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The Prophet's last sermon: part II

Cont'd - 

"Oh People, just as you regard this month, this day, this city as Sacred, so regard the life and property of every Muslim as a sacred trust. Return the goods entrusted to you to their rightful owners. Treat others justly so that no one would be unjust to you. Remember that you will indeed meet your Lord, and that He will indeed reckon your deeds. God has forbidden you to take usury (riba), therefore all riba obligation shall henceforth be waived. Your capital, however, is yours to keep. You will neither inflict nor suffer inequity. God has judged that there shall be no riba and that all the riba due to `Abbas ibn `Abd al Muttalib shall henceforth be waived." The Prophet continues his message with an important concept. He warns people against jealousy. Jealousy drives crimes and ruins people. The Prophet says that one's property, one's life and one's honor are his to keep: no one can strip him of what is bestowed upon him by God. God gives us life, God gives us material things and it is God who grants us honor/respect. If one is happy with what he has, he will not covet what another has-- therefore will have no reason to usurp anyone's property, to blemish his or her honor or to take his or her life. This may sound irrelevant to us living in North America. Can we so easily take someone's life? Can we ensnare his property or tarnish his honor? Maybe not. Stretch your imaginations. We drive recklessly not even thinking twice about a life we could take in the process. We fail to give our share of charity, which could have helped a child live another day. And of course, there are those who kill. There are those who steal, as well. And there are those who blackmail, slander and rape-- take someone's honor. Therefore, these three crimes are the principal causes of disorder and on a larger scale, war, in the world.

Lastly, he warns against economic exploitation. Usury makes the rich richer and the poor poorer, therefore it is prohibited in Islam. In Chapter 2, verse 276-78, God commands, “God will deprive usury of the blessing, but will give increase for deeds of charity: For he loveth not creatures ungrateful and wicked… O ye who believe! Fear God, and give up what remains of your demand for usury, if ye are indeed believers.” It urges all to “give up” the demands of usury for fear of Allah. There could be no greater justification for doing so. 


  • Sam Crunchie 5 years ago

    Shima: Thanks for your beautiful and revealing article. Unfortunately in the scriptures and traditions of many religions many good things are supported but the way many adherents practice their religions are indeed contrary to their faith. Islam does not teach oppression of females yet such oppression is a reality in many Islamic countries. Christians in many ways have been guilty of the same offense. You speak of the distaste that God has for the practice of usury as does the Jewish-Christian tradition, yet I cannot imagine our society functioning without the practice of charging interest. Credit card companies in our country practice the worst form of usury (unreasonably high rates of interest) that most of us will ever see in our lifetimes. The depths of human misery created by such practices in these times are becoming more noticeable everyday.