The second cause for the decrease of religious significance of Bani Hashim arose during the Caliphate of Umar Ibn Khattab. During this time, it became famous that Ali (a.s.) has started practicing religious jurisprudence (Ijtihaad). Ali (a.s.) began to derive the solution of religious problems as the circumstances demanded and the Bani Hashim began to follow his decrees (did Taqlid). And why shouldn’t they, when they knew that Ali (a.s.) was the gate of knowledge, the expert of Quran and the flesh, blood, self and soul of the Holy Prophet (S)? And that his creation and the creation of the Messenger of Allah (S) was from a single luminosity (Noor).
But when that Caliph learnt of this, he appointed some other people to derive the laws of Shariah, chief among them were Ibn Masood, Abu Moosa Ashari and the same Zaid Ibn Thabit. Upon receiving orders from the Caliph, these gentlemen began to formulate religious decrees and their rulings came out to be different from those of Ali (a.s.). People other than Bani Hashim began to follow their decrees, but the Bani Hashim continued to follow the rulings of their religious and tribal chief, Ali Ibn Abi Talib (a.s.).
From that time, two distinct sects developed among the Muslims. One was the Alawite sect and another, Farooqi sect. His Eminence, Ali (a.s.) himself formulated his religious decrees but Umar Ibn Khattab accomplished this task with the help of his appointed assistants. Apparently, this did not auger well for Islam. This division bestowed no benefit on the Islamic religion. Even today we witness disturbances in the Muslim world due to this division and this shall continue forever. Anyway, Ali (a.s.) was always busy in solving the problems of Shariah.
However, since he did not have the support of the ruling party, his followers were limited to the family of the Prophet, i.e. the Bani Hashim. Doubtlessly, temporal power has a great role in the spread of religion. The lack of the spread of the religion of Ali (a.s.) was not unexpected. On the other hand, the Farooqi religion made great strides and even today this is the religion of the majority of Muslims. There is no doubt that the Farooqi religion had received a great impetus.
It began during the time of Umar and during his lifetime itself, it spread to all the Islamic territories. Bani Umayyah adopted this religion due to their natural inclination towards it and also due to the exigencies of that time. And after them, most of the Bani Abbas also adopted this faith. If some persons of Bani Abbas followed the religion of Ali (a.s.) they are very few and hardly taken into consideration. Then the great kingdoms followed the religion of Farooq. So much so that even the last Muslim dynasty of India, i.e. the Mughal Dynasty was following this religion.
In any case, this controversy with regard to personal exertion (Ijtihaad) harmed the religious leadership of Ali (a.s.). Because this completely overshadowed the fact that he was the gate of knowledge. Being distanced from rulership, he had already become a common member of the populace. Now these matters decreased his religious significance too. In my opinion, this was more harmful than the matter of collecting the Quran. Now we shall present some facts about the Farooqi religion and the faith of Ali (a.s.), so that uninformed people may gain some understanding.