In Ziyaarate Jaameah Kabeerah, we find the following sentence:
(O Ahle Bait)! Whoever follows you, then Paradise is his abode and whoever opposes you, then Hell is his dwelling.
(Man Laa Yahzorohu al-Faqeeh by Shaikh Saduq (r.a.), vol. 2, p. 613)
In the light of the verses of the Holy Quran and the Sunnah, the Imams of the Ahle Bait (peace be on them all) are the criteria, symbols and signs of guidance.
Hence, the only way to reach Paradise is to follow them. Whoever opposes them, Hell will be his dwelling. This reality was conveyed to the Muslim Ummah by the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) in different ways and in varying terms.
The Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) declared that the obedience of Ali (peace be on him) is his obedience and his disobedience is in reality the defiance of the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him and his progeny). This concept has been recorded by the scholars of both sects.
Haakim Neshaapoori through his chain of authentic narrators reports on the authority of Abu Zarr (may Allah have mercy on him) that the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him and his progeny) said:
“Whoever obeys me has indeed obeyed Allah and whoever disobeys me has certainly disobeyed Allah. Whoever obeys Ali has obeyed me and whoever defies Ali has defied me.”
(Al-Mustadrak alaa al-Saheehain, vol. 3, p. 121)
In another tradition, the Holy Prophet (peace be on him and his progeny) advised Ammaar (may Allah have mercy on him):
“If all the people walk in one valley and Ali treads in another, you walk in the valley of Ali and leave the people. O Ammaar! Ali will never turn you away from guidance and will never take you into perdition (and misguidance). O Ammar! Ali’s obedience is my obedience and my obedience is the obedience of Allah – Mighty and Majestic be He.”
(Faraaed al-Simtain by Shaikh al-Islam Hammuee (or Hamveeni) Shafe’ee, vol. 1, p. 178; Yanaabee’ al-Mawaddah by Hafiz Sualiman Qondoozi Hanafi, vol. 1, p. 384)
In yet another narration, the Messenger of Allah (peace be on him and his progeny) prophesied to Abdulllah Ibn Masood, “Beware! I swear by the One in Whose Hand is my life, had they obeyed him, all of them (without exception) would have entered Paradise together.”
(Majma’ al-Zawaaed by Ali Ibn Abi Bakr al-Haithami, vol. 5, p. 185)
Hence, there are only two options: Either follow the Ahle Bait (peace be on them) or tread the path of the Satan and carnal desires.
Allah the High says:
“But when the great predominating calamity comes; the day on which man shall recollect what he strove after; and the hell shall be made manifest to him who sees; then as for him who is inordinate; and prefers the life of this world; then surely the hell, that is the abode; and as for him who fears to stand in the presence of his Lord and forbids the soul from low desires; then surely the garden — that is the abode.”
(Surah Naaziaat (79): Verses 34-41)
Now, there are only two options and two consequences, nothing more, nothing less. Either chose the Imam appointed by Allah the High or follow the leader appointed by the people. The outcomes of both have been clearly defined. To be more precise, there is ONLY ONE TRUE PATH i.e. the path of infallible Imams of the Ahle Bait (peace be on them), which is the path of Allah and His Messenger (peace be on him and his progeny). Rest all others are that of misguidance and deviation.
This is the reason you see that many Muslims who in reality follow the leaders appointed by the so-called Ummah claim that they love the Ahle Bait (peace be on them). Is this possible? No, never!
Since Ibn Hajar Makki knew that the only path of salvation is to follow the Ahle Bait (peace be on them), he rebukes the Shias saying that you are not the followers of the Ahle Bait (peace be on them), we are their true followers!!
(Al-Sawaaeq al-Muhreqah, pp. 153, 154)