Undoubtedly one of the most manipulated Quranic verses! The hadith followers use this
Quranic command ‘obey God and obey the Messenger‘ to advocate the legality of following
the hadith as a source of religious jurisdiction.
They claim that obeying God is to obey the Quran while as obeying the Messenger is to
obey his hadith (personal sayings) and his sunnah (methods). They add that if obeying the
Messenger was the same as obeying God’s Quran, then God would have only said “Obey God“.
Thus to their understanding, God’s inclusion of “obey the Messenger” implies that the Messenger
had his own set of religious teachings independant of the Quran and which we must obey.
With the guidance of the Quran, the error in this claim can easily be exposed. In the light of
the Quran it can easily be seen that to “obey the Messenger” is to obey the message he delivered
(the Quran) and nothing else.
1- Why does the Quran say ‘obey the Messenger’?
The inclusion of the phrase “obey the Messenger” after “Obey God” serves a number of
A- Who among the companions of the Prophet ever heard any of God’s revelations directly
from God? No one! Consequently, they cannot obey God except through Muhammad’s
delivery of the Quran. The Quran came out of Muhammad’s mouth. This makes it necessary
for God to command people to obey the messenger since he is the one who delivers to
them God’s message. Moreover, the messenger did not just deliver the Quran and vanish!
The prophet spent all his years from the time he received the first revelation till his death
inviting all people to believe in the Quran and to follow it. Hence it is necessary for God
to command all humans to obey the messenger who is inviting them to accept the message
B- The Quran was revealed to Muhammad in order that he would deliver it to a community
which was primarily composed of idol worshippers and also some followers of the previous
scripture like the Jews and the Christians (Nasara). Once again, and for the benefit of the
followers of the scripture that we understand the neccessity of the phrase “obey the Messenger“.
To make this clear, let us assume that the command in the Quran did not contain the phrase
“obey the Messenger” but was only a command to “Obey God“. Immediately, the Jews and
the Christians (Nasara) would say: “But we already obey God! God has sent us the scripture
and we obey it“. Hence, the Quranic command to “obey the messenger” endorses the new message
(Quran) which is delieverd to all mankind by the prophet Muhammad.
The Quran is the final revelation form God to all humans (33:40). The Quran was revealed to
mankind so as to supercede all previous scripture:
“Then we revealed to you (O Muhammad) this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous
scriptures, and superseding them.” 5:48
2- The duty of the Messenger
“And obey God and obey the messenger and be cautious; but if you turn back, then know
that the sole duty of the messenger is the deliverance (of the message)” 5:92
“And obey God and obey the messenger, but if you turn back, then upon Our messenger
is the sole duty of the clear delivery (of the message)” 64:12
Now, if we look at these Quranic words, we note that God has clearly pointed out the
only duty of the Messenger, and that is to deliver the message (Quran).
The word Messenger is derived from the word Message. A Messenger delivers a Message.
If there was no message there would be no messenger. To Obey the Messenger would thus
mean to obey the message he is delivering.
3- Is it obey “Muhammad” or “obey the Messenger”?
God is the most efficient in expressing any meaning. All Quranic words are chosen by God
to convey a precise meaning.
We never read anywhere in the Quran words like “Obey God and obey Muhammad” or obey
Jesus, or Moses. The words used are always “obey the messenger“.
This is to emphasise that it is the “message” of God that is to be obeyed and not the personal
words or views of the messenger.
As mentioned earlier, the word Messenger is derived from the word Message. If there was
no message there would be no messenger.
To Obey the Messenger means to obey the message he delivered.
4- The only ‘message’ revealed to Muhammad was the Quran
In reply to this Quranic truth, the proponents of hadith claim that they have no problem
with the fact that the only duty of Muhammad was to deliver the message, but they
quickly add that the hadith and sunna of Muhammad are part of the “message” and were
inspired by God! They base such claim on a corrupted interpretion of 53:3-4.
Nor does he speak from [his own] inclination.
It is not but a revelation revealed, Quran 53-4
As a matter of fact, they claim that besides the hadith of Muhammad (which they claim
was inspired) they claim that Muhammad received additional revelation directly from God
outside the Quran which they call the “Hadith Al-Qudsy” or the “sacred hadith“!
With the guidance of the Quran we can quickly establish (below) that Muhammad did not
receive any revelation from God other than the Quran. Yes the prophet was inspired by God
in certain personal matters, an example of such inspiration is found in 66:3 where God inspired
the prophet regarding the truth of a domestic issue. However, this was inspiration from God and
“O Prophet, why do you prohibit [yourself from] what Allah has made lawful for you,
seeking the approval of your wives? And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.” 66:1
“Allah has already ordained for you [Muslims] the dissolution of your oaths.
And Allah is your protector, and He is the Knowing, the Wise.” 66:2
“And [remember] when the Prophet confided to one of his wives a statement; and when
she informed [another] of it and Allah showed it to him, he made known part of it
and ignored a part. And when he informed her about it, she said, “Who told you this?”
He said, “I was informed by the Knowing, the Acquainted.” 66:3
The difference between inspiration and revelation is that God inspires all humans
(note how God inspired the mother of Moses). God also inspires the animals
(example of that is in 16:68 where God tells us how He inspires the bees).
This is different from revelation which is specificaly an inspired scripture which contains
religious laws and prohibitions.
And your Lord inspired to the bee, “Take for yourself among the mountains, houses, and
among the trees and [in] that which they construct. 16:68
Note here that the hadith followers uphold the hadith and sunna as the second source of
Islamic law besides the Quran, and by doing so they elevate the hadith to the status of
We are told in the Quran that the prophet did not receive any revelation from God other
than the Quran:
Qul ayyu shay-in akbaru shahadatanquli Allahu shaheedun baynee
wabaynakum waoohiyailayya hatha alqur-anu li-onthirakum bihiwaman
balagha a-innakum latashhadoona anna maAAa Allahi alihatanokhra qul la
ashhadu qul innama huwa ilahunwahidun wa-innanee baree-on mimma
“Say (Muhammad): What thing is “Akbar Shahada” (greatest testimony)? Say: God is a
Witness between me and you; this Quran has been revealed to me by inspiration that
with it I may warn you and all whom it reaches. Do ye in sooth bear witness that there
are gods beside Allah? Say: I bear no such witness. Say: He is only One Allah. Lo!
I am innocent of that which ye associate (with Him). (Balagha)” 6:19
This testimony which God describes as “Akbar Shahada” (the Greatest Testimony) commands
Muhammad to testify that He received the Quran from God. This testimony speaks of only
one revelation received by Muhammad from God which is the Quran. If Muhammad truly
received other revelations from God (other than the Quran), would we not find any mention
of it in the Quran? Would God hide the fact that He gave Muhammad a revelation independant
of the Quran and then command us to obey it?
Moreover, to insist that every word uttered by the prophet was even inspiration
(let alone revelation) is once again to show ignorance with the Quran. We are given
in the Quran six different cases where the prophet committed errors for which he was
reprimanded by God. Some of these errors were actually quite serious, such as when
Muhammad prohibited something which was made lawful by God.
Prohibiting what God makes lawful is a great sin as 6:150 confirms.
Say, [O Muhammad], “Bring forward your witnesses who will testify that Allah has
prohibited this.” And if they testify, do not testify with them. And do not follow the
desires of those who deny Our verses and those who do not believe in the Hereafter,
while they equate [others] with their Lord. 6:150
The question here is how can someone who’s every word is inspired by God commit ANY
errors? Could God be inspiring mistakes to His prophet!!!
5- God promises to preserve the Quran and nothing else
“Absolutely, we have revealed the “Zhikr” (Quran), and, absolutely, we will preserve it.” 15:9
These words proclaim God’s promise to preserve the Quran. We do not read anywhere else in the
Quran that God would preserve the personal sayings of the messenger. As a matter of fact,
God did not preserve His Own previous scripture (Torah and Injeel), why would He preserve
the personal words of any of His servants?
Is God elevating His servant to be a legislating god besides Him when God tells us that the
SOLE duty of the messenger is to deliver His message?
But this is not all, we are told in the Quran that anything which is not from God would ultimately
contain many contradictions and corruptions:
“If it were from other than God, they would have found in it numerous contradictions.” 4:82
Despite these clear words, the followers of hadith claim that a number of their hadith books,
such as the collections of Bukhari and Muslim, to be fully authentic (Sahih) and without
corruption! Do they not believe God’s words in 15:9 and 4:82?
Indeed, it is We who sent down the Qur’an and indeed, We will be its guardian. 15:9
Then do they not reflect upon the Qur’an? If it had been from [any] other than Allah ,
they would have found within it much contradiction. 4:82
6- The command to follow the Quran and nothing else
In the Quran God commands all believers to follow the Quran alone. This command is found in
numerous verses, the following are examples:
“Shall I seek other than God as a source of law, when He has revealed to you this book fully
The clear command in 6:114 confirms that believers should follow the Quran as the only
source of law.
Another very clear command is found in the following Quranic verse:
“Follow what has been sent down to you from your Lord (Quran);
do not follow other masters beside Him.” 7:3
These words are crystal clear, we must follow the Quran and no other sources.
The word “Him” refers to God, which makes the matter also clear that we should
follow no other than God and what has been revealed by God (Quran).
7- Are we commanded to follow the Sunna of Muhammad?
The followers of hadith and Sunna use a twisted meaning of 33:21 to imply that we should
follow the methodology of the messenger and thus we need to follow his Sunna!
To expose the corruption and manipulation in such claim, let us first read 33:21
“The messenger of God has set up a good example for those among you who seek God
and the Last Day, and constantly think about God.” 33:21
From these words we note that God is very specific in describing the capacity in which
the prophet has set a good example. The good example lies in his constant thinking of
God and how he sought God and the last day.
Sadly, the followers of hadith and Sunna have reduced this glorious ayat so as to imply
that we should eat as the prophet ate, sleep as he did and even enter the toilet with the
same foot which he used!!!
This type of hadith is only one among many other ridiculous do’s and do not’s that fill
the books of hadith.
To make the issue undisputable, God asserts in the Quran that the only Sunna is the
Sunna of God. No where in the Quran is there any mention of the Sunna of Muhammad!!!!
“You will find that the Sunna of Allah is the only Sunna” (33:38…..33:62….35:43…..48:23).
fee allatheena khalaw min qablu wakanaamru Allahi qadaran maqdoora
That was Allah’s way with those who passed away of old – and the commandment
of Allah is certain destiny. 33:38
thou wilt not find for the way of Allah aught of power to change. 33:62
bi-ahlihi fahal yanthuroona illasunnata al-awwaleena falan tajida lisunnati
Allahitabdeelan walan tajida lisunnati Allahi tahweela
evil plot encloseth but the men who make it. Then, can they expect aught
save the treatment of the folk of old? Thou wilt not find for Allah’s way of
treatment any substitute, nor wilt thou find for Allah’s way of treatment aught
of power to change. 35:43
It is the law of Allah which hath taken course aforetime.
Thou wilt not find for the law of Allah aught of power to change. 48:23
For more details please go to: The manipulation of 33:21 – To Follow
8- Are we commanded to follow the Hadith of Muhammad?
A number of Quranic verses make it very clear that the only Hadith authorised by
God is the Quran itself:
hadeethinbaAAda Allahi waayatihi yu/minoon
“These are God’s revelations (Quran) that We recite to you truthfully.
In which Hadith other than God and His revelations do they believe?” 45:6
Wamina annasi man yashtareelahwa alhadeethi liyudilla AAan sabeeli
Allahibighayri AAilmin wayattakhithaha huzuwan ola-ikalahum
“Among the people, there are those who uphold baseless Hadith, and thus
divert others from the path of God without knowledge, and take it in vain.
These have incurred a shameful retribution.” 31:6
We also read in the Quran that God deliberately allowed the fabricators to spread false
Haidith so that a test can be set for all people; will they uphold the Quran as the only
source of law (6:114) or will they follow other sources besides the Quran which ultimately
exposes them as false believers(45:6 and 31:6) ?
“We have permitted the enemies of every prophet – human and jinn devils – to inspire
in each other fancy words, in order to deceive. Had your Lord willed, they would not
have done it. You shall disregard them and their fabrications.
This is to let the minds of those who do not believe in the Hereafter listen to such
fabrications, and accept them, and thus expose their real convictions.” 6:112-113
9- Was the messenger authorised by God to issue any teachings besides the Quran?
God also asserts to all believers that prophet Muhammad was commanded not to teach
any other teachings, otherwise he would incur severe punishment from God:
“It (the Quran) is a revelation from the Lord of the universe. Had he (Muhammad) uttered
any other teachings, We would have grabbed him by the right, and We would have severed
his Wateen (Major artery of the heart), none of you could have helped him.” 69:43-47
Those who insist that the prophet left us a second source of religious law (hadith) are
either accusing the prophet of disobeying God’s commands in 69:43-47, or do not
really understand the Quran.
10- The instructions left by the prophet
In accordance to 6:114, 69:43-47 and many other clear cut Quranic words, prophet
Muhammad himself commanded his people not to write his own hadith.
This is documented in the very same books of hadith which they call “sahih” (authentic),
like Muslim and others:
“Do not write down anything of me except the Quran. Whoever writes other than that
should delete it”
(Ahmed, Vol. 1, page 171…..also Sahih Muslim, Book 42, Number 7147)
For the first 200 years after the death of the prophet, and in accordance with his
instructions, the writing of his hadith was forbidden. If we consider the volumes of
Hadith we have today, and which are labelled as ‘authentic‘, we find that the collection
of Bukhari was the first to be written. It is also interesting to note that Imam Al-Bukhari
was born in the year 194 After Hijrah, which means that we do not have any record of
authentic hadith for the first 200 years after the death of the prophet.
Even if we were to follow the hadith (which we are not), how accurate can a collection
of sayings documented two centuries after the death of the prophet be?
The peculiar matter here is that the followers of hadith do not show any genuine desire
to obey the Quran nor for that matter to obey the instructions left by the prophet!
To counteract the command left by Muhammad not to write his hadith they make an
astonishingly ridiculous claim. They claim that the prophet issued these instructions
(not to write his hadith) only in the first period of revelation and only because he was
worried that his hadith would be mixed up with the Quran! They add that these instructions
were cancelled in his later years! Well, if that was the case, why do we not have a Hadith
which states that the prophet had cancelled his earlier command? More important, and
if that earlier command was cancelled, why was there a gap of at least 200 years between
the first hadith and between the first authentic (sahih) documentation of hadith?
Moreover, by saying this ridiculous claim (that the prophet was afraid that his hadith
would be mixed up with the Quran) they once again show their ignorance with the
Quran. In Sura 75 we are assured that God would secure the safe collection of the Quran:
“It is We who will collect it into Quran.” 75:17
This promise from God about the safe collection of the Quran, plus the promise in
15:9 for the preservation of the Quran reduces the claim of the hadith followers
(that the prophet was worried that his words would get mixed up with the Quran)
to utter nonesense. It is either they do not believe God or that they are implying that
the prophet had personal doubts in God’s ability to keep His promise!
11- Did the prophet follow anything other than the Quran?
The answer to this question is decisively dealt with in the Quran:
“Then we revealed to you this scripture, truthfully, confirming previous scriptures,
and superseding them. You shall rule among them in accordance with God”s revelations,
and do not follow their wishes if they differ from the truth that came to you” 5:48
God’s command to the prophet to follow what was revelaed to him (Quran) is
loud and clear. The importance of this command is emphasised in the words
“You shall rule among them in accordance with God’s revelations”.
They are then repeated in verse 49 to emphasise their importance.
And judge, [O Muhammad], between them by what Allah has revealed and do
not follow their inclinations and beware of them, lest they tempt you away from
some of what Allah has revealed to you. And if they turn away – then know that
Allah only intends to afflict them with some of their [own] sins. And indeed,
many among the people are defiantly disobedient. 5:49
To conclude, to obey God and obey the messenger, we must follow the message of the
messenger. We must follow the Quran, all the Quran and nothing but the Quran.