Will you give information about Ghadir Khumm incident?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

Ghadir Khumm is the name of a place between Makkah and Madinah, near Juhfa. (Mu'jamul-Buldan, VI, 268). It is a boggy place about 2-3 miles away from Juhfa; the bog is surrounded by a dense wood. The most important issue related to the emergence of Shia is the incident of Ghadir Khumm.

According to Shiite resources, it was determined in Ghadir Khumm that Ali (ra) had the most rights to be the caliph. When we look at the books of Shia scholars, it is possible to find the following information in the part related to Ghadir:

The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) stopped in Ghadir Khumm while returning from Hajj. He gathered the groups before they returned to their towns and addressed them. The reason he gathered them was to announce them the following verse, which was sent down there:

“O Messenger! Proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission: And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith.” (al-Maida, 5/67)

According to Shiite writers, this verse was sent down about Ali (ra). The only thing to be proclaimed by the verse was the caliphate of Ali (ra). The Prophet concealed certain things from his wife Hz. Aisha and hence God Almighty warned him. (Wahidi, Asbab an-Nuzul,115; Tirmidhi, Manaqib, 20; Ibn Majah, Muqaddima, II; H. Nisaburi, al-Mustadrak, III,109; Kulayni, al-Kafi, II, 72)

After conveying this verse in Ghadir, the Prophet said,

“Jibril brought me the following order from my Lord: Ali b. Abi Talib is my brother, guardian and caliph; he is the imam after me. O people! Allah appointed him as the guardian and imam for you. Anyone who opposes him will be cursed and anyone who respects him will be shown mercy. Listen and obey! Allah is your mawla and Ali is your imam. The imamate will continue until Doomsday from his progeny.” (Wahidi, Asbab an-Nuzul, 115).

According to Shiite, the Messenger of Allah also declared the following there: 

1) He stated that he left two heavy things (thaqalayn) to Muslims. One of them is the book of Allah; one side of it is in the hand of Allah and the other side is in the hand of Muslims. The second is the Sunnah of the Prophet.

2) He lifted Ali's hand and said, “Ali is the mawla of a person whom I am a mawla of.”

3) The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) prayed as follows: “O Allah! Help those who help Ali! Be an enemy of a person who is an enemy of Ali!”

4) He also said, “O Allah! Turn the truth toward Ali from the place where it turns!”

Ahl as-Sunnah evaluates the narrations that are put forward by Shiite scholars above and that are included in the issue of Ghadir Khumm as follows:

According to the claim of Shiite, the number of the sincere Muslims after the death of the Prophet is no more than ten. However, more than one hundred thousand Companions listened to the sermon in Ghadir. The meaning of this claim is as follows: “More than one hundred Companions did not keep their promise and collaborated to deprive Hz. Ali of the caliphate.” This alliance is impossible to happen logically. What can be the use and benefit of it?

On the other hand, the sermon of Ghadir Khumm was delivered on Dhulhijjah 18, in the tenth year of the Migration while the Prophet was returning from Farewell Hajj.

The verse “This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” (al-Maida, 5/3)

was sent down on Dhulhijjah 9, the day of Arafah of the same year. Is it possible for this verse to have been sent down before verse 67 of the chapter of al-Maida, which orders Hz. Muhammad to proclaim his prophethood and whose translation was given above? The verse stating that the religion was completed was sent down and it was announced to more than one hundred thousand hajjis. The great majority of the Islamic scholars determined that verse 67 of the chapter of al-Maida was sent down before the Conquest of Makkah and the Battle of Khaybar. (Said Ismail, Haqiqatul-Khilaf Bayna Ulamaish-Shia wa Jumhuri Ulamail-Muslimin, Carbondale 1983, 25, 26)

There are some writers who deny the incident of Ghadir Khumm and there are also some Sunni scholars who do not deny it but who do not express it clearly. There are praises about Ali (ra) in their writings but there is no statement about the appointment of Ali (ra) as the caliph.

Nasai includes this incident in his book about the virtues of Ali b. Abi Talib. In this narration reported from Zayd b. Arqam, the hadith of “Ghadir” and the hadith of “Thaqalayn” are combined and it is stated that both of them were uttered on the day of Ghadir. Ibn Majah includes the hadith about Ghadir in his Sunan but he does not mention where it was uttered. (Nasai, Khasais,16; Ibn Majah, Sunan, Muqaddima, II)

The hadith of Ghadir reported by Zayd b. Arqam (D. 66/689) is as follows:

Once, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) delivered a sermon to us in a watery place called Khumm between Makkah and Madinah. In this sermon, he first praised Allah and gave us some advice. He mentioned Allah and addressed us as follows:

“O people! Know that I am only a human being and the messenger of my Lord, Azrael, will soon come to me. I will respond to his call. I am leaving behind two weighty things (thaqalayn) among you. The first of the two is the Book of Allah. In it is guidance and light. So, get hold of the Book of Allah and adhere to it.” Thus, he encouraged us to read the book of Allah and advised it to us. Then, he continued as follows:

The second is my Ahl al-Bayt (family). I urge you to remember Allah regarding my Ahl al-Bayt.” He repeated the last sentence three times. (Nasai, Khasais, 15; Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, II,114, IV, 367; Darimi, Fadailul-Quran,1).

Ibn Kathir mentions almost all narrations of the khadith of Khumm and points out the reliable and weak narrators. (Ibn Kathir, as-Siratun-Nabawiyya, IV, 414)

After Zayd b. Arqam reported the hadith above, he was asked, “Who is included in Ahl al-Bayt of the Prophet? Are his wives regarded among Ahl al-Bayt?” Zayd said, “The wives of the Prophet are also from Ahl al-Bayt but his real Ahl al-Bayt are those for whom it is haram to accept sadaqah after him.” He listed them as follows: “The family of Ali, the family of Aqil, the families of Ja'far and Abbas.” (Muslim, Fadailus-Sahaba, 36)

Ibn Taymiyya states the following regarding the narrations of Ghadir Khumm:

“Let alone being mutawatir, this fabricated incident has no sound chain of narrators. Was it not necessary for at least one Companion to mention this incident on the day of Saqifa, when Umar died, when the consultation committee of six people was established and on the days when the caliphate of Ali was discussed after the martyrdom of Hz. Uthman? As it is seen, it is one of the fabrications of Rafidis.” (Ibn Taymiyya, Minhajus-Sunnah, IV, 118)

Goldziher, the orientalist, writes the following regarding the issue:

“Therefore, Ali adherents were concerned with inventing and authorizing traditions which prove Ali's installation by the direct order of the Prophet. The most widely-known tradition (the authority of which is not denied even by orthodox authorities though they deprive it of its intention by a different interpretation) is the tradition of Khumm, which came into being for this purpose and is one of the firmest foundations of the theses of the Ali party.” (Goldziher, Muslim Studies)

That the hadith of Ghadir, put forward as the evidence for the claim that Ali (ra) was worthy of the caliphate more than the others, was not reported even by only one narrator during the period of the Rightly Guided Caliphs brings about serious doubts about its existence. It is understood that Shiite invented a reason for the emergence of this hadith, which they later spread as the hadith of Ghadir. Even Ali himself did not mention such a narration when it was needed very much. For instance, during the illness of the Prophet, when Ali b. Abi Talib came out after visiting the Messenger of Allah, people asked him, “O Abu Hasan! How is the Messenger of Allah?” He said, “Alhamdulillah, he is fine.” The narrator said, “Thereupon, Abbas held Ali by the hand and said, ‘By Allah, within three days, you will be a slave. By Allah, I think that the Messenger of Allah will die from his present ailment, for I know the signs of death on the faces of the Sons of Abdulmuttalib. So, let us go to the Messenger of Allah and ask him whether the caliphate belongs to us or not. If it belongs to us, we will know it; and if it is not, tell him to recommend us.’ Ali (ra) said, “By Allah, I cannot do it. If we ask the Prophet for it and if he refuses, people will never give it to us.” (Bukhari, Isti'dhan, 29; For detailed information, see Cemal Sofuoğlu, Gadîri Hum Meselesi-Ankara Ü. İlâhiyat Fakültesi Dergisi, Ankara 1983, Vol. XXVI, p. 461-470)

If it had been announced that Ali (ra) would be the imam/caliph after the Prophet in Ghadir Khumm and if Muslims had been ordered to obey it as Shiite claim, all of the Companions including Abbas (ra) would have known this will, which is claimed to have been announced in front of more than one hundred thousand Companions. On the other hand, the conversation between Ali (ra) and Abbas (ra) mentioned above would have been meaningless. However, the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) delivered a sermon in Ghadir as it is included in the resources of Ahl as-Sunnah. Some statements about Hz. Ali were uttered there and the Prophet asked Muslims to treat Ahl al-Bayt well. However, Sunni scholars interpret the statement “If I am someone’s mawla, Ali is his mawla too” more differently from Shiite. Ibn Qutayba states the following regarding the issue: “The Prophet is the mawla of all Muslims. Walayah is both between the Prophet and the believers and also among Muslims. The relationship of the Prophet with Hz. Ali is like that. ‘The Believers, men and women, are protectors (awliya) one of another.’ (at-Tawba, 9/71) There is no difference between the words wali (singular form of awliya) and mawla. This does not give Ali (ra) a privilege.” There are many verses regarding the issue (at-Tahrim, 66/4 at-Tawba, 9/71; al-Baqara, 2/257; Yunus, 10/62).

The Prophet (pbuh) said similar things for great Companions like Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra). He said the following for Abu Ubayda b. al-Jarrah (ra): “He is the trustworthy one (amin) of this ummah.” According to the view accepted by Ahl as-Sunnah, it is fard for Muslims to love Ali (ra) as it is fard to love the Prophet (pbuh); it is haram to be an enemy of Ali as it is haram to be an enemy of the Prophet. This is also in compatible with the view of Ahl al-Bayt. (Abdulaziz Dahlawi, Mukhtasaru Tuhfatil-Ithna Ashariyya, 161)


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