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Stating that the event of Ghad¢r Khumm too soon after

Stating that the event of Ghad¢r Khumm too soon after

Stating that the event of Ghad¢r Khumm too soon after the Farewell Pilgrimage, Ibn Kath¢r (774 AH) adds, “Abu Ja`far Mu¦ammad ibn Jar¢r ±abar¢, the historian, has shown interest in this ¦ad¢th and collected its wordings in a two-volume book.”[1] He then mentions some ways of narrating this event as recorded by ±abar¢.

He elsewhere writes, “The book of ±abar¢ which I saw is of two big volumes comprising the narrations related to the event of Ghad¢r Khumm.[2]

Ibn Shahr¡sh£b (588 AH) writes, “±abar¢ wrote the book of Ghad¢r Khumm, in which he described this event; he gave it the title of Kit¡b al-Wil¡yah.[3]

Counting the number of narrators who reported the event of Ghad¢r Khumm, Ibn ±aw£s says, “Mu¦ammad ibn Jar¢r, the historian, narrates the ¦ad¢th of Ghad¢r in seventy-five different ways. He wrote a separate book entitled ¦ad¢th al-Wil¡yah.[4]

Ya¦y¡ ibn °asan, known as Ibn al-Bi§r¢q (523-600 AH) writes, “Mu¦ammad ibn Jar¢r ±abar¢, the author of T¡r¢kh al-Umam wa’l-Mul£k, has described the event of Ghad¢r Khumm through seventy-five sources. He devoted an entire book to it entitled Kit¡b al-Wil¡yah.

The aforementioned scholars and historians have given us only a short report on Kit¡b al-Wil¡yah by ±abar¢. Others, such as Ibn Kath¢r, have only referred to some narrations mentioned therein. Al-Q¡¤¢ al-Nu`m¡n al-Maghrib¢ al-Mi¥r¢ (363 AH) is the only historian who has collected more than seventy-five of ±abar¢'s narrations on Imam `Al¢'s virtues in a book he entitled Shar¦ al-Akhb¡r f¢ Fa¤¡'il al-A'immah al-A§h¡r. Through this way, he presented ±abar¢’s narrations to the next generations.[5] He writes:

“This is an interesting book in which ±abar¢ describes `Al¢'s virtues in detail.”[6]

Mentioning ±abar¢'s motive in writing this book,[7] al-Nu`m¡n adds:

In this book, ±abar¢ has devoted one chapter to `Al¢'s successorship to the Holy Prophet. In this chapter, he mentions a ¦ad¢th that the Holy Prophet repeated before and after the Farewell Pilgrimage:

“`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¢; and support him who supports `Al¢; and disappoint him who disappoints `Al¢.”

“`Al¢ is the commander of the believers.”

“`Al¢ is my brother.”

“`Al¢ is my vicegerent.”

“`Al¢ is my successor.”

“`Al¢ is my representative on my nation after me.”

“`Al¢ is superior in leadership over people after me.”

All these instructions and their likes clearly prove that `Al¢ would be the successor of the Holy Prophet.[8]

(3) The only spurious argument that some Sunni scholars have aroused against this issue mentionable doubt which is used concerning this issue is the purport of these prophetic instructions. For instance, al-Fakhr al-R¡z¢ and al-Q¡¤¢ `A¤ud «j¢ have claimed the Arabic word mawl¡ that the Holy Prophet used to refer to Imam `Al¢ might have indicated friendship and help, but not leadership of the Muslim nation and succession to the Holy Prophet! In other words, by all these statements, the Holy Prophet only wanted to say that `Al¢ is his friend! They further claim that the word mawl¡ is different in meaning from awl¡, which means superior.[9]

`All¡mah Am¢n¢, with a thorough research employing ample Qur'¡nic witnesses and making use of morphological data and philological bases, has proven the futility of such a statement and has shown that it is very common in Arabic to use the word mawl¡ in the sense of awl¡, meaning superior. For instance, in the following holy verses, the lexical item mawl¡ cannot have any other sense except that of wal¢; that is successor and man of authority:

So, today ransom shall not be accepted from you nor from those who disbelieved; your abode is the fire; it is your friend, and evil is the resort. (57:15)

Therefore keep up prayer and pay the poor-rate and hold fast by Allah; He is your Guardian; how excellent the Guardian and how excellent the Helper. (22:78)

That is because Allah is the protector of those who believe, and because the unbelievers shall have no protector for them. (47:11)

Nay! Allah is your patron and He is the best of the helpers. (3:150)

Say: Nothing will afflict us save what Allah has ordained for us; He is our patron. (9:51)

He calls upon him whose harm is nearer than his profit; evil certainly is the guardian and evil certainly is the associate. (22:13)

In the aforementioned verses, the word mawl¡ is taken to be guardian. Likewise, all traditionists and scholars of Muslim jurisprudence have unanimously agreed that the word mawl¡ has been mentioned in definite ¦ad¢ths to denote guardian.[10]

`All¡mah Am¢n¢ has found twenty-seven different meanings for the word mawl¡ proving that this word may be used to denote lie, blasphemy or indecency.[11] He then presents the claims and reasoning of fourteen distinguished Sunni scholars who have not taken the true sense of this word as used by the Holy Prophet in the sermon at Ghad¢r Khumm. For example, Shams al-D¢n Ab£’l-Mu¨affar Sib§ Ibn al-Jawz¢ °anaf¢ (511-654 AH) writes:

“Biographers unanimously believe that the event of Ghad¢r Khumm took place on the Holy Prophet's return from the Farewell pilgrimage on the eighteenth of Dh£’l-°ijjah in the presence of one hundred and twenty thousand companions during which the Holy Prophet declared, ‘`Al¢ is now the master of him who has considered me as his master.’

He then mentions ten probable meaning for mawl¡ nine of which he discards and only one he accepts citing as proof a verse in S£rah al-°ad¢d in which the word mawl¡ is used in a sense proving the Imamate of and acceptance of obedience to Imam `Al¢. Moreover, Arab poets, such as °ass¡n ibn Th¡bit, have used this word to denote the same meaning involved.

Witnesses and signs

The Holy Prophet’s sermon at Ghad¢r Khumm comprises a number of signs and witnesses confirming that the word mawl¡ has not been used to exclusively indicate befriending with Imam `Al¢.

(1) The order of halting at that place and in that extremely hot weather, which was issued to one hundred thousand Muslims, is not appropriate for the announcement of an insignificant issue like recommending them to love Imam `Al¢. As a matter of fact, brotherly terms among Muslims and caring for one another had now become so common among Muslims that the Holy Prophet did not need to announce it under such circumstances.

(2) As an introduction to his sermon, the Holy Prophet foretold the imminence of his passing away. This issue is strongly connected to the issue of the next leadership and succession to him. Besides, it has nothing to do with the recommendation of bearing love for `Al¢ ibn Ab¢-±¡lib.

(3) The Holy Prophet asked the attendants to witness that he was closer to them than their own selves; and they did. Immediately after that, he declared that `Al¢ would be closer to them than their own selves. This shows that he wanted to confirm a special position for `Al¢; that is `Al¢ being his successor.[12]

(4) After the sermon, the attendants congratulated Imam `Al¢. Of course, such congratulation could not be for any reason except appointing `Al¢ as the next leader and the successor to the Holy Prophet.

(5) After the Holy Prophet’s announcement of the next leader, the Holy Qur'¡n proclaimed the perfection of religion and the completion of the Divine Grace. Of course, these two things have nothing to do with the recommendation of bearing love for `Al¢ ibn Ab¢-±¡lib.

(6) °ass¡n ibn Th¡bit, the Holy Prophet’s poet and a famous literary personality of those days, was present at Ghad¢r Khumm. After he had been permitted by the Holy Prophet, °ass¡n composed a poem in which he used the same statements of the Holy Prophet’s sermon. He thus used the word mawl¡ to express Imam `Al¢’s Imamate and next leadership.

In one of his letters to Mu`¡wiyah, Imam `Al¢ demonstrated that he was appointed as the mawl¡ of Muslims by the Holy Prophet during the event of Ghad¢r Khumm.[13]

(7) Connecting the Holy Prophet’s announcement of Ghad¢r Khumm to Imam `Al¢’s journey to Yemen prior to the Farewell pilgrimage, Ibn Kath¢r claims that `Al¢, during that journey, stopped his companions to divide the booties among themselves prior to giving them to the Holy Prophet. This incident, Ibn Kath¢r claims, made his friends feel that they were offended.[14] For this reason, the Holy Prophet, at Ghad¢r Khumm, praised `Al¢ for his loyalty and justice and showed how much respect he had for him. In this way, Ibn Kath¢r contends, the Holy Prophet eradicated people's bad feelings towards `Al¢!

This reasoning, however, does not have any firm basis, because in the event of `Al¢'s journey to Yemen, the Holy Prophet, on his first visit to those who were with `Al¢, answered their criticism against `Al¢ by saying,

 “Do not complain against `Al¢. By God I swear, `Al¢ is firm in the way of obeying God; he is brave and audacious in this regard.”[15]

With the firm and decisive statement, the case was over for those who listened to the Holy Prophet. It is therefore nonsense to think that three hundred[16] of those people were still at odds with `Al¢ and the Holy Prophet had to repeat it once more in front of one hundred thousand Muslims.



[1] It is worth mentioning that while Ibn Kath¢r mentions the event of al-Ghad¢r, he distorts its relation to `Al¢.

[2] Ibn Kath¢r, op cit, 11:147. This belongs to the events of the year 310 which coincides with ±abar¢'s death.

[3] Ma`¡lim al-`Ulam¡', pp. 106.

[4] Al-±ar¡’if 1:142.

[5] This book has been printed in three volumes in Qum by the Foundation for Islamic Publications in 1414 AH. In its first volume, page 130 on, ±abar¢'s narrations are recorded.

[6] Op cit, 1:130.

[7] Op cit, 1:130. His motive in writing this book was that he was informed that one of the experts in Baghdad has denied and rejected the event of Ghad¢r, claiming that on the Prophet's return from the Farewell Pilgrimage, `Al¢ was not with him; rather, he was in Yemen. ±abar¢ was extremely moved by this lie and denial; so, he wrote the book of al-Wil¡yah to repudiate the view of that expert. In his book, he described the event of Ghad¢r and confirmed its authenticity. (Shar¦ al-Akhb¡r 1:130; Y¡q£t al-°amaw¢, Mu`jam al-Buld¡n 18:84-85). According to Ibn `As¡kir and al-Dhahab¢, the expert mentioned above was Ab£-Bakr ibn Ab¢-D¡w£d al-Sajist¡n¢, the author of Sunan Ab¢-D¡w£d. (T¡r¢kh Mad¢nat Dimashq 52:197-198; T¡r¢kh al-Isl¡m, pp. 213; Tadhkirat al-°uff¡¨ 2:713.

Ab£-Bakr Ibn Ab¢-D¡w£d is accused of having hatred against `Al¢ (T¡r¢kh Mad¢nat Dimashq 29:87; M¢z¡n al-I`tid¡l 2:434; T¡r¢kh Baghd¡d 9:467-468.

[8] Shar¦ al-Akhb¡r 1:134-135. For more information on Kit¡b al-Wil¡yah, see Fa¤l `Al¢, by Ras£l Ja`fariy¡n, 34.

[9] Al-Ghad¢r 1:350, 354, 356.

[10] For instance, the Holy Prophet is reported to have said, “The matrimonial contract of any woman that is married before obtaining the permission of her mawl¡ (guardian) is void.”

[11] Al-Ghad¢r 1:367-370.

[12] According to a narration reported by A¦mad ibn °anbal Musnad A¦mad 1:119 and Ibn al-Ath¢r’s Usd al-Gh¡bah 4:28, the Holy Prophet said, “Am I not superior to the believers than their own lives? Aren't my wives their mothers?”

It is completely clear that when he refers to his wives as the mothers of the believers, the statement that is confirmed in verse 6 of S£rah al-A¦z¡b is uttered to strengthen his prophethood. His reference to his status as superior to the lives of Muslims shows that he wanted to emphasize his own prophetic position and later on `Al¢'s position.

It is worth mentioning that Ibn Kath¢r considers its source as dubious, without presenting any reason whatsoever. (al-Bid¡yah wa’l-Nih¡yah 5:211). This is while its first narrator, i.e.; `Abd al-Ra¦m¡n ibn Ab¢-Layl¡ has been confirmed by Sunni scholars as trustworthy. Besides, this ¦ad¢th has been narrated by many others. (see al-Ghad¢r 1:177-178).

[13] For a complete list of these signers and witnesses, see al-Ghad¢r 1:370-385; Leadership in the Eyes of Islam, Ja`far Sub¦¡n¢, pp. 234-238.

[14] For further information, see al-W¡qid¢, al-Magh¡z¢ 3:1081; al-Bid¡yah wa’l-Nih¡yah 5:208-209.

[15] Nih¡yat al-Irab 3:168; al-Bid¡yah wa’l-Nih¡yah 5:209; Ibn `As¡kir, T¡r¢kh Mad¢nat Dimashq 1:386.

[16] Historians and biographers mention the number of the troops under Imam `Al¢’s mission to Yemen as three hundred. See al-W¡qid¢, al-Magh¡z¢ 3:1019; al-±abaq¡t al-Kubr¡ 2:169.

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