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Newsletter for January 2008

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  Eid al-Ghadir
by Marjan Hassani Rad

Eid al-Ghadir is the anniversary commemorating the Prophet Muhammad's - peace be upon him and his progeny - last instructions to the believers by declaring Hazrat Ali - upon whom also be peace - his successor and legatee at Ghadir Khumm.

The occasion was his return from his last pilgrimage to Mecca which is known in history as 'Hajjat-ul-Wida'.

Prophet Muhammad's last sermon at Ghadir Khumm is an event celebrated by Shia Muslims worldwide, who regard it as the confirmation of Hazrat Ali's succession to Prophet Muhammad.

This event took place on the 18th of Zil-Hajj, in 632 CE, 3 months before the Prophet Mohammad's demise.

On this day the Prophet Mohammad was ordered by the Almighty to publicly and officially appoint Imam Ali as his successor and to seek the Muslims' allegiance for Ali. He therefore ordered all caravans returning from Hajj to stop at Ghadir Khumm. As soon as all the pilgrims were gathered, he revealed Ayah-e Ghadir Khumm to the people.

The message was: "O Messenger, deliver to the people what has been revealed to you from your Lord and if you do not do so then you will not have delivered His message and Allah will protect you from the people. For God does not guide those who reject Faith."

Near the end of his blessed life, Prophet Muhammad had been uneasy. There was a potential for disunity in the nascent Muslim community. Muhammad declared his own son-in-law and cousin, Ali ibn Abu Taleb, as his spiritual and secular heir publicly at God's command.

After declaring Hazrat Ali his successor by raising his hand and calling him the true leader of Muslims after himself, Prophet Muhammad called on Muslims to give allegiance to their Imam. All Muslims declared allegiance to Imam Ali as the leader of the believers by congratulating him on this great honor.

The Holy Prophet asked at Ghadir Khumm, "Am I not more precious to you than your own-selves?"

In response to this question Muslims said "Yes, you are dearer to us than our own lives."

The Prophet responded with, "O God, be witness to their admission. Ali is the master of one who acknowledges me to be his master. O God, love those who love Ali. Help those who help Ali. Desert those who desert Ali. I am the city of knowledge and Ali is the gate."

However, after the death of Prophet Mohammad some Muslims did not observe or adhere to the allegiance that they had sworn to Imam Ali; some did. Those who did adhere to Allah's command and obeyed the order of the Prophet Mohammad became known as the partisans of Ali, the Eid Ghadir is considered one of the most important religious celebrations in Iran. Muslims demonstrate their allegiance great love and respect for Imam Ali.

On this day men, women, and children dress in their finest clothing to visit their relatives and friends.

During this holiday, Iranian Muslims traditionally visit the families that are related to the Prophet to assert allegiance. The "seyyeds" thank them with cookies and various gifts.

Many young Iranian couples make use of the auspicious day to wed.

They hope their marriage will remain firm and permanent with the remembrance of Imam Ali (PBUH).







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