PROPHET MUHAMMED NAMES HIS SUCCESSOR
(۱۰ A.H. /632 A.D.)
Non-Muslims who like to attack Islam accuse the Prophet of Islam of having neglected to name his successor, not knowing that he actually did exactly so in accordance with the Divine order which he had received on Thul-Hijja 17, 10 A.H./March 18, 632 A.D., announcing the name of his successor the very next day, and here are the details:
In 10 A.H./632 A.D., immediately following Hijjatul-Wada’ (the Farewell Pilgrimage, the last pilgrimage performed by Prophet Mohammed), a divine order was revealed to the Prophet to convey the remaining Islamic tenets: the annual pilgrimage to Mecca and the Imamate of the Twelve Infallible Imams. The Prophet called upon the faithful to accompany him on his last pilgrimage; he knew that it would be his last and that he would soon have to leave this temporary abode for the eternal one. More than one hundred and twenty thousand Muslims responded to his call.
The Prophet and his company put on the ihram garbs at the appropriate time at Masjid al-Shajara, a short distance from Mecca, his birthplace, which he entered on Thul-Hijja 5, 10 A.H./March 6, 632 A.D. The Prophet’s call reached Yemen where’ Ali ibn Abu Talib was acting as his representative. Twelve thousand Yemenite pilgrims came out headed
By’ Ali in response to the Prophet’s call to accompany him on his historic Pilgrimage, bringing the total number of those early pilgrims to more than one hundred and thirty-two thousand.
The Islamic pilgrimage starts in the month of Thul-Hijja (month of the pilgrimage), the last Islamic lunar calendar month, and continues for at least ten days. First, each pilgrim dons a special garb called ihram; males’ ihram consists of two white sheets or towels covering the upper and lower parts of the body, whereas females wear a full white cotton outfit, simple and modest. This ihram reminds the pilgrim of his/her death and of the equality of all before God. All pilgrims perform the same rituals; none receives any favourable treatment or distinction on account of his status, power, or wealth. The pilgrimage starts by the tawaf the circling of the Ka’ba seven times. The Ka’bais identified in Islamic literature as an earthly counterpart to the Almighty’s Throne (‘ Arsh) in heaven where the angels circle it in adoration. Likewise, in imitation of those angels, Muslim pilgrims circle the Ka’ba in adoration of their Lord. The tawaf is followed by the sa’i: the pilgrims run back and forth seven times between the -Safa and the Marwa in commemoration of Hagar (Hajar), mother of Ishmael, frantically searching for water for her newborn son Ishmael. After that, the pilgrims drink of the well of Zamzam which had appeared miraculously for Hagar and Ishmael, wash with it or use it to make ablution for prayers at the Ka’ba but never to use it in the toilet; Zamzam is too sacred for such an application. Then the pilgrims leave Mecca for Muzdalifa, ‘Arafa, and finally Mina to perform certain rites which fall outside the scope of this book which is intended to be a historical account of the Prophet of Islam, not one of fiqh. The author is a writer, a researcher, someone who, according to a friend of mine, “insists on finding out who the foundling’s father is!” But he is not a faqih. Now let us go back to our original story after having cast a glimpse at the rite of the pilgrimage in Islam.
It was at’ Arafa that the divine command was received by Prophet Muhammad to appoint ‘Ali as “Ameerul-Mo’mineen,” the Commander of the Faithful, title of the bearer of the highest temporal and religious powers in the Islamic State, one reserved solely for caliphs, those who are supposed to be the most knowledgeable of all people of secular and religious problems and of how to solve them. Muhammad was also ordered to convey to’ Ali the knowledge which the Almighty had bestowed upon him so that it would not be lost once he is dead. In Mina, the Prophet delivered two sermons in preparation of the great announcement to come. In the first, he referred to’ Ali’s caliphate and reminded the audience of one particular hadith which he had conveyed to them on various occasions and which is identified in books of hadith as ” hadith al-thaqa-
Linguistically, the meaning of” Arneerul- Mo’mineen ” is: the one who bestows knowledge on the believers, the one who “meers” (pours knowledge upon) them.
lain,” tradition of the two weighty things (the first being the Holy Quran and the second being the Prophet’s Progeny, the” Ahl al-Bayt” mentioned in verse 33 of Chapter 33 [al-Ahzab] of the Holy Qur’an). He delivered his second sermon at Masjid al-Khaif, also located in Mina in the Meccan valley. In it, the Prophet reminded his audience of’ Ali’s Imamate, emphasizing the necessity of disseminating the contents of his sermon, announcing that those present were duty-bound to convey it to those who were absent. In both of these sermons, the Prophet publicly vested upon’ Ali both powers referred to above.
As soon as the rituals of the pilgrimage were completed, and to be exact on Thul-Hijja 17, 10 A.H./March 18, 632 A.D., the divine order came to the Prophet embedded in verse 67 of Chapter 5 (a1-Ma’ida) quoted in the text of the Prophet’s sermon to follow. The Prophet immediately ordered Bilal ibn Rabah, his caller prayers and one of his faithful sahaba, to convey the following order to the faithful: “Tomorrow, nobody should lag behind but should go to Ghadir Khumm.”
The word “ghadir” means “swamp,” an area where rain water gathers to form a shallow lake. Ghadir Khumm is located near the crossroads of trade and pilgrimage caravans coming from Medina, Egypt, Iraq, Syria, and Nejd on their way to Mecca. The presence of water and a few old trees there served as a resting place for trade caravans for centuries. A mosque, called Masjid al-Ghadir, was later built on the same spot where the great gathering took place to commemorate that momentous event, an event which has unfortunately been forgotten by the vast majority of the Muslims who, by thus forgetting, forgot the most important part of their creed, one without which their faith is not complete at all according to the Prophet’s sermon to follow and according to the text of the Holy Qur’an…
The announcement conveyed by Bilal was transmitted by one person to another till it reached as far as Mecca proper, and people were wondering about what it could be. They had expected the Prophet to linger a little bit longer at Mecca where the pilgrims could meet him and ask him whatever questions they had about this new institution called “hajj” and about other religious matters.
In the morning of the next day, Thul-1:1ijja 18, 10 A.H./March 19, 632A.D., the Prophet and his 120,000 companions went to Ghadir Khumm, and so did’ Ali with his 12,000 Yemenite pilgrims who had to change their route to the north instead of to the south where they would be home-bound. The Prophet also issued an order to four of his closest sahaba, namely Selman-al-Farisi, Abu Tharr al-Ghifari, Miqdad ibn al-Aswad al-Kindi and’ Ammar ibn yasir, with whom the reader is already familiar, to clear the area where the old trees stood, to uproot the thorn bushes, collect the rocks and stones, and to clean the place and sprinkle it with water. Then these men took a piece of cloth which they tied between two of those trees, thus providing some shade. The Prophet told those sahaba that a ceremony that would last for three continuous days would be held in that area. Then the same men piled the rocks on top of each other and made a makeshift pulpit over them of camel litters as high as the Prophet’s own length. They put another piece of cloth on the pulpit which was installed in the middle of the crowd, giving the Prophet an overview of the whole gathering. A man was selected to repeat loudly what the Prophet was saying so that those who stood the furthermost would not miss a word.
The athan for the noon prayers was recited, and the congregational (jama ‘a) prayers were led by the Prophet. After that, the Prophet ascended the pulpit and signaled to’ Ali ibn Abu Talib to stand on his right. ‘ Ali did so, standing one pulpit step below the Prophet. Before saying anything, the Prophet looked right and left to make sure that people were prepared to listen to every word of his. The sun was so hot that people had to pull some of their outer mantles over their heads and under their feet in order to be able to somehow tolerate the heat. Finally the Prophet delivered his historic sermon which he intended, as the reader will see, to be not only for the assembled crowd but for all those who were not present at that gathering and for all their offspring, one generation after another, till the Day of Judgment.
Here is the text of the Prophet’s sermon. We hope it will bring the reader guidance in the life of this world and happiness and success in the life to come through the intercession of Muhammad, the one loved most by Allah, peace and blessings of the Almighty be upon him, his progeny, and true companions who obeyed him during his lifetime and after his demise and who did not forget or pretend to forget his following khutba: