God has ordered us to “Obey God and Obey the messenger” more than 25 times in the Quran but not a single time He has ordered us to “Obey God and Obey Muhammad!”. Unfortunately, the order of God to obey the messenger is misinterpreted to be as same as the order to obey Muhammad and puts Islam in the footings of personality cult centered on Muhammad’s sayings, doings, habits and choices while the Quran confirms that idolizing is a human tragedy as “the idolizers could not realize while they are idolizing their idols except on a Day of the Judgment when their idols will disown them and their destination is Hell because of nullification of their all works and they will not be given any chance to exit it” (2:165-167). Although idol worshipping is a forbidden dictum in the Quran but it has stealthily mounted on all Islamic edicts behind the shield of a boasting Sunnah, the misconceived dogma that poisoned Islam. Is it not surprising that how it is ignored or justified despite a severe warning in the Quran? Even its definition is found in the dictionary: “the worship of idols or excessive devotion to, or reverence for some person or thing” being a source of public intelligence for general awareness that we can reflect to avoid it. However, let us learn in details what God has taught us about it to refer “Obey God and obey the messenger” to avoid the misinterpretation of it to refer “Obey God and obey Muhammad” so that those who are being deceived because of such misinterpretation but the true believers, can make efforts to prevent them from falling into idolatry:
[2:165] And among the people whoever takes other than God equals, they love them as love for God. And those who have believed have much love for God. If he could see those who have wronged when they would see the punishment that all power belongs to God, and that God is severe in the punishment.
[2:166] When has disowned those who have been followed of those who have followed them, and they have seen the punishment, and have cut off the relations with them.
[2:167] And said those who have followed, “If that there is any return for us, we would disown from them, as they disown from us.” Thus that God will show them their deeds as regrets for them, and they are those who are not coming out of the Fire.
Obey God and obey the messenger
The order to obey the messenger means to follow the message that is given to him, the Quran. So to obey the messenger is conditional on having the message that he has, is the Quran. Since Muhammad without the Quran is just another human being like us, God wants it to be very clear to obey the person that has the message, the Quran, for what he has not for who he is.
1. God has not only commanded the believers to obey the messenger (prophet), but He has also ensured that the obedience to the messenger is linked to obeying the message that the messenger delivered not anything else. So obeying the messenger does mean to obey his message, which has been confirmed in the following verse:
[64:12] And you shall obey God and shall obey the messenger. Then if you have turned away, then only upon our messenger is the conveyance of the clear message.
2. The Quran informs that the only responsibility of any messenger (including Muhammad) is to convey God’s message, and not to teach any other teachings (5:99; 5:92, 16:35, 16:82, 24:54, 29:18, 42:48, 64:12). Below is the full text of the verse (5:99) as an example:
[5:99] Not upon the messenger except the conveyance, and God knows what you reveal and what you conceal.
3. God has ordered the prophet’s wives to obey the messenger, not their husband or Muhammad, for the messenger what he has is the message – the Quran:
[33:30] O wives of the prophet, whoever among you commits of proven immorality, the punishment will be doubled for her. And it has been that is easy for God.
[33:31] And whoever among you is obedient to God and His messenger, and has done as righteous, we will give her 2-fold reward and we have prepared for her a generous provision.
[33:33] And you shall settle down in your homes, and you are not to display yourselves as displaying of the older days of ignorance. You shall observe the Contact Prayer, and shall give the Obligatory Charity, and shall obey God and His messenger. God only wishes to remove the impurity from you, O family of the Shrine, and to purify you a complete purification.
4. Those who know Arabic well know that the word, “rasuul” in Arabic means both the messenger and the message. So, when God says: obey the messenger (rasuul), He means both the messenger and the message (Quran). So both are inseparable. When the messenger, the human being is dead, the true messenger among us is the message itself, and in this case is the Quran. God Almighty has called the Quran (rasuul) on many occasions such as 5:15, 11:1-3, 14:1, 27:2, 32:3, 34:6, 42:52 & 65:10-11. Below are the full text of the verses (5:15 & 65:10-11) to better understand the Quran being the messenger:
[5:15] O people of the scripture, certainly, has come to you our messenger to make clear for you much of what you have done to conceal of the scripture, and to overlook from much. Certainly, has come to you from God a light and a clear scripture.
Note: Since Muhammad was not knowledgeable in the previous scriptures, he was not aware of what were concealed in them being the gentile prophet (Al-Nabiya Al-Ummiya) (7:157) while he has been figured to be the unlettered prophet by the ignorant scholars is a misinterpretation.
[65:10] God has prepared for them severe retribution. Therefore, you shall reverence God, O you who possess intelligence and believed. God has sent down to you a message –
[65:11] a messenger who recites to you God’s revelations, clearly, to lead those who believe and work righteousness out of the darkness into the light. Anyone who believes in God and leads a righteous life, He will admit him into gardens with flowing streams; they abide therein forever. God will generously reward him.
5. Here is the verse as stated below offers a definitive clarity as to the misinterpretations of the order “obey the Messenger” as decreed in the Quran. No doubt, this misinterpretation has derailed Islam from its initial orbit for more than a millennium:
[4:59] O you who have believed, you shall obey God, and shall obey the messenger and those with the authority among you. When if you have differed in anything, then you shall refer it to God and the messenger if you have committed to believe in God and the Last Day. That is good and better for ending.
Note: Keeping historical events in mind, one must not interpret that “refer it to God and the messenger” means the Quran and the Hadith. The Quran was not even compiled when the prophet was alive and most Hadith literature was not collected until two hundred years after his death. Besides, papers and printing press were not present at that time to offer easy access of the Quran and the Hadith to every hand of the Muslims. So the phrase – “refer it to God and the messenger” clearly indicates those relatives, companions, and friends of the Prophet who were around him who knew the message very well.
6. There is another verse that also offers the misinterpretation where the expression is “do not turn back from him while you hear”, undoubtedly addresses those who could hear him because of their proximity to the Prophet:
[8:20] O you who have believed, you shall obey God and His messenger, and you do not turn back from him while you hear.
7. The prophet lived his life according to the Quranic principles. Nowhere in the Quran there is any mention of Sunnah of Muhammad! The Quran confirms that the only Sunnah that God has taught us is the Sunnah of God as found in verses (33:62, 35:43 & 48:23). Below is the full text of the verse (33:62) cited as an example to eliminate any confusion from our hearts:
[33:62] Such is God’s system with those who have passed away before, and you will not find any change in God’s system.
8. The Quran has also confirmed that if Prophet Muhammad had uttered any other teachings other than the Quran, he would incur severe punishment from God, which is not enough proof for us that he did not utter anything other than the Quran?
[69:43] A revelation from Lord of the worlds.
[69:44] And if he (Muhammad) had uttered about us any other utterances.
[69:45] Certainly, we would have caught him up by the right hand.
[69:46] Then we would have certainly cut off the main artery from him.
[69:47] Then no one from you would be protectors of him.
[69:48] And indeed, this is certainly a reminder for the righteous.
9. Muhammad was made to swear that the only revelation he received from God was the Quran which he preached to the people:
[6:19] Say (O Muhammad), “whose testimony is the greatest?” Say, “God’s.” He is the witness between me and you that this Quran has been inspired to me to preach it to you and whomever it reaches. Indeed, you bear witness that there are other gods beside God.” Say, “I do not testify as you do; there is only one god, and I disown your idolatry.”
10. The Quran informs us that God has allowed the enemies of every prophet – the human and jinn devils to fabricate fancy words and attribute them to the prophet to deceive the people, and those who are disbelievers will listen and accept such fabrications. So God has commanded us to disregard them. Thus, Prophet Muhammad preached the people with only the words of God which is the Quran:
[6:112] We have permitted the enemies of every prophet, human and jinn devils, to inspire in each other fancy sayings, in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications.
[6:113] This is to let the minds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to such fabrications, and accept them, and thus expose their real convictions.
11. God has ordered us to only believe in His revelations and use His book as a source of law being fully detailed:
[45:6] That is of God’s signs we recite it through you (Muhammad) with the truth. So, in which hadith after God and His revelations do they believe?
[6:114] Shall I seek other than God as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully detailed?
12. The Quran has informed us that the prophet has sincerely delivered God’s revelations and he has guided him with what has been revealed to him:
[34:50] Say, “If I have gone astray, then I go astray for myself. And if I have guided, then with what my Lord reveals to me. Indeed, He is Hearer, Near.”
Obey God and obey Muhammad!
We have never read anywhere in the Quran the expression like “Obey God and obey Muhammad” or obey Jesus or Moses etc.. But we always read, “Obey God and obey the messenger”. If we were to obey Muhammad the human being (not the messenger), we were to frown at the poor, fear the people instead of God and prohibit what God did not. That is why there has never been a single order in the Quran from God, the Most Cognizant to “Obey Muhammad.” So we are required to obey the messenger, because it is the message (Quran) that made the obedience a requirement, not the person, Muhammad that made it so. However, let us find out below what God has taught us about Muhammad to make the expression “Obey Muhammad” different from the order “Obey the messenger”:
13. God has mentioned Muhammad 4 times by name in the Quran but not a single time He has ordered us to “Obey Muhammad” instead He has ordered us to believe what has been sent down to him:
[3:144] And Muhammad is not but a messenger, has certainly passed the messengers before himself. So if has he died or has he been killed, you have turned back on your heels? And whoever turns back on his heels, then he does not hurt God in anyway. And God will reward the grateful ones.
[33:40] Muhammad has not been a father of anyone of your men, but has had a messenger of God and a seal of the prophets, and God has done being Knower of everything.
[47:2] And those who have believed and have done the righteous deeds, and have believed in what has been revealed through Muhammad and it is the truth from their Lord – He has removed their evil deeds from them and has improved their situation
[48:29] Muhammad, a messenger of God and those who are with him, are severe against the disbelievers, are merciful between themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating, seeking blessing from God and pleasure. Their mark is on their faces from trace of the prostration. That is their example in the Torah. And their example in the Gospel is like a seed that has brought forth its shoot, then it has strengthened it. then it has become thick, then it has stood upon its stem to please the sowers that He can enrage the disbelievers by them. God has promised those who have believed and have done the righteous deeds, of them there is forgiveness and a great recompense.
14. God Almighty knows that the Prophet Muhammad is a human being like us, will live his life and run his business like any human being would. He would make mistakes, get angry, have fears, …etc. Muhammad, the human being was the messenger only because of the message given to him, the QURAN:
[18:110] Say, (O Muhammad) “I am no more than a human like you, being inspired that your god is one god. Those who hope to meet their Lord shall work righteousness, and never worship any other god beside his Lord.”
15. Muhammad without the message is just a regular human being, he frowned and turned away when the blind poor man came to him, (See 80:1-11), he feared the people when he was supposed to fear only God (33:37) and he prohibited what he should not prohibit (66:1):
[33:37] And when you (Muhammad) said to whom God has bestowed favor on him and you have bestowed favor on him: “You (Zaid) shall keep your wife for you and shall fear God.” And you (Muhammad) conceal within yourself what God is disclosing; and you fear the people, while God is more worthy that you fear Him. So, when Zaid has ended relationship from her, we have given her as spouse to you that there will be no wrong for the believers about wives of their adopted sons when they have ended relationship from them. And God’s command has done to be accomplished.
[66:1] O you the prophet, why do you prohibit what God has made lawful for you to seek pleasing your wives? And God is Forgiving, Merciful.
16. The prophet is reprimanded by God for the errors he committed but the idolizers of the prophet claim that he was infallible!! They argue that if the prophet were not infallible, how he faithfully reported the God’s word without bringing the fact into consideration that what he reported had been reported under full protection of God (17:73-74, 4:113). However, the incidents are found in (8:67-68, 9:43, 33:37, 66:1 & 80:1-11):
[17:73] They almost diverted you from the revelations we have given you. They wanted you to fabricate something else, in order to consider you a friend.
[17:74] If it were not that we strengthened you, you almost leaned towards them just a little bit.
[4:113] If it were not for God’s grace towards you, and His mercy, some of them would have misled you. They only mislead themselves, and they can never harm you in the least. God has sent down to you the scripture and wisdom, and He has taught you what you never knew. Indeed, God’s blessings upon you have been great.
[8:67] No prophet shall acquire captives, unless he participates in the fighting. You people are seeking the materials of this world, while God advocates the Hereafter. God is Almighty, Most Wise.
[8:68] If it were not for a predetermined decree from God, you would have suffered, on account of what you took, a terrible retribution.
[9:43] God has pardoned you: why did you give them permission (to stay behind), before you could distinguish those who are truthful from the liars?
17. The prophet himself never asked people to do what they are attributing to him now. He was a humble servant of God and advocated devotion to God alone and informed that he had no idea what will happen to him or us :
[3:79] Never would a human being whom God blessed with the scripture and prophethood say to the people, “Idolize me beside God.” Instead, (he would say), “Devote yourselves absolutely to your Lord alone,” according to the scripture you preach and the teachings you learn.
[46:9] Say, “I am not different from other messengers. I have no idea what will happen to me or to you. I only follow what is revealed to me. I am no more than a profound warner.”
Historical Perspective of Hadith/Sunnah
The word “Sunnah”, up to the time of Prophet Muhammad, meant the practices of antiquity especially in Yathrib – the city that had been ruled by the early Jews since 66 AD who took shelter there to escape the massacre in Jerusalem by the Romans. Ironically, Prophet Muhammad too took shelter there to save himself and his followers from the tyranny of the Meccans. The name Yathrib eventually got changed to Madinatun-Nabi (The City of the Prophet) and in short Medina.
At the beginning, Islam’s uncompromising monotheism was believed to be pivoted on the words of God, revealed to Prophet Muhammad – as opposed to any personal words of teachings similar to Buddha or Jesus. But the dogmas of Sunnah soon acquired a different significance after the time of the Prophet. Particularly from the ninth century it came to denote the practices of Prophet Muhammad including whatever he said, did, or approved during his time. Being elevated to the holiness with the same divinity as the Quran, the doctrine of Sunnah has substantially turned Islam into a figure worshipper. Consequently, this personality cult ensued war among its people and effectively derailed Islam from its initial dedication to preventing widespread cruelty and social oppression.
The Hadith literature – the source of the Sunnah, is imposingly believed to be the words of Prophet Muhammad, passed through his companions. While purportedly made in the name of the Prophet, a number of these sayings can actually be traced to Zoroastrian culture, the Christian Bible and even the laws and rituals of the Byzantine. In a manner of speaking, the limited legislation in the Quran, basically the rules in regard to marriage, divorce, inheritances, orphans, food and a few others occupy very little room in the whole canon of Sharia Laws. A vast bulk of it comes from the Sunnah and significantly from Bukhari, concocted and recorded about 200 years after the death of the Prophet. Evidently, deeply merged in it, are the arbitrary laws, induced by the Muslim emperors and kings of their own as they could not successfully invoke to settle questions arising in such diverse categories as systematic and moral theology, ritual, civil and military laws, etc.
Right from the inception, the Hadith literature presents the rational readers with contradictory statements. Whether it was permissible to write down traditions of the prophet in the early days of Islam is a serious question. Abu Huraira, a late convert to Islam and a companion of the Prophet, narrated nearly 5374 Hadith [source – Hadith Literature: It’s Origin, Development, & Special Features by Muhammad Zubayr Siddiqui]. This prolific narrator of Hadith stated in one Hadith that the Prophet, once observing his followers writing down his sayings, gave them a resolute warning to refrain from such a venture. He then cited the evils of making religious books out of the personal sayings of previous Prophets. Finally he told them: “Do you not know that nothing but the writing of books beside the book of God led astray the peoples that were before you?” Even in one Hadith of Abu Huraira, evidently the sayings of the prophet, compiled before this warning, were heaped together and burned. However, some hadithists claim that the Quran being difficult to understand is explained through prophet’s sayings but how will they justify it while the prophet was forbidden to do that (75:16-19)?
[75:16] You (prophet) should not move your tongue with it (Quran) that you may hasten with it.
[75:17] Indeed, upon us is its collection and its recitation.
[75:18] So when we recited it, then you shall follow its recitation.
[75:19] Then indeed, upon us is its explanation.
Thus, the evidences from the Quran including the historical ones imply that the expression “Obey Muhammad” is nothing but the misinterpretation of the order “Obey the Messenger” that has corrupted monotheistic Islam adding satanic innovations such as Hadith and Sunnah (6:112) to our religious rules and regulations. There is no doubt that we should obey the messenger but to obey Muhammad is idolatry which is not only an unforgiveable sin (4:48) but a human tragedy as the idolizers could not realize while they are idolizing their idols except when they are already in Hell (2:165-167). It is a common practice that when anyone delivers beneficial lectures on idolatry denouncing it to be a satanic trap, those with diseased hearts raise uproar and attempt to make light of those speeches by means of misleading and satanic expressions as well as obliterate them by means of their futile utterances. Never in the history of mankind have faced such total collapsed as we see today, what is reflected with the fulfillment of Quranic prophecy (27:82). However, those who accept the Quran accept the order from God to “obey the messenger” by following his message, the Quran Alone instead of running away from it in aversion (17:46). It is also clear from the historical fact that when prophet Muhammad died, he left for us not ONLY one book, the Quran but he also cited the evils of making religious books out of personal sayings of previous Prophets at his lifetime. Since idolatry is a human tragedy as there is every possibility to overlook it no matter who we are unless it is accepted as a challenge, let us make our utmost efforts to avoid and eliminate any traces of it from our beliefs and practices to save us from hell fire in the Hereafter, even our common sense may help us to do that (17:36):
[4:48] Indeed, God does not forgive that is associated with Him, while He forgives whatever other than that for whomever He wills. And whoever associates with God, then certainly, he has fabricated a horrendous offense.
[27:82] And when has fulfilled the punishment upon them, we have brought forth for them a creature from the earth speaks to them that the people have been with our revelations do not ascertain.
[17:46] And we have placed coverings over their hearts lest they understand it, and deafness in their ears. And when you have mentioned your Lord in the Quran alone, they have turned on their backs in aversion.
[17:36] And you do not follow that which has not for you any knowledge of it. Indeed, the hearing, and the vision, and the understanding – each of those has made accountable from it.
Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.