In the tenth year after Hijrah (632 CE), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) sat out in a journey from Medina to Mecca in order to perform pilgrimage for the first and last time in his whole life. On the ninth day of Dhul Hijjah, known as the Day of Arafa, he (PBUH) delivered a speech that came later to be known as the “farewell sermon”. Investigating this speech, one may consider it a milestone provision for human rights and universal values. In this historic sermon, the Prophet (PBUH) underlined some core values, instructing Muslims to abandon extremism of all forms.
He commenced his sermon with praising Allah and informing people of how important their gathering was, noting that it could be the last in his lifetime. He immediately afterwards emphasized the sacredness of human life, stating, “Verily your blood, your property and your honor are as sacred and inviolable as the sanctity of this day of yours, in this month of yours and in this town of yours.” Here, he (PBUH) stresses the sanctity of people’s lives, wealth and honor and notifies his companions, and all Muslims by extension, of the sanctity of human life by comparing it to things whose sanctity they know well: the sacred city of Mecca, the sacred month of Dhul-Hijjah and the sacred day of Arafa.
Recently, the terrorist and extremist groups have been spreading chaos and destruction all the world over. They adopt an approach that is based on instilling fear in people’s hearts. For trivial reasons, they commit massacres and burn people alive. In fact, this was the very practice that prevailed during the pre-Islamic period of ignorance. During this period, people were used to killing each other for frivolous causes. For instance, two Arab tribes fought each other for about 40 years because of a she-camel. This is why Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) underlined the prohibition of killing people and warned them against indulging in bloodshed.
Accordingly, we find that these deviant groups do not, in fact, follow the rulings of Islam and the teachings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), but rather consistently fuel the feelings of hatred and divide people into two groups: first, followers and supporters whose lives are protected and second, enemies who should be killed, even if they make up the rest of the world’s population.
In these blessed days, we should remember all these good meanings which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) used to highlight and preach. Moreover, it is clearly stated in the Qur’an that whoever saves a life is counted as if he saved the entire humanity and whoever kills only one human being is viewed as if he destroyed the entire humanity. This is the divine scale under which not only Muslims are protected, but also all human beings, regardless of their religion, race, ethnicity, etc.