Rasulullah (SAW) said that Eid-e-Ghadir Khum is ‘Eid-ul lahil akbar’, the greatest Eid of Allah (SWT). In this meditation, we will discuss the importance of Eid-e-Ghadir Khum by examining why it was so important, why it still remains important and relevant to us today and, most importantly, the responsibility that Rasulullah (SAW) gave us all on Eid-e-Ghadir, that we must still act upon today.
Before we begin this meditation, let us examine the background to Eid-e-Ghadir Khum. For many years, the Muslims that were with Rasulullah (SAW) had asked Rasulullah (SAW) to perform hajj. They had seen Rasulullah (SAW) perform salaat, perform sawm and every other amal, but they had not yet seen Muhammad (SAW) perform hajj.
When Rasulullah (SAW) finally announced that he was going to perform hajj, many people attended from many different areas, just to see such a great occurrence, the messenger of Allah (SWT) making pilgrimage to the house of Allah (SWT).
Following this hajj, on their return and in the middle of the dessert, Allah (SWT) revealed this ayah to Rasulullah (SAW) (the 67th ayah of Surah Al-Ma’idah):
‘O Messenger, announce that which has been revealed to you from your Lord and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. And Allah (SWT) will protect you from the people. Indeed, Allah (SWT) does not guide the disbelieving people’.
The importance of this ayat cannot be understated as Allah (SWT) says that what Rasulullah (SAW) is now decreed to do is the most important action he has ever done, greater than the battle of Badr and Uhud and everything else Muhammad (SAW) had put in place. This announcement that Rasulullah (SAW) will now make is the most important he will ever make.
Rasulullah (SAW) then gave the longest khutba that he had ever given. In this khutba, he asked if he had delivered the message of Allah (SWT), if he is not the messenger of Allah (SWT) and said that whoever considers me as their Maula, Ali (AS) is now their Maula.
Rasulullah (SAW) then made the following duas:
Allahuman sur man nasara (Oh Allah (SWT), be in support of anyone who supports Ali (AS).
Wa adi man ada (Oh Allah (SWT), anyone who shows animosity to Ali (AS), you be there enemy).
Wathzur man khazala (Oh Allah (SWT), anyone who wants to put Ali (AS) down, you put them down and not Ali (AS).
Wa adiral haqa ma hu haisu mada (Oh Allah (SWT) make Ali (AS) the centre of the truth, let the truth circle around him where ever he goes – wherever Ali (AS) is, that is where the truth is).
The first question we must ourselves is why was this announcement so important that Allah (SWT) said that if Rasulullah (SAW) had not announced it then he had not conveyed Allah’s (SWT) message?
The answer is very simple. This announcement was about leadership and leadership is very important in Islam. A religion without leadership is like a body without a ruh. How could Rasulullah (SAW) bring such a perfect religion to us without appointing a perfect leader (Imam) to continue to guide this religion?
In the Quran Majid, Allah (SWT) tells us of the importance of leadership. On the day of judgment, Allah (SWT) will call us all in groups according to our Imam. The people of Firaun (LA) will be called with their Imam, Firaun (LA) who will lead them into the fires of Hell. Likewise, each group will be called with their Imam, their leader.
Likewise, we will be called with our Imam, Imam-uz-Zaman (AS) and in sha Allah be led into jannah.
In order for us to have this Imam, this leader to be called with, Rasulullah (SAW) had to decree a successor who would follow him and, through his lineage, the subsequent Imams (AS) would be born, with each leading their followers both in this world and, in sha Allah, into jannah.
We see in this world how dangerous bad leadership can be and the problems that it can cause. Eid-e-Ghadir Khum is important to us as it is the day in which the perfect leader was appointed for us within the perfected religion, who by following truthfully, we will find truth as truth is always with him.
Following the announcement of Rasulullah (SAW), one of the enemies of Ali (AS) came to Rasulullah (SAW) to question him. Al-Noman al-Fiqhi (LA) asked Rasulullah (SAW) if this announcement was from Allah (SWT) or from himself? Al-Noman (LA) then said that you asked us to pray and we prayed. You asked us to give zakaat and we gave zakaat. You asked us to fast and we fasted. You asked us to go to hajj and we went to hajj. Does all of this not make you happy that you now want your cousin Ali (AS) to become our leader?
Al-Noman (LA) then said that if this message (of the Imamate of Amirul Mumineen (AS)) is from you, then let Allah (SWT) send down a rock that kills me. Immediately a rock came from the sky and Al-Noman (LA) was killed.
Allah (SWT) describes this situation in the first two ayahs of Surah al-Ma’arij, where he says ‘A supplicant asked for a punishment bound to happen. To the disbelievers, of it there is no preventer.’
It is important to realise that in both of these ayahs, the 67th ayat of Surah al-Ma’idah and the first two ayats of Surah-al-Ma’arij, Allah (SWT) uses the term khafir regarding those who did not accept this announcement of Rasulullah (SAW) on Ghadir Khum.
When we look at the original meaning of the word khafir, it means a farmer and when we look at the meaning of al-kufr, it means to dig a hole and bury something.
When we were all created, Allah (SWT) placed three walayats in everyone’s heart, the walayat of Allah (SWT), the walayat of Rasulullah (SAW) and the walayat of the Ahlul-Bayt (AS). Therefore, a khafir, one who does al-khufr, is one who has buried these walayats in their heart and hidden it from themselves, so that it is no longer present to themselves.
This is why Eid-e-Ghadir Khum is important to us every year, as it is a time for us to unearth these walayats from within us and to make them stronger and more present. Just as Rasulullah (SAW) told those present at Ghadir Khum to pledge allegiance to Amirul Mumineen (AS), we also pledge allegiance to Imam-uz-Zaman (AS) on Eid-e-Ghadir Khum, so that these walayats that were placed within our hearts become stronger and more predominant.
More importantly,on Eid-e-Ghadir Khum, we reflect upon our allegiance with the Imam (AS) of our time. It is very easy to give ourselves the title of being a mumin, but if our thoughts, our intentions and our actions are not aligned to those of a mumin, then the title we have given ourselves has no value.
Furthermore, we have to understand that this walayat for the Ahlul-Bayt (AS) is crucial for us. In the final ayah of Surat At-Thakathur, Allah (SWT) says ‘Suma latusaluna yawma izin anin Naeem’ (Then you will surely be asked on the day of judgment that each blessing Allah (SWT) has given you).
Imam Jaffar-us-Sadiq (AS) asked Abu Hanifa to give him the tafseer of this ayah. Abu Hanifa said that these blessings are fruits. The Imam (AS) smiled and asked if he thinks Allah (SWT) is going to ask you how many apples you ate? How many bananas etc? The Imam (AS) then went on to give the true tafseer of this ayah and said that on the day of judgment, Allah (SWT) will ask us about four things:
- How did you spend the entire life that Allah (SWT) has given you?
- How did you spend the youth of your life?
- How did you earn and spend the money that you had?
- How did you believe or disbelieve in the walayat of the Ahlul-Bayt (AS)?
The Ahlul-Bayt (AS) are a nehmat, a blessing from Allah (SWT) and without their love, all of our actions have no value. Those who stayed true to the announcement of Rasulullah (SAW) at Ghadir Khum will have their amals accepted and those who did not, will not.
This leads us to the most important lesson that we can take from Eid-e-Ghadir Khum. Rasulullah (SAW) told everyone present the day that he made his announcement to bear witness to it and to tell others about this announcement, about the Imamate of Ali (AS).
As the shia of Ali (AS), it is imperative that we understand that this message applies to us today, as well. We must ensure that we have the intentions, the thoughts and the actions that Amirul Mumineen (AS) has guided us towards. We must represent him through our character, so that those who see us, see in us the teaching of Amirul Mumineen (AS).
Furthermore, let us always remember the eloquence and character of Ali (AS). This eloquence and character is so great that when one reads or hears it, how can anyone have anything but love for Amirul Mumineen (AS) and be drawn towards the wasi of Rasulullah (SAW)?
May Allah (SWT) give us the wisdom to understand the true meaning of Ghadir Khum, to always remain loyal to Amirul Mumineen (AS) and the Ahlul Bayt (AS), to always renew our allegiance so that our loyalty and walayat is always strengthened and to share the eloquence and character of Amirul Mumineen (AS) so that others are drawn towards him and the message of Ghadir Khum is strengthened. Aamin.