The Development of the Moral Structure of a Child – Part Four – The Responsibility of Commanding with Good and Forbidding from Evil – Part Twenty

The Development of the Moral Structure of a Child – Part Four

Obedience to the Creation is Subject to the Obedience of Allah Ta‘ala

Allah Ta‘ala has sent down two sources of guidance – the Qur’aan Majeed and the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam). These two sources of guidance are two lights that will illuminate the lives of the believers.

As a Muslim child is growing up in the world, it is imperative for his parents to introduce him to these two lights of Islam. They should conduct their lives as Muslims, teach him Islam and instil the correct Islamic character and values within him. Since a person will have to fulfil the rights of Allah Ta‘ala and the creation throughout his life, it is vital for the parents to educate the child in regard to how to fulfil these rights according to the teachings of the shari’ah.

The result of this will be that he will be able to see the path of guidance, and whenever he is faced with any situation where he has to choose between right and wrong, he will be able to easily differentiate the right from the wrong and choose the path of guidance.

The Lesson of Tauheed in Worship and Obedience

From among the first lessons that should be instilled within the heart of the youngster is the lesson of Tauheed in the worship and obedience of Allah Ta‘ala.

Tauheed in worship refers to him believing that Allah Ta‘ala is the only Being worthy of worship, and Tauheed in obedience refers to him believing that Allah Ta‘ala is the only Being who is worthy of his complete obedience and loyalty. Allah Ta‘ala sent Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) to show the creation how to worship Allah Ta‘ala and how to obey Allah Ta‘ala.

Hence, in any situation, if the youngster is asked to do any action, he should first see whether the action conforms to the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) or not. If the action conforms to the command of Allah Ta‘ala and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then he should carry it out, and if it does not conform, then he should refrain from carrying it out.

If he obeys any person who gives him a command which opposes the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala and His Rasul (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), then this will amount to him disobeying Allah Ta‘ala. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) has said:

لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق

It is not permissible for one to obey any of the creation when this will amount to disobeying his Creator, Allah Ta‘ala. (Sharhus Sunnah #2455)

The Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) who were sent in the world had illustrated this lesson to their ummats in the most unique manner. They never obeyed any person, at any time, against the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala. Hence, the Qur’aan Majeed and Mubaarak Ahaadith make mention of Hazrat Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) who was invited to idol-worship by his parents, his family, his people and his countrymen. However, Nabi Ebrahim (‘alaihis salaam) opposed their ways and did not obey them, as it went against the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala.

Obedience of the Creation is Subject to the Obedience of Allah Ta‘ala

In many Ahaadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had commanded that children should obey their parents, and subjects should obey their ameer (leader). However, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) had also mentioned that this is provided the obedience does not go against the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala.  If it goes against the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala, then obeying one’s parents and leader will not be permissible. In one Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said,

O people! Fear Allah, and listen and obey (your ameer), even if an Abyssinian slave with his ears and nose cut is appointed over you (as your ameer, then too obey him) – so long as he upholds the kitaab of Allah Ta‘ala (i.e. he follows the shari’ah).” (Sunan Abu Dawood #16649)

In another Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said,

One should listen and obey (those who have authority over him e.g. parents, the ameer, etc.), in matters which he likes and dislikes, so long as he is not commanded with that which goes against the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala. When he is commanded by anyone with that which goes against the obedience of Allah Ta‘ala, then he should neither listen nor obey.” (Sunan Abu Dawood #2626)

The Difference Between the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) and the Ulamaa

The youngster should be educated that there is a difference between the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) and the non-Ambiyaa (i.e. the Ulamaa, the pious, etc.). As far as the Ambiyaa (‘alahimus salaam) are concerned, they are an exclusive class of Allah Ta‘ala’s servants who are sinless. They received divine revelation and never disobeyed Allah Ta‘ala for even a moment in their entire lives. They fulfilled every command of Allah Ta‘ala in the manner they were commanded. There was always total conformity witnessed between the Book of Allah Ta‘ala and the actions of the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam). In essence, the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam) were the fountainheads of guidance (hidaayat) in the world.

As far as the Ulama and the pious are concerned, they neither receive divine revelation nor are they sinless. Therefore, they cannot be equated to the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam). Rather, they will only be followed as long as their actions conform to the Shar’iah (the Book of Allah Ta‘ala and the Sunnah of Rasulullah [sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam]). In the case where there is a contradiction between their actions and the Shari’ah, they will not be followed. Instead, the Shari’ah will be given preference over them.

Hence, we understand that the Ulama and pious of the Ummah are not regarded as independent sources of guidance (hidaayat), as is the position of the Ambiyaa (‘alaihimus salaam). Rather, they will only be considered as guides so long as they continue to follow the Book of Allah Ta‘ala and the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam).

On the converse, if they give the Ummah commands and instructions that are against the Book of Allah Ta‘ala and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam), they will not be obeyed.

The Incident of Umar bin Hubayrah (rahimahullah)

Umar bin Hubayrah was the governor of Yazeed bin Abdil Malik, appointed over Iraq. After being appointed as the governor, Umar bin Hubayrah extended an invitation to the Fuqahaa of Basrah and Kufah, and from the Fuqahaa who came was Hazrat Hasan Basri from Basrah and Imaam Sha’bi (rahimahullah) from Kufah.

Umar bin Hubayrah addressed them and said, “Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen, Yazeed bin Abdil Malik, is giving me certain commands which are impermissible in the shari’ah. Is it permissible for me to obey him in fulfilling these commands?”

Imaam Sha’bi (rahimahullah) replied, “You are under his authority and command, and hence you should do as he tells you to do. If it is something impermissible that he is commanding you to do, then he will bear the sin, as he is the one who gave the command.”

However, Hazrat Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) addressed Umar bin Hubayrah and said:

“O Umar, fear Allah Ta‘ala! If you disobey Allah Ta‘ala, then what will your condition be at the time when the angel of death will come to take your life? That will be the time when you will have to leave this world, and the angel of death will take you out from the spaciousness of your palace and will lower you into the narrowness of your grave where you will be all alone.

“Remember – if you disobey Yazeed to please Allah Ta‘ala, then Allah Ta‘ala will save you from the harm of Yazeed, but if you disobey Allah Ta‘ala to please Yazeed, then know well that Yazeed can never save you from the punishment of Allah Ta‘ala! So beware of opposing Allah Ta‘ala by carrying out actions against His pleasure, for it is not permissible to obey the creation in disobeying the Creator.” (A’laam-ul-Hadith lil-Khattaabi 2/1417)

From this incident, we see that Hazrat Hasan Basri’s (rahimahullah) advice to the governor was more correct compared to the advice given to him by Imaam Sha’bi (rahimahullah). At the end of the advice, Hazrat Hasan Basri (rahimahullah) reminded him of the Hadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam):

لا طاعة لمخلوق في معصية الخالق

It is not permissible for one to obey any of the creation while disobeying his Creator, Allah Ta‘ala.

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