Jul 17 2022
Eid-e Ghadir – Declaration at Ghadir e Khumm
Eid-e-Ghadir is one of the most important days of rejoicing for Shia Muslims around the world as that was the day our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) declared Hazrat Ali’s vicegerency at Ghadir e Khumm on his return from his last pilgrimage which is known in history as ‘Hajjat-ul-Wida’.
Eid-e Gadhir is celebrated with great rejoicing by Shia Muslims where they remember Prophet Muhammad’s last instructions to the believers. Eid-e-Ghadir is one of the most important days of rejoicing for Shia Muslims around the world as that was the day our beloved Prophet Muhammad (s.a.s.) declared Hazrat Ali’s vicegerency at Ghadir e Khumm on his return from his last pilgrimage which is known in history as ‘Hajjat-ul-Wida’. This took place on the 18th of Zil-Hajj, in 632 AC, 3 months before his demise, when the Prophet and his followers were returning from his last pilgrimage. Prophet Muhammad announced that he had received an important revelation from Allah, and made a halt at the pond called Ghadir Khumm. A make-shift dias was erected from sadles, sticks and camel skins and as soon as all the pilgrims were gathered, he acted upon the revelation of Ayah-e Gadhir Khumm.
“O Messenger (Prophet), deliver to the people what has been revealed to you from your Lord and if you do not do so then you will not have delivered His message and Allah will protect you from the people. For God does not guide those who reject Faith.”
Ya ‘ayyuhar Rasoolu ballig maa unzila ilayka mir-Rabbik. Wa illam taf’al famaa ballagta Risaalatah. Wallaahu ya’simuka minan naas. Innal’laaha laa yahdilqawmal kaafiriin. Quran 5:67
The Prophet thence declared “‘Man Kuntu Mowlahu fa haza Aliyun Mowlahu’ – ‘He of whomever I am the Master-Lord (Mowla), Ali is his Master-Lord (Mowla). Prophet Muhammad had been discoursing all the other revelations among the muslims regarding the tenets and practice of the faith and about material life, and what could this verse of surpassing urgency mean and why was he admonished that if he did not reveal that message then his mission would be unfulfilled! Why had he been warned so strongly by Allah to deliver the message right away.
According to Shia tradition, Prophet Muhammad had been apprehensive about declaring his own son-in-law and cousin Ali ibn Abu Talib as his spiritual (Amirul Momineen, Commander of the believers) and secular (Caliph, King) heir, for fear that it would divide the nascent Muslim community. The rich Muslims were already jealous of Hazrat Ali’s favored position with Prophet Muhammad (being married to Hazrat Fatima, being his cousin, appointed as Commander at many important battles) and in the above revelation God reassures him.
Al Muayyad talks about the Gadhir-e Khumm appointment in his Majalis as follows:
“It must be borne in mind that after the death of the Prophet the belief in the Wilayat of the Imams from his progeny is as important a part of our religion as the belief in the Wilayat of the Prophet in his lifetime. This is supported by the Tradition according to which the Prophet is reported to have said at ‘Ghadeer Khum’, “Am I not more precious to you than your own-selves.” This is an echo of the Qur’anic verse which says, “The Prophet is more dear to the ‘Momins’ than their own-selves to them.” It is said, that in response to this question by the Prophet, when the ‘Momins’ said “Yes, you are dearer to us than our own lives”, the Prophet said, “O God, be witness to their admission”. After this he said, “‘Ali is the master of one who acknowledges me to be his master. O God love those who love ‘Ali. Help those who help ‘Ali. Desert those who desert ‘Ali. Let the truth accompany ‘Ali wherever he goes.”
Prophet Muhammad felt great relief upon accomplishment of his mission of declaring Hazrat Ali his successor and legatee, wasi, and thereupon received the final revelation:
“This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion” Quran 5:3.
“Surely those who swear allegiance to you do but swear allegiance to Allah; the hand of Allah is above their hands. Therefore, whoever breaks (his faith), he breaks it only to the injury of his own soul, and whoever fulfills what he has pledged with Allah, He will grant him a mighty reward.” Quran (48:10)
“And, He it is who made the stars for you that ye maybe rightly guided by observing them in the darkness of the land and the sea; Indeed, we have made plain the Signs for the people who can know. Qur’an (6:98)
The Holy Prophet (sas) said:
“As the stars in the sky are the source of guidance to the travelers, the Holy Ones of my Ahl al Bayt (the Imams descended from the Prophet’s family) are the source of guidance for the people. And, as the stars will remain in the sky until the day of judgment, the earth will never be without a Divine Guide from my Ahl al Bayt, that is an Imam”.
The Wilayat of Ali
By Al-Mu’ayyad fid-din as-Shirazi
O Mu’mins, may God help you in deriving the fullest benefit from the glories of the day. (Eid e Ghadir) (2) It was on this day that God conferred on us the highest of His favors. It was on this day that a great ordinance was issued by God which is the terminating point in the revelation of the religious laws. It was on this day that everything was made clear and the path was made smooth for the seekers of truth by the verse (of the Quran):
“I have perfected your religion. I have bestowed on you my highest favors. I have chosen for you Islam as a religion.”
At first the Prophet was reluctant to proclaim the ordinance to the people who, he believed, were prejudiced against it. A Qur’anic verse made the matter clear and left no room for hesitation in his mind. The verse is as follows:
“0 Prophet, deliver the message which has been revealed to you by your Lord. If you fail to do so, it will mean that you have not delivered His message to the people. God will guard you against the people.”
There is no sect in Islam which believes that the Prophet failed short of delivering the message of God in such matters as the performance of prayers, the payment of zakat, the fasting or going on pilgrimage, or taking part in the jehad. We know well that he exerted his utmost in making the people offer the prayers which one cannot perform without undergoing some physical discomfort. He preached to the people to pay the zakat and the people did pay, although one does not find it easy to part with money. The people were made to fast and we know well that in fasting one has to put up with unbearable heat and thirst. He exhorted the people to go on pilgrimage, which one cannot undertake without undergoing all sorts of hardships. He ordered the people to join the jehad and they did so at the risk of their lives.
In short, he made no hesitation in the delivering of God’s message in these matters. It was only the question of Wilayat (3) which worried him the most. It was the ordinance pertaining to the Wilayat, the allegiance to Ali and the Imams from amongst his descendants, that he was not prepared to proclaim. Finding the people burning with hatred and jealousy, the Prophet hesitated to deliver this ordinance to them and he was waiting for a favorable time when the above verses were revealed to clear his doubts. If one were to suggest that the Prophet was not hesitating to deliver this ordinance, this stand will make the revelation of the above verse meaningless and superfluous.
These verses, which lay emphasis on the delivery of the ordinance, prove to us that the faith in the Wilayat is the corner stone of our religion. If one does not believe in the Wilayat and discharges all the primary and secondary duties enjoined on us by our religion, the performance of these duties will not help him in the least. His good deeds minus the belief in the Wilayat will lead him to no other place than hell-fire. Belief in the Wilayat of the Prophet is a pivot. On this hinges the whole system of our religious laws. If one has no faith in the Wilayat, the duties laid down in our religion will lose the force of application on him. Hence, the performance or non-performance of these duties will make no difference in his case.
It must be borne in mind that after the death of the Prophet, the belief in the Wilayat of the Imams from his progeny is as important a part of our religion as the belief in the Wilayat of the Prophet in his lifetime. This is supported by the Tradition according to which the Prophet is reported to have said at Ghadeer Khum: “Am I not more precious to you than your own selves?”
This is an echo of the Qur’anic verse which says:
“The Prophet is more dear to the Mu’mins than their own selves to them.” It is said that when the Mu’mins said “Yes, you are dearer to us than our own selves,” in response to the Prophet’s question, he said: “Oh God, be witness to their admission.” After this he said: “Ali is the master of one who acknowledges me to be his master. 0 God love those who love Ali. Help those who help Ali. Desert those who desert Ali. Let the truth accompany Ali wherever he goes.”
- Reprinted from ‘Life and Lectures of al-Mu’ayyad fid-din as-Shirazi, translated by Jawad Muscati and K.B.M.A. Moulvi, published by Ismailia Association for Pakistan, Karachi, 1966.
- The day referred to here is known as ‘Yomul-Ghadeer, when Prophet Muhammad declared Hazrat Ali as his successor. This incident took place at Ghadeer Khum on the 18th of Zil-hajj during the Prophet’s last pilgrimage, which is known in history as Hajjat ul- Wida. Ahmed bin Hanbal, founder of one of the four main Sunni schools of law, refers to this occasion in his book Masnad ul-Kabeer. He quotes Barra bin Azib, one of the companions of the Prophet: “We were in the company of the Prophet when he halted at Ghadeer Khum and led the congregational prayer. After finishing the prayer, the Prophet took the hand of Ali and raised it up saying, “Am I not dearer to Mu’mins than their own souls?” They replied “yes.” Again he said, “Ali is the master of one who acknowledges me to be his master. 0 God, love those who love Ali and hate those who hate Ali.” After hearing this, Omar bin Khattab went to Ali and said, “Congratulations to you, 0 son of Abu Ta’lib, you have become the master of every male and female Mu‘min.
- The term Wilayat means the ‘power’, ‘authority’, ‘sovereignty’ or ‘plenipotency’ of the Imam. As a theological concept in Shiism, it involves belief in Imamat, love, devotion and allegiance to the Imams, obedience to their commands and recognition of their rights.