PROPAGATION OF SŪRAT BARA`AH
The infidels and hypocrites of Arabia used to perform the Hajj at the Ka`bah and even after the conquest of Makkah, they continued the practice. In their practices, circumambulating the Ka`bah in naked state was one amoral aspect. It was necessary to stop it. So far, the Prophet (a.s) had not banned them from coming for the ritual. But the initial Verses of the Sūrah of Bara’ah express disgust for the infidels and hypocrites. In compliance with this, it was felt necessary to stop them from entering the precincts of the Ka`bah. The Prophet (a.s) gave these verses to Abū-Bakr and sent him to Makkah. Soon after sending him, he deputed `Ali (a.s), to proceed on his personal camel, al-`Adhbah, and take the parchment on which the Verses were inscribed from Abū-Bakr and proceed to Makkah to recite them to the people there. `Ali (a.s) rode the camel fast, overtook Abū-Bakr, communicated the Prophet’s message, obtained the Verses from him and proceeded to Makkah. He also told Abū-Bakr that if he wished he could go along with him or else return to al-Madinah. Ibn al-Athir writes:
“The Prophet (a.s) gave the Sūrah of Bara’ah to Abū-Bakr to take to Makkah, but called him back from the way and told him that for the propagation of the Verses the person from his own house was suitable and therefore entrusted the Verses to `Ali (a.s)”
Al-Tabari has written about this event in greater detail:
“The Prophet gave the verses to Abū-Bakr and sent him appointing him as the emir of the Hajj. When he reached the Valley of Dhū-Halifah near the Masjid al-Shajarah, `Ali (a.s) arrived and took the Verses from him. Abū-Bakr came back to the Prophet (a.s) and said, ‘I sacrifice my parents on you! Is there any revelation about me?’ The Prophet said, No! But
 Jāmi` al-Usūl, Vol 9, Page 475
these Verses have to be propagated either by me or the one who is from me!”
Amir al-Mu’minin (a.s), on reaching Makkah, recited the Verses to the people at `Arafat and Mina and announced that the hypocrites who had committed the breach of trust, the truce agreement with them would go void in four months. And then no infidel and hypocrite, who has not embraced Islam, shall be allowed to enter the precincts of Ka`bah to circumambulate it for performing the Hajj Pilgrimage. It caused some brows to frown among the hypocrites, but none had courage to say anything. They were helpless before the might and dominance of Islam. They were forced to pretend that they had embraced Islam. Al-Tabari writes:
“The hypocrites blamed each other and returned and said that since the Quraysh had embraced Islam, they had no way other than following suit!”
This task was not as simple as it appeared. The truce agreements with the infidels were being abrogated and entry into the Al-Masjid al-Haram and performance of Hajj by them was banned. It was possible that they turned rebellious and started to conspire against the Muslims. Because of these fears the Prophet (a.s) was worried about the safety of `Ali (a.s) and was eagerly awaiting his return. When Abū-Dharr gave the news of his return, the Prophet (a.s) was overjoyed. He went out of the city with his companions and welcomed `Ali (a.s).
For this task removing one emissary and appointing another was not the personal decision of the Prophet (a.s) but it was in compliance to a Revelation from Allah. All the Commands of Allah have always a definite purpose behind them. The purpose behind the change must have been the need to highlight the importance and the superiority of the person entrusted with the job! Therefore, if from the beginning `Ali (a.s) was deputed, it would have been considered a matter of routine. Detailing an important person and withdrawing him midway to send `Ali (a.s) highlighted the importance of the task and the eminence of the person who replaced the earlier emissary! Then the announcement that the replacement was at the Command of Allah gave the act more eminence! It is a matter of conjecture that a person whom Allah did not deem fit to propagate a couple of Verses of the Qur’an to the people of Makkah, was elevated to the caliphate after the demise of the Prophet (a.s)!
 Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 383
 Tārīkh al-Tabarī, Vol 2, Page 283
It is a pity that some people took shelter behind the excuse of public opinion and installed a person to caliphate and sending the candidate into oblivion who was most deserving of the position. The Commentator of the Qur’an, Ibn `Abbas, too mentions about this incident to prove `Ali’s right to caliphate. He says:
“By Allah! The Prophet (a.s) had thought only him suitable to recite the Verses of Sūrah of Bara’ah to the people of Makkah.”
Ibn `Abbas arguing about the Right to caliphate referring to the incident about the Recitation of the Sūrah of Bara’ah meant that the Prophet (a.s) was hinting at his choice of the successor. `Ali (a.s) himself referred to the incident while making claim of the Caliphate at the meeting of the Shūra. He said:
“Is there anyone amongst you who was entrusted with the task of propagating the Sūrah of Bara’ah and the Prophet (a.s) had told him that anyone other than the prophet (a.s) and ME could do the task.”
If claim is made for Abū-Bakr sitting his Imamate of the prayer, would not they have used the incident of the Sūrah of Bara’ah as another strong proof to claim the Caliphate for him! Then why they do not accept this as a proof for the claim of `Ali (a.s) for the caliphate?
 Kanz al-`Ummāl, Vol 6, Page 391
 Sharh Nahj al-Balāghah by Ibn Abil-Hadīd, Vol 2, Page 61