From the study of the previous pages, you would have noticed that there is discrepancy between what is attributed to the prophet (peace upon him) and what exists in the word of Allaah, Qur-aan.
In order that you may be able to correctly decide what to do, when you find the reported instructions of the prophet conflicting with the commands of Allaah, I find it necessary to bring to your knowledge some verses of Qur-aan which deal with obeying Allaah and His messenger.
The first verse is from Sura Aal-i-'Imraan :
3:32. "Say: 'Obey Allaah and the messenger.' But if they turn away, indeed Allaah loves not the disbelievers."
We come to know from the above verse that those who turn away from obeying Allaah and His messenger are disbelievers (kaafireen).
Verse 132 of the same Surah reads :
3:132. "And obey Allaah and the Messenger; that you may obtain mercy."
From the above verse, we learn that obeying Allaah and His messenger is an act that will beget mercy.
Verse 33 of Surah Muhammad reads :
47:33 " O you who believe! Obey Allaah and obey the messenger, and render not your actions vain."
Allaah tells us in the above verse that not obeying Allaah and His messenger will render waste our acts.
In verse 52 of Surah An-noor, Allaah says :
24:52 " He who obeys Allaah and His messenger, and fears Allah, and keeps duty (unto Him): such indeed are the victorious."
The above verse says that the one who obeys Allaah and His messenger and fears Allaah and avoids His displeasure, such are indeed the victorious.
To summarise the above verses, obeying Allaah and His messenger has been described as an act
a) that will beget mercy, and
b) a way to be victorious.
Not obeying Allaah and His messenger
a) makes such people kafiroon (disbelievers)
b) wastes their (good) acts.
The use of the word "and" in the direction to "obey Allaah and His messenger" underlines the fact that both - Allaah and His messenger - are to be obeyed, which will be possible only when the messenger's instructions do not contradict, but are in harmony, with Allaah's commands.
In other words, only because the commands of Allaah and His messenger are harmonious and do not contradict each other, we have been asked to obey Allaah and His messenger.
Therefore, we have been told that "the one who obeys the messenger, did obey Allaah", in the following verse of Sura An-nisaa, No.80(part).
The personality of the prophets and messengers is such that disobedience, inventing and telling what has not been inspired by Allaah to them, is not in their nature and they are aware of what will happen if they tell a lie about Allaah or disobey Him. Please read the following verses :
3:161 "No prophet could be false to his trust. If any person is so false, he shall, on the Day of Judgment, bring what he misappropriated; then shall every soul receive its due, whatever it earned, and none shall be dealt with unjustly."
Four verses from 44 to 47 of Surah Al-Haaqqah read:
In the light of the above verses, there is no scope for the messenger to invent false sayings concerning Allaah, as otherwise his life will be cut short and no one could save Him from Allaah.
The following verse of Surah An-noor describes the messenger's character as of an exalted standard.
68:4 And you (stand) on an exalted standard of character.
In the above verse, Allaah, the all-knowing, says He knows whom to trust with His message.
6:124 (part) "Allaah knows best with whom to place His message."
Indeed very fortunate were those who lived in the days of the prophet, who could directly hear from him and, therefore, obey his directions without the slightest need to check or verify his directions :
8:20 "O you who believe! Obey Allaah and His messenger, and turn not away from him when you hear (him speak)."
Things would have remained simple and uncomplicated for the believers, if there had not been a group which spent their nights plotting against what the prophet said:
4:81 "And they say: 'Obedience' ; but when they have gone forth from you, a party of them spend the night in planning other than what you say. Allaah records what they plan by night. So oppose them and put your trust in Allaah. Allaah is sufficient as Trustee."
They said "Obedience", (in the presence of the prophet), but when they departed, they spend nights planning other than what he said.
The next verse goes on to draw our attention to the fact that the word of Allaah - Qur-aan - is free from contradictions.
4:82 "Will they not then ponder on the Qur-aan ? If it had been from other than Allaah, they would have found therein much incongruity."
In contrast, the hypocrites started to plan against the prophet's words in night, what they heard during the day.
In verse 5:92, after exhorting us believers to obey Allaah and His messenger, we have been cautioned : and beware!
5:92 "Obey Allaah and obey the messenger, and beware! But if you turn away, then know that the duty of Our messenger is only plain conveyance (of the message)."
In respect of Allaah's word, we can be sure that they cannot be tampered with or altered, because Allaah subhaanahu-wa-ta'aala has guaranteed its protection:
15:9 "We have, without doubt, sent down the Message; and We will assuredly guard it."
10:64 (part) "No change in the words of Allaah."
But the same cannot be said of the messenger's words. We come to know from Qur-aan that in the very times in which the prophet lived, a group used to spend their nights on things other than what the messenger said, while in his presence they said: "Obedience". Hence, those who were bent on corrupting the words of the messenger would have found more freedom (after his death), to attribute to him words other than what he said, as the years and decades passed.
To those who could not or did not hear the messenger directly, Allaah has given a rule by which to judge the words attributed to the messenger.
Allaah subhaanahu-wa-ta'aala says:
4:64 (part) "We sent not a messenger except for the purpose that he should be obeyed by Allaah's leave."
The leave / permission of Allaah, referred to in the above verse is Allaah's words "Qur-aan", as we come to know from the study of Surah Al-Qadr, in which Allaah has most beautifully explained each and every word of the beginning verse, in rest of the verses of the same Surah.
Allaah has stated:
41:3 " A Scripture whereof the verses are expounded, a Lecture in Arabic for people who have knowledge."
Let us begin the study of Surah Al-Qadr :
The first verse of the Surah states :
" Indeed We descended it on the night of measure."
The second verse exclaims :
"Ah, what will convey unto you what the night of measure is! "
Then what follows in the rest of the surah is an explanation of every word of the first verse.
"The night of measure is better than a thousand months.".
Verse 3 explains the measure; that the night is better than a thousand months.
Verse 4 explains two things :
"We descended " is explained as "the angels and the spirit, with the command of their Lord."
The words the command of their Lord overextend to the following words in the verse "on all matters" to mean : "the command of their Lord, on all matters", which is what was brought down : Qur-aan, the command of the Lord, on all matters.
Verse 5 explains the meaning of the word "Night", which is "until the rising of the dawn."
The word "Peace" (Salaamun), applies to both its preceding words (in verse 4) and succeeding words (in verse 5), in the following manner:
1. "the command of the Lord, on all matters - peace". It is peace as explained in another verse referring to Qur-aan (Sura Ta-Ha : verse 47 part) "And peace on him who follows the guidance."
2. The peace is until the night lasts : "Peace, until the rising of the dawn."
Thus, by Allaah's grace, we come to know that when the messenger is not present among us, we can keep the Leave or Permission of Allaah, that is, His words - Qur-aan, in our view and judge through it whether the words attributed to the messenger could be true or not.
Besides having been given the Book of Allaah and its understanding, the messengers are given certain knowledge that is not given to the common man. As prophet Nooh (peace upon him) says : "I convey unto you the messages of my Lord and give good counsel unto you, and know from Allaah that which you know not." (7:62) These knowledge could be of different nature. For example:
In this article, we studied about our responsibility and scope for obeying the messenger of Allaah. In the next article, we shall in-sha-Allaah study, in the light of Qur-aan, about what responsibility the messengers were given and how they discharged it.