Roshd Islamic Shia Website : Ocassion Letters 2008/12/17
Eid al-Ghadir : A Fair Judgment 

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful


A Fair Judgment

“I have not found one person from amongst the deceased to be as lenient and powerful in presenting logical facts as you are.”

(Quote taken from a correspondence from Sheikh Salim directed to Allamah Sharaf al-Din)

Allamah Sayyid Abd al-Hussain Sharaf al-Din is one of the greatest men amongst the Shiite scholars. This man’s entire effort was to gather the attention of all Muslims to the original religious issues which were obligatory upon all to follow. He wanted to unite all under a unified flag so to create brotherhood amongst all.

He achieved his goal in Egypt, when he met and spoke with famous Sunni Scholar, Sheikh Salim. They both agreed that the Sunni and Shia sects were both Muslims, and their main disagreement is on the issue of Imamate. They therefore made an agreement to meet and discuss the reasoning for each side, and to prepare written answers for each question. This suggestion was accepted and the correspondences were collected in a book entitled “al-Muraji’at”.  For this occasion we have selected an excerpt from this long conversation, which focuses and analyzes the Hadith of Ghadir. The Hadith of Ghadir is one of the most important Shiite analogies on the subject of Imamate.

Once Allamah Sharaf al-Din provides authentic and reliable Sunni sources, which discuss the event of Ghadir and the line of events that took place before and after that event (if interested to read more about this matter you may refer to the book Al-Muraji’at, and or to the article on Roshd website entitled “Ghadir and its Importance”), Sheikh Salim answers him in the following manner:   

  • “The term Mawla has been used in different cases in the Quran. Sometimes it means inheritor, sometimes friend, and sometimes Master.

Based on this analogy, the Sunnis argue that the Holy Prophet’s sermon can be interpreted as the following, ‘Whosoever I am his helper or friend, then Ali is also his helper or friend.’  They base their claim on this incident: In a trip, Ali and a group of people had traveled to Yemen. Ali made it hard upon a couple of people for the sake of Allah. In reply the couple of people complained about him. The Messenger of Allah wanted to refute the complaints, and proceeded to speak of the virtues of Ali. Amidst these virtues, the Prophet especially noted that “Whosoever considers me as his friend, then Ali is his friend.”  And then he continued to speak of the Ahl al-Bayt in general in a famous Hadith referred to as Hadith Thaqalayn (1). In conclusion the Sunnis argue that the Hadith of Ghadir is not proof for the concept of Imamate.”

Allamah Sharaf ul-Din replied in the following manner:

“…You are well aware of the virtue of the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP), of his wisdom and infallibility. You also know that he does not speak from desire; rather what he speaks has been revealed unto him. 

Now if Non-Muslim scholars ask you, ‘Why did your Prophet gather thousands of people in burning hot desert that lacked all signs of life and livelihood? Why did he inform everyone about his death in the beginning of his sermon? Why did he say ‘I am responsible’? Indeed which teaching would he have been responsible for? Why did he ask about the trueness of Paradise, hell and resurrection day? Why did he claim that the book of Allah was similar in weight and value to his family? Why did the Prophet make them give an oath, ‘Am I not more deserving to order you than yourselves?’ And why did he continue with the famous sentence, ‘Whosoever I am his Mawla Ali as his Mawla.’ Truly what was the purpose of creating such a magnificent gathering? What is the importance of this matter that would have left the mission of your Prophet incomplete, if the message was not carried out?’

Would this answer really satisfy you that, ‘The purpose of Allah and His Messenger from all this effort was to remind everyone of people’s friendship with Ali.’

If this was the case wouldn’t the Holy Prophet be accused of speaking the obvious? Wouldn’t he be accused of preparing grounds that have nothing to do with the main incident?

Your position is higher than to believe that the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) gathered all this trouble just to say something that does not require explanation. You consider him more knowledgeable than for scholars and philosophers to easily find fault in his acts and speeches. 

But the reality of why the Ahl al-Sunnah narrate the Hadith of Ghadir in such a manner is that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) sent Imam Ali (PBUH) to Yemen twice, once in the 8th of Hijrah, and another on the 10th of Hijrah. After his return from the first trip, a couple of people complained about Ali (PBUH) to the Prophet (PBUH&HP).

The Prophet (PBUH&HP) was disappointed in them. But in the second trip of Ali (PBUH) to Yemen, he joined the Prophet to perform the final Hajj, and in this trip no one said a word about Ali (PBUH). Even before the incident of Ghadir, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) placed Ali (PBUH) as his partner for the slaughtering (of the sheep, a ritual done in Hajj as a conclusion to the rituals). Thus, there was no reason for the Prophet (PBUH&HP) to narrate the Hadith of Ghadir as an answer for these people. 

In addition, even for those who had complained about him, there was no need for the Holy Prophet (PBUH&HP) to give such a detailed introduction for all the people; rather he could have just spoken words that would answer the complaints.”

And in reply to this analogy, Sheikh Salim said,

  • “I have not found one person from amongst the deceased to be as lenient and powerful in presenting logical facts as you are. Based on the facts that you presented the truth is unveiled. I have no further arguments than to say the terms Wali and Mawla in the Hadith of Ghadir refer only to Master. If the intention was friendship or similar terms, there would be no need to request punishment. (2) Based on this reasoning, your definition of Mawla is true and obvious.”

(Selection taken from the book “Al-Muraji’at”, by Late Allamah Sharaf al-Din)

Roshd website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend on the public announcement to Amir al-Mu’minin’s (PBUH) Mastership, the great Holy Eid of Ghadir Khumm.

As a gift for this Eid, Roshd Website has gathered some computer background pictures. If interested, you may click on any of the images to your liking and download them. 

Roshd Islamic Shia Website


1. This is referring to the famous and authentic narration of Thaqalayn, accepted by both Shia and Sunni sects.  In it the Prophet (PBUH&HP) says, “I leave to weighty things among you: The Book of Allah, and my Progeny.  You will not be misguided if you hold on tight to these two.” (Sahih Muslim, vol. 5, chapter on the virtues of Ali ), Sahih Tirmidhi, vol. 5, p. 328, Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, vol. 3, p. 17 and …

2. This is referring to the story of Nu’man ibn Harith Fahri, who approached the Prophet after the incident of Ghadir and said, “….Is this (issue) coming from you or from Allah?”  The Prophet (PBUH&HP) said “By Allah the order has come from Allah.”  Nu’man returned while uttering “O’ Allah if this speech is coming from you, throw a rock from the sky on my head.”  And Allah granted his prayer as a rock from the sky hit him so hard he died. Thereafter the introductory verses of Surah Ma’arij were revealed.  (This issue has been recorded in numerous Sunni sources. For further information you may refer to the first volume of Al-Ghadir by Allamah Amini or Shia interpretation of the introductory verses of Surah Ma’arij.)