Ten years after the migration and on the last days of Dhu al-Qi’dah, Prophet of Islam (Pbuh) moved from Madinah to Makkah for Hajj. He only once attended Hajj rituals, a few months before his passing. Since this Hajj took place in the last year of his life, he made his farewells to people.
The Messenger of Allah ((Pbuh) ordered his close followers to call all the people in different places to join him in his last Hajj pilgrimage. On this pilgrimage he taught them how to perform the pilgrimage in a correct and unified form.
Hazrat Ali (AS) was in Yemen, preaching Islam. He moved towards Makkah together with his companions and joined Prophet (Pbuh) before rituals began.
When the rituals of Hajj (Hajjatul-Wada’), were over, Prophet (Pbuh), accompanied by thousands of faithful, left Makkah for Madinah. This was the year 10 AH (coinciding with February 632).
This was first time that the Muslims with this magnitude gathered in one place in the presence of their leader, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh).
On his way to Makkah, more than seventy thousand people followed Prophet (Pbuh).
When Prophet accompanied by multitude of pilgrims reached a pond, called Ghadeer-e-Khumm (which is close to today’s al-Juhfah), on 18th of Zil-Hijjah of the year 10 AH, he ordered them to stop. It was a place where people from different provinces used to say good bye to each other before taking different routes for their homes.
In this place, the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed:
“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 receiving the verse, the Prophet (Pbuh) stopped at Khum which was extremely hot. Then he sent for all people who have been ahead in the way, to come back and waited until all pilgrims who fell behind, arrived and gathered. He ordered Salman al Farsi (RA) to use rocks and camel toolings to make a pulpit (minbar) so he could make his announcement. It was around noon time in the first of the fall, and due to the extreme heat in that Valley, people were wrapping their robes around their feet and legs, and were sitting around the pulpit, on the hot rocks.
On this day the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) 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 both Shia & Sunni traditionists:
The Messenger of Allah (SAWW) declared:
“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 Kausar.”
Then the Messenger of Allah 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 followed the key sentence denoting the clear designation of Hazrat Ali bin Abi Talib as his vicegerent. The Prophet (Pbuh) held up the hand of Ali and said:
“For whoever I am his Leader (Mawla), ‘Ali is his Leader (Mawla).”
In some narrations the word used was Wali rather than Mawla – with the same implication.
The Prophet (Pbuh) continued:
“O’ God, love those who love him, and be hostile to those who are hostile to him.”
These were the key parts of the speech of the Prophet (SAWW). There are also more detailed versions of this sermon which are recorded by many authorities.
Immediately after the Prophet (Pbuh) finished his speech, the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed:
“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)
After his speech, the Messenger of Allah (Pbuh) asked everybody to give the oath of allegiance to Ali (A.S.) and congratulate him. Among those who did so was ‘ Hazrat Umar b. al-Khattab (RA), who said:
“Well done Ibn Abi Talib! Today you became the leader (Mawla) of all believing men and women.”
Allah ordered His Prophet (Pbuh) 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 (Pbuh), and there was no one (there) except that he saw him with his eyes and heard him with his ears.”
Shia Muslims believe this to be the appointment of Ali as Imam of Muslims. Most Muslims accept the historicity of the event, but not all believe that this constituted an appointment of Ali as the successor to the Prophet. The day’s anniversary in the Islamic Calendar (18 Dhu al-Hijjah) is celebrated by Muslims as Eid al-Ghadeer.
Eid of Ghadeer should be used to unite Muslim Ummah as the enemies of Islam are using the same day to create discord among the Muslim Ummah. It is crucial that people are able to approach these matters in a mature and respectful manner. Discussion and debate is healthy and its important that we are able to speak openly about differences between various schools of thought in Islam.
This year the day falls on 30th of August.
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