Every Muslim has heard of Hadith Al-Thaqalayn.  If you are Sunni you know it as “I leave you the Quran and my Sunnah” and if you are Shia you know it as “I leave you the Quran and my family.” This Hadith was revealed three months before the prophet (pbuh) passed away,  on the way back from his final pilgrimage to Mecca. According to Shias, due to the prophet’s imminent death,  Allah (swt) gave a command to stop at Ghadir Khumm to appoint Ali (s.a) as his successor; this command is in the Quran 5:67 and known as the verse of proclamation. The appointment of Ali (s.a) was strategically not announced earlier during the pilgrimage in Mecca, a place where the prophet still had many enemies but rather on the way back at a more neutral place called Ghadir Khumm where the prophet was much safer being primarily surrounded by his closest followers from Medina and the people who migrated with him from Mecca (i.e. the Ansar and Muhajirin). Nevertheless, the prophet was still apprehensive knowing that appointing a thirty year old Ali (s.a) would not sit well with many of the older sahaba. The following is the Shia Version of the speech at Ghadir Khum followed by seven sunni hadiths that seem to link to the same event. When we look at the Shia version everything seems to make sense, Allah knew that in three months the prophet would pass away and this was the last chance where everybody would be gathered in one spot with so many witnesses. In fact, the event of Ghadir Khumm is probably the most highly attested event in Islamic history (i.e. muttawatir)  such that no Muslim on the day of judgement will be able to say they did not know about it.  




Then he said to them, “Dear People, listen to me carefully. Allah (SWT) has ordered me to inform you that I will soon depart from this world to meet my Lord. I am leaving for you two precious things and if you adhere to both of them, you will never go astray after me. They are the Book of Allah and my progeny, which is my Ahlul-Bayt (the People of my Household). The two shall never separate from each other until they meet me by the Pool) on the Day of Judgment. So my advice to you is that you be obedient and loyal to them. Do not go ahead of them or stay behind or you shall go astray.” Then the Prophet (SA) asked them, “Who is more worthy of your obedience than yourselves?” The people answered, “God and His Messenger know better.” The Prophet (SA) asked them, “Do I not deserve your obedience as Allah (SWT) mentioned in His dear Book?” So, they answered, “Yes, yes we testify to that.” Then, the Prophet (SA) leaned forward and raised the hand of Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) from among them and made him stand in front of him, showing him to everyone. Then he said loudly, “As I am worthy of your obedience, Ali is also worthy of your obedience. Whoever I am his guardian, Ali is also his guardian too.” Then, he raised his hands to the heavens and prayed to his Lord, “Oh God, safeguard those who take him as guardian, and be the enemy of those who take him as enemy. Give victory to those who support him, and let down those who let him down!” Then the Prophet (SA) asked them, “Have I not conveyed the order of Al­lah (SWT) to you?” They all replied in one unanimous voice, “Yes, yes.” Then he raised his hands to the heavens and said, “Oh God, bear witness to that.” Then he announced, “You may now be dismissed, and may those present inform the absent with what they heard from me.” Then he ordered all of them to shake the hands of Ali and give their pledge of allegiance after they finished.  (1)



SAHIH MUSLIM- Hadeeth of Thaqalayn. Narrated by Zaid b. Arqam 

Yazid b. Hayyan reported, I went along with Husain b. Sabra and ‘Umar b. Muslim to Zaid b. Arqam and, as we sat by his side, Husain said to him: Zaid, you have been able to acquire a great virtue that you saw Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) listened to his talk, fought by his side in (different) battles, offered prayer behind him. Zaid, you have in fact earned a great virtueZaid, narrate to us what you heard from Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him). He said: I have grown old and have almost spent my age and I have forgotten some of the things which I remembered in connection with Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him), so accept whatever I narrate to you, and which I do not narrate do not compel me to do that. He then said: One day Allah’s Messenger (may peace be upon him) stood up to deliver sermon at a watering place known as Khumm situated between Mecca and Medina. He praised Allah, extolled Him and delivered the sermon and exhorted (us) and said: Now to our purpose. O people, I am a human being. I am about to receive a messenger (the angel of death) from my Lord and I, in response to Allah’s call, (would bid good-bye to you), but I am leaving among you two weighty things: the one being the Book of Allah in which there is right guidance and light, so hold fast to the Book of Allah and adhere to it. He exhorted (us) (to hold fast) to the Book of Allah and then said: The second are the members of my household I remind you (of your duties) to the members of my family. He (Husain) said to Zaid: Who are the members of his household? Aren’t his wives the members of his family? Thereupon he said: His wives are the members of his family (but here) the members of his family are those for whom acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. And he said: Who are they? Thereupon he said: ‘Ali and the offspring of ‘Ali, ‘Aqil and the offspring of ‘Aqil and the offspring of Ja’far and the offspring of ‘Abbas. Husain said: These are those for whom the acceptance of Zakat is forbidden. Zaid said: Yes.  Sahih Muslim BOOK 31, Hadith #5920




Saheeh Al-Tirmidhi

Narrated Zaid bin Arqam, may Allah be pleased with both of them: that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said :”Indeed, I am leaving among you, that which if you hold fast to them, you shall not be misguided after me. One of them is greater than the other: The Book of Allah is a rope extended from the sky to the earth, and my family – the people of my house – and they shall not split until they meet at the Hawd, so look at how you deal with them after me.” 49 Chapters on Virtues, English Reference: Vol 1, Book 46, Hadith 37887




Narrated Buraida:

The Prophet sent Ali to Khalid to bring the Khumus (of the booty) and I hated Ali, and Ali had taken a bath (after a sexual act with a slave-girl from the Khumus). I said to Khalid, “Don’t you see this (i.e. Ali)?” When we reached the Prophet, I mentioned that to him. He (the Prophet) said, “O Buraida! Do you hate Ali?” I said, “Yes.” He said, “Do you hate him, for he deserves more than that from the Khumlus.”  Sahih BukharI Volume 5, Bk 59, Number 637

This is the version of Ghadir Khumm narrated in the Sahihayn (i.e. Bukhari and Muslim), with no mention at all of the word “Mawla.” Shaikh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: “As for his saying ‘If I am someone’s mawla then Ali is his mawla too’, this is not in the books of Sahih (Bukhari and Muslim), but it is one of the reports which were narrated by the scholars and concerning whose authenticity the people disputed.”

We have already seen the version of Ghadir Khumm in Sahih Bukhari and how it does not contain the addition of “Mawla”. However, this addition of “Mawla” can be found in this variant of the Hadith:



Buraida narrated: “I invaded Yemen with Ali and I saw coldness from his part; so when I came (back) to the Messenger of Allah and mentioned Ali and criticized him, I saw the face of the Messenger of Allah change and he said: ‘O Buraida, am I not closer to the believers than they are to themselves?’ I said: ‘Yes, O Messenger of Allah.’ He (then) said: ‘Whomsoever’s Mawla I am, this Ali is also his Mawla.’”

(Musnad Ahmad [v5 / p347 / #22995] with a Sahih chain of transmission and all trustworthy [thiqa] narrators relied upon by al-Bukhari and Muslim; al-Nisa’i in Sunan al-Kubra [v5 / p45 / #8145]; al-Hakim in al-Mustadrak [v3 / p119 / #4578]; Abu Nu`aym; Ibn Jarir and others)

In a slightly different version:


Buraida narrated: “The Prophet sent me to Yemen with Ali and I saw coldness from his part; when I returned and complained about him to the Messenger of Allah, he (the Messenger of Allah) raised his head towards (him) and said: ‘O Buraida! Whomsoever’s Mawla I am, this Ali is also his Mawla.’”

(Sunan al-Kubra, v5, p130, #8466; a similar report can be found in Musannaf of Ibn Abi Shayba [v6, p.374])

In other narrations, the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وآله وسلّم) said: “allahummu wali man walaah wa `adi man `adaah”, which translates to: “O Allah, befriend whosoever befriends him and be the enemy of whosoever is hostile to him.” Some scholars have doubted the authenticity of this statement, but we shall hereby accept this second addition as authentic.    A Sunni explanation taken from:  http://www.chiite.fr/en/hadith_01.html


We left with the Messenger of Allah until we arrived at Ghadir Khumm, and it was one of the hottest days we have experienced. He (the Prophet) praised & glorified Allah, and then He said: “O people ! There has not been a Prophet sent except that he lived half of the length of the previous Prophet’s life, and I am about to answer the call of death; and I am leaving amongst you something which you will not go astray after: the Book of Allah.”  He then stood and took the hand of Ali and said: “O people! Who is more worthy of you  than your own selves?” They (the audience) answered: “Allah and His Messenger are more knowledgeable.” The prophet asked: “Am I not more worthy of you than your own selves?” They answered: “Of course.” The Prophet then said: “Whoever I am his mawla, then Ali is his mawla.”   {19} Al-Mustadrak’ala Al-Sahihayn (6329), Al-Mo’jam Al-Kabir (4986)   A Sunni explanation taken from:  http://ghadirkhumm.com/thaqalayn-critical-study


The Messenger of Allah, while returning from his last hajj he rested at Ghadir Khumm and ordered that the ground be swept. Then he said: “It is as if I am about to answer the call of death. Verily, I have left behind Al Thaqalayn amongst you, one of which is greater than the other. The book of Allah and my kinship. So watch out how you treat these two after me. For verily they will not separate from each other until they come back to me by the side of the Hawdh.” Then he said: “Verily, Allah is my mawla and I am the mawla of every believer” Then he took Ali by the hand and said: “This is the mawla of whomever I am his mawla. O God, love whoever loves him and be the enemy of whomever takes him as an enemy”  17 Al-Sunan Al Kubra by Al-Nasai {8410}, Al-Mustadrak’ala Al-Sahihayn {4633} A Sunni explanation taken from:  http://ghadirkhumm.com/thaqalayn-critical-study


(1)  https://www.al-islam.org/shiite-encyclopedia-ahlul-bayt-dilp-team/ghadir-khum-part-1#more-detailed-speech-prophet-pond-khum