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Ghadeer: Perfection and Protection of Islam

“O Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.” (5:67)

The above verse speaks about a revelation that is of so much paramount significance and quintessential that if it were not delivered, it would nullify all other efforts of the holy Prophet (s). The verse was revealed in the later period of prophetic mission. So the question arises what is the message which is so essential and indispensable that if that is not conveyed, it will be tantamount to not conveying anything at all? By this time, most of the beliefs and rules of Islamic sharia have already been revealed and conveyed. So this message must be something other than that. The verse says that Allah will protect the holy Prophet(s) from the people, following with the lack of guidance for those who disbelieve. The question regarding the importance of the order from Allah (swt) has been answered by Allamah Tabatabai: “Why was this order so important that if it was not conveyed then the message was not conveyed at all? It was because religion’s knowledge and commands are inter linked…The fact, that if this commandment was not conveyed, then no other order was conveyed, shows its utmost importance, and makes it crystal clear that this particular order occupies such a central position in the whole structure that if it was left unannounced, it would amount to leaving all other orders unannounced, because its relation to other items is like that of soul with body; if it is disconnected, there would remain only a dead body, devoid of feeling, movement (and perception, etc.)…there was a danger that the people would oppose it and strive hard to overturn it against the Prophet (s) aiming at demolishing the structure of religion he had built and disintegrating all its parts…Accordingly, he kept postponing its delivery from time to time, waiting for a suitable circumstances and peaceful atmosphere, in order that his mission might be successful and his endeavors fruitful. But Allah ordered him to make haste in conveying that message, showing to him its importance, and promising to protect him from the people.” [1]

The verse makes it clear that the holy Prophet (s) was going to convey something on the order of Allah which might incite opposition. What was the message that holy Prophet (s) was supposed to convey that would provoke the people, specifically, the disbelievers? As per numerous traditions from both Shia and Sunni sources,  it was about guardianship of Imam Ali (as). It was about the issue of successorship after the death of holy Prophet (s) and leadership and guardianship of the Islamic nation. The issue of guardianship is so important that without it, not only is religion not complete, but without it the unbelievers would have been successful in their plots against the divine religion.

The holy Prophet (s) conveyed this message after performing his last Hajj. He ordered Muslims to assemble at the pond of Ghadeer, it was there he announced the guardianship of Imam Ali (as):

It has been narrated from Abi Sa’id that: “When the day of Ghadeer Khumm came, the messenger of Allah (s) commanded the caller to call out, ‘Gather for the prayer. Then he took Ali (as) by the hand and said, ‘O’ Allah!  Whomsoever I am his master, this Ali is also his master.  O’ Allah! Be a friend to that person who is a friend to him, and be an enemy to that person who is an enemy to him.’” [2]

With the announcement of guardianship, the message of Islam was perfected and completed. The unbelievers who have been hatching conspiracies to overturn Islam and revert the people to the polytheism became disappointed. Allah (swt) accepted the mission of holy Prophet (s) and gave His seal of approval upon Prophet Mohammed’s (s) deliverance:

“This day have those who disbelieve despaired of your religion, so fear them not, and fear Me. This day have I perfected for you your religion and completed My favor on you and chosen for you Islam as a religion” (5:3)

References:
1. Al Mizan, Exegesis of verse 67 of sura Maida
2. Biharul Anwar, Volume 37, Hadith 4, As quoted in “Forty Ahadith on Ghadir “ by Mahmud Sharifi





 

 

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