Rafed English

The need for obeying God and the Prophet is against the demand of the Qur’anic verses

Adopted from the book : "Freedom; The Unstated Facts and Points" by : "Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi"

If religion wanted to interfere in the political and social affairs of people, and obliged them to have a particular behavior or to obey someone, this is contradictory with the freedom of man. Man is a creature having freedom and freewill, who is supposed to do whatever he likes. No one is supposed to oblige and compel him to perform a certain act. And that religion has to set the duty for him and urge him to obey someone, and an absolute obedience it is. This is discordant with freedom.

The Holy Qur’an also negates dominating and controlling others, and does not regard even the Messenger of God (s?) as having dominion (over others). We will cite below some verses that indicate this point:

“Remind them, for thou art but a remembrancer.

Thou art not at all a warder over them.” 35

“We have not set thee as a keeper over them,nor art thou responsible for them.” 36

“The duty of the messenger is only to convey (the message).” 37

“Lo! We have shown him the way,whether he be grateful or disbelieving.” 38

“Say: (It is) the truth from the Lord of you (all). Then whosoever will, let him believe, and whosoever will, let him disbelieve.” 39


In the face of verses that the skeptic cited to negate the dominance and authority of the Messenger of God and the lack of necessity of obeying him are verses that are contradictory with the first group of verses on account of the skeptic’s wrong understanding of it. Let us cite some of these verses:

“And it becometh not a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His messenger have decided and affair (for them), that they should (after that) claim any say in their affair.” 40

The above verse categorically points out the need to obey and submit to God and His Messenger, giving a reminder that the believers have no right to refuse obeying and following the Messenger of God.

“Your friend can be only Allah; and His messenger and those who believe, who establish worship and pay the poor due, and bow down (in prayer).” 41

“The Prophet is closer to the believers than their selves.” 42

Which of the verses cited we should take as preeminent in the sense of having guardianship [wila-yah]? And which is to be taken to mean more deserving? In both cases the verses substantiate the fact that the Prophet’s right of decision-making for the people prevails over their right of decision-making for themselves.

All exegetes of the Qur’an [mufassiri-n] acknowledge this point, and on this basis, the people should prefer the decision of the Prophet over their own decision, having no right to oppose his decision and view. Of course, the verse only expresses the principle of guardianship of the Messenger of God (s?). It does not express the limit of the guardianship—whether the limit of guardianship and the preeminence of the Prophet’s decision over that of others are social affairs, or apart from being social they are personal affairs as well.

Undoubtedly, it is not expected from the skeptics who have cited the first group of Qur’anic verses to negate the guardianship of the Messenger of God and his successors (‘a) to give answer to the apparent contradiction between the two groups of Qur’anic verses. So many of them are either unaware of the existence of the second group of verses or do not accept the substance of these verses.

Yet, since we do not believe in the existence of contradiction and inconsistency among the verses of the Qur’an, we should try to remove the apparent contradiction of the verses. For this important endeavor we shall scrutinize the context of both groups of verses by taking into consideration the preceding and succeeding verses as well as the purport of the verses and their addressees so that we could comprehend the real contents of the verses as a whole.

Notes :

35. Su-rah al-Gha-shiyah 88:21-22.

36. Su-rah al-An‘a-m 6:107.

37. Su-rah al-Ma-’idah 5:99.

38. Su-rah al-Insa-n (or, ad-Dahr) 76:3.

39. Su-rah al-Kahf 18:29.

40. Su-rah al-Ahza-b 33:36.

41. Su-rah al-Ma-’idah 5:55.

42. Su-rah al-Ahza-b 33:6.

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