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commemorate the appointment of Ali ibn Abi Talib by the Islamic prophet Muhammad as his immediate successor. It marks the anniversary of Muhammad's sermon, described in Hadith of the pond of Khumm, in which he stated, Whomsoever's master (mawla) I am, Ali is also his master. O' God, love those who love him, and be hostile to those who are hostile to him. ."من كنت مولاه فهذا عليّ مولاه أللهم والِ من والاه و عادِ من عاداه"
Ismaili/Mustaali/Taiyabi/ Fatimid/Dawoodi Bohra also celebrate the day, and there is tradition of taking mass oath on the day to reassert commitment to Islam, in the same manner as their individual adult take oath on reaching adulthood. This they believe to be continued from the period of their Fatimid Imam.
Sunni Muslims do not deny that a last sermon took place, but do not celebrate the day specifically. On the other hand, Salafi Muslims and those considered by some to be influenced by them such as Deobandis or Ahle Hadith do not celebrate this day as they feel that only Eid ul-Adha and Eid-ul-Fitr are celebratory days.
A few months before his death, Muhammad – living in the city of Medina – made his last religious pilgrimage to Mecca in a trip referred to as The Farewell Pilgrimage. There, atop Mount Arafat, he addressed the Muslim masses in what came to be known as The Farewell Sermon. After completion of the Hajj, or religious pilgrimage, Muhammad turned back towards his home in Medina.
On the trip there, he stopped at the pond of Khumm (at present Al-Johfa) and praised Ali. The exact meaning of the praise is a matter of much dispute; not only do Sunni and Shi'a Muslims disagree as to, which statements about the pond are authentic, but they also disagree on the interpretation.
Shi'a Muslims believe that after the pilgrimage, Muhammad ordered the gathering of Muslims at the pond of Khumm and it was there that Muhammad nominated Ali to be his successor.They further believe the wordings of sermon as follows;
"Oh 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 (maula), this Ali is his master (maula); 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."The Last Sermon of Muhammad by Shia Accounts. These claims were proven with Sunni sources as well. Did the Prophet(s) appoint a successor?