Ghadir and the
The Prophet Says Farewell to Kaaba
It was in 10 A.H. and the time for
Hajj. The Hijazi deserts witnessed large crowds of Muslims who unitedly
chanted the same slogans and proceeded towards the same holy end.
That year the sight of the Hajj
pilgrimage was much more exciting and moving than ever before. Muslims
most hurriedly and eagerly traversed the way and went to Makkah - this
The celestial melody of Labbayk, Yes,
I have come', resounded through Makkah. Caravans reached the city one
after the other. The hajjis unitedly and harmoniously in pilgrim's garb,
while shedding tears of joy and love for God, hurried to the sacred
threshold of God and circumambulated the Ka'aba - the Holy House built
by the champion of monotheism - Abraham, the Friend of God.
Farid Vajdi has calculated the number
of hajjis to have been 90,000 (1) in
the year 10 A.H., but there are some who hold that the number was
The Holy Prophet of Islam watched that
splendid scene with the utmost affection and eagerness. He was pleased
to observe that the Masjid al-Haram was overflowing with Muslims who had
gathered together in conformity with the holy precept, Truly the
faithful are brothers', and were worshipping God like brothers and
The Holy Prophet was clearly happy with
his great achievement with having fulfilled his divine mission in the
best manner possible. Nevertheless, his resplendent face was sometimes
covered with a halo of sorrow and anxiety, and his pure heart filled
with sadness and worry.
He was in fact worried about the fate
of the Muslims after his leaving this world for heaven. He feared lest
after him the society of Muslims should break apart; Muslims should
disperse, the spirit of unity and fraternity should vanish among them,
and consequently they regress. Obviously, the Holy Prophet of Islam was
well aware of the fact that the Ummah of Islam was in great need of
honest, knowledgeable leaders, or otherwise the fruits of his years of
efforts would all be wasted.
For this reason, whenever he was going
to leave Medina either for war or for other purposes, even if his trip
was short, he would assign a competent, trustworthy person to supervise
their affairs and would never leave the people of Medina without any
guardian and supervisor.'
Thus, how is it possible to imagine
that such a compassionate, sympathetic prophet might have left the
momentous affairs of his beloved Ummah of Islam to chance and not have
designated any reliable administrator for them. And no doubt he knew
very well who deserved the position of the caliphate of the Muslims and
for whose mature stature the garb of the caliphate had been sewn.
That celebrated man was the same who,
in the presence of the chiefs of the Quraysh and the relatives of the
Prophet who had been invited to the House of the Prophet of Islam at the
beginning of his prophetic mission, had been acknowledged as the
successor of the Holy Prophet of Islam by the Prophet himself.'
He was a pious, God-fearing man who
did not associate anything with God and did not prostrate before idols
even for a single moment. He was a sacrificial soldier of Islam. His
knowledge originated in the knowledge of the Prophet of God and his
judgment was the best.'
He was well-known. He was Ali, son of
The Hajj ceremonies were over, and the
Muslims were preparing to move towards their own towns when suddenly the
call of the herald of the Holy Prophet of Islam resounded in the Hijaz
desert and made the Muslims stop. His heralds called on the people to
gather together again.
The Muslims, of course, did not know
why they had been given this command, but the fact was that the Angel of
Revelation had descended and conveyed this verse to the Prophet,
Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do it
not, then you have not delivered His message, and God will protect you
from the people; surely God will not guide the unbelieving people".
The issue about which God spoke to His
Prophet in such a serious tone was nothing other than the formal
announcement of the caliphate of Au, the significant subject that the
Prophet hesitated to declare, for he feared lest this announcement
should cause dissension and discord among the Muslims and was thus
waiting for a favourable occasion to make clear the matter to them.
Upon receiving this revelation, he
knew that the time had come for the crucial purpose. So he immediately
assembled the Muslims at Ghadir Khum, which was a hot, arid desert, to
clarify the vital issue in Islam - the issue of the caliphate.
The people started wondering why that
command had been issued, but before long the congregational ritual
prayers was announced and after saying the noon ritual prayers, the
crowd of Muslims witnessed the celestial, enchanting countenance of the
Prophet over a pulpit made of saddles of camels.
A profound silence prevailed. Then the
divine, meaningful words of the Prophet broke the silence of the Hijaz
desert. After praising Almighty God, he announced the heart-rending news
of his oncoming death and then asked the Muslims, O people! What kind of
a prophet have I been for you?'
All exclaimed unitedly, "O Prophet of
God! You did your best to admonish and rectify us and never neglected to
train us and led us onto the path of piety. May God reward you best".
The Holy Prophet of Islam said, "After
me, God's Book and the sinless leaders are side by side your leader and
guide. You should perfectly follow them, so you will not go astray".
Then he took Ali by the hand, lifted
him so that all would see him and exclaimed, "O people! Who is the
guardian and supervisor of the faithful?"
The Muslims answered, "God and His
Prophet know best".
The Holy Prophet of Islam said, "God is
my Master and I am the Master of the faithful". Then he added without
any pause, "Ali is the Master of those whose Master I am. Almighty God
be the friend of his friend and be the foe of his foe. Help those who
help him and frustrate the hope of those who betray him...".
The Prophet repeated the sentence, "Ali
is the Master of those whose Master I am", three times. At the end of
the speech he said, "Those present should convey this truth to those who
The crowd of Muslims had hardly
dispersed when this verse was revealed to the Prophet,
"This day have
I perfected for you your religion and completed My favour on you and
chosen for you Islam as a religion"
After the magnificent ceremonies of
designating the successor of the Holy Prophet of Islam were over, the
Muslims hurried to congratulate Ali for being appointed as the Prophet's
successor and Caliph.
Abu Bakr was the first to congratulate
Ali and Umar was the second. They parted with Ali while saying the
following words, "Blessed are you, son of Abu Talib, who have become my
Master and every believer's Master".
THE NARRATORS OF GHADIR
As a matter of fact, there are more
than 120,000 narrators of Ghadir. According to the command of the
Prophet, the Muslims present at Ghadir regarded the incident of Ghadir
and the issue of appointing Ali as the successor of the Prophet as most
significant and narrated it to the others. (7)
And it was for this reason that in public gatherings of Muslims, the
reminiscence of Ghadir was renewed repeatedly.
About 25 years after the day of Ghadir,
when most of the faithful companions and followers of the Holy Prophet
of Islam had passed away, and just a few were still alive, Ali asked the
people to bear witness if they had been present in Ghadir and heard the
Ghadir tradition from the blessed mouth of the Prophet. Immediately 30
people stood up and narrated the Ghadir tradition.
In 58 or 59 A.H., a year before the
death of Mu'awiyah, Imam Husayn, peace be upon him, assembled the Bani
Hashim and Ansar and other Hajji's at Mana and, during an extremely
moving speech, asked them, I swear to you by God to speak out if you
know that on the day of Ghadir, God's Prophet appointed Au as the Master
and Leader of the Ummah of Islam and commanded the audience to convey
this message to the others'. All said that they knew this fact.
Sunni scholars have mentioned in their
reliable books the names of 110 companions of the Prophet who had heard
this tradition from the Holy Prophet of Islam and had narrated it to
others. (10) Even a number of scholars
and Islamic theologians wrote special books on Ghadir.
THE PURPORT OF THE DISCOURSE ON
The available documents reveal that the
words mawla (master) and vali (guardian) refer to the successor of the
Holy Prophet of Islam and the Guardian of the Ummah of Islam, and that
no other meaning can be applied to these two words.
Now, take notice of the following
We have realized that the Holy Prophet
of Islam was hesitant to propound the Ghadir tradition and that he did
not declare it until God openly and seriously commanded him to do so.
It is totally wrong to hold that by the
Ghadir tradition the Prophet meant to remind the people of the position
of Ali as a friend of the Holy Prophet of Islam and the Muslims. If that
were the case, the Holy Prophet of Islam would never have hesitated to
announce it, for obviously such an announcement would cause no discord
or dissension among the Muslims. Thus the Holy Prophet of Islam surely
had reference to the issue of the caliphate and the assignment of his
own successor, which was clearly likely to elicit the mutiny and
mischief of ambitious opportunists.
Before uttering the well-known
sentence, "Ali is the Master of those whose Master I am", the Prophet
asked the audience to admit that he himself was their guardian and
leader and that he was to be obeyed by them, and after the people
present in Ghadir Khum had admitted this fact, the Holy Prophet of Islam
attributed the same position to Ali immediately, saying "Ali is the
Master and Leader of anybody whose Master and Leader I am".
With the permission of the Prophet,
Hassan ibn Sabit composed a poem about Ghadir Khum and circulated it. In
this poem, the position of the Caliphate and Imamate of Ali have been
openly expressed and specified. No one among that great crowd of Muslims
protested that Hassan had misapplied the word mawla (master). Rather,
Hassan was confirmed and applauded for this poem.
The poem, in effect, said, After the
Holy Prophet of Islam had the people admit that he was their divine
Master and religious leader, he said to Ali, "Stand up, Ali. I assent to
your Leadership and Imamate after myself. Then, "Ali is the Master and
Leader of anybody whose Master and Leader I am. You should all be loyal
followers and sincere friends of Ali '.'(12)
After the Ghadir ceremonies were over,
the Prophet, together with Ali, sat in a tent and ordered all the
Muslims, even the women of his own family, to congratulate Au, to swear
allegiance to him, and to greet him as the Commander of the Faithful.
(13) It is obvious that all these
ceremonies and orders testify to nothing other than the designation of
Au as the Caliph and Imam of the Muslims by the Holy Prophet of Islam.
Twice the Prophet said to the people,
Congratulate me, for God specifically appointed me Prophet and my family
These testimonies and documents leave no
doubt about the Ghadir Khum tradition and the caliphate of Ali.
Encyclopedia of Farid Vadji, Vol.
3, p. 542.
Al-Ghadir, Vol. 1, p. 9.
Kamil, p. 216, 278,242.
Tarikh Tabari Vol. 3, p. 1171-1173.
Fadha'il ul-Khamsah, printed by Dar
ul-Kutub ul-Islamiyah, Vol. 1 p. 178-186.
Al-Ghadir, Vol. 1, p.9-11.
Ibid., p. 60-61.
Al-Ghadir, Vol. 1, p.166-174.
Ibid., p. 198-199.
Ibid., p. 14-61.
Twenty six has been mentioned in
the first volume of al-Ghadir, p. 152-157.
Al-Ghadir, Vol. 2, p.34-41.
Bihar al-Anwar, Vol. 16, p.
Source - A Glance at the life of the
Holy Prophet of Islam, by Dar Rah Haqq Board of Writers.