“Today I have perfected your religion and completed my favor upon you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion.” (The Holy Quran, 5:3)
Eid al-Ghadir, which is known as Eid al-Akbar (the greatest Eid) in Islamic narrations, could be referred to as the greatest celebration (Eid) of all religions. For the result of the mission of all the messengers of Allah became accomplished on this day.
When Prophet Nuh (Noah) (PBUH) was appointed, he introduced his people to his religion and told them: “Allah has called upon you to have faith in this religion; however, there shall be a prophet after me whose religion is more perfect than mine, so have faith in him and be aware that the most perfect religion will be brought by the last prophet”. Similar to that, Ibrahim (Abraham), Musa (Moses), Isa (Jesus) (PBUT) were appointed and they gradually made the religion more perfect, and they spoke of the most perfect religion, the one brought by the last prophet.
Now, Islam has been brought to people and the religion has reached its most perfect state, and the mission of all Allah’s messengers is manifested in Islam. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has established Islam within 23 years of enormous endeavors, and has conveyed brotherhood and equality amongst all the Muslims.
Now, he is preparing to visit the house of Allah , and he has called upon all Muslims, no matter what their race or tribe is, to join him in performing Hajjah al-Weedaa’ (farewell pilgrimage), his last pilgrimage.
People were accompanying Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) in performing the Hajj rituals and meanwhile, they heard the last words of him. When returning, Gabriel comes down to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) saying:” O Messenger! Proclaim what has been revealed to you from your Lord.” Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was worried about the reaction of some of his companions since he was aware of their hypocrisy through revelation (2).
Then, Gabriel came down for the second time:” O Messenger! Proclaim what has been revealed to you from your Lord”. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), the mercy upon mankind, was worried about the ailing hearts and weak faith of new Muslims. As he was looking for a solution, Gabriel came down for the third time:” O Messenger! Proclaim what has been revealed to you from your Lord, for if you do it not you have not conveyed His message and Allah will protect you from the (evil designs of) people.” (3)
What is this message that if not proclaimed, the Prophet’s mission would not be conveyed? Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), who possesses both the states of Prophethood and Imamate, is addressed as “O Messenger!”, which reveals that his state of Prophethood is targeted. On the other hand, the phrase “you have not conveyed His message” indicates that not proclaiming this message would result in not having accomplished the duty of Prophethood.
In the following section of the verse, Allah assures Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) by saying that:” Allah will protect you from the (evil designs of) people.” Here protection does not mean to address physical, financial… protection; because Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) never felt fear during the battles, and his life’s history testifies that he never stood back even a single step in the battles.
Even in the battle of Uhud, when the Muslims were seemingly defeated and their army was collapsed, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) was still fighting against the pagans. In addition to that, Allah describes not only Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), but also other prophets as:” those who proclaim the messages of Allah and have fear in Him, and have fear in no one but Allah.”(4) Therefore, Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH&HP) fear was about damages to the religion and the ignorance of people; hence, the good tidings by Allah were about the victory over the ignorance of people, just like as he told Prophet Moses (PBUH):” Fear not; you are the superior”(5).
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) stops at a place called Ghadir. He summons those who have gone forward to return and wait for the followers to join. Them, he climbs an eminence and gives a sermon:
“Praise be to Allah; I testify that He is the Lord and I am His servant. Gabriel has descended to me thrice, and has ordered me from Allah to stop on this land to proclaim His message. Am I not your Wali (more precious to you than your own lives)?" People replied:" Yes". He continued:” Am I not your prophet and leader?” Again, all the people confirmed. It was then that he took Ali ibn Abi Talibs (PBUH) hands and raised them high, and said, "Whoever has me as his Master (Wali), Ali is his Master (Wali)”.
After that, those that were present came to Ali (PBUH) at the tent which Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) had ordered to be set up, and congratulated him on his new position. They addressed him as Amir al-Mu’minin (Ruler of the Faithful). Historians have mentioned numbers up to 120000 for the people present at that time.
Then, the following verse of the Quran was revealed:” Today, those who disbelieve have despaired of your religion; so fear them not and fear Me. Today I have perfected for you your religion and have completed My favor upon you, and I was satisfied that Islam be your religion.”(6)
In the Holy Quran, the terms "Yaum" and “Yauma’izin” usually refer to the resurrection day; however, the former is used in this verse referring to the issue of Imamate. Since the Holy Quran starts talking about important issues with the terms “Al” and “Yaum”, it is indicated that the aforementioned verse, in which the term “al-Yaum” is repeated twice, contains important news. That important news is indeed appointing the Master and Ruler of the Muslim community after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
This important event made the disbelievers disappointed. The enemies of Islam would say: " … we are waiting to see him die” (7), so his religion would be removed; because it is possible to fight against the book and the law and to interpret them according to one’s desires; however, such divine Leader could not be fought.
Therefore, the event of Ghadir made the disbelievers despair of this hope due to the fact that a leader was appointed for the Muslims who possessed virtues such as bravery, wisdom, patience and constancy, just like Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP). There, a divine successor was appointed by Allah to continue Prophet’s path and supervise the Muslims after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP).
The next section of the verse talks about perfection of religion and completion of favor. Obviously, it does not refer to materialistic favors, because the creatures are constantly blessed by such favors from Allah , and they are not such that could be completed; hence, another type of favor (which is indeed superior to and more important than materialistic favors) is meant.
According to the event of Ghadir, this favor is nothing but the favor of Imamat (Leadership) and Wilayat (Mastership). Even Allah has admired the favor of prophethood and Imamat as His greatest favors in the Holy Quran, and has used the term Minnah (a significant and enormous favor which is difficult to receive and maintain) regarding these two favors:” Certainly Allah conferred a great favor upon the believers when He raised among them a Messenger from amongst themselves.” (8); “And We desired to bestow a great favor upon those who were deemed weak in the land, and to make them the Imams, and to make them the inheritors.”(9)
And finally, the endeavors of all the prophets before Islam and the 23 year endeavors of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) became fruitful on the day of Ghadir, and the argument on mankind became complete.
It is noteworthy that according to the knowledge of Hadith, there are few events reported to be as authentic as the event of Ghadir. Mas’ood ibn Nasser Sajestani in the book “Wilayatkade”, which is printed in seventeen volumes, narrates this event on the authority of one hundred twenty people. Muhammad bin Jarir Tabari in the book “Radd Alaa al-Kharqouziah”, narrates the event of Ghadir from seventy-five different routes, and Ibn Ouqdah mentions 125 different narrators for this Hadith in the book of Wilayat.
It is quoted from Abou al-Ma’ali Jowni that:” I saw a book in a bookbinding store which contained the Hadith of Ghadir, and it was written on its back:” Volume 28 of the routes for the Hadith of Man Kuntu Mawlah (the beginning phrase of the Hadith of Ghadir which means whoever has me as Master)”. Sayyid Murtada writes that:” We have not come up to a single Islamic sect that denies the event of Ghadir”. Finally, the book of Al-Ghadir by Allamah Amini is the most general and complete encyclopedia for narrations about the Ghadir event.
Based on the above, it is on us to celebrate this great Eid. There is a Hadith in Sahih Muslim narrating from Taariq ibn Shahab that:” A group of Jews told the second Caliph that:” If such a verse had been revealed to us (Today I have perfected for you your religion and have completed my favor upon you) and we knew that day it had been revealed, We would have celebrated that day.”
-Al-Ghadir, by Allamah Amini -Tafsir al-Mizan, by Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli -Explanations of the Event of Ghadir, by Ayatullah Jawadi Amuli, -Haqq al-Yaqin, by Allamah Majlisi