Interpretation of Sura an-Nur - Verse 54
Adopted from the book: "The Light of the Holy Qur'an - Interpretation of Sura an-Nur" by: "Sayyid Kamal Faghih Imani & a Group of Muslim Scholars"
54. "Say: 'Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. But if you turn away, then on him is only what is imposed (on him), and on you is what is imposed on you; and if you obey him, you shall be on right guidance; and nothing is on the Messenger but the clear conveyance (of the Message)."
The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is commissioned to call hypocrites for obedience; "Say: Obey Allah...", because obeying the commands and orders of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) is obligatory like obeying Allah's orders and commandment. Therefore, in this noble verse, this concept is emphasized where it says:
"Say: 'Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. ..."
Then the Holy Qur'an implies that there are two positions against this command, when it continues saying:
"... But if you turn away, then on him is only what is imposed (on him), and on you is what is imposed on you; and if you obey him, you shall be on right guidance; and nothing is on the Messenger but the clear conveyance (of the Message)."
He was commissioned to convey Allah's commandment to all people, whether they accept it or not. Detriment and benefit of accepting or rejecting it would influence them. The Prophet (p.b.u.h.) was not obligated to force and compel people to go on the right path and accept the call.
It is interesting that in the above verse, the duties are referred to as being 'heavy loads'; it is in fact so. Both the commission of the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) and frankly obeying his call were a burden on the shoulder that had to be carried out and except sincere people no one could carry out this duty.
Therefore, we read in a narration by Imam Baqir (a.s.), about the Prophet (p.b.u.h), who said: "Oh those who recite the Holy Qur'an! Be in awe of Allah, Almighty. Be pious toward His Book that is a burden on your shoulder, because both you and I are responsible. I am responsible for conveying His message to you and you are responsible before Allah's Book and my practice (Sunnah) that are on your shoulder." Some Points:
1. The repetition of the Qur'anic phrase /'ati'u/ (Obey) indicates that the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) has got two missions: one is declaration of revelation (Obey Allah) and the other one is declaring governmental rules (obey the Messenger).
2. In the holy Qur'an, we encounter some instances that contain two commandments from the side of Allah mentioned with together, and both of them must be carried out and doing one of them is not enough and is not acceptable, including:
A) Faith and deeds; "... those who believe and do righteous deeds ..." 97
B) Ritual prayer and alms-tax; "... And keep up the prayer, and pay the poor-rates (Zakat).. ." 98
C) Expressing gratitude to Allah and parents; "...Be grateful to Me and to both your parents ... " 99
D) Obeying Allah and His Messenger;"... Obey Allah and obey the Messenger ... " 100
3. In the holy Qur'an, the sentence/wa 'in tawallau/ (But if you turn away) is used many times. In all cases it is used for sympathizing with the Prophet (p.b.u.h.) so that he would not get discouraged about his mission concerning people's inattention and heedlessness.
97. Sura Al-Baqarah, No. 2, verse 25
98. Ibid, verse 43
99. Sura LuqmAn, No. 31, verse 14
100. The verse under discussion
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