If you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him). Quran 4:59

In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

Quran: Chapter 5 ‘Wal Muhsanaat’, Sura: 4 ‘An-Nisa’ ‘The Women’,

Verse 59: O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad peace be upon him), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger (peace be upon him), if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.

Explanation by Ibne Kathir: [The respected Imam, Abu Al-Fida', `Imad Ad-Din Isma il bin 'Umar bin Kathir Al-Qurashi Al-Busrawi- born in Busra 701 H- died in Damascus in 774 H// b. 1301 Christian Era– d. 1373CE. http://www.dar-us-salam.com/authors/hafiz-ibn-kathir.htm ]

The Necessity of Obeying the Rulers in Obedience to Allah:

Allah says;

يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُواْ أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ … 

Obey Allah and obey the Messenger, and those of you who are in authority.

Al-Bukhari [Full name Imâm Abû `Abdullâh Muhammad ibn Ismâ`îl al-Bukhârî (b. 194 H Bukhara present day Uzbekistan- d. 256 H Kharteng / 809 CE- 869 CE) http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/imam_bukhari.htm ]

recorded that Ibn Abbas said that; the Ayah, “Was revealed about Abdullah bin Hudhafah bin Qays bin Adi, who the Messenger of Allah sent on a military expedition.”

This statement was collected by the Group, with the exception of

Ibn Majah [Abu `Abdullah Muhammad bin Yazid bin `Abdullah titled as Ibn Majah was born in 209AH/824 AD in Qizwin, and died on 22nd of Ramadan al-Mubarik 273 AH/ 18th of February, 887 AD at Qizwin and was buried there.  http://munirahmadmughal.hubpages.com/hub/Ibn-Majah-Muhaddith ].

At-Tirmidhi [Imam Abū ‛Īsa Muḥammad ibn ‛Īsa ibn Sawrah ibn Mūsa ibn al Ḍaḥḥāk al-Sulamīat-Tirmidhī (b. 209 AH in Khurasan- d. 279 AH at Bawag /824- 892 CE) http://sunnah.com/tirmidhi/about ]

said, “Hasan, Gharib”.

Imam Ahmad [Full name Imam Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Hambal (b. 164 A.H. Baghdad /780 CE. -- d. 241 A.H. Baghdad / 855 CE) http://www.renaissance.com.pk/mjuletfor96.html ]

recorded that Ali said, “The Messenger of Allah sent a troop under the command of a man from Al-Ansar. When they left, he became angry with them for some reason and said to them, `Has not the Messenger of Allah commanded you to obey me?’

They said, `Yes.’ He said, `Collect some wood,’ and then he started a fire with the wood, saying, `I command you to enter the fire.’

The people almost entered the fire, but a young man among them said, `You only ran away from the Fire to Allah’s Messenger. Therefore, do not rush until you go back to Allah’s Messenger, and if he commands you to enter it, then enter it.’

When they went back to Allah’s Messenger, they told him what had happened, and the Messenger said,

لَوْ دَخَلْتُمُوهَا مَا خَرَجْتُمْ مِنْهَا أَبَدًا، إِنَّمَا الطَّاعَةُ فِي الْمَعْرُوف

Had you entered it, you would never have departed from it. Obedience is only in righteousness.”

This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.

Abu Dawud [Imam Abu Dawud Sulaiman ibn Ash`ath ibn Ishaq ibn Bashir ibn Shaddad ibn `Umar ibn `Imran al-Azdi Sajastani, born in Sajistan, Khurasan, in 202 A.H., 817 CE, died on Friday 16th Shawwal 275 A.H., 889 CE, at the age of 72. http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/imam_abu_dawud.htm ]

recorded that Abdullah bin Umar said that the Messenger of Allah said,

السَّمْعُ وَالطَّاعَةُ عَلَى الْمَرْءِ الْمُسْلِمِ فِيمَا أَحَبَّ وَكَرِهَ، مَا لَمْ يُؤْمَرْ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ، فَإِذَا أُمِرَ بِمَعْصِيَةٍ فَلَا سَمْعَ وَلَا طَاعَة

The Muslim is required to hear and obey in that which he likes and dislikes, unless he was commanded to sin. When he is commanded with sin, then there is no hearing or obeying.

This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.

Ubadah bin As-Samit said, “We gave our pledge to Allah’s Messenger to hear and obey (our leaders), while active and otherwise, in times of ease and times of difficulty, even if we were deprived of our due shares, and to not dispute this matter (leadership) with its rightful people.

The Prophet said,

إِلَّا أَنْ تَرَوْا كُفْرًا بَوَاحًا، عِنْدَكُمْ فِيهِ مِنَ اللهِ بُرْهَان

Except when you witness clear Kufr about which you have clear proof from Allah.”

This Hadith is recorded in the Two Sahihs.

Another Hadith narrated by Anas states that the Messenger of Allah said,

اسْمَعُوا وَأَطِيعُوا، وَإِنْ أُمِّرَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَبْدٌحَبَشِيٌّ كَأَنَّ رَأْسَهُ زَبِيبَة

Hear and obey (your leaders), even if an Ethiopian slave whose head is like a raisin, is made your chief.

Al-Bukhari recorded this Hadith.

Umm Al-Husayn said that she heard the Messenger of Allah giving a speech during the Farewell Hajj, in which he said;

وَلَوِ اسْتُعْمِلَ عَلَيْكُمْ عَبْدٌيَقُودُكُمْ بِكِتَابِ اللهِ، اسْمَعُوا لَهُ وَأَطِيعُوا

Even if a slave was appointed over you, and he rules you with Allah’s Book, then listen to him and obey him.

Muslim [Full name Imam Abu'l-Husain 'Asakir-ud-Din Muslim b. Hajjaj al-Qushayri al-Naisaburi (b. 202 H - d. 261H/b. 817 CE- d. 874 CE) http://www.sunnah.org/history/Scholars/Imam_muslim.htm ]

recorded this Hadith.

In another narration with Muslim, the Prophet said,

عَبْدًا حَبَشِيًّا مَجْدُوعًا

Even if an Ethiopian slave, whose nose was mutilated…

In the Two Sahihs, it is recorded that Abu Hurayrah said that the Messenger of Allah said,

مَنْ أَطَاعَنِي فَقَدْ أَطَاعَ اللهَ، وَمَنْ عَصَانِي فَقَدْ عَصَى اللهَ، وَمَنْ أَطَاعَ أَمِيرِي فَقَدْ أَطَاعَنِي، وَمَنْ عَصَى أَمِيرِي فَقَدْ عَصَانِي

Whoever obeys me, obeys Allah, and whoever disobeys me, disobeys Allah. Whoever obeys my commander, obeys me, and whoever disobeys my commander, disobeys me.

This is why Allah said,

… أَطِيعُواْ اللّهَ …

Obey Allah,

adhere to His Book.

… وَأَطِيعُواْ الرَّسُولَ …

and obey the Messenger,

adhere to his Sunnah.

… وَأُوْلِي الأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ …

And those of you who are in authority.

in the obedience to Allah which they command you, not what constitutes disobedience of Allah, for there is no obedience to anyone in disobedience to Allah, as we mentioned in the authentic Hadith,

إِنَّمَا الطَّاعَةُ فِي الْمَعْرُوف

Obedience is only in righteousness.

The Necessity of Referring to the Quran and Sunnah for Judgment

Allah said,

… فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللّهِ وَالرَّسُولِ …

(And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allah and His Messenger.

Mujahid [Imam Mujahid Ibn Jabar al-Makhzumi al-Makkee, b. in 20H/ 640 CE or 21H/ 641 CE. d. 103H/ 721 CE or 104H/ 722 CE. http://www.islamlife.com/religion2/component/content/article/69-later-scholars/602-imam-mujahid-ibn-jabar-al-makhzumi ]

and several others among the Salaf said that the Ayah means,

“(Refer) to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger.”

This is a command from Allah that whatever areas the people dispute about, whether major or minor areas of the religion, they are required to refer to the Qur’an and Sunnah for judgment concerning these disputes. In another Ayah, Allah said,

وَمَا اخْتَلَفْتُمْ فِيهِ مِن شَىْءٍ فَحُكْمُهُ إِلَى اللَّهِ

And in whatsoever you differ, the decision thereof is with Allah. (42:10)

Therefore, whatever the Book and Sunnah decide and testify to the truth of, then it, is the plain truth. What is beyond truth, save falsehood.

This is why Allah said,

… إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ …

if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day. Meaning, refer the disputes and conflicts that arise between you, to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger for judgment.

Allah’s statement, إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللّهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الآخِرِ  (if you believe in Allah and in the Last Day),  indicates that those who do not refer to the Book and Sunnah for judgment in their disputes, are not believers in Allah or the Last Day.

Allah said,

… ذَلِكَ خَيْرٌ …

That is better, meaning, referring to the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger for judgment in various disputes is better.

… وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلاً ﴿٥٩﴾

and more suitable for final determination.

As-Suddi and several others have stated, meaning, “Has a better end and destination.”

Mujahid said, “Carries a better reward.”

http://www.quran4u.com/Tafsir%20Ibn%20Kathir/004%20Nisa.htm#مَنُ

Notes by samia2010oct: When ever a dispute arises among Muslims, they must go back to and refer to Holy Quran and to the Traditions of Muhammad peace be upon him. If any one obeys what is in the Quran but does not obey the Traditions of Last Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him, he commits Gunaah e Kabira, Big Sin. If any one obeys the Traditions of Last Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him but does not obey the Quran, he also commits Gunaah e Kabira, Big Sin. For Big Sins there is the punishment of unbearable burning of whole body by Unending Fire.

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