An-Nisa · Juz 5 · Qur'an Tafseer

Tafseer Surah an-Nisa Ayah 80

Obeying the Messenger is Obeying Allah
Ayah 79 ended with the affirmation of Prophethood. Now comes the statement which establishes the right of Prophethood – it calls for compulsory obedience. In case hostile people refuse to obey, there are words of comfort for the Prophet of Islam who has been absolved of any responsibility for their lack of obedience.

The opening statement in the ayah presents a very important principle bearing on the authority of Rasoolullah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. Here, the obedience to the Prophet has been equated with obedience to Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala.

مَّنْ يُطِعِ الرَّسُولَ فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللَّهَ 

“He who obeys the Messenger then surely he has obeyed Allah…”

From this it follows that whoever disobeys the Prophet, invariably disobeys the command of Allah. Since, obedience to Allah is obligatory, even rationally – so, obedience to the Prophet also turns out to be equally obligatory. Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said, “Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah; and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah. Whoever obeys the Ameer (leader, ruler), obeys me; and whoever disobeys the Ameer, disobeys me.” This hadeeth was recorded in the two saheehs.

As for the person who, in spite of the truth being all too manifest, elects to turn his back and reject the message given by the Prophet, then, the Prophet has been asked not to worry about the callous behavior of such people because Allah has not sent His Prophet to stand guard over their behavior for which he is not responsible.

وَمَن تَوَلَّى فَمَآ أَرْسَلْنَـكَ عَلَيْهِمْ حَفِيظاً

“…and whoever turns away then We have not sent you over them as a guardian.”

It means that the Prophet is not duty-bound to see that they do not indulge in disbelief. He is simply not charged with the mission to stopping them from disbelieving. His mission is to deliver the Message. Once this is done, his duty as a Prophet stands fulfilled. After that, if they still go about disbelieving, it is their business for which he is in no way accountable.

His job is only to convey, and whoever obeys the Prophet, he will acquire happiness and success. As for the one who turns away from the Prophet, he will gain failure and loss and the Prophet will not carry a burden because of what he does.

A Hadith states, “Whoever obeys Allah and His Messenger, will acquire guidance; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, will only harm himself.”

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