The Islamic holiday of Eid al-Ghadir explained

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Eid al-Ghadir is an Islamic commemoration holiday celebrated by Shias and Bektashi Muslims

Eid al-Ghadir, meaning Feast of the Pond, is an Islamic commemorative holiday of importance to Shia and Bektashi Muslims.

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This Eid takes place a few days after the widely celebrated Eid ul-Adha. But what is Eid al-Ghadir, who celebrates it and what is the meaning behind it?

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Here’s what you need to know.

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When is Eid al Ghadir?

Iraqis celebrate Eid al-Ghadir on July 28, 2021 in the holy Iraqi city of Najaf

This year Eid al-Ghadir is celebrated on July 17th or 18th. However, in the Islamic calendar, this Eid falls on the 18th of Dhu Al-Hijjah, the twelfth and final month of the year.

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This is also the month when Muslims around the world make their holy pilgrimage to the Kaaba.

The date of this Eid changes each year as the Islamic calendar is based on the lunar calendar and moves up by 10 or 11 days each year, completing a cycle around the Gregorian calendar.

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Why is Eid al-Ghadir celebrated?

Actors portray the events of Ghadir Khumm, during which Shia Muslims believe that the Prophet Muhammad appointed Ali ibn Abi Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, who was among the first Muslims, as his successor.

Eid is always an Islamic festival and it is said that this Eid marks the time when the Islamic prophet Muhammad Ali ibn Abi Talib is said to have appointed his son-in-law as his successor.

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According to Shaia Hadith (a record of words, deeds and tacit assent), this Eid is also called Eid-e Bozorg-e Elahi, meaning the greatest divine Eid, and Eid Ahl al-Bayt Muhammad.

The story behind this oath follows 10 years after the migration from Mecca to Medina, where Prophet Muhammad asked his followers to call on people everywhere to join him on his final pilgrimage.

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When the Prophet returned from his pilgrimage, he stopped at an area called Ghadir Khumm on March 16, 632 AD or on Dha al-Hijjah 18, 10AH.

Legend has it that the Prophet summoned his cousin and son-in-law Ali ibn Ali Talib and declared: “Whoever I am mawla, Ali is their mawla too”.

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Many Muslims interpret this word to mean friend or master, but for Shia Muslims they interpret it to mean the latter and see it as meaning that Ali is Muhammad’s successor.

On this occasion, this sermon is considered one of the founding events in Shia Islam and the anniversary is called Eid al-Ghadir.

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The name derives from the place where Prophet Muhammad is said to have made his announcement at the pond (Ghadir) of Khumm.

How is Eid al-Ghadir celebrated?

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Hundreds of Muslim pilgrims gather December 17, 2008 to celebrate Eid Al-Ghadeer at the Shia Imam Ali shrine in Najaf, some 160 km south of Baghdad.

Shia Muslims around the world celebrate this event by spending time with their family and in thankfulness to God.

Traditions are joyous, with gifts and celebratory meals also making up a large part of the day.

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Countries celebrating this event range from Iran, India, Pakistan, UAE, USA and Canada to European countries like UK, Germany and France.

As it is mainly celebrated by Shia Muslims, the event is not a universal Islamic event and does not have the same level of celebration as the two official Islamic holidays, Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Adha.

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