The Sahabah on Obeying the Muslim Ruler: Tafsir ibn Kathir

In part of his tafsir of surah al-Nur, al-Haafidh Abu’l-Fidaa’ Ismaa’eel ibn Kathir mentioned the following statements of the great mufassir from among the Taabi’oon, Qataadah:

وقال قتادة في هذه الآية : ( أن يقولوا سمعنا وأطعنا ) ذكر لنا أن عبادة بن الصامت – وكان عقبيا بدريا ، أحد نقباء الأنصار – أنه لما حضره الموت قال لابن أخيه جنادة بن أبي أمية : ألا أنبئك بماذا عليك وماذا لك؟ قال : بلى . قال : فإن عليك السمع والطاعة ، في عسرك ويسرك ، ومنشطك ومكرهك ، وأثرة عليك . وعليك أن تقيم لسانك بالعدل ، وألا تنازع الأمر أهله ، إلا أن يأمروك بمعصية الله بواحا ، فما أمرت به من شيء يخالف كتاب الله ، فاتبع كتاب الله . ـ

Regarding the ayah:

إِنَّمَا كَانَ قَوْلَ الْمُؤْمِنِينَ إِذَا دُعُوا إِلَى اللَّـهِ وَرَ‌سُولِهِ لِيَحْكُمَ بَيْنَهُمْ أَن يَقُولُوا سَمِعْنَا وَأَطَعْنَا ۚ وَأُولَـٰئِكَ هُمُ الْمُفْلِحُونَ

The only saying of the faithful believers, when they are called to Allah and His Messenger, to judge between them, is that they say: “We hear and we obey.” And such are the successful ones. [24:51]

Qataadah said:

It was mentioned to us that when ‘Ubaadah ibn al-Saamit – and he was one of the Sahabah who was present for the Pledge of al-‘Aqabah and at the Battle of Badr, and was one of the leaders of the Ansar – was on his deathbed, he said to his nephew Junaadah ibn Abi Umayyah, “Shall I not inform you of what is incumbent upon you?” “Of course!”, his nephew replied.

He said, “Indeed, listening and obeying is mandatory upon you, whether it is regarding something easy for you or difficult, whether in good times or bad, even if the leader were to show favoritism towards certain people over others. And it is incumbent upon you to limit your tongue to speaking with justice, and that you do not dispute with those in authority regarding their commands – unless they command you to perform a clear act of disobedience to Allah. Then, if they command you to do anything which conflicts with the Book of Allah, follow the Book of Allah.”

وقال قتادة : وذكر لنا أن أبا الدرداء قال : لا إسلام إلا بطاعة الله ، ولا خير إلا في جماعة ، والنصيحة لله ولرسوله ، وللخليفة وللمؤمنين عامة . ـ

And Qataadah said:

It was mentioned to us that Abu’l-Dardaa’ said, “There is no Islam except through being obedient to Allah, and there is no good except in adhering to the jamaa’ah and in giving naseehah to Allah, and to His messenger, and to the khaleefah, and to the Muslims as a whole.”

قال : وقد ذكر لنا أن عمر بن الخطاب ، رضي الله عنه ، كان يقول : عروة الإسلام شهادة أن لا إله إلا الله ، وإقام الصلاة ، وإيتاء الزكاة ، والطاعة لمن ولاه الله أمر المسلمين . ـ

And he also said:

It was mentioned to us that ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allah be pleased with him) used to say, “The bond of Islam is the testimony Laa ilaaha illAllaah – there is no deity worthy of worship except Allah -, and the establishment of the prayer, and the paying of the zakah, and obedience to those whom Allah has placed in authority over the Muslims.

رواه ابن أبي حاتم ، والأحاديث والآثار في وجوب الطاعة لكتاب الله [ وسنة رسوله ، وللخلفاء الراشدين ، والأئمة إذا أمروا بطاعة الله ] كثيرة جدا ، أكثر من أن تحصر في هذا المكان . ـ

These statements were transmitted by ibn Abi Haatim, and the ahaadeeth of the Prophet and statements of the companions and the salaf regarding the obligation to obey the Book of Allah, the Sunnah of His messenger, the Rightly-Guided Khulafaa’, and the rulers when they command you with obedience to Allah are numerous, many more than we could enumerate here.

[Tafsir ibn Kathir 6/76. See also Tafsir ibn Abi Haatim 8/2624-2625.]

See also: Obeying the Rulers – even if they are Unjust: Imam al-Shawkaani [forthcoming, inshaAllaah]

See also: Referring issues back to their experts – Imam al-Sa’di

See also: The great blessing of being a guiding leader: Tafsir al-Sa’di

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