(وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَن يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَن يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُّبِينًا)[الأحزاب:36]
(It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision)
“Submission” is a religious term used in the Quran and the Sunnah, and is not invented by any religious sect. Allah (SWT) said:
(فَلَا وَرَبِّكَ لَا يُؤْمِنُونَ حَتَّىٰ يُحَكِّمُوكَ فِيمَا شَجَرَ بَيْنَهُمْ ثُمَّ لَا يَجِدُوا فِي أَنفُسِهِمْ حَرَجًا مِّمَّا قَضَيْتَ وَيُسَلِّمُوا تَسْلِيمًا) [النساء: 65]
(But no, by your Lord, they will not [truly] believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find within themselves no discomfort from what you have judged and submit in [full, willing] submission).
Submission to Allah and His messenger should be offered equally for rulings as well as reports:
- 1. The submission to a religious report: is to believe it, whether it is a story from the past or a foretelling about the future. Allah has told us a lot about the unseen in the Holly Quran, some of which have exceeded the physical sense. Belief in those reports is part of what Allah has assigned us to do. Allah did not only ask us to practice religion, but also to believe in it. He also praised believers by saying:
[الَّذِينَ يُؤْمِنُونَ بِالْغَيْبِ ) [البقرة:3)
(those who believe in the imperceptible realm).
- 2. The submission to God’s rulings: is by having inner acceptance of the command, then abiding by it, and acting accordingly. The greatest submission to commands is by acting against desire, or by complete docility, even if one did not realize its benefit.
For that, Allah (SWT) clearly showed us in prophet Abraham’s attitude, when he was instructed to sacrifice his only son, Abraham immediately submitted to Allah’s order. Although the reason behind it might not be revealed to prophet Abraham,
(فَلَمَّا أَسْلَمَا وَتَلَّهُ لِلْجَبِينِ ) [الصافّات:103]
(Then, when they had both surrendered (to God), and he had flung him down upon his face,) Allah issued the great ram sacrifice!
Belittling the worship of « submission » takes away the secret of « servitude » from the servant, which, truthfully, represents his freedom in life.
Questions about this matter often arise with the intention of undermining this worship, of which many individuals have yet to understand and realize its secret and beauty. Hence, some people would argue that « since religion is based upon submission, then what would be left for reason? and, “Is submission possible today, except for submitting to narrators’ opinions and news transmitters? So why should we care about submission?» …and so on.
Submission is a requisite for the mind, that does not contradict, in any way, with reasoning. If one proves that prophet Muhammed’s message is valid and this message is from AllahAlmighty Who is the Wise, the All-knowing and who does not err or make mistakes . Thus, the mind will instantly realize its limits and abilities for encompassing knowledge. This realization requires submission to the One and only Knowledgeable, Wise, and Powerful God. Man, with his limited mind, has primarily to submit to what’s been proved to be from Allah (SWT), the One Who has the perfect knowledge and power.
Despite the above, we do not claim that the role of the mind ends upon submission. Instead, we admit that there are many areas for the mind to dive into, alongside submission , such as:
- understanding, contemplating and inference from the text.
- extracting the aims, wisdom, and maxims for the Sharia texts.
- sorting out the differences between seemingly contradicted texts.
- applying the text, its interpretations and circumstances to reality.
Sharia texts and rulings may, sometimes, contradict with self-interests and desires. However, if we go through the biography of prophet Muhammed’s companions, examining their attitudes towards what he commanded and forbade as a prophet, we will mark the highest form of submission and compliance. The urge or motive for this unique form of worship is nothing but the ultimate belief in the prophecy of Muhammed (PBUH), his faithfulness, and an absolute pure love for him (PBUH).
Here is a quick look at some exemplar incidents:
In the 5th year after Hijra (i.e. immigration) Quraishi polytheists gathered in big numbers for the first time (the army of Al-Ahzab -confederates). Aided by the Jews of Bani Quraidha, they frightened Muslims and their families when they imposed a siege on the city of Madina. It was a very tough and cold weather at that time.
Under such circumstances, prophet Muhammed (PBUH) wanted one of his companions to infiltrate the enemies camp to tell him what they are up to. So, he stood up and talked to them in one of the nights of the siege, and said: “Hark, the man who (goes reconnoitering and) brings me the news of the enemy shall be ranked with me on the Day of Judgment by Allah -the Glorious and Exalted”. In such a hardship, every companion wished that someone else would take this risk instead of him, as long as the messenger of Allah did not specify a name.
When no one responded to Allah’s messenger, he looked at Hudhaifa then said: “get up, Hudhaifa”. How could Hudhaifa respond to this prophetic order? Hudhaifa did not try to come up with excuses or explanations. He did not hesitate either when he was chosen to perform the task. Hudhaifa reports: “when he- the prophet- called me by name I had no alternative but to get up”. So, he- Hudhaifa, went immediately to their camp and the well-known story took place.
Another incident happened when Ma’qil Bin Yasaar married off his sister to a companion, then they argued, thus, separated their ways. Sometime after separation, they agreed to reconcile. Her brother refused in rage (i.e. zeal) and said to the husband: “I married her to you and made her your bed (your wife), and I favored you with marrying her, yet you divorced her. Now you come back to ask for her hand again? Nay. By Allah, she will never be back with you (again)! “. So Allah revealed this verse:
(وَإِذَا طَلَّقْتُمُ النِّسَاءَ فَبَلَغْنَ أَجَلَهُنَّ فَلَا تَعْضُلُوهُنَّ أَنْ يَنْكِحْنَ أَزْوَاجَهُنَّ)[البقرة:232]
(And when you divorce women, and they have fulfilled their term, do not prevent them from remarrying their [former] husbands). When the verse reached Ma’qil, he did not refuse to submit. Rather, he agreed and said: “Now I will do it (let her go back to him), O Allah’s Apostle”and he married her to him again.
One more incident: When the companions were eager to enter Mecca after a long time, to perform Umrah (The non-mandatory lesser pilgrimage), at the year of Al-Hudaibia. They assumed Ihram (consecration) and were prepared to enter the sanctuary, yet Quraishi polytheists forbade them. As a result, they had long negotiations and finally reached an agreement with terms and conditions that some Muslims found to be unfair .
Meanwhile, Muslims reached were quite desperate upon the situation and the unjust agreement that they had with Quraish. They were taken by rage that they almost injured each other (the story in Sahih Albukhari -2732). Thereupon, Muhammed (PBUH) instructed them to shave their heads as a means for ending Ihram. Despite what happened, the moment they saw the prophet ending his Ihram, they all followed along, and there was no word about anyone who disobeyed the order.
Written by: Ahmed Alsayed
Translated by: Dr. Antar abdellah