Keeping the Covenant: The Missing Factor for the Establishment of the Unique Quranic Nation after the Holy Prophet (SAWA)’s Heavenly Departure

SHAFAQNA – One of the important issues deserved for research and attention is the concept of Islamic lifestyle and its elements. What is Islamic lifestyle and how does it affect the establishment of a unique Quranic Nation after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s death? The purpose of this article is to investigate one aspect of people’s life style, not keeping the covenant, after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s death and the obstacles related to that lifestyle which avoided the establishment of a unique nation under Imam Ali (AS)’ leadership.

According to our Supreme Leader’s speech, lifestyle is one of the dimensions of progress in the society: From an Islamic point of view, one of the dimensions of progress is lifestyle. This is an important dimension. The goal of life is salvation. From a spiritual point of view, we must attach importance to lifestyle. Even if we do not believe in spirituality and spiritual salvation, it is still important to pay attention to lifestyle so that we can have a comfortable life, a life in which there is psychological and moral security. Therefore, the issue of lifestyle is an essential issue and we should discuss it and as I said, this is just the beginning.
What kind of lifestyle is recommended by the holy Quran? The holy Quran points to both community and individual life of people. Some Quranic verses reproach individual situation of people (103: 2, 33: 72, 14: 34 & 42, 96: 6, 70: 19 & 20, 17: 11, 67 & 100, 22: 66, 42: 48, 43: 15, 29: 2 & 3,7: 94 & 95)
On the other hand, the lifestyle related to the Pure Life (Hayat Tayyebah) is mentioned in the holy Quran as well. It is obvious that this Pure Life needs some fundamentals, the absence of which has negative consequences for the Islamic society. This article investigates the situation of the Islamic society after the holy Prophet’s death in terms of determining his successor. In other words, this study seeks for the reasons for the nation’s not referring to Imam Ali (A.S) as the lawful successor of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). What that nation lacked was keeping the covenant as a fundamental of Islamic Lifestyle which could result in the Pure Life according to the holy Quran.
According the holy Quran (16: 95-97) one of the necessary elements of the Pure Life is fulfilling the covenants to God: “And do not sell the covenant of God for a small price; surely what is with God — that is better for you, did you but know.” (16: 95)
“What is with you comes to an end, but what is with God abides; and surely We shall recompense those who were patient their wage, according to the best of what they did.” (16: 96)
“And whosoever does a righteous deed, be it male or female, believing, We shall assuredly give him to live a Pure Life; and We shall recompense them their wage, according to the best of what they did.” (16: 97)
The covenant between God and human beings are the keys to salvation. This covenant is the very acceptance of His only Divinity in the two worlds. Those who believe in God sincerely, try to fulfill their covenants through fighting with their desires, whim of their souls and enmity of Satan. The reason for breaking this divine covenant is man’s ambitions, selfishness, and his interest in worldly life, Greece, and as a whole unbelief in the Almighty governing the two worlds. It can be found both in his individual life as well as social; each affecting the other.
Since God is man’s Unique Creator, He knows his goodness more than himself. In this respect it is a responsibility for man to obey Him in all aspects of life and follow His orders mentioned in His Holy Book. Whenever a person makes a promise, he or she must fulfill it; if he or she commits him/herself to something, whether it concerns other people or Allah The Almighty, and then falls short of delivering on it, that is considered a breach of the pledge. The righteous believers never break their covenants, which is rather typical of immoral people and hypocrites. Allah Says: And We did not find for most of them any covenant; but indeed, We found most of them defiantly disobedient. (7: 102)
Since the Prophets are God’s messengers and they are selected by God to explain the rules of this creation and whatever mentioned in the Holy Books related to man’s salvation in detail, man should follow them and consequently their successors. Therefore, obedience to God, His Messengers, as well as their successors is the very covenant that if broken by man, it leads to his eternal affliction.
Then because of their breaking of their covenant, and their disbelieving in the revelations of Allah, and their slaying of the prophets wrongfully, and their saying: Our hearts are hardened – Nay, but Allah set a seal upon them for their disbelief, so that they believe not save a few (4:155)
One of the vivid manifestations of man’s breaking his covenant during history is the root of the Islamic community separation into creeds after the holy Prophet (PBUH)’s death. The formal declaration of Imamat of Imam Ali (A.S.) at Ghadir Khumm has been unanimously described by the learned historians and scholars of both sects. Here we give a brief account to show what great arrangements were made to declare Imam Ali (A.S.) as the successor to the Holy Prophet of Islam(P.B.U.H).
Ghadir Khumm lies in Juhfa between Mecca and Medina. When the Holy Prophet of Islam (P.B.U.H) was on his way home, after performing his last pilgrimage, Jibril brought him this urgent command of Allah: O Apostle! Deliver what has been sent down to you from your Lord; and if you do it not, then you have not delivered His message (at all); and Allah will protect you from the people . . . (5: 67)
The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) stopped at once and ordered that all people who had gone ahead should be called back, and he waited for those who were following. When the entire caravan had gathered, a pulpit was set up by piling up camel saddles; the acacia thorns were swept away. The Holy Prophet (P.B.U.H) ascended the pulpit and delivered a long sermon the gist of which is “For whomever I am his Leader (mawla), Ali is his Leader (mawla).”
In the end he invoked blessings on ‘Ali, saying: “O Allah! Love him who loves ‘Ali, and be the enemy of the enemy of ‘Ali; help him who helps ‘Ali, and forsake him who forsakes ‘Ali.”
When the ceremony was over, the following verse of the Qur’an was revealed: This day I have perfected your religion for you and I have completed My bounty upon you and I have approved Islam as your religion (5:3).
This Divine Declaration clearly shows that because of ‘Ali’s appointment to the Imamate the religion was perfected, the bounty; and favor of Allah completed, and Islam approved by Allah. On the arrival of this glad tiding from heaven the believers congratulated ‘Ali in the Prophet’s presence and many poets composed poems on this event. These entire facts stand recorded in books of tradition as in.

Oath of Allegiance
After his speech, the Messenger of Allah (P.B.U.H) asked everybody to give the oath of allegiance to Ali (A.S.) and congratulate him. Among those who did so was ‘Umar b. al-Khattab, who said: “Well done! “Congratulations to you, Ibn Abi Talib! This morning has brought you a great blessing. Today you have become the leader of all believing men and women”. At a later occasion when Umar was asked about his special treatment to Ali as compared to other companions, his reply was, “He is my leader.” (Ibn Kathir, 1580, al-Munawi, 1350, Al-Shahrastani, 1984, Al-Maghazili, 1983)
Mir Sayyid Ali Hamadani, a Shafi’i scholar, writes in his book, Mawaddat al-Qurba (1650) in Mawadda 5, that many companions quoted Umar in different places as having said that the Prophet made Ali the chief and leader of the nation and that the Prophet announced publicly that Ali was their leader. Umar was also quoted saying that on the day of that announcement, a handsome youth was sitting beside him and that the youth said to him, “Surely, the Prophet has bound a covenant which none but a hypocrite would break. So Umar! Avoid breaking it.” When Umar told Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) about the incident, the Prophet (PBHH) said that the youth was not of Adam’s progeny but was Gabriel and was stressing the point about Ali (A.S).
In Sirru’l-Alamin (1088), Abu Hamid Muhammad Bin Muhammad Ghazali Tusi says: “Proof and reasoning became brighter, and there is unanimous accord among Muslims concerning the text of the address on the day of ‘Ghadir-e-Khum’ that the Holy prophet said: ‘Of whomsoever I am maula (master), Ali is his maula (master).’ Then Umar immediately said, ‘Congratulations to you, congratulations to you, O Abu’l-Hasan! You are my master and also the master of all faithful men and women.'”
This sort of congratulation clearly indicates the acknowledgment of the Holy Prophet’s order, and acceptance of the leadership and caliphate of Ali (A.S). But later on they were overpowered by their worldly desires. Love for power and authority deprived them of compassion. They took it upon themselves to appoint a caliph at Saqifa-e-Bani Sa’dat. They wanted to raise the flag of their own ascendancy and to conquer territory so that their names might be preserved in history. They were intoxicated with lust for power. They ignored the injunctions of the Holy Qur’an, and the orders of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). They sold their religion for this world. What a bad bargain they made with Allah!
When the Holy Prophet was on his death bed he asked for pen and ink so that he could clarify the issue of succession but Umar said: “Leave this man. He is talking nonsense.” So when the Holy Qur’an and the hadith could not help them, they relied upon Ijma (consensus). But this is also void because Abbas, his descendants, Ali, his wife and their descendants did not associate themselves with those who offered allegiance to Abu Bakr. Similarly, the Saqifa men also refused allegiance to the Khazraji, and the Ansars rejected them also.
“And those who break the covenant of Allah after its confirmation and cut asunder that which Allah has ordered to be joined and make mischief in the land; (as for) those, upon them shall be curse and they shall have the evil (issue) of the abode.” (13:25)
1. Al-Munawi, M. 1350, Fayd al-Qadir Sharh al-Jami` al-Saghir, vol. 6, p. 217-8
2. Al-Shahrastani, A. 1984, Al-Milal wa al-Nihal , London: Kegan Paul, Muslim Sects and Divisions, p. 139-140.
3. Ghazali Tusi, M. (1088). Sirru’l-Alamin.
4. Hamadani, A. (1650). Mawaddat al-Qurba.
5. Ibn al-Maghazili, 1983. Manaqib, Beirut: Dar al-Adwa, p. 18-19.
6. Ibn Kathir, 1580, Al-Bidaya wa’l-Nihaya. Cairo: Matba`at al-Sa`adah vol. 7, p. 349.

Sources – Shia Studies

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