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The Event of Ghad¢r and the introducing of the future leader

The Event of Ghad¢r and the introducing of the future leader

The Event of Ghad¢r and the introducing of the future leader

On his return from the Farewell Pilgrimage on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-°ijjah, and on the land of Ghad¢r Khumm[1] which is three miles away from al-Ju¦afah, the following verse was revealed to Holy Prophet:

“O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message (5:67)”

He therefore ordered the caravan of one hundred thousand pilgrims to stop on that arid land and in that extremely hot weather. Having performed the Noon Prayer, he climbed a high location and delivered a sermon in which he informed of his near death. Then, he asked the Muslims' views on his prophethood. Every one confirmed that he had perfectly conveyed the Divine Message. He then put stress on the Holy Book and his Household, recommending Muslims not to leave these two lest they would be misled. These two, he added, shall never depart one another until they join him on the Resurrection Day; therefore, Muslims should follow them closely.

Then, he took `Al¢'s hand, raised it and introducing him as the future leader of Muslims, saying:

“God is my Master and I am the master of the believers; so, anybody whose master is I, `Al¢ is now his master. O God, love and care for those who love and care for `Al¢ and be an enemy of those who are `Al¢'s enemies. O God, assist the friends of `Al¢ and make miserable the foes of `Al¢. O God, let `Al¢ be in the pivotal center of righteousness.”

At this time, the following verse was revealed:

This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion. (5:3)

The perfection of religion has been thus declared through the appointment of `Al¢ as the successor of the Holy Prophet. After that, the Holy Prophet's companions congratulated `Al¢ for this sublime position.[2]

This was a sketch of the significant and famous event at Ghad¢r Khumm which has been discussed in reference books from different dimensions.

`All¡mah Am¢n¢, in his worthy book of al-Ghad¢r, has thoroughly dealt with this historic event. Here, we shall mention a few points:

(1) The event of Ghad¢r is the most significant document for Imam `Al¢'s Divinely commissioned leadership and succession to the Holy Prophet (Wil¡yah) although it was not the only document. In this book, we have alluded to the fact that the Holy Prophet, since the early days of his prophethood and on various occasions such as the event of calling his close relatives to the new faith, referred to Imam `Al¢'s Wil¡yah, because of the importance of leadership to the people's fate.

Because the succession to the Holy Prophet is a matter defined by none but God, we have seen that during the first years of his general and open invitation to Islam and at the time introducing Islam to the tribes and in an answer to the proposal made by the chief of Ban£-`ªmir ibn S¡`idah, the Holy Prophet declared,

“My successor is decided by God alone. God will appoint anyone for this position that He desires.”

For many years, the Holy Prophet always laid emphasis on the question of his succession. He used to bring to light a certain personality, making sacrifices for Islam the criterion in selecting his successor. All these factors entail one conclusion, which is that Imam `Al¢ was such a unique person that he deserved to be the Holy Prophet’s successor. If truth be told, none of the Holy Prophet’s companions preceded Imam `Al¢ in virtuous features that prepare him to be the one and only successor of the Holy Prophet.

(2) The authenticity of the announcement of Imam `Al¢’s next leadership at Ghad¢r Khumm is undeniable; therefore, some Sunni scholars confess to this issue.[3]

As `All¡mah Am¢n¢ has proved in al-Ghad¢r, this historic event was reported by one hundred and ten companions of the Holy Prophet, eighty-four others, and three hundred and sixty Sunni narrators and scholars who recorded it in their books and confessed to its authenticity.[4] As a matter of fact, the event Ghad¢r Khumm is the most famous and authentic of all events that took place during the Holy Prophet’s lifetime.

Narrators have reported the event of Ghad¢r Khumm and historians seem to have censored these narrators. Among historians, Ya`q£b¢ has dealt with this event with a short description following the event of the Farewell Pilgrimage.[5] Although this event is not mentioned in T¡r¢kh al-±abar¢, which is supposed to have dealt with all historical events of Islam, the author has written a book on the verification of the event of Ghad¢r Khumm in a book entitled Kit¡b al-Wil¡yah.[6] This book existed up to eighth century—a fact confirmed by al-Naj¡sh¢ (450 AH)[7] and Shaykh al-±£s¢ (385-460 AH).[8]



[1] This was the final juncture of the pilgrims. The directions of the pilgrims of Egypt, Iraq and Medina were separated, each one taking their appropriate direction.

[2] All¡mah Am¢n¢, al-Ghad¢r f¢ al-Kit¡b wa’l-Sunnah wa’l-Adab 1:10.

[3] They only doubt the reference of this event to `Al¢. For instance, in the international symposium for the recognition of Sh¢`ism, which was held in Istanbul, Turkey, with the participation of great scholars of Islamic countries and with the presence of a group of distinguished Muslim scholars of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Mu¦ammad Sa`¢d Rama¤¡n al-B£§¢, one of the distinguished scholars of the University of Syria criticized the statements of one speaker who had denied the event of Ghad¢r saying, “There is no doubt about the narration of Ghad¢r and his participation in it. However, it does not pertain to Sh¢`ites…” This claim was answered by an Iranian scholar. See Congresses and Scientific Circles of ªyatull¡h, pp. 21, 27.

[4] Al-Ghad¢r 1:14-15.

[5] Returning to Medina, the Holy Prophet traveled at night until he reached a placed close to al-Ju¦afah called Ghad¢r Khumm. That was on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-°ijjah. Taking `Al¢ from the hand, the Holy Prophet delivered a sermon there in which he said, “Am I not superior to the believers than themselves?” The attendants answered affirmative. He then said, “`Al¢ is now the master of him who has considered me as his master. O Allah, be the confidant of him who confides with `Al¢ and be the enemy of him who incurs the hostility of `Al¢.” (2:102).

Contrary to what is commonly said, Mas`£d¢ has referred to this event to have taken place on the Holy Prophet's return from °udaybiyah:

On his return from °udaybiyah, the Prophet said to the Commander of the Believers `Al¢ ibn Ab¢-±¡lib (may Allah be pleased with him) at Ghad¢r Khumm, “`Al¢ is now the master of him whose master was I.” That was on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-°ijjah. See al-Tanb¢h wa’l-Ishr¡f, pp. 221. 

In Mur£j al-Dhahab 2:245, counting the virtues of `Al¢, the author refers shortly to the event of the Divinely commissioned leadership of Imam `Al¢ by saying,

Things due to which the companions of Allah’s Messenger deserved favor are precedence to faith, migration, supporting Allah’s Messenger, nearness to him, satisfaction, self-sacrifice for him, knowledgeability with the Holy Book and the Revelation, strife for Allah’s sake, piety, asceticism, judicature, fair judgment, jurisprudence, and knowledge. In all these, `Al¢ (peace be upon him) had the biggest share and the greatest part. He was exclusively addressed by Allah’s Messenger when he associated as brothers each two of his companions, saying, “You are my brother.” Of course, Allah’s Messenger is matchless and incomparable. He also addressed `Al¢ by saying, “Your position to me is the same as Aaron’s position to Moses except that there will be no prophet after me.” He also said, “`Al¢ is now the master of him whose master was I. O Allah, support him who supports `Al¢ and antagonize him who incurs the hostility of `Al¢.”

[6] Ibn Shahr¡sh£b, Ma`¡lim al-`Ulam¡’, pp. 106; Ibn ±¡w£s, al-±ar¡’if; Ibn Bi§r¢q, `Uy£n ¯i¦¡¦ al-Akhb¡r 1:157.

This book is referred to by other names, such as Kit¡b al-Fa¤¡'il, ¦ad¢th al-wil¡yah, and Kit¡b Ghad¢r Khumm. These titles might have been taken by authors with regards to the content of the book. Some others have put the name of a special section of the book for the whole book. As we will see in the next footnote, al-Naj¡sh¢ entitles it as al-radd `al¡ al-¦urq£¥iyyah (Refutations of °urq£¥’s claims). °urq£¥ ibn Zuhayr was one of leaders of Khaw¡rij. Most probably, the adoption of this title was to indicate and refer to the opponents of `Al¢ as apostates.

[7] Al-Naj¡sh¢, Fihrist Mu¥annaf al-Sh¢`ah, pp. 225. In his book of Iqb¡l al-A`m¡l 2:239, Sayyid Ibn ±aw£s refers to this name.

[8] ±£s¢, al-Fihrist, pp. 281.

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