At first the Prophet was reluctant to proclaim the ordinance to the people who he believd were prejudiced against it. A Qura'nic verse made the matter clear and left no room of hesitation in his mind. The verse is as follows: "O the Prophet, deliver the message which has been revealed to you by your Lord. If you failed to do so it will mean that you have niot delivered His message to the people. God will guard you against the people."
There is no sect in Islam which believe that the Prophet sailed short of delivering the message of God in such matters as the performance of prayers, the payment of ‘zakat', the fasting or going on pilgrimage or taking part in the ‘jeehad'. We know well that he exercised his utmost in making the people offer the prayers which one cannot perform without undergoing some physical discomfort. He preached the people to pay ‘zakat' and the people did pay, although one does not find it easy to part with money. The people were made to fast and we know well that in fasting one has to put up with unbearable heat and thirst. He exhorted the people to go on pilgrimage which one cannot undertake without undergoing al sorts of hardships. He ordered the people to join the ‘jeehad' and they did so at the risk of their lives.
In short, he made no hesitation in the delivering of God's message in these matters. It was only the question of ‘Wilayat' which worried him the most. It was the ordinance pertaining to the ‘Wilayat' the allegiance to ‘Ali and the Imams from amongst his descendants that he was not prepared to proclaim. Finding the people burning with hatred and jealousy he hesitated to diliver this ordinance to them and he was waiting for a favourable time when the above verses were revealed to clear his doubts.
If some one were to suggest that the Prophet was not hesitant to deliver this ordinance, this stand will make the the revelation of the above verse meaningless and superfluous.
These verses which lay emphasis on the delivery of the ordinance prove to us that the faith in the ‘Wilayat' is the corner stone of our religion. If one does not believe in the ‘Wilayat' and discharges all the primary and secondary duties enjoined on us by our religion, the performance of these duties will not help him in the least. His good deeds minus the belief in the ‘Wilayat' will lead him to no other place than hell-fire. Belief in the ‘wilayat' of the Prophet is a pivot. On this hinges the whole system of our religious laws. If one has no faith in the ‘wilayat', the duties laid down in our religion will lose the force of application on him. Hence, the performance or non-performance of these duties will make no difference in his case.
It must be borne in mind that after the death of the Prophet the belief in the wilayat of the Imams from his progeny is as important a part of our religion as the belief in the wilayat of the Prophet in his life time. This is supported by the Tradition according to which the Prophet is reported to have said at ‘Ghadeer Khum', "Am I not more precious to you than your own-selves." This is echo of the Qur'anic verse which says, "The Prophet is more dear to the ‘Momins' than their own-selves to them." It is said, that in response to this question by the Prophet, when the ‘Momins' said "Yes, you are dearer to us than our own-lives", the Prophet said, "O God, be witness to their admission". After this he said, "‘Ali is the master of one who acknoweldges me to be his master. O God love those who love ‘Ali. Help those who help ‘Ali. Desert those who desert ‘Ali. Let the truth accompany ‘Ali wherever he goes."
"Yomul-Ghadeer" is the day on which the Prophet declared Hazrat ‘Ali to be his brother on his return from his last pilgrimage which is known in history as ‘Hajjat-ul-Wida'. This took place on the 18th of ‘zil-haj' when the Prophet and his followers on the return from the pilgrimage made a halt at the ‘Ghadeer-Khum'.
Ahmed bin Hambal, one of the four Sunni Imams, has mentioned this incident in his well-known book "Masnadul Kabeer". He quotes Barra bin Azib, one of the ‘As-haab' of the Prophet saying, "We were in the company of the Prophet when he halted at the ‘Ghadeer-Khim' and led the congregational prayer. After finishing the prayer the Prophet took the hand of ‘Ali and raised it up saying, "Am I not dearer to the ‘Momins' than their own-souls?" They said, "Yes". Again he said, "‘Ali is the master of the one who acknowledges me to be his master. O God love those who love ‘Ali and hate those who hate ‘Ali." After hearing this, Omar bin Khattab went up to ‘Ali and said, "Congratulations to you, O the son of Abu Talib, you have become the master of every male and female Mnomin".
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