Message of Prophet (s.a.w.a.) in Ghadeer for Muslims till the Day of Judgment included a complete recipe for guidance right from the Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) immediate successor – Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.) to the last guide – Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).
Muslims over the centuries have been preoccupied in portraying the Sahabah (companions) as a viable alternative to Ali (a.s.) in leadership of the nation, forgetting that the Ghadeer sermon was not just about Ali (a.s.), it was about twelve successors of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) of whom Ali (a.s.) was the first link. These twelve successors ending in Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) were charged by Allah with the responsibility to guide the Muslim nation till the Day of Judgment.
But the Muslims when they accepted the Ghadeer sermon took a very narrow view and failed to grasp its far-reaching implications for the Muslim community till the end of time. It is no wonder that the direct consequence of ignoring the Ghadeer sermon has seen Muslims not just in Ali’s (a.s.) era, but in all eras, struggling for guidance in the very basics of religion.
When some Muslims believe that Islam remained free of innovation in the first three generations only, here we have the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) outlining in the Ghadeer sermon how the Muslim nation can remove free of innovation till the Day of Judgement under the leadership of the twelve Imams (a.s.).
Characteristics of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) from the Sermon of Ghadeer
The Prophet’s (s.a.w.a.) sermon listed the characteristics of Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) which not only identifies him (a.t.f.s.) clearly for the Muslims but also separates the real Mahdi from imposters.
We have referenced excerpts from the Ghadeer Sermon that highlight Imam Mahdi’s (a.t.f.s.) peculiar characteristics.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) declared in the Ghadeer Sermon:
- Know that the seal of the Imams will be the Qaim, the Mahdi (a.t.f.s.). He will exact revenge on the oppressors.
- Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will draw Allah’s bounties for the creatures from the deep ocean
- Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) will avenge the blood of all servants of Allah
- Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the Chosen One of Allah
- Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) is the heir of every knowledge with perfect understanding of everything.
- Al-Ehtejaj v 1 p 56-66
These are only the excerpts on Imam Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) from the Ghadeer sermon. The sermon is long and the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) spoke of the Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) at length.
What is immediately clear from the excerpts is that:
- Mahdi’s (a.t.f.s.) existence is not an innovation or a groundless belief of some Muslims.
- His advent was forecast by the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) over 1,400 years ago in the same way as he (s.a.w.a.) forecast the advent of other successors after Ali (a.s.).
- The specific traits of Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) like exacting revenge from the oppressors, drawing Allah’s bounties from the earth and the oceans, knowledge of every science, even those not yet discovered by man, are reference points that help Muslims identify the real Mahdi from the imposters many of whom have come and gone without achieving any of these tasks.
- Belief in Mahdi (a.t.f.s.) completes the chain of guidance that started from Ali (a.s.). If one submits to Tauheed, Prophethood and the preceding Imams (a.s.) but rejects the Mahdi (a.t.f.s.), he has disregarded the entire Ghadeer sermon and his beliefs no matter how sincere will not avail him.
Muslims struggling for guidance ever since the martyrdom of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) must therefore reflect on the Ghadeer sermon and its primary takeaways viz. leadership of twelve Imams beginning with Ali (a.s.) and ending in the Mahdi (a.t.f.s.).