The signs of the departure to the better world appeared to the leader and teacher who had made fountains of knowledge and wisdom flow in the earth. Signs came one after the other showing that he would soon leave to his Lord. The following are some of those signs:
1. The Qur'an was recited for the Prophet (S) (by Gabriel) twice in the last days of his life and he felt from that that he was going to die soon.1 He announced that among people. He said to his daughter Fatimah (s.a.), ‘Gabriel used to recite the Qur'an to me once a year, but this year he recited it to me twice. I do not see in that except that my death is soon.’2
2. The following Verses were revealed to him then,
This verse was as information to him of his death. After that, some Muslims heard him saying, ‘I wish I knew when that shall be.’3
3. The sura of an-Nasr (110) was revealed to him. He kept silent between the Takbir and the Recitation (in prayer) and said, ‘Glory be to Allah and with praising Him. I ask Allah for forgiveness and I turn to Him in repentance.’
Muslims were astonished and terrified. They asked him about the reason, and he said to them, ‘I was consoled for myself.’4
It was certain to the Prophet (S) that he soon would die, and so he thought that he would farewell the Kaaba and make plans to keep his nation safe from deviating from the right path. He perfumed his last hajj, which was called “the farewell hajj”, in the tenth year of hijra, and announced before the Muslims, who had come to perform the hajj, that his meeting with them in that year would be the last one. He said, ‘I do not know! I may not meet you after this year in this situation at all.’
He began instructing Muslims with what would assure to them happiness and development. He said, ‘O people, I have left among you the two weighty things; the Book of Allah and my progeny.’
The first support in building the Muslim society and keeping it safe is the Book of Allah that falsehood does not come to it from before it nor from behind it, and the second one is the Ahlul Bayt (a.s.) who are the centers of knowledge and faith in Islam. These two supports are the basis of success for the nation.
When the Prophet (S) had finished the rituals of the hajj, he held a general conference at the well of Zamzam. He made a speech and ordered Rabee’ah bin Umayya bin Khalaf to announce his (the Prophet) speech loudly to people. He said, ‘O Rabee’ah, say: O people, the messenger of Allah says to you: you may not meet me in such a situation after now.
O people, do you know which country this is? Do you know which month this is? Do you know which day this is?’
People said, ‘Yes! This is the inviolable country, the inviolable month, and the inviolable day.’
Then the Prophet (S) said, ‘Allah has prohibited for you your bloods and your properties (to kill each other and to extort each other’s properties) like the inviolability of this country, this month and this day. Have I informed?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ The Prophet (S) said, ‘O Allah, bear witness.’
Then he said, ‘Every blood (that was shed) in the pre-Islamic era is put under my foot, and the first blood that I put under my foot is the blood of Adam bin Rabee’ah bin al-Harith bin Abdul Muttalib. Have I informed?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘O Allah, bear witness.’
Then he said, ‘Every usury in the pre-Islamic era is put under my foot, and the first usury that I put under my foot is the usury of al-Abbas bin Abdul Muttalib. Have I informed?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘O Allah, bear witness.’
Then he said, ‘O people, postponement (of the sacred month) is only an excess in disbelief whereby those who disbelieve are misled; they allow it one year and forbid it (another) year, that they may make up the number of the months which Allah hath hallowed…
I recommend you to be kind to women for they are deposits with you. They are weak. You have taken them by the deposit of Allah, and married them by the Book of Allah. You have rights on them and they have rights on you. They have a right on you that you provide them with clothes and sustenance, and you have a right on them that they should not betray you with anyone in your beds, and not permit anyone into your houses except with your knowledge and permission. If they commit something of that, then you do not to sleep with them and you beat them but not violently. Have I informed?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘O Allah, bear witness.’
Then he said, ‘I recommend you to be kind to what your hands possess (servants). Feed them with what you (yourselves) eat and clothe them with what you (yourselves) wear…Have I informed?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘O Allah bear witness.’
Then he said, ‘A Muslim is a brother to a Muslim. He should not cheat, betray, or backbite him. His blood (killing) is not lawful to him, nor anything of his property except by his permission willingly. Have I informed?’ They said, ‘Yes.’
The Prophet (S) kept on his precious speech that was full of Islamic morals, manners and rulings. He ended his speech saying, ‘Do not turn back after me unbelievers, leading people astray and subjugating one another. I have left among you what if you keep to, you shall not go astray; the Book of Allah and my progeny, my family. Have I informed?’ They said, ‘Yes.’ He said, ‘O Allah, bear witness.’
Then he said to them, ‘You are responsible. Let the present of you inform the absent!’5
When the Prophet (S) performed his last Hajj, he (with the Muslims) began his journey back to Medina. When he (and the Muslims) arrived in Ghadeer Khum, Gabriel came down to him carrying with him a very important message from the Heaven. It was to appoint Ameerul Mo'minin Ali bin Abi Talib a caliph over the Muslims (after the Prophet) and to announce that openly. The message of the Heaven was revealed in this verse,
The Prophet (S) determined to fulfill the will of Allah. He stopped at the desert and ordered the caravans of the hajjis to do the same. It was a very hot summer day that men put the ends of their abas under their legs to guard against heat. When Muslims, who were about one hundred thousand or more as historians say, gathered together, the Prophet (S) began making a speech before them. First he explained to them what he suffered for the sake of their guidance and to save them from the superstitions of the age of ignorance into a safe, noble life. Then, he said, ‘See how you will obey me through (being loyal to) the two weighty things.’
Someone cried out, ‘O messenger of Allah, what are the two weighty things?’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘The major weighty thing is the Book of Allah; its one end is in the hand of Allah and the other end is in your hands. Keep to it and do not deviate. The other is the minor weighty thing. It is my progeny. Kind Gabriel told me that they (the Book of Allah and the progeny) will not separate until they will come to me at the pond (in the Paradise), and I prayed to my Lord to do that for them. Do not antecede them that you may perish, and do not lag behind them that you may perish…’
Then the Prophet (S) took Imam Ali’s hand and announced his guardianship over the Muslims and appointed him a general leader over the nation. He raised Imam Ali’s hand until the white of their (the Prophet and Imam Ali) armpits appeared and he addressed the Muslims loudly;
‘O people, who is worthier of the believers than themselves?’
They all said, ‘Allah and His messenger are more aware.’
The Prophet (S) said, ‘Allah is my guardian and I am the guardian of the believers, and I am worthier of them than themselves. Whoever I am his guardian, Ali is to be his guardian.’
He repeated that three or four times and then said, ‘O Allah, favor whoever follows him, be an enemy to whoever opposes him, love whoever loves him, hate whoever hates him, support whoever supports him, let down whoever betrays him, and turn the truth with him wherever he turns. Let the present inform the absent…’
After the Prophet’s speech, Muslims came to Imam Ali (a.s.) congratulating and paying homage to him. The Prophet (S) ordered his wives to pay homage to Imam Ali (a.s.) and they did. Umar shook hand with the imam and said to him, ‘Congratulations O son of Abi Talib! You have become my guardian and the guardian of every believing man and believing woman.’7
On that eternal day, this verse was revealed to the Prophet (S),
The religion was perfected and the great favor was completed by announcing the guardianship of Imam Ali (a.s.), the pioneer of the truth and justice in Islam. The Prophet (S) built the cornerstone of keeping his nation safe from deviation and declination by appointing Imam Ali (a.s.) a leader, educator and instructor for the nation. The allegiance to Imam Ali (a.s.) on the Day of al-Ghadeer was a part from the mission of Islam and a pillar from the pillars of the religion that whoever denies it denies Islam as Allama al-Ala’ili says.
- 1. Al-Khasa’is al-Kubra, vol. 2 p.386.
- 2. Manaqib Aal Abi Talib, vol. 3 p.136, Rawdhat al-Wa’idhin, p. 150.
- 3. The Life of Imam al-Husayn bin Ali, vol. 1 p. 194.
- 4. Manaqib ibn Shahrashub, vol. 1 p.167.
- 5. Tareekh al-Ya’qubi, vol. 2 p. 110-112.
- 6. Al-Wahidi in Asbab an-Nuzool p.135, ar-Razi in his Tafsir vol. 12 p.299, and others mentioned that this verse concerned the Day of al-Ghadeer.
- 7. Musnad of Ahmed bin Hanbal, vol. 4 p.281.
- 8. Al-Khateeb al-Baghdadi in his Tareekh vol. 8 p. 290, as-Sayooti in ad-Durr al-Manthur vol. 2 p. 259, at-Tabarsi in Majma’ al-Bayan vol. 3 p. 246, and others mentioned that this verse was revealed concerning the Day of al-Ghadeer.