Saturday, June 11, 2011

LESSON 2 :"Obeying Allah and His Messenger"

LESSON 2: “Obeying Allah and His Messenger”

1)      “Allah and His Messenger” means the words of Allah as delivered by the Messenger:

9:1 says that an ultimatum is issued by “Allah and His Messenger”.

This ultimatum is entirely from Allah since He does not consult the Messenger in His decisions (, ).

Likewise, 33:36 says that people have no choice once “Allah and His Messenger” have decided a matter.

24:48 tells us that “Allah and His Messenger” offer just one judgement (Allah’s) between people.

The Qur’an then adds “…if the truth be on their side, they come to him quickly…” confirming ( tells us that obeying “Allah and His Messenger” means listening to what the Messenger recites (of the Qur’an)).

NOTE: The Qur’an is the truth (2:40-42, 2:91, 2:119, 2:147, 2:176, 5:48, 10:32-33, 16:102, 29:68).

72:23 confirms that “Allah and His Messenger” means “Allah and His Message”.

2)      The Messenger had no religious authority beyond the delivery of the Message:

6:114-115 states that the Qur’an is the only judgement we can follow, and that it is complete in truth and justice.

Thus we should not obey any decision that contradicts the Qur’an.

Messengers are made community-leaders (2:124), but they must lead only according to the Message (, 21:73).

When Messengers pass away, people must continue to govern by the Book alone (-50).

During their lifetimes, Messengers are the chief experts of the Message because they are the first to learn it.

They advise people to follow it with them (25:57), but people are expected to study and teach it themselves (3:79).

All situational/contextual decisions should be in keeping with the principles of the Book ().

Past delivering the Message, Messengers had no more religious authority than anyone else.

They were not infallible (, 80:1-10). This is why even they would be obeyed only in what was reasonable (60:12), and as temporary leaders would seek community consultation in decision-making (3:159).

Muslims are instructed to consult with each other in affairs (42:38).

Situational matters of disagreement were referred to the Messengers as contextual leaders (4:65, ), and these days they would be referred to authorities judging by the Qur’an ().

Prophet Muhammad had helpers (3:159, 4:83), and if “those in authority” could not resolve a dispute, it would be referred to “Allah and His Messenger” ().

shows us that “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger” does not refer to two separate sources.

If it did, Islam would be authored by three different entities.

“Those in authority” are not scholars since they would be expected to obey “Allah and His Messenger” anyway.

They were contextual leaders (4:83).

Thus “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger” means obeying the words of Allah delivered by the Messenger, as well as situational decisions made with community consultation.

3)      Following/obeying means adhering to a specific way of life, not minor details:

24:54 tells believers to “obey Allah and obey the Messenger”, but then it says that if people do not, the Messenger’s only duty is to deliver the Message.

This confirms that “obeying the Messenger” means obeying the commandments of Islam, as well as contextual decisions which preserve them (e.g. not running away from war (4:80)).

Such commandments do not concern copying the Prophet past his duty as a Messenger and principled leader (3:79).

25:27 and 25:30 show that “taking a way with the Messenger” means adhering to the Qur’an.

According to -32 and , “following” is synonymous with “obeying”.

14:35-36 shows that “following” and “obeying” the Messenger means departing from a life of idol-worship.

26:105-111 shows again that “following” is synonymous with “obeying”.

Here the Messenger says that he requests no reward for giving the people something to follow, and Prophet Muhammad said the same when delivering the Qur’an (6:89-90).

This confirms that giving the people something to follow and obey meant teaching them the Message.

Correspondingly, rejecting the Messenger means rejecting the Message (16:105), just as following the Messenger means obeying the Message (3:31-32).

4)      Why say: “Obey the Messenger”? Why not: “Obey Allah”?:

REASON 1: The Messenger’s duty was to deliver the Qur’an, and believers were expected to help and therefore obey him (including in situational decisions).

REASON 2: Some commandments begin with “Say:”, meaning that the Prophet is being told to give orders and thus must be obeyed.

REASON 3: People at the time did not have paperback Qur’ans, and thus they had to obey the Message by following the Messenger.

REASON 4: People had an incomplete Message, and so had to be ready to receive more Revelation from the Messenger (16:1).

REASON 5: Allah’s words came via the Messenger, thus we have to obey His instructions “using” the Messenger.

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