It is not unacceptable to say that a thoughtful study of the events that caused the revelation of Qur’anic Verses establishes new indications, unveils new facts and repeals many things that people adopt as facts for ages. This is because the statistical aspect in the interpretation of the Holy Qur’an is more reliable than other aspects. In case there are five contrary narrations each mentioning a definite event, place and date for the revelation of a Qur’anic text, it is illogic to accept them all just because their narrators were Sahabah any of whom will surely guide to the right! In fact, one narration only will be true, while the others will be not.
Yet, this mission is difficult because of the confusion and contrast of the narrations. At any rate, exegetes of the Holy Qur’an are required to undertake the mission actively and tolerably in order to supply the Ummah with the results of their studies that must be new and useful in the field of the understanding of the Holy Qur’an and Sunnah as well as the other religious fields.
Muslims scholars’ inconsistency in defining the earliest Qur’anic text is not unfamiliar;1 rather their inconsistency in defining the last revelation is very strange! In the beginning of the Divine Revelation, there were no Muslims, no writers and no interest in the march of the Divine Mission, while when the last revelation descended, Muslims were united nation surrounding the Holy Prophet (S) after he had predicted the imminence of his final departure and accompanied them during the ritual Hajj.
The reason was definitely political; for political purposes, the question of the last revelation of the Holy Qur’an was obscured.
Reference books of Hadith, Tafsir and jurisprudence have proven that Surah of al-Ma`idah was the final Qur’anic chapter, and the Verse of Ikmal al-Din (Perfection of the Religion), which was revealed after sealing all the precepts, was the final Qur’anic text. Nevertheless, some Sahabah attempted to change this fact.
In al-`Ayyashi’s book of Tafsir 1/288, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of `«sa ibn `Abdullah on the authority of his father on the authority of his grandfather that Imam `Ali said, “Qur’anic texts used to be repealed by the newer ones; consequently, the Holy Prophet (S) used to take up the latest. Surah of al-Ma`idah repealed the other Surahs because it was the final. It was revealed while the Holy Prophet (S) was riding his brown-red mule. The revelation was so ponderous that the animal had to stop and its abdomen was about to touch the ground. The Holy Prophet (S) was fainted and had to catch Shaybah ibn Wahab al-Jamhi’s braid. After a while, he raised his head and recited Surah of al-Ma`idah.
Imam `Ali (a.s.) wanted to say that rubbing the feet during the ritual ablution is obligatory since no other ruling has repealed it because it was revealed finally.2
In al-Kafi 1/289, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of `Ali ibn Ibrahim on the authority of his father on the authority of Ibn Abi-`Umayr on the authority of `Umar ibn Udhaynah on the authority of Zurarah, al-Fudayl ibn Yasar, Bukayr ibn A`yun, Muhammad ibn Muslim, Burayd ibn Muawiyah and Abu’l-Jarud that Abu-Ja`far (Imam al-Baqir) said, “Almighty Allah has made the loyalty to `Ali obligatory. He revealed, ‘Only Allah is your guardian and His Messenger and those who believe, those how keep prayers and pay the Zakat while they bow.’ People did not know what the loyalty meant; therefore, He ordered the Holy Prophet (S) to explain it in the same way as he explained the obligatory prayer, Zakat, fasting and Hajj, but because he feared lest people would apostatize from the religion or belie him, he supplicated to the Lord about it and the Lord revealed, ‘O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do it not, then you have not revealed His message and Allah will protect you from the people.’
Immediately after that, he carried out the instruction. He called people to gather and conveyed the divinely commissioned leadership of `Ali and ordered the attendants to carry it to the absent. That took place in Ghadir Khumm. The precepts were revealed consecutively and the last of them was the loyalty to the Ahl al-Bayt; therefore, closely after the Holy Prophet (S)’s declaration of Ghadir, Almighty Allah revealed, ‘This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion.’ By this Verse, the Lord meant that He should not reveal any more precepts since He had perfected them.
The following is quoted from Al-Ya`qubi’s Tarikh 2/43:
It has been said that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was the final. It is the most accurate opinion.
In al-Durr al-Manthur 2/252, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Sa`id ibn Mansur and Ibn al-Mundhir on the authority of Abu-Maysarah that the final revealed Surah was al-Ma`idah wherein seventeen precepts are mentioned.
In al-Muhalla 9/407, the following is recorded:
It has been narrated on the authority of `A`ishah that the Surah of al-Ma`idah was the final. You thus should deem lawful whatever you find lawful therein and deem unlawful whatever you find prohibited therein. On that account, the Verses of this Surah have not been repealed; rather they are decisive.
In the same book, 7/389, we read the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn Wahab on the authority of Muawiyah ibn Salih on the authority of Jirri Ibn Kulayb on the authority of Jubayr ibn Nufayr that `A`ishah said, ‘Surah of al-Ma`idah was the final. You should thus deem unlawful whatever is prohibited therein.’3
Read the following in Majma` al-Zawa`id 1/256:
It has been narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that… Surah of al-Ma`idah has decided everything because it was the final.
Although the report has been also recorded fully in al-Tabarani’s al-Mu`jam al-Awsat and, yet a part of it, Ibn Majah’s al-Sunan, one of its reporters is `Ubayd ibn `Ubaydah al-Tammar who, according to Ibn Habban, was trustful but used to report strange narrations.
Al-Haythami wants to say that this man used to narrate reports opposing the regulations of the ruling authorities one of which is that the final Surah was not al-Ma`idah.
The following is quoted from al-Durr al-Manthur 2/252:
It has been narrated on the authority of Abu-`Ubayd Damarah ibn Habib and `Atiyyah ibn Qays that the Holy Prophet said, ‘Surah of al-Ma`idah is one of the final. You should thus depend upon what is therein respecting the lawful and the prohibited.
This is the only narration that adds ‘one of’ to the text. It therefore must be understood that it was added so as to seek the satisfaction of the ruling authorities.
According to Tafsir al-Tibyan 3/413, `Abdullah ibn `Umar said, ‘Surah of al-Ma`idah was the final.’
In al-Ghadir 1/228, we read the following:
Ibn Kathir has narrated on the authority of Ahmad, al-Hakim and al-Nassa`i that `A`ishah said, ‘Surah of al-Ma`idah was the final.’
To sum it up, the Ahl al-Bayt, as well as many authentic narrations recorded in Sunni reference book of Hadith, have confirmed that Surah of al-Ma`idah was the final and the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was the final revelation because it shows that the religion has been perfected.
Although the question of the Verse of Ikmal al-Din’s being the final is logically and practically indisputable, it was obscured because of the many conflicting, yet authentic according to their criteria, narrations each identifying a definite Verse as the final. The matter became worse when some Sahabah adopted certain opinions in this regard, and the Sahabah’s personal opinions are always too faultless to be objected!
Unlike the four opinions about the first revelation, al-Suyuti, in al-Itqan 1/101, seemed to be too embarrassed to list the many conflicting opinions regarding the final revelation; he therefore outlined them at a fast pace. Yet, we, hereinafter, have to undertake this mission and list some of them, yet in abstract, so that we will refer to the reason beyond the origination of each opinion:
1. Verse 278 of Surah of al-Baqarah (The Verse of usury)
2. Verse 176 of Surah of al-Nisa` (The Verse of Kalalah)
3. Verse 281 of Surah of al-Baqarah
4. Verse 128 of Surah of al-Tawbah
5. Verse 25 of Surah of al-Anbiya`
6. Verse 110 of Surah of al-Kahf
7. Verse 93 of Surah of al-Nisa`
8. Surah of al-Tawbah
9. Surah of al-Nasr
The following story may focus some light on the origination of such contradiction and confusion:
As he could not cite the exegesis of the Verse of usury, `Umar excused that the Verse was the final and the Holy Prophet (S) was deceased before he had explained. Since then, this Verse found itself a place in the opinions regarding the final Qur’anic text to vie with Surah of al-Ma`idah. In any event, usury has been discussed in four Verses some of which were revealed in Makkah. Which one was intended to be the final?
As usual, the fans of `Umar volunteered to solve the problem introducing Verse 278 of Surah of al-Baqarah as the one intended. For this cause, they have believed that the final Verse lies in Surah of al-Baqarah, which was revealed in the earliest stage of the Holy Prophet (S)’s immigration and decided that the prohibition of usury was an additional legislation since it was revealed after the Verse of Ikmal al-Din. In their conceptions, such irony is acceptable so long as it aims at defending `Umar!
From Ahmad ibn Hanbal’s al-Musnad 1/36, we quote the following:
It has been narrated on the authority of Sa`id ibn al-Musayyab that `Umar, May Allah please him, said, ‘The Verse of usury was the final. The Prophet (S) was deceased before he had explained it. Therefore, you should leave usury and suspicion.’4
From al-Sarakhsi’s al-Mabsut 2/51 and 12/114, we quote the following:
`Umar, may Allah please him, said, “The Verse of usury was the final. The Prophet (S) died before he had explained it.’
Al-Suyuti, in al-Itqan 1/101, records the following:
Al-Bukhari has narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the Verse of usury was the final. On the authority of `Umar, al-Bayhaqi has related a similar thing. Ahmad (ibn Hanbal) and Ibn Majah have narrated that `Umar said that the Verse of usury was one of the final revelations.
Here is another story: One day, or many days in fact, `Umar could not understand the meaning of Kalalah; consequently, he had to say that the Verse was the final and the Holy Prophet (S) died before he had explained it, or he had explained it insufficiently.
Al-Bukhari, in al-Sahih 5/115 has narrated on the authority of al-Barra` ibn `Azib that Surah of al-Tawbah was the final and the last Verse in Surah of al-Nisa` was the final.
Al-Suyuti, in al-Itqan 1/101 has narrated on the authority of Muslim and al-Bukhari that al-Barra` ibn `Azib said, ‘The finally Verse is the last in Surah of al-Nisa` and the final Surah is al-Tawbah.’
Ahmad, in al-Musnad 4/298 has also narrated on the authority of al-Barra` ibn `Azib that the final Surah was al-Tawbah and the final Verse was the last in Surah of al-Nisa`.
Since then, the Verse of Kalalah pushed its way in the opinions regarding the final Verse to vie with Surah of al-Ma`idah and the Verse of usury.
It is worth mentioning that the question of Kalalah perplexed `Umar ibn al-Khattab so immensely that he regarded it as one of the major issues of the Ummah.5
However, the previous stories indicate that Sunni reference books of Hadith have been too contradictory to be accepted as a whole. It is therefore necessary to accept some and throw others. They also imply that `Umar, in the conceptions of our Sunni brethren, is so untouchable that his unreasonable claims must be turned into undiscussible facts even if they oppose the Holy Qur’an or accuse the Holy Prophet (S) of imperfect conveyance! If anyone rejects, he must be one of the Rafidah who are the enemies of Allah, His Prophet (S), His religion and the Sahabah!
Correspondingly, `Umar confirmed that the Verses of usury, Kalalah and perhaps many others were revealed after the Verse of Ikmal al-Din. In other words, Almighty Allah informed Muslims about the perfection of the religion while there were still many questions to be revealed! No Muslim should ever accept to accuse the Lord and His Messenger of imperfection and illogic so as to save an ordinary mortal from contradiction.
Let us now refer to the other opinions in brief:
Al-Bukhari, in al-Sahih 5/182, has recorded on the authority of Sa`id ibn Jubayr that Ibn `Abbas said, ‘Verse 93 of Surah of al-Nisa` was not repealed by any other Verse because it was the final.’6
It is improper to accept such ‘authenticated’ narrations and to believe that the prohibition of murdering a believer was an additional law that was revealed after the Verse of Ikmal al-Din.
Al-Hakim, in al-Mustadrak 2/338, has narrated on the authority of Yusuf ibn Mahran on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that `Ubay ibn Ka`b said that the last two Verses of Surah of al-Tawbah were the final.7
Muslim, in al-Sahih 8/243, has narrated on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that the final Surah that was revealed wholly is Surah of al-Nasr.8
Al-Tabarani, in al-Mu`jam al-Kabir 12/19, has recorded on the authority of Ibn `Abbas that Verse 281 of Surah of al-Baqarah was the final.
Even Muawiyah ibn Abi-Sufyan had an opinion; from the minbar, he denied that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was the final; rather it was the last Verse of Surah of al-Kahf where Allah reproached His Messenger!9
Having noticed that the matter exceeded all limits, al-Suyuti has had to say something, yet slightly, about the opinions of `Umar and Muawiyah who went extremely far in forgery so as to take the Verse of Ikmal al-Din away from the Ahl al-Bayt and the incident and declaration of Ghadir Khumm. As usual, al-Suyuti had to pass by the matter so quickly that none would wonder. In al-Itqan 1/102, he records the following:
Undoubtedly, the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed during the Farewell Hajj denoting that all the laws have been perfected. Many scholars, such as al-Saddi, have affirmed that all the religious laws were revealed before the Verse intended; yet, it has been narrated that the Verses of usury, debt and Kalalah were revealed later. Ibn Jarir, however, has not accepted this opinion. He says that the perfection of the religion stands for Muslims’ prevalence on Makkah, no more.
Ibn Jarir, whose words might be admitted by al-Suyuti, wants to say that the only solution for such contrary narrations is to take the Verse of Ikmal al-Din10 away from the perfection of the religion in order to save the opinions of `Umar and Muawiyah.
It is however not a new thing; Sunni scholars have always wonted to deem obligatory the words of the Sahabah, except the Ahl al-Bayt of course, even if they have to put a veto on the words of Allah and His Messenger!
The result of such fanaticism is that they have concluded that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was not the final, nor was Surah of al-Ma`idah the seal of the Qur’an. Moreover, it does not denote the perfection of the religious rulings; rather it refers to the perfection of the conquest of Makkah. Accordingly, ‘this day’ mentioned in the Verse refers to two years before!
Later on, the reader will realize that `Umar asserted that ‘this day’ refers to the very day on which the Verse was revealed or even, as al-Qurtubi11 affirms, the very hour.
In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful
O you who believe! Do not violate the signs appointed by Allah nor the sacred month, nor interfere with the offerings, nor the sacrificial animals with garlands, nor those going to the sacred house seeking the grace and pleasure of their Lord; and that you are free from the obligations of the Hajj, then hunt, and let not hatred of a people because they hindered you from the Sacred Masjid incite you to exceed the limits, and help one another in goodness and piety, and do not help one another in sin and aggression; and be careful of your duty to Allah; surely Allah is severe in requiting evil.
Forbidden to you is that which dies of itself, and blood, and flesh of swine, and that on which any other name than that of Allah has been invoked, and the strangled animal and that beaten to death, and that killed by a fall and that killed by being smitten with the horn, and that which wild beasts have eaten, except what you slaughter, and what is sacrificed on stones set up for idols and that you divide by the arrows; that is a transgression. This day have those who disbelieve despair of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion; but whoever is compelled by hunger, not inclining willfully to sin, then surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful.[5:2-3[
In the first place, the unusual situation of the Verse jumps to the mind. According to reports and interpretation of the Holy Qur’an, the Verse was revealed during the Farewell Hajj as an independent Verse; yet, it is now a part of a Verse concerning the forbidden meat. If this part is removed, the meaning of the whole Verse will not change. Why has the Verse been situated in this place? Was it its original place according to the revelation or did one of the Sahabah choose this place for it out of personal view?
First of all, we, the Shi`ah, are too submissive to Almighty Allah to say that any sort of distortion has ever occurred to the Holy Qur’an. Yet, we have put such a question hoping for an answer. Perhaps, those who collected the Holy Qur’an missed out the correct position of the Verse and, instead of putting it in the end of Surah of al-Ma`idah, they put it in this position. If the Verse comes after the rulings of the meat, it may be acceptable; but to be in the middle of the rulings is rather unsatisfactory! Al-Haythami, in al-Durr al-Manthur 2/257-9, has narrated on the authority of Ibn Jarir that al-Saddi said that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on the day of `Arafat and was the sealing of the rulings.
The Ahl al-Bayt have confirmed that the Verse was revealed in al-Juhafah on Thursday, the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah when the Holy Prophet (S) was in his way back from the Farewell Hajj. The following narration is quoted from al-Kulayni’s al-Kafi 1/289:
It has been narrated on the authority of `Ali ibn Ibrahim on the authority of Salih ibn al-Sindi on the authority of Ja`far ibn Bashir on the authority of Harun ibn Kharijah on the authority of Abu-Basir that a man, once, asked Imam al-Baqir whether leadership of Imam `Ali was a personal opinion or was it divinely commissioned. The Imam answered, ‘The Holy Prophet (S) has been too reverent to declare a thing without the command of Almighty Allah. Like the obligatory rituals of prayer, Zakat, fasting and Hajj, the leadership of Imam `Ali was an obligatory precept that Almighty Allah has issued.
In 1/198 of the same book, we read the following narration:
The following has been narrated on the authority of `Abd al-`Aziz ibn Muslim:
In the Masjid of Marw, people, discussing the Imamate, referred to the big variance of people’s opinions in this regard. I therefore visited Imam al-Rida (a.s.) and informed him about the question. He smiled and said to me:
`Abd al-`Aziz: People are indeed ignorant about the religion. Almighty Allah would not cause His Prophet (S) to die unless He would perfect the religion. He revealed to him the Holy Qur’an in which there is the explanation of everything and the manifestation of what is lawful, unlawful, the doctrinal provisions, the rulings and everything that people may need. In this regard, He says, ‘Nothing is left without a mention in the Book. 6/38’
During the Farewell Hajj, which took place in the last days of the Holy Prophet (S)’s lifetime, Almighty Allah revealed to him saying, ‘This day have I perfected your religion, completed My favors to you and have chosen Islam as a religion. 6:3’
Imamate has been a part of the perfection of the religion. The Holy Prophet (S) did not depart this world before he had manifested to the Ummah the points of their religion, showed them the right courses that they should take, situated them on the right path and assigned Imam `Ali (a.s.) as leader and Imam for them. As a matter of fact, he did not leave anything without thorough manifestation. Anyone who claims that Allah has not perfected His religion is in fact denying the Holy Qur’an, and to deny the Holy Qur’an is a sort of atheism.
Do people acknowledge the true standing of Imamate and its position in the Ummah so that they may be rightful to choose for themselves?
Almighty Allah has given Prophet Abraham Imamate as a third rank after Prophethood and intimacy and as a virtue by which He conferred honor upon him and praised him. “When his Lord tested Abraham's faith, (by His words) and he satisfied the test, He said, ‘I am appointing you as the Imam of mankind.’ Abraham asked, ‘Will this Imamate also continue through my descendants?’ The Lord replied, ‘The unjust do not have the right to exercise My authority. 2:124” Prophet Abraham was highly delighted for this rank; therefore, he hoped it would be passed to his descendants.
This Verse, however, cancels the Imamate of any unjust individual up to the Day of Resurrection and dedicates it to the choice ones exclusively. Then Almighty Allah has honored Imamate when He has decided it to be for the offspring of the Immaculate ones. He says,
“We granted him (Abraham) Isaac and Jacob as a gift and helped both of them to become righteous people. We appointed them as Imams to guide the people through Our command and sent them revelation to strive for good deeds, worship their Lord and pay religious tax. Both of them were Our worshipping servants. 21:73-4”
The successive generations kept on receiving the Imamate in inheritance until it reached Prophet Muhammad (S). In this regard, Almighty Allah says,
“The nearest people to Abraham, among mankind, are those who followed him, this Prophet (Muhammad) and the true believers. 3:68”
In this manner, the Imamate has become exclusive for them.
Then the Holy Prophet (S) gave it to Imam `Ali (a.s.) to be successive in his choice offspring upon whom Allah has conferred knowledge and faith. This is indicated in Almighty Allah’s saying,
“Those who have received knowledge and have faith will say, ‘By the decree of Allah, you have remained for the exact period which was mentioned in the Book of Almighty Allah about the Day of Resurrection. This is the Day of Resurrection, but you did not know. 30:56”
This Verse shows the decree of Almighty Allah regarding the question of Imamate that will persist in the Holy Prophet (S)’s progeny until the Day of Resurrection, since no Prophet should come after Muhammad (S).
After all, how can those ignorant people choose for Imamate out of their opinions?12
In Sunni reference books of Hadith, one can find tens of narrations, some of which are ‘first class’ according to their criteria in classifying the Hadith, regarding the declaration of Ghadir. Al-Tabari has compiled the texts and ways of narrating the declaration of Ghadir in a two-volume book entitled ‘al-Wilayah.’ Ibn `Asakir and many others have also recorded similar reports all of which refer to the Holy Prophet (S)’s raising Imam `Ali’s hand and conveying the Lord’s commandment of the loyalty to his Imamate.
Nevertheless, a number of fanatic Sunnis have criticized al-Tabari for that work since they anticipated that Shi`ah would constitute it as evidence and would refer to it during argument. Most of such narrations have confirmed that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on that day in Ghadir Khumm just after the Holy Prophet (S)’s declaration of the divinely commissioned leadership of Imam `Ali (a.s.). Unfortunately, most of Sunni scholars who admit the reports of Ghadir have rejected the Verse’s having been revealed on that occasion and, instead, admitted the sayings of `Umar and Muawiyah claiming its revelation on the day of `Arafat.
On the other hand, many Shiite scholars have recorded the narrations respecting the incident of Ghadir, such as al-Naqawi al-Hindi: `Abaqat al-Anwar, Shaykh al-Amini: al-Ghadir, Sayyid al-Mar`ashi: Sharh Ihqaq al-Haq and Sayyid al-Milani: Nafahat al-Azhar. Shaykh al-Amini, al-Ghadir 1/230, has listed the Sunni reference books of Hadith who confirm that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on that day in Ghadir after the Holy Prophet (S) had nominated Imam `Ali as the coming leader.
`Umar says that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on the day of `Arafat, which was Friday, during the Farewell Hajj. Hence, most Sunnis have adopted this opinion13 disregarding the scholars, such as Sufyan al-Thawri, al-Nassa`i and many others, who doubted whether the day of `Arafat during the Farewell Hajj was Friday and disregarding the many narrations that agree with the Ahl al-Bayt’s claims because it was `Umar who said it and, as an indisputable rule, `Umar’s statement must be beyond any dispute and must be preceded to all things!14 Although major scholars have confirmed that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed in Ghadir Khumm on the occasion of the Holy Prophet (S)’s nominating Imam `Ali as the leader of the Ummah, others, such as al-Suyuti, insist that it was revealed before that occasion.
After presenting the scholars’ opinions about the Verse, Ibn Kathir, one of the adorer of `Umar, in Tafsir 2/14, tries to unveil the scholars’ suspecting the day of `Arafat having been Friday during the Farewell Hajj so that to save `Umar’s opinion from anything including suspicion. He uses deceptive words to degrade the suspicion aroused by Sufyan al-Thawri. In the same time, he ignores totally the reports of al-Tabari that unveil the inaccuracy of `Umar’s opinion.15
It is easy to search for the actual incident beyond the revelation of the Verse of Ikmal al-Din through the many narrations reporting the events of the Farewell Hajj, which was expansively distinctive for it was prepared due to an earlier divine commandment. It was attended by about 70000-120000 individuals most of whom narrated, somewhat in details, most of the events therein as well as the Holy Prophet (S)’s actions, words and the five sermons. They also had in mind the day on which the Holy Prophet (S) left al-Madinah, the places he passed by or stopped at, the day on which he arrived in Makkah and how he undertook the rituals of the Hajj. Moreover, they described his journey back to al-Madinah in details up to the final hour of his lifetime.
Accordingly, the element of time is the most important in the question of identifying the day on which the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed. Yet, it gives preponderance to the Ahl al-Bayt’s opinion.
Unlike the imaginations of al-Tabari and his likes, the contradiction in this issue is not between two narrations one of which is more authenticated than the other; rather it is a contradiction between a Hadith and a saying of `Umar. The reports that they have regarded as doubtful are in fact documented Hadiths while the other reports of al-Bukhari and his likes are only sayings of `Umar who did not report them from the Holy Prophet (S). `Umar’s saying is definitely not sufficient for refuting a Hadith. Sunni scholars should have studied such narrations; if they were proven as authentic, they should have thrown `Umar’s saying away; and if not, they should have again studied the other Sahabah’s opinions all of which were contradictory to `Umar’s.
Even if we shun the truth and regard the Hadiths of the Ahl al-Bayt and the Sunni scholars who agree with them in this point—even if we regard such Hadiths as no more than personal opinions and, thus, the contradiction becomes between one of the Sahabah and the Ahl al-Bayt, we should refer the issue to the immortal instruction of the Holy Prophet (S) that we must take the religion from the Ahl al-Bayt, not Sahabah. None can deny this fact because it has been mentioned in the famous Hadith of the ‘Two Weighty Things.’16 Unmistakably, this authentic Hadith implies that the sources of this religion are restrictedly the Holy Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt.
`Umar’s narration is basically too inconsistent to be believed. According to the narrations, `Umar identified the day of `Arafat as Thursday or Friday! Al-Nassa`i, in al-Sunan 5/251, has recorded that `Umar said that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on Thursday night while in 8/114 of the same book, he has recorded another narration confirming that `Umar said that the Verse was revealed on Friday:
It has been narrated on the authority of Ishaq ibn Ibrahim on the authority of `Abdullah ibn Idris on the authority of his father on the authority of Qays ibn Muslim on the authority of Tariq ibn Shihab that a Jew said to `Umar, ‘Had the Verse of Ikmal al-Din been revealed to us, we would have certainly taken the day of its revelation as eternal festivity.’ `Umar answered, ‘I know the night at which the Verse was revealed. It was on Thursday night while we were with the Messenger of Allah on `Arafat.’
As mentioned earlier, Sufyan Al-Thawri, one of the master scholars of Sunnism, doubted that the day of `Arafat was Friday. Yet, he was not the only one who adopted this opinion. It seems that Sufyan was sure that the day of `Arafat was not Friday, but he had to say that he only doubt it so as to save himself from the fans of `Umar who rearranged the events of the Islamic history so as to show that the day of `Arafat was Friday.
Muslims celebrate the `Id al-Adha, not the day of `Arafat. No single Muslim has ever claimed that the day of `Arafat being formal `Id and, accordingly, no single Muslim agrees with `Umar’s odd opinion. In the conception of Wahhabis, such an opinion must be decided as heresy whose final abode is Hellfire!
According to al-Nassa`i’s report, the Jew who claimed that they would take the day on which the religion was perfected as an occasion of festivity must have definitely understood that the Verse indicates the perfection of the religion and that `Umar admitted this understanding. As a consequence, `Umar must have agreed with the opinion of the Ahl al-Bayt, al-Saddi, Ibn `Abbas and many others who have confirmed that the Verse was the final.
Meanwhile, `Umar, according to other ‘authenticated’ narrations, claimed that many rulings and Verses, such as that of Kalalah, debt and heritage, were revealed after the Verse of Ikmal al-Din. As a rule, reports that oppose each other must be disregarded. From this cause, `Umar’s sayings about the final Verses and the time of the revelation of the Verse of Ikmal al-Din must be totally rejected.
`Umar’s answer was unconvincing for both the Jews and Muslims. If he wanted to say that the day was not taken as festivity (`Id) because the Verse was revealed on a day of festivity—the day of `Arafat, the Jew could wonder how the Lord of Muslims spoiled that festivity and caused it to fade away under another festivity; if `Umar wanted to say that the festivity of the perfection of the religion was merged with the festivity of `Arafat and thus became a part of it, the Jew could wonder why Muslims, except the Shi`ah, do not celebrate that half-festivity or even refer to it; If `Umar wanted to say that such a glorious festivity was mixed with two festivities—Friday and the day of `Arafat and thus it was consumed, the Jew could wonder why Almighty Allah caused that festivity to thaw under these two festivities and disappear, and the Jew could also wonder who had the right to dissolve that festivity and why the Ummah have not been aware about the clash of festivities while a Jew in the reign of `Umar discovered the issue and taught Muslims about it.
As a matter of fact, the question of the Jew is still unanswerable for `Umar and his fans. What `Umar did was that he only admitted the question and then began to shower personal opinions out of his own desire. He confessed that the day on which the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed was noble, great, determinative and historian because on that day, Almighty Allah perfected the religion, completed His grace and chosen Islam for people as a religion and thus it must be celebrated just like the other `Ids. Finally, he admitted that had any other nation had such a day, they would have certainly taken it as festivity.
In view of `Umar’s submission to the Jew’s question, the day of the perfection of the religion must be, in the light of Sunni jurisprudence, taken as formal festivity, just like the `Id al-Fitr, `Id al-Adha and Friday.
A deep look in the question divulges that `Umar was engaged in two troubles regarding the Verse of Ikmal al-Din; he contradicted himself when he identified the final revealed Verse and opened the unclosable door of Muslims’ having the right to demand him as well as his adorers with the `Id of the perfection of the religion, which is now celebrated by the Shi`ah alone.
As an Islamic rule, the `Ids are divinely determined and it is impermissible for anyone to invent others. The Shi`ah, celebrating `Id al-Ghadir, have depended upon the Ahl al-Bayt who confirmed that the Holy Prophet (S) had declared that day as doctrinal festivity for Muslims and declared that Archangel Gabriel had told him that past nations used to betake the day on which their Prophets nominated their successors as festivity.
What was then `Umar’s evidence on supporting the Jew’s claim and accepting that the day of the perfection of the religion must be taken as `Id? If his evidence was his own opinion, it should be then a sort of heresy; and if he depended upon a word or confirmation that he had received from the Holy Prophet (S), then why would he conceal it? Except the Shi`ah, no other Muslim have referred to the `Id al-Ghadir.
al-Nassa`i and other reporters have recorded that the Holy Prophet (S) led the congregational Duhr (midday) and `Asr (afternoon) Prayers on the day of `Arafat; therefore, had `Umar’s claim that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on Friday been true, the Holy Prophet (S) would have certainly led the Friday, not the Duhr and `Asr, Prayer. In addition, no single narration communicates that the Holy Prophet (S) offered the Friday Prayer on that day. From this cause, we may conclude that al-Nassa`i, unlike the others, agrees with Sufyan al-Thawri and disagrees with `Umar; in al-Sunan 1/290, he gathers the narrations reporting that the Holy Prophet (S) offered the Duhr and `Asr Prayers together on the day of `Arafat. Abu-Dawud, in al-Sunan 1/429, records similar reports.
It may be cited that the Friday Prayer is canceled in journeys. Sunni jurisprudents have disagreeing opinions in this point. Provided that the day of `Arafat during the Farewell Hajj was Friday and that the Holy Prophet (S) canceled the Friday prayer, thousands of Muslims who were present in the Farewell Hajj must have definitely referred to this law.
Ibn Hazm, in al-Muhalla 7/272, has done his best to find a suitable answer, but he has had to fabricate that the Duhr Prayer is as same as the Friday Prayer! He has begged the question and rejected the other reports for they contradicted `Umar’s saying.
With reference to the Holy Prophet (S)’s journey to Makkah that began on Thursday, 4th of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the narrations that Ibn Hazm has refuted because they oppose `Umar’s saying are more acceptable. The month of Dhu’l-Hijjah began on Monday; therefore, the day of `Arafat must have been Tuesday and `Id al-Adha Wednesday. On that account, Friday must have been the twelfth of Dhu’l-Hijjah.
Many Sunni narrations have confirmed that the Holy Prophet (S) departed life eighty or eighty-one days after the revelation of the Verse of Ikmal al-Din.17 Such narrations oppose the claim that the day of `Arafat was Friday. They have also confirmed that the Holy Prophet (S) departed life on the twelfth of Rabi` al-Awwal and the day of `Arafat was the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah; therefore, this period is more than ninety days. Sunni scholars should now either agree upon our narrations that confirm that the Holy Prophet (S) departed life on the twenty-eighth of Safar or agree upon our narrations that confirm that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah—the day of Ghadir.
`Umar’s claim is also contrary to the many Sunni narrations that confirm that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on Monday.18
In any event, we, the Shi`ah, do not admit that the Holy Prophet (S) lived for eighty days after the revelation of the Verse of Ikmal al-Din. We believe, according to our authenticated reports, that the Verse was revealed on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah and the Holy Prophet (S) departed life on 29th of Safar and the period is thus about seventy days only. We also believe that the Verse was revealed on Thursday or Friday and the Holy Prophet (S)’s Mission commenced on Monday and Imam `Ali prayed with him on Tuesday and he died on Monday too… etc.
Many reports have recorded the Holy Prophet (S)’s movement from al-Madinah and they all are contradictory to the reports identifying Friday as the day of `Arafat. According to Shiite authenticated narrations, the Holy Prophet (S) began his journey to Makkah on Thursday, Dhu’l-Qa`dah 26, which agrees to the fact that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on the eighteenth of Dhu’l-Hijjah. On that account, Monday was the first of Dhu’l-Hijjah, the Holy Prophet (S) arrived in Makkah on Thursday,19 the day of `Arafat was Tuesday and the day of Ghadir was Thursday.20
Supporting the Ahl al-Bayt (a.s.) reports, many Sunni reports have indicated that the Holy Prophet (S) used to travel on Thursdays and seldom traveled on other days.21 Jabir has narrated that the Holy Prophet (S)’s journey began four days before the end of Dhu’l-Qa`dah.22 Al-Bukhari, as well as many other reference books of Hadith, has recorded many narrations confirming that the Holy Prophet (S)’s journey to Makkah began five days before the end of Dhu’l-Qa`dah.23
Besides, ordinary journeys from al-Madinah to Makkah take eight days in maximum; the Holy Prophet (S) took the shortest way, which was about 400 kilometers; his companions and he were so speedy that some of them complained about fatigue and he instructed them to tie the ached feet; no single narration has ever mentioned that he stopped during that journey; rather many narrations have confirmed that he, during his journey back to al-Madinah, stopped at many places, such as Ghadir Khumm; according to narrations, he arrived in Makkah on the fourth of Dhu’l-Hijjah—all these facts support the Ahl al-Bayt’s reports. In due course, the narrations reporting that he left al-Madinah on the twenty fifth of Dhu’l-Qa`dah24 should be thus discredited because they made the journey take about ten days.
The previous points show the real value of the narrations that stood against the Ahl al-Bayt’s opinion and their adopters have tried their best to make the incident take place on Saturday so that the first of Dhu’l-Hijjah would be Thursday and the day of `Arafat would be Friday for nothing but supporting `Umar’s saying. Yet, they have gone beyond limits overlooking the other narrations reporting that `Umar himself identified Thursday as the day of `Arafat.25 If these narrations were true, Dhu’l-Qa`dah must have been thirty days.26
Trying to defend this opinion, Ibn Kathir says in al-Sirah 4/217:
Ahmad has narrated on the authority of Anas that the Holy Prophet (S) led the Duhr Prayer in his Masjid in al-Madinah and the `Asr Prayer, in the shortened from, in Dhu’l-Halifah.
In view of that, the Holy Prophet (S) began his journey on Friday and Ibn Hazm’s claim that the journey began on Thursday is baseless. Indisputably, the first of Dhu’l-Hijjah was Thursday as has been proven through uninterrupted and unanimous narrations confirming that the day of `Arafat, which is the ninth of Dhu’l-Hijjah, was Friday. Had the Holy Prophet (S)’s journey been started on Thursday, the 24th, six nights of Dhu’l-Qa`dah would remain. Yet, Ibn `Abbas, `A`ishah and Jabir have asserted that the journey began five nights before the end of Dhu’l-Qa`dah, and this should never be Friday because Anas says that the journey started on Saturday. The narrator miscalculated when he thought that Dhu’l-Qa`dah would be thirty days; rather it was only twenty-nine days that year. So, Wednesday was not accounted with Dhu’l-Qa`dah. The night before Thursday was the first of Dhu’l-Hijjah… This prognosis should be considered since there is no other opinion.
It seems that Ibn Kathir has not been sure enough about his prognosis because he had to notice the uncertainty arisen by `Umar, Sufyan al-Thawri and al-Nassa`i. He also had to regard Ibn Hazm’s emphasis that the Holy Prophet (S)’s journey started on Thursday. He also begged the question attempting to prove that the Holy Prophet (S)’s journey to Makkah started on Thursday. He, first of all, has confirmed that the Holy Prophet (S) halted on `Arafat on Friday while he should have proven his confirmation. He has also cited the narration of Anas that the Holy Prophet (S) led the Duhr and `Asr, not Friday, Prayers as his evidence while this very narration supports the Ahl al-Bayt’s opinion that the Holy Prophet (S)’s journey started on Thursday.
At length, supporting the narration of Anas has been accurate, it does not oppose the fact that the journey started on Thursday; rather it confirms that the Holy Prophet (S) put the ihram (uniform of Hajj) on after he had led the `Asr Prayer in Dhu’l-Halifah and kept on his journey.
To sum it up, innumerable difficulties stand in the face of admitting the opinion that the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed on the day of `Arafat, and these difficulties, which lie in the form, date and timing of the narrations, oblige the fair researchers not to adopt them. As a result, the Ahl al-Bayt’s opinion disables any opposite for a powerless opposite is ineffective.
In conclusion, all Muslims have agreed that the day on which the Verse of Ikmal al-Din was revealed is a great divine festivity and in the conception of the Ahl al-Bayt, it is, as proved by logic and manifest evidences, the most remarkable Islamic festivity. The weekly Islamic festivity is involved in the Friday Prayer, the `Id al-Fitr is for the accomplishment of the fasting, the `Id al-Adha is for the accomplishment of the Hajj and the `Id al-Ghadir is for the completion of the divine grace and the perfection of the religion. In Sunni conception, such completion was achieved by the revelation and perfection of the religious rulings without nominating a leader; but in Shiite conception, it was achieved by the perfection of the religious rulings and the completion of the divine grace that settled the problem of the leadership and nominated the Imams of the Ahl al-Bayt as the leaders of the Ummah up to the Day of Resurrection.
So long as all Muslims have agreed on considering the day of the perfection of the religion as formal festivity, why have Muslim chiefs, scholars and intellects accepted to neglect such a great `Id?
Sunni scholars should respond to our invitation to study the legal and doctrinal faces of this ‘wronged’ `Id so as to revive it in Muslims’ lives in a form corresponding to the beliefs and jurisprudence of each sect.