The Day when Umar Ibn Khattab congratulated Imam Ali (a)


Reading Time: 5 minutes

Disregarding the intensity of the heat, overcoming the fatigue of the Hajj, maneuvering the queue of more than 125,000 pilgrims, a voice spontaneously echoed in the hot desert, “Congratulations, congratulations, O son of Abu Talib, today you have become my master and the master of every Muslim.” It was not long before the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) had announced “Of whomsoever, I am the master, this Ali is his master” that Umar Ibn Khattab congratulated Imam Ali (peace be upon him) in the plains of Ghadeer Khum with these words. All historians recorded this event. Ibn Asaakir in his book Taareekh Madinah Damishq has narrated from Abu Hurairah thus:

“Whoever fasts on the 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah, Allah will record for him the reward of 60 years of fasting because this is the occasion when the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) held the hand of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon them both) and asked the people on the day of Ghadeer Khum,

أَلَسْتُ مَوْلَى الْمُؤْمِنِينَ

‘Am I not the master of the believers?’

People replied: “Yes, O Messenger of Allah!” Then the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) took the hand of Ali Ibn Abi Talib (peace be upon them both) and announced:

مَنْ کُنْتُ مَوْلَاہُ فَعَلِیٌّ مَوْلَاہُ

“Of whomsoever, I am the master, then Ali is his master.”

Immediately after this announcement, Umar Ibn Khattab went ahead and congratulated Imam Ali (peace be upon him) and said,

بَخٍّ بَخٍّ یَا بْنَ اَبِیْ طَالِبٍ، اَصْبَحْتَ مَوْلَایَ وَ مَوْلَی کُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ

“Congratulations, congratulations, O son of Abu Talib, today you have become my master and the master of every Muslim.”

[Taareekh Madinah Damishq, vol. 42, p. 234]

It is evident from this narration that neither this day is an ordinary day, this announcement and action of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) was any ordinary announcement and action, nor was the greeting of Umar Ibn Khattab an ordinary greeting that it should be neglected and the most important page in Islamic history be ignored. Eid al-Ghadeer is not an ordinary day that just passes away and Muslims remain unaware of the significance of this day. Eid al-Ghadeer is that great occasion which was narrated by great companions like Abu Saeed Khudri that on 18th Dhu al-Hijjah, 10 AH, on the occasion of Hajjah al-Wida viz. the last Hajj of Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), in which the following verse was revealed at Ghadeer Khum:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُوْلُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ وَ إِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهٗ وَ اللهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِيْنَ

“O, Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed unto you from your Lord, and if you do not do it, it is as if you did not deliver His message (at all), and Allah will protect you from the people for surely Allah does not guide the disbelievers.”

[Surah Maaedah (5): Verse 67]

[Tafseer al-Durr al-Manthoor by Jalaaluddin Suyuti, vol. 3, p. 117; Fath al-Qadeer by Imam Shaukaani, vol. 3, p. 86; Asbaab al-Nuzool by Ali Ibn Ahmed Waahedi, vol. 1, p. 204, H. 403]

Suyuti and Imam Shaukaani have also narrated on the authority of Abdullah Ibn Masood that during the time of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) we used to recite this verse as follows:

يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُوْلُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِنْ رَبِّكَ – اَنَّ عَلِیًّامَوْلَی الْمُوْمِنِیْنَ – وَ إِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهٗ

“O, Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed unto you from your Lord, – that surely Ali is the Master of the believers – and if you do not do it, it is as if you did not deliver His message (at all)”

After the revelation of this verse, the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) announced the succession of Ameerul Momineen Imam Ali (peace be upon him). In Sunan Tirmidhi, Hadith 3713, it is mentioned that this tradition of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) in which he said, ‘Of Whomsoever I am the master, this Ali is his master’ is correct (Sahih). Therefore, none can deny the authenticity of Eid al-Ghadeer. But instead of accepting this hadith and this incident, and instead of following the practice (Sunnah) of Umar Ibn Khattab, the skeptics put forward all sorts of frivolous objections to hide this clear incident from the people and deprived them of its importance. One of their unwarranted objections is that in this tradition, the word ‘Maula’ means ‘friend’ and not a master, a guardian, and one who has authority over people’s lives and property like the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny). They should keep in mind that:

  • This announcement was made by the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) during his last Hajj and hence it has its own individual status and importance
  • This announcement was done amidst 125,000 Hajj pilgrims and was witnessed by great companions
  • If the word ‘Maula’ means friend, then was it the practice (Sunnah) of the companions that everyone should be congratulated in a gathering for friendship?
  • God forbid, was Imam Ali (peace be upon him) an enemy to anyone prior to this that his friendship was being declared?
  • If anyone, due to prejudice or ignorance, believes that the word ‘Maula’ means friend, then was it the practice (Sunnah) of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) that the friendship of every companion should be announced in a congregation? If it was, why is there no historical record of such an announcement for the rest of the companions? And if it wasn’t, then there is nothing wrong with removing the veils of negligence and accepting that this announcement was a special one.

We shouldn’t find ourselves in a situation where we become deserving of the punishment for deliberately concealing the event of Ghadeer, as history is witness that the consequences of deliberately hiding this event have been dangerous.

Amirah Ibn Sa’d narrates that “I saw Imam Ali (peace be upon him) ascending the pulpit and the companions of the Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), including Abu Sa’eed, Abu Hurairah, Anas bin Malik, and 12 such people gathered around the pulpit. At that time Imam Ali (peace be upon him) asked all of them, ‘I implore you in the name of Allah, did you not hear the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) say: Of whomsoever, I am the master, this Ali is his master?’ They said, ‘By Allah, Yes!’ But one companion remained seated and did not bear this witness. Imam Ali (peace be upon him) asked him, ‘What has prevented you from giving this testimony?’ He replied, ‘I have become old and I do not remember’. Upon hearing this, Imam Ali (peace be upon him) complained to Allah thus, ‘O Allah! If he is telling a lie, then send down upon him a calamity that destroys his beauty!’ A white spot had appeared on his forehead which he was unable to hide even with a turban and it remained there until his death.”

[Hilyah al-Awliyaa by Hafiz Abu Nu’aim Isfahani, vol. 5, pp. 26-27]

Eid al-Ghadeer is an important Islamic Eid. Why should Muslims stay behind in celebrating a day whose importance can be understood from the fact that the Almighty Allah revealed a verse, His Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny) announces it and a companion like Umar Ibn Khattab offers congratulations. Will Muslims also ignore the practice (Sunnah) of companions?

Therefore, let’s celebrate Eid al-Ghadeer by following the command of God, the command of His Prophet (peace be upon him and his holy progeny), and the practice (Sunnah) of the companions. Let’s make elaborate arrangements to celebrate it and let all our family members, relatives, friends, and friends know the importance of this greatest Eid!

Lastly, we congratulate the ‘Maula’ (master) of our time, Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) on this joyous occasion and pray to Allah to hasten his blessed reappearance. May Allah grant us the opportunity and good fortune to celebrate this Eid al-Ghadeer alongside him in Najaf. Aameen, O Lord of the worlds!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.