The Final Sermon: Fraternity of Humanity

The words of our beloved Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) are full of rich lessons. Among them is his address during the farewell Hajj. This is the thirteenth in a series of articles on The Prophet’s Last Sermon, Lessons for Humanity.

“O people, your Lord is One, and your father is one. All of you are from Adam, and Adam was from earth.”

Here, there is a wider call to the wider fraternity, which is the fraternity of the human being. What is your identity as a believer? You are a servant of God. How do you identify any other believer? They are a servant of God. How do you view the other human being? They are the creation of Allah – they are human beings.

وَلَقَدۡ كَرَّمۡنَا بَنِیۤ ءَادَمَ 

“Verily We have loftily honored the offspring of Adam” [Quran, 17:70; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

In that sense, you are the same as them. You are a human being and they are a human being. The greatest honor is that you are a believer. The broader honor is that you are a human being. But broader than that, you are a creation.  Everything else is creation which is why we do not harm even inanimate objects.

Charity in Creation

In every living thing and every inanimate object, there is charity. What is a charity? That you do not harm it, that you fulfill its rights, and that you do good concerning it. If you are walking down the street and you see bread lying around, pick it up, put it in a high place and intend that birds and others eat it.

There is all this legislation going around now to recognize the rights of land, water and all these things. It is nothing new for us. Just learn your religion. Religion is caring for good. Religion is sincere concern. 

The point is, Adam being from dust is that the salvific, Adamic quality, the distinguishing quality of Prophet Adam (upon him be peace) was his humility. He was created in paradise but to be on earth. Prophet Adam (upon him be peace) committed no sin. He acted in good faith. He believed the person who came to him. 

The descent of Adam was an ascent towards the fulfillment of his purpose. When he felt that he did not quite do what was most pleasing to his Lord, he sought Allah’s forgiveness.

قَالَا رَبَّنَا ظَلَمۡنَاۤ أَنفُسَنَا وَإِن لَّمۡ تَغۡفِرۡ لَنَا وَتَرۡحَمۡنَا لَنَكُونَنَّ مِنَ ٱلۡخَـٰسِرِینَ

“They said, ‘Our Lord, we have wronged ourselves, and if You do not forgive us and show us mercy, we shall be of the wholly ruined.’” [Quran, 7:23; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld]

But he did not wrong himself, he did not sin. He acted in good faith, but this is his humility. That is the distinction between Adam (upon him be peace) and Satan. Pride was the ultimate fall of Iblis:

أَنَا۠ خَيْرٌۭ مِّنْهُ

“’I am better than he” [Quran, 7:12; tr. Keller, Quran Beheld] 

Acting with humility brings people together. Whether in family, in communities, in society, or humanity. Not to think one is better than the other, that is the basis of racism, “I am better than him, we are better than them.” That is Satanic.

Have Humility

You only have virtue to the extent that you have faith and its virtues, to the extent you have mindfulness (taqwa) and act accordingly, to the extent that you have humility and act accordingly. Anytime you make your ascription of faith of pride and arrogance over others, this is from the misguided ways of many of those before us. 

Have humility with others. Yes, we behold the gift and honor of faith, but we want the good for others. We do not approach the Christian, Jew person, Hindu or atheist that “I’m better than him.” How do you know you are better than him? Actions are by the ending.

You have no blessing except that it is from Allah. You do not deserve it. Nobody deserves it. It is a pure gift. How do you know you will preserve it?