Unconditional Obedience of the Prophetﷺ
“And We did not send any messenger except to be obeyed by permission of Allah. And if, when they wronged themselves, they had come to you, [O Muhammad], and asked forgiveness of Allah and the Messenger had asked forgiveness for them, they would have found Allah Accepting of repentance and Merciful.
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.
And if We had decreed upon them, “Kill yourselves” or “Leave your homes,” they would not have done it, except for a few of them. But if they had done what they were instructed, it would have been better for them and a firmer position [for them in faith].
And then We would have given them from Us a great reward.
And We would have guided them to a straight path.
And whoever obeys Allah and the Messenger – those will be with the ones upon whom Allah has bestowed favor of the prophets, the steadfast affirmers of truth, the martyrs and the righteous. And excellent are those as companions.
That is the bounty from Allah, and sufficient is Allah as Knower” (Surat An-Nisa, verse 64–70, translation by Sahih International).
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.