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Did Amirul Momineen Ali (A.S) ever depend on the tradition of Ghadir to prove his Caliphate? (Part 1)

Question: As we know, on the day of Ghadir, the Holy Prophet (PBUH) announced the vicegerency and Caliphate of Amirul Momineen Ali (A.S) and made obedience obligatory on all Muslims. Now the question arises:


“When the successorship of Amirul Momineen Ali (A.S) was declared on this, why didn’t he use the hadith to prove his Caliphate?”‌


Answer: Opposite to the assumption in the above question, Amirul Momineen Ali (A.S) had during his lifetime many times quoted the tradition of Ghadir to prove his successorship. He used to mention the tradition of his Ghadir to his opponent whenever it was appropriate according to circumstances and in this way he used to make people aware of his status.


And not only Imam (A.S), the honorable daughter of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), her sons, Hazrat Imam Hassan (A.S)and Chief of the Martyrs, Hazrat Imam Hussein (A.S) and many other exalted personalities like Abdullah Ibne Ja’far, Ammar Yasir, Asbagh bin Nubata, Qays bin Saad, Umar bin Abdul Aziz, the Abbaside Caliph, Mamoon and even the opponents like Amr Aas etc. had quoted this tradition.


Therefore the tradition of Ghadir had been used since the time of Ali (A.S) himself. In every age his followers had considered the tradition of Ghadir to be one of the proofs of his Imamate and Wilayat (Guardianship). Here we shall mention of these instances by way of examples.


1. On the day of shura (The shura was designated by the second caliph in such a way that everyone was knowing that someone other than Ali (A.S) would become the Caliph) when the ball of Caliphate was thrown by Abdur Rahman Awf to Uthman, Ali (A.S) delivered a speech to render the decision of shura invalid:


“I am presenting such an argument that none of you can deny.”‌ Then he said:


I put you under the oath of Allah and ask you is there anyone among you regarding whom the Holy Prophet (PBUH) has said: Of whomsoever I am the master, this Ali is his master too. O Allah love those who love Ali and help those who help Ali, And those who are present here should convey this to those who are absent. [1] On this juncture the members of shura confessed that this distinction was solely for Ali (A.S).


Without any doubt this was not the only occasion that Ali (A.S) had argued with this tradition. He had employed this argument at other times also as mentioned below:


2. One day Amirul Momineen Ali (A.S) was delivering a sermon in Kufa. During the speech he turned towards the people and said:


“I put you under the oath of God, if one who was present in Ghadir must have himself heard the Holy Prophet (PBUH) had bestowed on me the distinction of his successorship, he should stand up testify this. But only those people should stand up who had themselves heard this from the prophet (PBUH) and not those who have heard it from others.”‌


At this moment thirty people stood up and testified that they had heard the tradition of Ghadir.


We should remember that at this time twenty five years had passed since the event of Ghadir and some of the Companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) were not in Kufa at this time or they had died before this. It is also possible that some people had refrained from giving testimony due to various reasons; otherwise the number would have been higher.


The Late Allamah Amini has recorded numerous sources of this tradition in his flawless book, Al Ghadir.[2]






[1] Manaqib Khwarizmi p. 217 etc.


[2] Al Ghadeer vol. 1 pgs. 153-171





By:Ayatullah Makarim Shirazi & Ayatullah Ja’far Subhani

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