Eid represents an anniversary that brings happiness and joy. What brings happiness to the Islamic Ummah? Approaching the Islamic goals. Islam has determined some goals for the Islamic ummah and society like it has done so for Muslim individuals.
January 29, 1998
No doubt, the day of Eid al-Ghadir is an extremely important day. In Islamic narrations, we read that the importance of this day is even more than Eid al-Adha or Eid al-Fitr. Not that importance of these Eids can be undermined in any way; but that, Eid al-Ghadir has a more elevated sense. The importance of this Eid--the most important Eid based on the Shia narrations-- relies on its theme: wilayah. It could be said that the goal of all the efforts made by the prophet Muhammad and other prophets and religious figures was to establish the wilayah [governance] of God.
June 9, 1993
Ghadir was a matter of establishing a criterion although the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) advice was not heeded later on. Until the end of time, Muslims can use this criterion to determine the main path of the Islamic Ummah. Choosing the best time for declaring his successor was not up to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.). Rather, it was decided by Allah the Exalted. "Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord." [The Holy Quran, 5: 67] This is not to say that the Prophet (s.w.a.) did not know about the issue of Imamate and Wilayat before the revelation. He knew about this issue since the time he was appointed a prophet. Moreover, the events that happened during his 23-year prophethood left no doubt about Imamate and Wilayat. But Wilayat had to be publicly declared at the most strategic time, and it was declared after a divine order. "Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do not do it, then you have not delivered His message." [The Holy Quran, 5: 67] That is to say, declaring Wilayat was a divine message that the Prophet (s.w.a.) had to deliver. Later on, when the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) told the pilgrims to gather in Ghadir al-Khumm and declared this divine message, this ayah was revealed to him: "Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you." [The Holy Quran, 5: 3] Islam and divine blessings were complete on Ghadir. "Today the unbelievers have despaired of your religion. Therefore, fear them not, but fear Me." [The Holy Quran, 5: 3] Allah told the Prophet (s.w.a.) that Ghadir was the day when his enemies despair. That is to say, the criterion was determined. From that day on, Muslims could see the criterion and end doubts whenever they opened their eyes to the realities. This shows the importance of Ghadir.
in the Holy Quran, there are ayahs which can only be matched with the issue of Ghadir, not with any other issue.
There is a well-known ayah which says, "This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion, yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favor upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion” [The Holy Quran, 5: 3]. This ayah is in the beginning of Sura al-Maeda and it is not compatible with any issue other than the issue of Ghadir in terms of weight, significance and value.
Only such an issue can match the sentence "This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion.” Those who have questioned the content of these ayahs and those who make certain comments in rejecting this issue – the opponents of Ghadir and those who do not believe in it – have interpreted this ayah in certain ways, but this part of the ayah cannot be interpreted otherwise. Today is a day that the enemies – Kufar(disbeliever) – have become disappointed with your religion. What has been added to the religion that has disappointed the enemy? How significant are the religious rules that have appeared in this ayah and in the beginning of Sura al-Maeda both before and after this part of the ayah?
This part of the ayah does not refer to daily prayers, zakat and jihad, nor does it refer to any peripheral rule: "This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion.” So, there is another issue involved, one that is not related to the religious rules that have appeared in the Sura. What is that issue?
It is the issue of the leadership of the Islamic community. It is the issue of government and imamate in the Islamic community. Of course, it was possible that Muslims would not obey this edict and actually, they did not do so! For several centuries, the Bani Umayyad, the Bani Abbasid and other such groups lived like kings and ruled over the people in the name of imamate, caliphate and the like. However, this does not harm the philosophy of Ghadir.
The event of determining Ghadir is the event of determining a rule and regulation. A certain regulation was introduced in Islam. In the last months of his life, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) issued a regulation. What is that regulation? The regulation of imamate, the regulation of Wilayat. Since long before the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), human societies had a government. Humanity has experienced all sorts of governments, but Islam does not believe in such systems, in such kinds of power and in such governments. It believes in Imamate. This is the regulation of Islam and Ghadir announced this regulation.
And it is clear who it refers to. The Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) is a person whose personality and status as God’s representative of Quranic concepts and teachings cannot be blemished by anyone living either in those times or afterwards. Well, they used to curse him, but they even curse God and the Holy Prophet- I seek Allah’s protection. Cursing someone is not a good reason for rejecting them. When everyone thinks, when everyone abandons their biased feelings, they can not cause the least amount of damage to this enlightened and sacred body. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) chose that person as the embodiment of imamate. This became a regulation.
Until the end of the world, whenever Muslims want to be guided by God so that they implement Islam and achieve the Islamic community, this will be the rule and the regulation: they should revive imamate. Of course, they can never get close to any of the criteria and standards that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) announced. They cannot even get close to lesser degrees. If we want to compare our greatest scholarly, spiritual, mystic and philosophical personalities with the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.), they are like a faint ray of light that one sees at the bottom of a well. Now, compare this with the sun. Of course, they are the same and they have the same radius, but what is the distance? How different are they from each other?
Such distances exist, but this is the regulation: the regulation of imamate. The regulation of government, power and ruling in the Islamic community was determined by Ghadir. This is the significance of Ghadir. The significance of Ghadir is not confined to the appointment of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.). Of course, this appointment is important, but what is more important is that the rule and the regulation were specified. It became clear that in the Islamic community, the monarchic government is meaningless. It became clear that individual and aristocratic government, the government of gold and power, the government of showing arrogance to people, the government of bullying, greed and accumulation of wealth for oneself and the government of lustfulness are meaningless. It became clear that Islam is like this. This regulation was issued in Ghadir.
When this regulation was issued, then "This day have those who reject faith given up all hope of your religion.” When it was issued, the enemies lost all hope of changing the path of religion. This is because the path of religion changes only when the main point and the main nucleus change. If the nucleus of power, management and leadership changes, then everything will change. Of course in reality, certain changes take place. Certain individuals from Bani Umayyad and Bani Abbasid seized power in the name of Islam, so did Hajjaj ibn Yusuf, but they could not disrupt the regulation.
Today, if some people in the world of Islam – those who are familiar with Islamic teachings – refer to the Holy Quran and if they look at the regulations that exist in the Holy Quran about worshipping the Truth, about one’s lifestyle, and the orientation that those nations who worship the Truth adopt, it will not be possible in any way that they reach a conclusion other than the imamate of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) and what follows this imamate.
This is our claim and we can prove it completely. If anyone in the world of Islam – including intellectuals, thinkers, philosophers and those who have had other beliefs since the first day – chooses the Quran, Quranic values and Quranic regulations for the life of human societies as the main standard, they will not reach any conclusion except that a person like Ali ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) should rule over Islamic societies. This is the path. The path is the path of imamate. This was related to Ghadir.
Well, when Ghadir is of such significance, then it becomes clear what the other holy ayah means: "Oh Messenger, deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message” [The Holy Quran, 5: 67]. It says that if you do not announce this edict to the people, you have not fulfilled your mission. It was 23 years then that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) had been working hard. All those efforts in Makka, in Madina, those wars, those self-sacrificing acts, that strictness about himself and the great guidance that that great personality provided for humans were accomplished during those 23 years. So, what was that event and duty without which, all those efforts would not exist: "And if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message.”
This edict could not be related to some peripheral religious rules, rather it was something beyond that. What was it? It was imamate. Who is the first Imam? The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) himself. Imam Sadiq (greetings be upon him) said in Mina, "God’s Messenger was the first Imam. Ali ibn Abi Talib was Imam after him” [Kafi, Vol. 4, page 466]. And they were followed by the other Imams (a.s.). After putting Abraham the Messenger to all those tests, and after he passed through all those difficult stages – he was thrown in the fire in his youth and after that he went to Babylon and other areas and went through a lot of trouble – Allah the Exalted said to him when he had become old, "I will make you an Imam to the nations” [The Holy Quran, 2: 124].
He said to him that He wants to make him an Imam. This is what imamate means. This is an ideology, an Islamic ideology which is based on firm principles and irrefutable arguments. We invite the entire world of Islam and all thinkers to this: the unity that the world of Islam needs today can be easily understood by contemplating on Quranic ayahs and truths provided that thinkers and experts pursue such issues.
When the matter of Wilayah (guardianship) and governance is resolved for a nation—the way it happened on the day of Al-Ghadir—that day is indeed an Eid, a day of celebration, for that nation. For, the most important and crucial matter for every nation is the issue of governance, Wilayah, management, and the ruling of the society; hence, this event is the most determining matter of a nation. Every nation has resolved the issue [of establishing a guardianship and a governing body] in a way[...]
Wilayah, which represents governance and leadership in the Islamic society, is naturally different from governance in a non-Muslim community. In Islam, the leadership of the society belongs to God the Almighty. No person has the right to take on the management of other people's affairs. This right is specific to God—who is the Creator, the Origin; He knows what is expedient for the people, He is the Master of people's affairs, indeed He is the Master of the affairs of even the tiniest entities of existence.
The mere fact that such a way of thinking prevails in the Islamic society is an extraordinary phenomenon. No power, no cutting sword, no amount of wealth, no power of science and prudence entitles anyone to decide on the fates of other humans. These are values. No one is granted the right of leadership of the people. This is a right exclusively owned by God.
God, the Elevated, practices this leadership through specific mediums. That is, even when the governor or the ruler of the Muslims is given the authority to manage the affairs of the people, either by appointment--like what is the case for Imam Ali (a.s) and prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) in our belief-- or through criteria and principles [of slection], this wilayah is still a wilayah of God. This right to rule is God's right. This is the power and ruling of God over the people. That person—be it anyone-- without divine power and wilayah, has no right over other people. This is an important and determining factor in the fate of the Islamic society.
The person who is given the responsibility of wilayah by God, must realize, show or own some degrees of the [features of] divine wilayah. The features of the divine wilayah include power, wisdom, justice, mercy, etc. The person or entity that takes on the role of ruling over the people, must be a manifestation of God's power, justice, mercy and wisdom. This characteristic distinguishes the Islamic society from all other societies that are governed with other methods. Ignorance, self-satisfying desires, personal taste based on one's own profits and interest have no right to influence the people's life and the management of their affairs. Thus, in the Islamic system and society, justice, knowledge, religion and mercy must rule. Self-centeredness or personal desires --of anyone or in anyone's words or behavior-- must not rule.
The secret to the purity of Imam, in the ultimate, original form of it in Islam, is that no possibility of making mistakes or errors exists. Even when purity is not there, religion, piety (taqwa) and justice must rule over the people, which is regarded as an example of divine wilayah.
Hence the day of Ghadir is the day of wilayah, a determinant and important day, in the fate of the Islamic society.
July 11, 1990
Appointment of Imam Ali (a.s) is based on particular criteria and it entails certain points. Though wilayah is a political concept, all the meaning of wilayah is not restricted to politics. This wilayah is a beam of wilayah of God's Holy Essence. This wilayah emerges from the divine wilayah that exists within Imam Ali (a.s.), as it was present in prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.). This wilayah is an example of that principle and a fruit of that root. As a result, it is referred to as wilayat. Wilayah indeed means juncture, attachment and connection. The person who has this position, contrary to other rulers of the world, is not merely a governor, but a wali. He is close to the people, connected to them, relied upon by people's hearts and souls. This exists in Imam Ali (a.s.) and other Imams (a.s.). After the time of the Imam (a.s.), if some weak beams of this denotation can be found in someone, wilayah is formed. This is the true sense of it. In describing Imam Ali (a.s.), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) says: "He is the justest person among the people." Both his personal and spiritual justice and hid social and behavioral justice are meant. It might be easy to talk about those features, but by how it is realized in actions, one can achieve to the greatness of this denotation and the individuals who represented it.
Justice, in its true sense, exists in Imam Ali (a.s.), his behavior, his piety, and his attention. Justice also appears in his outward behavior. Today, after many centuries have passed, if we want to define justice, and bring an example of it, we cannot find a better example than Imam Ali (a.s.).
So Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) through God's order and divine appointment, introduced him to the people and appointed him at the position of wilayah. This is an Islamic truth. This is so different from the belief that any oppressor, by any forceful method, who could get to power, must be followed! How would that be Islam?!
As has been specified in the history of Islam, the issue of Imamate and Wilayat is a divine issue. It was not the case that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) appointed the Commander of the Faithful as his successor according to his personal assessment of the situation. His decision was inspired by God. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) delivered the message of Islam to different Arab tribes from the beginning of his prophethood. He went to different tribes during the early stages of his prophethood. Once he visited the head of a tribe who told him that his tribe was prepared to convert to Islam on condition that the head of his tribe take on the responsibility after the Prophet (s.w.a.). He said that his tribe would agree to convert to Islam providing that the Prophet (s.w.a.) let the head of his tribe be his successor. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) rejected his offer and said, "This is a divine issue." The Prophet (s.w.a.) said appointing a successor was not his decision. As a result, the tribe did not accept the Prophet's invitation to Islam. This event is indisputable in the history of Islam. Our Sunni brothers have also narrated this event. Shia and Sunni have not presented different accounts of the event. Therefore, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) appointed Imam Ali (a.s.) as his successor on the basis of a divine revelation. Appointing a successor was a decision that was made by God.
But if it was up to the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.), who would he appoint as his successor? Logically, his successor had to be the embodiment of all the essential qualities specified in Islam. Muslims living in different parts of the world can measure the qualifications of the Commander of the Faithful against other companions of the Prophet (s.w.a.). Although several traditions have been narrated regarding the virtues of some of the Prophet's companions, Muslims can measure Imam Ali's (a.s.) qualifications against those specified in the Quran and in reliable Islamic narrations. Then they will see who was more qualified to be the successor of the Prophet (s.w.a.). Knowledge is one of the criteria. Regarding his knowledge, both Shia and Sunni narrations confirm that the Holy Prophet said, "I am the city of knowledge, and Ali is the gate to it." This is the best testimony to Imam Ali's knowledge. Regarding his jihad, Allah the Exalted said, "And there is the type of man who gives his life to earn the pleasure of Allah." [The Holy Quran, 2: 207] This Quranic verse describes the selflessness of the Commander of the Faithful. There are no other such revelations about other people in the Quran. Regarding his charitable activities, there is the ayah, "And they feed, for the love of Allah, the indigent, the orphan, and the captive." [The Holy Quran, 76: 8] This ayah is about the Commander of the Faithful and his family. "Your (real) friends are (no less than) Allah, His Messenger, and the (fellowship of) believers - those who establish regular prayers and regular charity, and they bow down humbly (in worship)." [The Holy Quran, 5: 55] Everyone says that this ayah is about Imam Ali (a.s.). He had each and every one of the qualifications specified in Islam - including knowledge, piety, charitable activities, selfless efforts, and jihad. Who would deny the fact that Imam Ali (a.s.) had these qualifications?
Though heartfelt relation of the Shi’as with Ghadir is a strong and prominent relation in the Muslim world, the truth is Ghadir in its sense and meaning is not only for Shi’as. It belongs to all Muslims. Because the event of Ghadir rises from the spirit and true meaning of Islam. The fact that God the Almighty tells prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) --despite all his efforts-- 70 days before his death to, "Deliver to the people what I ordered you; otherwise, your prophethood is not complete" reveals that the true spirit and meaning of Islam exists in the event of Ghadir[...]
So, Ghadir with such an elevated meaning belongs to all the Muslims.; because it represents the rule of justice, the rule of virtues, the Wilayah of God. If we aspire to be true followers of Imam Ali (a.s.), we should make ourselves and our lives closer to justice. The biggest work is to spread justice as much as possible. For, the scope of justice is unlimited. The more we manage to establish justice in the society, the more we will look like Imam Ali (a.s.) and rely on his wilayah.
Today the world population are thirsty for justice. This message will also reach the world population. Despite all the advances in science, all the research on life and existence, all the amazing inventions and discoveries in the area of ethics, the major powers boast about their domineering, invading, oppressive actions and their ignorance of the vote of the people. Today, the impudence of these powers has increased so much that they even confess, saying public opinion could not hinder their attack to Iraq; this is an absolutely insolent move. Those who do not consider ethics, justice, and rights of others in their actions, act like animals. Human spirit respects these values; human life depends on these values. The globe, heavens and earth depend on justice. "The heavens and earth were established by justice." Then, justice is ignored in this manner.
The issue of Ghadir is a very important issue in the history of Islam. First, the essence of this astonishing and important event and this holy statement - "Whomsoever's Moula [leader] I am, Ali is also his Moula" - is not something that has been narrated by Shia only. This event is among clear and absolute truths. Those who wanted to find faults with this event did not cast doubts on the origin of this statement. Rather, they resorted to ta'weel and interpretation of this sentence.
The issue of Ghadir is a clear historical and Islamic issue. The doubts and questions - about the meaning of this sentence - that have come to the minds of some intellectual and philosophical newcomers of today are the same doubts and questions that have been raised since a thousand years ago. And these questions have been answered by great ulama. Therefore, there is not any room for raising doubts about the essence of this issue, this event and what the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) said.
On that day, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) asked the people, "Am I not closer to you than your own selves?" This sentence was a reference to a Quranic ayah which said, "The Prophet is closer to the believers than their own selves" [The Holy Quran, 33: 6]. Then, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) said, "Whomsoever's Moula I am, Ali is also his Moula". So, there is not any room for doubt about the essence of this issue.
What should be said about the content of this historical, holy and meaningful sentence - apart from the appointment of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as the caliph and Imam after the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) which is the common meaning of this sentence - is that there is another important issue which should not be ignored. This issue is the attention of Islam to the issue of government and politics and the significance of this issue from the viewpoint of Islam.
The answer to those people who have tried to throw Islam out of the arena of social and political issues, to confine it to personal and individual affairs and to adopt a secular outlook towards Islam - the hands of the enemies and their propaganda efforts have been promoting this outlook among Muslims for many years - is the issue of Ghadir. At the command of Allah the Exalted, the Holy Prophet (God's greetings be upon him and his household) addressed an important and fundamental issue in that sensitive condition and during the last months of his life. This important issue was attending to the issue of government after the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) time.
Here, the appointment of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was not confined to spiritual aspects. Rather, it can be said that spiritual aspects are not things that someone can be appointed and elected for. Those issues for which someone can be appointed are government, politics and the management of the country and the Islamic society. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) recommended this to the people. This is an important point on the issue of Ghadir and it is a rejoinder to all those people who think and promote the idea that Islam should be kept away from political issues, issues related to the government and the like.
Therefore, these two truths - that is to say, the truth about the appointment of the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as the Imam after the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) and the truth about attending to the issue of government, politics, Imamate and managing the Islamic Ummah after the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) - and these two very important and sensitive issues exist in the event of Ghadir. They are among teachings that have been guaranteed by Ghadir and they are a great lesson for all Muslims, whether for their present time or for their future.
Today, what we should pay attention to is that the issue of Ghadir is an ideological issue. Shia and the followers of the school of the Holy Prophet's (s.w.a.) household and the school of imamate are committed to the issue of Ghadir. Without a doubt, this is the base of Shia philosophy and there is no room for any discussion on this issue. Those who doubt this and those who have a question in this regard can take part in scholarly and expert meetings and discuss it.
Shia's logic is strong. Its reasoning is decisive and impeccable. However, this should not influence the public lives of Muslims, their cooperation with and brotherhood towards one another. The issue of differences between Muslim denominations - whether Shia and Sunni denominations or the different denominations that exist inside these two major denominations - has been one of the targets of the greed of the enemies of Islam, not just the enemies of Shia Islam.
For many years, there has been an effort to create discord between Muslims. This is because the existence of discord between Muslims will make them spend their efforts, energy and motivation on domestic fights. This makes them ignore foreign affairs and their great enemies. This has been the major policy of colonialism for many years and after the victory of the Islamic Revolution and the formation of the Islamic Republic. Because they witnessed the development of the Islamic Republic's thoughts in the world of Islam, they placed more emphasis on and showed more persistence in creating discord. They invested in doing this in order to separate the world of Islam from the Islamic Republic.
The Islamic Republic, our great Revolution and our great Imam (r.a.) managed to attract the thoughts of the world of Islam and the hearts of Muslims. They managed to channel their motivations and their moves. This frightened the enemy. This frightened colonialism, arrogance and Zionism - particularly American politicians. As a result of this, they resorted to their old weapon which is the weapon of creating discord.
Since many years ago until today, they have been fueling the fire of discord between Shia and Sunni so that they can divert the attention of the two sides from the main enemy - who is the enemy of Islam, not the enemy of Shia or Sunni in particular - and so that they can busy them with each other. This is the policy of colonialism. And the experts on this policy are the political and security hands of the vile English government which has been active in this area since long ago. They have made many efforts in this area and they know how to create discord between Muslim denominations. They have experience in the ways for doing this. Therefore, they know how to do it and they are extremely active in this arena.
I call all Muslims throughout the world to reflect on these realities. We do not at all insist that in a unified Islamic Ummah certain Islamic denominations should accept the beliefs of other Islamic denominations. No, this is not what we mean by unity. Unity means that different Islamic denominations should highlight what they have in common and do not use their differences to cause fratricide, war, and enmity among Muslims. That is what we mean by unity.
But all Muslims should study what has been written by contemporary Shia researchers and great Shia scholars. Their works have been praised by the ulama, intellectuals, and prominent figures of the entire world of Islam. This is a reasonable request. They should not confine themselves to their own sources. They should not deprive themselves of the works produced by the scholars of other Islamic denominations. Allamah Amini's "Al-Ghadir" and the books written by the late Seyyed Sharaf al-Din are a collection of religious realities. Ghadir is an important historical event. In many of his books, Allamah Amini cited tens of Sunni sources that narrate Ghadir the way Shia do. Ghadir has not just been narrated in our books. Some people may disagree about the meaning of mawla, but Ghadir was a historical event that established a criterion [for leadership]. It is obvious to all Muslims and Muslim rulers that the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) was a peak of perfection.