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Does obeying the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) turn him into a god?



One fundamental principle taught in Islam is for the Muslims to obey the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh). The Quran says:

5:32 Say: "Obey Allah and His Messenger": But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith.

4:59: O you who believe! Obey Allâh and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to Allâh and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in Allâh and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination. 

For a certain missionary, Sam Shamoun of Answering-Islam, the command to obey the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is tantamount to worshipping the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), and turning Muhammad (pbuh) into another god.

He writes:

Further evidence that Muhammad is Allah's equal it is important to note that Islam isn't merely centered on submission to Allah. it also entails fully submitting to Muhammad. In other words, a true Muslim isn't one who merely surrenders to Allah but also completely surrenders his/her entire will and decisions over to Muhammad! Doesn't this clearly prove that a Muslim must submit to Muhammad in the same way and to the same degree that s/he submits to Allah (

Shamouns writing displays a high level of ignorance when it comes to the basics of Islam, which is why he comes to such absurd conclusions. So in this refutation we shall clarify what it means for Muslims to obey the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), particularly the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) and it’s position in Islam.

Now the reason why Muslims submit to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), in the rules and orders he has made, in what he has forbidden and what he has made legal, is because God himself has commanded us to. Hence when a Muslim obeys the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), he is obeying none other than God because God has told us to obey the prophet. To disobey the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is to disobey God because you have not followed God's order, which is to obey the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh).

For instance when God commanded Iblis (satan) to bow to Adam (pbuh), Iblis refused, and God condemned him for refusing to bow, because he had directly contradicted and disobeyed God's command. Now when God ordered Iblis to bow Adam (pbuh), did this mean God was commanding the worship of Adam (pbuh)? Off course not.

So therefore our submission and obeying the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is a submission to God because we are directly obeying God's command.

Off course to Muslims this is very simple and we understand this, but for Sam Shamoun, he turns it into something far more complicated insinuating that this amounts to worship and making Muhammad (pbuh) into a god.

Secondly, the reason why the Muslims obey the prophet in his Sunnah, what he has enjoined and what he has forbidden, is because the Sunnah is from God. The Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) are not his own personal desires, or his own personal rulings, rather they are the rulings of God:

Narrated Al-Miqdam ibn Ma'dikarib:

The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Beware! I have been given the Qur'an and something like it, yet the time is coming when a man replete on his couch will say: Keep to the Qur'an; what you find in it to be permissible treat as permissible, and what you find in it to be prohibited treat as prohibited. Beware! The domestic ass, beasts of prey with fangs, a find belonging to confederate, unless its owner does not want it, are not permissible to you If anyone comes to some people, they must entertain him, but if they do not, he has a right to mulct them to an amount equivalent to his entertainment. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 40, Number 4587)

As you can see the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) made it clear that he was given the Quran AND something that is like it, and that something else happens to be the Sunnah. Notice how the prophet even goes on to warn people against heretics who will only go by the rules of the Quran and ignore the Sunnah that he has been given.

So the Sunnah is from Allah, it is not the Prophet Muhammad's (pbuh) personal desires; rather he has been given these rules separate from the Quran.

This is exactly why when you obey the prophet; you are obeying God, because what the prophet has is what he has been given from God. This is why God himself has told you this:

He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: But if any turn away, We have not sent thee to watch over their (evil deeds).

So let us move to the next point. Does all of this mean we submit ourselves to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in the same equal manner as we do to God?

The answer is a clear no. We as Muslims do not pray to the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), nor are we commanded to. No companion of the prophet ever prayed to him, and the prophet never commanded them to even do such a thing. Muslims don’t make vows or oaths on the prophet's name, nor do we sacrifice animals in the prophet's name, and neither did the companions, and never did the prophet command such a thing.

So in conclusion, obeying the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) is not worshiping him, obeying him is linked to the fact that God commanded the Muslims to obey him, and by obeying Muhammad (pbuh) one is actually obeying God because what we obey the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in, is what he has been given from God. 

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