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March 2002 Feature
Reflections on Eid al-Ghadir

As read by students in March
in Celebration of Eid
at the Novato, California center

About Eid al-Ghadir

Eid Ghadir which is on the 18th of the Zilhajj (Lunar Calendar) is one of the most celebrated event by Shiite Moslems. The event of Ghadir means the nomination of Hazrat Ali, Amir al-Momenin (pbuh) by the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh)as his successor.

It was the tradition of all the prophets to nominate their successors in compliance with the order of God and regardless of the approval of their followers. To the Moslems, Ghadir al-Khum is the famous place where the Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) revealed his final message that he would be succeeded by Hazrat Ali (pbuh). The Arabic word "Ghadir" means pond and Khum is the particular pond located about 90 Kilometers (54 miles) northwest of Mecca in the heart of the desert called "Sahra al-Hujfah."

As Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) arrived at Ghadir al-Khum, he heard the voice of Archangel Gabriel and the signs of revelation appeared. As Prophet (pbuh) heard the Angel, he asked to recite Adhan (or the prayers that the muezzin will say to gather Moslems to the mosque) with addition of words "Hayya'ala Khair il'amal" which means hasten towards the best of deeds.

As Uwaiysi Sufis from the Shi'a tradition, each Eid al-Ghadir, we gather in remembrance. Following are speeches presented by students at the Novato Khaneghah.

Historical Significance of Eid al-Ghadir

Bidding farewell to his native city of Mecca and heading towards Medina on the 14th day of Zilhajj, 10 AH, the prophet was feeling restless. He was thinking of an important task, which was to ensure the continuity of his life’s work by someone endowed with all the moral values which he had upheld, or else all his miraculous achievements during the twenty-three years of his apostolic ministry stood in danger of being irretrievably undone. It was matter of prime importance that Divine guidance should continue after him and that the divine sovereignty should be exercised by the chosen ones of God, to be appointed by the prophet.

He had already designated his Ahl-ul-Bait on several occasions, as the Ark of Noah, the strong rope of God, the door of forgiveness, the purified ones, and made the love of these holy ones incumbent upon his followers. He had similarly, on many occasions, pointed out Ali as his brother and successor, the door of the city of knowledge, the most equitable judge, the embodiment of faith, and having the position in relation to himself as Aaron was to Moses.

As he arrived at Ghadir-eKhum, suddenly the signs of a revelation appeared. The voice of Archangel Gabriel was heard saying:

“O thou esteemed Messenger, impart the guidance that has revealed unto thee” and in order to impress the urgency of the command, Gabriel went on to say: “for if thou doeth it not, thou hast not imparted His Message at all”; and again the same breath to allay his fears and misgivings the angel added “God will protect thee from the evil designs of men” (Qur'an 5:67)

It is held that the prophet had already been commanded to proclaim Ali as his successor, but he had postponed the announcement for some suitable occasion to avoid misinterpretation.

It was then that the prophet pulled up his reins, and the whole entourage came to a halt. Those who had gone ahead were summoned back and those who followed gathered round casting inquiring glances at each other. The prophet soon dismounted and ordered his followers to clear the ground. The Prophet stepped forward and on his right was Ali, whose turban, black in color, with its ends hanging over both of his shoulders, was arranged by the prophet himself. Then obeying the diving injunction to the letter, he addressed multitude in the following memorable words:

“All Praise belongs to Allah. In Him do I put my faith and from Him do I crave support. Him do I trust and His protection seek against the malice of our souls and evils of our deeds.

O Ye fold, behold, the All knowing Allah hath informed me that the days of my life are coming to an end and the time is fast approaching when I shall be called away from your midst towards the eternal abode. But you and I, each one of us is answerable unto Allah for all things are due unto Him from us. What then do you say?

Then bear witness to the Unity of Allah and the Apostleship of this servant of Allah, who now speaks to you by His command, and do ye not bear witness that the resurrection and judgment, heaven and hell an the life hereafter are certainties.”

They all answered “yea, verily yes.”

“Now then, Listen to me carefully; I have been commanded to tell you that I will soon be taken away from your midst, but I leave unto you my legacy of two grand precepts, each of which surpasses the other in its grandeur – Allah’s Holy Book, the Quran and my Ahl-ul-Bait (my irrevocable progeny, consisting of Ali, Fatima, Hasan and Husain). Never shall they separate from one another until they reach me in Heaven, and so long as you will adhere unto both my legacies, you will never be led astray after me. Therefore, o ye fold, it is my last will and testament unto you that you should always remain faithful to the Holy Quran and my Ahl-ul-Bait as true Muslims until death. Do not lag too far behind them and do not walk ahead of them, for it either even you will go astray. But follow them and walk in their footsteps and they will guide you along the strait path.

Who do you think is more worthy of obedience than your souls?”

They answered “Allah and his messenger know best.”

Mohammad continued, “Lo! Allah is my Master, and am I not worthy of obedience from You?”

They answered “yes.”

Then the prophet bend down and lifted up Ali in his hands, showing him to the crowds on all sides of the pulpit, and proclaimed:

MunKunto Maulaho fe haasa Ali-yun Maulah

Of whomsoever I am the master,
This Ali is his Master

So saying, the prophet raised up his hands heavenwards and prayed. “O our Allah, love those who will love Ali, despise those who will despise him; support those who will support him; and reject those who will reject him”.

Announcing this thrice, he got down from the raised platform, and seated Ali in a tent, where the people did him homage. After the men, came all the women to congratulate Ali. At the conclusion of this installation ceremony, the Holy Prophet asked the congregation, “Have I not truly and faithfully delivered unto you the Message?”

And they answered, Yea, verily you have.”

Then the prophet said, “Go now, and let those who have been present here today repeat and convey to those who area absent all that they have seen and heard.”

Reflections on Receiving

Our holy teacher, Shah Nazar Seyed Ali Kianfar recently reminded me that the goal of a Sufi student is to be a good receiver. Allah will provide his grace and mercy but we have to be and do right to receive it. I find his words especially significant as we gather this evening to commemorate this blessed eid. Tonight, in part, celebrates the Prophet Mohammad’s receiving his last revelation from the Divine as he returns from his last pilgrimage to Mecca. The Prophet Mohammad (swa) passed away only a few months later.

Stopping at Ghadir Khumm, the Prophet gives his last sermon to his followers. He confirms the connection between his family (his teaching) and the book (the Holy Koran) — that there is no separation between these two. Trying to make this message clear, the Prophet tells his followers:

“Who ever received light through me, will receive light through Ali.”

In this way, he acknowledges his student Hazrat Ali who is the best example of the receiving student and asks them now to follow in the way of Ali and the Prophet’s family who carry the Prophet’s teaching with them.

As Hazrat Shah Maghsoud Sadegh Angha said:

“Ali is the perfect mirror of the Holy Prophet.”

As Sufi students, this is our goal — to mirror our teachers. As a mirror, we reflect without deviation exactly the teaching and do not add anything. This is the right way of receiving — as the Prophet did and as Hazrat Ali did.

Tonight also marks the story of the prophet Abraham and his attempt to sacrifice his son. Seeing that Abraham’s commitment to Him is unshakeable under all circumstances, God spares Abraham from this difficult task. Abraham is an example of the human being who has honored his contract with the Divine and follows it unhesitatingly. His devotion is rewarded. Abraham too shows us how to be a receiver. If you do right, you will receive the mercy and grace of the Divine.

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