Obeying the Prophet is Obeying
I received an email the other day that was responding to
another email wherein the writer had made reference to the large number of
hadiths available to prove his point and how we could possibly ignore this body
of evidence. The response in the second email was essentially that the problem
was not the number of hadiths, but rather how we could possibly disobey a
command from our beloved Prophet in even one sahih hadith.
I was struck by this. We spend
so much time arguing with each other over the issues of Islam that I sometimes
wonder if the purpose is just to argue. We have forgotten that being Muslim
means SUBMITTING. We are supposed to submit to Allah. We are supposed to also
submit to the commands of our beloved Prophet, because Allah ordered us to do
so. We can not take one without the other. For instance, Allah orders us to
pray. We do not know what is involved in the prayer except by the commands and
actions of our beloved Prophet. So, if we obey the command in the Quraan, but
ignore the sunnah, our prayer is invalid. We will pray as we feel like praying,
omitting the obligatory actions and words in salat. We have many examples of
things which have been made obligatory or haram by hadith only, like 'Abdullah
ibn Mas'ood quoted this saying of the Prophet (hadith) while he was delivering a
sermon: "May Allah curse the women who tattoo their bodies and those who
pluck their eyebrows; those who separate their teeth to make them look more
pretty and those who try to change the creation of Allah."
A woman named Umm Yaqub from
the tribe of Banu Asad came to know of these words. She approached Ibn Mas'ood
and said: "O Abu 'Abd ar-Rahman! It was reported to me that you have cursed such
and such women." He said: "Why should I not curse those whom the Prophet,
peace be upon him, cursed and who are cursed in the Book of Allah as well."
She said: "I have read whatever is contained between the two covers (i.e. the
whole Qur'an)." Had you been a good reader, you would have discovered it. Did
you not read the following verse? "So take whatever the Messenger gives
you and keep away from what he forbids you." (Surah Al-Hashr 59:7)
Here the principle is firmly
established by the companion of Rasool Allah. He shows us what the Prophet said
and explains to us that the commandment of the Prophet is equal to a commandment
from Allah. This is not the only place this is written, Allah has commanded us
in many places in the Quraan to obey the Messenger. A few of these are:
"O you who believe! Obey Allah
and obey the Messenger and those charged with authority among you; and if you
differ in anything among yourselves, then refer it to Allah and the Messenger if
you do believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is best and most suitable for
Obey Allah and the Messenger;
but if they turn back, then surely Allah does not love the unbelievers.
And obey Allah and the
Messenger; that you may obtain mercy. 3:132
Those are limits set by Allah:
those who obey Allah and His Messenger will be admitted to Gardens with rivers
flowing beneath, to abide therein (for ever) and that will be the supreme
achievement. But those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and transgress His
limits will be admitted to a Fire, to abide therein: And they shall have a
How serious is this command? It
is the most serious. Think about the one act that we can not stop doing --
whether the phone rings, your mom calls or anything short of a threat occurs. It
is salat. When we begin salat, we should not stop unless there is a dire
emergency. Yet, we have an example which shows that the call of the Prophet is
and was more important than completing the salat.
Narrated Abu Said Al-Mualla:
While I was praying, the Prophet passed by and called me, but I did not go to
him till I had finished my prayer. When I went to him, he said, "What prevented
you from coming?" I said, "I was praying." He said, "Didn't Allah say"O
you who believes Give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His
Apostle." (8.24)... Sahih Bukhari: Volume 6, Book 60, Number 226.
Here we can clearly see the
importance of obeying the Prophet. Knowing this, how do we apply it? First, we
need to clear our minds of the misconception that we must fully understand
everything in Islam. Second, we acknowledge that we are supposed to blindly
follow ONLY Allah and His Prophet. Blindly follow? This does not sound like
Islam, does it? It is Islam. We can try to understand Islam, and one of the
beauties of this religion is that we can understand so much, but we have to come
to the realization that in all matters, after all the rationalizations are done,
after all the angles have been explored, after all the rhetoric has been spun,
we MUST obey Allah and His messenger, whether we understand it or not. There is
no other way.
An example of this is the
saying of Ali (raa). He stated (what means) that if Islam were by logic, we
would not wipe over the feet in wudu, we would wipe under them.
Not everything is clear for us.
At some point, we have to just say, Labaik! and submit. At some point we have to
recognize that if we are truely believers in Allah, that He is the Most Wise,
the All knowing, that Allah is the Truth then we have to concede our own
inadequacies and submit to Him completely, even when it defies our limited logic
to do so.
The best generation was the
generation of the companions of our beloved Prophet because when they heard a
command, the acted immediately. Two examples of this are
Narrated AbuSa'id al-Khudri: I
heard Allah's Messenger (peace_be_upon_him) addressing in Medina. He said:
O people, Allah is giving an indication (of the prohibition) of wine, and He is
probably soon going to give an order about it. So he who has anything of it with
him should sell that, and derive benefit out of it. He (the narrator)
said: We waited for some time that Allah's Apostle (peace_be_upon_him) said:
Verily Allah, the Exalted, has forbidden wine. So who hears this verse and he
has anything of it with him, he should neither drink it nor sell it. He (the
narrator) said: The people then brought whatever they had of it with them on the
streets of Medina and spilt that. Sahih Muslim: Book 9, Number 3835:
Narrated Safiya bint Shaiba: 'Aisha
used to say: "When (the Verse): "They should draw their veils over their
necks and bosoms," was revealed, (the ladies) cut their waist sheets at the
edges and covered themselves with the cut pieces." Sahih Bukhari: Volume
6, Book 60, Number 282
The spilt the wine. They
covered themselves. No excuses. No questioning. No disobedience.
In short, we have to stop
taking excuses when we hear the book of Allah or the statements of the Prophet
Even, when we follow our madhabs, we need to recognize that only Allah is
perfect, and we can only take the Quraan and the statements of His beloved
Prophet without questioning them. Anyone else can make mistakes. Our Prophet was
protected by Allah from making mistakes in this deen. Allah says, "(The
Prophet) does not speak of his own desire. It is no less than Inspiration sent
down to him." (53:3)
Everyone else can make
mistakes, and when we find that they have made a mistake, we must go back to the
most authentic evidences from the Quraan and the Sunnah without hesitation. Our
great scholars have confirmed this:
Imam Abu Hanifah was asked:
"What do we do if we find a saying of yours opposing the Book of Allah?" He
replied: "Leave my saying and stick to the Book of Allah." The questioner
asked: "What if it contradicts a saying of the Prophet?" Abu Hanifah said:
"Leave my saying in the face of the Prophet's saying." Again he was asked:
"What if it goes against the saying of a Companion?" Again he said: "Leave my
saying in the face of the Companion's saying." (Reported in Al-Qawl al-Mufeed
by Shawkani.) Imam Abu Hanifah also declared: "My way (Arabic: madh-hab) is
whatever hadith (saying of the Prophet) that is proved to be authentic." (Shami
1:50, Al-Fulani in Iqaz, p.
Imam Malik ibn Anas said: "The
saying of any person can be accepted or rejected, except for the Prophet of
Allah, peace be upon him." (Reported by Ibn 'Abd al-Barr and Ibn Hazm. Also
in Al-Yawaqeet wa Al-Jawahir 2:96.) He (Reported by Al-Fulani in Iqaz, p. 72.)
also said: "I am just a mortal; sometimes I am wrong, sometimes I am right -
so check my opinions. Whatever agrees with the Book (
i.e. the Qu'ran) and the
Sunnah, accept it; whatever disagrees with them, reject it."
Once Imam Shafi'i narrated a
saying of the Prophet (hadith). Someone from the audience said: "Do you say so
as well?" On hearing this, the Imam was enraged. His face turned pale and he
said: "Woe to you! Which earth would carry me, which sky would shelter me if
I narrate a saying of the Prophet, peace be upon him, and do not hold the same
view! Do you see a zunnar (belt worn by non-Muslims) on me? Or have you noticed
me coming out of a church? How can I report something from the Prophet, peace be
upon him, and not agree with ?!!"
Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal said:
"Do not follow me or Malik or Shafi'i or Auza'i or Thawri, but take from where
they took (i.e. from the Qu'ran and authentic Sunnah)." (Reported by
Al-Fulani and Ibn al-Qayyim.) He also said: "He who is on the verge of
destruction rejects a saying of the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and
blessings of Allah be upon him." (Reported by Ibn al-Jauzi.)
Sunnah does not simply mean
that which is not obligatory. That is one of the meanings, but the sunnah is in
essence the sayings, approvals, disapprovals, commands, and characteristics of
the Prophet. So, within the sunnah we have the "sunnah" (those we have a choice
about) acts and the "fard" (those we have no choice about) acts. We can not be
like the Christians and the Jews and take our religion like a buffet, "I'll take
a little of this and a little of that -- but I don't want any of that..." We
have to accept the words of Allah and the Commands of our Prophet as they come,
no picking and choosing. Islam is not for us to design, it is complete.
Anas reported that the
Messenger of Allah said:
"I have left among you
two things; you will never go astray as long as you hold fast to them: the Book
of Allah and my Sunnah."
(Reported by Haakim.)
Brothers and sisters, I adjure
you and I adjure myself, do not allow the shaytan to keep you from a commanded
act. Fear Allah, Love Allah and Obey Allah. Do not be caught up with this
scholar or that scholar or " we have been informed that the scholars
disagree...". Please, if you know that the scholars disagree, but you have
Quraan or sahih hadiths in front of you, obey the sahih hadiths and forget the
disputes. In the end, if you obeyed the Prophet, and it turned out the act was
only sunnah, not fard, you will find with Allah two rewards, one for the act and
another for simply obeying. Is that not infinitely better than to find two sins,
one for not performing the act, and the other for disobeying? Think about it.
Allah has made His signs clear. The religion is easy. We do not have to obey but
Allah and His Messenger, and since the Messenger never speaks from himself, it
is essentially only obeying Allah. Since Allah is the Most Wise, most Merciful,
can we go wrong when we obey Him? Impossible.
Brothers and sisters. There are
some acts which are not in dispute, except by those who would have us disputing
among ourselves in this century. Salat is fard, zakat is fard, hajj is fard,
hijab is fard, riba is haram, alcohol and all intoxicants are haram, gambling is
haram, there are more, but the point is clear.
Please, if you ask a question
of a "scholar" and be careful in choosing your scholars, make him or her work.
Don't accept, "It is disputed or disagreed upon." as an answer. Demand evidences
from your teachers! Ask, "Who disagrees", "What is their evidence?", " Is there
a verse or a hadith to back him/her up?" Anyone can say that halal is haram or
haram is halal based on their logic, but this is not Islam. Islam is submission
to Allah and His messenger, whether we can understand it or not. Don't let
anyone fool you, we humans do not know everything. There are some things which
Allah has not revealed to us. There are some things we do as Muslims that we can
not explain, we do them because we obey Allah, that's it! End of story. If you
think have to explain everything or you do not have to do it, then you do not
believe Allah's Wisdom is
greater than yours. In English, Islam can be summarized with one word,
submission. Allah commands, the Muslim submits. The prophet commands, the Muslim
Ya Allah! make us Muslims.
Ya Allah! Make us submit to your authority and keep us from worshipping our own
selves over You!
Ya Allah, guide us, teach us
and protect us from ourselves and from Your Wrath.
Ya Allah! Give us wisdom and
knowledge and make us always of those who turn to You. Ameen.
I leave you with some more
verses about obeying the Prophet:
And whoever obeys Allah and the
Messenger, these are with those upon whom Allah has bestowed favors from among
the prophets and the truthful and the martyrs and the good, and a goodly company
are they! 4:69
"The answer of the believers,
when summoned to Allah and His Messenger in order that he may judge between
them, is no other than this: they say, 'We hear and we obey'. It is such as
these who will attain success." (Surah Al-Nur 24:51)
"But no, by your Lord! (O
Muhammad) They cannot be believers until they make you judge in all disputes
between them, and find in their souls no resistance against your decisions, but
accept them with the fullest submission."
(Surah Al-Nisa' 4:65)
Obey Allah, and obey the
Messenger, and beware (of evil): if you turn back, know that it is Our
Messenger's duty to proclaim (the message) in the clearest manner.
They ask thee concerning
(things taken as) spoils of war. Say: "(such) spoils are at the disposal of
Allah and the Messenger: So fear Allah, and keep straight the relations between
yourselves: Obey Allah and His Messenger, if you believe."
O ye who believe! Obey Allah
and His Messenger, and turn not away from him when ye hear (him speak).
O you who believe! answer (the
call of) Allah and His Messenger when he calls you to that which gives you life;
and know that Allah intervenes between man and his heart, and that to Him you
shall be gathered. 8:24
"So take whatever the Messenger
gives you and keep away from what he forbids you."
(Surah Al-Hashr 59:7)
"You have indeed in the
Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct) for anyone whose hope is in
"He who obeys the
Messenger, obeys Allah."