Hadith Ghadeer p1 – Introduction

January 17, 2009

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.


The ‘Qur’an and my Sunnah’ hadith

September 5, 2008
Asalamu alaykum,

For a long time Shia as well as honest Sunni scholars have pointed out that the narration ”I leave you two weighty things, the Qur’an and my Sunnah” is weak, whilst the authentic version is ”Qur’an and Ahlul Bayt”. While there are virtually no sunni scholars who deny the latter, there are those who insist on the authenticity of the former – ”Qur’an and Sunnah”.   One such scholar is Sheikh Gibril Haddad.

What these people do not realise is that by insisting the latter is authentic, the logical conclusion is that the Ahlul Bayt = Sunnah!

”I leave you two weighty things, the book of Allah and my Sunnah
”I leave you two weighty things, the book of Allah and my Ahlul Bayt”

Is it a coincidence that on separate occasions the Prophet [ص] said the exact same hadith, telling us in each case that he was leaving us with TWO weighty things, yet one time identifying the Ahlul Bayt [a] as the second weighty thing, and another saying it’s his Sunnah?

If Ahlul Bayt [a] were other than the sunnah, then we would have three weighty things, not two as all the hadith emphasise, would we not?

If Ahlul Bayt [a] are the Sunnah, then they are the principal source for Islamic teachings. They are the guides of the Ummah. Whatsmore, they are infallible, just like the Sunnah is infallible.

You may object that the sunnah is not infallible, otherwise there would not be so many contradictions and discrepencies between hadith. But this objection would be confusing the transmitted Sunnah, with the actual Sunnah. What is the sunnah? It all the Prophet [ص] did, said and allowed. We are obligated to follow this unconidtionally; the Prophet’s whole life is a perfect example for us. If Ahlul Bayt [a] are his sunnah, then they hold a similar position within the Ummah, and should be followed in the same way the Prophet [ص] is followed.

For references for Hadith Thaqalayn, see this article.