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Ghadeer Khum: A Celebration of Faith and Freedom

By Buhari Bello Jega
Had the people of the town believed and feared Allah, we should indeed have opened out of them (all kind of) blessing from heaven and earth; but, they, rejected (the truth) and we brought them to book for their misdeed…… Fatimah Al-Zahra (A.S)

 It is yet another season of celebration and thanksgiving to Allah (SWT) for the bless day of Ghadeer Khum. It is indeed a day of great manifestation of Allah’s fulfilment of promise, favour and protection to Islam and Muslims against the antics and conspiracy of the enemies and hypocrites of the Holy Prophet (S) and members of His households (a). On this day, the guardianship and successionship of the Holy Prophet (S) Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib was made public. This was an unprecedented historical chain of events that later came to shaped,  strengthen and exposes committed and sincere Muslims and followers of the true Message of the Holy Prophet (S) on one hand and the hypocrites and enemies of Islam on the other hand. Ghadeer Khum is a day, when Allah (SWT) through His Messenger (S), granted Muslim and Islam the protective shield against the enemies of Islam with the divine appointment of Imam Ali (a) as the successor, imam and guardian of the Muslim community after the Holy Prophet (S). This is important day, sealed the hope and plans of enemies and hypocrites of Islam and Muslims forever.

Leadership and guardianship in the life of every community is critical, especially if such community is less than 23 years old and is Islamic in nature and in character. This is because; leadership and guardianship shape, direct and integrate people and community vertically and horizontally to attains moral, spiritual and economic prosperity in any given situation. For any community or people who are yearning and aspiring for greatness and spirituality, such society, must be guided by leader(s) who are not only morally sound, but, spiritually connected to the Almighty Allah. No community or people survive without leadership structures or some semblance of system of guardianship. The important of leadership and guardianship cannot be underestimated, because, leader(s) guide and protect community or people from oppression, depression, deprivation, injustice and direction to the right path of present and future prosperity.  

Leadership in Islam is often associated with Spirituality and moral excellence of individuals. No doubt strong spirituality, knowledge, foresight, pity and morality are often the qualities of people entrusted with leadership position. Above all, most often leadership is divinely selected by the Knower of all possibilities. Sheikh Usman bin Foduye while admonishing followers, to be wary of this fact when choosing leaders among them, he attributed the fact that, “…A person selected as Imam (Leader) is meant to be best among the believers and the most virtuous. This means that he should be knowledgeable and wise, moderate and abstemious. He is entrusted with authority because of his superior in knowledge and insight and because he is able to reason in such a way that he can relate actions to opinions and beliefs and both to the values of those on whom he exercises authority of those condition are satisfies, obedience to him would seen to be justified”. These are indeed very important characteristics, because, leadership is everything in the life of every community. Therefore, it will amount to suicide and great disservice to the community of Muslims and Islam as a religion, for the Holy Prophet (S) to have departed this world, without having a successor(s) who will continue to guide, explain, expound, and protect the fragile community of faithful and Islam from the enemies and hypocrites during his time and in future.

The reality whether people agreed or not, is that, the Holy Prophet (S) in obedience to the commandment of Allah (SWT) proclaimed the successionship and leadership of Ali Ibn Abu Talib to all Muslims during the farewell pilgrimage at a place called Ghadeer Khum. The last pilgrimage of the Holy Prophet (S) was basically about two issues: To teach the people about Hajj rituals and the proclamation of Imamate or the successionship of Imam Ali (as) which run through his 11 guided children and grandchildren of the Holy Prophet (S). The issue of successionship and imamate is not new to anybody except ignorant people, because the Holy Prophet (S) had informed Muslims to hold unto two things as their sources of guardianship and salvation in this worthless world and the precious life of the Hereafter. In the famous tradition, the Holy Prophet (S) was reported to have said that; “Verily, i am leaving among you two precious things (Thaqalayn): the Book of Allah and my progeny (itrati), the members of my Household (Ahl al-Bayt). If you hold fast to them, you shall never go astray. These two will never separate from each other until they meet me at the pond (of Kawthar)” (source: Muslim, As Sahih English Translation, book 31, hadith 5920-3).  So, is not something new except for someone who is hearing it’s for the first time.

When reading this verse in the Holy Quran where Allah is saying “O Apostle! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people”, have we ever stop to wonder and ask ourselves, what is that issue that is so precious and serious in the life of this religion, that Allah (SWT) will speak to His most Beloved servant and Prophet (S) in such harsh tune? What is that message that is so special and critical that Allah commanded the Holy Prophet (S) to deliver to the people that, failure to do so is like the Beloved of Allah the Holy Prophet (S) may have not delivered the message of Allah (i.e Prophethood) to the people? Secondly, why is Allah assuring the Holy Prophet (S) of protection from the people? For me these are germane questions that critical Muslims should asked themselves and research upon, in our attempt to understand and appreciate this great religion of us.

Indeed the challenge that necessitated Allah’s warning to His greatest servant (s) was the proclamation of the successionship of Imam Ali ibn Abu Talib (a) as his successor and leader of Muslim community.  No doubt when this verse was revealed, the Prophet (S) formally ordered Bilal to announce to the departing pilgrims to wait at Ghadir Khum. Ghadir Khum is a place situated next to Al-Johfa. It is the point where road to Al-Madina, Egypt, Iraq, Syria and Najd meet. Pursuant to a divine command, the place was selected owing to the availability of water and some trees. This was a point where all pilgrims assembled to receives the great message from the Holy Prophet (S). Secondly, they were some companions who have expressed their displeasure and opposition to the leadership of Ali Ibn Abu Talib (a). They swore to challenge such even if it meant killing the Holy Prophet (S); that is why Allah assured the Holy Prophet (S) of protection from such people.

Inherently, it was at this point (Ghadeer Khum) the Prophet (S) addressed the companions and pilgrims reaffirming and praising Allah, the Exalted, His divine attributes, Competence and Mercy. After a long speech, then, the Prophet (S) move to exalting the attributes and imamate of his households starting from Ali Ibn Abu Talib (a). The Prophet (S) finally raised the hand of Imam Ali (a) and declared that:  “Do I not have more authority over you than you yourselves have” all said: “yes, you have” then he said “He whoever i was his master, Ali should be his master. O Allah! Accede to whomever accedes to him, and opposes whomever opposes him and give victory to whomever supports him, and disappoint whomever disappoint him. In commenting on this narration, Shaheed Murtaza Mutahheri said “The Holy Prophet wanted to affirm that Ali was a superior to other as he himself was”.   

Imam Ali (as) the leader of the faithful was chosen as the successor of the Holy Prophet (saw) on this day to expounding and guards the religion and the people against division, deviation, sins and adulteration of Islamic ethos as thought and practice by the Holy Prophet (s). With the declaration of the leadership and successionship of Imam Ali (AS) by the Holy Prophet (saw); Allah in His infinity Mercy revealed this wonderful verse that finally sealed Islam, as the only acceptable religion on the side of Allah; “Today, the unbelievers have lost hope of ever harming your religion; so fear them not and have fear of me! This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favours to you, and have chosen Islam as your religion”. This verse signifies the manifestation and fulfilments of Allah’s mercy and promise to protect His religion from been harm by the unbelievers and the hypocrites who clothed themselves as the followers of the Holy Prophet. These men and women not only congratulated Imam Ali (AS) for been chosen by Allah as the successor of the noble Prophet (saw), but, sworn oath of allegiance to him before Allah, His Holy Prophet (s) and thousands of companions. Only for these men and women to break, disobeyed and dislodged the family of the Holy Prophet (S) from their divine position. Some even fought and killed them, unjustly. The Confirmation of the guardianship and leadership of Imam Ali (AS) over the Muslim community clearly defined the perfection and the completion of Allah’s favours to the world so that he and members of his households can led, guide, expounds, and extend Allah’s religion as revealed and practice by the holy Prophet (saw) to the generality of humanity. This is the manifestation of solidification of faith and freedom to all Muslims as long as they hold unto this promise.

In retrospect, can we link the contemporary reality that is facing the Muslims today and ghadeer khum ceremony? The answer is yes of course, but, in two different directions; one positive and the other negative. First of all, Allah in His infinity mercy and protective shield, acknowledged and give glad tidings to His Prophet (S) and believers, that, “today, the unbelievers have lost hope of ever harming your religion; so fear them not and have fear of me! This day I have perfected your religion for you and completed my favours to you, and have chosen Islam as your religion”. Meaning with the succerssorship of Imam Ali (a), the unbelievers have lost hope of hurting this great religion of Islam; the religion is now complete, because, the transition and transfer of divine knowledge and attributes have been completed. Imam Ali (a), divine  emergence as the Prophet (S) successor and Imam of the community that will guide, explain, expounds, entrenches, consolidates,  and protect the community and Islam from sins, injustice, disbelief, infiltration, hypocrites and destruction has finally nailed the coffins of disbelieve and hypocrites forever. Such was the manifestation of Allah’s promise, faith and freedom to His greatest servant the Holy Prophet (S) from this time till the Day of Judgment insha Allah.

Secondly, for those that disobeyed the commandment of Allah and Holy Prophet (S), by denying the smooth transition and imamate of Imam Ali (S) they not only created harm to themselves by destroying Islamic unity, brotherhood and solidarity as well as true spirituality of Islam, but, today such disobedience has created two community of Muslims faithful: One holding and fighting for the survival of Islam against global hegemonic builders under dynamics Islamic scholars and leaders; and the second group holding unto total confusion without leadership, guardianship or direction in a world that is sharply divided and twisted along various centrifugal forces of conspiracy and confusion. Unfortunately, the world is awash with the atrocities and confusion among people and Muslims who denied the leadership and guardianship of Imam Ali (as) and members of his households (as). We could see the effect of lack of leadership and guardianship among a generation of Muslims, which gave rise to infiltrations, conspiracy and building up of ideologies and confusions in the name of Islam. While the followers of the Households of the Prophet (S) through this historic day of Ghadeer Khum, are not only the torchbearers of Islam, but, are protecting and safeguarding Islam and humanity from the agonies of confusion, disbeliefs and conspiracy by the internal and external enemies of Islam. Islam is alive today, because, the followers of Imam Ali (as) have remained committed and sincere to the true teachings of Islam as revealed, thought and practice by the Seal of All creations, Al-Mustapha Prophet Muhmmad (S).   

To me, this is the manifestation of the promise of Allah to protect his religion and the glad tidings to the Prophet (S) that, with the successionship of Imama Ali (a) and eleven guided Imams, the enemies have lost hope and will continue to suffer humiliation and failure against the religion of Islam. Yes they were perturbed with ground breaking Islamic revolution at the heart of strategic Persian Gulf (Islamic Republic of Iran) in 1979; yes they were not only afraid of the rise of Islam as inspire by the teaching and guardianship of Imam Ruhallah Khomeini, but, the spread of spirit of Khomeinism across the globe as an Islamic ideology and new thinking; yes indeed, they are afraid of Hezbollah resistance movement; yes indeed they are afraid of rising Islamic consciousness in Africa under the leadership of Maulana Sayyed Ibraheem Yaqboob Alzakzaky. Yes indeed, the true religion of Allah as explained and practiced by the Holy Prophet (S) is alive and resisting all manipulation, conspiracy and adulteration, by the celebrants and lovers of Khadeer Khum. These are all manifestations and fulfilment of Allah’s promises to His greatest servant Al Mustapha Muhammad (SAW). No doubt for us in this beautiful continent of lost opportunities –Africa, we are equally grateful to Allah, for choosing one of us, among the flag bearers of Imam Mahdi (A); Sayyeed Ibraheem Yaqub Alzakzaky (H). No doubt the Islamic Movement in Nigeria is preparing the strongest spiritually guided followers of the last Imam, which is equally the benefit of this great day Ghadeer Khum and the manifestation of fulfilment of Allah’s promise.

Unfortunate, the lost sheep of Islam and Middle East (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and her co travellers) are dancing naked at the village square with the enemies of Islam and Muslims. Today, if we can reflect and allow our head to do the thinking, we can see the practical reality, where Islam lies and where cowardice lies. For the adherence and followers of pledge of allegiance to Imam Ali (a) and his children at Ghadeer Khum, they were the custodian of pragmatism, courage, determination, spirituality, morality, knowledge and clear understanding of our contemporary problems and proffering solutions to the contemporary global challenges.  For me, these are the manifestations of faith, freedom and Allah’s promise to His Prophet (S) at Ghadeer khum. A promised kept and fulfils, as the enemies have continue to scheme, the children and followers of Imam Ali (a), have continue to guide and expound the religion against all odds to the chagrins of these enemies forces. The enemies are not only frustrated, but, their scheming and conspiracy have led to their demise, frustration and today they are in a bad shape. Alhamidilillah for the manifestation and fulfilment of Allah’s promised to His greatest servant (S). We are equally grateful to Allah for making us, part of holders of this great promised and followers of His Eminence Imam Ali (a) and members of his households (as).

The reality is that, although they denied Imam Ali (S) the leadership of the community, but, they couldn’t deny him the Imamate of the community. Because, Imamate is divine knowledge; divine spirituality; divine courage; divine justice; divine sacrifice; divine selflessness to Allah, His messenger (S) and the community. These were the beautiful attributes Imam Ali (a) exemplifies throughout those moments of trials and tribulations. He made the supreme sacrifice to maintain the unity of the Muslims against the wishes of the hypocrites; because, everyone, who had the opportunity of reading or listening to the history Islam, knew Imam Ali (A) was a courageous warrior, the lion of Allah and commander of great battles like Badr, Uhud, Khandaq, Thaat As-Salasil, Hunayn, Tabouk etc. One will not be wrong to say; it was the mercy of Allah through His Prophet (S) that the great sword of Imam Ali (a), was used to safeguard and established this great religion. Equally, it is the sacrifice, patience, human justice, steadfastness, courage, wisdom, knowledge and spirituality of Imam Ali (A) that the truth religion as thought and practice by the Holy Prophet (S) was entrenched and consolidated today. His silent and patience when his rights were trampled upon, was the greatest sacrifice he made to safeguard the unity and the religion of the Holy Prophet (S). Such was the great attributes of Imam Ali (a) in shaping and safeguarding our religion; thereby shaming the enemies and hypocrites who wanted him to waged war to reclaim his mandate; but, they, failed to understand and appreciate the fact that, he might have been deprived of seat of power, but, he still remains the leader of all Believers. That spirituality and knowledge still resides in the households of the Holy Prophet (S) till the day of resurrection insha Allah.    

We are indeed grateful to Allah for His mercy and guardianship in opening up our hearts and reasoning in taking the most difficult step in rediscovery our true religion and holding unto the itrati” of the Holy Prophet (S). We pray to hold unto to them, so, that we may never go astray. The little knowledge and understanding we are trying and struggling to follow through learning, admonishment, prayers and teachings of Sayyeed Ibraheem Zakzaky (H), is not only creating serious internal and external revolution in our souls, but, we have evolve into a community of brothers and sisters with inbuilt spirituality, brotherhood, solidarity with one another, courageous shield, determine and sacrificial lamps against the enemies of Islam around the world. Interestingly, the great sacrifice and victory our leader Sayyed Ibraheem Zakzaky (H) recorded on the July 25th 2014 International Quds Day massacre of 34 members of Islamic Movement in Nigeria including the great sacrifice and donation of three children has watered the tree of Islam in Africa and the world at large for forever. The blood stains of these pious children and followers have finally sealed the faith and freedom of all lovers of Islam and social justice. Indeed, these sacrifices can only be done by leader with clear conscience, spirituality, patience, steadfastness and strong connection with Allah, His Prophet (S) and Members of His Households (a).   

Oh Allah, we hope and pray to give us the heart and spirit to hold onto the households of the Holy Prophet (S) and this promise no matter the difficulties, pains, intimidation, torture, imprisonment and death. Ya Allah accept our souls in safeguarding and promoting the teaching and practices of the message of Your Greatest Servant and members of his household (a).  Let us hold unto these two important weight, until we meets you at the pond (of Kawthar). Oh Allah protects the live of our leader, mentor, guardian, teacher and motivator, who have sacrifice everything in reminding, informing and guarding us to the right path Sayyeed Ibraheem Y. Elzakzaky (H). Indeed, without Ghadeer Khum, no Islam. Ghadeer khum is a celebration of faith and freedom. It is equally, the manifestation of fulfilment of Allah’s promises and Islam as the only acceptable religion from Him, because, the shields that will protect the religion till the day of resurrection was inaugurated on this day.

Once again, i wish to used this medium to congratulate all Muslims for witnessing such a great day in the history of all civilization; when the sunshine of Islamic civilization Imam Ali Ibn Abu Talib (A) and eleven members of his household were chosen by Allah (SWT) conveyed to the Holy Prophet (S) as the leader of the civilised world of Islam. Oh Allah i hope i have conveyed the Message of Your Holy Prophet (S) to the people; as he (S) mandated us to extend the message of what happen at Ghadeer Khum to the rest of uninformed Muslims. I seek refuge and blessing from the leader of the faithfuls Imam Ali (as). To my brothers and sisters in Islam and humanity, i extend this greeting to you “Praise be to Allah, who blessed us to be among those who honoured and are holding to the “Wilayaat” (love, friendship and authority) of Ameer Al Moo-mineen and the Imams, peace be on them all…….. Peace be to Allah, who had perfected His religion and completed His favour with the establishment of Ali ibn Abu Talib’s authority, peace be upon him”.  Happy Ghadeer Khum day celebration of faith and freedom your Eminence Sayyeed Ibraheem Yaquob Zakzaky (H), distinguished brothers and sisters in Islam and humanity.