The obvious and the hidden realities behind Ghadir
Ghadir embodies many realities. On the surface, in Ghadir al-Khumm, the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) resolved the issue of government and Imamate – in all senses of the word – for the newly established Islamic community. He appointed the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as the leader and Imam of the Islamic community which had been established only about ten years before. Of course even the surface of the issue is extremely important, and it is an example of a divine solution for those who are after effective solutions in a revolutionary society. But there are great realities beyond the surface of the issue, and if the Islamic Ummah and Islamic communities pay attention to those prominent points, their path will be revealed to them. Essentially, if all Muslims – both Shia Muslims who consider Ghadir a matter of Imamate and Wilayat and non-Shia Muslims who accept the historical validity of Ghadir but do not consider it to be concerned with the issue of Imamate and Wilayat – focus their attention on the messages of Ghadir, they will make great achievements which will benefit all Muslims.
One of the important realities behind Ghadir is that the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) determined the criteria for the ruler of an Islamic society by appointing the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) as the leader. In Ghadir al-Khumm, the person who was introduced by the Prophet (s.w.a.) to Muslims and to the history of mankind was the embodiment of all Islamic values. He was a faithful man who had made many sacrifices for the sake of Islam. He enjoyed the highest level of piety. He was devoid of worldly greed. He had been tested in all Islamic arenas – the arenas of danger, knowledge, making judgments, and other such arenas. That is to say, after the Holy Prophet (s.w.a.) introduced Imam Ali (a.s.) as the leader of the early Islamic community, he conveyed the message to all Muslims throughout history that the ruler of an Islamic society has to meet the standards set by Imam Ali (a.s.). Therefore, in Islamic communities, those who do not enjoy Imam Ali's virtues – such as Islamic understanding, Islamic behavior, Islamic jihad, Islamic generosity, and humility before God's servants – are not qualified to rule. The Holy Prophet provided Muslims with this criterion, which is an unforgettable lesson.
Another message of Ghadir is the importance of establishing Islamic and divine justice in society. During his rule which lasted only a few years, the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.) showed that establishing Islamic justice was a priority for him. According to the Quran, justice is the goal behind sending the prophets and the divine books and sharias. "We have already sent Our messengers with clearest Signs, and We have sent the Scriptures and the Balance down with them, that mankind might be observing justice." [The Holy Quran, 57: 25] Administering justice according to Islamic teachings is the best way to ensure justice. This was the first priority for the Commander of the Faithful (a.s.).