Guidance has always played a significant role in shaping the beliefs and norms of the Muslim Ummah. It was for this guidance, that Islam survived the most turbulent of the days in Islamic history. Therefore, the concept and role of a guide (Hadi) is pivotal and is also an indispensable need.
Guidance in the era of Prophets:
Learnings derived from the anecdotes and other such events are the evidence of nations and societies being guided well by the Prophets (a.s) enlightening the path towards Tawheed. However, at the time of the Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H), there were scores of people inclined towards the limelight of ill faith, Ignorance, Avoidance of the path towards justice, and more. He (P.B.U.H) had to deal with such people and to also cure them of their wrongdoings. He (P.B.U.H) not only set the guiding principle to guide the astray ones but also led by example in many walks of life. The achievements in the history of Islam is the result of such a struggle by Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H).
The need for a successor:
However, to continue this guidance, He (P.B.U.H) had to choose his successor to ensure the path remains enlightened towards Tawheed for the Muslim ummah. He (P.B.U.H) was also aware of the hypocrites, and the hidden dangers for the religion of Allah and also to fill the vacuum of leadership that would have been created after his demise. In order to save the ummah from such hardships and possible atrocities of the wrongfully guided ones, the successor was the utmost necessity. This need of a successor had, therefore, made Ghadeer the most defining event in Islam.
Imam Ali (a.s) in Ghadeer e Khum:
At the time of inviting people towards Islam, Imam Ali (a.s) stayed with the Prophet (P.B.U.H) at the majority of the occasions be it a battle or calling non-believers over the lunch table to convey the message of Allah known as Dawat e Zul Ashira. The majority of these happenings and events witnessed Prophet (P.B.U.H) and Imam Ali (a.s) together. It was evident from these gatherings who would be the successor until the Prophet announced it formally at the pond of Khum and the event is known in history as Ghadeer e Khum. This was preceded by the Quranic verse “O Messenger! Deliver what has been revealed to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message, and Allah will protect you from the people; surely Allah will not guide the unbelieving people.” (5:67). This verse established the credibility and authenticity of this announcement. Proceeding this announcement, another Quranic verse was also revealed proclaiming the perfection of the religion of Islam.
Since then this event has been cherished and celebrated as Eid e Ghadeer in the Shi’a Muslims. Since the day of Ghadeer, Imam Ali (a.s) stood as the first of the twelve Imams (a.s) as the successor and leader of the Muslim ummah. He became the center of consultation for Islamic laws and principles and guided the ummah in all walks of life. It is for his knowledge and wisdom that Islam stands strong in the era of Imamat and stayed strongly guided as it was in the time of the Prophets (a.s).