Adapted for Hiba Magazine by Tasneem Vali
“Say (O Muhammad to mankind): “If you (really) love Allâh Then follow me (i.e. Accept Islâmic Monotheism, follow the Qur’ân and the Sunnah), Allâh will love you and forgive you of your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” (Al-Imran 31)
Ibn Kathīr explains this verse: “This verse gives a verdict in the case of anyone who claims to love God but does not follow the way of life laid down by Prophet Muhammad (sa). His very claim is an absolute lie unless he follows the Sunnah in all his actions and statements. This is endorsed by the authentic tradition of the Prophet (sa) which states: ‘Anyone who does something which is not in conformity with this matter of ours will have it rejected.’ ”
The dilemma here is that no one has an issue with loving Allah; the real test is to follow the Prophet (sa). The ayah makes a clear statement; Allah has connected following the Prophet (sa) as a condition to gain His love– so it is essential (in a way obligatory) to follow Prophet Muhammad (sa). The point is not to let your ego prevent you from gaining Allah’s love.
أَشْهَدُ أن لا إلٰهَ إلَّا الله وَأشْهَدُ أنَّ مُحَمَّدً أعَبْدُه وَرَسُوْلُه
I testify that there is no god but Allah and I testify that Prophet Muhammad is His messenger
The testimony of a Muslim’s faith has two aspects, one is that we bear witness to the Unity of Allah; the other part is that we also acknowledge that Muhammad (sa) is His messenger. Thus, following the Prophet (sa) is a very important matter because Allah has connected His love to it; it is a matter of completing one’s faith.
How do we follow Prophet (sa)?
- Following the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa)
- Following the Prophet’s (sa) commands without any questions, any debate, any excuse– but do not follow anyone else blindly
- React/behave the way he used to behave in certain situations; in all matters of worship and life
The Prophet (sa) was only a man, so why can we not question his authority/way? Very simple, because he never did anything in his life unless it was revelation from Allah, our goal is to worship Allah. This is achieved by following the Sunnah of the Prophet (sa).
What are some situations we follow the Prophet (sa) in?
Worship is divided into two categories: obligatory and recommended.
Allah mentions obligatory forms of worship in the Quran – Salah, Hajj, Zakat etc. but the correct way to perform them is shown by the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah. Regarding these acts we must follow his way.
For the recommended acts, for e.g., the fast on 9 Dhul Hijjah, how Prophet (sa) slept, how he prayed Tahajjud prayer, how he ate, what dua he recited when he left his house, etc. It is suggested that we follow what Prophet (sa) did. The more you try to follow the Prophet (sa) – the more your rank with Allah is raised, and Allah’s love for you increases.
Allah mentions in the Quran: “There has certainly been for you in the Messenger of Allah an excellent pattern for anyone whose hope is in Allah and the Last Day and [who] remembers Allah often.” (Al-Ahzab 21).
Following the Prophet’s (sa) Sunnah is the fail-safe. Since we are just a follower, we will not invent something new, alien to the deen of Islam. If there is something Prophet Muhammad (sa) did not do – we should not do it. Allah has reminded us that in following the Prophet’s (sa) example we are safe and no one can possibly do more for Islam than what he has done, so don’t do anything unless you are sure he did it or endorsed it. Small deeds that follow the Prophet‘s (sa) Sunnah are more beloved to Allah than doing multiple acts of worship that are recommended by some scholar (away from the Sunnah).
When you follow the Sunnah, Allah will make your life easy for you, love you and forgive your sins. However, when you follow Bidat (innovations in deen) your life will become complicated and you will not be among those who Allah loves. All your hours of devotion and acts of worship will be wasted as they will not be acceptable to Allah.
“Every innovation is a misguidance and every misguidance goes to hellfire.” (Muslim)
“Say (O Muhammad ): “Obey Allah and the Messenger (Muhammad).” but if they turn away, Then Allah does not like the disbelievers.” (Al Imran 3:32)
Allah says in this verse; those who don’t obey both [Allah and the Prophet (sa)] they are like the disbelievers and Allah does not love the disbelievers. Satan encourages people to innovate in religion and because it’s a matter of religion – extra prayer, extra dhikr –people are caught off guard that how can extra prayer be unacceptable to Allah?
Rewards for being among Al-Mutabaeun
- Allah’s love
- Guidance in this world and the Hereafter- to have a knowledge and act upon it (Hidayah)
- Special mercy from Allah – makes your life smooth and easy; no difficulties
- You will be among the successful (Al-Muflihoon): people who struggle in life and get the success in the Hereafter
- You will accompany those people on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, the Prophets, Messengers, the Martyrs, the Truthful ones, the righteous people etc.
- Entry into Paradise
Sins cause us to feel guilty but Bidat (innovations) do not leave a guilty feeling, so they are difficult to give up or recognize. May Allah protect us from all Bidat. Ameen.