As a revert to Islam, Eid Ghadeer is the one Eid that always has made the most sense to me and been the most significant in my worldview. Part of me has found Eid ul Fitr tempered by the loss of the holy days of the month of Ramadhan, and Eid ul Adha significant if you or a loved one is performing the hajj, but otherwise less so. But the Eid al-Ghadeer has always been special to me because it is a celebration of the culmination of Islam - a celebration of the very events that first enabled me to know the status of Imam ‘Ali (as) and the crucial role of Ahlulbayt (as) in the preservation of the True Religion so that I, in 1994, had the blessed chance to discover true Islam for myself. It is only because of Ahlulbayt (as) that I had that chance – without them, the True Religion would have long ago been lost in corruption and time.
I remember feeling exhausted after becoming Muslim. I had spent a year in intensive research, questioning the entire framework of my existence, engaging in deep self-evaluation so that in the end I had turned my life upside down and accepted all the conflict and challenges that would bring my way. But I had yet to scratch the surface of Islamic knowledge and had so far yet to go. I had become aware of the sects and divisions between Muslims, much to my sadness. As a Christian, I had been dismayed by all the man-made churches, none of them holding God’s Truth more than any other. I regretted that I might again find nothing in Islam that provided complete access to Reality.
But then, I read about Ghadeer Khum. The more I read, the lighter my burden became. Here was what I had known must exist – the evidence that God had protected His message from corruption. Every time a revelation from God has come down, man has corrupted it. But the Qur’an has survived because God has protected it, and in Ghadeer Khum I found the means. I felt tears of deep joy and gratitude to find the protectors of the Qur’an, the ones who have lived the real Islam; for without them, I would have no chance of ever finding the truth, I would have remained a deprived wayfarer, unsatisfied with the religions of man’s making.
If I had not been blessed to know about Ghadeer and appreciate the status and role of Ahlulbayt (as), I would have been left very disappointed after my struggle to find the Truth. While I would have gained the clarity of Tawhid that is in Islam, I would yet know I was stuck in a quagmire of man-made distortions that rip apart the Truth and replace it with ignorance and oppression.
In the Qur’an it is written, "And hold fast, all together, by the Rope which God (stretches out for you), and be not divided among yourselves; and remember with gratitude God's favor on you; for you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, you became brethren; and you were on the brink of the Pit of Fire, and He saved you from it. Thus does God make His Signs clear to you, that you may be guided." (3:103)
Numerous hadith inform us that the Rope is none other than the blessed Ahlulbayt (as).
I feel this ayah resonating deep in the very fiber of my existence. Without the rope, I would have nothing to hold to, no hope for access to God’s Truth. It is a great favor from God for which I owe immeasurable gratitude that I was able to find this rope and try with my best effort to cling to it. I cling to this rope with the love of Ahlulbayt (as) who made my journey to Islam possible, and who have provided me the means to hope for progress on the journey of Truth and salvation from the Fire of Hell. For without Ahlulbayt (as), I could only be on the brink of the Pit of Fire, but by clinging to their Rope I might be pulled away from it.
The Ahlulbayt (as) have given me, and have given all of us, the chance to realize our potentials, the ability to hope, and the opportunity for the complete peace that can only be found in one who has glimpsed the Truth. Therefore, the Eid of Ghadeer is the most joyous and meaningful Eid to me, It is the Eid of hope and opportunity for all of us. May Allah swt bless Muhammad and the family of Muhammad with His greatest blessings and grant them the most fulfilling peace, and may more and more of humanity come to realize the great gift given to all of us when Allah swt perfected religion by securing the role of Ahlulbayt (as).
originally written for Islamic Insights last year