giving him whatever help he can.
- Supporting the weak so that their weakness does not make the whole society vulnerable. One should note in particular how the Prophet stressed the importance of being kind to women since they are the weaker element in society.
- The cooperation between an Islamic government and the members of an Islamic society to achieve the proper implementation of Islamic law which works for the removal of all evil from society and its replacement with what is good. Short as it was, the Prophet’s speech included all the principles which are needed for the molding of the perfect believer in Islam and the perfect Muslim society.
Some Lessons from the Prophet's (saws) Farewell Pilgrimage
Excerpted from: – Madinan Society at the Time of the Prophet by Dr. Akram Diya Al Umari © IIIT – Masaa’il Muhimma `an il-`Umrah wa’l-Hajj by Muhammad Jameel Zeeno Hajj is one of the five pillars of Islam and was made obligatory in the tenth, ninth or sixth year, according to different reports [Ibn Kathir, al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 5/109]. In the tenth year the Prophet, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, announced that he intended to perform hajj; this was the only time that he performed hajj after the Hijrah to Madinah. The Muslims came from all over the Arabian Peninsula to perform hajj with him. He left Madinah five days before the end of Dhu al Qa`dah [Ibn Hajar, Fath al Bari, 8/104; Ibn Ishaq, with a hasan isnad (Sirat ibn Hisham, 4/272). Ibn Kathir, al Bidayah wa al Nihayah, 5/111. This is the same as Ibn Ishaq’s report. He said, “Its isnad is jayyid.”]. When he halted in Arafat, the following ayah was revealed to him: “…This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion…” (Al Ma’idah 5:4) [Sahih al Bukhari, Fath al Bari, 8/108]
The Muslims learned the rituals of the hajj from the Prophet (sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam) when he said: “Take your rituals from me.” His hajj was full of laws pertaining to the shari`ah, especially matters pertaining to the hajj, and general advice and laws which were mentioned in the Sermon of Arafat. For this reason, the scholars showed great interest in the farewell pilgrimage and derived many laws from it, dealing with the rituals of hajj and other matters, of which the books of fiqh and hadith explanation are full. Some of the scholars wrote books dealing specifically with the farewell pilgrimage.
A large gathering of Muslims participated in the event. They listened to the farewell sermon Khutbat al Wadaa’ which he gave at Arafat in the middle of the Ayyam al Tashriq (three days following the tenth of Dhu al-Hijjah).
“Verily your blood and your property are as sacred and inviolable as the sacredness of this day of yours, in this month of yours, in this land 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`ah ibn al Harith. And the usury riba of the pre-Islamic period is abolished, and the first of our usury I abolish is that of `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib, for it is all abolished. Fear God concerning women! Verily you have taken them on the security of God, and intercourse with them has been made lawful unto you by words of God. You too have rights over them, and 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 God, 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 bear witness that you have conveyed (the message), discharged (the ministry of Prophethood) and given wise (sincere) counsel.” He (the narrator) said: “He (the Prophet) then raised his forefinger toward the sky and pointed it at the people (and said): “O God, bear witness, O God, bear witness.” [The report is from Sahih Muslim, 4/38-43, from the hadith of Jabir ibn `Abd Allah. Al Shaykh Muhammad Nasir al Din al Albani made some brief additions to it, from other books of hadith which narrated the hadith of Jabir with some sahih additions (Hijjat alNabi, pp. 71-73). See the report of Jabir in Hadith in Hijjat al-Nabii, 38-41. See part of the khutbah in Sahih al Bukhari, Fath al Bari, 8/108). Ibn Ishaq mentioned the long text of the farewell khutbah without isnad. Imam Ahmad mentioned the long text of the khutbah of the farewell pilgrimage, which was given in the middle of the Ayyam al Tashriq. Its isnad includes `Ali ibn Zayd ibn Jad`aan, who al Hafiz ibn Hajar, in al Taqrib, said was weak. Al Bannaa said, “Al Bazzar narrated a similar report with the same meaning from Ibn `Umar with a different isnad.” The Imams of hadith narrated parts of it in their books, in different chapters, through sahih isnads; and Allah knows best. (Al Fath al Rabbani, 279-281)]
He delivered another sermon at Mina, when he said, “Do not return to Kufr, killing one another, after I am gone.” [Sahih al Bukhari, Fath al Bari, 8/107; Muslim, Sahih, 1/82] [End of excerpt from Dr `Umari’s work]
From Benefits of this Great Sermon:
[Adapted from Masaa’il Muhimma `an il-`Umrah wa’l-Hajj by Muhammad Jameel Zeeno]
Prohibition of shedding innocent blood, and taking of wealth without right, which stresses Islam’s protection of souls. Nullification of validity of actions of Jahiliyyah Prohibition of taking Riba (usury and interest), which is an increase on the principal, whether small or large. Allah the Most High says: “But if you repent, you may have your capital.” [Al Baqarah (2:279)] Admonition to fulfill and give women their rights, and to deal with them in goodness. Many authentic hadeeths have been narrated in this regard, which elucidate their rights and warn against taking them unjustly. Advice to strongly cling to the Book of Allah, in which lies the honor of Muslims and their victory. Likewise, the order to stick to the Sunnah, which explains the Qur’an, for verily the reason for Muslims’ weakness today is their leaving of judging by the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger. There will be no victory for Muslims except by returning to these two Sources. Testimony of the Companions that the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, conveyed the message, discharged his trust and counseled the Ummah. Order to take rituals of Hajj and other rituals from the Prophet’s sayings, actions and tacit agreements. Subtle indication that the Prophet’s farewell would soon come. Warning against fighting and killing among Muslims, which is disbelief in action, which does not take one out of the fold of Islam, as in his, sallallahu `alaihi wa sallam, saying: “Cursing a Muslim is fusooq, and fighting him is kufr.” [Agreed upon]
This Hajj is sometimes called “The Farewell Hajj”. Others have called it the “Hajj of the Annunciation” and others, the “Hajj of Islam”. In reality, Rasulullah’s Hajj was all these at once. It was the “Farewell Hajj: because Rasulullah saw Makkah and the holy Haram for the last time. It was also the “Hajj of Islam” because Allah completed His religion for the benefit of mankind and granted them His total blessing. Finally, it was also the “Hajj of Annunciation” because Rasulullah completed his announcement and conveyance to the people of what had been commanded by Allah to announce and to convey.