The true facts about The Last Sermon and Ghadir Al-Khumm

Often the questions are asked by the Agakhani Ismailis, who do not know the history of the Prophet, concerning the "Two Things" that the Prophet had asked his followers to "hold fast" to in his Last Sermon, as well as about what was said by the Prophet at Ghadir al-Khumm for Hadhrat Ali and why? 

'MUHAMMAD - his life based on the earliest sources' *
is one of the many renowned books that the biographer Martin Lings has written. His biography of Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.), unlike any other, is based on the Arabic sources of the eighth and ninth centuries. Hence, the meticulous biography that we read below owes its freshness and directness of approach to the words of the men and women who heard the Prophet speak and personally witnessed the events of his life.

* The book is published by Inner Traditions International, Ltd. of New York, and by George Allen & Unwin, Ltd. of U.K.  ISBN 0-89281-046-7

Chapter LXXXIII – The Farewell Pilgrimage

   When the sun had passed its zenith the Prophet preached a sermon which he began, after praising God, with the words: "Hear me, O people, for I know not if ever I shall meet with you in this place after this year." Then he exhorted them to treat one another well and gave them many reminders of what was commanded and what was forbidden. Finally he said: "I have left amongst you that which, if ye hold fast to it, shall preserve you from all error, a clear indication, the Book of God and the word of His Prophet. O people, hear my words and understand."

An Important Observation: 
   The Agakhani Ismailis alongwith the rest of the Shiahs believe that Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) spoke of holding fast unto the Book of God and his progeny and NOT of the Book of God and his word.

  He then imparted to them a Revelation which he had just received and which completed the Koran, for it was the last passage to be revealed: This day the disbelievers despair of prevailing against your religion, so fear them not, but fear Me! This day have I perfected for you your religion and fulfilled My favour unto you, and it hath been My good pleasure to choose Islam for you as your religion.  (Holy Qur'an 5:3).

An Important Observation: 
     The Agakhani Ismailis alongwith the rest of the Shiahs are taught that the above verse (5:3) of the Holy Qur'an was NOT Revealed on the Day of Arafah but was Revealed at the Ghadir al-Khumm, immediately after the Prophet had declared Hadhrat Ali as "Mawla". The verses of their Hadiths and Riwayats that speak of the above important Declaration also add that the Prophet had made this Declaration before a gathering of the Pilgrims numbering around 124,000. For your information the entire population of Muslims was not even half of this number when the Prophet passed away in the year 632.

    He ended his brief sermon with an earnest question: "O people, have I faithfully delivered unto you my message?" A powerful murmur of assent, "O God, yea!", arose from thousands of throats and the vibrant words Allahumma na’m rolled like thunder throughout the valley. The Prophet raised his forefinger and said: "O God, bear witness!" 1

    The ritual prayers were then prayed and the rest of the Day of 'Arafah, as it is called, was spent in meditation and supplication. But as soon as the sun had set the Prophet mounted his camel, and bidding Usamah mount behind him he rode down from the hill and across the valley in the direction of Mecca, followed by his fellow pilgrims. It was the tradition to ride quickly at this point, but at the first signs of excess he cried out: "Gently, gently! In quietness of soul! And let the strong amongst you have a care for the weak!" They spent the night at Muzdalifah, which is within the sacred precinct, and there they collected small pebbles with which to stone Satan, who is represented by three pillars at ’Aqabah in the valley of Mina.... 

    The Prophet himself prayed the dawn prayer in Muzdalifah, and then led the pilgrims to ‘Aqabah, with Fadl mounted behind him on his camel. It was at this very spot on this very day twelve years previously that he had met the six men of Khazraj who had pledged their allegiance to him, thus preparing the way for the First and Second ‘Aqabah pacts. After the stoning, the animals were sacrificed, and the Prophet called for a man to shave his head....

    The prophet now bade the pilgrims visit the Ka’bah and return to spend that night and the two next nights in Mina. He himself waited until the late afternoon. Then his wives accompanied him to Mecca, all but ‘A’ishah, who was not in a state of ritual purity. A few days later, as soon as she was able, he sent her outside the sacred precinct, escorted by her brother ‘Abd ar-Rahman. There she consecrated herself afresh, and going to Mecca she made the rounds of the Ka’bah.

     Having finished the campaign in the Yemen, the troop of three hundred horse that the Prophet had sent our in Ramadan was now approaching Mecca from the south. ‘Ali had ridden on ahead of his men, eager to meet the Prophet as soon as possible and to make with him the Pilgrimage, which he now had done. Amongst the state's fifth of the spoils there was enough linen to clothe the whole army, but ‘Ali had decided that it must be handed over to the Prophet untouched. In his absence, however, the man he left in charge was persuaded to lend each man a new change of clothes out of the linen. The change was much needed for they had been away from home for nearly three months. When they were not far from entering the city, ‘Ali rode out to meet them and was amazed to see the transformation that had taken place. 
"I gave them the garments," said the deputy commander,  "that their appearance might be more seemly when they entered in among the people." The men all knew that everyone in Mecca would now  be wearing their finest clothes in honour of the Feast, and they were anxious to look their best. But ‘Ali felt he could not countenance such a liberty and he ordered them to put on their old clothes again and return the new ones to the spoils. Great resentment was felt throughout the army on this account, and when the Prophet heard of it he said: "O people, blame not ‘Ali, for he is too scrupulous in the path of God to be blamed." But these words were not sufficient, or it may be that they were only heard by a few, and the resentment continued.

   On the way back to Medina one of the  troops bitterly complained of ‘Ali to the Prophet, whose face changed colour. "Am I not nearer to the believers than their own selves?" he said; and  when the man assented, he added: "Whose nearest I am, his nearest ‘Ali is." Later on the journey, when they had halted at Ghadir al-Khumm, he gathered all the people together, and taking ‘Ali by the hand he repeated these words, to which  he added prayer: "O God, be the friend of him who is his friend, and the foe of him who is his foe"; and the murmurings against ‘Ali were silenced.
Ibn Ishaq, Sirat Rasul Allah 
2  Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wan-nihayah.

An Important Observation: 
     The Hadiths and Riwayats that are propagated as being associated with the above Declaration record that this Declaration was made by the Prophet at Ghadir al-Khumm when he heard the Command of Allah (swt) to deliver this important Message from Allah to his followers. The reference is then made to verse 5:67 of the Holy Qur'an which reads;   "O Messenger! Make known that which hath been revealed unto thee from thy Lord, for if thou do it not, thou will not have conveyed His message. Allah will protect thee from mankind. Lo! Allah guideth not the disbelieving folk." I would strongly recommend the readers to open the Glorious Qur'an and read a couple of verses before this verse 5:67. These verses speak of the "People of the Book", of the "Torah" and of the "Gospel".  Now please read the next verse number 68 which has the text of that important Message which the Prophet was Commanded to deliver. It reads; "Say: O People of the Scripture! Ye have naught (of guidance) till ye observe the Torah and the Gospel and that which was revealed unto you from your Lord. That which is revealed unto thee (Muhammad) from thy Lord is certain to increase the contumacy 
and disbelief of many of them. But grieve not for the disbelieving folk."

1.  Ghadir al-Khumm and Prophet's Declaration are historical realities.

2.  The Agakhani Ismaili and the Shiah historians both have recorded that the Prophet had mentioned at Ghadir al-Khumm; "For those who consider me as their Mawla (person in charge), Ali too is their Mawla.

3.  Since the two important Verses of the Holy Qur'an viz., 5:3 and 5:67 were not Revealed in connection with or at the Ghadir al-Khumm the above Historical Declaration by the Prophet at Ghadir al-Khumm has no Spiritual or Religious significance as it is understood by the Ismailis.

4.  Whatever the Significance one may like to give to the above Declaration, it does not mention that the entrusted or declared authority, power or supremacy of Ali as  "Mawla" was a perpetual thing that could be automatically claimed or acquired by Ali's descendants.

5.  There are several articles on this web site that clearly demonstrate that the present Aga Khan is not the Direct Physical Descendant of Ali and hence whatever views or opinions that I have expressed on this web site for the Aga Khans, do not necessarily apply to Hadhrat Ali (a.s.).

6.  In any event the authority vested in Ali can not go beyond and above that of the Prophet of Islam who was chosen by Allah as his Messenger.

7.  None of the above remotely demonstrate or even vaguely suggest that the authority and/or power of forgiving of the sins of his followers was or is given by Allah or by His Messenger to Karim Aga Khan.

8. In verse 3:135 of the Qur'an it is Revealed that "...And who can forgive sins except Allah?" Any person, after knowing all the above facts continues to clasp his or her hands and seek forgiveness from Karim Aga Khan or his accredited Agents in the Ismaili Jamaat Khanas on Chandrats (nights of the new moon), is knowingly committing the unpardonable grave sin of SHIRK, and is associating his or her Hazar Imam (Karim Aga Khan) and the Aga Khan's agents with Allah (swt).

9. Thousands of Aga Khan's accredited agents (men and women), all over the world, who collect the money (cash) on behalf of Karim Aga Khan and then forgive the sins of the followers will one day realize that they were directly aiding and abetting the Gravest Sin of Shirk in Islam.

    I pray, may the Almighty Creator open the eye and ears and hearts of everyone to accept HIS DEEN and not the DEEN of HIS Creations.

A reader wrote: "I noticed that you have mainly based your observation on the narration of a non-Muslim."

1. If a Muslim writer was to quote a text from the Authorized King James Version of the Holy Bible that does not reduce the authenticity of the quotes passage. The author has quoted the translated text from 
 Ibn Kathir's work; al-Bidayah wan-nihayah.

2. In The New Encyclopedia of Islam, volume II a brief version of the above episodes which took place during the expedition to the Yemen, led by Ali is recorded. In the Bibliography, the author writes: 
"On Ali's behaviour during the expedition: to the Yemen: Ibn Hisham 947 f.; Wakidi-Wellhausen, 418; Tubari, i, 1752f.; Ibn al-Athir, Usd, 27f.;Caetani, Annali, 10 A.H., s17 17 (p. 322)."

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