End of Idolatory In Arabia

The Proclamation of Surah Bara'ah or Al Tawbah:
When the pilgrimage season of 9 A.H. arrived, Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, sent Abu Bakr as commander of the pilgrims to Mecca, he himself being too occupied with public and domestic concerns to absent himself from Medina.

Abu Bakr and the pilgrims left Medina. A day after their departure, the Prophet received from Heaven a new revelation called Bara’ah or Al-Tawbah (The Immunity or Repentence) – the ninth chapter of Qur’an, and he was specifically ordered to promulgate it in Mecca either personally or to delegate authority to do so to someone from his own family, but to no one else.

When someone expressed the wish that he should send it to Abu Bakr, Muhammad replied: "No one shall transmit it from me but a man of my own house." In compliance with this commandment of Heaven, Muhammad summoned his son-in-law and devoted disciple, Ali, and mounting him on the swiftest of his camels, urged him to hasten with all speed to Mecca, there to promulgate before the multitude of pilgrims assembled from all parts, an important sura of the Holy Qur'an, which he just received from heaven. Then he said to Ali: "Take this section from the beginning of Al-Tawbah, and proclaim it to the people on the day of sacrifice when they assemble at Mina."

Ali executed his mission with his accustomed zeal and fidelity. Towards the close of the pilgrimage, on the great day of sacrifice, at the place of casting stones near Mina, Ali read aloud to the multitudes who crowded round him in the narrow pass, the heavenly command. He rose and announced himself a messenger from the Prophet, bearing an important revelation. He then read the sura of which he was the bearer; in which the religion of the sword was declared in all its rigor.

After Ali finished his recitation of the Qur'an, he continued in his own words: "O men, no unbeliever will enter Paradise; no polytheist will perform pilgrimage after this year; and no naked person will be allowed to circumambulate the Kaaba. Whoever has entered into a covenant with the Prophet of Allah – may Allah's peace and blessings be upon him – will have his covenant fulfilled as long as its term lasts." Ali proclaimed these four instructions to the people and then gave everybody four months of general peace and amnesty during which anyone could return safely home. From that time on, no idolater performed the pilgrimage and no naked person made the circuits of the Kaaba. From that day on, the Islamic State was established.

When Abu Bakr and Ali returned to Medina, the former expressed surprise and dissatisfaction that he had not been made the promulgator of so important a revelation, as it seemed to be connected with his recent mission, but he was pacified by the assurance that all new revelations must be announced by the Prophet himself, or by some one of his immediate family.

Ali Accomplished the Most Important Duty of Messenger:
Ali ibn Abi Talib rehearsed the Signs of Allah in Mina, representing the Messenger of Allah. This should be borne in mind that rehearsing the Signs of Allah is most important function. It is, in fact, so important that Allah Himself has assumed it. We read in the Holy Qur’an:

These are the signs of Allah: We rehearse them to thee in Truth: Verily thou art one of the Apostles. (Ch 2; verse 252)

This is what We rehearse unto thee of the Signs And the message of Wisdom. (Ch 3; verse 58)

These are the signs of Allah: We rehearse them to thee in Truth: And Allah means no injustice to any of His creatures. (Ch 3; verse 108)

According to these verses, Allah Himself rehearsed His Signs to Muhammad, His Messenger, and the latter, once he heard them, rehearsed them to the rest of mankind. Rehearsing the Signs of Allah was one of his most important duties. The importance of this duty is highlighted by the following verses of the Holy Qur’an:

Our Lord! Send among them an Apostle of their own Who shall rehearse thy Signs to them and instruct Them in Scripture and Wisdom, and sanctify them For thou art exalted in Might, the Wise.(Ch 2; verse 129)

A similar (favor have ye already received) in that We have sent among you an Apostle of your own, Rehearsing to you Our Signs, and sanctifying you, And instructing you in Scripture and Wisdom, And in new Knowledge. (Ch 2; verse 151)

Allah did confer a great favor on the believers when He sent among them an Apostle from among themselves, Rehearsing unto them the Signs of Allah, sanctifying them, And instructing them in Scripture and Wisdom, While before that they had been in manifest Error. (Ch 3; verse 164)

It is He who has sent amongst the unlettered An Apostle from among themselves, To rehearse to them His Signs, to sanctify them, And to instruct them in Scripture and Wisdom, – Although they had been before, in manifest Error. (Ch 62; verse 2)

Duties of Messenger of Allah:

According to these verses, Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, had the following duties to perform:

1. Rehearsing the Signs of Allah to the people;
2. Instructing them in scripture and wisdom;
3. Sanctifying them;
4. Instructing them in new knowledge.

First to be mentioned among all the prophetic duties, is rehearsing the Signs of Allah. It is so important that it takes precedence over all other duties of the Prophet.

Rehearsing the Signs of Allah has also been mentioned singly by Qur’an in the following verses:

Thus have We sent amongst a people before whom Have (other) peoples (gone and) passed away; In order that thou Mightest Rehearse unto them what We send down unto thee By inspiration…. (Ch 13; verse 30)

...And I am commanded to be of those who Bow in Islam to Allah's will, – and to rehearse the Qur’an: And if any accept Guidance, they do it for the good of their own Souls, And if any stray, say: "I am only a Warner." (Ch 27; verses 91-92)

...Allah hath indeed sent down to you a Message, – An Apostle, who rehearses to you the Signs of Allah Containing clear explanations that he may lead forth those who believe and do righteous Deeds from the depths of Darkness into Light... (Ch 65; verses 10-11)

Also, there is the following warning in the Holy Qur’an:
...Those who reject Faith in the Signs of Allah, will suffer the severest penalty (in the Hereafter) and Allah is Exalted in Might, Lord of Retribution. (Ch 3; verse 4)

It was this duty – Rehearsing the Signs of Allah – that Ali ibn Abi Talib was called upon to discharge.

In 8 A.H. (A.D. 630) at the conquest of Mecca, Ali and his master, Muhammad, had purified the House of Allah (Kaaba) from the idols of the Arabs. Ali had broken those idols and had thrown them out of the Kaaba. In 9 A.H. (A.D. 631), he purified the Kaaba from the idolaters themselves by announcing to them that they would not be admitted into its sacred precincts ever again.

Allah selected Ali ibn Abi Talib to restore His House (Kaaba) to the state of its pristine purity. Ali, the slave of Allah, restored that Exalted and Blessed House to the same state in which the Prophets, Ibrahim and Ismail (A.S.), had left it many centuries earlier.

The Importance of This Event:

The story of the revelation and promulgation of Surah Bara’ah , proves that:

1. Ali ibn Abi Talib is a member of the family of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah.

2. The duties of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, can be performed, in his absence, only by Ali, and by no one else.

3. A representative or successor of Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, can be selected only by Allah Himself or by His Messenger, but not by the Muslim umma (community, people).

4. Ali is the most highly qualified person to represent the Messenger of Allah, and there is no one better qualified than him.

5. The most important function of the Head of the Islamic State is to promulgate the Commandments of Allah on this earth. Though Abu Bakr was present on the spot in Mecca, he was not allowed to promulgate Allah's commandments; Ali ibn Abi Talib promulgated them.

After 9 A.H; Muslims only were to make the pilgrimage. This proclamation marks the end of idol-worship in Arabia. It was the pleasure of Allah that His favorite slave, Ali ibn Abi Talib, should, by reading His Proclamation, put an end to idolatry in Arabia forever.