4) Hadith Al-Thaqalayn: The Prophet At Ghadir Khumm (Part 2)

In order to ensure that his followers never missed his messages, the Messenger of Allah, sallallahu ‘alaihi wa alihi, further repeated his instruction in some other words, at the same Ghadir Khumm. Imam Muslim (d. 261 H) records what he did:

حدثني زهير بن حرب وشجاع بن مخلد جميعا عن ابن علية قال زهير حدثنا إسماعيل بن إبراهيم حدثني أبو حيان حدثني يزيد بن حيان قال انطلقت أنا وحصين بن سبرة وعمر بن مسلم إلى زيد بن أرقم فلما جلسنا إليه قال له حصين لقد لقيت يا زيد خيرا كثيرا رأيت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم وسمعت حديثه وغزوت معه وصليت خلفه لقد لقيت يا زيد خيرا كثيرا حدثنا يا زيد ما سمعت من رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم قال يا ابن أخي والله لقد كبرت سني وقدم عهدي ونسيت بعض الذي كنت أعي من رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم فما حدثتكم فاقبلوا وما لا فلا تكلفونيه ثم قال قام رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يوما فينا خطيبا بماء يدعى خما بين مكة والمدينة فحمد الله وأثنى عليه ووعظ وذكر ثم قال أما بعد ألا أيها الناس فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتي رسول ربي فأجيب وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور فخذوا بكتاب الله واستمسكوا به فحث على كتاب الله ورغب فيه ثم قال وأهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي فقال له حصين ومن أهل بيته؟ يا زيد أليس نساؤه من أهل بيته ؟ قال نساؤه من أهل بيته ولكن أهل بيته من حرم الصدقة بعده قال وهم؟ قال هم آل علي وآل عقيل وآل جعفر وآل عباس قال كل هؤلاء حرم الصدقة؟ قال نعم

Zuhayr b. Harb and Shuja’ b. Mukhlid – Ibn ‘Ulayyah: Zuhayr – Isma’il b. Ibrahim - Abu Hayyan - Yazid b. Hayyan:

I went along with Hasin b. Sabra and ‘Umar b. Muslim to Zayd b. Arqam. When we sat with him, Hasin said to him:

“You have earned, O Zayd, a lot of good. You saw the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, and you heard his hadith, and you fought by his side, and you offered Salat behind him. You have earned, O Zayd, a lot of good. Narrate to us, O Zayd, what you heard from the Messenger of Allah.”

He replied, “O son of my brother, I swear by Allah, I have grown old and my time has passed, and I have forgotten some of that which I remembered from the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him. So, whatever hadith I narrate to you, accept (it). And whatever I do not narrate, do not compel me to do that.”

He then said:

“One day, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, stood up to deliver a sermon at a watering place known as (Ghadir) Khumm situated between Makkah and Madinah. He praised Allah and extolled Him, and advised (us), and reminded us (of Allah and His revelations). Then, he said:

‘Then, verily, O mankind! I am only a human being. The messenger of my Lord (i.e. the angel of death) will soon reach me and I will answer (the call of death). But, I am leaving behind over you Two Weighty Things (thaqalayn). The first of them is the Book of Allah. In it there is guidance and light. So hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it.” So, he exhorted (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and encouraged concerning it. Then, he said: “and my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt!”

So, Hasin said to him, “So, who are his Ahl al-Bayt? O Zayd, are his wives not from his Ahl al-Bayt?” He (Zayd) replied, “His wives are from his Ahl al-Bayt. But, his Ahl al-Bayt are (also) those to whom sadaqah is forbidden apart from him.” He (Hasin) asked, “And who are those?” He (Zayd) replied, “They are the family of ‘Ali, the family of ‘Aqil, the family of Ja’far, and the family of ‘Abbas”. He (Hasin) said, “Sadaqah is forbidden for all these people?” He (Zayd) answered, “Yes”.1

Imam Ahmad (d. 241 H) has recorded this same exact report2, and Shaykh al-Arnaut has this comment about it:

إسناده صحيح على شرط مسلم

Its chain is sahih upon the standard of Muslim.3

So, there is no doubt about the authenticity of the riwayah.

There is however a crucial fact about it that must be taken into consideration in understanding its meaning. There is an interpolation by Yazid b. Hayyan into the text of the Prophet’s words in the hadith:

أما بعد ألا أيها الناس فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتي رسول ربي فأجيب وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور فخذوا بكتاب الله واستمسكوا به فحث على كتاب الله ورغب فيه ثم قال وأهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي

“Then, verily, O mankind! I am only a human being. The messenger of my Lord (i.e. the angel of death) will soon reach me and I will answer (the call of death). But, I am leaving behind over you Two Weighty Things (thaqalayn). The first of them is the Book of Allah. In it there is guidance and light. So hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it.” So, he exhorted (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and encouraged concerning it. Then, he said: “and my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt!”

The highlighted parts are NOT part of the words of the Messenger of Allah. Rather, they are commentaries upon the actual hadith. Since what matters to us are the instructions of our Prophet, then we must remove these interpolations in order to reach the real Sunnah. So, after deleting the foreign words, this is what we have:

أما بعد ألا أيها الناس فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتي رسول ربي فأجيب وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور فخذوا بكتاب الله واستمسكوا به وأهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي

“Then, verily, O mankind! I am only a human being. The messenger of my Lord (i.e. the angel of death) will soon reach me and I will answer (the call of death). But, I am leaving behind over you Two Weighty Things (thaqalayn). The first of them is the Book of Allah. In it there is guidance and light. So hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it and my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt!”

The Sunni mufassir, Mulla Huwaysh Al Ghazi ‘Abd al-Qadir, confirms this as well:

وروى مسلم عن زيد بن أرقم أن رسول اللّه صلّى اللّه عليه وسلم قال إني تارك فيكم ثقلين أولها كتاب اللّه فيه الهدى والنور فخذوا بكتاب اللّه واستمسكوا به وأهل بيتي، أذكركم اللّه في أهل بيتي، أذكركم في أهل بيتي

(Imam) Muslim recorded from Zayd b. Arqam that the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, said:

“I am leaving behind over you Two Weighty Things (thaqalayn). The first of them is the Book of Allah. In it there is guidance and light. So hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it and my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt!”4

The message here is unmistakable: all mankind – including all the Sahabah, Tabi’in and Tabi’ al-Tabi’in – are ordered to “adhere” to both the Qur’an and the Ahl al-Bayt.

What further solidifies this submission, is that the same hadith has been narrated from Zayd – in the book of Imam ‘Abd b. Humayd (d. 249 H) - without the commentaries, and it is straightforward. ‘Allamah al-Albani (d. 1420 H) records that the Prophet said at Ghadir Khumm:

"أما بعد ألا أيها الناس! فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتيني رسول ربي فأجيب وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور من استمسك به وأخذ به كان على الهدى ومن أخطأه ضل فخذوا بكتاب الله تعالى واستمسكوا به وأهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي".

“Then, verily, O mankind! I am only a human being. The messenger of my Lord (i.e. the angel of death) will soon reach me and I will answer (the call of death). But, I am leaving behind over you Two Weighty Things (thaqalayn). The first of them is the Book of Allah. In it there is guidance and light. Whoever adheres to it and holds fast to it, he will be upon guidance; and whosoever belittles it, he will go astray. So hold fast to the Book of Allah the Most High and adhere to it and my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt! I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt!”5

Commenting on it, the ‘Allamah states:

(صحيح) ... [حم عبد بن حميد م] عن زيد بن أرقم.

(Sahih) … [recorded by ‘Abd b. Hamid] from Zayd b. Arqam.6

‘Allamah al-Hindi (d. 975 H) too has copied the same report:

أما بعد أيها الناس فإنما أنا بشر يوشك أن يأتي رسول ربي فأجيب وأنا تارك فيكم ثقلين أولهما كتاب الله فيه الهدى والنور من استمسك به وأخذ به كان على الهدى ومن أخطأه ضل فخذوا بكتاب الله تعالى واستمسكوا به وأهل بيتي أذكركم الله في أهل بيتي

“Then, verily, O mankind! I am only a human being. The messenger of my Lord (i.e. the angel of death) will soon reach me and I will answer (the call of death). But, I am leaving behind over you Two Weighty Things (thaqalayn). The first of them is the Book of Allah. In it there is guidance and light. Whoever adheres to it and holds fast to it, he will be upon guidance; and whosoever belittles it, he will go astray. So hold fast to the Book of Allah the Most High and adhere to it and my Ahl al-Bayt. I remind you, with Allah, of my Ahl al-Bayt!”7

Giving the source, he too says:

حم وعبد بن حميد م عن زيد بن أرقم

Recorded by ‘Abd b. Humayd, from Zayd b. Arqam8

This was the report of Zayd from the Messenger of Allah without the interpolations of Yazid b. Hayyan. This took place at Ghadir Khumm, after the first declaration at ‘Arafat. The message is explicit, clear and unambiguous. It leaves no room for manipulation or distortion. We all must “adhere” to the Book of Allah and the Ahl al-Bayt of his Prophet after him. Strangely though, Zayd defines the “Ahl al-Bayt” meant in the hadith as the wives of the Prophet, and the families of ‘Ali, ‘Aqil, Ja’far, and al-‘Abbas. Yet, it is the same Zayd who narrated – as we shall examine in the next chapter – that the Messenger specifically named the “Ahl al-Bayt” intended in Hadith al-Thaqalayn as being only his “offspring”.

  • 1. Abu al-Husayn Muslim b. al-Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naysaburi, Sahih Muslim (Beirut: Dar Ihya al-Turath al-‘Arabi) [annotator: Muhammad Fuad ‘Abd al-Baqi], vol. 4, p. 1873, # 2408 (36)
  • 2. Abu ‘Abd Allah Ahmad b. Hanbal al-Shaybani, Musnad (Cairo: Muasassat Qurtubah) [annotator: Shu’ayb al-Arnaut], vol. 4, p. 366, # 19285
  • 3. Ibid
  • 4. Mulla Huwaysh Al Ghazi ‘Abd al-Qadir, Bayan al-Ma’ani (Damascus: Matbu’at al-Turki; 1382 H), vol. 4, p. 37
  • 5. Abu ‘Abd al-Rahman Muhammad Nasir al-Din b. al-Hajj Nuh b. Tajati b. Adam al-Ashqudri al-Albani, Sahih al-Jami’ al-Saghir wa Ziyadatuhu (Al-Maktab al-Islami), vol. 1, pp. 286-287, # 1351
  • 6. Ibid, vol. 1, p. 287, # 1351
  • 7. ‘Ali b. Husam al-Din al-Muttaqi al-Hindi, Kanz al-‘Ummal fi Sunan al-Aqwal wa Af’al (Beirut: Muasassat al-Risalah; 1989 H), vol. 1, p. 315, # 898
  • 8. Ibid