The 18th of Dhu ‘l-Hijja is celebrated in the Shi’a world as the Feast of Ghadir Khumm in which Prophet Muhammad (S.A.W.) said about Imam ‘Ali (PBUH): “Whomsoever master (mawla) I am, this ‘Ali is also his master.”
In the tenth year after the migration to Madinah, the year which later became known as Hajjatul Wida’ [The (year of the) farewell Hajj], the Muslims who had accompanied the Noble Prophet (s) to Makkah were finishing their Hajj rites. Once the Hajj was complete, the Prophet (s) and those with him were making their way back to Madinah and the other cities from which they had come.
When they reached Rabigh – a spot three miles from Juhfah, one of the miqat for the Hujjaj – the order came from Allah (s.w.t.) to halt the entire caravan.
At this point, the Truthful conveyor of the revelation, Jibra’il (a.s.) came to the Prophet (s) who was stationed in the valley known as Ghadir Khumm and revealed the following verse of the Qur’an to him:
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّـغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَّبِّكَ وإِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللٌّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ…
“O’ Messenger! Convey that which has been revealed to you from your Lord and if you do not do so, it is as if you have not conveyed His message at all, and Allah will protect you from the people…” – Suratul Maidah (5), Verse (67).
Since this verse commanded the Prophet (s) to stop right where he was, he himself and those with him, halted in the valley of Ghadir.
It was noontime, and as can be expected, the weather was extremely hot. The Noble Prophet (s) performed Salatul Zuhr in congregation, and then with multitudes of people around him, ascended to a small platform built from camel saddles and other things that the Muslims had with them.
In a loud voice, he gave a long speech and said to the people:
“O’ people! Know that shortly I shall answer the call of The Truth (Allah) and will no longer be among you – I have a responsibility (to Allah) and you too have a responsibility )towards Him)
The Prophet (s) then mentioned something very important to the people and stated: “I am leaving behind two weighty things to you as a trust – one of them is the Book of Allah, and the other is my family, the Ahlul Bait. These two shall never separate from one another. O’ people! Do not attempt to supersede the Qur’an and my family, and do not be negligent in your actions towards these two, because if you do so, you shall be destroyed.”
After stating this, he took the hand of ’Ali (a.s.), raised it up and introduced him to the multitudes of people and asked:
“Who has more of a right over the believers than their own selves?” Everyone present proclaimed: “Allah and His Prophet know better.”
The Noble Prophet (s) then said: “Allah is my master and I am the master of all the believers and I have more right and authority over the believers than they have over their own selves.”
Then he continued:
مَنْ كُنْتُ مَوْلاَهُ فَهٌذَا عَلِيٌّ مَوْلاَهٌ، أَللٌّهُمَّ وَالِ مَنْ وَالاَهُ وعَادِ مَنْ عَادَاهُ
“Whomsoever I am his master, this ‘Ali is also his master. O’ Allah! Befriend he who befriends him (’Ali) and oppose he who opposes him.”
The Angel of Revelation, Jibra’il (a.s.) once again descended by the order of Allah (s.w.t.) and this time, revealed the following verse of the Qur’an:
أَلْـيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَ أَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الإِسْلاَمَ دِيناً
“On this day have I completed your religion for you and perfected My bounties upon you and am pleased with Islam as being your religion.”
Therefore, this day was marked in history as a momentous and grand day. The day of Ghadir was a day of epic proportions in history. It was a day which would become known as the Day of Wilayat (Mastership); the Day of Imamate (Leadership); the Day of Wisayat (Successorship); the Day of Brotherhood; the Day of Valour; the Day of Courage, Bravery and Protection (of the faith); the Day of Pleasure for the Believers; and they Day of Candidness.
It was a Day of:
(Divine) blessings; Showing thanks to the Almighty; Conveyance of the message; Congratulations and felicitations; Happiness, delight and gift giving; The pact and promise and renewal of the Pledge of Allegiance; Completion of the religion; Expression of the truth; Grief of Shaitan; Introducing the leader and the (true) path; Testing (the faith) of the Muslims; Despair for the enemies; Hope for the (true) friends.
In summary, it was the Day of Islam, Qur’an, and the Ahlul Bait (a.s.). It was the day which the followers of the true teachings of the faith of Islam mark with great esteem and a day when they congratulate one another