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The Prophet's last sermon: part III


He continues, then, to speak of culture versus religion. A custom that has no justification, islamically, has no relevance. "Oh Believers! Keep in mind that I trample upon all the past deeds committed during the pre-Islamic period of Jahiliyah (ignorance). All the disputes arising out of murders committed during Jahilliyah stand written off and I disclaim the blood of the first murder of a person from my own family and declare that Hadhail who murdered Ibn Rabi'ah Ibn al-Harith is pardoned and there is nothing against him." He mentions that he "tramples" upons all such customs under his feet, for they make no sense. Customs such as female infenticide, honor killings, and caravan raidings existed in pre-Islamic Arabia. Revenge is not an act of valor, instead the Prophet models the act of forgiveness by mentioning names of family members who have committed such acts of ignorance.


He talks about usury: "The usury of the period of Jahiliyah is annulled. I annul the first usury of my family, namely the usury of Abbas Ibn-e-Abdil Muttalib. That usury stands completely cancelled." What good is a leader who harbors double standards? The Prophet shows here that he preaches what he says. In the Qur'an, Allah says "Oh you who believe! Why say that which you do not? Greivously odious is it in the sight of Allah that you say that which you do not" (61:2-3). He cancels the usury of a known loan, so that his followers may do the same because usury/interest is an economic exploitation that has destroyed countries.

"Oh Believers! Stand in awe of Allah in taking care of your wives for they were solemnized as your wives in the holy name of Allah and it is the divine word which permitted your conjugal relationship with them. You have a claim upon your wives that they do not allow anyone else on your bed, the presence of any other person would be totally disagreeable to you. But if they fail to obey, you may chastize them to the level of invisible thrashing. Your wives have a reciprocal claim upon you to receive proper food and dress and living." The Prophet says that we "stand in awe of Allah" while "taking care of your wives," to emphasize how important this relation of marriage is. Allah is closely watching a wife and a husband. It is a covenant signed in front of God, for the sake of God. The husband and wife both take this vow to care for each other and they must follow through.Abusing and chastising a wife is strictly forbidden in Islam. In turn, a woman's wealth is her modesty- she needs to protect the honor of herself, and her husband. Women ought to be given the reverence and respect that is due to her, which has been denied to her by the societal conventions.


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