Summarily, the AhlulBayt (AS) do not only expect obedience and following from the Muslim Ummah, but their obedience and following will be inspected at the right time and space.
Just as teachers expect their students to answer all the questions for which they have taught their students, so also it is that the student should expect the Master to ask them only those questions for which they have received adequate teaching and pointers to.
However, it is generally construed that, people are unlikely to do what you expect them, but will most certainly do or attempt to do what you will inspect. It is against this backdrop that wherever it is desired that a particular objective must be achieved, reward systems are instituted, efficiency is measured and checks and balances are implemented to justify accountability. For instance, in educational institutions, the teachers after imparting knowledge to their students, will examine them and reward those who outperform their colleagues. The students who outperform have a mental set geared towards achieving excellence in consonance with the expectation of the teachers, but will put in additional effort to really achieve that excellence only and only because their efforts will be inspected and possibly rewarded. So that, for instance, the high school graduate will get the opportunity to enter college, the college graduate will get the chance to enter the University and the list of reward for inspection can continue till there is nothing left but enjoyment for those who obediently acted and remorse for those who did not act accordingly. The results for inspections has been the driving force for people’s actions be it for a spiritual or material objective and has been the law of nature. For instance we pray, fast, and do other religious obligations because the Creator (SWT) does not only expect us to obey His (SWT) orders, but will inspect our obedience at the right time and space.
For instance, acts that are obligatory takes precedence over acts that are not. So, if for the constraints of time, a servant is unable to, for instance, observe their nawafl prayers, they will not be penalized, however for non-observance of the obligatory prayer, say the Zuhr prayer, will attract due punishment because it is not only expected that the servant should observe it, but it’s observance will be inspected at the appropriate time and space. The consequences for obedience or non-obedience to divine orders serves as a trigger that informs every thinking-individual to take a pause before taking any action, so that, when their actions are inspected, and which will definitely be, at the right space and time, they may find themselves justifiably punished or vindicated.
Just as students expect their teacher to provide solutions to all their questions and clear off all their doubts about each and every problem they encounter, the expectation of the Ummah from the AhlulBayt (AS) is already met because the AhlulBayt (AS) are the know-all-answers scholars. There is absolutely no doubts in the minds of the Ummah that is uncleared by the AhlulBayt (AS). This means, the master-student relationship pact is fulfilled already on the part of the AhlulBayt (AS) for the Ummah. If the individual from among the Ummah has doubts that they cannot find answers to, then it means the doubt itself does not exist because for as long as it exists the answers are there already. Alternatively, it simply means the individual has not asked for the solution to their doubts from the right persons who are the custodian and embodiment of the Prophetic message. Or, in another sense, it means they have diverted from the real source of knowledge and are seeking it where it is not or can never be exhaustively cleared.
The AhlulBayt (AS) as indicated in the Hadith of the Thaqalayn, are the custodians of the Holy Quran. Just by virtue of the fact that they are inseparable from the Holy Quran indicates that a Godly understanding and benefiting from the Holy Quran can only come from them and no one else. They are the embodiment of spirituality, wisdom, courage, generosity, sacrifices and above all, the ultimate guide to the destination desired for the Ummah. Their ultimate role is to lead us every step on the way towards the pleasure of Allah (SWT). Not only has this expectation of them from the Ummah being dutifully executed theoretically, but it was empirically demonstrated at every stage of their existence beginning with the first of them to the last of them. Their mere existence is for our welfare. The AhlulBayt (AS) are the teachers for the Muslim community. And as teachers, they have done what a teacher ought to do.
In return, they require of us, the Ummah, to make them ours and derive all knowledge from them that will lead us to our ultimate salvation. Because this requirement is obligatory, they are a mandatory part of our Salawaat for it to be considered complete. We shall each be questioned about our Imam in the grave. And the list is countless.
If the Ummah were united under the leadership of the AhlulBayt (AS),we would have been able to achieve a praiseworthy unity that keeps us above board in all frontiers. However, the unfortunate events of history has eaten into the fabric of unity of the Ummah since the demise of our beloved Prophet (SAW) and this has transcended generations causing much bitterness for our unity in almost all frontiers from prayers to legal and socio-political systems.
For instance, prayers, azan, ablution, mode of standing for prayer, and even what is recited in certain phases of the prayer have experienced dramatic alterations and, thereby, spiritually weakening the hearts of the believers because each person considers theirs as the right way. In the legal system, how, for instance, the followers of the AhlulBayt (AS) will apply the law in certain matters, such as that of cutting the hand of a thief is totally different from those who refuse to follow the wisdom of the AhlulBayt (AS). Socially, the Ummah is divided in ways that make our enemies more happier. Marriage contracts for instance are suffering the scrutiny of society. The background checks are now not geared towards the piety of the individual, but the Islamic divide into which the suitor belongs.