Rights of Rasoolullahﷺ – Part 4

2 –  Ita’at: To obey him without question

Allahﷻ sent the Anbiya to be obeyed. This makes logical sense because this is the first principle of change, that the change must be implemented for people to feel its benefit. Allahﷻ said about this:

وَمَا أَرْسَلْنَا مِن رَّسُولٍ إِلاَّ لِيُطَاعَ بِإِذْنِ اللّهِ وَلَوْ أَنَّهُمْ إِذ ظَّلَمُواْ أَنفُسَهُمْ جَآؤُوكَ فَاسْتَغْفَرُواْ اللّهَ وَاسْتَغْفَرَ لَهُمُ الرَّسُولُ لَوَجَدُواْ اللّهَ تَوَّابًا رَّحِيمًا 

Nisa 4: 64.  We sent no Messenger, but to be obeyed by Allah’s Leave. If they (hypocrites), when they had been unjust to themselves, had come to you (Muhammad) and begged Allah’s Forgiveness, and the Messenger had begged forgiveness for them: indeed, they would have found Allah All-Forgiving (One Who accepts repentance), Most Merciful.

That is why Abu Huraira (R) reported that Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Everyone from my nation will enter Jannah except those who refuse.” They said, “Ya Rasoolullahﷺ, who will refuse?”  Rasoolullahﷺ said, “Whoever obeys me enters Jannah and whoever disobeys me has refused.”  [Bukhari]

May Allah grant us the Tawfeeq not to refuse to enter Jannah. I remind myself and you that the most common reason we refuse to obey Rasoolullahﷺ is because of our slavery to our desires, our Nafs. Let us ask ourselves if that is worth the price we will have to pay. Is whatever we want to do which is against the order of Rasoolullahﷺ and can result in our being listed among those who refused to enter Jannah, worth that price? Do we really want to live our lives pretending that we are Muslims or living as real Muslims? Real Muslims obey Allah and His Messengerﷺ. Pretenders obey their desires and Shaytaan and don’t care about the price because they don’t believe in Allahﷻ or the Aakhira. Let us ask where we stand and change before it is too late.

Allahﷻ made it a condition of Imaan that we should accept every decree of Rasoolullah without question and said that if we did not do then we don’t have Imaan. Allahﷻ took an oath by Himself and said:

فَلاَ وَرَبِّكَ لاَ يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىَ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لاَ يَجِدُواْ فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُواْ تَسْلِيمًا

An-Nisa 4:65       But no, by your Rabb, they can have no Faith, until they make you (O Muhammad) judge in all disputes between them, and find in themselves no resistance against your decisions, and accept (them) with full submission.

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا

Al-Ahzaab 33:36 It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error.

 As we know, normally, in all matters, it is only what we say or do, which is culpable, if we don’t seek forgiveness and Allah chooses to punish us. Negative thoughts, feelings, and desires, if they are not acted upon, are not punished. Except when it comes to Rasoolullahﷺ and his rulings. In this case, even if we feel a dislike or disagreement with the ruling, Allahﷻ called it great misguidance and a lack of faith.

إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا وَأُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

An-Nur 24:51       All that the believers say, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger that he may judge between them, is that they say, ‘We hear, and we obey: ’it is these who are successful.

Allah called obeying Rasoolullahﷺ to be life-giving. We obey for our own benefit and not because we are doing a favor to Allah or His Messengerﷺ.

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ اسْتَجِيبُواْ لِلّهِ وَلِلرَّسُولِ إِذَا دَعَاكُم لِمَا يُحْيِيكُمْ

Al-Anfaal 8:24    O you who believe! Answer Allah (by obeying Him) and (His) Messenger when he (SAW) calls you to that which will give you life,

To obey Rasoolullah  is to obey Allah because Allah declared that whatever he ordered was from Allah Himself.

إِنْ هُوَ إِلَّا وَحْيٌ يُوحَى – وَمَا يَنطِقُ عَنِ الْهَوَى

An-Najm 53:3-4  And he (the Prophet) does not speak out of his own desire. It is nothing but a revelation revealed (to him)

Allah freed Rasoolullahﷺ from the results of people disobeying him and placed it squarely where it belongs i.e., on the shoulders of those he addressed. In our case it means, us. If we don’t obey Rasoolullahﷺ we are solely responsible.

مَّنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللّهَ وَمَن تَوَلَّى فَمَا أَرْسَلْنَاكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظًا

An-Nisa 4:80       And whoever obeys the Messenger, thereby obeys Allah. And as for those who turn away We have not sent you as a guardian over them

قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ فَإِن تَوَلَّوا فَإِنَّمَا عَلَيْهِ مَا حُمِّلَ وَعَلَيْكُم مَّا حُمِّلْتُمْ وَإِن تُطِيعُوهُ تَهْتَدُوا وَمَا عَلَى الرَّسُولِ إِلَّا الْبَلَاغُ الْمُبِينُ

An-Nur 24:54      Say: “Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, but if you turn away, he (Messenger Muhammad) is only responsible for the duty placed on him (i.e. to convey Allah’s Message) and you for that placed on you. If you obey him, you shall be on the right guidance. The Messenger’s duty is only to convey (the message) in a clear way (i.e. to preach in a plain way)

Allah told us what will happen to those who refuse to obey Rasoolullahﷺ and insist on continuing their toxic and disobedient lifestyles and choices.

يَوْمَئِذٍ يَوَدُّ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُواْ وَعَصَوُاْ الرَّسُولَ لَوْ تُسَوَّى بِهِمُ الأَرْضُ وَلاَ يَكْتُمُونَ اللّهَ حَدِيثًا

An-Nisa 4:42       On that day those who disbelieved and disobeyed the Messenger (Muhammad) will wish that they were buried in the earth, but they will never be able to hide a single fact from Allah.

As always, Allah clarified and gave us a criterion to judge ourselves.

إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا بِاللَّهِ وَرَسُولِهِ ثُمَّ لَمْ يَرْتَابُوا وَجَاهَدُوا بِأَمْوَالِهِمْ وَأَنفُسِهِمْ فِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الصَّادِقُونَ

Al-Hujuraat 49:15  Only those are the believers who have believed in Allah and His Messenger, and afterward doubt not but strive with their wealth and their lives for the Cause of Allah. Those! They are the truthful.

To believe and never to doubt thereafter. Not sitting on the fence all our lives. The power of faith is Tawakkul and that happens only when doubt is replaced with certainty. Then the heart is truly without fear of anything other than the displeasure of Allah. This was the case of all the Anbiya.

There is no Ayah in the entire Book where the ‘obedience of Allah’ has been mentioned alone with no reference to the ‘Obedience of the Messengerﷺ’. This is because it is impossible to obey Allah without obeying Rasoolullah .

On the contrary, the Qur’an did not deem it sufficient to refer to the ‘obedience of Allah’ without referring to the ‘obedience of the Messengerﷺ’, to remove even the remotest excuse for ignoring the ‘obedience of the Prophet’ and to leave no doubt whatsoever in the fact that the ‘obedience of Allah’ is not complete unless the ‘obedience of Rasoolullah is fully observed with all its implications.

Consequences of Obedience

وَمَن يُطِعِ اللّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ فَأُوْلَـئِكَ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللّهُ عَلَيْهِم مِّنَ النَّبِيِّينَ وَالصِّدِّيقِينَ وَالشُّهَدَاء وَالصَّالِحِينَ وَحَسُنَ أُولَـئِكَ رَفِيقًا

An-Nisa 4:69       And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), then they will be in the company of those on whom Allah has bestowed His Grace, of the Prophets, the Siddiqûn, the martyrs, and the righteous. And how excellent these companions are!

What more can we ask for than the company of those Allah praised and guaranteed them Jannah? This is the greatest gift of Allah for those who are faithful to Allah and His Messengerﷺ. We will be with those we love.

Consequences of Disobedience

وَمَن يَعْصِ اللّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ وَيَتَعَدَّ حُدُودَهُ يُدْخِلْهُ نَارًا خَالِدًا فِيهَا وَلَهُ عَذَابٌ مُّهِينٌ

An-Nisa 4:14       And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger and transgresses His limits, he shall admit him to Fire where he shall remain forever, and he shall have a disgraceful torment.

May Allah save us from the Fire and from disobeying Him in any way.

3 –  Ittiba: To follow and emulate him in every way

There is a very important difference between Ita’at (obedience) and Ittiba (emulation or imitation). Ita’at (obedience) needs an order to obey. In the absence of an order or instruction, no obedience can be demanded. But Ittiba (emulation or imitation) is a sign of love. No instruction or order is necessary. The one being emulated may not even be aware that he is being imitated. Emulation or imitation (Ittiba) is a sign of love. It is the surest sign of love because by emulation, the emulator wishes to be identified with the one he is emulating. He wishes to be known, not as himself but as a shadow of the one he is emulating. Those who love the original, also love to see the imitation because it reminds them of the original. Their love for the original spills over onto the imitator. They love the imitator, not for himself but for the one he is imitating. That is why the One who loves Muhammadﷺ  told him to tell his people to imitate him and said that if they did that, then the One who loves him, will love them too.

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Aal-Imraan 3:31           Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (make my Ittiba), Allah will love you and forgive your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

I remind you and myself that the most important emulation of Rasoolullahﷺ is in his biggest Sunnah which was his mission in this world i.e. propagation of Islam. While every Sunnah is important because it is part of the whole, i.e. his entire life, but he associated us with his mission and honored us by saying that it is his mission and the mission of those who follow him, to invite others towards Allah. What greater honor than to introduce people to their Creator and Sustainer and to invite them to thank Him and worship Him as it is His right to be worshipped and to live our lives with one purpose only, which is to please Him? That is the essence of Islam and the reason to live. To worship Allah alone and to live our lives only to please Him. Those who know Allah, know that this will make their lives successful in this world and the next.

قُلْ هَـذِهِ سَبِيلِي أَدْعُو إِلَى اللّهِ عَلَى بَصِيرَةٍ أَنَاْ وَمَنِ اتَّبَعَنِي وَسُبْحَانَ اللّهِ وَمَا أَنَاْ مِنَ الْمُشْرِكِينَ

Al-Yusuf 12:108   Say (O Muhammad SAW): “This is my way; I invite unto Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me. And Glorified and Exalted be Allah (above all that they associate as partners with Him). And I am not of the Mushrikûn.

Finally, Allah told us that to follow Rasoolullahﷺ is the best way and his entire life, in all its aspects, is the best example for anyone who looks forward to meeting Allah on the Day of Judgment and remembers Allah a great deal. That is the definition of a Muslim. In short, the answer to the question, “Who is a Muslim?” is, “The one whose life resembles the life of Muhammadﷺ.” The bonus of course is that the life of Rasoolullahﷺ  is also the best way to live in this world because of which you would become the most beloved and influential person in your community. After all, show me anyone who is compassionate, courageous, helpful, charitable, has the best manners, generous and hospitable, cheerful, and friendly and I will show you someone who is the beloved of all those he encounters. That is the secret of influence.

 لَقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللَّهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللَّهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللَّهَ كَثِيرًا

Al-Ahzaab 33:21 There is surely a good example for you in the Messenger of Allah, for one who hopes (to meet) Allah and the Hereafter and remembers Allah abundantly.”

Ittiba of the Sunnah is Fardh: There is a great misconception that Ittiba of Sunnah is left to our fancy. It is not. Allah emphasized that not only is it Fardh but it is the only way to earn the love of Allah  and His Forgiveness when we meet Him.

قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ وَاللّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ

Aal-Imraan 3:31           Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allah then follow me (make my Ittiba), Allah will love you and forgive your sins. And Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful.

Those who discount the Sunnah, especially those who are dismissive about it and decry it as being unimportant, only display their gross ignorance and depending on what they say, may end up committing Kufr and exiting Islam altogether. The Sunnah is the fabric of Islam. It is the tapestry into which is woven the entire template of Islamic culture and tradition. Our tradition is not the tradition of our ethnicity or nationality or family or tribe, but it is the tradition of Muhammadﷺ. That is why we need to know what that is and to live it in our lives as a sign of our allegiance to him and love for him.

Types of Sunnah are different because Rasoolullahﷺ emphasized some things and simply did others without emphasizing. [E.g., Miswak vs Beard – he ordered us to keep the beard while he liked to use the Siwak and praised its use.] Ittiba is an expression of love. We display that which we are proud of and which we believe adds value to us. Ittiba differentiates us, defines us, gives a sense of belonging and associates us with the Asl and reminds others about the actual. The imitator is delighted when people forget him and remember the one, he is imitating. That is the essence of love.