All evidences indicate that it was Allah’s will that ‘Ali’s guardianship be the trial for the Muslims, as it was the reason behind every dispute and controversy erupted. And since Allah is subtile toward His bondmen, never taking the latters to task for what the earliers did, therefore He made His wisdom apparent and encompassed that incident (of Ghadir Khumm) with other splendid miracles-like events, so as to be an incentive for the Ummah, and the contemporary people would convey them and the followers would take an example of them, hoping that they might be guided to truth through searching and investigation.
It is related to punishing whoever denying ‘Ali’s guardianship, after the prevalence of the news of Ghadir Khumm, and designation of al-’Imām ‘Ali as a caliph over the Muslims, with the Messenger’s telling the people: The attendant should inform the absent.
When this news reached al-Hārith ibn al-Nu‘mān al-Fahri, it displeased him. So he rushed toward the Messenger of Allah, made his camel kneel down before the Mosque door, and entered upon the Prophet (S). After saluting him, he said: O Muåammad! You ordered us to witness that no god is there but Allah and you are the Messenger of Allah, and we accepted this from you. You also commanded us to perform five prayers day and night, fast the Month of Ramadān, perform pilgrimage to Allah’s House, and pay the alms-due out of our money and properties and so we did. But you were not satisfied with all this, till you one day surprised us with raising the hand of your cousin; preferring him over other people, and said: "Of whomever I am a master, ‘Ali also is his master." Is this from you or ordained by Allah?
The Messenger of Allah (S), whose eyes turned red, replied: By Allah, Who no god is there but He. It is ordained by Allah, and not from me (repeating it three times)
On standing up, al-Hārith said: "O Allah, if what is uttered by Muåammad being true, send against us stones from the sky or bring us a painful doom."
Then he (S) said: By Allah, before reaching his camel, Allah pelted him with a stone from the heaven, which fell upon the top of his head and went out from his posterior, causing his death. Thereat these verses were revealed by Allah the Almighty: "Demanded, a demander, the chastisement inevitable. For, the disbelievers against it, there is no repeller." (70:1-2)
This episode is reported by a large number of Ahl al-Sunnah ‘ulamā’, other than those we referred to. Whoever desires to go through more references, can refer to the book al-Ghadir of al-‘Allāmah al-’Amini.
It is related to the punishment of anyone concealing the witness regarding the incident of al-Ghadir, and was inflicted by the imprecation uttered by al-’Imām ‘Ali. That was when al-’Imām ‘Ali, during a memorable day, rose up, and gathered people at al-Rahabah, proclaiming from over the minbar:
I appeal to every Muslim who heard the Messenger of Allah (S), saying on the day of Ghadir Khumm. "‘Ali is the master of whomever I am his master", to stand up and give witness of what he heard, provided that he saw him by his own eyes and heard him by his own ears."
Thereat thirty Companions, among whom sixteen Badrites (those who attended Battle of Badr), stood up and witnessed that he(S) took him by hand and addressed people, saying: "Do you know that I have more authority over the believers than they have over themselves? They said: Yes, you do. He said: Of whomever I am his master, this one (‘Ali) is also his master. O Allah, befriend whoever befriends him, and be the enemy of his enemy..."
But jealousy and hatred harboured inside the hearts of some Companions who attended the Incident of al-Ghadir, withheld them from standing and giving witness. Among them being Anas ibn Mālik, toward whom al-’Imām ‘Ali descended the minbar (pulpit) and said to him: O Anas, what is the matter with you? Why don’t you rise up together with the Messenger’s Companions and give witness of what you heard on that day as they did? He replied: O Amir al-Mu’minin! I became old and forgot (that incident). Then al-’Imām ‘Ali said: If you are proved to be a liar I invoke Allah to afflict you with leprosy in a way that no turban can cover. Then as soon as he stood up, his face turned white out of leprosy, after which he began to lament himself, weeping and saying: I am inflicted with the curse of the upright man because I concealed the witness to his benefit.
This episode is widely known, and was reported by Ibn Qutaybah in the book al-Ma‘ārif, in which he counted Anas among the cripple persons under bāb al-baras (leprosy), and also by al-Imam Aåmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad,when he said: They all stood up except three, who didn’t rise up, so they were afflicted with his imprecation.
It is noteworthy to mention here that these three men were referred to by al-’Imām Aåmad as reported by al-Baladhuri, when saying: After citing al-’Imām ‘Ali’s appeal to witness, Anas ibn Mālik, al-Barā’ ibn ‘Azib and Jarir ibn ‘Abd Allāh al-Bajali were sitting near the pulpit. Al-’Imām repeated his appeal, but received no response from any of them, whereat he(‘a) said: My Lord, whoever hides this witness while knowing it. You should never let him die and leave the world without branding him with a sign distinguishing him for all people. After that, Anas ibn Mālik was affected with leprosy, al-Barā’ ibn ‘Azib turned blind, and Jarir was converted to a bedouin after his migration, and on coming al-Shurāt he died inside his mother’s house.
“So Learn a Lesson, O ye who have eyes.”
Any truth-seeker can recognize, out of this incident, that was revived by al-’Imām ‘Ali after elapse of twenty-five years and was about to be obliterated, the real value, greatness, sublimity and self serenity of al-’Imām ‘Ali (‘a). While he showed extreme forbearance, being true counseller to Abu Bakr, ‘Umar and ‘Uthmān as long as knowing that advising them being for the interest of Islam and Muslims, nevertheless he kept on holding in mind the Incident of al-Ghadir with all its denotations, besides its being remembered in his conscience throughout all of his life moments. As soon as finding an opportune time to resurrecting and reviving it, he would immediately embark on compelling others to give witness with it publicly and before all people.
Anyone can contemplate in the way of reviving this blessed memory and its implied extreme wisdom for establishing the proof against all Muslims, whether those attended the incident and others. If al-’Imām said: "O people, the Messenger of Allah has committed caliphate to me at Ghadir Khumm", this wouldn’t have that influence and impression upon the hearts and minds of the attendants, and they would have surely disputed with him due to the silence he kept throughout all that period.
But when he said: I appeal to every Muslim, who heard what the Messenger of Allah (S) declared on the day of Ghadir Khumm, to stand up and give witness, so as to make the incident reported through a tradition from the Messenger of Allah (S), by thirty Companions among whom were sixteen men attending Badr (Battle). In this way al-’Imām closed the door before the deniers and skeptics, and those protesting against his keeping silence all that period, since keeping silence by these thirty men, who being the magnates among the shaābah, would be a strong evidence indicating the perilousness of the situation, and that silence implying the interest of Islam as known by all.
A Comment about Shurā
Out of what is mentioned, it became clear for us that caliphate, in the perspective of the Shi‘ah, being according to Allah’s will and choice, and determination by the Messenger of Allah (S) through a revelation revealed to him. this claim is quitely in line with the philosophy of Islam in all its rulings and legislations, as Allah, the Glorified, is He Who "...createth whatever He willeth and (also) chooseth too; it is not theirs to choose."...(28:68)
And since Allah, the Glorified, willed that the Ummah of Muhammad to be the best community that has been raised up for mankind, so it should have a leader who being wise, sagacious, knowledgeable, powerful, valiant, pious, ascetic, and having the highest level of faith. All these traits can never be enjoyed but by that who being chosen by Allah, the Glorious and the Mighty, distinguishing him with special characteristics qualifying him for the post of leadership and headship. The Almighty Allah said: "Allah chooseth from the angels messengers, and (also) from mankind. Lo! Allah is Hearer, Seer." (22:75)
The executors have been chosen by Allah exactly as in the case of the prophets. The Messenger of Allah (S) said in this respect:
In another haadith, he (S) said:
On this basis, the Shi‘ah submitted totally to Allah and His Messenger, with no one left among them claiming caliphate for himself or covetting to it, neither through text (nass) nor through election: first, because the nass negates the election and shurā (council), and secondly due to the fact that the nass was made by the Messenger of Allah (may Allah’s peace and benediction be upon him and his Progeny) upon particular and specific persons by their names, so as no transgressor could lift a hand against it, and otherwise he would be considered a debauchee and an apostate.
While caliphate in the perspective of Ahl al-Sunnah being through election (ikhtiyār) and council (shurā). In this way they opened a door that couldn’t be closed before anyone, arousing the greediness of all, far and near, and bad and good for it, till it was handed over from Quraysh to the mawāli and slaves, then to the Mamalik and lastly to the Turkish and Moguls.
Thereat, all the values and conditions they stipulated to be possessed by the caliph, have been neglected since anyone other than the Infallible was merely a human being full of passions and instincts, who as soon as attaining to power, feels uncertain of being converted and turned to be worse than he was. And the Islamic history is replete with many evidences confirming our claim.
Some readers may think that I am exaggerating, and I ask them to go through the history of the Umayyads with the ‘Abbāsids and others, to realize that who called himself ‘Amir al-Mu’minin’ used to show openly the habit of imbibing wine, frolic with the apes, clothing them with gold. And that the so-called (Amir al-Mu’minin) used to clothe his bondmaid his clothes to lead Muslims in prayers, turning mad due to the death of his slave-girl Habbabah, being delighted at a poet whereat he kisses his penis. Why do we occupy our minds in talking about those whom the Muslims judged to be representing only the mordacious kings, not the (real) caliphate, as referred to by the åhadith narrated by them, which is the utterance of the Messenger (S).
"Verily successorship after me shall last for thirty years, after which it will be only a mordacious rule."
This point is out of scope of our discussion, and anyone desiring to have information about that is asked to refer to Ta’rikh al-Tabari, Ta’rikh Ibn al-’Athir, Ta’rikh Abi al-Fidā’ and Ta’rikh Ibn Qutaybah, and others.
That which I intended to say was to demonstrate the disadvantages of election, and futility of the theory from its foundation, as against the one whom we elect today we may harbour malice, and it, will be manifested for us that we were mistaken and have gone wrong in election. This is exactly like the case of ‘Abd al-Raåmān ibn ‘Awf when he chose ‘Uthmān ibn ‘Affān for the post of caliphate, after which he felt so regretful, but that was of no use for the ‘Ummah after putting it in trouble. When a reputable Companion belonging to the first vanguard like ‘Uthmān, breaches the covenant he gave to ‘Abd al-Raåmān ibn ‘Awf, and when the latter, though being a companion of fame among the predecessors, being unable to choose properly, it would be impossible then to any sane man to be satisfied with this barren theory that produced nothing but turmoil, instability and bloodshed. And while swearing allegiance to Abu Bakr being a slip Allah protected Muslims against its evil, as described by ‘Umar ibn al-Khattāb, with a large number of Companions opposing and renouncing it, and when allegiance to ‘Ali ibn Abi Tālib being sworn publicly with presence of some Companions violating the allegiance, leading to eruption of the Battles of al-Jamal, Siffin and al-Nahrawan, in which innocent people were killed, how would wisemen be pleased then, with that rule which was put to test and exorbitantly failed from the beginning, being a mischief for the Muslims. This fact is more ascertained when knowing that those who believe in the principle of shurā, elect the caliph having no authorization after that to substitute or depose him. The Muslims tried their best to depose ‘Uthmān, but he disdained, saying: "I never take off a garment Allah has clothed me with."
That which increases even our aversion to this theory, being what is seen nowadays in the civilized democracy-claiming Western countries, in regard of electing the Head of State, with various parties struggling, bargaining and competing for attaining to power at any cost, spending for this purpose billions of money allocated for publicity in all its means. Further huge potentials and resources being squandered on the cost of the oppressed among the people who badly needing them. As soon as any of them assumes the headship, sympathy overwhelms him, making him designate his supporters, party members, friends and relatives in the posts of ministers, high-ranking responsibilities, and significant positions in administration, leaving the others busy in the activities of the opposition throughout his reign period, upon which it is agreed too. In this way, they would create problems and obstacles for him, doing their utmost to disgrace and topple him, entailing thus a heavy loss for the downtrodden people. Consequently, many humane values were devoluted and numerous Satanic depravitives were elevated with the titles of freedom and democracy, and under bombastic slogans, in a way that sodomy was practised as a lawful and legitimate act, and adultery turned to be a progress and advancement as a substitute for marriage, about which you can say what you like.
How great the Shi‘ah’s belief in holding that successorship (khilāfah) being one of principles of religion, and what sublime is their belief that this post be according to the Will and choice of Allah, the Exalted. It is really on apposite saying and sensible opinion, admitted by reason ('Aql) and with which the conscience is pleased, being supported by texts from the Qur’ān and (Prophetic) Sunnah, coercing the tyrants, dominants, kings and sovereigns, imparting upon the society tranquillity and stability.
This incident reveals the presence of some of bedouins living outside al-Madinah, who detest 'Ali ibn Abi Tālib and never like him, beside disliking Muhammad (S). As a consequence we can notice how did this fool enter upon the Prophet, and, without greeting him, called him: O Muhammad! He thus proved to be among those meant in the Holy Qur'ānic verse: "The (rustic) Arabs (of the desert) are very hard in infidelity and hypocrisy, and more inclined not to know the limits of what Allah hath sent down unto His Apostle ..." (9:97)
 Al-Hasakāni, Shawāhid al-tanzil, Vol. II, p. 286; Tafsir al-Tha'labi, on the Surat al-Ma'ārij. Tafsir al-Qurtubi, Vol. XVIII, p. 278; Tafsir al-Manār, by Rashid Ridā, Vol. VI, p. 464; Yanābi' al-mawaddah, by al-Qunduzi al-Hanafi, p. 328; Al-Mustadrak 'alā al-Sahihayn, by al-Hākim, Vol. II, p. 502; Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. III, p. 275; Tadhkirat al-khawāss, by Ibn al-Jawzi, p. 37.
 Ibn Qutaybah al-Dinawari, Kitāb al-ma'ārif, p. 251.
 Al-'Imām Ahmad ibn Hanbal in his Musnad, Vol. I, p. 119.
 Al-Balādhuri in Ansāb al-'Ashrāf, Vols. I & II, p. 152.
 Ta'rikh Ibn 'Asākir, which is called Ta'rikh Dimashq, Vol. II, p. 7 and Vol. III, p. 150;
— Sharh Nahj al-balāghah, of Ibn Abi al-Hadid, verified by Muhammad Abu al-Fadl, Vol. XIX, p. 217;
— 'Abaqāt al-'anwār, Vol. II, p. 309;
— Manāqib 'Ali ibn Abi Tālib, of Ibn al-Maghāzili al-Shāfi'i, p. 23;
— Al-Sirah al-Halabiyyah, Vol. III, p. 337.
 The incident occurred on the Rahbah Day when al-'Imām 'Ali asked the Sahābah to give witness about Hadith al-Ghadir. This incident is reported by a large number of traditionists and historians, to whom a reference was made previously, like Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Ibn 'Asākir and Ibn Abi al-Hadid, beside others.
Ta'rikh Ibn 'Asākir al-Shafi'i, Vol. III, p. 5; Manāqib al-Khwārazmi, p. 42; Yanābi' al-mawaddah, p. 79.
 Yanābi' al-mawaddah, Vol. II, p. 3, on the authority of al-Daylami, Manāqib al-Khwārazmi and Dhakhā'ir al-'uqbā.
 The number was reported by al-Bukhāri and Muslim, while the number and names were reported by the author of Yanābi' al-mawaddah, Vol. III, p. 99.