Hadith al-Thaqalayn conveys the “Two weighty matters” declared by the Prophet


O Messenger, deliver [to the people] what has been revealed to you from your Lord, and if you do not do so, then you will not have delivered His message; and Allah will protect you from the people.” (5:67)

Upon the Prophet’s death, a successor was needed to lead the Muslim community (ummah) and state. Prophet Muhammad was the “seal of the prophets” (khatim al-anbiya) and, therefore, could not be succeeded by another prophet (nabi). The majority of the community selected Abu Bakr (r. 632-4) as the successor to the Messenger of Allah (khalifat rasul Allah), whence the word ‘caliph’ in western languages.

A small group in Medina held that the Prophet had designated his cousin and son-in-law Ali as his successor. According to sources, in March 632, when returning from his final pilgrimage to Mecca, the Prophet stopped at Ghadir Khumm…

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