The Event of Ghadeer
For the followers of Ahlul-Bayt (as), there are four great EIDS:
o Eid-ul-Fitr, which is marked at the end of the holy month of Ramadhan
o Eid-ul-Adh’ha, which is celebrated on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah in remembrance of the great sacrifice of Prophet Ibrahim (as)
o Eid-ul-Ghadeer, which falls on 18th of Dhul-Hijjah &
o Eid-ul-Mubahila, which is celebrated on the 24th of Dhul-Hijjah.
We celebrate the Eid of Ghadeer because it is the day of the Wilayah of our first Imam, Imam ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as).
It was on the 18th of Dhul-Hijjah, in the year 10 AH, at a place called Ghadeer-e-Khum that the Holy Prophet (saww) openly and explicitly declared the Imamate of this Imam (as) on the Muslims.
THE INCIDENT OF GHADEER:
Historians write that:
In the month of Dhul-Qa’dah 10 AH, the Holy Prophet (saww) decided to perform the last Hajj of his life.
Muslims in Madina and outside were all informed about this. Naturally, this news inspired many and Muslims turned out in thousands to accompany the Messenger of Allah (saww) to Makkah.
On 25th of Dhul-Qa’dah, they all departed for Makkah. After performing his ‘Umrah, the Holy Prophet (saww) pitched his tent outside the city of Makkah.
On 8th of Dhul-Hijjah, all the Muslims proceeded to ‘Arafah and stayed there till the sunset of 9th. It was here that the Holy Prophet (saww) delivered his first sermon. He (saww) informed the people that this was his last Hajj and advised them:
- To show respect to the blood and property of one another
- Discharge their trust
- Refrain from Usury and safeguard from Shaytan
He (also) stressed upon the rights of women and abide by Quran and his Sunnah.
After completing his pilgrimage, the Holy Prophet (saww) was returning to Madina when he (saww) arrived at a spot called Ghadeer-e-Khum. This place was like a junction from where all the pilgrims usually dispersed towards their own cities.
Suddenly he (saww) saw the signs of Wahyi as though a revelation was to come so he (saww) encamped there. Jibrael (as) appeared with the following command from Allah (SWT):
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 Prophet! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you don’t, then you have not delivered any message of His, and Allah will protect you from men…”
The message was very strong!
What was it about?
And why was it so important that if it were not delivered, it would be as though the Holy Prophet (saww) hadn’t delivered any message?
On receiving this command, the Holy Prophet (saww) instructed that:
- The place be swept
- Bilal to call out the people by saying “HAYYA ‘ALAA KHAYRIL ‘AMAL.”
- Those who were ahead were called back; and those who were behind were asked to join.
All historians write that when Muslims gathered at Ghadeer, they were 120,000 in number.
The Holy Prophet (saww) led the Dhuhr prayer and thereafter mounted the mimber, which was made from the saddles of the camels and delivered his historical speech.
It was during this sermon that the Holy Prophet (saww) declared ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) as his successor by raising him so high that the hair of his armpit was evident to the Muslims and said,
“Whosever’s master I am, Ali is his master.”
Thereafter, the Holy Prophet (saww) made ‘Ali (as) to sit in a tent and asked the Muslims to swear an oath of allegiance to him. The first two people to do so, were Abu Bakr and ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, who said,
“Congratulations to you O son of Abu Talib! You have become my leader and the leader of all believing men and women.”
This is basically what had happened, and this is what the Shia’h must know to strengthen their belief in the Imamate of Imam ‘Ali (as) and the eleven Imams (as) who followed him.
IMPORTANCE OF AL-GHADEER:
We can understand how important the event of Ghadeer is through the following incidents that followed:
It was only after the Holy Prophet (saww) had delivered his sermon and had appointed ‘Ali (as) as his rightful successor, that the verse of perfection of religion was revealed.
الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِينًا
“This day I have perfected your religion for you and have completed My favour upon you and have chosen for you the religion of Islam.” (5:3)
Mohamed Baqir Ansari in his book, ‘What happened in Ghadeer?’ relates that after the appointment of Imam ‘Ali (as), Muslims were in their groups when suddenly they saw a handsome man standing among them and asserting:
“This Apostle has knotted for this man what only the atheists would unfasten.”
Which implies that only those who do not believe in Allah (SWT) will reject the Wilayah of ‘Ali (as).
‘Umar ibn al-Khattab came to him and asked as to who he was, but he received no answer. He then came to the Holy Prophet (saww) and asked him. The Holy Prophet (saww) said, “That was Jibrael, the angel. I warn you against disentangling the knot, and breaching!”
After the event of Ghadeer, a person by the name of Harith bin Nu’man al-Fahri came to know about the appointment of Imam ‘Ali (as).
He rode on his she-camel to Madina and confronting the Holy Prophet (saww) said,
“You commanded us to believe in One God, we did!
You told us to obey you, so we obeyed you!
You told us to pray, so we prayed!
You told us to fast, so we fasted!
You told us to perform Hajj, which we did!
It appears that you were not satisfied with all these and you have appointed your cousin to be your successor?”
Having said this, the man then turned towards his camel and said,
“O Allah! If whatever Muhammad has said is correct, then fling a stone on me from the sky.”
Before Harith reached his camel, a stone from sky fell on his head and cut him into two pieces. Immediately afterwards, the following verses of Suratul-Ma’arij were revealed:
“A questioner asked for the punishment to fall; for the disbelievers, there is nothing to avert it.” (70:1-2)
To keep this day as reminder of that great event of Ghadeer, the Holy Prophet (saww) declared it as the day of EID.
The Holy Prophet (saww) said,
“Day of Ghadeer is the best festivity of my nation. It is on this day that Allah (SWT) commanded me to appoint my brother ‘Ali bin Abi Talib (as) as a point of guidance after me for the people; And it is also the day when Allah (SWT) perfected His religion and completed His favour; and chose Islam as the religion.”
Mulla Mujahidali Sheriff