Though we tend to think of him as the one who “founded” a new religion consisting of rituals and acts of worship, the fact is that he brought forth a social revolution in the span of 23 years. The issues he discussed were unheard of in all of Arabia and possibly in the entire world at the time. More than just a set of religious commandments, he emphasized social, racial and gender equality and human rights. Following is a small sample from the sermon.
On the subject of social justice and racial equality:
He reminded everyone that we are all children of Adam, thus belonging to a single large family. There is only one race-the human race.
All mankind is from Adam and Eve. An Arab has no superiority over a non-Arab, nor a non-Arab has any superiority over an Arab; also a white has no superiority over a black, nor a black has any superiority over white except by piety and good action.
This is one lesson that is true to this date. We can deduce that Americans have no superiority over Non Americans and vice versa, Chinese have no superiority over Non Chinese and vice versa. Africans have no superiority over Non Africans and vice versa. The only thing that separates us is our piety and good actions.
We are accountable for our deeds:
He realized he did not have much time left and reminded everyone to stay the course after he is gone. Whether he is among us or gone, he reminded everyone that one day we will have to account for our actions (or inactions), therefore we must guard ourselves constantly against temptations and injustice.
Remember, one day you will appear before God (The Creator) and you will answer for your deeds. So beware, do not stray from the path of righteousness after I am gone.
This portion of the sermon is all the more remarkable when we consider the 7th century milieu and the androgenic societies of his time throughout the world, not just in Arabia, where women had practically no rights. He declared that husband and wives are partners, each having rights over the other. This may not be in line with the 21st century thinking, but the men are financially responsible for provision of food, clothing and a home for their women.
O People, it is true that you have certain rights over your women, but they also have rights over you. Remember that you have taken them as your wives only under God’s trust and with His permission. If they abide by your right then to them belongs the right to be fed and clothed in kindness. Treat your women well and be kind to them, for they are your partners and committed helpers.
Muslims are brethren
Speaking more specifically about the Muslims, he reminded that Muslims are but one community, whether they are white or black, rich or poor, educated or illiterate.
Learn that every Muslim is a brother to every Muslim and that the Muslims constitute one brotherhood. Nothing shall be legitimate to a Muslim which belongs to a fellow Muslim unless it was given freely and willingly. Do not, therefore, do injustice to yourselves.
The sermon was meant as a guide for people of all times
He asked the audience of about 100,000 Hujjaj not to keep his words to themselves but asked them to pass this on to others. In fact he indicated that the people who were not present at the time might be the ones who will understand his words better!
All those who listen to me shall pass on my words to others and those to others again; and may the last ones understand my words better than those who listen to me directly. Be my witness O God, that I have conveyed your message to your people.