Unconditional Obedience of the Prophetﷺ
We haven’t sent a single messenger except that he should be obeyed as commanded by Allah. If anyone who wronged themselves came to you seeking Allah’s forgiveness, Messenger, seek forgiveness for them! They will find Allah Relenting, Most Kind. 65 By your Lord, they aren’t believers until they make you the judge in their disputes, accept your decision without reservation, and commit themselves to your decision. 66 If We had ordered them: “Lay down your lives,” or “Leave your homes,” for the sake of Allah only a few of them would have done so. Had they done what they were told, that would have been better for them and put them on a far firmer footing; 67 We would have given them a great reward, 68 and guided them on the straight path. 69 Anyone who obeys Allah and the Messenger shall be with those Allah favoured: the Prophets, the truthful, the martyrs and the righteous. What a wonderful fellowship! 70 Such is Allah’s grace; and Allah is sufficient, the Knower. (An-Nisa: 64-70)
This beautiful passage makes it absolutely clear that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ is to be obeyed unconditionally. There is a lot of emphasis on this – why? The Messenger ﷺ in practical and in real life demonstrates the teachings of Islam. He was the walking, the talking and the living example of these wonderful teachings; hence they are not abstract and hot air! They are meaningful and beneficial for our daily living.
The first verse highlights our need to turn to the Messenger (saw) after we have sinned. His role is to seek forgiveness for us. Ali (may Allah be pleased with him) says, “After three days after the Prophet’s death a Bedouin came to Madina, He was distraught and extremely sad. He fell down at the Prophet’s grave and began to throw dust on his head. He wept and said whatever you said we listened to what you taught we learnt and amongst them is “if when they wronged themselves…” I have come to your court or kind one, ask your lord for my forgiveness – a reply came from the prophets grave “you have been forgiven”. The next verse further stresses the need for complete obedience of the Messenger (saw). Whoever disobeys him disobeys Allah and he is not a believer, no worship or service is acceptable without having the prophetic seal.
The next verse lays down a severe test for the obedience, its tall order. “Them” here refers to the hypocrite; people who lacked faith – however, the disciples the true believers upon hearing this said to the prophet “if our Lord was to give this order we would certainly carry it out” upon hearing this he said “faith is firmly established in the heart of these people”.
The following verses enumerate four distinct benefits of obeying the Messenger (saw).
1) It would be good for them
2) Strengthening of faith
3) Special reward from God himself
4) Guidance on the straight path
These are the most valuable blessings one can ever hope for, by obeying the Messenger (saw) they will find the way to Divine presences, doors of the unseen world open up and the Prophet said “whoever applies his knowledge will be granted knowledge from the Divine presence”. May Allah give us these blessings.