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In my last column, I wrote about the teachings of Islam that appealed to the downtrodden and the marginalized of the society. Prophet Muhammad enacted those teachings himself in practice and trained his devout followers to bring about a sea change within themselves. The whole of Arabia had accepted the message of equality of human race and that of male and female.

Finally, Muhammad's mission was coming to an end. So he decided to go for the annual pilgrimage during the Hajj season. There, over a 100,000 devotees had gathered. While mounted on his camel at Mount Love (Jabal Al-Rahma) he gave his farewell sermon to the great sea of believers gathered at the Plains of Gnosis (Arafat,) who were listening intently to his last will and testament. He presented the sum total of the teachings of Islam as the final message of God to humanity. This was the Charter of Human Rights declared 14 centuries ago.

He said:

O men, what I say to you, you must hear and remember. All Muslims are as brethren to one another. All of you are equal.

All men, whatever nation or tribe they may belong to, and whatever station in life they may hold, are equal.

All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab nor a non-Arab over an Arab; also, a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black over a white, except by piety and good action.

Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. You are as brothers.

Even as this month is sacred, this land inviolate and this day holy, so has God made the lives, property and honor of every man sacred. To take any man's life or his property, or attack his honor, is as unjust and wrong as to violate the sacredness of this day, this month and this territory.

What I command you today is not meant only for today. You are expected to remember it and to act upon it until you leave this world and go to the next to meet your Maker.

What I have said to you, you should communicate to the ends of the earth. Maybe those who have not heard me may benefit by it more than those who have heard.

These are very trying times in America. The scourge of covid-19 has brought us to our knees. Christians, Muslims, Jews and Hindus all are praying hard that the world be rid of this virus soon. Scientists and those in the medical profession have put their utmost effort to find a cure, a vaccine, for it. Almost 190,000 precious lives have been lost just in the U.S. Yes, we have changed our lives in ways that could not have been imagined a few months ago. However, this is also the time we need to reflect on our own overt and covert acts and thoughts of racism. Our God, the supreme being of all religions, is a compassionate God. We are His children, equal in His eyes. Let us pay special attention to the last will and testament of Prophet Muhammad, who brought the final message of God to humanity.

Hameed Naseem is the General Secretary of the Tulsa Chapter of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, USA. He is also the faculty adviser of Al-Islam Students Association, a registered student organization at the University of Arkansas. Contact him at [email protected]

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