hajjatul wida; The Message of Ghadeer

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بِسْمِ اللّهِ الرَّحْمـَنِ الرَّحِيم

 Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) message to the people on the Day of Ghadeer and its significance

The Introduction:

The day of Ghadeer (18th Zilhajj) is a very important day in the history of Islam and every Muslim irrespective of his sect or creed should be well versed with it. It is the day when in the words of Allah, the Almighty, He “perfected” His religion and “completed” His bounties on the people. The Almighty Allah declares in Surah Maidah (5) – Verse 3

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا

“Today I have perfected your religion and completed my favour upon you, and I am satisfied that Islam be your religion.”

Request our noble readers to kindly take note of the words “perfected” and “completed” which Allah, the All Wise has used in this verse.

It goes without saying and also to which every rational and logical person will agree is the fact that a “complete” thing is superior and preferable to an “incomplete” thing and a “perfect” thing is superior and preferable to an “imperfect” thing.

Especially the discussion of “completeness” and “perfection” becomes more prominent and important if it is with regards to one’s religion and one’s belief. We all bank on our religion and belief to achieve salvation in the Hereafter to save ourselves from the wrath of Allah, the All Knowing, to save ourselves from the Fire of Hell whose fuel is men and stones and which is the abode of those who have disobeyed Allah, the Knower of Subtleties and who have disobeyed His Messenger – the mercy for mankind – Hazrat Mohammed Mustafa (s.a.w.a.) after accepting him as the Prophet and Messenger of Allah, the Almighty.

As definitely only a “complete’ and “perfect” religion will take a person towards the intended destination of salvation and an “imperfect” and “incomplete” religion will not only take a person away from salvation but rather lead directly towards perdition which is the Everlasting punishment of Hell.

فَعَصَوْا رَسُولَ رَبِّهِمْ فَأَخَذَهُمْ أَخْذَةً رَّابِيَةً

“And they disobeyed the Apostle of their Lord, so He punished them with a vehement punishment”

(Surah: 10)

To save oneself from perdition and achieve salvation in the Hereafter it becomes a religious duty of every believing man and every believing woman to inquire as to what transpired on the day of Ghadeer after which Allah, the Almighty announced  that His religion is “completed” and “perfected”.

The Incident:

It was the in the year 10 A.H. the Prophet of Islam (s.a.w.a.) was returning to Media after performing Hajj in Mecca along with more than 124,000 companions.  The historians have also recorded names of companions who were with Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) during Hajj and present with him while returning. Some of the prominent ones are – Hazrat Ali (as), Janabe Salman al Farsi (r.a.), Janabe Abu Zar (r.a.), Janabe Miqdad (r.a.), Janabe Ammar e Yasir (r.a.). Companions like Umar al Khattab, Abu Bakr, Hassan bin Sabit, among others were also present. All these companions not only witnessed and participated in the event which took place at Ghadeer but have also narrated it in great detail which is recorded in books of history by both prominent scholars of Shia and also Ahle Sunnah. The fact that this event is narrated by so many transmitters of traditions and recorded by so many historians it attains the status of “Mutawatir” which means something which is “undisputable” and is the undeniable “truth”.

As mentioned earlier, Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was on the return journey along with his companions when Hazrat Jibrael (as) came to him (s.a.w.a.) by the order of Allah, the Almighty and revealed the below verse to him (s.a.w.a.),

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللّهَ لاَ يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ

“O Apostle! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you don’t do it, you have not delivered His message (at all); and Allah will protect you from the people …” (Qur’an 5:67)

Upon revelation of this verse Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a) immediately stopped at a place called Ghadir e Khum. He then sent someone to call back all those who had gone ahead in travel to call them back and waited for those who were left behind in travel to join him. He ordered Janabe Salman (r.a.) to prepare a pulpit of rock and camel saddles.

It is essential here to stop for a moment and re-look at the verse which was revealed on Holy Prophet (sawa) to understand the importance of what Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was asked to “deliver” or “convey”.

Let us examine the first part “O Apostle! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord…” Here “what has been sent down to you from your Lord” implies that the message which Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was ordered to deliver was not in any means from the side of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself but rather the message was from the side of Allah, the Almighty, the All Wise and the second part in which The Almighty Allah warns the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) “… and if you do not do it, you have not delivered His message (at all)” highlights the seriousness and significance of the message which was to be delivered. It is as if without conveying this important message, the message of Allah would have not only been incomplete but rather in the light of above verse His message would not have been conveyed at all.

Coming back to the incident – Janabe Salman (ra) built a pulpit of rock and camel saddles. Once all the people had gathered the Prophet of Islam (sawa) ascended the pulpit and delivered the sermon which has been recorded in history by both the scholars of Shia and Ahle Sunnah word by word, making it undeniable and undisputable. The Holy Prophet (sawa) ascended to the pulpit and spent approximately five hours in this place; three hours of which he was on the pulpit. He recited nearly one hundred verses from The Glorious Quran, and for seventy three times reminded and warned people of their deeds and future. Then he gave them a long speech.

The following is a part of his speech which has been widely narrated by the Sunni traditionists:

“It seems the time approached when I shall be called away (by Allah) and I shall answer that call. I am leaving for you two precious things and if you adhere to them both, you will never go astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my Progeny that is my Ahlul Bayt. The two shall never separate from each other until they come to me by the Pool (of Paradise).”

Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) continued:

“Do I not have more right over the believers than what they have over themselves?”

People cried and answered:

“Yes, O’ Messenger of God.”

Then the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) made the key announcement and delivered the key message which Allah the Almighty had commanded him to convey or the message without which the religion of Islam would have been incomplete or in other words the message without which one’s faith is incomplete and the message without which the path of salvation seems a distant reality.

Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) said:

 من كنت مولاه فعلي مولا

 “Of Whomsoever I am the master, Ali is his master”

Ref: Al-Musnad, Ibn Hanbal, Vol 5, p 366, Tarikh al Kabeer – Al Bukhari – Vol 1,

The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) continued:

اللهم وال من والاه وعاد من عاداه

“O’ Allah, love those who love him, and be hostile to those who are hostile to him.”

Ref: Al-Bidayah wal Nihayah fi al – Tarikh, Vol 7, Pg. 349

Immediately after the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) finished his speech, the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed:

الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا

“Today I have perfected your religion and completed my favour upon you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion.” (Qur’an 5:3)

The above verse clearly indicates that Islam without clearing up matter of mastership or succession of Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was not complete, and completion of religion was due to announcement of the Prophet’s immediate successor.

Reaction of the Sahaba on the Day of Ghadeer

Immediately after the Prophet’s speech, Hassan b. Thabit, the Companion and poet of the Messenger of Allah [s], asked for his permission to compose a few verses of poetry about Imam ‘Ali [a] for the audience. The Prophet [s] 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]. He then composed the following verses at the scene:

He calls them, (on) the day of Ghadir, their Prophet
In Khumm so hear (and heed) the Messenger’s call,
He said: “Who is your guide and leader? (mawlakum wa waliyyukum)”
They said, and there was no apparent blindness (clearly):
“Your God, our guide, and you are our leader
And you won’t find from among us, in this, any disobedient,”
He said to him: “Stand up O’ Ali, for I am
pleased to announce you Imam and guide after me (min ba’di imam(an) wa hadiy(an)),
So whomever I was his leader (mawla), then this is his leader (mawla)
So be to him supporters in truth and followers,”
There he prayed: “Allah! Be a friend and guide to his follower
And be, to the one who is Ali’s enemy, an enemy”

Umar bin Khattab congratulates Imam Ali (as)

After his speech, the Messenger of Allah [s] asked everybody to give the oath of allegiance to ‘Ali [a] 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 women.”

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