On Dhu al-Hijjah the 18th AH (March 632 CE), Prophet Muhammad (PBUH & HP), while returning from his last pilgrimage of Hajj named “the Farewell Hajj”, stopped at Ghadir Khumm (a pond) to make an announcement to the pilgrims who had accompanied him in the pilgrimage.
Ghadir Khumm was a place where people (who were about 10 thousand in number) from different lands like Iraq, Syria, and Egypt would part ways. But before they do, Gabriel revealed to the Prophet (PBUH & HP) one of the last verses of Quran. The verse is now called the verse of al-Tabligh (propagation):
يَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَاللَّهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ
O Messenger! Communicate that which has been sent down to you from your Lord, and if you do not, you will not have communicated His message (the whole message of Islam), and Allah shall protect you from the people. Indeed Allah does not guide the faithless lot. (The Holy Quran 5:67)
After the verse was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH & HP), he ordered the caravan to stop and ordered those who have passed Ghadir Khumm return and wait until those who had not yet arrived there join them. (1)
After performing the noon prayer, the Prophet (PBUH & HP) made a speech that now is one of the most famous speeches of the Prophet known as Ghadir sermon. Zeid ibn Argham, one of the famous companions of the Messenger (PBUH & HP) said:
“Once, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH & HP) made a speech for us near a pond named Ghadir which is between Mecca and Medina. Firstly, he praised Allah and talked about God and then said: ‘O people! I’m only a human and it is possible that the Apostle of my God (The angel of death) comes to me and I shall accept his invitation (my life ends) and I am leaving you al-Thaqalayn (two great things). The first one is the book of Allah (Quran) in which is guidance and light so follow it and hold fast to it.’ he advised us about the Book and encouraged us to follow it. Then the Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘and (the second one is) my close family. By Allah, I advise you (to follow) my family, By Allah, I advise you (to follow) my family, By Allah, I advise you (to follow) my family’” (2)
The Hadith above is known as “al-Thaqalayn”. It is one of the most famous Hadiths of the Prophet (PBUH & HP) which indicates that the most important things which the Prophet has left for all Muslims are Quran and the family of the Prophet.
Bara’ ibn Azib, another famous companion of the Messenger, narrates the continuation of the Hadith:
“Then the Prophet raised Ali’s hand (so that all people can see it) and said: ‘don’t you know that I am more deserved to the leadership of the believers than themselves?’. People said: ‘yes, we know’. The Prophet said again: ‘don’t you know that I am more deserved to be the leader of every believer than themselves?’. People said: ‘yes, we know’. Then the Prophet said: ‘anyone whose Mawla is me, then Ali is his Mawla. O God! Be friends with his friends and be enemy of his enemies’. Then, Umar ibn Khattab (the second Caliph) met Ali and told him:
‘Congratulations to you, Congratulations to you, you just got the Mawla of every believer, men or women’”
Arna’oot, one of the most important religious Sunni researchers admits that this historical record is right and trustable. (3)
The word “Mawla” in Arabic language has lots of meanings. Shias and Sunnis disagree on the meaning of the word used in this hadith.
Sunni scholars mostly refuse to believe that the word “Mawla”, used in the Hadith, means “Leader” or “Prior in making decisions for somebody”. They rather suggest it means “friend or helper”. They argue that this word is never used in this meaning (Leader).
Shiites, in reply to Sunni scholars, say that this world have actually been used in this meaning (“the prior”) and some Sunni scholars have admitted that. (4) also, some experts in Arab literature admitted so too like Ghiyath Barghuth, Ajjaj (5), Yahya ibn Ziad al-Farra, Akhfash and so forth. (6)
To prove that the word Mawla in this Hadith means “Leader” and not “friend”, there are many evidences but we mention just one in this text.
The congratulation of Umar ibn Khattab can be a good evidence to prove that “Mawla” here doesn’t mean “friend”. Because, as we said before, Umar says: “Congratulations to you, you just got the Mawla of every believer, men or women” while Imam Ali was the friend of every believer before the Ghadir event, and it doesn’t make sense that he just got the friend of believers in there.
Ghazali, one of the most important reflective Sunni scholars in this regard, says:
“(After the sermon) Umar said: ‘Congratulations O Aba al-Hassan (Imam Ali (AS) ), you just got my friend and every believer’s friend’. So this shows submission and satisfaction (that Imam Ali is the successor of the Prophet) but after this event, due to his desire and love for power, he made himself Caliph and leader” (7)
People had not scattered yet, when Gabriel one more time came to the Prophet and revealed another verse to him:
الْيَوْمَ يَئِسَ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا مِن دِينِكُمْ فَلَا تَخْشَوْهُمْ وَاخْشَوْنِ الْيَوْمَ أَكْمَلْتُ لَكُمْ دِينَكُمْ وَأَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيْكُمْ نِعْمَتِي وَرَضِيتُ لَكُمُ الْإِسْلَامَ دِينًا
Today the faithless have despaired of your religion. So do not fear them, but fear Me. Today I have perfected your religion for you, and I have completed My blessing upon you, and I have approved Islam as your religion.
The Hadith is that which is frequently narrated by different people and historians that no one can deny its authenticity.
The family of the Prophet i.e. Imam Ali himself, Lady Fatima, Imam Hassan and Imam Hussain are among the narrators of this Hadith. Also many of the companions of the Messenger narrated this Hadith. Kattani, one of the Sunni scholars, says that about 30 companions of the Prophet narrated this story including: Umar ibn Khattab, Zeid ibn Argham, Abi Hurairah, Sa’d ibn Waghas and etc. (8)
Due to this fact that this Hadith is so frequently narrated, it is called “Mutavatir”, meaning that this Hadith is undeniable.
Shi'as have always regarded the Day of Ghadir as one of the greatest Eids and this day is known to them as Eid al-Ghadir. Imam Sadiq (AS) says that the Eid al-Ghadir is the greatest Eid of Allah. Its name in skies is “the day of Promise” and in the earth “the day of Covenant”. (9)
Shiites believe that this day was the day that Imam Ali (AS), our first Imam, was officially announced to be the successor of the Prophet (PBUH & HP). So this day is a great holiday for them and fasting in it is so recommended. In this day, Shiites go to the house of Seyyed people -the descendants of Imam Ali and Lady Fatimah- and congratulate them. In return, Seyyed people give them gifts. It is highly recommended to conduct parties in this day and give food to the needy ones.
For more information about Ghadir Khumm, you can read the book al-Ghadir, by Allamah al-Amini (Arabic).
- At-Tafsir, al-Ayyashi, vol.1, Pg.332
- Sahih al-Muslim, vol.4, Pg.1873
- Musnad ibn Hanbal, published by ar-Risalah, vol.30, Pg.430
- Sharh al-Maqasid, al-Taftazani, vol.5, Pg.273
- Al-Shfi, Sharif al-Murtaza, vol.2, Pg.270
- At-Tafsir al-Kabir, Fakhr ad-Din ar-Razi, vol.29, Pg.227
- Sir al-A’lamin, al-Ghazali, vol.1, Pg.18
- Nazm al-Mutanathir, al-Kattani, vol.1, Pg.194
- Vasa’il ash-Shiah, Sheik Hurr al-A’meli, vol.5, Pg.224
We are far ahead of the time when people lived in actual social networks. People living in a town or village were in a strong relationship with one another, and of course, it served them well.
But, maybe people were too closely related back then. And it had its downsides, too. “Give me a break, please, I need some privacy!” That’s what we said to the social life of the past times. The modern way of life ascribed so much importance to our privacy. This, too, had its downsides and sometimes made us feel so lonely. It didn’t quench our need to see and be seen. We needed to share more.
But, modern life and technology also had the answer to that. They provided an unaccountably cheap and easy way of making relationships, without the need for getting quite out of our private zone; virtual Social Networks!
Well, that’s great! We can get to know about our family and friends without spending much time or money. We can easily make thousands of friends from around the world. We can share our ideas and lifestyle with them and get to know about theirs. Like all other inventions, there are many good ways to benefit from social networks. And there being many good ways to benefit from something, is somehow equal to its lawfulness in Islam.
“… who bids them to do what is right and forbids them from what is wrong, makes lawful to them all the good things and forbids them from all vicious things…” (7:157).
But is using social networks in Islam forbidden? Does Islam have any special resistance to these networks? Well, not really. And the rules on what we should do and what we should try to avoid are pretty much the same as the ones we need to observe in actual communications.
Therefore, as we are always careful to avoid any harm in our actual relationships , we should also do the same in these virtual sites of getting together, and try not to go for the bad things that might be found in there, nor spread things that might do more harm than good to others or to the society.
That means even if it is a boy-girl or man-woman relationship, there is nothing wrong with it as long as it is an upright, righteous, and honest one, and as long as you observe modesty and the rules of covering, the same way as a relationship between men and women in the outer world.
Also, Islam very much calls us up to mind the circles we move in , which are, more or less, a representation of our character and inclinations! Do our friends and groups in social networks –as well as in the real world– help us and change us for better? Or that they are just fun for a short time and may bring us lasting sorrows and regrets? 
You might have noticed that conventional social networks, being inherently so cheap and easy, tend to make everything cheap and easy in all respects… and maybe too much so sometimes!
Suppose you share a highly valuable and precious post on Facebook –which is the easiest way to share it, of course– and your friends would barely spend five seconds to look at it!
We are in the habit of taking everything easy in these virtual places; even our relationships. We don’t care that much about what we see or share, and sometimes about the kind of relationships we are making, while, to the contrary, a Muslim is always required to be watchful of his or her doings! 
So, apart from the benefits of being cheap and easy for use, they also make it easier to lie, to pretend, or to do any wrong. We may not be quite conscious that some of our relationships in the social networks could be, more or less, a kind of betrayal of our wedlock! Or a little too open to be modest and righteous! For, according to Islam, a husband’s level of modesty affects that of his wife and vice versa.  That means, the more righteous a spouse, the more so will be the other! That’s why it is even more important here never to forget that, little as it may be, a wrongdoing is always wrong, whether in a virtual social network or out there in the real world.
“So whoever does an atom’s weight of good will see it, and whoever does an atom’s weight of evil will see it.” (99:7,8)
- Wasa’il al-Shi’a, vol. 26, p. 14, Al-Mu’jam al-Awsat, vol. 1, p. 90
- Al-Amali, p. 518, Sunan al-Tirmidhi, vol. 4, p. 167
- Quran, 25:27,28
- Quran, 59: 18, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 74, p. 349
- Kanz al-‘Ummal, vol. 5, p. 317
In the previous article, we explained the importance of generosity in Islam. This article presents you with six codes of behavior that are to be observed in the acts of charities and alms-giving. The religion of Islam attaches great emphasis to the way how we offer our generous help and kindness to others. Some of the rules regarding generosity in Islam are as follows:
“‘We feed you only for the sake of Allah. We desire no reward from you, nor thanks’” (76:9)
In this verse, Allah praises the family of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) [Ahlul-Bayt (AS)], who would give their food to the needy only for the sake of God's grace and satisfaction without asking for rewards and even waiting for thanks.
“As for him who gives and is Godwary” (92:5)
The companionship of generosity in Islam with piety is to avoid stinginess in almsgiving and also to earn and spend in lawful (Halal) ways. You can choose a deceitful way to reach a laudable aim since the ends can never justify the means.
“Do not keep your hand chained to your neck, nor open it all together, or you will sit blameworthy and regretful ” (17:29)
This verse stresses the importance of moderation saying we should neither quit almsgiving by being tight-fisted nor be too open-handed in our act of kindness towards others.
“O you who have faith! Do not render your charities void by reproaches and affronts” (2:264)
Expressing or reminding your favor upon others may hurt their feelings and would definitely invalidate your charitable act. Islam strongly recommends us to treat each other with dignity and respect. Therefore, we should seriously avoid any kind of hurtful behavior or words which we think might offend the receiver of help.
“O you who have faith! Spend of the good things you have earned [through trade and the like] and of what We bring forth for you from the earth, and do not be of the mind to give the bad part of it, for you yourselves would not take it unless you ignore…” (2:267)
We are surely reluctant to receive anything worthless; so how could we give away something we do not like ourselves in the path of Allah? This is definitely disrespectful to our fellow brothers and sisters, insulting the high status of God.
It is highly recommended in Islam to give charity in secret so that the needy does not feel embarrassed and to safeguard his/her dignity and self-esteem. We should know that we are never superior to the one we are helping no matter how great our charity is.
Shall We Help the One Whom Allah Would Help if He Wished?
This question is asked by the disbelievers when Allah tells them to give charity: “When they are told, ‘Spend out of what Allah has provided you,’ the faithless say to the faithful, ‘Shall we feed [someone] whom Allah would feed if He wished? You are only in manifest error’” (36:47).
You might also wonder why Allah does not provide for the destitute Himself and orders the rich to help them! To resolve this doubt one should think about how people would develop virtues if they were all the same and had the same facilities! What would responsibility mean then? What about freedom of choice? Wouldn’t it be deterministic if God chose to help the ones He wished? “Does man suppose that he has been abandoned to futility?” (75:36)
There would be only one answer to all these questions: Each of us is responsible for everything that happens to us and also for our fellow human beings. The teachings of generosity in Islam are recommended in many verses of the holy Quran and stories from our infallible Imams to help us all lead a better life.
Not only that, psychologists and researchers of modern sciences have proven the positive impacts generosity has on our lives, as well. That is why people around the world nowadays are getting more and more engaged in many charitable acts like voluntary works, donations, etc., which would help the cycle of “good” going and make us all live in a happier world.