Some Muslims claim that because they are in majority, guidance is their birth right and they consider their majority as proof of being on the right side in the debate on caliphate. They view Shias as deviated because Shias are in a minority and by default misguided.
Those who tom-tom their large numbers and majority must spare a thought over one important factor – Iblis the accursed, the sworn enemy of mankind, rather its biggest enemy, who has vowed to deviate all of mankind except a few purified ones whom he cannot touch. As the Holy Quran declares:
“He (Iblis) said: Then by Thy Might I will surely make them live an evil life, all, Except Thy servants from among them, the purified ones.” (Surah Suaad: Verses 82-83)
Iblis’s threat to mankind
This is not a claim to be taken lightly. The Noble Quran has mentioned in several places Iblis’s potent threat to mankind. Sample these verses:
- “Say: I seek refuge in the Lord of men, the King of men, the God of men, from the evil of the whisperings of the slinking (Shaitan), who whispers into the hearts of men, from among the jinn and the men.” (Surah Naas (114): Verses 1-6)
Iblis is so threatening that an entire chapter of the Quran is devoted to seeking protection from him.
- “And when Ibrahim said: My Lord! Make this city secure, and save me and my sons from worshipping idols; My Lord! Surely they have led many men astray…” (Surah Ibrahim (14): Verses 35-36)
Iblis was the first to make idols with the explicit purpose of making mankind take partners with Allah (i.e. commit polytheism).
- “Did I not charge you, O children of Adam! That you should not serve the Shaitan? Surely he is your open enemy, and that you should serve Me; this is the right way.And certainly he led astray numerous people from among you. What! Could you not then understand?” (Surah Yaseen (36): Verses 60-62)
- “He said: Tell me, is this he whom Thou hast honored above me? If Thou shouldst respite me to the day of resurrection, I will most certainly cause his progeny to perish except a few.” (Surah Bani Israel (17): Verse 62)
The aforementioned verses indicate that the majority are under the influence and vice-like grip of Iblis. It is in fact their misconception and Iblis’s ingenuity that makes them believe they are right in the matter of caliphate. Hasn’t Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He – declared in the Holy Quran:
- “He said: My Lord! Because Thou hast made life evil to me, I will certainly make (evil) fair-seeming to them on earth, and I will certainly cause them all to deviate. Except Thy servants from among them, the devoted ones.” (Surah Hijr (15): Verses 39-40)
- “…and the Shaitan made what they did fair-seeming to them.” (Surah Anaam (6): Verse 43)
- “And when the Shaitan made their works fair seeming to them, and said: No one can overcome you this day, and surely I am your protector: but when the two parties came in sight of each other he turned upon his heels, and said: Surely I am clear of you, surely I see what you do not see, surely I fear Allah; and Allah is severe in requiting (evil).” (Surah Anfaal (8): Verse 48)
Iblis gloats about his ability to misguide any nation
Soon after the announcement of Ghadeer when the Holy Prophet (s.a.w.a.) appointed Ali b. Abi Talib (a.s.) as his caliph and Mawla (master) of the Muslims, there was tumult among Iblis’s minions. They gathered around Iblis in abject helplessness and misery claiming all had been lost with the Ghadeer announcement. Iblis pacified them thus – Has there ever been a nation that I have not deviated once its Prophet passed away from their midst? This nation will be no different. (Kitaab-o-Sulaim Ibn Qays al-Hilaali (r.a.), p. 577, Tradition No. 4)
Given Iblis’s boundless enthusiasm, resources and the sworn claim to deviate the majority, it is not a good idea to use the majority argument in the matter of Imamat or any belief for that matter. A belief is established based on the Noble Quran and the correct Sunnah, not on the basis of majority. If we go by the majority, we might well have a situation where we are ‘apparently’ following the Sunnah and implicitly following beliefs of Iblis without realizing that he has already misguided the majority as he has threatened, by making false beliefs appear to be true beliefs.
‘Those who reject Our signs, We shall gradually visit with punishment, in ways they perceive not.’ (Surah A’raaf (7): Verse 182)