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Obeying the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) is Obligatory – Part 1- Shaikh Muhammad Dhiya ur Rehman al-A’zami

Translated, Compiled & Annotated
Abu Hibban & Abu Khuzaimah Ansaari

Allah ordered the obedience of his Messenger (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) in the Glorious Quran and he made this compulsory for all of the Muslims. Allah says

And whatever the Messenger has given you – take; and what he has forbidden you – refrain from.” (Surah al-Hashr:7)

And obey Allah and the Messenger that you may obtain mercy.” (Surah Aal-Imran:132)

“O you who have believed, respond to Allah and to the Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life.” (Surah al-Anfal:24)

“He who obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah” (Surah an-Nisa:80)

This proves that Allah declared obedience of his Messenger to be obedience to him  

Imam Ibn Kathir said in explanation of the last ayah cited above,

Allah states that whoever obeys His servant and Messenger, Muhammad, obeys Allah; and whoever disobeys him, disobeys Allah. Verily, whatever the Messenger utters is not of his own desire, but a revelation inspired to him.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (2/319)

Allah said,

“Say, [O Muhammad], “If you should love Allah, then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins.” (Surah Aal-Imran:31)

Allah declared the obedience of his Messenger a criterion for loving him. This is because Allah revealed the Quran in general and relegated its explanation and clarification to his Messenger. Hence the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) explained the Glorious Quran by his statements, actions, character and silent tacit approvals.

This is has been further explained in the following ayahs,

“And We revealed to you the message that you may make clear to the people what was sent down to them and that they might give thought.” (Surah an-Nahl:44)

and he said,

“And We have not revealed to you the Book, [O Muhammad], except for you to make clear to them that wherein they have differed and as guidance and mercy for a people who believe.” (Surah an-Nahl:64)

Imam Shafi’e said,

“There are different of ways the Quran makes bayan,

1) Some rulings of the din have been clarified in great detail therefore nothing else other than the Quran is required to explain them

2) The obligation of some rulings have been explained in the Quran in great detail, for instance the obligation of obeying the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam). However, the details of this obeying, who it is obligatory upon, when some of this obedience is looked into, when it is established and when it becomes absolutely obligatory are all aspects the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) explained in detail.

3) Some rulings have been mentioned without a definitive text but just an indication – such aspects are explained and described from the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam).”

Allah says

“And Allah has revealed to you the Book and wisdom and has taught you that which you did not know. And ever has the favor of Allah upon you been great.” (Surah an-Nisa:113)

And he said in Surah Aal-Imran,

“Certainly did Allah confer [great] favor upon the believers when He sent among them a Messenger from themselves, reciting to them His verses and purifying them and teaching them the Book and wisdom, although they had been before in manifest error.” (Surah Aal-Imran:164)

In these ayahs Allah has mentioned The Book as The Glorious Quran and The Hikmah as the illustrious Sunnah. It should also be duly noted that it is better to equate Hikmah with the Sunnah of the Messenger than the Glorious Quran according to the understanding of the Arabic Language

Imam Shaf’i also said,

“Allah has mentioned The Kitab (Book) as the Quran and he mentioned Hikmah and I have heard every expert in the science of the Quran and noble personalities say that Hikmah refers to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam).” (ar-Risalah pg.32-33)

Allah has negated the Iman (Faith) of the individual who does not hold the Beloved Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) as the judge in all of his affairs in the following Ayah,

“But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission.” (Surah an-Nisa:65)

This Ayah was revealed concerning az-Zubair (RadhiAllahu Anhu) as Imam Bukhari, Imam Muslim and other Imams have transmitted from him. During the presence of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) an Ansari quarreled with az-Zubair with regards to the Harra Canals which were used to irrigate the date-Palms and a contention arose. So both of them presented their case to the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam). The full hadith is,

“An-Ansari man quarrelled with Az-Zubair about a canal in the Harra which was used for irrigating date-palms. Allah’s Apostle (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam), ordering Zubair to be moderate, said, “O Zubair! Irrigate (your land) first and then leave the water for your neighbour.” The Ansari said, “Is it because he is your aunt’s son?” On that the color of the face of Allah’s Apostle (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) changed and he said, “O Zubair! Irrigate (your land) and withhold the water till it reaches the walls that are between the pits around the trees.” So, Allah’s Apostle (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) gave Zubair his full right. Zubair said, “By Allah, the following verse was revealed in that connection”: “But no, by your Lord They can have no Faith until they make you (O Muhammad (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) judge In all disputes between them.” (4.65) (The sub-narrator,) Ibn Shihab said to Juraij (another sub-narrator), “The Ansar and the other people interpreted the saying of the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam), ‘Irrigate (your land) and with-hold the water till it reaches the walls between the pits around the trees,’ as meaning up to the ankles.” (Bukhari as-Saqah (5/34), Sahih Muslim al-Fadha’il (4/1829)

Imam Ibn Kathir said in his Tafsir,

“Present your mutual differences and contentions upon the Book of Allah and The Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) and accept them as the judge and ruling.If you should believe in Allah and the Last Day” (Suran an-Nur:2). So we find he individual who does not accept the decision of the Quran and Sunnah on contentious issue and nor does he refer and return back to them then he has denied and rejected Allah and the hereafter.” (Tafsir Ibn Kathir (2/304)

Ami al-Mu’minin Umar al-Khattab (RadhiAllahu Anhu) said,

“Repel ignorance far away from the Sunnah.”

Imam Abdur Razzaq transmits in his book, Musannaf from Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (RadhiAllahu Anhu) who said,

“The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) of Allah cursed those ladies who practice tattooing, those who get tattooed, those who pluck their eyebrows and those who make space between their teeth for beautification, changing the creation of Allah.” This was reported to a woman from the tribe of Bani Asad called Umm Yaqub, who went to Ibn Mas’ud and said: What’s the truth about a narration that was reported to me from you that you cursed those ladies who practise tattooing, …etc. Ibn Mas’ud replied, “How can I refrain from not cursing someone the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) cursed…. And they are also cursed in the Quran..” Thereupon that woman said: I read the Qur’an from cover to cover, but I did not find that in it. whereupon he said: If you had read (thoroughly) you would have definitely found this in that (as) Allah, the Exalted and Glorious, has said, “What Allah’s Messenger brings for you accept that. and what he has forbidden you. refrain from that.” (Surah al-Hashr:7) The lady said, “Yes I have read this.” Then Abdullah ibn Mas’ud said to her, “The Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) has prohibited this and Allah said, “It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.” (Surah al-Ahzab:36)” (Muslim (3/1678), Summarised in Bukhari (10/377)

This proves the statements of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam), whether they are commands or prohibitions-fulfilling his commands is in essence fulfilling the command of Allah.

“Indeed, those who pledge allegiance to you, [O Muhammad] – they are actually pledging allegiance to Allah. The hand of Allah is over their hands.” (Surah al-Fath:10)

Allah informed the companions (RadhiAllahu Anhuma) giving allegiance to the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) is in reality pledging allegiance to Allah because Allah is the one who sent Muhammad (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) as a Messenger, as a guide and bearer of glad tidings and revealed the Quran and Hikmah to him. This Hikmah is known as the Sunnah which is an explanation and clarification of the Quran, its meaning and understanding as Shaikh ul-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah mentioned in Aqidatul Wasitiyyah.

Imam Darimi transmits from Sa’id ibn Jubair, one day he narrated a hadith of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) and a person said,

“The Quran opposes what you are saying.” Sa’id ibn Jubair said, “Listen, I am narrating a hadith of the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) to you and your trying to mention an apparent contradiction from the Quran, remember the Messenger of Allah (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) knew the Quran better then you.” (Sunan ad-Darimi (1/145), Bab Sunnah Qadiyyah Ala Kitabillah)

This is the reason why Yahya ibn Kathir said,

“The Quran can be explained by the Hadith but the Quran does not explain the Hadith.”

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