Ghadir, a historical reality
All people who are interested in the history of Islam should know that Ghadir – that is, the event that happened during the Holy Prophet's Hajjat al-Wida' [the Farewell Pilgrimage] in Ghadir al-Khumm – is an indisputable historical reality. The truth of the event is not questioned. It is not just Shia Muslims who have recounted the event. Sunni hadith narrators have also recounted Ghadir. A great caravan of Muslims were accompanying the Prophet (s.w.a.) on the Farewell Pilgrimage. A group of them were some distance ahead of the caravan. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) sent some messengers to tell them to go back and join him in Ghadir al-Khumm. And he waited for the pilgrims who had fallen behind to catch up with him. A great crowd of Muslims was formed there. There are different accounts of how many pilgrims were present there, ranging from 90,000 to 120,000. In that hot weather, it was not possible for the residents of the Arabian Peninsula – many of whom were Bedouins and villagers who were used to hot weather conditions – to stand on the hot ground, so they spread their aba [a long loose outer garment traditionally worn by Arabs] under their feet. This point has been mentioned in Sunni traditions as well. The Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) stood up and helped the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) stand up. He said, "Those who consider me as their guardian [mawla] should consider Ali as their guardian. O God, be the friend of Ali's friends and the enemy of his enemies." Of course, these sentences were just part of what the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) said there, but the important point is that he publicly mentioned the issue of Wilayat – that is, Islamic rule – in an explicit manner and appointed the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as his successor. This event has also been recounted in tens of reliable books written by our Sunni brothers. The late Allamah Amini has collected these in a book titled "Al-Ghadir". Many other books have also been written in this regard.