Some of the hadiths pertaining to Ghadir Khumm, the investiture of Ali, and the significance of the Household of the Porphet are cited here:
The Prophet (PBUH) of Islam upon returning from the farewell pilgrimage stopped at Ghadir Khumm, assembled the Muslims and, after delivering a sermon, chose Ali as the leader and guide of the Muslims. Bara’ says: “I was in the company of the Prophet (PBUH) during the farewell pilgrimage.
When we reached Ghadir Khum he ordered that place to be cleaned. Then he took Ali’s hand and placed him on his right side. Then he said, ‘Am I not the authority whom you obey?’ They answered, ‘We obey your directions.’ Then he said, ‘For whomever I am his master (maula) and the authority whom he obeys, Ali will be his master. Oh God! Be friendly with the friends of Ali and enemy of the enemies of Ali.’ Then Umar ibn al-Khattab said to Ali, ‘May this position be pleasing to you, for now you are my master and the master of all the believers.'”
Ibn ‘Abbas says, “The Prophet said, ‘My household is like the ship of Noah; whoever embarks upon it will be saved and whoever turns away from it will be drowned.'”
: Zayd ibn Arqam has recounted that the Prophet (PBUH) said, “It seems that God has called me unto Himself and I must obey His call. But, I leave two great and precious things among you: the Book of God and My Household. Be careful as to how you behave toward them. These two will never be separated from each other until they encounter me at Kawthar (in paradise).” Hadith-i thaqalayn is one of the most strongly established hadiths, and has been transmitted through many chains of transmission and in different versions.
Shi’ites and Sunni agree concerning its authenticity. Several important points can be deduced from this hadith and its like: In the same way that the Holy Quran will remain until the Day of Judgment, the progeny of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) will also remain. No period of time will be without the existence of the figure which Shi’ites calls the Imam, the real leader and guide of men. Through these two great trusts (amanat), the Prophet has provided all the religious and intellectual needs of the Muslims.
He has introduced his Household to the Muslims as authorities in knowledge and has pronounced their words and deeds to be worthy and authoritative. One must not separate the Holy Quran from the Household of the Prophet (PBUH). No Muslim has the right to reject the “knowledge” of the members of the Prophet’s (PBUH) Household or to remove himself from under their guidance. If people obey this Household and follow their words they will never be led astray. God will always be with them. The answers to the intellectual and religious needs of men are to be found in the hands of this Household.
Whoever follows them will not fall into error and will reach true felicity; that is, the members of the Household are free from error and sin and are inerrant. From this it can be concluded that by the meaning of “The Members of the Household” and “Progeny” is not all the descendants and relatives of the Prophet (PBUH). Rather, specific individuals (are meant) who are perfect in their religious knowledge and are protected against error and sin; thus, they are qualified to guide and lead men.
For Shi’ism these individuals consist of Ali ibn Abi Talib and his eleven descendants who inherit the imamate one after another. This interpretation is also confirmed by the Shi’ite traditions. For example, Ibn’Abbas has said, “I said to the Prophet (PBUH), ‘Who are your descendants whose love is obligatory [upon Muslims]?’ He said, ‘Ali, Fatimah, Hassan and Husayn.,” Jabir has transmitted that the Prophet (PBUH) has said, “God placed the Children of all prophets in their ‘backbone’ but placed my children in the backbone of Ali.”
Umm Salamh has said, “I heard from the Prophet (PBUH) of God who said, ‘Ali is with the Truth (haqq) and the Quran, and the Truth and the Quran are also with Ali, and they will be inseparable until they come upon me at Kawthar.”
Sa’d ibn Waqqas has said, “The Prophet (PBUH) of God said to Ali, Are you not satisfied to be to me what Harun was to Moses except that after me there will not be another prophet?’ ”
Hadith Da’wat-i ‘eshirah
The Prophet (PBUH) invited his relatives for luncheon and after the meal told them, “I know of no one who has brought to his people better things than I have brought to you. God has commanded me to invite you toward Him. Who will assist me in this matter and be my brother and inheritor (wasi) and vicegerent (khalifah) among you?” All remained silent, but Ali, who was the youngest of all he exclaimed, “I shall be your deputy.”
Then the Prophet (PBUH) put his arms around him and said, “He is my brother, inheritor and vicegerent. You must obey him.” The group as they departed began to laugh, telling Abu Talib, “Muhammad has ordered you to obey your son.” Hudhayfah has said, ” The Prophet (PBUH) of God said, ‘If you make Ali my vicegerent and successor, I do not think you will find him a perspicacious guide who will direct you toward the straight path!” Ibn Marduyah has said that the Prophet (PBUH) said, Whoever wishes that his life and death to be like mine and that he enters paradise should love Ali, after me and follow my household, for they are my descendants and have been created from my clay. My knowledge and understanding have been bestowed upon them. Therefore woe unto those who deny their virtues. My intercession [on the Day of judgment] will never include them.”