What is Ghadeer day and its reality?
Thank you for writing to us. The event of Ghadir Khumm (Arabic and Persian: واقعه غدیر خم) is an event that took place in March 632. According to Shiite interpretation, while returning from the Hajj pilgrimage, Prophet Muhammad (sws) gave a sermon here in which he announced that Ali ibn Abi Talib would be his successor. This sermon included the Holy Prophet's (sws) famous declaration that "to whomsoever I am Mawla, Ali is also their Mawla." The Shiites celebrate this day as an Eid.
However, Sunnis disagree with the Shia interpretation of this report. In our view, this narrative seems to be a display of the Prophet's love and affection for Sayyidina Ali and for his progeny respectively. In this narrative, the Prophet (sws) has admonished the Muslims to respect and regard Ali (ra) as they would respect and regard him. In its spirit, it is a similar directive of the Prophet (sws) as his saying:
أصحابي لا تتخذوهم غرضا بعدي فمن أحبهم فبحبي أحبهم ومن أبغضهم فببغضي أبغضهم (مسند أحمد بن حنبل، رقم الحديث 16201)
Fear God with respect to my companions. Do not be disrespectful towards them after me. Remember that whoever loves them, loves me and whoever holds malice against them, holds malice against me. (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal, Hadith 16201)
We believe it was simply a general admonition to some people to not hold grudges against Sayyidina Ali (ra). It was in no way an announcement of his being a successor after the Prophet (sws). We believe that the Prophet (sws) did not nominate any successor after him and this was left for Muslims to decide. The Qur'an has asked Muslims to choose a successor based on mutual consultation (Qur'an 42:38). Also, if God really wanted Muslims to have Saydina Ali (ra) as the successor of the Holy Prophet (sws) as a religious obligation, it would have been mentioned clearly and explicitly in the Qur'an itself without being left to interpretation. In our view, there are only two Eid festivals established in God's religion viz. Eid al-FItr and Eid al-Azha.
Hope this helps.