The meaning of the word Itibaa is to obey or to follow. Therefore mankind has an obligation to follow the one that Allah The Most High appointed as a leader to the people and that is because Allah chose the best from his creation as means of example for them in all aspects. Allah informs us:
لَّقَدْ كَانَ لَكُمْ فِي رَسُولِ اللهِ أُسْوَةٌ حَسَنَةٌ لِّمَن كَانَ يَرْجُو اللهَ وَالْيَوْمَ الْآخِرَ وَذَكَرَ اللهَ كَثِيرً
“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.” (Surah Al Ahzaab, verse 21)
and Allah also informs us:
وَكَذَٰلِكَ أَوْحَيْنَا إِلَيْكَ رُوحًا مِّنْ أَمْرِنَا مَا كُنتَ تَدْرِي مَا الْكِتَابُ وَلَا الْإِيمَانُ وَلَٰكِن جَعَلْنَاهُ نُورًا نَّهْدِي بِهِ مَن نَّشَاءُ مِنْ عِبَادِنَا وَإِنَّكَ لَتَهْدِي إِلَىٰ صِرَاطٍ مُّسْتَقِيمٍ
“We even revealed to you (Muhammad) a spirit by Our command because you didn’t know what The Book or faith was, but We made that spirit a light whereby We guide those of Our servants whom We please to the Right Way, Surely you direct people to the Right Way.” (Shuraa, verse 52)
It is upon us to understand that we came on this earth as slaves, and a slave has to obey his master Allah The Most Exalted informs us:
إِن كُلُّ مَن فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضِ إِلَّا آتِي الرَّحْمَٰنِ عَبدا
“There is no one in the heavens and the earth but he shall come to the Most Compassionate Lord as His servant.” (Surah Maryam, verse 93)
So Oh Muslims, may Allah have mercy upon you, know that your Master is Allah and that you have to obey him and who he commands you to obey, Allah commands us with this unconditional obedience to His
Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم immediately after commanding us with unconditional obedience to himself, when he says:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا أَطِيعُوا اللهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنكُمْ
“Oh you who believe obey Allah and obey His Messenger (Muhammad) and those in authority from amongst you.”
So in the beginning of this verse Allah mentions the verb ‘Obey’ twice, once before Himself and the other before the Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم that is because obedience to Allah and His Messenger is unconditional and He didn’t specifically place the verb ‘Obey’ before mentioning those in authority from amongst you. This is because obedience to the ruler is a conditional obedience which has to be in compliance with Allah’s book, the Sunnah of His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم and the consensus of Ahlul Ilm.
And then Allah mentions in the second half of this verse:
فَإِن تَنَازَعْتُمْ فِي شَيْءٍ فَرُدُّوهُ إِلَى اللهِ وَالرَّسُولِ إِن كُنتُمْ تُؤْمِنُونَ بِاللهِ وَالْيَوْمِ الْآخِرِ ذَٰلِكَ خَيْرٌ وَأَحْسَنُ تَأْوِيلًا
“And then if you were to dispute among yourselves about anything refer it to Allah and the Messenger if you indeed believe in Allah and the Last Day, that is better and more commendable in the end.”
Here Allah prescribes with a prescription to a disease or illness that we all suffer from, which is the disputes between ourselves and that is we take all of every one of our differences and solve them by using these two great medications, Allah’s book and the Sunnah of His Messenger صلى الله عليه و سلم.
In concluding it is upon every human being to always remember that he merely came upon this earth as a slave and nothing more. It doesn’t matter if the individual is black or white, rich or poor, male or female, if he can just come to this reality, it would help him to be obedient to Allah and His
Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم . It would also be the means for solving his arrogances and making him humble in this life, Allah informs us:
وَعِبَادُ الرَّحْمَٰنِ الَّذِينَ يَمْشُونَ عَلَى الْأَرْضِ هَوْنًا وَإِذَا خَاطَبَهُمُ الْجَاهِلُونَ قَالُوا سَلَامًا
“The true servants of the Merciful One are those who walk on the earth gently and when the foolish ones address them, they simply say: ‘Peace to you”‘(Al Furqaan, verse 63)
May Allah give us the tawfeeq to understand that we are just slaves and may He guide to us to a good ending.
by Abuabdilmaalik Abdulhaqq Ibn Islaam.