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Muhammad Designating ‘Ali His First Successor at Ghadīr Khum

Muhammad Designating ‘Ali His First Successor at Ghadīr Khum

Shī‘ī tradition maintains that Muhammad publicly confirmed ‘Ali as his first successor on the occasion of the Farewell Pilgrimage, the Prophet final’s pilgrimage to Mecca. Muhammad and the members of the ummah who accompanied him were returning to Medina from Mecca when the Prophet ordered the large concourse of Muslims to stop at an oasis called Ghadīr Khumm, located approximately halfway between the two sacred cities. According to Shī‘īs, it was here that Muhammad delivered an address in which he explicitly designated ‘Ali his first successor. However, when Muhammad died, ‘Ali did not succeed him, and later Shī‘īs came to recognize the acclamation of Abū Bakr as a catastrophic moral and political failure. They regard Abū Bakr, ‘Umar, and ‘Uthman as unjust usurpers who seized power in direct contravention of Divine Will. The internecine fighting that imperiled the ummah during the reigns of the last two Rāshidūn caliph-imāms is thought to be a direct consequence of undermining the Prophet’s authority, and thus God’s authority, on earth. In this image the Prophet embraces ‘Ali while standing on a pile of camel saddles, and it reflects a definitively Shī‘ī notion of legitimacy and piety.

Next Button Off Ali ibn Abi Talib, Muhammad’s Foster Brother, Cousin, and Son-in-law, Receiving the Bay’ah (oath of allegiance) in Kufa (modern-day Iraq), 656 CE.

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