Allah says, “O mumineen, fulfill the terms of your promises”, “Fulfill your promise; you will be enquired about it”, “(O Mohammad (saws)) those who enter into a covenant with you make a covenant with Allah. The hand of Allah is upon their hands. He who breaks it does harm to himself and he who fulfills the terms of the covenant which he has made to Allah will be amply rewarded.”
These verses make it clear to us that our pledge to the Imaam is equivalent to our pledge to the Prophet which is a pledge to Allah. Just as devotion to the Imaam is linked with the devotion to the Allah which under no circumstances can be given up, the fulfillment of our terms of covenant with them is also a sort of devotion from which we cannot break away to the slightest extent. If a devotee is devoted to Allah but he disobeys his Prophet or belies him, his devotion will not be taken into account and he will be punished for falsifying the Prophet and disobeying him. It needs no further testimony than the following verse of the Qur'an which speaks of the infidels who believed in Allah but did not believe in the Prophet and who consequently incurred the wrath of Allah who condemned them to perdition. The verse says, “If you ask them as to who has created them they say Allah has created us.” Since they disbelieve in the Prophet, in spite of their acknowledgement of the lordship of Allah they expose themselves to His wrath because of their disobedience to His Prophet.
Similarly, if a devotee believes in Allah and in His Prophet and does not believe in the Imaamat of the ‘Imaams', the successors of the Prophet, even if he were to worship Allah throughout his life-time he becomes one of those about whom Allah says, “We shall look to their deeds and treat them as nothing but particles of scattered dust.”
Thus, if one is devoted to Allah and his Prophet but disobeys the Imaam of his time (Imaam uz-Zamaan) or belies him, his devotion to Him and His Prophet in view of his denial and disobedience of the Imaam of his time becomes void and meaningless. This is clear from the fact that Allah has linked the devotion to Him, to the devotion to the Prophet Mohammad (saws) and the devotion to the Imaam so inextricably that none of these three devotions can be separated. Hence, he who fulfills his pledge to Allah, His Prophet and his ‘wasi' (deputy) or the Imaam from his progeny, entitles himself to be included in the group about which Allah says, ‘They will be amply rewarded', the ample reward stands for ‘jannat'. But he who breaks his pledge to Allah and disjoins from what Allah has ordered him to join is one of those losers about whom Allah says, “They have lost this world as well as next (aakherat).” They lose the guidance of the Imaam in this world and the rewards of Allah in the hereafter. They expose them to the punishment of Allah for disjoining the devotion to the Imaam from the devotion to Allah which they have been enjoined upon to join.
In short, fulfill your pledges to them (A'immat) to the fullest extent. Take particular care of the return of the ‘amaanat' to them. You have pledged this to Allah. You have taken serious vows of your loyalty to them. You have taken upon yourselves the fulfillment of the terms of the pledges and the vows you have made to them. Strive hard to earn the reward of Allah and see that you do not become losers. Think again and again over the seriousness of the pledges and the vows that you have made to the Imaam. Keep these vows always fresh in your mind and return the ‘amaanat' i.e. your nafs (soul) and maal (fortunes) to Allah and the Imaam. Allah says, “Secure are those ‘mumins' who pay back the ‘amaanat', fulfill their vows and are particular about their prayers. They are the persons who will inherit ‘Firdaus' in which they will have a permanent abode.” These verses make it crystal clear to us that the fulfillment of pledges and the return of the ‘amaanat' carry the ‘mumin' to ‘jannat' and the breaking of the vows and dishonesty in the payment of ‘amaanat' will drag them down to the lowest depth of the Hell-fire.
You must bear in mind that in keeping up your pledges and vows no other consideration prevails upon you than the avoidance of the disgrace which is involved in the breach of faith; even then for you it will be worth to do so. We know many people who in spite of the fact that they are not necessarily very pious or strictly honest, are very particular about the fulfillment of their vows and in this matter they act exactly on the lines recommended by Allah in His holy book. If any one of them breaks his vows to the slightest extent he atones for what can be atoned for and fulfills the pledge which cannot be atoned for. We must realize that we have voluntarily taken upon ourselves a heavy responsibility and we have no other go than to discharge our obligations by the fulfillment of our vows.
Let us fear Allah. Let us see that we do not commit a breach of faith in these matters. Let us guard ourselves against the breaking of our vow to Allah, against transgressing His limits and disobeying His commands and prohibitions. See that you do not die with your vows unfulfilled with your life-time. It must be borne in mind that even if we make a vow not to touch our wives, and not to take food, and not to change the clothing which belong to us, Allah makes these lawful things unlawful for us unless we atone for our vows by giving something in charity and setting for a slave. Thus if we do not fulfill the vows that we have taken upon ourselves, we indulge in the doing of unlawful things and involve ourselves in the committing of heinous crimes and grave sins. May Allah forbid us all from this dangerous affair! May He include us all among those ‘mumins' who fulfill their pledges and never break them, and who pay back the ‘amaanat' and respect their word of honour.
O mumineen, may Allah's mercy be on you, you must remember that you cannot fulfill your pledge and be honest in the discharge of your obligations unless you know well the pledges you have entered into and the obligations you have put yourselves under. Hence, it is necessary for you that you should remind yourselves of the covenants that you have made with the Imaam and the terms of the covenant that you have taken upon yourselves to fulfill. If you ignore inadvertently or forget or treat lightly any of those terms, then the moment you realize your mistake you must atone for it by repentance and do what you have omitted to do. If you have forgotten the terms or some part of it then renew them by reviving the terms of the covenant. Admit your guilt and repent to Allah and to the Imaam of your time. If you persist in your mistakes or your ignorance then you appear before Allah as one who has ignored His sign on earth and broken his vow with Him. You will appear in His eyes much more degraded and much more miserable than the one who has made no such pledge. For, the misappropriation of the ‘amaanat' is in a much worse position than the one who has refused to deposit the ‘amaanat' with him; and the one who knows the consequences of the breach of faith and still commits the breach is to be blamed more than the one who is ignorant of all this. Although it is the duty of the one who does not know these to try to know them and it is incumbent on the one who has lost the way to look for guidance, still his guilt is less than that of the one who knowingly commits the breach of faith.
The hypocrites (munaafiq) are condemned by Allah to the lowest depths of the hell fire and their condition is much worse than that of the infidels. It is because, the hypocrites knew the truth and yet they rejected it and the infidels persisted in their infidelism. Both the hypocrites and the infidels will be in hell fire and the lot of the hypocrites will be the worst for they have broken the pledge or ignored it and this is much worse than the refusal to take the pledge.