The Hadith of the pond of Khumm (Arabic: غدير خم) is an account of a speech given by Muhammad on 18th of Dhu al-Hijjah of 10 AH in the Islamic calendar (Sunday, March 15, 632 AD) at Ghadir Khumm, which is located near the city of al-Juhfah, in present-day Saudi Arabia. It has been interpreted variously by the two main sects of Islam, where Shia generally maintain that in this hadith the Islamic prophet Muhammad appointed Ali as his heir and successor. The Sunnis, on the other hand, do not deny Muhammad's declaration about Ali at Ghadir Khumm, but they argue that he was simply urging the audience to hold his cousin and son-in-law in high esteem and affection.
The Shia celebrate the anniversary of this event on 18 Dhu al-Hijjah.
According to Shia narrators of traditions the verse of announcement was related to the succession of Ali at Ghadir Khumm. The verse of announcement was revealed during the return from the The Farewell Pilgrimage. It readsيَا أَيُّهَا الرَّسُولُ بَلِّغْ مَا أُنزِلَ إِلَيْكَ مِن رَّبِّكَ ۖ وَإِن لَّمْ تَفْعَلْ فَمَا بَلَّغْتَ رِسَالَتَهُ ۚ وَاللَّـهُ يَعْصِمُكَ مِنَ النَّاسِ ۗ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ لَا يَهْدِي الْقَوْمَ الْكَافِرِينَ O Messenger! proclaim the (message) which hath been sent to thee from thy Lord. If thou didst not, thou wouldst not have fulfilled and proclaimed His mission. And Allah will defend thee from men (who mean mischief). For Allah guideth not those who reject Faith. (5:67).
According to Sunnis, this verse was revealed much earlier than this incident. And this is not possible that a verse regarding the most important issue is revealed after the verse regarding the completion of religion, and after Muhammad had taken testification from people that he had delivered the teachings of Islam to the people.
On the way back to Medina from Mecca, Muhammad ordered his companions to stop at Ghadir Khum and delivered the following sermon (in brief)
O people, Allah the Most Kind the Omniscient has told me that no apostle lives to more than half the age of him who had preceded him. I think I am about to be called (to die) and thus I must respond. I am responsible and you are responsible, then what do you say?' They said, 'We witness that you have informed, advised and striven. May Allah bless you.' He said, 'Do you not bear witness that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad is His servant and Apostle, and that His Heaven is true, His Hell is true, death is true, the Resurrection after death is true, that there is no doubt that the Day of Judgment will come, and that Allah will resurrect the dead from their graves?' They said, 'Yes, we bear witness.' He said, 'O Allah, bear witness.' Then he said, 'O people, Allah is my Lord and I am the lord of the believers. I am worthier of believers than themselves. Of whomsoever I had been Master (Mawla), Ali here is to be his Master. O Allah, be a supporter of whoever supports him (Ali) and an enemy of whoever opposes him and divert the Truth to Ali.'
O people, I will go ahead of you and you will arrive at my Pond (in Heaven) which is wider than the distance between Basra and San'a. It has receptacles as numerous as the stars, and two cups of gold and two of silver. I will ask you about the two weighty things that I have left for you when you come to me to see how you dealt with them. The greater weighty thing is Allah's book—the Holy Qur'an. One end is in Allah's hand and the other is in your hands. Keep it and you will not deviate. That other weighty thing is my family (Ahl al-Bayt) and my descendents. The Most Kind the Omniscient had told me that both of them, would not separate until they come to my Pond.
Another similar narration of part of the hadith goes as follows,
O people! Reflect on the Quran and comprehend its verses. Look into its clear verses and do not follow its ambiguous parts, for by Allah, none shall be able to explain to you its warnings and its mysteries, nor shall anyone clarify its interpretation, other than the one that I have grasped his hand, brought up beside myself,(and lifted his arm), the one about whom I inform you that whomever I am his master, this Ali is his master (Mawla); and he is Ali Ibn Abi Talib, my brother, the executor of my will (Wasiyyi), whose appointment as your guardian and leader has been sent down to me from Allah, the mighty and the majestic.
There are other versions of this hadith that say,
I have left two matters with you. As long as you hold to them, you will not go the wrong way. They are the Book of Allah and the Sunna of His Prophet."
I leave for you the Quran alone you shall uphold it.
The word mawla is significant in the first narration of this hadith, and can refer to a client, patron, friend, partner, ally or numerous other similar relationships. Twenty-seven(27) different meanings are given for the word mawla and hence the exact meaning should be derived from their syntactical and situational contexts.
Unlike the words “Imam, Ameer, Khalifah, Ulil-Amr, Sultan” which are very clear words to describe leader, the word Mawla is more ambiguous. This word has been used by Muhammad for a few other companions as well, and his freed slave Zayd is one of them.
The current knowledge of Muhammad’s life is mainly based on sources such as Ibn Hisham, al-Ṭabarī, Ibn Saʿd, etc. that are silent over Muhammad’s stop at Ghadir Khumm. Even when the writers mentioned the event, they said nothing about his speech. Similarly, western biographers of Muhammad make no mention of what happened at Ghadir Khumm. However the account of this event has been recorded by al-Yakubi who is famous for his sympathy for Shiite cause, and it appears in canonical collections as in the Musnad of Ibn Hanbal. Some Sunnis scholars do not deny Muhammad’s declaration about Ali at Ghadir Khumm, but they argue that he was simply urging the audience to hold his cousin and son-in-law in high esteem and affection.
On the completion of Muhammad's sermon, Umar (Umar al-Khattab) said, "Congratulations to you, Ali! This morning has brought you a great blessing. Today you have become the master of all believing men and women." At a later occasion when Umar was asked about his special treatment to Ali as compared to other companions, his reply was, "He is my master." Shi'a Believe that, with Muhammad's approbation he recited verses in honour of Ali. The verse are recorded in Ibn Shahrashoub and affirms that ʿAlī was named as the successor of Muhammad on the day of Ghadir Khum.
Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, writes in his book, Mawaddat al-Qurba in Mawadda 5, that many companions quoted Umar in different places as having said that Muhammad made Ali the chief and leader of the nation and that Muhammad announced publicly that Ali was their master. Umar was also quoted saying that on the day of that announcement, a handsome youth was sitting besides him and that the youth said to him, "Surely, the Prophet has bound a covenant which none but a hypocrite would break. So Umar! Avoid breaking it." When Umar told Muhammad about the incident, Muhammad said that the youth was not of Adam's (Adem) progeny but was Gabriel (Jibril) and was stressing the point about Ali.
When Muawiyah arrived (in Mecca) during one of his pilgrimages, accordingly, Sa`d ibn Abi Waqqas came to see him, and they happened to mention Ali. Muawiyah disparaged Ali. As a result, Sa`d became angry and said: "You are speaking of this man! I have heard the Messenger of Allah—peace and salutation of Allah be upon him—declare (On the day of Ghadir): 'Of whomsoever I am the master, then Ali is his master.' I have (also) heard him say: 'You Ali are to me in position that Harun was to Musa, except that there is no prophet after me (See Hadith of position).' And I have heard him announce: 'Today I am indeed going to hand over the banner to a person who loves Allah and his Messenger, and Allah and his Messenger also loves him."
The above hadith have been cited in various Sunni sources including:Ahmad ibn Hanbal in Musnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal
Al-Nasa'i in Al-Khasa'is
Ibn 'Asakir in The History of Damascus
Ali ibn al-Athir in Usud al-Ghabah fi Ma'rifah al-Sahabah
Ibn Majah in Sunan ibn Majah
Ali ibn Abu Bakr al-Haythami in Majma al-Zawa'id
Muhammad ibn Yusuf al-Kanji ash-Shafii in Kifayat at-Talib
Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani in Al-Isaba
Izz al-Din ibn Hibatullah ibn Abi l-Hadid in Sharh Nahjul Balagha
Abu Nu`aym in Hilyat al-awliya'
Al-Khatib al-Baghdadi in The History of Baghdad
Al-Kuna wa al-Asma
Ahmad ibn Muhammad al-Tahawi in Mushkil ul-Athar
Muhammad ibn `Isa at-Tirmidhi in Jami` at-Tirmidhi
Ibn Kathir in Al-Kafi ash-Shafi
Ibn Kathir in Tafsir ibn Kathir
Al-Tabarani in Al-Mu'jam al-Kabeer
Ibn Kathir in Al-Bidaya wa'l-Nihaya
Abu Abdullah al-Hakim Nishapuri in Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Sahihain
Al-Dhahabi in Talkhis al-Mustadrak
Muḥammad ibn Mūsā al-Khwārizmī's Manaqib
Al-Tabarani in Al-Mu'jam As-Saghir
Ibn Abi Hatim in Al-Jarh wa at-Ta'dil
Al-Dhahabi in The History of Islam
Al-Juwayni in Fara'id al-Simtayn
al-Hasaqani in Du'atul-Hudat
Ibn Qutaybah in Al-Imama wa al-Siyasa
Ahmad in Manaqib
Hafiz al-Dhahabi in Mizanul-I'tidal
Abd Al Husayn Amini, Iranian Shia scholar also has gathered narrations of more than 110 companions (Sahaba) of Muhammad, as well as 40 followers of Muhammad about this event in his book named Al Ghadir.