The Sermon of the Messenger of Allah (pbuh&hf) On the Day of Ghadir Khum
Imam al-Baqir (PBUH) said:
The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) intended to leave Medina to perform pilgrimage having already conveyed all the commandments to his community except for the pilgrimage and the guardianship (of the nation) (al- Walaya).
Thus, Gabriel (PBUH) came to him saying, “O Muhammad! Surely, Allah, majestic is His name, offers peace to you, and tells you, ‘Verily, I have not taken the soul of any of my prophets or messengers except after completing My religion and affirming My proof.1
Of the commandments, two obligatory duties still remain which you need to convey to your nation: namely, (the details of) the duty of performing pilgrimage, and the duty of (people in) acknowledging the guardianship (of the believers) and following your successor after you. Certainly, I have never left nor shall I ever leave My earth empty of a proof.’
1 “The proof of Allah” (Hujjat Allah) is one whom Allah has placed among His creation as His most evident sign in his time, who completes His arguments against people by His authority.
Therefore, Allah, majestic is His praise, commands you to perform pilgrimage along with everyone who is capable of attending from the dwellers of the cities and suburbs as well as the Bedouins. Teach them the pilgrimage as you taught them the prayers, the purification tax, and fasting. Make them aware of its (details) as you made them aware of other religious obligations.”
Thus, the announcer of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) informed people that he (PBUH&HF) intended to go on pilgrimage and to teach them this religious obligation.
(Because of his announcement,) the number of people from the inhabitants of Medina and its suburbs as well as (other) Arabs who went on pilgrimage along with the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) was in excess of 70,000 — this is equivalent to the number of people from whom Moses (PBUH) took pledge of allegiance for Aaron (PBUH), but they later chose the calf (for worship) and the Samiri.1 Likewise,
the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) took the pledge of allegiance from this number of people for Ali (PBUH), but they later broke their pledge and chose the calf and the Samiri of their time (as their leaders), following exactly the custom of their predecessors — Repeating the words of compliance with the call of Allah (al-Talbiya),
the Prophet (PBUH&HF) traveled from Mecca to Medina and performed the rituals of pilgrimage.
1 Sameri was a hypocrite who deceived the folk of Prophet Moses (PBUH) during his leave, and made them worship a gold calf instead of Allah. cf. the Holy Quran, Chapter 20, Verses 83-97.
When he was in the stopping place (al-Mina), the Angel Gabriel brought him a message from Allah, the most High, saying, “O Muhammad! Your Lord, the mighty and the majestic, greets you and states, ‘Indeed, your inevitable time (of departure) has approached;
thus, fulfill your obligation; make your will earlier; entrust what is with you of knowledge, the heritage of the early prophets in terms of knowledge and signs, the weapon, and the chest1 to the executor of your will and your successor, who is My far reaching proof over My creation and My exhaustive argument against them, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH).
Raise him as a guiding flag for people, remind and renew people’s covenant and pledge about adhering to the authorized representative2 of Mine and the master of every believing man and woman, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (PBUH).
Verily, I have never taken the soul of any of the prophets except after perfecting My religion, and completing My bounty by means of requiring adherence to My authorized friends and enmity against My enemies.
1 cf. the Holy Quran, Chapter 2, Verse 248.
2 The term “Wali-Allah” is translated as “authorized representative” or “authorized friend” throughout the text. It refers to an individual who is authorized by Allah over people, who exercises authority on behalf of Allah and according to His command, and is the guardian of the believers.
Thus, obeying him means obeying Allah and disobeying him means disobeying Allah. Naturally, this lofty position only befits those who are free of mistake by Allah’s protection, and are absolutely obedient to Allah. See later explanation the term “divine protection” in the footnotes.
As such, the pinnacle of monotheism, faith in My religion, and completion of My blessings over My creation is (achieved only) through following Ali, whose obedience is joint to the obedience of Muhammad (PBUH&HF), My Prophet, as well as My obedience.
Anyone who obeys him has indeed obeyed Me, and anyone who disobeys him has indeed disobeyed Me. I have placed him as a (distinguishing) flag amongst My creation so that whoever recognizes him is a believer, whoever denies him is a disbeliever, and whoever associates anyone in pledge with him is a polytheist (in obedience of Allah).
One who meets Me (on the Day of Judgement) having accepted him as his guardian shall enter Paradise, and one who meets me having enmity of him shall enter the Fire.
Hence, O Muhammad, raise him as the banner (of truth), remind and renew people’s covenant and pledge that you have already taken (informally in several occasions), for I shall soon take your soul.’”
Because what he (PBUH&HF) knew of the inner enmity and hatred of the hypocrites and the dissenters against Ali (PBUH), the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) was concerned about them lest (upon conveying this message) they disperse (people) and return them to the days of ignorance.
Thus, he requested Angel Gabriel to ask his Lord for protection from the evil deign of people, and waited to receive this protection for delivering the message.
Similarly, when the Prophet (PBUH&HF) reached the Khif mosque as well as the time the Prophet (PBUH&HF) reached Kuraa al-Ghamim after leaving Mecca for Medina, Gabriel came to him bringing the same order without giving protection. The Prophet (PBUH&HF) said, “O Gabriel, I am afraid that my people will reject me and will not accept my saying concerning Ali (PBUH).”
Once they reached the pond of Khum, three miles before Juhfa, it was five hours past sunrise. At that moment, Gabriel descended upon him again with an admonition and a guarantee of protection from the evil of people, saying, “O Muhammad! Surely, Allah, the mighty and the majestic, conveys greetings to you and states, ‘O Messenger!
Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord—regarding Ali (PBUH)—and if you do not, you have not conveyed His message at all, and Allah shall protect you from (evil) people.’”1
By that time, the front end of the caravan had already reached Juhfa. Thereupon, the Prophet (PBUH&HF) sent for all people who were ahead to return, and waited until those who were behind reached the pond. Then he (PBUH&HF) called for group prayer.
There were some trees in that place. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) ordered (his companions) to clean up the place under the trees and gather the rocks and put them in one place in the form of a pulpit to overlook the crowd. Then, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HF) stood over those rocks, and gave the following sermon:
1 Chapter 5, Verse 67 of the Holy Quran.