Say: Obey Allah and the Messenger, but if you turn away, Allah loves not the disbelievers. (Surat Ali Imraan 3:32)
The Quran commands obedience to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). Whenever the obedience of Allah is ordered, the obedience of the Final Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is also mentioned alongside. Here are some examples:
And obey Allah and the Messenger so that you may be blessed. (Surat Ali Imraan 3:132)
And obey Allah and obey the Messenger and beware. (Suratul Maaidah 5:92)
So fear Allah and set things right between you, and obey Allah and His Messenger if you are (in truth) believers. (Suratul Anfaal 8:1)
O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not make your deeds vain. (Surat Muhammad 47:33)
There are many more verses that command the obedience of both, Allah and His Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). On the contrary, there are verses that command the obedience of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam), but does not mention the obedience of Allah alongside it:
And if you obey him (the Prophet, sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam), you shall find the right path. (Suratun-Nur 54)
And establish regular prayer and pay the poor-due and obey the Prophet so that you may be blessed. (Suratun-Nur 24:56)
On that day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish that the earth might be leveled with them. (Suratun-Nisaa 4:42)
The reason that the obedience of the Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is not always mentioned with Allahs obedience is given in the Quran, itself:
And whoever obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah. (Suratun-Nisaa 4:80)
Obedience to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) does not mean that the people who were present at the time of the prophethood of Allahs Final Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) were to obey him only, but the obedience of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is a commandment for all of mankind and for all times. The Quran and Islam are for all people of all times and if obedience to the Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was meant for only his time, then it would mean that the Quran and Islam were also only meant for one time. But the Quran refutes this idea:
Say: O mankind! Indeed I am the Messenger of Allah to you allso believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write and who believes in Allah and in His Words and follow him so that you may be led aright. (Suratul Araaf 7:158)
Obeying the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is obeying Allah as stated in verse 4:80 of the Quran. The Quran states:
Nor does he (the Prophet, sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) speak of (his own) desire. It is naught but an inspiration that is inspired, which one of mighty powers has taught him. (Suratun-Najm 53:3-5)
The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) received two types of revelation from Allah. The first type is called al wahy al matluw, which means the recited revelation and this refers to the Holy Quran, which is the Speech of Allah.
The second type of revelation is not a part of the Quran, but the Quran refers to it often. It is called al wahy ghayr al matluw, meaning the unrecited revelation, which did not form any part of the Quran. This is the revelation given to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and is seen in his sayings (hadith) and his actions. Verses 3-5 of Surah 53, above, tell us that the everything that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said was inspired to him by Allah and he never spoke out of his own desire. This type of inspiration is al wahy ghayr al matluw and is proven in the Quran and examples of this type of unrecited revelation will be produced below, insha Allah:
The Quran repeatedly orders the believers to establish the salah and to perform them regularly. In verses 239 and 240 of Suratul Baqarah, Allah tells the Muslims that they can pray their salah in more convenient ways, such as by riding when they are in a state of war, but they must go back to their normal way of praying once they are in safety from the enemies. Many points can be derived from the following ayah in defense of al wahy ghayr al matluw:
Take due care of all the prayers and the middle most prayer and stand before Allah in total devotion. But if you are in fear then (pray) on foot or riding, but when you are in safety, then recite the name of Allah in the way He taught you.
Firstly, the verse mentions taking care of all the prayers, which means that there is more than one obligatory prayer for the believers to perform. Yet, nowhere in the Quran will we find the exact number of obligatory prayers. Only in the ahaadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam), does it mention that five obligatory prayers have been prescribed for the believers. So, it is proof that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) received another type of revelation telling him how many prayers were prescribed, but this revelation was not included in the Quran itself.
Secondly, the verse emphasizes the importance of taking care of the middle prayer, but no definition of the middle prayer has been given. The definition had been left up to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam).
Thirdly, the verse says, recite the name of Allah in the way He taught you, which means, perform your prayer in the way He taught you, since this whole verse is talking about prayer. So, Allah is saying that when one is in safety and is away from the harm of the enemy, then they must go back to praying their salah the regular way, the way Allah had taught them. Now, the following question arises: Where are the instructions on how to pray? It is found nowhere in the al wahy al matluw, the recited revelation i.e., the Quran. The instructions on how to pray was given to us by the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam), but Allah doesnt say, pray the way the Prophet taught you. Allah says, the way He taught you. This means that the instructions of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) on how to perform the salah were actually the instructions of Allah, which He inspired to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) through al wahy ghayr al matluw. Subhannallah.
In verses 16-19 of Surah Qiyamah, we will find some more evidence al wahy ghayr al matluw and that it is a revelation from Allah:
Move not your tongue with it in order to hasten it. It is on Us to gather (in your heart) and to recite it. So, when We read it, follow its reading. Then it is on Us to explain it.
In the underlined verse, Allah says that He will explain the revelation to the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and it is evident that its explanation will be a separate revelation from the Quran, itself. Otherwise there would be no need to say that He will explain it if it was to be included in the Quran anyway. The explanation of the Quran is found in the ahaadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam), which he received from an unrecited revelation.
There are many more examples in the Quran of al wahy ghayr al matluw, but we will not mention all of them in this paper.
Another issue that needs attention is the role that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was sent to play. Was he sent to merely deliver the Quran to the people without explaining or teaching them anything about it? Was his only job to hand over the Book and let the people do whatever they wanted with it? Was his role like that of a mailman? The answer is clearly a no and this answer is supported with Allahs Words. In fact, Ibrahim (alaiyhis-salaam) prayed:
Our Lord! Raise in their midst a messenger from among themselves who recites to them Your verses and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom and purifies them. (Suratul Baqarah 2:129)
Allah answered his prayer and He says in His Book about the Final Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam):
Allah has surely blessed the believers with His favor when He raised in their midst a Messenger from among themselves, who recites to them the Book and the wisdom, while they were, before, in plain error. (Surat Ali Imraan 3:164)
He is the One Who raised up, among the unlettered, a Messenger from among themselves who recites the verses of Allah and makes them pure and teaches them the Book and the Wisdom. (Suratul Jumuah 62:2)
In these verses, Allah describes the role of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and why he was sent and what he is to accomplish. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) was given the following responsibilities:
1. To recite the verses of Allah.
2. To teach the Book of Allah.
3. To teach the Wisdom.
4. To make the people pure.
So the Quran clearly tells us that the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is not to merely recite and hand over the Quran to the people without helping them gain its benefits and without helping them understand it. He is required to recite the Book, teach it, explain its wisdom, and through it, make the people pure by teaching them how to apply it. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is the authority on how the Quran is recited. He is the only one who can interpret it. He is the only one who can provide the wisdom of the Quran to the people through divine guidance and he is entrusted with the training of the people to bring his teachings into practice.
Say: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger; then if you turn away, upon him rests what is laid on him and upon you rests what is laid on you. If you obey him, you will be guided. (Suratun-Nur 24:54)
And we sent no messenger, but that he should be obeyed by the leave of Allah. (Suratun-Nisaa 4:64)
Verse 64 of Suratun-Nisaa, above, proves furthermore that the Final Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) must be obeyed because every prophet was sent to guide their people and it was required upon the people to follow and obey him by the will of Allah. Messengers are the spokesmen of Allah. People cannot obey Allah until they obey the prophets. And when they obey the prophet, they must also follow him and put into action the obedience:
Say: If you love Allah, then follow me, and Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. (Surat Ali Imraan 3:31)
Believe then, in Allah and His Messenger, the unlettered Prophet, who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may be on the right path. (Suratul Araaf 7:157)
There is indeed a good example for you in the Messenger of Allah for the one who hopes (to meet) Allah and the Hereafter, and remembers Allah much. (Suratul Ahzaab 33:21)
If it was not required for the people to follow the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) then it would have been an impossible task for him to reform and purify them. If someone studies a certain subject such as medicine, but they dont do any hands-on work to gain experience, he cannot start working as a doctor immediately with no supervision, risking the lives of his patients. He must be working under the supervision of experienced doctors. In the same way, the people cannot be given the Book of Allah only. Along with it, they must be given a teacher to teach them the Books instructions and duties. They must have a teacher to teach them and set an example for them on how to apply the Quran.
The Arabs were much more familiar with the language of the Quran as well as its eloquent style than us. They received the verses of the Quran directly from the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and witnessed its revelation. Yet, even they needed the explanation of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) in regard to understanding the meanings of the Quran. For example, Allah states in Suratul Ahzaab, verse 59:
Oh Prophet! Tell your wives and your daughters and the women of the believers that they should cast their outer jalabib (plural of jilbab) over them; so that they may be known (for piety) and not harmed; and Allah is All-Forgiving, Most Merciful.
The companions (radiyyallahu anhum) did not know what the jalabib was referring to. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) explained that it was one sheet that was used to cover the entire body, from head to toe, leaving only the left eye to see and this was narrated by Ibn Abbas (radiyyallahu anhu).
It does not make sense for the Muslims of today to say, The Quran is enough. We do not need the Sunnah. Arent we more in need of the Sunnah than the companions and those who were actually present with the Beloved Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam)? The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) stated: Very soon a tradition of mine will be related to a person lying on his couch who will say, The Book of Allah (i.e., Quran) is enough between you and us. Whatever we find in it as halal (lawful and permissible), we accept it as halal and whatever we find in it as haram (unlawful and prohibited), we take that as haram. Behold, whatever Allahs Messenger has declared as haram is just like that which Allah has declared as haram.
It is ridiculous to claim that all the ahaadith are unreliable and were not preserved. Allah has stated, in His Book:
Indeed, (it is) We who have revealed the Remembrance and indeed We will guard it (from corruption). (Suratul Hijr 15:9)
The Remembrance, referred to in this verse, is the Quran and its explanation and wisdom. There is no way we can obey the Quran without obeying the Sunnah. If Allah did not protect the Sunnah and the ahaadith, then how can we act upon the Quran? The Quran tells us to pray. But if the Sunnah is corrupt, then how do we pray? The Quran does not tell us. The Quran commands believers to pay zakah, but how much do we pay and how often? The Quran does not say it, but the Sunnah does. The companions of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) went through so much pains and sacrifice to preserve the Sunnah of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). They knew every detail of when he would say what he said, why hed say it, where hed say it, etc.
We see a good example of this in Abu Hurairah (radiyyallahu anhu), who narrated: I have divided my night into three parts. In one third of the night, I perform salah. In one third, I sleep. And in one third, I memorize the ahaadith of the Prophet of Allah (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). Abu Hurairah (radiyyallahu anhu) reported more ahaadith than any other companion.
One time Marwan ibn al-Hakam wanted to test Abu Hurairah's (radiyyallahu anhu) power of memory. He sat with him in one room and behind a curtain he placed a scribe, unknown to Abu Hurairah, and ordered him to write down whatever Abu Hurairah said. A year later, Marwan called Abu Hurairah again and asked him to recall the same ahaadith, which the scribe had recorded. It was found that he had not forgotten or left out even a single word.
The companions (radiyyallahu anhum) of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) used to do their best to memorize the ahaadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). Their encouragement and zeal of preserving it came from the words of the Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) when he said: May Allah bestow vigor to a person who hears my saying and learns it by heart and then conveys it to others exactly as he hearts it. The Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) also stated: Those present should convey (my sunnah) to those absent. So, they also used to sit in groups together and discuss and share, with each other, whatever ahaadith they knew. Another method of preserving the Sunnah was by practicing it and in this way, they would also be gaining personal benefit. Anas (radiyyallahu anhu) reported that the Beloved Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) said: Preserve knowledge by writing.
The famous collector of ahaadith, Imam Bukhari, who was among the tabieen, traveled through so many cities and countries to collect the authentic ahaadith of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam). He would not include any ahaadith who had unreliable narrators or chains or any ahaadith that was not sahih. His book is referred most commonly as As-Sahih Al-Bukhari.
The Quran proves to us that obedience of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is incumbent and required upon the believers and no believer has any excuse not to obey and follow the Messenger. Allah describes those who are the true believers and only these will be successful in both worlds:
All that the believers say, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger that they may judge between them, is that they say: We hear and we obey. It is these who are successful. Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger and fears Allah and has awe of Himit is these who are the winners. (Suratun-Nur 24:52)
But those who reject the authority of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and disobey him, are warned of a Allahs wrath, disapproval, and punishment:
And whoever makes a breach with the Messenger after the right path has become clear to him, and follows a way other than that of the believers, We shall leave him in the path he chose and shall admit him into the Hellfire; what an evil refuge! (Suratun-Nisaa 4:115)
(Mine is) but conveyance (of the truth) from Allah, and His messages; and whoso disobeys Allah and His Messenger, lo! his is the fire of hell, wherein such dwell forever. (Suratul Jinn 72:23)
On that day, those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger will wish that they were level with the ground, and they can hide no fact from Allah. (Suratun-Nisaa 4:42)
The disobedience of the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) a very big mistake and his obedience is a very significant matter. As stated before, the obedience of the Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is, in fact, the obedience of Allah. Everything the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) did and said was revealed and inspired to him by Allah. He never did anything out of his own desire. No one feared Allah more than the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) and no one was more loved to Allah than His Beloved Final Messenger (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam), may Allah bless him the best. Prophet Muhammad (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam) is the best guidance for mankind especially in the present day where we see Jahiliyyah appearing from all corners of the world. Only with his guidance and authority will mankind prosper in this world and the next, which is why it is compulsory for every believer to obey the Prophet (sallallahu alaiyhi wa sallam).