Tuesday, 9 March 2021

Inclusion in Rank of Prophets of Whoever Obeys Allah and the Apostle (4:69)


بِسۡمِ اللّٰہِ الرَّحۡمٰنِ الرَّحِیۡمِ

والصلاة والسلام على خاتم النبيين

Approximately a year and a half ago I wrote this article outlining some of the basics proofs from the Quran for the possibility and continuation of Prophesy. Although the Ayat presented there are general in meaning with regard to Prophesy being possible, other passages in the Quran help us understand that the specific type of Prophesy that remains open after our Prophet Muhammad [sall Allahu alaihi wasallam] is that whose attainment is subject to subordination to him, i.e., subordinate Prophesy. Allah Most High says:

وَ مَنۡ یُّطِعِ اللّٰہَ وَ الرَّسُوۡلَ فَاُولٰٓئِکَ مَعَ الَّذِیۡنَ اَنۡعَمَ اللّٰہُ عَلَیۡہِمۡ مِّنَ النَّبِیّٖنَ وَ الصِّدِّیۡقِیۡنَ وَ الشُّہَدَآءِ وَ الصّٰلِحِیۡنَ ۚ وَ حَسُنَ اُولٰٓئِکَ رَفِیۡقًا

And whoso obeys Allah and the Messenger shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessings, namely, the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous. And excellent companions are these

(Surah 4:69)

The straightforward explanation of this blessed Ayah is that the greater the degree and intensity of a Believer’s obedience to Allah and His Apostle Muhammad [sall Allahu alaihi wasallam], the loftier the rank will he be favored with. Allah mentions four specific ranks: Prophets, Siddiqs, Martyrs, and Righteous. It is odd that the so-called “orthodox” party concede the possibility of a Believer attaining the rank of Truthfulness, or Martyrdom, or Piety after the Prophet Muhammad [sall Allahu alaihi wasallam], but insist that the gate to Prophesy has been sealed shut absolutely, in every sense, despite the fact that the rank of Prophesy is mentioned alongside these other three ranks.

Those who oppose our logical interpretation of this Ayah argue that it is only speaking of companionship, in the Afterlife, with those upon whom is Allah’s favor, namely, Prophets, Siddiqs, Martyrs and the Righteous. But at the very least it must be conceded that an individual who can be said to be under the obedience of Allah and His Apostle [sall Allahu alaihi wasallam] is a Salih, a righteous man, and not simply someone who shall enjoy the company of other Salihin, righteous men, in the Afterlife without being a righteous person himself. Therefore, the word مع "with" or "among" must necessarily mean inclusion within the rank, and not merely association or companionship. A strong example of this connotation of the word "with" as it appears in the holy Quran is the Ayah:

وَ تَوَفَّنَا مَعَ الۡاَبۡرَارِ

Cause us to die among the righteous

(Surah 3:193)

It is evident that what is meant in this prayer is that an individual dies while being included within the category of the Abrar, righteous, and not that he dies while being in a state of enjoying companionship with the Abrar while not personally being included among them himself.

The Ayah (4:69) bearing this meaning is clarified by the celebrated commentator of the Quran, Abu Hayyan of Granada (d. 745 H), who also quotes al-Raghib al-Isfahani (d. 502 H) to that effect:

وَقَوْلُهُ مَعَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ تَفْسِيرٌ لِقَوْلِهِ صِراطَ الَّذِينَ أَنْعَمْتَ عَلَيْهِمْ وَهُمْ مَنْ ذُكِرَ فِي هَذِهِ الْآيَةِ وَالظَّاهِرُ أَنَّ قَوْلَهُ مِنَ النَّبِيِّينَ تَفْسِيرٌ لِلَّذِينِ أَنْعَمَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِمْ فَكَأَنَّهُ قِيلَ مَنْ يُطِعِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ مِنْكُمْ أَلْحَقَهُ اللَّهُ بِالَّذِينِ تَقَدَّمَهُمْ مِمَّنْ أَنْعَمَ عَلَيْهِمْ ‌قَالَ ‌الرَّاغِبُ ‌مِمَّنْ ‌أَنْعَمَ ‌عَلَيْهِمْ ‌مِنَ ‌الْفِرَقِ ‌الْأَرْبَعِ ‌فِي ‌الْمَنْزِلَةِ ‌وَالثَّوَابِ ‌النَّبِيُّ ‌بِالنَّبِيِّ ‌وَالصِّدِّيقُ ‌بِالصِّدِّيقِ ‌وَالشَّهِيدُ ‌بِالشَّهِيدُ ‌وَالصَّالِحُ ‌بِالصَّالِحِ ‌وَأَجَازَ ‌الرَّاغِبُ ‌أَنْ ‌يَتَعَلَّقَ ‌مِنَ ‌النَّبِيِّينَ ‌بِقَوْلِهِ ‌وَمَنْ ‌يُطِعِ ‌اللَّهَ ‌وَالرَّسُولَ ‌أَيْ ‌مِنَ ‌النَّبِيِّينَ ‌وَمَنْ ‌بَعْدَهُمْ

یعنی اللہ کا فرمانا کہ مع الذین انعم اللہ علیہم یہ صراط الذین انعمت علیہم کی تفسیر ہے۔ اور یہ ظاہر ہے کہ اللہ کا قول من النبین تفسیر ہے انعم اللہ علیہم کی۔ گویا یہ بیان کیا گیا ہے کہ تم میں سے جو شخص اللہ اور اس کے رسول صلی اللہ علیہ وسلم کی اطاعت کرے گا۔ اللہ تعالی اس کو ان لوگوں میں شامل کردے گا۔ جن پر قبل ازیں انعامات ہوئے۔ اور امام راغب نے کہا ہے کہ ان چار گروہوں میں شامل کرلیگا۔ مقام اور ثواب کے لحاظ سے نبی کو نبی کے ساتھ اور صدیق کو صدیق کے ساتھ شہید کو شہید کے ساتھ اور صالح کو صالح کے ساتھ۔ اور امام راغب نے جائز قرار دیا ہے کہ اس امت کے نبی بھی نبیوں میں شامل ہوں جیسا کہ اللہ نے فرمایا ومن یطع اللہ والرسول یعنی من النبیین نبیوں میں سے۔

Allah’s saying “with those upon whom is Allah’s favor” [4:69] is the explanation of “the Path of those upon whom is Your favor” [1:6]. And His saying “among the Prophets” [4:69] is the explanation of “those upon whom is Allah’s favor”. Whoever obeys Allah and His Apostle shall be included among them, Allah will make them meet those whose mention has preceded upon whom is favor. Raghib said: Included among the four sections upon whom is favor, in terms of rank and reward; the Prophet with the Prophet, the Siddiq with the Siddiq, the Martyr with the Martyr, and the Righteous with the Righteous. And Raghib held it permissible that Prophets are in the address of His saying ‘whoever obeys Allah and the Apostle’, from the Prophets and whoever is after them (al-Bahr al-Muhit; v.3, p.699):

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