Has Imam Mahdi been mentioned in Ghadir sermon?

Imam Mahdi in the Sermon of Ghadīr

The idea that when the world is ending a savior will appear to save mankind from injustice, oppression, and tyranny is shared among the three divine religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. It also appears in some other religions. This idea has proceeded seriously in both Shia and Sunni’s viewpoint in which Imam Mahdi’s revolution is aimed at changing the prevailing human culture so that it can fulfill the Islamic message and make the world a safe, positive, and constructive environment for everyone. The Twelver Shias believe that Imam Ali was the Prophet’s first successor then, after the life of him another man like him came next till it was the time of the twelfth one who is Imam Mahdi and, like the previous Imams, is one of the descendants of the Prophet. Shia believes that he is now existent and manages people’s problems and looks for their needs even though, he is in occultation. Many Hadiths are having been narrated about the Promised Mahdi from the Prophet and the Shiite infallible Imams confirming this claim.
The sermon of Ghadīr is one of the sound Hadiths and convincing narrations that is quoted from the Prophet stated in both Shiite and Sunni sources including some of the characteristics of the Islamic promised Savior (Imam Mahdi).

A fleeting glance at the incident of Ghadīr-e Khumm

Ten years after the Emigration (10 A.H. / 632 A.D.), the Messenger of Allah asked people in different places to join him in his last pilgrimage to Mecca.[1] On this pilgrimage, he taught them how to perform Hajj in a correct and unified form. This was the first time that Muslims with this magnitude gathered in one place in the presence of the Prophet. On his way to Mecca, more than seventy thousand people followed him and on the fourth day of Dhū al-Hijjah, more than one hundred thousand Muslims had entered Mecca.[2]

While returning from his last pilgrimage, when the Prophet and the crowd of people reached a place called Ghadīr-e-Khum on the 18th of Dhū al-Hijjah [3], the Prophet received the following command of Allah,[4]

﴿یَا أَیُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَیْکَ مِنْ رَبِّکَ وَ إِنْ لَمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ وَ اللَّهُ یَعْصِمُکَ مِنَ النَّاسِ[5]

O the Messenger! Announce that which has been revealed to you from your Creator and Nurturer, and if you do not, then you have not conveyed His message. And Allah will protect you from the [deceitful] people…”

In this verse, the Prophet is reminded of the extraordinary significance of the task that had been assigned to him, and he is guaranteed protection from any dangers that might result from proclaiming the message!

Whereas Ghadīr-e-Khum was a place where people from different provinces used to greet each other before taking different routes for their homes, the Prophet stopped at that place to convey the message to the pilgrims before they dispersed. He sent for all people who have been ahead in the way to come back and waited until all pilgrims who fell behind arrived and gathered. Then, a pulpit was set up by piling up the camel saddles so he could make his announcement and people could see him. The weather was very hot so, people were wrapping their robes around their feet and legs, and were sitting around the pulpit, on the hot rocks. Then the Prophet delivered a long sermon. He recited some verses from the Quran, and several times reminded and warned people of their deeds and future.[6]

In the end, when the Prophet made people prepared enough, took the hand of Imam Ali, raised it, and introduced him as the master of his Ummah (nation) after his demise.[7] The assembled multitude had not begun to disperse when the agent of revelation revealed this verse to the Prophet,

﴿...اَليَومَ يَئِسَ الَّذينَ كَفَروُا مِن دينِكُم فَلاَ تَخْشَوهُم وَ اخْشَونِ اَلْيوَمَ اَكَمْلَتُ لَكُم دينَكُم وَ اَتْمَمْتُ عَلَيكُم نِعمَتي وَ رضَيتُ لَكُمُ الاِسْلاَمَ ديناً...[8]

“…This day those who disbelieve have despaired of [defeating] your religion; so, fear them not, but fear Me. This day I have perfected for you your religion and completed My favor upon you and have approved for you Islam as religion…”[9]

The Prophet left the place where he was standing, while all around the sound of Takbīr (Allah is the Great) was to be heard as the pilgrims expressed their warm and enthusiastic feelings towards Imam Ali. People came up to him in groups and congratulated him on his appointment as a leader, addressing him as their master and the master of every believer; man and woman.[10] On account of the venue of the deliverance of this sermon, it is known as the sermon of Ghadīr.


The position of Imamate in the sermon of Ghadīr

The sermon of Ghadīr is one of the best documents for understanding the general plan of Islam to guide humankind, because after the event of Ghadīr and the perfection of the religion, the series of prophecy ended forever and the project of guiding humanity continued in a new form. This new format was the foundation of Imamate and successorship of the Prophet which, of course, had a history among previous prophets because many prophets had chosen a guardian for themselves to complete their unfinished path and goals in guiding people towards the right path.

However, in one of the verses of this long sermon, addressing people, the Prophet puts a particular stress on this crucial code that the perfection of religion is possible through the Imamate. The next point is that this path will continue until the Day of Judgment, and those who deviate from this path will be among the misguided,

«مَعاشِرَ النّاسِ، إِنَّما أَکْمَلَ الله عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ دینَکُمْ بِإِمامَتِهِ. فَمَنْ لَمْ یَأْتَمَّ بِهِ وَ بِمَنْ یَقُومُ مَقامَهُ مِنْ وُلْدی مِنْ صُلْبِهِ إِلی یَوْمِ الْقِیامَةِ وَ الْعَرْضِ عَلَی الله عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فَأُولئِکَ الَّذینَ حَبِطَتْ أَعْمالُهُمْ فِی الدُّنْیا وَ الْآخِرَةِ وَ فِی النّارِ هُمْ خالِدُونَ، لا یُخَفَّفُ عَنْهُمُ الْعَذابُ وَ لا هُمْ یُنْظَرونَ»

O the companies of mankind! Allah, the Exalted, the Glorified, has indeed perfected your religion through his Imamate (the leadership of Imam Ali). So, whoever does not take him and those who succeed him from amongst my offspring from his loins until the Day of Judgment and when people will be presented before Allah the Exalted, the Glorified as the Imams, indeed are the ones whose deeds have failed in this world and the Hereafter; and in the Fire they are eternal. And the punishment will not be lightened for them, nor will they be granted any respite.”

At this point, the issue that we intend to explain is the great status of Mahdism in Ghadīr sermon. According to our previous claim, this sermon is a general and comprehensive plan of human guidance until the Day of Judgment because the discourse of Mahdism and the Imamate of the last Imam (Imam Mahdi) is a key factor for the continuation of this divine invitation.



The declaration of Imam Mahdi in the sermon of Ghadīr

Throughout the relatively long sermon of Ghadīr, the Prophet, in addition to emphasizing the importance of the high position of the Imamate, repeatedly mentions the name of Imam Mahdi and the actualization of his advent in the future and his dominion over the whole world and enumerates some of his attributes.

For instance, in a part of the sermon, the Prophet explicitly mentions Imam Mahdi as the Qāʾim, (the Upriser) and introduces him as a person who will regain the lost divine rights and conquer the East and the West of the earth,

«مَعاشِرَ النّاسِ، النُّورُ مِنَ الله عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ مَسْلوکٌ فِیَّ ثُمَّ فِی عَلِی بْنِ أَبی طالِبٍ، ثُمَّ فِی النَّسْلِ مِنْهُ إِلَی الْقائِمِ الْمَهْدِی الَّذی یَأْخُذُ بِحَقِّ الله وَ بِکُلِّ حَقّ هُوَ لَنا...»

O the companies of mankind! The light from Allah, the Exalted, the Glorified, is entwined within me, and then within Ali bin Abī Tālib, then within his descendants until the Upriser al-Mahdi who will re-establish the rule of Allah, and any right that is ours…

In another part, the Prophet clarifies that the divine promise of Imam’s absolute sovereignty over all parts of the earth before the day of Resurrection will be fulfilled by saying,

«مَعاشِرَ النّاسِ، إِنَّهُ ما مِنْ قَرْیةٍ إِلاّ وَ الله مُهْلِکها بِتَکذیبِها قَبْلَ یوْمِ الْقِیامَةِ وَ مُمَلِّکهَا الْإِمامَ الْمَهْدِی وَ الله مُصَدِّقٌ وَعْدَهُ»

O the companies of mankind! Indeed, there shall be no a city except that Allah will destroy it – for its belying – before the Day of Resurrection, and He will give its governance to Imam Mahdi, and surely Allah fulfills His promise.”[11]

However, the Prophet does not suffice to mentioning only the name of his last successor so, in the third step, he says in detail about the characteristics of Imam Mahdi while introducing the Commander of the Faithful (Imam Ali) as his successor and referring to the eleven Imams after Ali,

«... أَلا إِنَّ خاتَمَ الْأَئِمَةِ مِنَّا الْقائِمَ الْمَهْدِی. أَلا إِنَّهُ الظّاهِرُ عَلَی الدِّینِ. أَلا إِنَّهُ الْمُنْتَقِمُ مِنَ الظّالِمینَ. أَلا إِنَّهُ فاتِحُ الْحُصُونِ وَ هادِمُها. أَلا إِنَّهُ غالِبُ کُلِّ قَبیلَةٍ مِنْ أَهْلِ الشِّرْکِ وَ هادیها. أَلا إِنَّهُ الْمُدْرِکُ بِکُلِّ ثارٍ لاِوْلِیاءِ الله. أَلا إِنَّهُ النّاصِرُ لِدینِ الله. أَلا إِنَّهُ الْغَرّافُ مِنْ بَحْرٍ عَمیقٍ. أَلا إِنَّهُ یَسِمُ کُلَّ ذی فَضْلٍ بِفَضْلِهِ وَ کُلَّ ذی جَهْلٍ بِجَهْلِهِ. أَلا إِنَّهُ خِیَرَةُ الله وَ مُخْتارُهُ. أَلا إِنَّهُ وارِثُ کُلِّ عِلْمٍ وَ الْمحیطُ بِکُلِّ فَهْمٍ. أَلا إِنَّهُ الْمخْبِرُ عَنْ رَبِّهِ عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ وَ الْمُشَیِّدُ لاِمْرِ آیاتِهِ. أَلا إِنَّهُ الرَّشیدُ السَّدیدُ. أَلا إِنَّهُ الْمُفَوَّضُ إِلَیْهِ. أَلا إِنَّهُ قَدْ بَشَّرَ بِهِ مَنْ سَلَفَ مِنَ الْقُرونِ بَیْنَ یَدَیْهِ. أَلا إِنَّهُ الْباقی حُجَّةً وَ لا حُجَّةَ بَعْدَهُ وَ لا حَقَّ إِلاّ مَعَهُ وَ لا نُورَ إِلاّ عِنْدَهُ. أَلا إِنَّهُ لا غالِبَ لَهُ وَ لا مَنْصورَ عَلَیْهِ. أَلا وَ إِنَّهُ وَلِیِّ الله فی أَرْضِهِ، وَ حَکَمُهُ فی خَلْقِهِ، وَ أَمینُهُ فی سِرِّهِ وَ علانِیَتِهِ.»

O Indeed, the seal of the Imams from amongst us is the Upriser, al-Mahdi.

O Indeed, he is the one who prevails over the religion.[12]

O Indeed, he is the avenger against the oppressors.

O Indeed, he is the conqueror of the fortresses and their destroyer.

O Indeed, he is the winner over all tribes of the polytheists and their guide [to the truth].

O Indeed, he is the avenger of the blood of every one of Allah’s devotees.

O Indeed, he is the helper of Allah’s religion.

O Indeed, he is the scooper of the deep ocean [of knowledge].

O Indeed, he will mark every owner of distinction by his distinction and every owner of ignorance by his ignorance.

O Indeed, he is Allah’s choice and His chosen one.

O Indeed, he is the inheritor of all kinds of knowledge and encompasses every perception.

O Indeed, he is the communicator on behalf of his Lord – Almighty and Majestic – and he gives rise to the teachings of His verses.

O Indeed, he is the rightful guide, the one of strong infallible opinion who is not prone to errors and puts things to their right places.

O Indeed, he is delegated to [by the Almighty].

O Indeed, he is the one whom past generations have given glad tidings of.

O Indeed, he is the remaining proof (Hujjah) and there shall be no Hujjah after him, and there is no right other than that is with him, and there is no light except that is with him.

O Indeed, none can overcome him and there is no victor over him.

O Indeed, he is the authority of Allah on His earth, His arbitrator between His creation, and His trustee in His secret and His evident.”

Then, in the last verses of this sermon, the Prophet expresses his divine mission in taking the covenant and allegiance from people on accepting the Imamate and leadership of Imam Ali and his successors, and then the Prophet names, in particular, Imam Mahdi as the last Imam by saying,

«...فَأُمِرْتُ أَنْ آخُذَ الْبَیعَةَ مِنْکمْ وَ الصَّفْقَةَ لَکمْ بِقَبُولِ ما جِئْتُ بِهِ عَنِ الله عَزَّ وَ جَلَّ فی عَلِی أمیرِ الْمُؤْمِنینَ وَ الأَوْصِیاءِ مِنْ بَعْدِهِ الَّذینَ هُمْ مِنِّی وَ مِنْهُ إمامَةٌ فیهِمْ قائِمَةٌ، خاتِمُها الْمَهْدی إِلی یوْمٍ یلْقَی الله الَّذی یُقَدِّرُ وَ یَقْضِی.»

…I am commanded [by the Almighty] to take the oath of allegiance from you and to make a covenant with you that you assent to what I have brought from Allah, Almighty and Majestic, about Ali the Commander of the Faithful and the successors after him, those who are from me and him, which is the Imamate (divine leadership) that is upheld and established in them; the seal of which is Mahdi until the day he stands before Allah Who determines and decreases.


Source: The Final Hope, July 2020, Issue no. 2

A quarterly magazine for a better knowledge about Imam Mahdi, the Twelfth Imam


[1] Al-Sunan al-Kubrā, by Nasā’ī, vol. 4. pp. 49 & 57; Al- Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, by Ibn-e Kathīr, vol. 5. P. 164.

[2] Al-Ghadīr, by Amīnī, vol. 1, p. 9.

[3] Al-Durr al-Mansūr, by Suyūtī, vol. 3, p. 19.

[4] Tafsīr al-Kabīr, by Rāzī, vol. 12, p. 399; Al-Durr al-Mansūr, by Suyūtī, vol. 3, p. 117.

[5] The Quran, 5:67.

[6] Al-Mu‘jam al-Kabīr, by Tabarānī, vol. 5, p. 171.

[7] Al-Sunan al-Kubrā, vol. pp. 409, 437, 442; Al-Sawā‘iq al-Muhriqah, by Ahmad bin Muhammad Heythamī, vol. 2, p. 368.

[8] The Quran, 5:3.

[9] Al-Durr al-Mansūr, by Suyūtī, vol. 2, p. 259.

[10] Al- Bidāyah wa al-Nihāyah, vol. 11, p. 74.

[11] This is in reference to the Quranic verse 17:58.

[12] This is about good tidings given in the holy Qur’an on several occasions, such as 9:33, 48:28, and 61:9.