38. The Hadith of the Wilayah
It is a well known fact in history that the Messenger made his Valedictory Pilgrimage during the tenth year after the Hijrah and that thousands of Muslims accompanied the Prophet in his pilgrimage.
Another well known event of this pilgrimage is that the Messenger while on his way back to Medina stopped thousands of pilgrims at a place called "Ghadir Khum" (between Mecca and Medina) to declare to them that it is their duty to follow "Al-Thaqalain" (The Two Valuables) who will never part with each other until they join him at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment).
He informed them also that ‘Ali the head of the "Itrah" (the close relatives of the Prophet) is like the Holy Prophet in having more authority over their own affairs and that ‘Ali like the Messenger is the guardian of all believers.
The Messenger delivered a sermon on the Day of Ghadir Khum. The companions remembered only a small part of it. Some of the points which he spoke of remained in the memory of many companions who were in Kufa at a gathering to report what the Messenger of God said on the Day of Ghadir Khum (this was about 27 years after the event of the Ghadir.)
Although the companions who were residing in Kufa were not very numerous several of them testified that the Messenger declared on the Day of Ghadir Khum the leadership of ‘Ali. Abu Al- Tufail (a companion) reported that:
"‘Ali said to the companions who were at that gathering: I ask you in the name of God whoever was present on the Day of Ghadir Khum to stand up and no one should stand to say: I was informed or I heard. I only ask a man who directly heard by his own ear and memorized by his heart the words of the Messenger."
Seventeen men including Khuzeimah Ibn Thabit Sahl Ibn Saad Uday Ibn Hatam Aqabah Ibn Amir Abu Ayyoub Al-Ansari Abu Leila (or Abu Yaala) Abu Al-Haitham Ibn Al- Teihan and men from Quraish stood up and ‘Ali said to them: Tell us what you heard. They said: "We testify that we came with the Messenger of God from his Valedictory Pilgrimage.
When the noon time came the Messenger of God came out. He ordered that some trees in that place be pruned; a cloth was put above those trees. He called for the prayer and we came out. He said: What shall you say?
We said: You have delivered the Message. He said: God bear witness repeating that (three times). Then he said: I am about to be summoned (by God and I shall respond to His call). I shall be questioned and you will be questioned.
Then he said: "Certainly God is my 'Mawla' (Guardian) and I am the guardian of the belevers. Do you not know that I have more authority over you than you have over yourselves? We said: Yes. He said this three times. Then he held your hand Commander of Believers (the reporting companions were addressing the Imam ‘Ali) and lifted it and said: 'Whoever I am his Mawla (Guardian) this is his 'Mawla'.
God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him.' The Imam ‘Ali said to the testifying companions: You have told the truth and I am among those who bear witness to that."1
Al-Hafith Muhammad Ibn Abdullah the entitled Al- Hakim Al-Neesabouri in his Mustadrak reported through his channel to Zaid Ibn Arqam that Zaid said:
"When the Messenger of God returned from the Valedictory Pilgrimage and stopped at Ghadir Khum he ordered the Muslims to clean under the trees at that place and said: 'I am as if I were summoned and I responded. I have left in you "Al-Thaqalain " one of them is bigger than the other: The Book of God and my "Itrah" (the close relatives). Beware how you will treat them after me; for they shall not part with each other until they join me at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment).
Then he said: Certainly God is my Guardian and I am the Mawla (Guardian) of every believer. Then he lifted the hand of ‘Ali and said: Whoever I am his Mawla (Guardian) this is his "Wali" (Guardian) God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him."2
Al-Hakim through another channel reported that Zaid Ibn Arqam reported that the Prophet said the following: "... O people I am leaving in you two elements you will never go astray if you follow them. They are the Book of God and the members of my House my Itrah.' Then he said: Do you know that I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves (repeating that three times)? They said: Yes. The Messenger of God said:
Whoever I am his Mawla this ‘Ali is his Mawla."3 These hadiths contain three important items:
1. The Messenger left to his nation two important elements which do not part with each other and that obedience of the two constitutes a security against straying. The two elements are: The Book of God and the 'Itrah' (close relatives) of the messenger.
2. The Prophet had more authority over the believers than they had over themselves and that God is the Guardian of the Messenger and that the Messenger is the Guardian of the believers.
3. ‘Ali is like the Prophet in being Guardian of all the believers. Jabir Ibn Abdullah Al-Ansari Amir Ibn Dhumrah Hutheifah Ibn Oseid Imam ‘Ali and others reported the three contents in one hadith.
The first and the second contents were also reported by the Imam ‘Ali and Om Selemah wife of the Messenger who said:
"The Messenger held the hand of ‘Ali at Ghadir Khum. He raised it until we witnessed the whiteness of his armpit and said: Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his 'Mawla'. Then he said: 'O people I am leaving in you 'Al- Thaqalain' (The Two Valuables): 'Kitabullah' (the Book of God) and my Itrah (my close relatives). And they will not part with each other until they join me at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment)." 4
We have already mentioned that Imam ‘Ali reported a hadith similar to this one.
The second and the third contents were reported by a number of companions including Abu Sa-eed Al-Khidri Abu Qudamah Al-Arani Hutheifah Ibn Osaid Amir Ibn Dhumrah Zaid Ibn Arqam and Al-Bura Ibn Azib who reported according to Imam Ahmad in his Musnad and Ibn Majah in his authentic Sunan the following:
"We came with the Messenger of God in his Valedictory Pilgrimage and he stopped at the road and called for a congregational prayer. Then he took the hand of ‘Ali and said: Am I not the Guardian who has more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? They said: Yes. He said: Do I not have more authority over every believer than he has over himself? They said: Yes. He said:
This is the 'Wali' (Guardian) of whoever I am his Mawla (Guardian). God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him."5
These two contents were also reported by Saad Ibn Abu Waqass. He reported according to Al-Hakim in his Mustadrak the following:
"... The Messenger said to ‘Ali on the Day of Ghadir Khum after praising the Almighty and exalting Him: Do you know that I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? We said: Yes. He said: God whoever I am his 'Mawla ' ‘Ali is his Mawla. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him..."6
Imam Ahmad reported in his Musnad through his channel to Abdul-Rahman Ibn Abu Leila that he said: "I witnessed ‘Ali at Al-Rahbah asking people to testify. He said: I ask in the name of God whoever heard the Messenger of God saying on the Day of Ghadir Khum: "Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mawla to stand up and testify. Abdul-Rahman said: Twelve companions who had attended the Battle of Badr stood up and I remember as if I am looking at one of them and they said:
"We testify that we heard the Messenger of God saying on the Day of Ghadir Khum: Do I not have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves?..." We said: Yes Messenger of God. He said: Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his 'Mawla.' God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him.7
As to the last content "Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mouls " it was reported by tens of his companions.8
Al-Tirmidhi in his authentic "Sunan" recorded that Zaid Ibn Arqam reported that the Messenger said: Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mawla.9
Al-Hafith Mohamad Ibn Majah in his authentic Sunan recorded the following:
"Muawiya came (to Medina) on some of his pilgrimages. Saad Ibn Abu Waqass visited him. People mentioned ‘Ali and Muawiya spoke ill of him. Saad Ibn Abu Waqass angrily said to him: 'Do you say this about a man I heard the Messenger of God saying about him: Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mawla?'...."10
Of course whoever reported the three contents or the last two contents or the first and the third contents is from the reporters of the last one. There is no contradiction between these reports. A reporter may choose on one occasion to report some of what he heard from the Messenger or any other person then he chooses at another occasion to report most of what he heard from him and on a third occasion he may report all of what he heard completely.
And none of these reports contradict each other.
Thus Abu Al-Tufail Amir Ibn Wathilah reported that seventeen companions responded to the question of the Imam ‘Ali in Kufa and testified that they heard from the Messenger on the Day of Ghadir Khum words which contained all three contents as we have mentioned at the beginning of this chapter.
We find also in another hadith in which the Imam ‘Ali asked the companions who were with him to testify about the event of Al-Ghadir that Abu Al-Tufail reported the following: "‘Ali gathered people at Al-Rahbah then he said to them: 'I ask in the name of God any Muslim who heard the Messenger of God saying on the Day of Ghadir Khum what he said to stand up. Thirty men stood up (and Abu Na-eem said: Many People stood and testified) that the Messenger of God held the hand of ‘Ali and said to people:
"Do you know that I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? They said: Yes Messenger of God. He said: "Whoever I am his Mawla (Guardian) this ‘Ali is his Mawla. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him." Abu Al- Tufail said: I left the place with some doubt. I met Zaid Ibn Arqam and told him what I had heard ‘Ali saying. Zaid said: What do you doubt? I heard the Messenger of God saying that to him."11
The Messenger spoke about ‘Ali's leadership on an occasion other than the occasion of Ghadir Khum. Al- Ter mathi in his authentic Sunnan recorded that Imran Ibn Hossain reported that four men complained about ‘Ali to the Messenger of God and the Messenger was angry and said to them:
"What do you want from ‘Ali? What do you want from ‘Ali? What do you want from ‘Ali? ‘Ali is from me and I am from him. And he is the Wali (Guardian) of every believer after me."12
Imam Ahmad in his Musnad (part 4 page 437) reported this hadith with little difference in wording and he said that the Prophet said: "Leave ‘Ali alone leave ‘Ali alone leave ‘Ali alone. ‘Ali is from me and I am from him.
And he is the 'Wali' (Guardian) of every believer." Imam Ahmad recorded through his channel to Sa-eed Ibn Jubair that Ibn Jubair said that Ibn Abbas reported that Buraidah Al-Aslami said:
"I went with an expedition under ‘Ali's leadership to Yemen and I noticed from him an unfriendly attitude.
When I came to the Messenger of God I mentioned ‘Ali and spoke ill of him. I noticed the face of the Messenger was changing. He said: Buraidah do I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? I said: Yes Messenger of God. He said: Whoever I am his 'Mawla' ‘Ali is his 'Mawla.'"13
Imam Ahmad also reported in his Musnad (part 5 page 356) that the Messenger said to Buraidah: "Speak not ill of ‘Ali for he is from me and I am from him and he is your 'Wali' after me.".
The hadith of the Ghadir is authentic and Mutawatir. It was reported by over one hundred companions; more than twenty-four historians; twenty-seven hadith recorders; eleven commentators on the Holy Qur'an and a like number of theologians and it was reported by many writers in every century after the Hijrah.14
Knowing that the Hadith of Ghadir is authentic and certain it is time to speak of what this hadith indicates. To understand the hadith we ought to know the following: 1. Is there any difference between the word "wali" and "Mawla"? This is because the word "wali" came in some of the hadiths and most of the hadiths contained the word Mawla.
If the two words have one meaning what did the word Mawla mean?
What did the Messenger mean by the word "oula" which was mentioned in many of the reported statements?
The two words "wali" and Mawla almost have the same meaning except that the word wali can be associated with matters as well as with the rational beings. So you may say he is Wali of the Mosque as you may say God is the Wali of the believers. But the word Mawla would be associated only with the rational. Thus you can say Mawla of the believers and you cannot say the Mawla of the Mosque.
The Arabic dictionaries show that the word Mawla has the following meanings:
6. cousin son of the uncle.
7. nephew (son of a sister)
9. a relative.
10. uncle (brother of the father)
14. a party of a pact.
16. the Lord.
18. master (other than the emancipator)
22. one who has more right in something.
23. an administrator of some affairs.
25. an ally15
The word Mawla probably had been used for each one of these twenty-five meanings. However the first fifteen of the meanings are not of frequent use and people do not understand from the word Mawla any of them. None of these meanings would be understood from that word except with some additional evidence.
This means that when the word Mawla is used the listener may think that the word meant one of the last ten meanings and none of the first fifteen meanings would be a good probability. In fact only two of the last ten would be a good probability when the word Mawla is used; Namely: Master and servant.
However the word Mawla in the hadith of Al-Ghadir did not mean any of the first fifteen meanings. The neighbor the guest the partner the son the son of the sister the son-in-law the companion were not meant for ‘Ali. ‘Ali was not a neighbor or guest or partner or a son or a son of a sister or guest or a companion to whoever the Messenger of God was a neighbor or guest or a partner or a son of a sister or son-in-law or a companion. The Prophet was not an uncle of anyone because he did not have a brother to be the uncle of his son.
The Messenger did not mean from the word Mawla a relative or a cousin because such information is senseless.
It would not be proper for the Messenger to gather people in order to declare that because every Muslim knows that ‘Ali is a cousin of the Holy Prophet. Whoever is related to one of the two is related to the other.
The Messenger did not mean admirer because it would be improper for the Messenger to gather thousands of people to announce that ‘Ali admires whoever the Messenger of God admires. Again ‘Ali is not the only one who admired all people whom the Holy Prophet admired. All good companions used to admire people whom the Messenger admired.
Furthermore the Messenger wanted to say that he is the Mawla of all Muslims and the Messenger did not admire all Muslims because he did not admire the transgressors among them.
The Messenger did not mean by the word Mawla the benefactored because the Messenger was not benefactored by a great number of people. He did not mean the benefactor either for he did not materially benefactor all the Muslims. The Messenger wanted to say that ‘Ali is like him in being a Mawla of all Muslims from all generations. He did not mean by the word Mawla the spiritual benefactor though the Messenger was truly a benefactor of all Muslims because he led them to the religion of God.
And so was ‘Ali because of his unparalleled endeavor in the way of God for making the word of God victorious. The Messenger did not mean that because he was not at that time trying to inform the Muslims about something that already took place. He wanted by this declaration to bestow on ‘Ali a rank and a position.
Nor did the Messenger mean by the word Mawla the emancipator for he did not emancipate all the Muslims because the majority of the Muslims were not slaves at his time; nor were they so after his time.
The last ten meanings are not all proper for the Prophet to use. He could not mean by Mawla the Lord for that would be profane; nor did he mean the servant or the follower because the Messenger was not a servant or a follower of anybody. Nor did he mean the owner because the Messenger was not the owner of the Muslims. He did not mean an ally because the Messenger was the leader of all Muslims rather than their ally. Even the spiritual alliance could not be meant because the Holy Prophet was not in alliance with the transgressors from among the Muslims and they were and are numerous.
Nor did the Messenger mean the helper because the Messenger as I mentioned before wanted to say that he is the Mawla of all Muslims from all generations and the Messenger was not the helper of all generations. No one can be a helper of all generations except God alone.
Again the Messenger was not a helper of all Muslims. He was a helper of only the sincere ones among them and he did not want to aid the disobedient Muslims.
Only four out of ten remained which are the following: The master other than the emancipator and the one who has more right than others and the administrator of an affair and the wali.
The last one could not be meant unless it meant one of the first three because it does not have an independent meaning.
Master would be proper if it means leader or the one who is followed because the Messenger was a leader of all Muslims. The Messenger also possessed more authority than others and he was the administrator of the affairs of the Muslims. All these meanings are close to each other and similar to the meaning of leader or the one who is supposed to be followed by people.
Thus when "Mawla" meant the one who has more authority over every believer than they have over themselves and the one who has more right to administer the affairs of the believers ‘Ali would be the leader of the Muslims and the administrator of their affairs by the order of God. This is because the Prophet was their Mawla by the order of God.
What did the messenger mean by the word "Oula" when he directed the questions to the crowd asking whether they believe that he is "oula" in the believers than they are to themselves? The Arabic dictionaries tell us that the word oula may come for one of the two following meanings:
1. The one who has more right
2. The one who is more proper.
This is applicable to things rather than persons. Of course the Holy Prophet would not mean by oula the more proper. For it would be very improper for the Prophet to ask the Muslims: Am I not more proper to the believers than themselves.
The Holy Prophet wanted to remind the Muslims of a right he was given by the Almighty in a revelation recorded in the Holy Qur'an:
"The Prophet has more authority over the believers than they have over themselves..." (The Holy Quran Chapter 33 Verse 6)
The verse states that the Messenger has a Divine right in administrating the affairs of the Muslims more than the Muslims have in administering their own affairs. That is because they have to obey him and to follow his order.
The Holy Qur'an emphasized this right in many verses.
Among them are the following: "And it is not permitted for a male believer or female believer to have their own choices in their affairs when God and His Messenger decide in their affairs. And whoever disobeys God and His Messenger he obviously is straying." The Holy Qur'an chapter 33 verse 36.
If we understand all this it would be easy for us to determine what the Messenger meant by his declaration on the Day of Ghadir Khum. If we take only the last part of the delcaration: "Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mawla nothing could be meant by the word Mawla but the leader (the guardian) or the one who was given by God the right to administer the affairs of the Muslims. The Messenger declares that ‘Ali is like him in that.
If we take this part of the declaration along with the second part: "Do I not have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves" (and this was mentioned in many reports) the meaning would become crystal clear.
The Prophet according to the Holy Qur'an has more authority over believers than the believers have over themselves and this is what the Prophet wanted to remind the Muslims of. Since he followed this question by saying "whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mawla " he meant nothing other than that ‘Ali like the Prophet has the right to administer the affairs of the Muslims more than they have of right to administer their affairs.
If anyone doubts this the first part of the Declaration of the Ghadir ought to remove any doubt. The Prophet said in that part: "I am leaving in you the Two Valuables: The Book of God and the members of my House. You shall not go astray if you follow them. Beware how you shall treat them after me and they shall not part with each other until they join me at the Basin (on the Day of Judgment)."
Since the Holy Qur'an and the members of the House of the Holy Prophet (who were headed by ‘Ali) must be followed the adherence to the teaching of the "Itrah" (the members of the House of the Prophet) would be as imperative as the adherence to the teaching of the Holy Qur'an.
The hadiths which contained this part are numerous and certainly authentic. Thus the Muslims have to obey ‘Ali as they obey the Holy Qur'an and the Holy Prophet.
Adding to these hadiths what the Messenger said to Buraidah and others in various hadiths that ‘Ali is from him and that he is from ‘Ali and that ‘Ali is the Guardian of every believer after him (or he said: He is your Wali after me) no room would be left for arguments about what the Messenger meant from the two words Mawla and "wali." This is in complete accord with other statements of the Holy Prophet.
It was also mentioned in chapter 36 that the Prophet said that to obey ‘Ali is to obey God and His Messenger; to disobey ‘Ali is to disobey God and His Messenger; to part with ‘Ali is to part with God and His Messenger and to speak ill of ‘Ali is to speak ill of God and His Messenger.
The Holy Prophet issued his declaration to the Muslims at Ghadir Khum concerning ‘Ali after he was commanded by the Almighty to proclaim ‘Ali's leadership.
We read in chapter no.5 Al-Ma-idah (the Food) the following verse:
"O Apostle proclaim the message which had been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou do not thou would not have communicated His message. And God will protect thee from (mischievous) people. Certainly God guides not the unbelievers." The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 67.
This verse regardless of any hadith that contains its explanation informs us of the following:
1. There was a previous Divine Message which came to the Holy Prophet before the revelation of this verse and that Message was supposed to be communicated to the Muslims by the Holy Prophet.
2. The Messenger delayed the communication of that message to the Muslims or he asked his Lord to relieve him from the mission of communicating that Message because he feared that some of the Muslims would not be receptive to the message. A phrase in this verse: "And God will protect thee from people” testifies to the Prophet's apprehension.
3. The contents of the previous message which was delayed was highly important. Its importance is underscored by the warning phrase contained in the verse of proclamation: "And if thou do not thou would not have communicated the message of God "
This phrase warned the Prophet that if he does not communicate the message he would not have fulfilled his mission as a Messenger of God and the failure to proclaim that Message equals the failure in proclamation of the whole Islamic Message.
Had this verse been revealed while the Messenger was still in Mecca in the first three years from his mission we would understand that the Prophet was afraid to confront his pagan society with the invitation to disregard its idols.
But this verse is a part of the chapter of "Al Ma-idah" (the Food) which is Medinite one hundred percent. This meant that the verse as well as the whole chapter of the Food were revealed after the departure of the Holy Prophet from Mecca. Therefore the Prophet's delay in communicating the previous message was not motivated by his fear of confronting the pagan society with the doctrine of Monotheism.
Had this verse been revealed at the beginning of the Period of the Hijrah the content of the previous Message could be a commandment to combat the pagan warriors or pertaining to a prayer or Zakat or fast which seemed to fall heavy on the Muslims.
Such a commandment means loss of lives and wealth or additional toil and the Prophet was afraid that the Muslims would not like that. But the chapter of Food was revealed during the tenth year of the Hijrah after all devotional duties were proclaimed and after the Muslims had already participated in numerous battles against the pagans and others.
It is reported that Ayeshah and Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar both said that "Al-Ma'idah" (the chapter of Food) was the last chapter of the Holy Qur'an.16 This is supported by the fact that the chapter contains a verse proclaiming the completion of religion:
"Today I have completed your religion for you and perfected My favor upon you and chosen Islam as a religion for you." The Holy Quran Chapter 5 verse 3
This verse was revealed when the Messenger was on the Mount of Arafat. Al-Bukhari recorded in his Sahih that ‘Umar reported that.17 It is also reported that the verse of the completion of the religion was revealed when the Messenger was coming back from the Valedictory Pilgrimage while he was speaking on the Day of Ghadir Khum. Many hadiths have reported that and I shall mention some of them.
From this we know that the contents of the Message which the Holy Prophet delayed its proclamation was not a commandment pertaining to the proclamation of the doctrine of the One God. Nor was it pertaining to a devotional duty or a defensive war against the pagans or the followers of the Scriptures. It was rather a commandment pertaining to a matter belonging to the internal political affairs of the Muslim State. Thus we have the two following facts:
(1) The 5th Qur'anic chapter Al-Maidah which contains this verse was revealed during the Valedictory Pilgrimage or after its performance.
(2) The Messenger at Ghadir Khum proclaimed that ‘Ali is like him the Mawla of all believers. This took place while he was returning from his Valedictory Pilgrimage.
Putting these facts together it would be very logical to infer that the contents of the message had to deal with the proclamation of ‘Ali's leadership.
This means that when the Messenger received the order from his Lord to proclaim ‘Ali's leadership he feared that some of his followers might think that he favored ‘Ali because of his relationship to him. Upon this the Revelation came down ordering him to proclaim what he received from his Lord. Otherwise he would not have fulfilled his mission as the Messenger of God.
This warning was coupled with a Divine Promise: That God will protect him from the people whom he feared. When he received this serious commandment he suddenly stopped at Ghadir Khum to proclaim what he received from his Lord concerning ‘Ali.
Should this be what the verse meant then what the Messenger has proclaimed in his declaration on the Day of Ghadir Khum was the religious and worldly leadership of ‘Ali which was similar to the leadership of the Holy Messenger.
Had what the Holy Prophet meant been less than worldly leadership he would not have feared the disagreement of his followers and there would have been no need for the strong command and serious warning. The ambitious Meccans and non-Meccans who were aspirant for the Islamic leadership would not be disturbed by giving ‘Ali any rank if that rank did not include his political leadership.
The commandment of proclamation is evidence that the Almighty wanted to secure for His servant Muslims the leadership with which they will never go astray: That is the leadership of ‘Ali the head of the members of the House which does not part with the Holy Qur'an and insures the nation's unity and progress. To comply with this Divine order the Messenger stood up to address the thousands of pilgrims declaring what he declared on Ghadir Khum.
It may be said that the message which the Holy Prophet delayed its proclamation for his fear of dispute was pertaining to the people of the Scripture. The evidence of this is that before this verse we read verses speaking of the people of the scriptures among which is the following:
"The Jews say: God's hand is tied up. Be their hands tied up and be they accursed for the (blasphemy) they uttered. Nay His both hands are widely outstretched; He gives and spends (of His bounty) as He pleases.
But the Revelation that comes to you from God increases in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy. Among them We have placed enmity and hatred till the Day of Judgment. Every time they kindle the fire of war God does extinguish it but they (ever strive) to do mischief on earth and God loves not those who do mischief.
If only the people of the Book had believed and been righteous we would indeed have blotted out their inequities and admitted them to Paradise of bliss. If only they had stood fast by the Law (the Old Testament) the Gospel and all the Revelation that was sent to them from their Lord they would have enjoyed happiness from every side.
There is from among them a party on the right course; but many of them follow a course that is evil."18 In fact after the Verse of Proclamation we find a number of verses dealing with the people of the Scripture of which are the following:
"Say: O people of the Book ye have no ground to stand upon unless ye stand fast by the Old Testament and the Gospel and all the revelation that has come to you from thy Lord. It is the revelation that has come to you from thy Lord that increases in most of them their obstinate rebellion and blasphemy but sorrow thou not over these faithless people.' The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 87-88.
If we look at the verse deeply we can easily conclude that it is independent from the verses which precede it. The meaning of the Verse of Proclamation indicates that it has no relation with what was recorded before it or after it.
The Verse of Proclamation indicates that the Messenger was afraid to announce the contents of the message to which the verse of proclamation refers. But the Messenger was not afraid at the time of its revelation to announce any message dealing with the relation of the Muslims to the people of the Scriptures.
Many battles between the Muslims and the Jews took place before the revelation of this chapter. Of those battles were: The Battle of Banu Qainaqa'a the Battle of Banu Al-Nadheer which took place at the beginning of the period of Hijrah and the Battle of Banu Quraidhah which took place after the Battles of the Confederation or (the Battle of Moat) in the fifth year after the Hijrah.
The final of those battles between the Prophet and the Jews was the Battle of Khaibar which took place during the 6th year after the Hijrah. By this all Jewish danger against the Muslims came to an end. Thus the Messenger would not be in a state of fear of Jews if he were to announce a message against them during the 10th year after the Hijrah.
The Muslims and the Christians were in a state of war started with the Battle of Mutah during the 8th year and followed by the Battle of Tabook during the 9th year. Since the Holy Prophet was not afraid to fight the Christians at the battlefield he could not be afraid to announce any message against them.
In addition to this many chapters which were revealed before the chapter of "Al-Ma-idah" (the Food) contain verses whose contents are similar to the contents of the verses which preceded or followed the Verse of Proclamation in the chapter of Al-Ma-idah.
The verses which preceded this verse command the believer not to take offense from the people of the Scripture who ridiculed the Faith of Islam and mention that from among those people are the ones who were cursed by God and whom God transformed into apes and swines. The verses call them hypocrites who tell the Muslims that they have believed in Islam yet they hasten to sinful actions and take the unlawful fund.
The verses state that whenever they start the fire of war God extinguishes it. Had the people of the Scriptures been righteous and followed the Old Testament and the Gospel they would have entered Paradise and would have eaten from above them and from below them and from what is under their feet.
What follows these verses states that the people of the Scriptures are not on a solid foundation until they follow the Old Testament and the Gospel. It states also that the children of Israel had killed some Messengers and discredited others after the covenant was made between God and them and that those who say that the Messiah is God are unbelievers.
These contents and many similar to them were announced in various chapters which were revealed before the time of the chapter of "Al-Ma-idah" (the Food)
In the second chapter we read the following:
"Is it that whenever there comes to you an apostle with what ye yourselves desire not ye puffed up with pride? Some ye called imposters and others ye slew.They say our hearts are wrapped (Thus we need no more of God's Apostle). Nay God's curse is on them for their blasphemy; little is it they believe." The Holy Qur'an chapter 2 verse 31.
And in the 3rd chapter of (Aul-Imran) we read the following:
"If only the people of the Book had faith it were best for them; among them are some who have faith but most of them are perverted transgressors. They will do you no harm barring a trifling annoyance; if they come out to fight you they will show you their backs and no help shall they get. Shame is pitched for them (like a tent) wherever they are found except when under the covenant of protection from God and from men. They draw on themselves wrath from God and pitched over them a tent of destitution. This is because they rejected the signs of God and slew the Prophets in defiance of right. This is because they rebelled and transgressed beyond bounds." The Holy Quran Chapter 3 verses 111 to 113
And in the chapter of Mary which is a Meccan chapter we read the following:
"They say: (God) Most Gracious has begotten a son! Indeed ye have put forth a thing most monstrous. At it the skies are almost ready to burst the earth to split asunder and the mountains to fall down in utter ruin that they should invoke a son for (God) Most Gracious. For it is not consonant with the Majesty of God (Most Gracious) that He should beget a son." The Holy Quran Chapter 19 Verses 90 to 94
And in the chapter of Bara-ah which was revealed during the 9th year after the Hijrah. We read the following:
"They take their priests and their monks to be their Lords other than God and (they take as their Lord) Christ the son of Mary; yet they were commanded to worship but One God. There is no God but Him. Praise and Glory belong to Him; For He is above having the partners they associate with Him)." The Holy Quran Chapter 9 verse 33
All these verses indicate that the Messenger was not afraid while during the 10th year after the Hijrah to confront the people of the Scriptures with a battle or message.
But the Verse of Proclamation tells us that he was apprehensive of announcing a message which was revealed to him and God ordered him to announce it and promised to protect him from people. Therefore the content of the Verse of Proclamation testifies that it is not related to the verses before it or after it. It is completely independent of those verses.
This is what compels us to conclude that what the Messenger had feared to communicate to the people was not a message relating to the foreign policy dealing with the people of the Scriptures or the Politheists. It was rather a message dealing with an internal political affair.This is what compels us to conclude that what the Messenger had feared to communicate to the people was not a message relating to the foreign policy dealing with the people of the Scriptures or the Politheists. It was rather a message dealing with an internal political affair.
Since it was not dealing with the devotional Islamic duties it would be logical to conclude that the delayed message was dealing with the rule and the leadership of the Islamic State.
The chapter of Al-Ma-idah had been revealed during the Valedictory pilgrimage or while the Prophet was on his way back from this Pilgrimage as many hadiths indicate.
This Revelation was followed by the Messenger's sudden stop at Ghadir Khum rallying the pilgrims to announce to them the leadership of ‘Ali. Putting the two events together we may logically conclude that the content of the delayed message was the proclamation of that leadership. We can conclude this without resorting to the various hadiths which announced the reasons of the Revelation of the Verse of Proclamation.
Our certainty increases when we know that several hadiths stated that the Verse of Proclamation had to deal with the leadership of the Imam ‘Ali. Al-Soyouti recorded that Al-Hafith Ibn Abu Hatem recorded that Abu-Sa-eed Al-Khidri reported that the Messenger of God on the day of Ghadir Khum received the revelation of the Verse of Proclamation and that it was revealed concerning ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib.19
It is recorded in Kanz Al-Ummal part 6 page 143 that Al-Mahamili reported in his Amali through his channel to Ibn Abbas the following:
"When the Prophet was commanded to proclaim ‘Ali's leadership the Prophet went to Mecca. He said: I see the Muslims coming afresh from the period of pre-Islam. If I deliver the message about ‘Ali they would say he favored his cousin. The Prophet went on until he completed the Valedictory Pilgrimage then he set out towards Medina until he came to Ghadir Khum. At that place the Almighty revealed to him: 'O Messenger deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord... A caller summoned the pilgrims for prayer. Then the Prophet stood up and held the hand of ‘Ali and said: Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mawla. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him."20
Ibn Mardawaih reported similar to these words through his channel to Ibn Abbas. Ibn Batreeq in his book Al-Omdah page 49 reported that Abu Is-haq Al-Thaa- labi reported in his Commentary on the Holy Qur'an (Al-Kashf and Al-Bayan) that Al-Imam Al-Baqir and Ibn Abbas said that the Verse of Proclamation was revealed to the Messenger concerning ‘Ali and that the Messenger took the hand of ‘Ali and said "Whoever I am his Mawla ‘Ali is his Mawla." 21
Sheikh Al-Islam Abu Is-haq Al-Hamweeni in his book The Reasons of Revelation page 150 recorded that Abu Saeed Al-Khidri said that this verse was revealed on the Day of Ghadir Khum concerning ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib.22 Imam Fakhr-Ul-Deen Al-Razi in his big Commentary on the Holy Qur'an part 3 page 637 said that Al-Bura Ibn Azib Ibn Abbas and Muhammad Ibn ‘Ali reported that the verse was revealed about ‘Ali Ibn Abu Talib.
Thus the historical declaration of the Messenger on the day of Ghadir Khum was a compliance to a Divine Revelation commanding him to communicate to the Muslims the leadership of ‘Ali and promising him protection against whomever he feared if he communicated it.
This shows clearly that the declaration of Al-Ghadir was extremely important. It meant that ‘Ali's announced leadership includes the political and non-political affairs.
Had it been anything less than that the revelation would not have come down commanding and warning the Holy Prophet. For non-political leadership of ‘Ali would not be objectionable to the ambitious companions.
The Declaration of Ghadir is well known to the Muslim scholars from every School of Thought. Yet many Muslim scholars say that the declaration does not prove that ‘Ali is the Caliph of the Prophet and that the Prophet had chosen him as his successor. Had he chosen him as his successor he should not have used the word Mawla or wali. He should have rather said to the Muslims: ‘Ali is your "Ameer" after me or he is my Caliph or he is your Imam after me.
The Messenger did not say "‘Ali is your Ameer after me " because the Messenger did not usually use the word ameer in any matter other than military affairs or the leadership of pilgrimage. As to the administration of the affairs of the Muslims in general or in some Islamic provinces the Messenger used to use the word "wilayah" (right of management of the public or private affairs in the people's interest). He used to send administrators to some provinces and call them Wulat (plural of Wali) and he used to call himself "Waliyyu Al-Muslimeen" (Guardian of the Muslims)
The Holy Qur'an declared:
"The Prophet is Mawla (has more authority) over the believers than they have over themselves..." (Chapter 33 verse 6).
‘your Wali (Guardian) is only God His Messenger and the believers who offer the prayer and give the poor Zakat while they are bowing." The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 58.
"There (on the Day of Judgment) Al-wilayat (the authority) belongs only to God the True God. He is the Best Rewarder and the Best Granter of a good fate." The Holy Qur'an chapter 18 verse 46.
The Holy Qur'an also declares:
"And you should know that God is your Mawla (Guardian). He is the Good Mawla and He is the Good Helper." The Holy Qur'an chapter 8 verse 41.
I did not see in the Holy Qur'an that God called His Messenger "Ameer " nor did I see in any hadith that the Holy Prophet called himself Ameer or "Hakim" (ruler) or governor. The reason is that the natural relationship between the administrator of the affairs of the Muslims and the Muslims is not a relation between a ruler and a ruled or a prince or a king and subjects.
It is rather a relation similar to that of a father to his children. He administers their affairs and protects their interests as a father protects the interests of his children. The administrators of the affairs of Muslims are not a high class and the rest of the people are not a lower class.
As to the question of why did not the Prophet use the word caliph the answer is that a caliph should be obeyed only after the death of the Messenger. ‘Ali according to the Prophet's declaration is not only his successor but also his deputy during his life time and his successor after his death. Thus he was to be obeyed at the time of the Prophet as well as after him.
I have advanced that Abu Dharr reported that the Messenger said: "‘Ali whoever obeys me obeys God and whoever obeys you obeys me and whoever disobeys me disobeys God and whoever disobeys you dirobeys me."23
Thus ‘Ali was not only a successor of the Messenger but also his representative and deputy during his lifetime. He was (according to the Declaration of Ghadir Khum) like the Prophet in being a guardian of the believers and having more authority over them than they have over themselves.
The Prophet declared that ‘Ali to him is like Aaron to Moses and Aaron was deputy of Moses during his lifetime and like Moses a leader of the Israelites. This is what was expressed by all the hadiths in this chapter and previous chapters. We ought not forget that the Messenger said to Bureidah and other companions according to various hadiths:
"‘Ali is from me and I am from him and he is your Wali after me or that he is the Wali of every 'Mu'min' (believer) after me." These hadiths unequivocally indicate that ‘Ali is the Caliph of the Prophet and so does his statement in the hadiths of Al-Thaqalain which was discussed extensively in chapter 37. These hadiths state clearly that the members of the House of the Holy Prophet are successors of the Prophet and ‘Ali was the head of the members of his House.
Before I conclude my discussion about the Declaration of Ghadir Khum I would like to mention that the Muslims who argue against the indication of the hadith on the succession of the Imam to the Messenger were not motivated by stubbornness or prejudice.
Their negative attitude is due to the fact that they had grown up in a society which believes that the Messenger did not appoint any successor. Thus it became difficult for them to reconcile this belief and the indication of the Declaration of the Ghadir Khum that the Messenger had appointed ‘Ali as his successor.
I would say sincerely that if the Messenger had stood on the day of Ghadir Khum saying: Whoever I am his Mawla Abu Bakr is his Mawla. God love whoever loves him and be hostile to whoever is hostile to him " I would have believed without any hesitation that the Messenger had appointed Abu Bakr as his successor.
Had this been the case the Muslims who deny the indication of ‘Ali's appointment would not deny Abu Bakr's appointment. Had the Prophet said that Abu Bakr has more authority over the believers than they have over themselves and that the adherence to his command and the command of the Holy Qur'an is a security against straying the Messenger's appointment of Abu Bakr would not have become controversial.
- 1. Al-Oundouzi Yanabi-a-Al-Mawaddah p.42. He recorded that Imam Samhoodi (nor Al-Deen ‘Ali Ibn Abdullah Al- Shafi-i reported that Abu Na-eem in his Hilyat Al- Ouliyah) recorded it.
- 2. Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 109.
- 3. Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 pp. 109-110.
- 4. Al-Muttaqi Al-Hindi Kanz Al- Umal part 5 p. 23 hadith no.356.
- 5. Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 4 p. 281 and Ibn Majah in his authentic Sunan part 1 p. 45.
- 6. Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 3 p. 116.
- 7. Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 1 p. 119.
- 8. Of these: Abu Leila Al-Ansari Hubshi Ibn Janadah Abu Ayyoub Khalid Ibn Zeid Al-Ansari Sahl Ibn Sa’d Talhah Ibn Obeidullah Abdullah Ibn Abbas Abdullah Ibn ‘Umar Abdullah Ibn Masud the Third Caliph Oday Ibn Hatam Aleyah Ibn Bishr Al-Mazine Aquabah Ibn ‘Umar Al- Tuhani Ammar Ibn Yasir Abu Al-Haitham Al-Taihan Habash Ibn Badeel Al-Khuza-i Khuzaimah Ibn Thabit (the man of the Two Testimonies) Abdullah Ibn Badeel Al- Khuza-i Qais Ibn Sa’d Ibn Abadah Hashim Al-Mirqal and many others. Conveyed by Al-Amini in his book Al- Ghadir part 1 pp. 184-185.
- 9. Al-Tirmidhi in his authentic Sunan part 5 p. 297 (hadith no.3797)
- 10. Ibn Majah his authentic Sunan part 1 p.45.
- 11. Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 4 p. 370.
- 12. Al-Tirmidhi his authentic Sunan part5 p. 296.
- 13. Imam Ahmad Al-Musnad part 5 p. 347. Al-Hakim also recorded it in Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 110.
- 14. Al-Amini Al-Ghadir part 1 p. 6-8.
- 15. Al-Amini Al-Ghadir part 1 pp. 362-363.
- 16. Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 2 p. 311.
- 17. Al-Bukhari his Sahih part 6 p. 63 (Book of Commentary on the Holy Qur'an chapter 5)
- 18. The Holy Qur'an chapter 5 verse 68.
- 19. Sheikh Hussein Amini in his book Al-Ghadir part I pp. 214-222.
- 20. Sheikh Hussein Amini in his book Al-Ghadir part I pp. 214-222.
- 21. Sheikh Hussein Amini in his book Al-Ghadir part I pp. 214-222.
- 22. Sheikh Hussein Amini in his book Al-Ghadir part I pp. 214-222.
- 23. Al-Hakim Al-Mustadrak part 3 p. 131.