By Sheikh `Abdul-Khaliq Ash-Sharif
In fact, following the Prophet’s guidance and obeying his commands is itself an important obligation.
- Obeying the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) involves obedience to Allah, Who says: “Whoso obeys the Messenger obeys Allah” (An-Nisaa’: 80). Almighty Allah also says: “We sent no messenger save that he should be obeyed by Allah’s leave” (An-Nisaa’: 64).
- Obeying the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is one of the articles of faith. Almighty Allah says: ”But nay, by thy Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make thee judge of what is in dispute between them and find within themselves no dislike of that which thou decidest, and submit with full submission” (An-Nisaa’: 65)
- Obeying him brings guidance. Almighty Allah says: “If ye obey him, ye will go aright” (An-Nur: 54). We also read in the Qur’an, “So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Prophet who can neither read nor write, who believeth in Allah and in His words and follow him that haply ye may be led aright” (Al-A`raf: 158).
- Obeying him is the fountain of mercy. Almighty Allah says: “And obey Allah and the Messenger, that ye may find mercy” (Aal `Imran: 132).
- Obeying the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) qualifies one to be among the gathering of prophets, saints, martyrs, and devout servants of Allah. A Qur’anic verse reads: “Whoso obeyeth Allah and the Messenger, they are with those unto whom Allah hath shown favor, of the Prophets and the saints and the martyrs and the righteous. The best of company are they! Such is the bounty of Allah, and Allah sufficeth as Knower” (An-Nisaa’: 69–70).
- Obeying the Prophet is a ticket to Paradise. Allah the Almighty says: “Whoso obeyeth Allah and His Messenger, He will make him enter Gardens underneath which rivers flow, where such will dwell for ever. That will be the great success” (An-Nisaa’: 13).
- Obeying him makes the person victorious. Almighty Allah says: “He who obeyeth Allah and His Messenger, and feareth Allah, and keepeth duty (unto Him): such indeed are the victorious” (An-Nur: 52).
- Following in the Prophet’s footsteps is an expression of love for Allah and a sign and a way of gaining Allah’s love. Almighty Allah says: “Say, (O Muhammad, to mankind): If ye love Allah, follow me; Allah will love you” (Aal `Imran: 52).
- Following him is the way to gain Allah’s forgiveness. Almighty Allah says: “Allah will love you and forgive you your sins” (Aal `Imran: 52).
- The above-mentioned Qur’anic verses stress the necessity of obeying the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and following his guidance. Also, many hadiths give the same indication that it is necessary to obey the Prophet and that those who do not follow his footsteps place themselves at risk. Following are some of these hadiths:
- Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) as saying, “All my nation will enter Paradise except those who refuse.” The Companions asked, “Who dare to refuse, O Prophet?” The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) answered, “Whoever obeys me will enter Paradise; and whoever disobeys me is showing refusal” (Al-Bukhari).
- Abu Musa reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “The similitude of mine and the message I have been sent with is that of a man who came to a people saying, ‘I have seen the enemies’ armies with my own eyes. I am just a warner, so run away.’ Thereupon some of his people obeyed and left the place and thus could survive. Whereas the rest disobeyed and stood still until the enemy came at them and slaughtered them all. The former (group) is like those who obey me and follow my guidance, and the latter is like those who deny the truth and disobey me” (Al-Bukhari).
- The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) is reported to have said, “Stick to my Sunnah and the practice of the Rightly Guided Caliphs after me. Adhere to it and stick firmly. Beware of innovation, for innovation (in matters of religion) is no more than heresy, which is a form of straying” (Abu Dawud).
- The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said, “Whoever commits an act of heresy in matters of religion will have it rejected” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
- `A’ishah said, “Once the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did something and gave concession regarding it. Then some people did not resort to the concession (and went to extremes). When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was informed of that, he delivered a sermon in which he praised Allah and said, ‘What about those people who keep aloof from things I myself do! By Allah! I am the most knowledgeable and Allah-fearing among them.’”