On the 18th of Dhil-Hijjah in the middle of the hot Arabian desert, whilst returning from his final Hajj, the Prophet was ordered to declare Imam Ali his successor to the Muslim masses. After informing them of his coming death, and the importance of following the Qur’an and Ahlul Bayt, he raised Imam Ali’s hand and said:
من كنت مولاه فهذا علي مولاه
”Whoever’s master (mawla) I am, Ali is also his master”.
This took place in an area known as Ghadir Khumm, half way between Mecca and Medinah and near present day al-Juhfa.
The occurrence of this event is universally accepted by all Muslims, but there has been much controversy over its significance. Whilst Shia Muslims take it to be a decisive proof of Imam Ali’s successorship, Sunnis interpret it to mean Imam Ali’s friendship with the believers – ”Whoever I am his friend, Ali is his friend”.
In a series of short posts I will demonstrate the baselessness of the Sunni interpretation, which is nothing more than a futile attempt at rejecting the Prophet’s [s] decisive declaration. I will prove that the Shia interpretation is the correct one by using 2 lines of evidence:
1. The context of the Hadith
2. The understanding of the Sahaba
I will then address common objections, and will show that many of the points brought up by Sunnis actually count against them, and further prove the correctness of the Shia interpretation.