Rebuttal of Excuse 3:
A. This excuse may be common (commonly used frivolous argument) but it is not sensible. Common sense tells you that if any leader identifies a vicegerant and the followers and not entirely sincere then the followers will not abide by this appointment.
B. Both the sects accept that the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had said
“You are to me as Aaron was to Moses except that there shall be no prophet after me.”
Now let us analyse the similarities between Aaron and Ali (a.s.) so that we come to understand how it is possible for the companions of a Prophet to disobey and disregard the clear appointment of the vicegerant. The Holy Qur’an states that when Moses appointed Aaron his successor, he gathered round him the Bani Isra’il (according to some reports, 70,000 people). Moses emphasized that in his absence they should obey Aaron, his Caliph and successor. Moses then went up the mountain to be alone with Allah. Before a month passed, Samiri incited dissension among the Isra’ilis. He fashioned a golden calf and the Bani Isra’il, having left Aaron, gathered round the treacherous Samiri in large numbers. It had been only a short time before this that the same Bani Isra’il had heard Moses say that during his absence Aaron was to be his Caliph and that they should obey him. Nevertheless, 70,000 people followed Samiri. The Prophet Aaron loudly protested this action and forbade them from indulging in such sinful acts, but no one listened to him. The verse of Sura A’raf states that when Moses came back, Aaron said to him:
“Son of my mother! Surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me...”1
The Bani Isra’il themselves heard the clear instruction from Moses, but when Moses went up to the mountain, Samiri seized his opportunity. He fashioned a golden calf and misguided the Bani Isra’il. Similarly, after the death of the Prophet, some people who had heard him say that Ali was his successor, turned against Ali. Imam Ghazali referred to this fact in the beginning of his fourth treatise in Sirru’l-’Alamin. He states that some people returned to the state of their former ignorance. In this respect, there is great similarity between the situation of Aaron and that of Ali. Like many of renowned sunni scholars and historians, Abu Muhammad Abdullah Bin Muslim Bin Qutayba Bahili Dinawari, the well-known Qazi of Dinawar, in his Al-Imama Wa Siyasa, Volume I, page 14, narrates in detail the events of Saqifa. He says that they threatened to burn down Ali’s house and they forcibly took him to the mosque and threatened to kill him unless he swore allegiance to them. Ali went to the sacred grave of the Prophet and repeated the same words of the Holy Qur’an which Aaron spoke to Moses:
“He (Aaron) said: Son of my mother! Surely the people reckoned me weak and had well-nigh slain me...”1
C. Not all those 120,000 Muslims who were at Ghadir stayed at Madineh. Only a few thousand stayed at Madinah. Out of these also many were bedouins or slaves or poor men. Only a maximum of 100 influential people had gathered at Saqifa. So it will be wrong to say that all 120,000 people present at the day of Ghadir conspired and disobeyed the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). Out of these only less than 100 influential people conspired and selected a vicegerent by themselves going against the verdict and order of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) himself. It should not astonish us that around 100 people went against the verdict of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.).
D. Communication system was not strong in those days. By the time everyone came to know of the selection of Abu Bakr against the verdict of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), it was too late. Abu Bakr had already become too powerful in material terms. Even if someone tried to oppose the ruling caliph he was silenced either through temptation or through intimidation. The episode of Malik Ibn Nuwayrah is a glaring example in this.
E. All the companions were not obedient. There are so many instances to prove the disobedience of the companions.
(a.) During the last days of his blessed life, the Messenger of God prepared an army to do battle with the Byzantines and he appointed Usamah b. Zayd to be its commander. This appointment of a young man, despite the availability of older and more experienced men, proved displeasing to some of the Companions, and led to an argument among them. Those who were strongly opposed to Usamah b. Zayd asked the Prophet to dismiss him, but he paid no attention to their request and commanded Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthman to join the ranks of the Muslim army as it departed from Madinah. However, they not only disregarded military discipline but also disobeyed the categorical command of the Prophet. Instead of proceeding to the front with the army, they split off and returned to Madinah - Ibn Hisham, al-Sirah, Vol. IV p. 338; al-Ya’qubi, al-Tarikh, Vol. II, p.92; Ibn al-Athir, al-Kamil, Vol. II, pp. 120-21.
(b.) Some Sunni historians and hadith scholars have written that when the Prophet decided to write a document that would prevent the Muslims from going astray ‘Umar said: “The Messenger of God has become delirious.” Others, however, in order to soften the offensiveness of his words, maintain that he said: “Sickness has overcome the Prophet; you have the Book of God at your disposal, which is enough for us.”1 When companions could disobey the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in his presence they can very easily disobey in his absence after death.
But here it is worth mentioning that there were respectable and independent minded companions who did not change their position after the death of the Prophet. They obeyed the appointment of Ali (a.s.) as the vicegerent that took place at Ghadir. Although they were more or less compelled to remain silent, they remained loyal to ‘Ali b. Abi Talib, peace be upon him, as leader. Among the outstanding personalities belonging to this group were Salman al-Farisi, Abu Dharr al-Ghifari, Abu Ayyub al-Ansari, Khuzaymah b. Thabit, Miqdad b. al-Aswad, al-Kindi, ‘Ammar b. yasir, Ubayy b. Ka’b, Khalid b. Sa’id, Bilal, Qays b. Sa’d, Aban, Buraydah al-Ashami, Abu ‘l-Haytham b. al-Tayyihan, as well as many others whose names are recorded in Islamic history. Some scholars have listed two hundred and fifty Companions of the Prophet, complete with names and descriptions, as belonging to this class.
Ghadir in the words of a Non-Muslim:
We have enunciated sufficient reasons to dispel all possibilities for excuses. Here we would also like to quote an orientalist for sake of reference. Vaglieri has said in the Encyclopedia of Islam about Ghadir Khumm: It is, however, certain that Muhammad did speak in this place and utter the famous sentence, for the account of this event has been preserved, either in a concise form or in detail, not only by al-Ya’kubi, whose sympathy for the ‘Alid cause is well known, but also in the collection of traditions which are considered canonical, especially in the Musnad of Ibn Hanbal; and the hadiths are so numerous and so well attested by the different isnãds that it does not seem possible to reject them. Vaglieri continues, “Several of these hadiths are cited in the bibliography, but it does not include the hadíth which, although reporting the sentence, omit to name Ghadir Khumm, or those which state that the sentence was pronounced at al-Hudaybiya. The complete documentation will be facilitated when the Concordance of Wensinck have been completely published. In order to have an idea of how numerous these hadiths are, it is enough to glance at the pages in which Ibn Kathir has collected a great number of them with their isnads.”
Ghadir as a feast:
Muhammad Bin Talha Shafi’i in his Matalibu’s-Su’ul in Part V, ch. 1, p. 16, says “In this hadith (of Ghadir) the Holy Prophet indicated that whatever obligations the believers had in respect to him, they had also in respect to Ali. As the Holy Prophet was certainly master of the believers in all of their matters, their helper, leader, and chief – all of these being connotations of the word “maula” – then it follows that he meant the same thing for Ali (a.s.) also. And this is of course, an exalted position, an eminently high rank, which was specifically assigned to Ali. It is for this reason that the Day of Ghadir was a day of eid and rejoicing for the lovers and friends of Ali.”
Also Ibne Khalakan in Vafiyaat-ol-Ayan and Abu Rayhan Biruni in (Asar-al-Baghiyeh), besides so many others, considered Ghadir as one of the holidays that all Muslims realized and celebrated.
Ghadir in respect of the Present Imam (a.s.):
After all the painstaking efforts we are unmistakably able to conclude that the present problems of the Muslim Ummah are originally due to the mistakes and falsehood of the previous generation and not the present. This root of all falsehood is the disregard of the Holy Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) words when he appointed Ali (a.s.) at Ghadir.
Now if we would like to correct the error that had taken place in the earlier times, then Allah (s.w.t.) has given opportunity to us. After Ali (a.s.) there are 11 more vicegerents. Like the tradition specifies:
Sheikh Sulayman Balkhi Hanafi in his Yanabiu’l-Mawadda, ch. 76, reports from Fara’idu’s-Simtain of Hamwaini, who reports from Mujahid, who reports from Ibn Abbas, that a Jew named Na’thal came to the Holy Prophet and asked him questions about Tawhid (Unity of Allah). The Holy Prophet answered his questions and the Jew embraced Islam. Then he said: “O Holy Prophet, every prophet had a wasi (vicegerent). Our Prophet, Moses Bin Imran, made a will for Yusha Bin Nun. Please tell me who is your wasi?” The Holy Prophet said:
“My vicegerent is Ali Bin Abi Talib; after him are Hasan, and Husain and after them are nine Imams, who are the successive descendants of Husain.”
Na’thal asked the Holy Prophet the names of those Imams. The Holy Prophet said: “After Husain, his son, Ali, will be the Imam; after him his son, Muhammad; after him his son, Ja’far; after him his son Musa; after him his son, Ali; after him his son, Muhammad; after him his son, Hasan; after him his son, Muhammad Mahdi will be the last Imam. There will be twelve Imams.”
In addition to the names of the nine Imams, this hadith further states that each would succeed as Imam after his father. Na’thal made further inquiries, and the Holy Prophet described the manner of death of each Imam.
Then Na’thal said, “I bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that you are His Holy Prophet. I bear witness that these twelve holy Imams are your vicegerents after you. What you have said is exactly what is recorded in our books and in the will of Moses.”
Then the Holy Prophet said:
“Paradise is for him who loves them and obeys them, and Hell is for him who is hostile to them and opposes them.”
Na’thal then recited some couplets to the effect that “May Allah, the Exalted, shower His blessings upon you, chosen Prophet and pride of the Bani Hashim. Allah has guided us by means of you and the twelve holy men whom you have named. Certainly Allah has purified them and preserved them from impurity. He who loves them is successful. He who hates them is the loser. The last of the Imams will quench the thirst of the thirsty. He is the one the people will wait for. Prophet of Allah, your progeny is a blessing for me and for all the believers. Those who turn away from them will soon be thrown into Hell.”
Our Opportunity to Obey the Prophet (sawa) & Ali (as)
Here we see that people get the opportunity to obey the present Imam even if he misses the time of the previous Imam. People got the opportunity to obey and serve the Imams of their respective times. Similarly WE have got the opportunity to obey and serve the 12th Imam (a.t.f.s.). By this we can undo the past errors of the previous generations. We may wonder that Ali (a.s.) cannot be followed directly now because of his absence and the obedience required vis-à-vis the event of Ghadir cannot be apparently accomplished. But the truth is we can STILL accomplish, that obedience; by finding out & obeying the orders of the 12 successors & by submitting to the orders of the Imam (a.t.f.s.), the final vicegerent of Ali (a.s.),who is sitting at the position of Ali (a.s.) today. For increased benefits of the Imam (a.t.f.s.) we should be true expectants of the re-appearance of the Imam (a.t.f.s.). For with the re-appearance of the Imam (a.t.f.s.) we will receive justice and all the past errors will be set right by the Imam (a.s.). But to be the true expectants of the Imam (a.t.f.s.) we should at least take care of the following:
1. Acquire Marifat -True recognition of the Imam (a.t.f.s.) - Since everything starts with the true recognition without which it is impossible to proceed and obey him.
2. Learning our duties and submitting to the words of Imam (a.t.f.s.) - We must first learn our duties and then also find out & follow the words of the Imam (a.t.f.s.). If we do not follow the words of the Imam (a.t.f.s.) then what will be the difference between us and those who disobeyed the words of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) proclaimed at Ghadir?
3. Educating others about religion - Since Imam (a.t.f.s.) will be acting on a society basis and not only on an individual basis, it is necessary that we educate others so as to form a more conducive society for the Imam (a.t.f.s.).
4. Awaiting the reappearance - we should await every moment that the Imam (a.t.f.s.) will reappear and hence should be prepared to participate in the revolution of Imam (a.s.).
5. Pray for the relief - There are 2 benefits in this praying, one is that before the social relief happens, our own individual relief will take place immediately. Second is that ,we will have our vital role to play in the social relief process.
Books related to Ghadir:
There are at least 185 sunni books which have mentioned the event of Ghadir. It is not possible to mention all of them here but we mention just a few:
1. The well known commentator and historian of the fourth century hijri, Abu Ja’far Muhammad Bin Jarir Tabari (died 310 A.H.), gives complete details of the hadith of Ghadir in his book Kitabu’l-Wilaya and has narrated it through seventy-five chains of transmission.
2. Hafiz Abu’l-Abbas Ahmad Bin Sa’id Abdu’r-Rahman Al-Kufi, popularly known as Ibn Iqda (died 333 A.H.), narrated this holy hadith in his book Kitabu’l-Wilaya through 125 chains on the authority of 125 companions of the Holy Prophet.
3. Ibn Haddad Hafiz Abu’l-Qasim Haskani (died 492 A.H.), in his Kitabu’l-Wilaya, has narrated in detail the event of Ghadir along with the revelation of the verses of the Qur’an.
Similarly some of the many books of Shia authors who have shown the event of Ghadir by providing extensive Sunni sources are:
1. Al-Ghadir by Allama Amini - This is apparently the most magnanimous work on the event of Ghadir. This book is in 11 Volumes.
2. Abaqatul Anwar by Mir Hamid Husein – Lot of material available on the subject of ghadir using sunni references.
3. Nafahatul Azhaar by syed Ali Milaani - This is basically explanation of the book Abaqatul Anwar.
4. Ihkaakul Haq by shaheed-e-thalis Qazi Noorullah Shustri - this book has dealt the subject of Ghadir in many of its parts.
More information on Ghadir is also at www.al-islam.org
We end our article by quoting the verse of the Holy Quran
“And say: The truth has come and the falsehood has vanished; surely falsehood is a vanishing (thing).”1