The Event of Ghadīr, according to Shi’a beliefs, is among the most important events of Islamic history, in which on his return from Hajjat al-Wida’ [Hajj of Farewell], the Prophet (s) introduced Imam ‘Ali (a) as his vicegerent and people’s guardian after himself at a place called Ghadir Khum, where everyone including greatest Companions promised allegiance to Imam ‘Ali (a).
Story of Ghadir
The Path of Hajjat al-Wida’ where the Prophet (s) and his companions returned from Mecca to Medina.The Prophet (s) moved from Medina to Mecca on 24th or 25th of Dhu l-Qa’da 10 AH/24th or 25th of February 632 accompanied by thousands of people (some even mentioned this number more up to 120 thousand people). This hajj of the Prophet (s) was also called Hajjat al-Wida’, Hajjat al-Islam and Hajjat al-Balagh. In that month, Imam ‘Ali (a) was in Yemen for preaching Islam and when he was informed about the Prophet’s (s) hajj, he (a) also moved towards Mecca together with some people and joined the Prophet (s) before rituals began. When rituals of hajj finished, the Prophet (s) left Mecca for Medina together with other Muslims.
Revelation of the Verse of Propagation
Muslims arrived at Ghadir Khum on Thursday 18th of Dhu al-Hijja, 10 AH/19th of March, 632, but before the people of Levant, Egypt and Iraq leave for their own countries, Gabriel revealed theVerse of Propagation to the Prophet (s) when God ordered the Prophet (s) to introduce ‘Ali (a) as his vicegerent and guardian to people.
After revelation of the verse, the Prophet (s) ordered the caravan to stop and ordered those who have passed Ghadir Khum return and wait until those who had not yet arrived there join them.
After performing Zuhr prayer, the Prophet (s) made a speech which became famous as Ghadir Sermon. In that speech, the Prophet (s) said, “Praise belongs only to God and we ask Him for help and we believe in Him and take refuge to Him from the evil of our selves and ugliness of our actions… God, the Merciful and All-Knower informed me that I will be called (to Him) soon and I will submit to (His call)… I will come to the pond of Kawthar before you do and you come to me beside it; so beware about how you treat Thiqlayn [two great things]; al-Thiql al-Akbar, the greater one is the Book of God and the other is my household.”
Then, the Prophet (s) raised ‘Ali’s (a) hand so that people could see him and then said, “O people! Am I not more deserved to your guardianship than you yourselves?” and people answered, “yes, O Prophet (s)!” Then, the Prophet (s) said, “God is my guardian and I am the guardian of the believers and I am more deserved for your guardianship than you for yourselves. Therefore, anyone whose guardian is me, then ‘Ali (a) is his guardian.” The Prophet (s) repeated this sentence three times and said, “O God! Befriend and be the guardian of whom befriends ‘Ali (a) and considers me his guardian and be the enemy of those who is his enemy. Help anyone who helps him and leave anyone who abandons him.” Then, he (s) addressed people and said, “Those who are here ought to deliver this message to those who are absent.”
Revelation of the Verse of Ikmal
People had not scattered yet, when Gabriel came to the Prophet (s) once more and revealed the third verse of Chapter al-Ma’ida to the Prophet (s) which is known as the Verse of Ikmal. A part of the verse reads, “Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.” (5:3)
Congratulating Imam ‘Ali (a)
Then, people congratulated Imam ‘Ali (a) including Abu Bakr and ‘Umar who repeatedly said, “Happy for you O son of Abu Talib (a)! You are my Wali (guardian) and the Wali of every believing man and woman.”
The Prophet (s) ordered that a tent was erected for ‘Ali (a) and ordered people to go to him group by group and salute him as the Commander of the Faithful (a); and all people, even the wives of the Prophet (s) and other women followed this order.”
Number of Audience
There is disagreement regarding the number of audience in the event of Ghadir Khum. They have been mentioned 10 thousand, 12 thousand, 17 thousand or 70 thousand people.
Regarding the capacity of the area in Ghadir Khum, the population of Medina in 10 AH/632 and also the number of people who went to hajj in Hajjat al-Wida’, the least number reported which is 10 thousand people is more credible.
Narrators of Ghadir
the book Al-Ghadir fi kitab wa al-sunna wa al-adab written by ‘Allama al-Amini
The narration of Ghadir has been mentioned in both Shi’a and Sunni sources and some parts of the Prophet’s (s) speech are more frequently quoted such as “anyone whose guardian is me, then ‘Ali (a) is his guardian.” The Companions and many of the Followers have reported the event.
Narrators of the hadith of Ghadir are many including:
Ahl al-Bayt (a), i.e. Imam ‘Ali (a), Lady Fatima (a), Imam al-Hasan (a) and Imam al-Husayn (a)
Then a number of 110 Companions of the Prophet (s) can be seen including, ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, ‘Uthman b. ‘Affan,’Aisha bt. Abi Bakr, Salman the Persian, Abu Dhar al-Ghifari, Zubayr b. ‘Awam, Jabir b. ‘Abd Allah al-Ansari,Abbas b. ‘Abd al-Muttalib, Abu Hurayra, etc. who were all present in Ghadir Khum and narrated the event directly.
Also, the event has been reported by 83 of the Followers including, Asbagh b. Nubata and ‘Umar b. ‘Abd al-Aziz, the Umayyad caliph.
Then, it also can be seen reported by 360 Sunni scholars of 2nd to 4th century AH including, the leader of Shafi’ites, Hanbalites, Ahmad b. Shu’ayb al-Nasa’i, Ibn al-Maghazili, Ahmad b. ‘Abd Allah and Ahmad b. ‘Abd Rabbih.
Also, many Shi’a hadith scholars have narrated the hadith of Ghadir including al-Shaykh al-Kulayni, al-Shaykh al-Saduq, al-Shaykh al-Mufid, Sayyid Murtada, etc.
Many scholars consider hadith of Ghadir as Hasan and some considers it Sahih. Also, all Shi’a hadith scholars and some great Sunni scholars consider this hadith as Mutawatir [frequently narrated].
Verses about Ghadir
Shi’a and Sunni exegetes believe that some verses in the Qur’an are about the event of Ghadir and have been revealed to the Prophet (s) in Hajjat al-Wida’.
Verse 3 of chapter al-Ma’ida which is known as the Verse of Ikmal and says, “Today, I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.”
Verse 67 of the same chapter which is called the Verse of Tabligh [propagation] and says, “O Apostle! Communicate that which has been sent down to you from your Lord, and if you do not, you will not have communicated His message, and Allah shall protect you from the people.”
Verses 1 and 2 of Chapter al-Ma’arij which reads, “An asker asked for a punishment bound to befall (1) —which none can avert from the faithless” referring to the event that after the Prophet (s) announced the guardianship of’Ali (a), a man whose name was Nu’man b. Harith al-Fihri came to the Prophet (s) and complained that, “You ordered us to acknowledge Unity of God, your mission, performing Jihad, hajj, fasting, prayer and giving Zakat and we accepted. But, you were not pleased with this much until you appointed this young man as our Wali. Is this appointment your own decision or from God?!” When the Prophet (s) answered him that it has been God’s order, the man asked God disdainfully that if this order is from God, a stone fells on his head from the sky. Then, a stone fell from the sky on his head and he dropped dead and this verse was then revealed.
Ghadir in the Speech of the Infallible (a)
Imam ‘Ali (a) said, “O Muslims, Immigrants and the Helpers! Did not you hear that the Prophet (s) said this and that on the day of Ghadir Khum?” Everyone said, “yes!”
Lady Fatima (a) said, “It is as if you do not know what the Prophet (s) said on the day of Ghadit Khum! I swear to God, the Prophet (s) appointed and upheld the position ofWilaya and Imamate for ‘Ali (a) to avoid your greed to take it.”
Imam al-Hasan (a) said, “Muslims saw the Prophet (s) and heard him when he (s) took my father’s hand on the day of Ghadir, when he (s) addressed them, ‘anyone whose guardian is me, then ‘Ali (a) is his guardian.'”
Imam al-Husayn (a) said, “The Prophet (s) raised ‘Ali (a) through all good manners and when strengthened ‘Ali’s (a) soul, appointed him for Imamate and on the day of Ghadir said, ‘anyone whose guardian is me, then ‘Ali (a) is his guardian.'”
Imam al-Rida (a) said, “Day of Ghadir is more famous among the dwellers of skies than the people of the earth… if people knew the value of this day, the angels would undoubtedly shake hands with them 10 times a day.”
Eid Ghadir in Islam
Muslims, especially Shi’a have always regarded the day of Ghadir one of the greatest eids and this day is known to them as Eid Ghadir.
It has been esteemed so much that making allegiance with Musta’li b. Mustansar (an Egyptian ruler) was held on the Eid Ghadir Khum 487 AH/1094. Also, it is narrated by Sunni scholars that anyone who fasts 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah, (which is the day of Eid Ghadir Khum) God will reward him equal to the reward of 6 months of fasting. The eve of Ghadir Khum is also celebrated among Muslims.
The Prophet (s) said, “Day of Ghadir Khum is the greatest Eid of my people and that is the day when God perfected religion, and completed His blessing upon my people, and approved Islam as their religion.”
Also, Imam al-Sadiq (a) said, “Day of Ghadir Khum is a great Eid of God. God has not chosen a prophet unless He has regarded that day an Eid and has glorified it; and the name of this day is the Day of Promise in the skies and the Day of Covenant and Public Attendance on the earth.”