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Inseparable Qur’an and Sunnah A Quranic Perspective

Dr Qadir Bakhsh, MBE

Introduction
Allah (swt) is supreme in Muslim worship, while Muhammad (saw) is His Prophet and Messenger. Allah Almighty is the Creator and Muhammad (saw) is the creation. Muslims worship Allah (swt) and Muhammad (saw) is revered, respected and emulated.
Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) embodied the relationship with Allah (swt) as complete and total surrender and submission (Islam) to Allah (swt) which all Muslims are expected to follow in the footsteps of Muhammad (saw) making religion of Islam as a way of life.
Obeying Allah Almighty and emulating Muhammad (saw) are inseparable – i.e. Qur’an and Sunnah are indivisible because Sunnah is the living interpretation of the Qur’an by Prophet Muhammad (saw). Allah Almighty confirms that whatever Prophet Muhammad (saw) conveyed to people, it is revealed to him (saw) as the word of Allah (swt).
Nor does he speak out of his desire. This is nothing but a revelation that is revealed to him (al-Najam – 53:3-4).
Allah (swt) reiterates in Sura al-Nur Verse 54, highlighting the responsibility of the believer and the Messenger’s duty to deliver the message.
Say, ‘Obey Allah; obey the Messenger. If you turn away, [know that] he is responsible for the duty placed upon him, and you are responsible for the duty placed upon you. If you obey him, you will be rightly guided, but the Messenger only must deliver the message (Sura Al-Nur – 24: 54).
The Qur’an repeatedly implies a direct ‘working’ relationship between Allah Almighty and Muhammad (saw), by the use of the conjunction “and” when speaking of the two together.
To emphasise the significance of emulation and compliance, Allah (swt) has made several joint directives with Messenger, for example:
When Allah and His Messenger have decided something, no believing man or woman has a choice about [following or not following] it. Anyone who disobeys Allah and His Messenger is misguided (Sura al-Ahzab – 33:36).
O you who believe, respond to Allah and the Messenger when He calls you to what will bring you to life (Sura al-Anfal – 8:24).
The believers` reply, when they are summoned to Allah and His Messenger so that he can judge between them, is to say, “We hear and we obey.” They are the ones who are successful. (Sura al-Nur: 24: 51)
As for those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and overstep His limits, We will admit them into a Fire, remaining in it timelessly, forever. They will have a humiliating punishment (Sura an-Nisa – 4:14).
And he who obeys Allah and the Messenger – they shall be with those whom Allah has favoured – the Prophets, those steadfast in truthfulness, the martyrs, and the righteous.” How excellent will they be for companions? (Sura an-Nisa – 4:69).
It is relevant to highlight that Allah (swt) has used the conjunction “and” for all His (swt) Messengers, for example:
Allah has written: “Surely I will prevail; I and My Messengers.” Verily Allah is Most Strong, Most Mighty (Sura al-Mujadila – 58:21)
The Qur’an reveals that complying with the Prophet`s commands and rules is just as obligatory as complying with the verses in the Book of Allah:
Say, (O Muhammad): “If you love Allah, then follow me and Allah will love you and forgive your sins.” (Sura al-Imran -3:31)
On several other occasions, Allah (swt) tells the believers:
1.Those who pledge their allegiance to you (Muhammad) pledge allegiance to Allah (Sura al-Fath – 8-10).
2.Whoever obeys the Messenger has obeyed Allah.” (Sura an-Nisa – 4:80)
3.You should accept whatever the Messenger gives you and abandon whatever he tells you to abandon (Sura al-Hashr – 59:7).
4.But if anyone opposes the Messenger after the guidance has become clear to him, …We will hand him over to whatever he has turned to (Sura an-Nisa – 4:115)
5.You who believe, obey Allah, the Messenger, and those in command among you. (Sura an-Nisa – 4:59).
6.Therefore, the Prophet (saw) states in one hadith: “Avoid that which I forbid you to do and do that which I command you to do to the best of your capacity.” (Sahih Muslim, book 30, hadith No. 5818
Prophet (saw) as the role model
Besides the joint directives highlighted above, including his (saw) authority, status and reverence and obedience to him (saw) there are many verses in the Qur’an that describe many of Prophet Muhammad’s characteristics to define him (saw): the perfect role model for the mankind, ‘ possessing great character’: ‘affectionate’, ‘compassionate’, ‘wise’, ‘insightful’, ‘knowledgeable’, to be emulated regardless. For example, Allah Almighty states:
and indeed you (Muhammad) possess a great character (Sura al-Qalam – 68:4).
Surely there was a good example for you in the Messenger of Allah. (Sura al-Ahzab – 33:21).
As a role model, believers look at his (saw) Sunnah and learn how to implement its precepts and practices in their lives and above all abide by Allah’s (swt) decrees. Indeed, the Prophet instructed his (saw) community in all matters and showed them how to act befitting a Muslim`s honour.
His (saw) life is an example of applying the Qur’an to one`s daily life, for every believer.
In Sura al-Ar’af, verse 157, Allah (swt) while reminding people of the books (e.g. Jews, Christians), says, that Prophet Muhammad (saw) enjoins upon them what is right and forbids them what is wrong and makes lawful for them the good things and prohibits for them the evil and relieves them of their burden and the shackles which were upon them, before. Allah (swt) therefore pronounces that:
Only those who believe in him, honour and support him, and follow the light sent down to him will be successful (Sura al-A’raf – 7:157)
Therefore it is Obligatory for All believers:
i) To believe in him (saw) as the messenger of Allah (swt) who has been sent to perform as a role model.
ii) To honour and respect him (saw).
iii) To support and succour him (saw) in his mission, and
iv) To follow the light (Qur’an) which has been sent down with him.
So that they are successful (Sura al-A’raf – 7:157).
Hereunder, we will remind the readers of ayah 21 of Surah al-Ahzab, about the Prophet (saw) as being a role model and the three mandatory imperatives e.g.
Surely there was a good example for you in the Messenger of Allah, for all those who look forward to Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much.
(i) hope in Allah (look forward to Allah) and
(ii) day of judgement and
(iii) Remembrance of Allah,
as conditions to benefit from emulating the Prophet and also refer to the four obligations upon all the believers towards Prophet Muhammad dictated by Allah in ayah 157 of Sura al-A’raf (7). i.e.
(i).believe in him
(ii) honour and respect him,
(iii) support and socur Prophet and
(iv) follow Quran)
We will also recapitulate all these rights and obligations suggesting carrying out an accountability drill for practical purposes to ensure that the belief, faith, love, respect, obedience and support referred hitherto are fulfilled, coupled with the prerequisites and conditions laid down by Allah (swt) in surah Ahzab ayah 33, elaborated above.

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