Roshd Islamic Shia Website : Ocassion Letters 2007/04/05
Obeying the Messenger of Allah, B. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP)  : Obeying the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) 

In the Name of Allah, the Beneficent, the Merciful


Obeying the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP)

One of the issues to which the Holy Quran has paid special attention is the responsibility of the Islamic nation towards Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP), which is obeying him. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is referred to as Nabi (one who is aware of the unseen) since he receives revelation from Allah (SWT), and Rasoul (Messenger) since he is responsible for conveying the message from Allah (SWT) to the people. But Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has no authority to order or forbid in these two positions as he is only a receiver and conveyer. However, the Holy Quran emphasizes the issue of obeying the Messenger of Allah (PBUH&HP) in numerous occasions. It is important to differentiate between two types of obeying so that those verses would become clearer. The verses about obeying the Prophet could be categorized into two types:


A)              Some verses order people to obey the Prophet (PBUH&HP) while there are indications that they refer to obeying the orders of Allah (SWT) preached by the Prophet, such as doing the obligatory deeds and refraining from the forbidden. It is obvious that in this sense, obeying the Prophet is a path to obeying Allah (SWT), and here the matter is not obeying or disobeying the Prophet himself. That is why the Holy Quran says, ?The duty of the Messenger is only to convey (the message), and Allah knows what you do openly and what you hide (1)?. Although observing these commandments seem to be obeying the Prophet, they are indeed obeying the orders of Allah (SWT), not the Prophet himself. The Holy Quran explains this type of obeying in another verse where it says, ?Whoever obeys the Messenger, he indeed has obeyed Allah... (2)?.?


B)               The other type of obeying the Prophet is explained by the verses in which the Prophet is referred to as ?Ulul-Amr? (those vested with authority), commander, judge, and arbitrator, which gives him power in regulating the affairs of the society, and offers him the authority to order and forbid. In such cases, obeying the Prophet himself is of importance. Some of the verses mentioning this type of obeying are:



1)     The Holy Quran, (4:59): ?O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those vested with authority from among you...?. Undoubtedly, the Prophet is amongst those vested with authority (3); yet, his name is mentioned separately out of respect and honor.


2)     The Holy Quran, (4:65): ?But no! By your Lord! they do not believe (in reality) until they make you a judge of that which has become a matter of disagreement among them, and then do not find any dislike in their hearts as to what you have decided and submit with entire submission?. In this case, the Prophet acts as a judge and arbitrator, and has the authority to order or forbid for the sake of keeping up the society; if he is not obeyed, judgment would be useless and anarchy would prevail the society.??


3)     The Holy Quran (24:62): ?Only those are believers who believe in Allah and His Messenger, and when they are with him on a momentous affair they go not away until they have asked his permission; surely they who ask your permission are they who believe in Allah and His Messenger; so when they ask your permission for some affair of theirs, give permission to whom you please of them and ask forgiveness for them from Allah; surely Allah is Forgiving, Merciful?. Asking for permission (from the Prophet) when leaving the battlefield or a meeting held to discuss a critical issue declares the crucial position and status of the Prophet that all the movements should be under his supervision.?


4)     The Holy Quran (33:6): ?The Prophet has a greater claim on the faithful than they have on themselves...? Having no equivalent in any other religion, this priority is given by Allah (SWT), Who is the owner of all souls, to the Prophet, so that he would apply it in the nation?s interest and people would obey his commands and give preference to his wills over their own wills. The concepts of this verse are explained more clearly in verse 36 of the same Chapter where it says, ?And it behoves not a believing man and a believing woman that they should have any choice in their matter when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter; and whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he surely strays off a manifest straying?. Offering such a power and authority to the Prophet is no indication of dictatorship or despotism; because if Prophet were an ordinary person, offering him such authority would result in nothing but dictatorship; Yet, he is not an ordinary person; he is a person freed from any selfishness that wills nothing but the pleasure of Allah (SWT). He is validated in his behavior and saying by ?The Holy Spirit?; he is pure from any mistakes; as such, his commands are representations of the commands of Allah (SWT) conveyed from his tongue.


According to the verses which mention obeying the Prophet, the realm of obeying him is extended to political, judiciary, and military issues. Besides preaching the religious regulations, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) is the political leader, the judge, and the commander of the military as well, and should be obeyed in all these affairs. Thus, it is on every Muslim to refer to the Prophet in all the political, judiciary, military, ... matters and do not disobey his commands.


(Selection taken from ?The Everlasting Charter?, by Ayatullah Jafar Subhani (with some changes and summarizations))


The Roshd Website congratulates all Muslims, especially you dear friend, upon 17th of

Rabee al-Awwal, the auspicious birthday anniversary of the seal of the Prophets and the master of the messengers, Prophet Muhammad ibn Abdullah (PBUH&HP), and his honorable grandson, Imam Jafar Al-Sadiq (PBUH).



1- The Holy Quran, (5:99)

2- The Holy Quran, (4:80)

3- Ulul-Amr (those vested with authority) are the true leaders of the nation who have been offered this authority by Allah (SWT). Due to having this authority, the have the right to order and forbid, and obeying or disobeying them is meaningful in this sense.