“Did I not charge you, O children of Adam, that you should not serve the Satan? Surely he is your open enemy. And that you should serve Me; this is the right way.”
[Surah Yaaseen: Verses 60,61]
Renewal of the Covenant
On the day of Ghadeer, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) before the announcement of mastership took an acknowledgement from the people that he (s.a.w.a.) holds the position of absolute authority over them. All of them, without exception, exclaimed, “Yes! O Messenger of Allah!” But what followed thereafter in the annals of history was nothing was unprecedented.
All the precaution, arrangement, preventive measures, guarding and with existing secrecy, under the open sky with the heat of the scorching midday sun, surrounded by the desert sand, huge gathering of the pilgrims whose eyes were filled with the sight of the Ehraam clad pilgrims chanting “Labbaik Labbaik”, the circumbulation of the Kaba, Safaa and Marwah, the sounds arising from the lands of Mina and Arafah were still audible when in the scorching field of Ghadeer, this caravan halted, there were 1,30,000 pilgrims feeling the heat of the sun. Their lips and tongue had dried up. On the other hand their heartbeats were up and each one was asking unto himself, “What is the matter?” Is it time for a revelation or is it Hazrat Jibraeel who is traversing the atmosphere and arriving in the presence of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) to convey a divine message.
It is important to note here that perhaps in this space, the Holy Quran which is the word of Allah announced, “On the day of judgment, Allah of the place of gathering will ask from the sons of Adam (a.s.) regarding the promise and covenant, the evil forces were also trying to see that the sermon of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) which would enable man to tread the right path and would prove to be a guidance for the future and was seeking the covenant of belief in the Wilaayat of Ali (a.s.) is covered. However, the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) gave a very eloquent sermon and then the Wilaayat of Ali (a.s.) was announced. “Ali Maula! Ali Maula”, their intentions were destroyed and were left murmuring, “Oh no! What happened?” Those coming on the following years on the basis of the propagation of the divine Messengership were dreaming of a new kingdom saw their dreams shattering just like the bursting of the war drum. Stunned about what had just happened, they had no choice but to enter the tent of Ali (a.s.) to congratulate him.
Chain of Conspiracies
When their hearts settled, their fear calmed down and the wounds of uneasiness were treated with the ointments of conspiracies, the group of conspirators decided to organize a high level meeting which would include Abdullah b. Jarrah, Mualla Saalim and Abdur Rahman b. Auf and it was decided that the caliphate should not go to the Bani Hashim and in order to ensure this whatever needs to be done in the nigh or the future should be strictly implemented.
The Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) passed away and two great events took place. One was the incident of the pen and paper that took place before his (s.a.w.a.) demise and the other was the commotion at Saqeefah after his passing away i.e. the leader of the Ansaar, Saad b. Ubadah on one side and the Muhaajir on the other side.
The Pulpit of the Prophet and the Garden of Fadak
In order to weaken the Bani Hashim, keep the general public away from the message of Ghadeer and to pass a usurping judgment on the garden of Fadak, a fabricated tradition was recited from the pulpit of the Prophet (s.a.w.a.) for the first time. When Lady Fatima Zahra (s.a.) ripped off the mask of falsehood, the first caliph in acceptance returned the agreement but the second caliph snatched it away from her (s.a.) hands and tore it off. Now, the veils of ignorance began to fall on people’s minds and became thicker by the day as the following chants began to be heard, “What is Ghadeer and where is the announcement of the Wilaayat of Ali (a.s.)? A handful of companions of Ali (a.s.), trustworthy and honored, full of teachings of Ahle Bait (a.s.), steadfast on their faith and submissive to the authority of mastership like Rushaid Hajari, Habeeb b. Mazaahir, Ammaar Yaasir, Miqdad, Abuzar etc. having certainty on the mastership of Imam Ali (a.s.) remained with their master.
The Conspiracies against the mastership and their unmasked faces
The time had come when these conspiracies were increasing and had prepared the grounds for the majority to meaninglessly follow it in the name of Islam where every new day, new politics and false propaganda would sprout. The voice of mastership had become almost mute. The door of the house of Lady Fatima (s.a.) where the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) would come and send salutation morning and evening was razed to ashes! Ali (a.s.) was dragged with his neck tied while the people of Madina remained silent spectators! From the above mentioned committee of so called influential personalities Abdullah Jarrah had died during the reign of the second caliph, else the third caliphate would have gone in his favor. A hapless Abdur Rahman b. Auf put the crown of caliphate on Usman despite the presence of Ali (a.s.). The time of putting the teachings of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) aside and fabricating new religious laws had arrived. This was a very painful and patience-demanding era for the master, Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.). It is worth noting that Ali (a.s.) possessed Zulfiqaar, the miraculous sword. His valor was such that none could stand against him. But the successor of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) was also aware of the tradition and the characteristics of the previous Prophets and along with the greatness and loftiness of his mastership displayed such patience that was the conclusion of the will of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.). (O Ali, when people go towards the world, you protect the religion) During this era, when half the income from Fadak went into the hands of enemies of Islam like Marwan Ibn Hakam, there was uproar amongst the masses. Now corruption had acquired such massive proportions that it gave birth to a huge commotion amongst the masses. People gathered near Ali (a.s.) and even threatened to kill him if he refused to accept the caliphate. As per the wish of Allah and the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), Ali (a.s.) took the reins of caliphate in his hands. In the five years of caliphate while Ali (a.s.) fought battles like Siffeen, Naharwan and Jamal, he also performed the important duty of renewing the announcement of Ghadeer in the field of Rohbah. The curse which befell upon Zaid b. Arqam on account of refusing and rejecting became live promotion and the renewal of Ghadeer continued.
After the battle of Siffeen, the mention of Ghadeer was getting popular among the Muslim nation. As a result, Saqifah, the previous caliphate and kingdom were criticized in a covert manner. The religious people and the men of understanding, who had achieved the essence of Islam, took the mastership of Ali (a.s.) and the incident of Ghadeer as the criterion of religion. But those who had risen from a third grade life and reached the surface of commandership, kingship, leadership and a lavish life had become their second nature were not to remain quiet. How could they digest the absolute authority of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.)? Consequently, Nahrawan was a turning point from where the enmity of Ali (a.s.) became rampant once again. The enmity of Ali (a.s.), rejecting his mastership and turning away from his leadership were the slogan of the opponents. Therefore, a barbaric nation was born that did not even refrain from killing the wife and child of Khabbaab, a nice hearted companion of the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.), and send their dead bodies to Ali (a.s.). These people of Nahrawan are found in large numbers even in today’s times from the aspect of their behavior, character and habits. It was the caravan of mastership whose members bore its light in the heart and were the protectors of Islamic values who fought with the Kharijites of Nahrawan and continued their journey. What can be said of the foolish nation who considered even Muawiyah as a friend of Islam and also considered the fourth and last link of the guided caliphate as guidance? They also considered the orders, rules and morals as the pillars of Islam. If we conduct an in-depth study, we shall see that they are constructing a bridge which links divine caliphate and kingship. But the strong structure of kingship which was formed based on self gain and name sake Islam which can be called as structure of Saqifah and the shameless campaign which Muawiyah started to fulfill the dream of Abu Sufyan gained momentum. The result was that Ali (a.s.) attained martyrdom while he was in prostration in front of his Lord in Masjid-e-Kufa.
Islam is that religion which Allah had protected right from the time of creation to the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and then His friend Ali (a.s.) and then up to the seal of Imams (a.s.). The shining universe of mastership in the lamp of guidance lit by Allah will sing the praises of the essence of life of the heavens and the earth and those believing in mastership are the travelers of this very path who will keep walking with each step moving strongly towards the destination of the reappearance of the last Imam (a.t.f.s.) the upholder of the divine mastership.
The Holy Quran announces, “We will make those who have been weakened in this world as the inheritors and the leaders.” If only the nation of the last Prophet (s.a.w.a.) had not forgotten the leadership and mastership of Ali Ibn Abi Taalib (a.s.) and the eleven Imams (a.s.) after him and had the covenant of Allah been observed, they would have been successful in every era.
The believers in divine mastership are well aware of its fruits. It is that divine bounty which, through knowledge and action, gives amazing celestial powers to the human mind. We seek divine help to become the true and sincere adherents of the mastership of Ali (a.s.) and the Ahle Bait (a.s.)!
Note: The writer has only mentioned some incidents that were during the life of Ameerul Momineen (a.s.). Insha Allah, in the following articles we shall see those after the martyrdom of Ali (a.s.) and also see how Allah has endowed the followers of mastership and how this fruit still exists in this world.