Idd al-Ghadir - Islamic history’s greatest event
By: Hojjet Sistani
The formal declaration of Imamat of Imam Ali (A.S.) at Ghadir Khumm
has been unanimously described by the learned historians and scholars
of both sects. Here a brief account is given to show what great
arrangements were made to declare Imam Ali (A.S.) as the successor to
the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.).
Ghadir Khumm lies in Juhfa between Makkah and Madinah. When the Holy
Prophet (S.A.W.) was on his way home, after performing his last
pilgrimage, Jibrael brought him this urgent command of Allah:
O Apostle! deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and
if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message (at all);
and Allah will protect you from the people . . . (5 :67)
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) stopped at once and ordered that all people
who had gone ahead should be called back, and he waited for those who
were following. When the entire caravan had gathered, a pulpit was set
up by piling up camel saddles; the acacia thorns were swept away.
The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) ascended the pulpit and delivered a long
sermon. The day was very hot; people had to stretch their cloaks under
their feet and over their heads.
The Holy Prophet addressed them as follows:
O you people! Know it well that Jibrael came down to me several times
bringing me orders from the Lord, the Merciful, that I should halt at
this place and inform every man, white and black, that Ali(A.S.), the
son of Abu Talib, is my brother and my wasiyy (successor) and my
caliph, and the Imam after me. His position to me is like that of
Harun to Musa, except that there is to be no prophet after me, and he
is your master next to Allah and His Prophet.
O you people! Verily, Allah has appointed him to be your Imam and
ruler. Obedience to him is obligatory alike on all the muhajirun
(Emigrants) and ansar (Helpers) and on those who follow them in
virtue, and on the dwellers in cities and the nomads, the Arabs and
the non-Arabs, the freeman and the slave, the young and the old, the
great and the small, the white and the black. His command is to be
obeyed, his word is binding and his orders obligatory on everyone
believing in the One God. Cursed is the man who disobeys him and
blessed is he who follows him, and he who believes in him is a true
O you people! This is the last time I shall stand in this assembly.
Therefore, listen and obey and surrender to the command of your Lord.
Verily, Allah, He is your Lord and God; then after Him, His Prophet,
Muhammad(S.A.W.), who is addressing you, is your Master, then after me
'Ali(A.S.) is your Master and your Imam, according to Allah's command.
Then after him the Imamate will continue through my descendants
begotten by him till the day you meet Allah and His Prophet. O you
people! Meditate on the Qur'an and understand its verses; reflect over
its clear verses and do not go to the ambiguous ones. For, by Allah,
none will properly explain to you its warnings and expound to you its
meanings except , this man (i.e.,'Ali) whose hand I am lifting up in
front of myself. And I say unto you that
"For whoever I am his Leader (mawla), 'Ali is his Leader (mawla)."
and he is Ali(A.S.), the son of Abu Talib, my brother and wasiyy
(successor); and wilayah (obedience to him and love for him) has been
made obligatory by Allah, the Powerful, the Exalted.
The other Imams have also been briefly referred to in this address;
and they are mentioned in precise detail in many other traditions. For
example, on one occasion addressing Imam Husayn(A.S.) the Holy
"You are an Imam, the son of an Imam, the brother of an Imam, nine of
your lineal descendants will be pious Imams; the ninth of them being
their Qa'im (he who will rise).'' [al-Qunduzi: Yanabi'u 'l-mawaddah,
[p.168; Amritsari: Arjahu 'l-matalib, p.448].
Even a casual observer would not fail to realize that, it was a matter
of vital importance to Islam and that is why the Holy Prophet (S.A.W.),
under the Divine Command, made all the possible preparations to
accomplish it. Exposed to the scorching rays of the midday sun, he
mounted the pulpit to make the important pronouncement.
First of all, he informed the audience of his approaching end and then
called them to witness that he had faithfully discharged his duties.
Then he asked them:
"Do I not have more authority upon you than you yourselves have."
All of them cried out that he certainly had more right on them than
they themselves had. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) then said: "Whoever
whose Master I am, 'Ali is his Master." In the end he invoked
blessings on 'Ali, saying: "O Allah! Love him who loves 'Ali, and be
the enemy of the enemy of 'Ali; help him who helps 'Ali, and forsake
him who forsakes 'Ali.''
When the ceremony was over, the following verse of the Qur'an was
This day I have perfected your religion for you and I have completed
My bounty upon you and I have approved Islam as your religion (5:3).
This Divine Communication clearly shows that because of 'Ali's
appointment to thee Imamate the religion was perfected, the bounty;
and favour of Allah completed, and Islam approved by Allah. On the
arrival of this glad tiding from heaven the believers congratulated
'Ali in the Prophet's presence and many poets composed poems on this
event. All these facts stand recorded in books of tradition as will be
seen in the following pages.
Oath of Allegiance
After his speech, the Messenger of Allah(S.A.W.) asked everybody to
give the oath of allegiance to Ali(A.S.) and congratulate him. Among
those who did so was 'Umar b. al-Khattab, who said: "Well done Ibn Abi
Talib! Today you became the Leader (mawla) of all believing men and
Number of People in Ghadir Khumm
Allah ordered His Prophet(S.A.W.) to inform the people of this
designation at a time of crowded populous so that all could become the
narrators of the tradition, while they exceeded a hundred thousand.
Narrated by Zayd b. Arqam: Abu al-Tufayl said: "I heard it from the
Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), and there was no one (there) except that
he saw him with his eyes and heard him with his ears."
Hassaan b. Thabit's poetry
Immediately after the Holy Prophet's speech, Hassan b. Thabit, the
Companion and poet of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.), asked for his
permission to compose a few verses of poetry about Imam 'Ali(A.S.) for
the audience. The Holy Prophet (S.A.W.) said: "Say with the blessings
of Allah". Hassan stood up and said: "O' people of Quraysh. I follow
with my words what preceded and witnessed by the Messenger of Allah (S.A.W.).
He then composed verses at the scene.
Hadith of Ghadir: Mutawatir
The following extracts (taken from authentic Sunni books) from the
said lecture (khutbah) of the Holy Prophet are very important:
I am leaving behind, among you, two most precious things. . . (1) the
Book of Allah . . . and (2) my descendants who are my family members.
They will not separate from each other until they come to me near
Kawthar (a pool in Paradise). Verily Allah is my Master and I am the
Master of every believer. Then he took the hand of 'Ali and said:
"For whoever I am his Leader (mawla), 'Ali is his Leader (mawla)."
These two traditions are referred to as the traditions of 'Two
Precious Things' (Thaqalayn) and Mastership' (Wilayah) . They are
singly and jointly narrated by hundreds of traditionalists.
Asnad of Hadith of Ghadir:
a. al-Hafiz Abu 'Isa at-Tirmidhi (d.279 A.H.) has said in his Sahih
(one of the as-Sihah as-Sittah) that "This is a good (hasan) and
correct (sahih) hadith.''
b. al-Hafiz Abu Ja'far at-Tahawi (d. 321 A.H.) has said in his Mushkil
u'l-athar that "This hadith is sahih according to the chains of
narrators (asnad) and no one has said anything contrary to its
c. Abu 'Abdillah al-Hakim an-Naysaburi (d. 405 A.H.) has narrated this
hadith from several chains in his al-Mustadrak and has said that this
hadith is sahih.
d. Abu Muhammad Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-'Asim; has said: "This hadith is
accepted by ummah, and it is in conformity with the principles.
The eternity of Ghadir event
The Wise God has willed the Ghadir historical event to remain in all
ages and centuries, as a live history, attracting the hearts and
minds, and the Islamic writers to discuss it in the commentary,
history, tradition and theology books, and the religious orators to
deliver lectures about it, and call it one of the undeniable virtues
of Imam Ali (A.S.).
Not only the orators and lecturers, but also the poets too have been
suggested by this event, and have lighted their literary talent
through thinking and reflection on it, as well as increasing their
loyalty to the owner of guardianship. They have left the best poems in
different forms and various languages. Allamah Amini has mentioned an
important part of Ghadir poems in every century of the Islamic
history, while describing the attributes of the poets in the eleven
volumes of Al-Ghadir book narrated from popular Islamic resources.
In other words, no other historical event in the world has been noted
so much by different classes, including traditionist, commentator,
theologian, philosopher, orator, poet, historian and biographer.
One of the reasons for eternity of this tradition is revelation of two
Quranic verses in respect to this event, and since Quran is eternal
and everlasting, this historical event too will be never forgotten.
110 people of tradition are narrators of this event
For showing importance of this historical event, it is enough to say
that one hundred ten of the Prophet’s (S.A.W.) companions have
better than wealth because it protects you while you have to
guard wealth. it decreases if you keep on spending it but the
more you make use of knowledge ,the more it increases . what you
get through wealth disappears as soon as wealth disappears but
what you achieve through knowledge will remain even after you."MORE