Saturday, November 27, 2010

Hizbullah Sends Out 'Eid al-Ghadir Greetings for Contested Event between Sunni & Shi'i Muslims

The Lebanese Twelver Shi'i socio-political movement Hizbullah (God's Party; Hezbollah, Hizballah) has issued greetings to its supporters and members on the occasion of 'Eid al-Ghadir. The Shi'i holiday marks an event that both Shi'i and Sunni Muslims recognize, though their interpretations of the events differ significantly. The event is recorded in a number of authoritative Sunni texts, including the Musnad of the medieval jurist Ahmad ibn Hanbal.

Shi'i Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad during his final Hajj pilgrimage stopped at a place called Ghadir Khumm and named his son-in-law and much younger cousin, 'Ali ibn Abi Talib, as his successor. Sunnis believe that the Prophet simply identified 'Ali's excellent personal character and spiritual authority.

'Eid al-Ghadir is marked by all Shi'i sects, Ithna 'Ashari (Twelver), Isma'ili, and Zaydi. In mixed areas such as parts of Yemen the celebration of the event often leads to inter-communal tensions.

Additional readings from both Sunni and Shi'i authors on the contested nature of the Ghadir Khumm evens can be found HERE.

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