“O you who believe! Do not give preference (to your own words and deeds) above those of Allah and His Messenger, and be conscious of Allah, verily Allah is the all-hearing, all-knowing”. (49:2)
In the above verse, Allah (SWT) is establishing a strict moral principle among the believers: He, who claims to believe in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger, has no authority to give preference to his own words and deeds over those of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (saww).
When the Holy Prophet (saww) was proceeding towards Khaybar, he (saww) wanted to appoint someone in his place to remain in Madina. ‘Umar insistingly suggested the name of another person to be appointed instead. Thereupon this verse was revealed. (Tafseer-e-Namoona)
Some Muslims used to perform certain acts of ‘Ibadah (Worship) before the prescribed time. The above verse was revealed to condemn and correct their action. (Tafseer-e-Qurtubi)
ADDRESSING THE BELIEVERS:
The important part of this verse (49:2) is that it is addressing the believers. This is because, after claiming to believe in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (saww), some believers act over wise by interpreting and practicing Islamic laws according to their defective and imperfect logic. Such people have been termed as ‘Ussaat
meaning “the sinners” in narrations.
THREE TYPES OF OVER WISE BELIEVERS:
An ignorant believer with holier than thou behaviour.
A believer who is ignorant about Quran and Hadeeth but because he considers himself religious and holier than others’ he tends to interpret and practice Islamic laws by himself.
After Hijrah (migration to Madina), one year in the month of Ramadhan, the Holy Prophet (saww) travelled with a group of his companions to Mecca. When they reached a place called ‘Kara ‘al-Ghameem’, the Holy Prophet (saww) asked for a glass of water between Dhuhr and ‘[Asr prayers to break his fast and also ordered his companions to break their fasts. This is because Allah (SWT) has not commanded fasting for the travellers. However, a group of his companions who thought that they were religious and holy, used their imperfect logic over the commands of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (saww). Since fasting is a burden and whilst travelling it is more of a burden, they thought that by continuing to fast in difficulties would earn them more rewards, so they did not obey the Holy Prophet (saww).
Result? The Holy Prophet (saww) referred to them as ‘sinners’.
One who strongly believes in his cultural customs and gives preference to them over the commands of Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (saww).
Before Islam, during the days of ignorance, a man was prohibited from marrying the divorced wife of his adopted son. In order to remove this wrong belief, Allah (SWT) commanded His prophet to marry Zainab, the wife of his adopted son Zaid. In obedience to Allah (SWT), when the Holy Prophet (saww) married Zainab, a group of Muslims strongly criticized him. They employed sarcastic remarks and said, “What Muhammad did is unlawful”. They wanted their customs to prevail upon the laws of Allah (SWT).
(Al-Hujuraat: Ayatullah Ja’ffar Sub-hani)
“And it is not permitted for the believing men and the believing women that when Allah and His messenger decide on an issue, they express their own opinion…” (33:4)
One who wants to take of the Shari’ah only what suits him and reject what threatens him.
“O you who believe! Enter into submission one and all, and do not follow in the footsteps of Shaitan, verily he is your open enemy”. (2:208)
In other words, in the above verse, we are being told to enter into the fold of Islam in totality. One who does not do so, is following in the footsteps of Shaitan.
Imam Ali (as) says, “Islam is complete submission (to the laws and commandments of Allah)”. (Nahjul-Balagha)
Some men from the tribe of Thaqif came to Madina representing their tribe to accept Islam but they brought along certain conditions. The Holy Prophet (saww) asked them to write down those conditions and they wrote: ‘The tribe of Thaqif will accept Islam if the following conditions are met: Giving and taking of interest and adultery is permitted and the Prophet (saww) will exempt them from prayers. The Holy Prophet (saww) was very upset. He (saww) cancelled those conditions with his own hand and then signed the paper. (Usud al-Ghabah)
One can neither put conditions for accepting Islam nor take from it only what suits him and reject what threatens him. One must submit to Islam in totality.
OBEYING THE INFALLIBLE IMAMS (AS):
Obedience to Imams (as) should also be unconditional.
“O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those with authority”. (4:59)
‘Those with authority’ are the twelve rightful successors of the Holy Prophet (saww).
Imam Ali ibn Musa al-Ridha (as) said on the authority of his forefathers and the Holy Prophet (saww) that: “Allah said, ‘the word, there is no god but Allah is My fort. Whoever says it enters into My fort, and whoever enters into My fort will be safe from My punishment’”. Then the Imam (as) said, “this will only happen if its conditions are met and I am one of its conditions”.
Whoever claims to believe in Allah (SWT) and His Messenger (saww) must observe the strict moral principle of not challenging their authority and must not give preference to his own words and deeds over them.
Mulla Mujaheedali Sheriff