What Day Was the Perfection Day of Islam?
By: Ayatullah al-Uzma Naser Makarem Shirazi
Concerning the phrases of the above verse that says:- ``Today the unbelievers have abandoned to despair of vanquishing your religion.''
``Today I have perfected your religion (Islam), and have completed my favour on you; and have consented with Islam for your religion.''
The question is: What day was the perfection day?
The Day in which the unbelievers despaired, and Islam was perfected, and God's favour was completed on Muslims!?
Without any doubt, the said Day must have been one of the most important Days in the history of Islam. Can it be the Day in which the carrion, blood and pork meat was proclaimed unlawful and forbidden?
Of course not! Because these commandments are not that important to make the unbelievers to lose hope and fall into despair. No unbeliever is sensitive to the prohibition or lawfulness of eating pork or carrion. It cannot even be the Day in which Mecca was conquered, because of surety the verse has been revealed more than a year after the conquest of Mecca.
The answer to the question is clear, and with hundreds of evidences and proofs:- ``All the Shiite commentators, writers, historians and scholars, without an exception have written in their books that the said verse revealed in the Day of GHADIR- GHADIR KHOMM- The Day which our prophet officially introduced and announced Hazrat Imam Ali (AS) as his Successor and vicegerent.'' Not only the Shiite scholars and writers have written and reported that incident; but hundreds of the SuNNI scholars and historians too, who have had not excessive enthusiasm and unreasoning zeal on their religious sect, have written the event of GHADIR KHOM in detail.
Although the prophet, every now and then, and here and there, from the beginning to the end of his mission had introduced Hazrat Ali as his deputy, vicegerent, and successor; now the case was different. Mohammad S.A. was the only absolute ruler of the Arabian Peninsula, and his successor was no less important than himself. When Hazrat Ali officially and openly was introduced as the prophet's successor in GHADIR KHOMM; The Arab idolaters, the nominal Muslims, and the hypocrites, who had submitted for their personal interests, abandoned to despair! Because they were expecting the end of the religious revolution, by the end of its founder, Mohammad S.A.
Without any doubt, the said verse (NO.3) came down in the most important Day or GHADIR KHOMM, and there are thousands of reasons to prove that.
We read in the greatest commentaries of the SONNI-sect; who have not submitted to GHADIR KHOMM; such as the great commentary of FAKHR RAZI- the commentary named ROOH-AL -BAYAN, and in the ALMONAR; that eighty one days after the revelation of the above verse, the prophet died. If so, that makes exactly the Day in GHADIR KHOMM; i.e. 18th of the Arabic month ZULHAJJA. Many Sonni historians among whom we may name IBN-JARIR-TABARI have written that the verse was revealed in the GHADIR KHOMM in which the prophet raised the hand of Hazrat Imam Ali in front of several tens of thousand of male and female pilgrims and so communicated to reach the whole huge audience saying:- ``Any one whose Lord master (MOWLAA) and friend was I, should know that this my cousin- ALI- IBN- ABUTALIB shall be his Lordmaster and friend after me.''
JABIR TABARI in his famous book – Al-Walayat has narrated the above incident from one of the prophet's near companions named Zaid- IBN- ARGHAM.
* * *
THE INCIDENT OF GHADIR KHOMM
As for the incident of Ghadir Khomm, the Persian great scholar and researcher; Allameh Amini, has written a book of some fourty volumes with the most valid references, almost all of which are non- shiite and written by the oppositions of Ghadir Khomm, and the Sonni scholars, historians and commentators. This wonderful book of research and investigation which has gone under many press and translations is named ALGHADIR.
The incident of GHADIR KHOMM has so widely been discussed throughout the history of Islam that now no writer finds it necessary to give a detail. But since the readers of this book are not Muslims in majority, I thought it necessary to add a summary of the event, as it really happened:-
The prophet of Islam performed his last pilgrimage which was called `THE FAREWELL PILGRIMAGE'. The big caravan of HAJJ, consisting of more than a hundred thousand pilgrims accompanied their Messenger of God. The prophet set out for the pilgrimage of Farewell, on 22 Feb. 632 AD from Medina.
The great congregation which was unique and without a like throughout the history of Arabs thus far, and to date, performed all the rites of HAJJ; as the prophet instructed and taught them practically.
The prophet was then the only absolute ruler of the Arabian Peninsula, with idols smashed, oppositions defeated, and all submitted. The religion of Islam was reaching perfection, and by the revelation of the short Sura; AL-NASR, the prophet knew that his duties were finished, and sooner or later he had to pass away and go back to his HIGH FRIEND! There only remained a very important task to perform, and that was to appoint clearly, and assign openly, his successor. That far, the prophet had never left the town, (Medina) even for a few days, unless he had appointed a successor to govern in his place, and to act for him as a vicegerent. He also, never sent out a group, large of small, for an expedition unless he assigned a head, a commander, or a leader, or whatever you may call, to lead and control that group.
Now that such a man has been assured through inspiration that he has to pass away soon, and leave every thing down here for good and he frequently tells his followers and disciples:- ``This is my last pilgrimage and I will see the house of God, with my material eyes no more; how can such a one leave millions of his adherents and believers, and companions, without a vicegerent, or Imam, to lead them on, and to move them forth?''
Mohammad S.A. the Messenger of God, from the very beginning of his mission up to its end; every now and then, and here and there, as soon as he found an occasion, he introduced Hazrat Ali (AS) as his successor and vicegerent. When he had no power, and his followers were very rare, people made a laugh stock of that introduction, but in GHADIR KHOMM the social and political case was different. Now he had received a commandment from his Lord - from Allah - to introduce Hazrat Imam Ali clearly and openly as his own successor and Khalif.
To make this important matter known formally was not a task easy. Arabs were obstinate and very selfish. A Lot of them had fought the sacred religious fights, only for the sake of spoils, and not for the cause of God!
Besides that, during the bloody religious wars (JAHAD) Hazrat Ali was always the first and foremost of warriors fighting in the frontier line. He therefore had killed so many of the pagan Arabs; at least one from each family. Those young warriors that had lost a father, a brother, or a near kin, by the sword of Hazrat Ali, namely ZOLFAGHAR; bore a deep grudge against him, or at least it was hard for them to love or even forgive him. Later on, when Moaviyeh rebelled against his vicegerency and threatened Hazrat Ali by fight and war, he laughed at Moaviyeh and said:- ``ZOLFAGHAR, the sword by which I killed your brother, your uncle, and your cousin in the battle of Badr is still with me! So don't you ever think that fight for the cause of Allah can frighten me.''
After all, in the sight of the dogged, stubborn group of Arab nominal Muslims with that tribal and racial zeal, Hazrat Ali seemed too young for that high position. ``How could'', they said, ``a young who has not a white hair or even a grey one on the face, become the leader of Islamic wide world?'' On the other hand, there were elders of high social position among muslims whose desire from the very beginning of their conversion was to succeed the prophet.
All these and more reasons stopped the prophet for a few days to make the announcement. But the chance of announcing the appointment would soon be lost, because the pilgrims had finished their rites, and within a couple of days, they would scatter and go in different ways towards their homes. Particularly the point named GHADIR KHOMM, or KHOMM- Al- GHADIR was a cross- road, that would separate most of the pilgrims in their way home.
Therefore a verse was revealed conveying a very strict order that seriously wanted Mohammad S.A. to deliver the most important message of Allah to all the believers, declaring openly that HAZRAT ALI is the prophet's successor and the first of the Imams and the commander of the believers. The verse was as follows:-
``O, you, My Apostle! Proclaim the Message which has been revealed to you from your Lord. And if you do not do it; then it is as if you have not delivered His message. (AT ALL) (Do not care about those who may reject the announcement) Because Allah will protect you from the people. Allah guides not those who reject faith.'' QURØN - s 5: 67
Now the prophet could not delay the proclamation any more; because he was given a forewarning, and he was threatened by the above verse that his 23 years of endeavor and hard work in conveying God's Message would be futile and ineffectual if he did not introduce Hazrat Ali as his successor and vicegerent to all his followers.
He therefore ordered a halt of all the pilgrims in KHOMM- Al- GHADIR. A high pulpit was assembled for him with the saddles of horses and camels. The prophet went up the pulpit, and ordered Hazrat Ali to stand besides him on the pulpit. He made a relatively long speech for his great audience which was collected word by word by many of his disciples, and it has also been recorded by Allameh Amini in his famous book called AlGHADIR, and also in hundreds of other books. The prophet ended his long speech with the following sermon:-
``... I am a human being as you are, and my end might be near. I should leave among you two heavy things:- The Book of ALLAH, and MY NEARESTS OF KINS, by which you may find light and guidance. He whose guardian leader (MOWLA) was I, this ALI (WHO STANDS HERE BESIDES ME) is his guardian leader after me. God will love him who loves Ali, and will hate him who hates Ali.
O, People, Know that, Allah has appointed Ali as your guardian and Imam after me; and it is incumbent for you all to obey him when I pass away. He who rejects him will incur the curse of Allah on himself, and he who obeys him will have God's blessing and Mercy.
O, People! There is no knowledge but Allah taught it to me, and I conveyed and taught all I knew to Ali. Then do not leave him and go astray. I am the City of knowledge, and Ali is the gateway to the City. Ali is the man whose acts are right and truthful, and Ali is the best of all men after me.
O, People! Beware that I clearly told you no one after me, except this Ali, who now stands besides me, is in the right for commanding and leading Muslims.''
As for the truth of the above speech Allameh Amini has hundreds of proofs and evidences in his Book Al-Ghadir. (TRANSLATOR'S NOTE))