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Obey God and messenger vs. obey God and Muhammad

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 that 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 the Day of 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] There are people who esteem other than God whom they love as like as they love God while the believers have much more love for God. If they could see who have wronged them when they would see the retribution that all power belongs to God, and that God’s retribution is severe.
[2:166] Those who were followed will disown those who followed them. They will see the retribution, and all ties among them will be severed.
[2:167] Those who followed will say, “If we can get another chance, we will disown them, as they have disowned us now.” God thus shows them the consequences of their works as nothing but remorse; they will never exit Hell.

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] You shall obey God and you shall obey the messenger. If you shall turn away, then the sole mission of our messenger is to deliver the message.

2. The Quran informs that the only duty of any messenger (including Muhammad) is to deliver 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):
[5:99] The sole duty of the messenger is to deliver the message, and God knows everything you declare and everything 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, if any of you commits gross sin, the retribution will be doubled for her. This is easy for God to do.
[33:31] Any one of you who obeys God and His MESSENGER, and leads a righteous life, we will grant her double the recompense, and we have prepared for her a generous provision.
[33:33] You shall settle down in your homes, and do not mingle with the people excessively, like you used to do in the old days of ignorance. You shall observe the Contact Prayers (Salat), and give the obligatory charity (Zakat), and obey God and His messenger. God wishes to remove all unholiness from you, O you who live around the Sacred Shrine, and to purify you completely.

4. Those who know Arabic well know that the word, “Rasool” in Arabic means both the messenger and the message. So , when God says , obey the messenger (Rasool), 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 becomes the message itself, in this case, the QURAN. God Almighty has called the Quran (Rasool) on many occasions such as 5:15, 11:1-3, 14:1, 27:2, 32:3, 34:6, 42:52 & 65:10-11. Below is the full text of the verses (5:15 & 65:10-11):
[5:15] O people of the scripture, our messenger has come to you to proclaim for you many things you have concealed in the scripture, and to pardon many other transgressions you have committed. A beacon has come to you from God, and a profound 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 believe! Obey God, and obey the Messenger, and those in charge with authority among you. If you differ in anything among yourselves, refer it to God and His Messenger.
Note: Keeping historical events in mind, one must not interpret that “refer it to God and His 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 His Messenger” clearly indicates those relatives, companions, and friends of the Prophet who were around him. Clearly, it was only them who could approach and “refer” to the Messenger for clarification.

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 believe! obey God and His Messenger and 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) with English transliteration of Arabic to eliminate any confusion from our hearts:
[33:62] This is God’s eternal system, and you will find that God’s system is unchangeable. [English transliteration: “Sunnatal lahi fi alladhina khalaw min qablu walan tajida lisunnatil lahi tabdilan”]

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 Quran?
[69:43] This (the Quran) is a revelation from the Lord of the universe.
[69:44] Had he (Muhammad) uttered any other teachings,
[69:45] We would have punished him,
[69:46] and We would have stopped the revelations to him.
[69:47] None of you could have helped him.

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] These are God’s revelations that We recite to you truthfully. In which hadith other than 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 being guided by Him:
[34:50] Say, “If I go astray, I go astray because of my own shortcomings. And if I am guided, it is because of my Lord’s inspiration. 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 mentioned Muhammad by name in the Quran 4 times but not a single time He has ordered us to “Obey Muhammad” instead He has ordered us to believe what was sent down to him:
[3:144] Muhammad was no more than a messenger like the messengers before him. Should he die or get killed, would you turn back on your heels? Anyone who turns back on his heels, does not hurt God in the least. God rewards those who are appreciative.
[33:40] Muhammad was not the father of any man among you. He was a messenger of God and the final prophet. God is fully aware of all things.
[47:2] Those who believe and work righteousness, and believe in what was sent down to Muhammad – which is the truth from their Lord – He remits their sins, and blesses them with contentment.
[48:29] Muhammad – the messenger of God – and those with him are harsh and stern against the disbelievers, but kind and compassionate amongst themselves. You see them bowing and prostrating, as they seek God’s blessings and approval….

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] … Thus, you feared the people, when you were supposed to fear only God. When Zeid was completely through with his wife, we had you marry her, in order to establish the precedent that a man can marry the divorced wife of his adopted son. God’s commands shall be done.
[66:1] O you prophet, why do you prohibit what God has made lawful for you, just to please your wives? God is Forgiver, 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] Do not move your tongue to hasten it.
[75:17] It is we who will collect it into Quran.
[75:18] Once we recite it, you shall follow such a Quran.
[75:19] Then it is we who will explain it.

Conclusion

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] God does not forgive idolatry, but He forgives lesser offenses for whomever He wills. Anyone who sets up idols beside God, has forged a horrendous offense.
[27:82] When the punishment is almost due against them, we will produce for them a creature from the earth speaking to them that the people are not certain about our revelations.
[17:46] We have placed shields around their minds, to prevent them from understanding it, and deafness in their ears. And when you mention your Lord, using the Quran alone, they run away in aversion.
[17:36] You shall not accept any information, unless you verify it for yourself. I have given you the hearing, the eyesight, and the understanding, and you are responsible for using them

Peaceful Friday, salaam and God bless.
Tafazzal (2/5/2016)