With Allah’s Name, The Merciful Benefactor, The Merciful Redeemer
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)
(570 CE – 632 CE)
Prophet Muhammad's (PBUH) Last Sermon
Date delivered: 632 CE, 9th day of Dhul al Hijjah, 10 A.H. in the 'Uranah valley of Mount Arafat.
After praising, and thanking God, he said: "O People, listen well to my words, for I do not know whether, after this year, I shall ever be amongst you again. Therefore listen to what I am saying to you very carefully and TAKE THESE WORDS TO THOSE WHO COULD NOT BE PRESENT HERE TODAY.
"O 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.
Every right arising out of homicide in pre-Islamic days is henceforth waived and the first such right that I waive is that arising from the murder of Rabi`ah ibn al Harith ibn `Abd al Muttalib.
O Men, the Unbelievers indulge in tampering with the calendar in order to make permissible that which God forbade, and to forbid that which God has made permissible. With God the months are twelve in number. Four of them are sacred, three of these are successive and one occurs singly between the months of Jumada and Sha`ban. Beware of the devil, for the safety of your religion. He has lost all hope that he will ever be able to lead you astray in big things, so beware of following him in small things.
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. It is your right and they do not make friends with anyone of whom you do not approve, as well as never to be unchaste...
O People, listen to me in earnest, worship God (The One Creator of the Universe), perform your five daily prayers (Salah), fast during the month of Ramadan, and give your financial obligation (zakah) of your wealth. Perform Hajj if you can afford to.
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. 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.
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.
O People, NO PROPHET OR MESSENGER WILL COME AFTER ME AND NO NEW FAITH WILL BE BORN. Reason well, therefore, O People, and understand words which I convey to you. I am leaving you with the Book of God (the QUR'AN*) and my SUNNAH (the life style and the behavioral mode of the Prophet), if you follow them you will never go astray.
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."
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Honorable Elijah Muhammad
In dedication to enslaved Africans who were Muslim:
The US census has a record of approximately 300 slaves that had a Muslim surname who fought during the Civil War for freedom.
Throughout all these irritating questions, I try to keep my cool. I keep the frustrated comments, I want to utter, in my head, smile, and move on. However, what I want to tell them is Islam came to West Africa not too long after the 10th century. My ancestors were traders and this was how Islam came to us in Mandinga. Islam has always been a religion of business. Furthermore, this also means that many West Africans were exposed to Islam before it was spread to Europe during the Ottoman empire and America via the Moriscos and the Transatlantic slaves.
According to Lost Islamic History, one example of an African Muslim who brought Islam to America is Bilali Muhammad. There are also others like Ayub Job Djallo, Yarrow Mamood, Ibrahim Abdulrahman ibn Sori, Ummar ibn Sayyid, (Omar ibn Said) and Sali Bilali.
One of the many Muslim slaves taken to America was Bilali Muhammad. He was from the Fulbe tribe and was born around 1770 in the city of Timbo, in what is now Guinea. He came from a well-educated family, and received a high level of education himself in Africa before being captured as a slave sometime in the late 1700s. He was fluent in the Fula language along with Arabic, and had knowledge of high level Islamic studies, including Hadith, Shari’ah, and Tafsir. How he was captured is unknown, but he was originally taken to an island plantation in the Caribbean, and by 1802, he arrived at Sapelo Island, off the coast of Georgia in the southern United States.
At Sapelo Island, Bilali was fortunate enough to have Thomas Spalding as a slave owner. While conditions across the South were horrendous for slaves, who were forced to work throughout the day and were commonly denied such basic necessities as clothes and stable shelter, Spalding gave certain freedoms to those he enslaved that were absent elsewhere. He did not push the slaves to work more than six hours per day, had no white slave drivers, and even allowed his Muslim slaves to practice their religion openly, a rare freedom in the deeply Christian South. Bilali was even allowed to construct a small mosque on the plantation, which very well may have been the first mosque in North America.
Because of Bilali’s relatively high level of education, he rose to the top of the enslaved community, and was relied upon by his owner to take care of much of the administration of the plantation and the Africans who were enslaved. Perhaps the most remarkable account of Bilali Muhammad’s leadership and trustworthiness occurred during the War of 1812 between the United States and the United Kingdom. Spalding reportedly left the plantation with his family, fearing a British attack, and put Bilali in charge of the plantation’s defense. He even gave Bilali 80 muskets to defend the island with, which were distributed among the plantation’s Muslim population. Bilali kept true to his word and managed the plantation while his owner was gone and turned it back over to Spalding after the war. The fact that a slave owner trusted those he enslaved so much as to give them control of the plantation along with weapons speaks volumes about the character and trustworthiness of Bilali Muhammad.
Ayuba Suleiman Diallo
Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, a Fulani Muslims from Senegambia was kidnapped from their homeland and transported to Annapolis, Maryland, where he was sold. He lived a long life, regained his freedom, and, quite remakably, had his portrait painted.
The was Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, a merchant and scholar who was seized by his enemies in Africa and sold to a British slave ship captain in 1731. After being sold again as a slave in Maryland he managed to secure his freedom just two years later and get back to Africa. The story of his life was published, and it is now regarded as the first of the so-called “slave narratives” printed in England. The most famous of these slave narratives was the autobiography of Olaudah Equiano (c. 1745–1797), but that was written almost fifty years after Ayuba Suleiman’s story had already reached the public. Ayuba Suleiman Diallo was so famous in his time that he had his portrait painted while he was visiting England. One of the two known original versions of this painting is in the collection of the Jamestown-Yorktown Foundation and will be exhibited in the American Revolution Museum at Yorktown galleries, which will open in late 2016.
Yarrow Mamout’s story is much less well known, and we probably would not know his name at all if it were not for the fact that his portrait was painted. There is little we can say about his life before he arrived in Annapolis in 1752 aboard the slave ship Elijah, a ship advertised as coming “directly from the Coast of Africa.” Yarrow Mamout was purchased by the prominent Beall family of Montgomery County Maryland, and passed as a slave by inheritance through estates of several Beall family members until he finally was freed in 1796. Although Yarrow Mamout had spent over forty years as a slave, he made the most of his freedom. Before his death in 1824 he became a property owner in Georgetown and an influential member of the rapidly growing Free Black community in Washington, D.C. In 1819 famous American artist Charles Willson Peale painted Yarrow Mamout’s portrait, and three years later James Alexander Simpson did another portrait of him. These portraits are rare cultural treasures just like the much earlier portraits of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo, because even in the early 19th century African ex-slaves were almost never the subject of portraits.
It is an intriguing historical coincidence that two of the best-known images of African enslaved are of men who first set foot on the North American continent in almost the same place, the docks of the small colonial port town of Annapolis, Maryland. This coincidence is compounded by the fact that both men were Muslims who came out of the same West African cultural background. The stories of Ayuba Suleiman Diallo and Yarrow Mamout provide a fascinating insight into a subject we still know very little about, the personal lives of enslaved Africans.
Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori
Abdulrahman Ibrahim Ibn Sori (a.k.a. Abdul Rahman) who was a former prince from West Africa, captured, brought to America and enslaved. He was born in Timbo, West Africa, which is present day Guinea.
His father was a wealthy King who sent Abdulrahman in 1774 to study in Timbuktu at the prestigious Sankore University, an intellectual and spiritual capital and centre for the propagation of Islam throughout Africa in the 15th and 16th centuries.
Abdulrahman was captured by warring tribes and sold to slave traders in 1788 at the age of 26. He was bought by a Natchez, Mississippi, cotton and tobacco farmer, named Thomas Foster.
He spent many years as Foster's slave but never forgot his royal past. God set a plan in motion that would eventually alter his circumstances. God enabled him to cross paths with a European white man and former friend from his past in Africa.
The gentlemen was so amazed and outraged that this former Prince was being held a slave, he offered to buy Abdulrahman but his mean and surly master, Thomas Foster refused to sell or grant him freedom.
In 1794 Abdulrahman married Isabella, another slave of Foster’s, and eventually fathered a large family.
In 1826, Abdul-Rahman wrote a letter to his relatives in Africa. A local newspaperman, Andrew Marschalk, who was Dutch, sent the letter to United States Senator Thomas Reed from Mississippi who was then in town at the time, who forwarded it to the U.S. Consulate in Morocco. Since Abdul-Rahman wrote in Arabic, Marschalk and the U.S. government assumed that he was a Moor. After the Sultan of Morocco Abderrahmane read the letter, he asked President Adams and Secretary of State Henry Clay to release Abdul-Rahman. In 1829, Thomas Foster agreed to the release of Abdul-Rahman, without payment, with the stipulation that he return to Africa and not live as a free man in America.
He eventually returned to Africa after spending 40 years as a slave but died before reaching his actual homeland.
In 1977, history professor Terry Alford documented the life of Ibn Sori in "Prince Among Slaves", the first full account of his life, pieced together from first-person accounts and historical documents.
PBS is currently airing a documentary titled "Prince among Slaves", portraying the life of Abdul Rahman Ibrahim. It is a must see.
Omar ibn Said
Omar ibn Said was born in present-day Senegal in Futa Tooro, a region along the Middle Senegal River in West Africa, to a wealthy family. He was an Islamic scholar and a Fula who spent 25 years of his life studying with prominent Muslim scholars, learning subjects ranging from arithmetic to theology in Africa. In 1807, he was captured during a military conflict, enslaved and taken across the Atlantic Ocean to the United States. He escaped from a cruel master in Charleston, South Carolina, and journeyed to Fayetteville, North Carolina. There he was recaptured and later sold to James Owen. Said lived into his mid-nineties and was still enslaved at the time of his death in 1864. He was buried in Bladen County, North Carolina. Omar ibn Said was also known as Uncle Moreau and Prince Omeroh.
Although Omar converted to Christianity on December 3, 1820, many modern scholars believe he continued to be a practicing Muslim, based on dedications to Muhammad written in his Bible, and a card dated 1857 on which he wrote Surat An-Nasr, a short sura which refers to the conversion of non-Muslims to Islam 'in multitudes.' The back of this card contains another person's handwriting in English misidentifying the sura as the Lord's Prayer and attesting to Omar's status as a good Christian. Additionally, while others writing on Omar's behalf identified him as a Christian, his own autobiography and other writings offer more of an ambiguous position. In the autobiography, he still offers praise to Muhammad when describing his life in his own country; his references to "Jesus the Messiah" in fact parallel Quranic descriptions of Jesus (who is called المسيح 'the Messiah' a total of 11 times in the Quran), and descriptions of Jesus as 'our lord/master' (سيدنا) employ the typical Islamic honorific for prophets and is not to be confused with Lord (ربّ); and description of Jesus as 'bringing grace and truth' (a reference to John 1:14) is equally appropriate to the conception of Jesus in Islam. Given Omar's circumstances of enslavement "among the Christians" and the possibilities of lobbying for his freedom that only came with confessing Christianity, his conversion can be argued to have been made under duress. In 1991, a masjid in Fayetteville, North Carolina renamed itself Masjid Omar Ibn Said in his honor.
Salih Bilali was an enslaved African Muslim man who was born in Massina in modern Mali in the 1770s and lived much of his life in coastal Georgia in the United States. Salih Bilali was an ethnic Fula, like many other enslaved Muslims in the Americas. After being captured into slavery when he was around twelve years old, Salih Bilali lived and labored in the Bahamas. From there, he was purchased by the Couper family of St. Simons Island, Georgia. There he eventually rose to an important position in the plantation hierarchy.
Salih Bilali was remembered as a faithful and dedicated Muslim. His owner’s son remembered him as “the most religious man that he had ever known,” and claimed that his final words were, “Allah is God and Mohammed his prophet.” The Couper family spoke highly of Salih Bilali. While Salih Bilali did not write an autobiography, his owner wrote much about his life and experiences. Because of his intelligence and judgment, the Coupers made him their head driver in 1816; a position which put him in charge of more than four hundred enslaved workers. Salih Bilali often managed the plantation on his own for long periods of time in the owners’ absence.
As a young man, Salih Bilali learned to read (but not write) Arabic as part of his Islamic schooling in Massina. In Georgia, he continued to adhere to his faith. Despite the challenges of the plantation, he kept and read a copy of the Qur’an, prayed daily, refused alcohol, and observed Ramadan and its fasts. Salih Bilali was fortunate to be able to maintain his faith and its demanding practices without interference from his owner. He was also fortunate to live in an area in coastal Georgia that had a significant number of other enslaved Muslims with whom he could pray and interact.