Have you not observed ... and they submit with full submission.
There are some people who not only claim to believe in the Quran, but also in all that was revealed before it. But when it comes to practical life, they prefer the opinion of Satan, whereas the Quran and all the preceding revelations warn mankind against following Satan, Otherwise there is a strong possibility of going astray, and that is exactly what the Satan desires. He wants his followers to be misguided as much as possible. Let us go through the details of the event when these Ayat were revealed.
A Jew who had converted to Islam but was a hypocrite got involved in a dispute with another Jew. The latter advised him that they should go to the Holy Prophet--SW
for arbitration since the former was a Muslim. Since the Jew knew that he was right and also knew that the Holy Prophet--SW
, after hearing his case, will certainly do justice to him, he wanted to put up the case to the Holy Prophet--SW
. The newly converted hypocrite, on the other hand, wanted to go to the Jewish chieftain K’ab bin Ashraf, because in his heart he, too, believed that the Holy Prophet--SW
would pass a just verdict as the Jew was right. The hypocrite insisted upon seeing K'ab bin Ashraf since he had some hope of winning the case by foul play. At last both of them visited the Holy Prophet--SW
and presented their cases. After listening to their arguments the Holy Prophet--SW
decided the matter in favour of the Jew. Now the hypocrite thought of appeal. He knew that Hadhrat Umar'-RAU was strictly against infidelity and if he made him the mediator he might deprive the Jew of his right because of his religion. The hypocrite somehow talked the Jew into seeking Hadhrat Umar-RAU‘s judgement.
They went to Hadhrat Umar-RAU house and knocked at his door. He came out and heard their story. The Jew told him that they had already taken the verdict of the Holy Prophet--SW
, but despite being a Muslim, his opponent was not satisfied. Hadhrat 'Umar-RAU asked the hypocrite whose name was Basher, whether this was true; he replied in the affirmative. Upon this Hadhrat Umar-RAU asked him to wait outside and went indoors. When he returned, he had a sword in his hand. With one blow he chopped off Basher's head, and said that for him who did not accept the verdict of the Holy Prophet--SW
, Umar'-RAU could give no better verdict than this. There was a great uproar; the hypocrites filed a murder case against Hadhrat Umar'-RAU complaining that he had murdered a Muslim without any reason. Allah-SWT revealed these Ayat and made it clear that Islam does not accept mere hollow claims. In fact, it is a sincere obedience to the Holy Prophet--SW
that is acceptable. Those who make excuses in order to evade his judgements, this act of theirs is enough to prove their hypocrisy.
If we take a look at our society, what percentage of people can be called as true Muslims? Society is still a very broad term; if we scrutinize our own selves, we can see our worth after a single day's evaluation, that from morning till bedtime how much have we done in accordance with the teachings of the Holy Prophet--SW
, and how many of our deeds were done under the guidance of Satan. If we analyze ourselves we will certainly find the real cause of our troubles. A very important aspect requiring deliberation is that we often try to find reasons to justify our malpractices, and say that the teachings of the Holy Prophet'--SW
are undoubtedly true, but we have certain limitations and considerations which force us to adopt other ways. This is exactly what was said by the successors of Basher. They too pleaded that the verdict of the Holy Prophet--SW
was undoubtedly right but they thought that they might find a solution leading to reconciliation and mutual understanding. They swore over it and said that they were just trying to nurture brotherhood and goodwill and wanted to avoid any ill feelings, otherwise they were true to the Holy Prophet--SW
. But Allah-SWT rejected their excuses and said that He-SWT knew what was in their hearts and what their true feelings were.
Secondly, this is no obedience to claim that the Holy Prophet--SW
‘s commands are extremely important, but there are certain other considerations which make practice difficult. O’ Holy Prophet--SW
! Please do not feel bad about it if we fail to obey you--SW
, but we are your--SW
servants, Allah-SWT pronounces it as nothing but a lie. This refers to the time when the hypocrites too outwardly looked like Muslims and observed all the tenets of Islam so as to deceive them. But whenever in their practical lives they saw any material benefit, they would just go for it ignoring everything else; and wherever they feared a loss, they would start looking for excuses to avert it. Nowadays the situation is such that Muslims look and dress up like the Christians. When our intellectuals and poets appear on the television to present the preview of an Urdu book in an Urdu programme, half of their conversation is in English. In an effort to emulate the Christians from head to toe they dress up in suits, with matching socks, shoes and neckties. Their expressionless faces and bewildered eyes depict that they are not happy in their hearts over what they are doing, but are doing it out of certain considerations which cannot be ignored. Allah-SWT rejects such hypocrisy and declares it to be a lie. Such people actually follow the dictates of their desires. The claim to be a Muslim is not subject to any other considerations. But see how Merciful Allah-SWT is when He-SWT addresses the Holy Prophet'--SW
and says that it is best to overlook the behaviour of these hypocrites and to guide them to the right path in kind words. Allah-SWT disclosed the hypocrites to His-SWT Prophet--SW
and told him--SW
about their conduct, but neither Allah-SWT nor his Prophet--SW
revealed their identity in public, rather, it was said collectively to overlook their behaviour. Allah-SWT's Mercy is not denied to them, and the Holy Prophet--SW
has been asked to teach them what is best for them. Let the blessings pour down like the rain; now if the cup of someone's heart is lying upside down, he himself will be at loss and will be accountable for his deeds. And Allah-SWT sends His-SWT Prophets--AS only for the reason that they should be obeyed in accordance with His-SWT Commands.
The status of our Holy Prophet--SW
is such that with him, the Prophethood was finalized. Prior to him, whenever the Commandments conveyed by any Prophet--AS were ignored out of worldly considerations, the subsequent Prophet--AS was sent with a solution to the problem. But now there is no such probability, and no excuse is acceptable. In fact the more a person is alienated to the teachings of the Holy Prophet--SW
the more he gets closer to disbelief, and becomes Satanic in character. Yet one important thing to be remembered is that no matter how deep one has plunged into error, no matter how great the harm he has done to others, Allah-SWT says that once he comes to the Holy Prophet--SW
and seeks His-SWT forgiveness, he--SW
should also pray for him. Once the Holy Prophet--SW
has interceded, watch how Merciful and Relenting I-SWT Am and how endless is My-SWT Grace! Muslim scholars unanimously agree that when the Holy Prophet--SW
was in this world, salvation was granted to all those who presented themselves before him--SW
and received his--SW
blessings and prayers. Similarly, after his passing away a visit to his--SW
sacred tomb falls in the same category. Whoever reaches his--SW
masjid, asks for Allah-SWT's Forgiveness and requests the Holy Prophet--SW
to pray for his or her eternal success will certainly succeed. Now what about those who cannot visit him. as majority of the people do not get a chance to visit the holy land. Will they be deprived of the blessings? The fact is that wherever people might be, when they truly submit to the Holy Prophet--SW
and mend their ways, they shall never be deprived, provided they subject their inner and outer selves to him and accept model in their practical lives. But it is difficult to understand those who visit the Holy Masjid displaying the appearance of Englishmen. They resemble Christians in appearance, they follow Hindus in culture and their economic system is Jewish; yet they call themselves Muslims. The same considerations and reservation hinder them from practicing Islam. If their appearance is Islamic they feel that people will call them ignorant or uncivilized. If they renounce the rituals and traditions, the family or the tribe they belong to will be annoyed. If they follow the Islamic economic system, they will lose the surplus income gained from usury or other unlawful means. Yet they express the desire of Islam's enforcement in the country and do acknowledge its truthfulness. May Allah-SWT forgive us all, as the next Ayah announces a very strict verdict without any relaxation. Here it is important to understand that the dress which becomes symbolically associated with a nation of infidels or non-believers does not remain permissible for a Muslim anymore.
Hadhrat Imam ibn-e-Taimiyah'-RAU has highlighted a number of reasons for this, and has elaborated on many allied vices, reiterating that when we adopt the dress of a certain nation, we tend to develop a mild opinion towards many of their evil practices. According to Hadith, whoever adopts the appearance of any nation shall be resurrected on the Day of Judgement with that nation. The following Ayah swears by Allah-SWT , the Creator of all. Who has given such honour, such greatness and such high status to Prophet Muhammad'--SW
that unless and until people accept him as their judge and whole heatedly accept his verdict in any dispute, they can never be true believers. The status of the Holy Prophet--SW
is that of a ruler. Although in our civic lives, we do not always approve of a certain Government in our hearts, yet we do not break any law. But here a form of Government, a rule is being proclaimed, acceptance of which from the core of the heart is the prerequisite of faith. The ordinances issued by this ruler are not only to be practiced but also to be accepted from the depths of the heart. This is a rule of thumb for all times to come, be it related to matters of beliefs, tenets, viewpoints, actions or character. Even where the Holy Prophet--SW
has given relaxation, such as to do Tayemmum when ablution is not possible; to offer Salat seated or even by gestures when standing up is not possible; these relaxations must be availed. If someone insists upon doing otherwise, it is also an indication of weakness of faith. Therefore, whether under obligation or concession, obedience is the best policy. Besides, for the entire Muslim nation, the final authority rests with the Holy Prophet-SW. Rest all, whether the Companions-RAU religious leaders, saints or scholars can only convey the message of the Holy Prophet-SW but cannot add or subtract anything by their own choice. It would be useful to mention the Hadith wherein the Holy Prophet--SW
has ordered to follow his--SW
Sunnah and that of his--SW
Caliphs-RAU. This does not by any means indicate that the Companions-RAU could ever have given any instruction other than those given by the Holy Prophet--SW
; rather, it depicts their excellence in Fana Fir Rasul--SW
, which certifies that they will only say what they had learnt form him, and it will not be their personal views or opinions. If today we rise above our personal opinions and choices, and pledge ourselves to the model of the Holy Prophet--SW
, it is not at all difficult to uproot the evil of sectarianism. The authority of the Holy Prophet--SW
should be accepted in such a manner whereby justice can be done to this claim.
And had We prescribed to them ... Allah-SWT suffices as Knower
The Holy Prophet'--SW
has always guided us to lead our lives on easy and convenient lines. In other words Islam is the easiest way of life. It is a rule that the correct method of performing a job is also the easiest, whereas an erring approach is comparatively difficult and the job is also not done properly. Everyone has to live the life he has been given; if the principles given by the Holy Prophet--SW
are not adopted, some other path will have to be chosen, which will not only be difficult to follow, but will also be a cause of trouble both in this world and in the Hereafter. How unlucky are those who are deprived of the Holy Prophet--SW
‘s obedience! His--SW
status is much above everything and is too exalted to be disobeyed. Allah-SWT says had He-SWT decreed that people lay down their lives or forsake their native lands and abodes in order to prove their allegiance to the Holy Prophet--SW
, very few would have found the courage to do so. Although it would have been an arduous decree and very much against human temperament, but it would then have been a condition for salvation, and abiding by it would have been better and fruitful, leading to steadfastness upon and adherence to the faith. Only the strivers of such hardships would have qualified for Allah-SWT's reward and guidance.
In other words, here the human intellect has no influence; it is the driving force of intense love, which does not let the person loiter into the alleys of profit and loss but guides him straight to that clear gleaming field of obedience, where the splendor of the Beloved's Countenance is manifested like the beaming sun. It is indeed His-SWT Mercy that He-SWT blessed the believers with clear beliefs and granted their foreheads the honour to bow down only before Him-SWT . With it He-SWT did not order them to renounce any pleasure, such as food, sex, Children, home, wealth or any other blessings of nature. In fact He-SWT made life easier for His-SWT creation by defining the proper and the best ways of achieving all these bounties. He-SWT declared these ways as Din and also made them the source for achieving Allah-SWT's nearness and reward. The worships are a bonus for believers, through which they can remain in close contact with Him-SWT . Their hearts can rejoice and remain alive, and their foreheads can remain bright. The obedience of the Holy Prophet--SW
is not only the obedience of Allah-SWT , but also earns such great rewards from Him-SWT which one cannot even imagine. Unless Allah-SWT Himself informs, the human intellect fails to comprehend these rewards.
To understand this one has to go into a little detail. Of all the creations only man has been blessed with intellect and wisdom, through which he proportionate to his capacity, can recognize his Creator. Man can-achieve cognition of Allah-SWT and this is why Allah-SWT guides him towards His-SWT Blessings, Magnanimity and Splendour. Although mankind is invited to obey and worship Him-SW. Yet it has not been forced to do so because if a person attains even a speck of this cognition, he will not be satisfied with anything less than His-SWT obedience. Deprived of this gift, he is deprived of humanity itself. The epitome of cognition is Prophethood. The level of cognition and the degree of perception about His-SWT Greatness that is attained with the office of Prophethood cannot be achieved without it. Prophethood can only be conferred upon human beings; no other creation has been honoured with this exalted title. This is because the capacity to bear its burden was only granted to the humans. The second aspect of Prophethood is that it is a gift from Allah-SWT and no one can claim to acquire it on the basis of personal efforts or struggle. But those who meticulously obey Allah-SWT and His-SWT Messengers--AS can be granted an association with them. They can then enter the same stations as a servant who accompanies the King. The Prophets--AS assume those stations as emperors, whereas the liking of the follower is that of the servant who is allowed to attend the Court in the palace. The follower can, However, never own those stations, just as a servant can never own the palace he lives in. He gets there only due to his obedience and service.
This is indeed a delicate issue and can also be viewed from another angle. There is a limit to the levels of spiritual elevation that are blessed to Aulia .This limiting level is known as Wilayah-e-Aulia, above which Wilayah-e-Anbia--AS starts. The latter refers to that special friendship of Allah-SWT , which is bestowed upon Prophets--AS before their appointment. The saints can also gain access to these stations, although not every saint can acquire it.
Onwards from Wilayah-e-Anbia--AS are those exalted levels, which are only characteristic of Prophethood. Upon which the Prophets--AS are elevated after their appointment. A disciple can be granted access here but only as a servant, an attendant, along with the master or the emperor.
Those who were fortunate to be granted access there were blessed with a degree of cognition second only to Prophethood: this level is called Siddiqiyat. This is an appointment as well as a status, a station as well as a state or feeling. This status becomes a pan of the personality of the person attaining it such as Hadhrat Abu Bakr Siddiq-RAU . Those who gain access to it receive ample share from the spiritual feelings characteristic of this place. It is to be noted that such fortunate people are extremely rare with the gaps of centuries between them. Another important concept must be clearly understood that if a Prophet--AS is called a Siddiq, his greatness will be commensurate to the exalted status of Prophethood. Whereas when a Companion-RAU is conferred upon the title of Siddiq, his status would be of exaltation amongst Companions-RAU. And when a Wali attains the level of Siddiq it is according to his own class. These are in fact the inner traits of a human being. Being a Siddiq, a true faithful friend, a Shahid and Salih (pious person) are all inner qualities of a person. These qualities can be found simultaneously in one person just as a scholar can also be a good swordsman and a good driver at the same time. Although these are diverse fields, yet one person can master them all.
The station of Shahid is next to Siddiq. The term Shahs is used for those who lay down their lives in Allah-SWT's Cause. It also can be used for those who attain offices of spiritual elevation and who have experienced the Pleasure of Allah-SWT's Nearness and Splendour. These experiences do not let them divert from Allah-SWT's obedience, and they prefer to die rather than disobey Allah-SWT and His-SWT Prophet--SW
In fact they just cannot disobey both. Such people can be termed as Shahid too. The fourth category of nobility is termed as Salehin. They are the people who are righteous in their thought, their intentions, actions and feelings, a state that they have achieved by obedience to the Holy Prophet--SW
. Hadhrat 'Ayeshah Siddiqah-RAU has reported the incident on which this particular Ayah was revealed.
A Companion-RAU told the Holy Prophet--SW
: "It is easy to visit you--SW
while in the world: whenever we feel an urge to enlighten our eyes and satisfy our hearts, we easily do so by beholding the splendour of your--SW
countenance. Now in the eternal life, you--SW
will be at Muqam-e-Mahmud. (the highest station) whereas we, even if we make it to Paradise, would be far below your level. So if we cannot behold you--SW
and attend your--SW
company in Paradise, it cannot give us any pleasure." The Holy Prophet--SW
took to silence when these Ayat were revealed which allude to the fact that the obedience complimented with passionate love and total submission will qualify the obedient for admission into Paradise. Although each will be awarded with their personal abodes yet they will not be barred from visiting the Holy Prophet--SW
. Commentators have listed various aspects of this permission. However, it must be remembered that this worldly life is the foundation on which the entire structure of the Hereafter is erected. Therefore, the fortunate ones who shall be blessed with the honour of his--SW
audience in the Hereafter would also, in this temporal life experience the spiritual states and joys of nearness to him--SW
. And as it is, these states and intrinsic feelings can only be experienced; they can neither be written nor explained. May Allah-SWT bless us with such a level of submission to His-SWT Prophet--SW
that would enlighten our hearts!