An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

The Authority of the Prophet Extends to All Times

[Explanation in the light of Surah an-Nisa Ayah 65]

Commentators say that acting in accordance with this command of the Qur’an is not restricted to the blessed time when he graced this mortal world. After him, the verdict of the sacred Law left by him, is nothing but his own verdict. Therefore, the rule reigns supreme right through the Last Day, the rule that guidance should be sought by turning directly to the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam during his blessed life-time, and after him, one must turn to his Shariah which is, in all reality, a return to him, may Allah bless him forever and ever.

Some Problems and Their Solutions

To begin with, as already stated earlier, the rule is that a person who is not satisfied with the decision given by the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam, in every dispute and in every problem or issue, is not a Muslim. As we already know, this was the reason why Umar radhiAllahu anhu killed the person who was not satisfied with the decision given by the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam following which he carried the case to Umar for an alternate judgment. The heirs of the person killed went to the court of the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam with a suit against Umar accusing him of having killed a Muslim without a valid legal reason.

It is important to note here, and this has not been taken up earlier, that the following words, when the case was presented before the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam, came out spontaneously from his blessed lips, “I never thought Umar will ever dare killing a believing Muslim.”

This proves that the higher authority, when approached with an appeal against the decision of a lower authority, should not take sides with his subordinate authority, but should come up with a decision based on justice and fairness alone, as it has been illustrated above where the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam expressed his displeasure over the decision of Umar before the revelation of the ayah had a bearing on this incident. Once this ayah was revealed, the reality came out in the open that the person killed was not believing Muslim as confirmed by this ayah.

The second ruling which emerges from the expression فِيمَا شَجَرَ settles that it is not restricted to dealings and rights alone; it covers articles of belief, ideas and many other theoretical problems. [al-Bahr al-Muhit]

Therefore, given such a wide spectrum of intellectual and social activity, it is not unlikely that things could go to the undesirable limits of mutual differences in views and ways when confronting a certain problem. When this does happen, it is the duty of a Muslim not to continue mutual disputation, instead of which, both parties should revert back to the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam, and when he is not with them personally, they must revert back to his Shariah to search for the solution of their problems.

The third rule of self-assessment that we find from here is:

Doing something, which was provenly said or done by the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam, with a heavy heart is a sign of weakness in faith (emaan). For example, there are occasions when the Shariah has allowed the performance of Salah by making tayyammum in place of the regular wudu with water; now, if a person feels uneasy and not so satisfied with the idea of making the symbolic tayyammum in place of a regular wudu he would very much like to do, then, he should not take this attitude of his as a sign of taqwa or piety, instead, he should take it to be caused by some spiritual sickness. Who can be more muttaqi, more God-fearing than the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam? If the form and condition in which he allowed people to perform their prayers while sitting – and he himself performed it while sitting – does not find favor with a person looking for the satisfaction of his heart, and he elects to undergo unbearable hardship by insisting to stand and perform his prayer in that position, then, he better be sure that there is some sickness in his heart. However, if a person, whose pain or discomfort or need is not that acute, elects not to use the leave given to him by the Shariah and instead of that, chooses to take the path of high determination which is, then, correct in accordance with the very teaching of the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. But feeling any strain in utilizing the leaves granted by the Shariah as some sort of absolute rule is no taqwa. It is for this reason that the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam has said, “The way Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala is pleased with what is done with high determination, so is He pleased with what is done by using leaves.”    

The best method of general ibadat (act of worship), adhkar (plural of dhikr; the remembrance of Allah), aurad (plural of wird: self-allotted voluntary recitations, made privately in specified hours of the morning or night), darood (prayer to Allah that peace and blessings be on the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam) and tasbeeh (glorification of Allah) is no different than what used to be the routine of the Prophet sallAllahu allyhi wa sallam himself and which was, after him, followed consistently by his Companions, radhiAllahu anhum. All Muslims must, as a matter of personal obligation, find these out from the authentic and sound narrations of hadith so that they can make them an integral part of their daily routine of life.

Special Note

Details given above clearly show that the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam was not only a reformer and moral leader but was a just ruler as well, an authority of such class and majesty that his judgment was declared to be the very criterion of belief and disbelief, a distinguishing feature between emaan and kufr, as evident from the incident relating to Bishr, the hypocrite. To make this prophetic station more explicit, Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala has, at many places in His sacred Book made the obedience of the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam mandatory along with His own due obedience incumbent on all believers. Thus, the Qur’an says

وَأَطِيعُواْ اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ 

“And obey Allah and the Messenger”

[3:32, 3:132, 4:59, 5:92, 24:54, 47:33, 64:12]. Then, elsewhere it says

مَّنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ

“He who obeys the Messenger, has indeed obeyed Allah”  [an-Nisa : 80]

A little deliberation in these ayaat will unfold the radiant grandeur of his authority, a practical demonstration of which became manifest when Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala sent to him His Law so that he can decide cases in accordance with it. Therefore, it was said

إِنَّآ أَنزَلْنَا إِلَيْكَ الْكِتَـبَ بِالْحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِمَآ أَرَاكَ اللَّهُ

“Indeed, We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], the Book in truth so you may judge between the people by that which Allah has shown you.” [an-Nisa : 105]

[Taken from Maaruf-ul-Qur’an by Mufti Muhammad Shafi Usmani]

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