In the tenth year after the migration to Madinah, the year which later became known as Hajjatul Wida' [The (year of the) farewell Hajj], the Muslims who had accompanied the Noble Prophet (s) to Makkah were finishing their Hajj rites. Once the Hajj was complete, the Prophet (s) and those with him were making their way back to Madinah and the other cities from which they had come.
When they reached Rabigh - a spot three miles from Juhfah, one of the miqat for the Hujjaj - the order came from Allah (s.w.t.) to halt the entire caravan.
At this point, the Truthful conveyor of the revelation, Jibra'il (a.s.) came to the Prophet (s) who was stationed in the valley known as Ghadir Khumm and revealed the following verse of the Qur'an to him:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّـغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَّبِّكَ وَ إِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللٌّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ...
“O’ Messenger! Convey that which has been revealed to you from your Lord and if you do not do so, it is as if you have not conveyed His message at all, and Allah will protect you from the people…”(Suratul Maidah (5), Verse 67)
Since this verse commanded the Prophet (s) to stop right where he was, he himself and those with him, halted in the valley of Ghadir.
It was noontime, and as can be expected, the weather was extremely hot. The Noble Prophet (s) performed Salatul Zuhr in congregation, and then with multitudes of people around him, ascended to a small platform built from camel saddles and other things that the Muslims had with them.
In a loud voice, he gave a long speech and said to the people: “O’ people! Know that shortly I shall answer the call of The Truth (Allah) and will no longer be among you – I have a responsibility (to Allah) and you too have a responsibility (towards Him).”
The Prophet (s) then mentioned something very important to the people and stated: “I am leaving behind two weighty things to you as a trust – one of them is the Book of Allah, and the other is my family, the Ahlul Bait. These two shall never separate from one another. O’ people! Do not attempt to supersede the Qur'an and my family, and do not be negligent in your actions towards these two, because if you do so, you shall be destroyed.”
After stating this, he took the hand of 'Ali (a.s.), raised it up and introduced him to the multitudes of people and asked: “Who has more of a right over the believers than their own selves?” Everyone present proclaimed: “Allah and His Prophet know better.”
The Noble Prophet (s) then said: “Allah is my master and I am the master of all the believers and I have more right and authority over the believers than they have over their own selves.”
Then he continued:
مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلاَهُ فَهٌذَا عَلِيٌّ مَوْلاَهٌ. أَللٌّهُمَّ وَالِ مَنْ وَالاَهُ وَ عَادِ مَنْ عَادَاهُ
“Whomsoever I am his master, this 'Ali is also his master. O’ Allah! Befriend he who befriends him ('Ali) and oppose he who opposes him.”
The Angel of Revelation, Jibra'il (a.s.) once again descended by the order of Allah (s.w.t.) and this time, revealed the following verse of the Qur'an:
أَلْـيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَ أَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَ رَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِيناً
“On this day have I completed your religion for you and perfected My bounties upon you and am pleased with Islam as being your religion.”
Therefore, this day was marked in history as a momentous and grand day. The day of Ghadir was a day of epic proportions in history. It was a day which would become known as the Day of Wilayat (Mastership); the Day of Imamate (Leadership); the Day of Wisayat (Successorship); the Day of Brotherhood; the Day of Valour; the Day of Courage, Bravery and Protection (of the faith); the Day of Pleasure for the Believers; and they Day of Candidness.
In summary, it was the Day of Islam, Qur'an, and the Ahlul Bait (a.s.). It was the day which the followers of the true teachings of the faith of Islam mark with great esteem and a day when they congratulate one another.
It can be understood from the Ahadith that the A'immah (a.s.) took this day as one of celebration and used to hold special programs to celebrate this event. It has been narrated from Fayyadh ibn Muhammad at-Tusi that, “I was in the presence of the 8th Imam on the day of Ghadir (18th of Dhul Hijjah).
I saw a particular group of people serving the Imam and the Imam was (intentionally) keeping them in his house until the time of sunset came so that he may give them food to eat (and thus enable them to break their fast). The Imam ordered that food, new clothes, shoes, rings, and other gifts be sent for their families. In the house, I noticed that the state of all of those present was something completely different than normal, and it was from those people that I learned the greatness and magnitude of this day.” (Biharul Anwar, volume 97, page 112, hadith 8)
In another Hadith it has been mentioned that one day during the days of the “open caliphate” of Imam 'Ali (a.s.), the day of Jumu'ah and 'Eid Ghadir fell together. On this day, the Imam (a.s.) delivered a long speech and said, “This gathering shall soon come to an end and all of you will go back to your homes and families – may Allah shower His mercy upon all of you.
On this day, you should be kind to your families and do good deeds to your brothers. You should thank Allah for the blessings which He has granted you. You must also be sure to unite with one another so that through this, Allah may assist you.
Do good to others so that Allah makes your friendship firm and immovable. From the blessings which Allah has given you, give gifts to one another. On this day, Allah will give rewards (to you) in multiple folds compared to other days of celebration ('Eid). This form of reward cannot be attained except through this day (Ghadir). Doing good to others and giving away much wealth to others increases the life span. Being a host to others results in the mercy and love of Allah descending upon you.
On this day, as much as you are able to, give your brothers and family a portion of the wealth which Allah has granted you. Always be smiling and in a happy mood when you meet one another; and be sure to thank Allah for the blessings which He has showered upon you. Go towards those people whose hope may lie in you and do good to them. In regards to your food and drink (on this day), ensure that between you and those who are under your care and supervision, there is equality. This equality and equity must be displayed to the extent of your ability (and you should know that) the reward of giving one dirham of charity on this day is equivalent to giving 100,000 dirhams of charity (on any other day) and the Divine bounty of this is in Allah’s hands alone.
Allah has also made it highly recommended to fast on this day and has promised a great reward for one who observes it. If a person was to look after the needs and necessities of his brothers, even before his own wishes and desires (were expressed to Allah), and if one was to look after their requests in the best possible way, then one would be granted such a reward that it would be equivalent to fasting the entire day and spending the entire night in worship until the morning hours.
A person who feeds another fasting person on this day will be equal to that person who went person by person and fed all of the fasting people (with his own hands). You must convey all that you have just heard to those who are not here. The strong and able people must go out in search of the weak people; the powerful must go in search of the oppressed, as these are all things which the Prophet (s) has commanded me to do.”
Imam 'Ali (a.s.) then read the Khutbah for Jumu'ah and performed the Salat al-Jumu'ah (since there is no special Salat for this 'Eid). He then went with his children and Shi'a to the house of Imam Husain (a.s.), where food was ready, and he distributed gifts to the Shi'a – both the needy and the free from need - who had accompanied him, and then instructed them to go home to their families1.”
Insha-Allah, we hope that one day all Muslims of the world will mark the day of 'Eidul Ghadir in such a great and magnanimous way and celebrate it as it deserves to be celebrated.