May 18, 2024
GHADIR KHUM
The Ghadir Khum Declaration is a historical event that took place in the year 632 CE, during the farewell pilgrimage of the Prophet Muhammad to Mecca.

What is the Ghadir Ghum Declaration?

The Ghadir Khum Declaration is a historical event that took place in the year 632 CE, during the farewell pilgrimage of the Prophet Muhammad to Mecca. At a place called Ghadir Khum, the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, is said to have publicly declared that Imam Ali, his cousin, and son-in-law, was his spiritual successor and that he was to be the Spiritual Leader of the Muslim community after the Prophet’s death.

The declaration is considered to be a pivotal moment in Islamic history, as it signaled the formal establishment of Imam Ali’s position as a Spiritual Leader within the Muslim community. It is celebrated by Orthodox Muslims as a key moment in the appointment of their spiritual leaders, while deviant Muslims interpret it in a variety of ways, with some seeing it as a significant event and others downplaying its importance.

On the authority of Sayyidna Zaid bin Arqam, may Allah be pleased with him, the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace while addressing the Companions at Ghadir Khum, said:

“I am leaving you with two great things: the first of them is the Book of Allah. In it is guidance and light, so take hold of the Book of Allah and be strong with it. The Messenger of Allah, may God bless him and grant him peace, inspiring and encouraging people to follow the Book of Allah. After that, he (peace be upon him) said: And (the second great thing) is my family. I remind you of Allah about my household, I remind you of Allah about my household, I remind you of Allah about my household, that is, I warn you from Allah.”

[Sahih Muslim:H#2408d]

In another tradition of Sayyiduna Zayd bin Arqam, the words are as follows:

“O, people! I am leaving two things between you, as long as you follow them you will never go astray, namely the Book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt.”

[al-Mustadrak by Imam Hakim: H#4577]

The second part of the Ghadir Khum Declaration goes as follows:

It is narrated on the authority of Sayyidna Zayd bin Arqam, may Allah be pleased with him, that Sayyidna Ali may Allah be pleased with him asked for testimony from the people and said: I entrust this man to Allah, who heard the Prophet, may God bless him and grant him peace, say this. That O Allah! To whom I am the master, Ali is also his master, O Allah! Whoever loves Ali, keep loving him, and whoever hates Ali, keep hating him. Hearing this Sixteen men stood up and gave this testimony (that indeed they heard this hadith from the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).

[Musnad Ahmad:H#23531]

The following Hadiths prove that the aforementioned event regarding the virtues of Imam Ali (peace be upon him) was a part of the Ghadir Khum Declaration:

Sayyidna Abu al-Tofail Amir bin Wathlah (may Allah be pleased with him) narrated that Sayyidna Ali bin Abu Talib (peace be upon him) gathered the people in a bunch of trees. And he said to them, “I entrust you to Allah, tell me what the Messenger of Allah, may God bless him and grant him peace, said in the sermon near Ghadir-e-Khum.” Then the people stood up and said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said! Do I not have more authority over the believers than their lives? Then the Prophet ﷺ took hold of the hand of Sayyiduna Ali (peace be upon him) and said: Whose master I am, Ali is also his master. O God, befriend him who befriends him and be hostile to him who is hostile to him.

[Musnad Ahmad, As-Sunan al-Kubra by Imam an-Nasayie:H#8623]

Imam Zahabi, the well-known Hadith scholar and critic, collected more than 120 narrations from 12 Companions including Imam Ali (peace be upon him) regarding the Ghadir Khum Declaration and testified more than 10 narrations to be authentic, while others support these 10 narrations. Imam Zahabi said in his famous compendium Siaya I’lam an-Nubala (vol.8, p.335) that Hadith  مَنْ کُنْتُ مَوْلَاهُ
فَعَلِيٌّ مَوْلَاهُ

is mass transmitted (Mutawatir).

What is meant by  Ahlul Bayt?

Remember, all the believers of Bani Hashim (peace be upon them) are included in the Ahlul Bayt of the Prophet (peace be upon him), but in the sermon of Ghadir-e-Khum, he intended Ahl-e-Kisa including Sayyida Fatimah, Imam Ali, Imam Hasan and Imam Hussain (peace be upon them), although the rest of the believers of Bani Hashim and the pure wives (mothers of the believers) may also be meant.
Ahlul Bayt refers to the family members of the Prophet Muhammad,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, including his daughter Fatima, her husband Ali, and their two sons, Hasan and Hussain. They are highly respected figures in Islam, and their teachings and actions are considered important sources of guidance for Muslims.
The concept of Ahlul Bayt (the family of the Prophet Muhammad) is highly revered in Islamic tradition and holds great significance in Islamic teachings. While they do not have a formal constitutional status in Islamic law, their status as the Prophet’s family and their contributions to Islamic history have led to their recognition and respect by Muslims around the world. Their teachings and examples are often studied and emulated by Muslims as a way to deepen their understanding and practice of Islam.
finality of prophet muhammad

The Essence of the Ghadir Khum Declaration

Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, had great respect and love for his Ahlul Bayt, and he taught his followers to do the same. Some of his teachings about his Ahlul Bayt include:

The words of the Ghadir Khum Declaration are very worthy of consideration. The Prophet (peace be upon him) described the Qur’an and the Ahlul-Bayt of the Messenger (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) together and praised the greatness of the Ahlul-Bayt. Then he also made it clear that after the death of the Prophet (peace be upon him), he must rely on both of them to remain on the path of guidance. It is necessary.
Following the Qur’an is obligatory, so it is obligatory to follow the Ahl-e-Bayt. One could have the idea that the Ahl-e-Bayt are human beings, they can also commit sins, so why is it possible to follow the Ahl-e-Bayt unconditionally? The Prophet (peace be upon him) rejected this doubt by saying that the Qur’an and the Ahlul-Bayt will not be separated from each other until the Day of Judgment, that is, the Ahlul-Bayt (peace be upon them) will always follow the straight path indicated by the Qur’an, so there is no way for them to go astray.

Overall, Prophet Muhammad’s teachings about his Ahlul Bayt highlight their special status and importance in Islam and encourage Muslims to learn from and emulate their actions and teachings.

Actually, this declaration was an explicit appointment of Imam Ali (a.s) as the Prophet Muhammad’s successor and the leader of the Muslim community after him. We consider this declaration to be a critical event in Islamic history and significant proof of the special status of Imam Ali A.S and the other members of the Prophet’s family (Ahlul Bayt) in Islam. It is important to note, however, that this event and its significance are not universally accepted by all Muslims, and there is ongoing debate and disagreement among scholars and sects within Islam regarding its interpretation and implications.

How did the Four Imams reflect on the Ghadir Khum Declaration?

The four prominent Sunni Imams – Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i, and Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal – all acknowledged the event of Ghadir Khum and the Prophet Muhammad’s statement, but their interpretations of its meaning and implications varied. Here is a brief overview of their perspectives:

  1. Imam Abu Hanifa: He regarded the event of Ghadir Khum as a significant event in Islamic history, and he believed that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, may have intended to appoint Imam Ali as his successor. However, he also believed that the issue of political leadership after the Prophet was a matter for the Muslim community to decide and that the selection of the caliph should be based on consultation and consensus among the Muslims.


  2. Imam Malik: He believed that the event of Ghadir Khum was a clear indication of Imam Ali’s virtues and merits and that he was one of the most righteous and pious of the Prophet’s companions. However, he did not believe that the statement had any explicit implications for the question of political or spiritual leadership after the Prophet.


  3. Imam Shafi’i: He believed that the statement made at Ghadir Khum was a declaration of Imam Ali’s spiritual and moral excellence and that he was one of the most virtuous of the Prophet’s companions. However, he did not believe that the statement had any specific implications for the question of political leadership after the Prophet.


  4. Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal: He believed that the event of Ghadir Khum was an explicit appointment of Imam Ali as the Prophet’s successor and that the statement had clear implications for the question of leadership after the Prophet. He regarded Imam Ali as one of the most righteous and pious of the Prophet’s companions and believed that he was divinely appointed to lead the Muslim community after the Prophet. This appointment might have political implications.


reasoning-and-revelation
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s view on the event of Ghadir Khum can be found in his Musnad, which is one of the six major collections of Hadith in Sunni Islam. In the Musnad, there are several narrations related to the event of Ghadir Khum that suggest Imam Ahmad believed that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, explicitly appointed Imam Ali as his successor at the event.
However, we can trace Imam Ahmad’s explicit statements regarding Imam Ali’s Imamat or Spiritual Leadership. One of these statements has been mentioned by Imam Ibni Jawzi in his famous work on Imam Ahmad’s biography Manaqib Imam Ahmad (Virtues of Imma Ahmad: p#220):

من لم يُثبت الإمامة لعلي, فهو
أضل من حمار أهله

“One who does not affirm the Spiritual Leadership of Imam Ali A.S is more stupid than his own domestic donkey.”
Imam Ahmad (R.A) revered Imam Ali (A.S) exceptionally, along with other Ahlul Bayt. He said to his son Abdullah:
 
It is important to note that while the interpretations of the four Sunni Imams on the event of Ghadir Khum may differ, they all acknowledged the significance of the event and the importance of Imam Ali and the other members of the Prophet’s family (Ahlul Bayt) in Islamic history and tradition.
يا بني, علي بن أبي طالب من
أهل بيتٍ لا يقاس بهم أحد

“O’ my son! Ali ibn Talib A.S is from Ahlul Bayt, so he can not be taken like other companions.”

[Manaqib Imam Ahmad: P#219]

True Hanbalis do recognize that Imam Ali was one of the most knowledgeable and pious companions of the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he was known for his deep understanding of Islam and his devotion to the Prophet and his family. As such, Hanbalis do give special attention to the statements and actions of Imam Ali, especially in matters related to Islamic law and theology. One should not be confused by Wahhabis’ views about the Ghadir Khum Declaration.

Wahhabis pretend to be followers of Hafiz Ibni Taymiyah, though they do not accept his stance on Ahlul Bayt. In his book “Minhaj as-Sunnah an-Nabawiyyah,” Ibn Taymiyyah discusses the event of Ghadir Khum and the various narrations related to it. He acknowledges that there are many reports that suggest that the Prophet Muhammad, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, assigned a canonical status to Ahlul Bayt at Ghadir Khum. So, he believed that the Consensus of Ahlul Bayt should be preferred over the opinions of other Companions, while Wahhabis refuted his stance. In fact, this is the true stance of Imam Ahmad (R.A).

Implications of the Ghadir Khum Declaration

Taking the appointment of Imam Ali at Ghadir Khum as primarily spiritual in nature has significant implications for Muslims. It emphasizes the importance of following the example of the Prophet Muhammad and his family, particularly Imam Ali, in matters of faith, morality, and spirituality.
If Imam Ali is seen as the spiritual heir of the Prophet Muhammad,
may Allah bless him and grant him peace, then his teachings and example hold particular significance for Muslims seeking to deepen their spiritual lives. This may involve studying his writings, teachings, and life, and seeking to incorporate his example into one’s own spiritual practices.
It may also involve seeking guidance and support from those who are seen as spiritual heirs of Imam Ali, such as Sufi sheiks or other spiritual guides who emphasize his teachings and example.
Additionally, emphasizing the spiritual significance of Imam Ali’s appointment may also have implications for how Muslims understand leadership and authority in the Muslim community. If the appointment is seen as primarily spiritual, then the emphasis may shift from political authority to spiritual authority, with an emphasis on following the example and teachings of those who embody the spiritual teachings of the Prophet Muhammad and his family.
The words of Imam Hasan ibn Ali (peace be upon them) are noteworthy:

Imam Ali bin Hussain known as Zain al-Abidin (peace be upon him) says that on the occasion of the martyrdom of Imam Ali (peace be upon him), Imam Hasan bin Ali (peace be upon him) while giving a sermon, praised Allah and then said: This person has died tonight, which neither the foremost believers could surpass him in righteous deeds, nor those who believe after him can compare to him.

[al-Mustdrak by Imam Halkim:H#4802]

The Ghadir Khum Declaration does not prove the specific theory of Imamat in the family of Ali (peace be upon him). If someone derives this theory from this hadith, then it is his activities and we have nothing to do with him.

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