Eid-e-Ghadir is a well-known event that occupies the Islamic Calendar each year on the 18th Zilhijjah of the year, 10 A.H (forenoon of Thursday, 21st March 633 CE). A historical portrait of this event shows that it occurred in a place called Ghadir Khumm. This place today is found in near proximity to al-Johfa and it is where people from surrounding provinces gathered around in the past to exchange greetings between each other prior to returning home. Al-Johfa or the town of Johfa is geographically situated at about 13 miles of distance from Mecca. And at this junction, routes from other countries such as Medina, Egypt and Syria as well as Iraq radiate in several directions.
On the border, there is a pond and in the Arabic language, the word ‘pond’ has a synonym called ‘Ghadir.’ Due to the location factor, the Hadith or tradition terminology as well as historical data refers to this as Khumm. The event of Ghadir Khumm occurred when Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h) completed Hajjatul-Wada (last pilgrimage) and headed towards Ghadir Khumm in Madinah from Makkah with approximately 100, 000 Muslims. And the return journey had increased in numbers by thousands!
Ghadir Khumm’s appreciation is a little on the difficult side because neither its eminence nor its importance can be conceived completely. And each aspect of this event bathes it in eternal fame and glory. On the edge of this inspiring pond or watering place (Ghadir), the history preserved the divine message from God. Therefore, this place adorns a spiritual fragrance that presents a thriving atmosphere of righteousness and piety. At this place, good news was sent down from the Divine that guaranteed Islamic civilization protection from injustice. In addition, the marvelous devotions of the Apostle of God (p.b.u.h) were seen here, as this place is where his long awaited and sincerity-filled desires attained fulfillment.
When the caravan of people reached the border of Ghadir, it came to an abrupt halt. This is because the Archangel Gabriel appeared from the heavens to bring down the word of God to the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h). God ordained, “O Apostle! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you don’t do it, you have not delivered His message (at all); and Allah will protect you from the people” (Qur’an 5:67). Trustee of the God’s words conveyed the divine message and after this, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) diligently executed it with proper accomplishment. There was a terrible rise in temperature in the air and the earth burnt like fire. Some people moved forward while others had been left behind.
The Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) recalled the swift footed people and passed along a message that advised slow moving in order to reach him hastily. The passionate lovers of God’s Apostle began forming groups and then he provided them with instructions to make arrangements for a meeting place in order to carry out the proclamation of the divine wish. By the time the arrangements were completed, it was time for noon prayers and Bilal recited the Adhan in a melodious tone. Once the prayers finished, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) glanced surprisingly at the surging crowd before moving gracefully over to the historic pulpit to deliver his revelation-molded speech to the anxious crowd. As he delivered his sermons, the crowd chorused back responses and in one sermon, the Apostle said, “I am reaching the Fountain of Kawthar before you and you all will follow me. The width of the Fountain of Paradise would be equal to the distance that lies between Sana’a and Basra (the way between Yemen and Syria). What to say of the number of silver bowls and drinking-vessels? They are countless like the stars in the sky. Now it is to be seen that after me with what respect you regard these two most precious things that I shall leave behind”. Hearing this, somebody from the crown asked loudly, “O Apostle of God! What do you mean by these two most precious things?” To this, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) replied, “One is the Book of God. One end of which is in the Hand of God, the Glorious and Majestic and the other is in your hands. Hold it fast, lest you deviate from the right path. And the second valuable thing is `my Descendants’. God, the Knower of the subtleties and the Aware has informed me that both these things will never separate from each other till they reach me at the Fountain of Kawthar. (Their union is eternal). I have also sought the same for them from my God. You should never dare to linger behind or surpass them. If you venture to do so you would be doomed and ruined”.
Following this, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) grabbed Imam Ali’s (a.s) hand and raised it high in the air. The grand crowd was then addressed by the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h), “O Muslims! Let me know, who else has got more power over the believers than they themselves?”
“God and His Prophet know better,” came the reply from the audience. Hearing this, from the heights of the Ghadir pulpit, the Apostle of God and Holy Secrets’ confidant declared, “God is my Master. I am the master of the faithful and I have right over them even more than they themselves possess. Therefore, of whomsoever I am master, Ali is his master too.” Here, the historians provide an indication of God’s Messenger repeating the aforementioned sentence thrice. In continuation with this sermon, the Holy Prophet (p.b.u.h) said, “O My God! Be a Friend of him who is a friend of Ali and treat him like a Foe who opposes Ali. Help them who help Ali and abandon them who go against Ali. And O My Lord! Whichever way Ali turns orient, the Right is in the same direction.” And after this, he further said, “Look here! This is binding upon them who are here that they should convey this message to those who are not present”.
A respectable companion of the Prophet (p.b.u.h) named Zaid bin Arqam has narrated that following the end of Prophet’s discourse, the people began advancing in groups towards the Ghadir pulpit and swore allegiance to Imam Ali (a.s) amidst greetings and words of congratulations. Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman and Talha, and Zubair were the first ones to have clasped the hand of Imam Ali (a.s) while swearing their allegiance. The Muhajirs and Ansars were next followed by the remaining congregation who all swore allegiance while passing their congratulatory words to the Commander of the Faithful. The grand celebration of the Ghadir event underwent continuation for three full days. And up until this day, this event is celebrated as Eid-e-Ghadir among the believers of Almighty God, His Apostle and His vicegerent, Ali (a.s).
On Khumm’s plains nearing the Ghadir border, the Apostle of God following proclamation of Imam Ali’s (a.s) vicegerency as well as lieutenancy called the Imam (a.s) by his side and wound his special turban over the Imam’s (a.s) head. A narration from Kanzul Ummal ascribed to Imam Ali (a.s) shows Prophet’s (p.b.u.h) words said to the Imam (a.s) during the ceremony performance as, “O my beloved cousin Ali! The angels through whom God Almighty helped us in the battles of Badr and Hunain were all wearing turbans. Turban is that sign of distinction which distinguish between paganism and Faith in God, in His Word and in His Apostles.” This means that the Apostle of God himself had always exhibited happiness at the sight of the robe of honor that had been bestowed upon Imam Ali (a.s). In addition, the Apostle was also desirous to witness the Imam’s (a.s) coronation celebrations undergoing commemorations in Islamic Society.
Thus, the event of 18th Zilhaj (10 A.H.) was not an underground top-secret gathering or a hidden endeavor and there is no space for any doubts, suspicions or uncertainty. Attended by thousands, this mammoth congregation had been held by God’s mandate under the direct supervision of His Apostle in the vast space of a desert and during full lightness of the day. Quran and Hadith as well as historical records all show preservations of the main proceedings of this feast.