MISAAQ - A COVENANT OF FAITH AND OBEDIENCE
Allah Ta'aala has mentioned about the Misaaq, also called a covenant or promise or oath of allegiance, at many places in the Qur'an, where it is cited that Allah took the covenant of all the angels and also of all the Prophets and He has ordered them to take the covenant of their communities. Especially, in a distinguished manner, it is given in the Qur'an at different places that Allah has ordered Mohammad Rasulullah (SAWS) to take covenant of all the followers. When Allah took the covenant of all the angels, He kept Hajr-e-Aswad (black stone) as a witness, and during Hajj when the people kisses the Hajr-e-Aswad in the circumambulation of the Holy Ka'bah they give the covenant that is there in their necks to the Hajr-e-Aswad which they gave to the Naa'ib-e-Imaam uz-Zamaan i.e. Da'i-e-Mutlaq. Allah Ta'aala has sent 1 lakh 24 thousand Prophets on the earth, out of which six are Ambiyaa Notaqaa and five of them, belong to the Ulul ‘Azam. Allah has honored some of them by the favor of Prophethood. Allah has Himself appointed the prophets as ‘answer' and ‘explanation' from His own creation and has given them the responsibility to promulgate their mission and the orders of Prophet hood. And those who are honored and exalted to this status by Allah can never commit a mistake or error and they can never deviate from the right path and they are pure, clean and innocent. Allah Ta'aala took the covenant of all the prophets despite He Himself appointed them on the status of Prophet hood, so that they make their followers abide to the divine orders and commands; the rules of the shari'at; and the forbidden and the permissible.
Covenant is the constitution, rule and the principle between the Creator and His Creation with the intercession and the advocacy of the Prophets of Allah. Under this constitution, to substantiate the laws, Allah has made the covenant obligatory. When Allah honored Rasulullah (SAWS) with the Prophet hood and Jibra'eel (AS) started revealing the divine orders to the Rasulullah (SAWS), he used to convey the same things to his followers and they used to accept and obey each and every thing that Rasulullah (SAWS) commanded and there was not even a minute difference in following the rules and orders of religion and faith. Rasulullah (SAWS) used to teach the meaning and disclose the intricacies of the Qur'an the way it was revealed on him part by part.
But before his sad demise, on the occasion of farewell Hajj (Hijjat ul-Widaa'), when he was commanded by Allah to order the love and faith ( walaayat ) of Hazrat Ali (AS) in the presence of 70,000 hajjaaj (pilgrims) at Ghadeer-e-Khumm he hesitated and was reluctant to execute the command. Then he was again commanded strictly by Allah for the same order, that if he failed to execute this order then the whole of his Prophet hood will be rendered meaningless and in vain. Allah gave him peace and courage and he assembled the seats of camel and erected a pillar. Then Rasulullah (SAWS) along with Hazrat Ali (AS) climbed the pillar and then he lifted Hazrat Ali (AS) with his hands and ordered the love and faith of Hazrat Ali (AS) as it was commanded by Allah in the presence of the huge crowd of pilgrims.
Thousands of people gave the covenant of faith and love of Hazrat Ali (AS) in this historic event. The nearest of the companions and the associates of Rasulullah (SAWS) congratulated Hazrat Ali (AS) for the honor of “our master ( Maulana ).” It is been reported that people poured in to congratulate and compliment Hazrat Ali (AS) and the event of giving oath of allegiance (Misaaq) continued for three days. People used to come near the pillar and give the covenant and congratulate Rasulullah (SAWS) and Hazrat Ali (AS).
But history bears the witness that, as it happened with the previous Prophets, after the demise of Rasulullah (SAWS) the differences in the community surfaced and the people forgot the covenant that they gave to their master and leader Maulana Ali Ameer ul-Mumineen (AS). They started doing whatever they wanted and deviated from the faith and love of their master as it was ordered by Allah and fell into the dark pit of disobedience. The deviated and disgraced groups appointed their suitable leaders and in the greed of wealth and kingdom; they broke the oneness of Islam and formed different sub sects just as the shepherd herds his own cattle. As this scenario progressed, people of different groups and sub sects started believing in the distorted, misrepresented and falsified picture of the laws and rules of the Islam framed by their leaders themselves.
Due to this reason, it became mandatory upon Ameer ul-Mumineen Maulana Ali (AS), Imaam Hasan (AS), Imaam Husain (AS), and on the pure Imaams (AS) of his progeny to reveal and disclose the true picture of the religion and its rules, laws, practices and customs; and to continue the practice of covenant, so that the true believers of Ahl ul-Bayt (AS) gets salvation, deliverance and redemption in the world and the Hereafter. Also under the shield of the covenant they abide on the right path, recognize the practices of Ahl ul-Bayt (AS) and obey the Imaam (AS) of their time and remain faithful to him.
That is why Allah has distinguished the Imaam (AS) on this earth so that with the help of covenant they are able to establish the essence of worship and the real meaning of knowledge and action and maintain the divine constitution. For this reason the covenant is given, as Rasulullah (SAWS) has said, “ Paradise is for him who is faithful and recites “laa ilaaha illallaah” with the pure heart.” The same practice of covenant is still practiced and continued as it was in the past. All the orders and laws of religion that are mentioned in the Qur'an is written in the Du'a (supplication) of the Misaaq (covenant) so that one who gives the covenant enters the blessed favor of faith and rises with the obedience of Imaam-uz-Zamaan (AS).
Let us reinforce our sunnat, rasm and practice of covenant. We all know that newly graduated doctors, before entering in to the actual profession, take the “oath of Hippocrates”, that they will practice judicially and treat the sick religiously. If we widen our scope, then even a political leader takes the “oath” in the presence of Chief Justice before entering his political career that he will work in the interest of the country.
For the existence of mankind, Allah has showered innumerous bounties of living and non-living things on us. Amongst them, the most precious is the gemstones and the ordinary ones include the herbivorous animals. The gemstones are to be preserved in the lock and only those get who are worthy of it and deserve it, who are able to pay for it. In the same way Allah has made the Prophets and Imaam (AS) in whose hearts He has engraved the precious and invaluable knowledge. Only those people get this knowledge that are interested in it; are capable of protecting it and those who deserve it. They are the one who enter in the shadow of faith and are the true believers. For protecting this knowledge it has been made mandatory upon Imaam (AS) to take covenant.