by Adam Walker, Keighley
I have been requested to write a few words on obedience in Islam and its importance. I do not feel qualified to write on this subject as there are many people in the Jama’at who are far more obedient than myself, however, in the spirit of obedience to this request I will endeavour to do my best to explain its importance, Insha-Allah.
Indeed obedience is a fundamental part of Islam which sits at the very heart of the system (Nizaam) of Jama’at-e-Ahmadiyya and, in practice, greatly facilitates both spiritual and temporal advancement. Before touching upon the role which obedience plays in the administrative system of the Jama’at it is necessary to first reflect upon the core form of obedience which, whilst often taken for granted, is of immeasurable importance.
I of course refer to obedience to Almighty Allah which is the primary, and most excellent, form of obedience. If we cannot offer absolute obedience to Allah then we will certainly fail to display true and meaningful obedience to anyone in the temporal world. The degree of obedience which a Muslim must adhere to is not to be underestimated and is illustrated in the following verse of the Holy Qur’an:
[24:53] And whoso obeys Allah and His Messenger, and fears Allah, and takes Him as a shield for protection, it is they who will be successful.
[24:54] And they swear by Allah their strongest oaths that, if thou command them, they will surely go forth. Say, ‘Swear not; what is required of you is obedience to what is right. Surely Allah is aware of what you do.’
[24:55] Say, ‘Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger.’ But if you turn away, he is responsible for what he is charged with and you are responsible for what you are charged with. And if you obey him, you will be rightly guided. And the Messenger is only responsible for the plain delivery of the Message.
Obedience to Almighty Allah is all too often looked upon as figurative, often preached but not always practiced. It is simply not enough for us to merely utter the words ‘we are obedient to Allah’, but we must actually practice strict obedience to Allah in every aspect of our lives.
On close study of the Holy Qur’an and the life of the Holy Prophet(sa) it becomes manifestly clear that an important form of obedience is to one’s parents. The mercy, kindness and nurture we each receive from our parents amounts to such a unique love and sacrifice that we would never be able to repay them in our lifetimes or indeed ten lifetimes. It is for this reason that we must each bury our pride, arrogance and anger and offer unreserved obedience to our parents who represent the succour of Allah’s Mercy. In relation to this Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
[31:15] And We have enjoined on man to be good to his parents – his mother bears him in weakness upon weakness, and his weaning takes two years – and said, ‘Give thanks to Me and thy parents. Unto Me is the final return;
The third form of obedience which I would like to discuss is that which we must show to the Nizaam- e-Jama’at. The Jama’at is not any ordinary worldly institution but has come about by means of Divine inspiration and therefore demands a unique type of obedience from each and every one of us. Ultimately, success and prosperity is only achievable through the Grace of Allah without a doubt, a system delivered to mankind to facilitate the successful and progressive expansion of Allah’s Jama’at. It is for all to witness that more than one hundred years of blessed and heavenly expansion is testament to this. We are each in a privileged position to be able to live our lives as members of, and participants in, this magnificent and blessed system.
What is often forgotten is that the Nizam-e-Jama’at is something which we, Muslims, desperately rely upon, and it is certainly not the system which relies upon us. In this token it is incumbent upon each of us to hear and obey, in all that is good, those who are in authority of us regardless of their appearance, race, ability, gender etc. Our beloved Master Prophet Muhammad Musfapha(sa), has instructed us on this issue as follows:
“He who obeys me has obeyed Allah and he who disobeys me has disobeyed Allah, and he who obeys the Ameer has obeyed me and he who disobeys the Ameer has disobeyed me’’
The Ameer referred to here is, in the modern sense, our beloved Huzoor(aba) and all those in Huzoor’s Jama’at who have been appointed into positions of authority. I can fully appreciate that our emotions and weaknesses sometimes cause us to falter, but it is my sincerest hope that we each replace our weaknesses with a deep love and fear for Almighty Allah and for the Seal of Prophets(sa) and, in doing so, remain steadfast in our obedience to the Khalifa of the time and all those people of authority within Allah’s Divinely inspired system, insha-Allah. Ameen.
I will conclude with a story narrated by Mostapha Thabit sahib who asked Chaudhry Muhammad Zafrulla Khan(ra):
“Chaudhry Sahib, throughout all your life you have been very successful and Allah has blessed you so much. Would you tell my why?”
Without any hesitation to think about an answer, he said:
“Because through all my life, I was obedient to Khilafat.”