Could you please explain the meaning of ‘Obey Prophet’ which we are commanded repeatedly in the Quran? I understand ‘Obey Allah’ to mean to follow all the commandments of God as He mentioned in the Quran. Does the commandment of ‘Obey Prophet’ applies only to the companions of the Prophet (pbuh) and not to us?
The words “obey God and obey the Prophet” do not imply obedience to two separate authorities, but, in fact, implies obedience to one authority only, that is, God. However, obedience to God is not even possible except through the knowledge of God’s directives, which is received through God’s prophet. Thus, obedience to God requires being obedient to the Prophet (pbuh) and obedience to the Prophet (pbuh) is, in fact, obedience to God, as has been specified in Al-Nisaa 4: 80 in the following words:
Whoever obeys the Prophet, has, in fact, obeyed God.
It is quite clear, if seen in the light of the foregoing explanation that obedience to God, in its essence, requires obedience to the Prophet (pbuh). Thus, it is written in one of our earlier responses:
“We do not agree with the view that “obedience to God” implies obedience to the Qur’an, while “obedience to the Prophet (pbuh)” implies obedience to the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh). This view, obviously, entails the inherent error of dissociating the Sunnah from God’s revelations. On the contrary, obedience and adherence to the Qur’an and the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh), both are the requirements of “obedience to God” and neither of these can be achieved without “obedience to the Prophet (pbuh)”.
Hope this helps