By: Seyyed Ali Shahbaz
"And amongst them We appointed Imams to guide (the people) by Our command, when they had been patient and had conviction in Our signs.” (Holy Qur’an 32:24)
The Words of God Almighty leave no one in doubt that in Islam the true Leader is Divinely-designated. In other words, he is not elected, selected, or nominated by fallible humans.
Heavenly Scriptures and historical facts are replete with events of the life of the prophets of the past; how God entrusted them the mission to guide human societies, and how He chose for them suitable Vicegerents.
Thus, in view of these undeniable facts, the 18th of Zilhijja is that high water mark in history that drew the permanent line between faith and heresy by deciding once and for all the vital issue of leadership of mankind.
It was as decisive as the Almighty’s commandment at the dawn of human creation to the angels to prostrate to Adam who was to become God’s Vicegerent on earth. The words of the holy Qur’an are crystal clear. The angels obeyed the Divine Command but Lucifer (Iblis) refused and was damned till eternity. Ever since, Satan the outcast has been a role model for all devilish elements among the children of Adam and Eve.
The pagans, the heathens, the polytheists, the heretics, the atheists, and all disbelievers including modern day agnostics who deny their own heavenly-created progenitors on the satanic illusion that mankind evolved itself from apes or worms, have resorted to dissent and discord against the divine right of leadership.
One such devilish design was the scandalous gathering at Saqifa Bani Sa’da in Medina, no sooner had the Almighty’s Last and Greatest Messengers, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA), departed from the mortal world. The illogical assumption was that the Prophet’s political heir should be chosen by the people themselves.
What an erroneous idea! It was an implicit denial of not just the position of the Prophet – who was an Emissary of God the Omnipresent and not someone elected, selected or nominated by the idolatrous Arabs – but also a denial of God’s authority, similar to Lucifer’s refusal to prostrate to Adam.
Saqifa may have created the greatest discord in Islam by deceiving the naïve and the simple-minded, but it was never able to negate from minds the significance of the historic event of Ghadeer. So clear and in broad daylight was that occurrence that all authoritative works of the different denominations of Islam irrespective of their sectarian or jurisprudential beliefs, have recorded it without the least dispute about the central figure of the Day of Ghadeer, although some have tried to misinterpret the meaning of the words.
For the believers, however, Ghadeer is the firm foundation of faith. As the holy Qur’an says in the opening ayahs of Surah Najm, Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) never speaks but it is revelation revealed. Thus whatever the Prophet did was in accordance with God’s commandment as is supported by revelation of ayah 67 of Surah al-Ma’edah which reads:
"O Messenger! Proclaim what has been revealed from your Lord, if you do not do it, then you have not discharged your mission, and Allah will protect you from the (evil of) people.”
Moreover, no previous Prophet ever took the liberty to name his heir without Divine commandment. This would have been blasphemy, since the Prophet is the Emissary of God, which means his successor, whether a Prophet or a Wasi, that is, a Testamentary Legatee, should be appointed by God. That is the reason Prophet Muhammad (SAWA) had earlier spelt out the "Hadith Thaqalayn” saying in explicit words:
"I am leaving behind among you the two priceless things (thaqalyan); the Book of Allah (the Holy Qur’an) and my progeny, the Ahl al-Bayt. Hold fast to them and you will never go astray.”
Hence on revelation of the ayah 67 of Surah al-Ma’edah, the Prophet ordered halt to the pilgrim caravan, and after all 120,000 odd pilgrims had assembled in the valley of Khom by the Spring or Ghadeer near Juhfa, he mounted the makeshift pulpit and after a sermon that made the whole gathering acknowledge that he was superior to all of them, he lifted his dear cousin and son-in-law, to declare those immortal words:
"Man Kunto Mowlahu fa haza Aliyun Mowlahu, which means: For whomever I am the authority, this Ali is his authority.”
The words of the Prophet are clear, and any dissent or dispute regarding their meaning or the position of Imam Ali (AS), is nothing but devilish tendencies. For the successor of the Prophet should also be as pure and pristine as the Prophet, since it is against the principle of Divine Justice to allow persons who had spent the greater part of their life in idol-worship and all other unprincipled ways to be leaders of mankind.
Ghadeer is therefore the greatest ever Eid for the true believers, especially in view of ayah 3 of Surah al-Ma’edah that was revealed after the Prophet’s historic proclamation:
"Today I have perfected your faith for you, completed My favours upon you and chosen Islam as your religion.”