The Prophet (s) and Guardianship Commandments

The Prophet (s) and Guardianship Commandments

The commandments issued by Prophet Muhammad (s) were of two types; religious and guardianship. The religious commandments are the ones directly issued from the Exalted Allah and revealed to the Prophet (s). The Prophet (s) was ordered to convey them to the people. These commandments form the religion of Islam and no one except Allah has the right to issue them. Such commandments are either mentioned in Holy Quran or revealed to the Messenger of Allah (s) in different occasions and presented to the people.

The guardianship commandments, however, are the commandments that are not directly issued by the Almighty Allah. Rather Prophet Muhammad (s) –who was the guardian and ruler of Islamic government– was allowed to issue and execute the commandments necessary for managing social affairs of the society, such as defining tax for the expenses of Islamic government, issuing the order of jihad (the holy war) or peace, relations with other Islamic or non-Islamic governments, judicial commandments, the limits of personal or governmental ownership, expropriating or limiting personal ownership in certain cases, and ordaining necessary commandments for various fields of Islamic government. In fact, since the ruling was given to the Prophet (s), wide authority was given to him too.

The Holy Quean states,

النَّبِىُّ أَوْلى‏‌ بِالمُؤْمِنِينَ مِنْ أَنْفُسِهِمْ

“The Prophet is closer to the Believers than their own selves.”[59]

What was mentioned above was about government-related commandments.

According to some traditions, Prophet Muhammad (s) was permitted to ordain commandments in minor religious issues too and even in case of worships and present them to the people.

Abu Basir says, “I asked Imam Sadiq (`a) about the Quranic verse:

أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِى‏‌ الأمْرِ مِنْكُمْ

‘Obey God, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.’

The Imam (`a) said, ‘This verse is revealed about Ali Ibn Abi Talib, Imam Hassan (`a), and Imam Hussayn (`a).’ I said, ‘People wonder why the names of Imam Ali (`a) and the Ahlul-Bayt are not mentioned in the Holy Quran.’ Imam Sadiq (`a) replied, ‘Tell people that salat (the prayer) is mentioned in the Quran, but not the number of rak’ahs (unites); the Messenger of Allah defined it. Zakat (statutory Islamic levy) is mentioned in the Holy Quran, but its amount –which is one dirham in every forty dirhams– was defined by Prophet Muhammad (s). The hajj issue is mentioned in Quran, but the obligation of seven rounds of tawaf (circumambulation around the ka’bah) was only mentioned by the Prophet (s). The mentioned verse was revealed about Imam Ali (`a), Imam Hassan (`a), and Imam Hussayn (`a) and then Prophet Muhammad (s) said about Imam Ali (`a) in hajjatul wida’ (the last hajj), ‘Everyone whose leader is I, now Ali is his leader.’”[60]

Based on such traditions, it can be said that the guardianship commandments go beyond governmental commandments and include issuing obligatory commandments too. All the commandments issued by Prophet Muhammad (s) are so, unless they are mentioned in Holy Quran or the Prophet (s) had announced them as revelation. Anyway, if such commandments are narrated with true document, they are religiously valid and should be followed by the Muslims. According to the text of Holy Quran, obeying Prophet’s order and avoidance is obligatory for the believers.

We read in the Holy Quran,

“Obey God, and obey the Messenger, and those charged with authority among you.”[61]

It should be said that guardianship commandments of Messenger of Allah (s) were never issued out of carnal desires and without criterion. Being aware of real interest of the Muslims –through revelation– and away from fault or wrongdoing, he issued necessary commandments to maintain these interests. The Holy Quran states,

ما ضَلَّ صاحِبُكُمْ وَما غَوى‏‌* وَما يَنْطِقُ عَنِ الهَوى‏‌* إِنْ هُوَ إِلّا وَحْىٌ يُوحى‏‌* عَلَّمَهُ شَدِيدُ القُوى

“Your Companion is neither astray nor being misled. Nor does he say (aught) of (his own) Desire. It is no less than inspiration sent down to him: He was taught by one Mighty in Power.”[62]

Therefore, intuitive awareness of real interests and detriments can be considered a source of the Prophet’s sciences.

Fuzayl Ibn Yasar said, “I heard from Imam Sadiq (`a), ‘The Almighty Allah trained His Prophet with the best method. When his learning completed, Allah told him,

وَإِنَّکَ لَعَلى خُلُقٍ عَظِیمٍ

‘And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.’[63]

Then He presented the command of religion and the Ummah (Islamic nation) to the Prophet (s) to guide the people. Allah then told the people,

وَمَا آتَاکُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاکُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا

‘So take what the Apostle assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you.’[64]

The Messenger of Allah (s) was supported by Ruhul Qudus (Gabriel). He was away from fault in managing people’s issues and observed Allah’s rules. Next Allah religiously set the prayers two units by two units until they were ten units a day. The Messenger of Allah (s) added another two units to all the two-unit prayers and one unit to the Evening Prayer (salatul Maghrib). What was added by Prophet Muhammad (s) was included in wajib (obligatory) prayers, whose leaving is not permitted unless in travel. The one unit added to Evening Prayer should not be left even in travel. The Exalted Allah confirmed these alterations, therefore, the wajib prayers became seventeen units (rak’ahs).

Afterward, the Messenger of Allah (s) set the nawafil (recommended prayers) 34 units –twice the unit of obligatory prayers– which was confirmed by Allah too. This way the obligatory and recommended prayers became 51 units; nafilah of Night Prayer (Salatul ‘Isha’) is two units that is performed while sitting and is considered one unit. The Almighty Allah obliged the sawm (fasting) of Ramadan and His Messenger (s) recommended the fasting of Sha’ban month and three days in every month, which were confirmed by the Almighty. The Almighty Allah prohibited drinking wine, but the Prophet (s) prohibited every intoxicating drink and was supported by Allah’s confirmation. Prophet Muhammad (s) prohibited the Muslims from doing some deeds in the form of undesirability not complete forbiddance, giving option to the people. Therefore, the servants should use the options, but avoid the prohibited deeds altogether. The Messenger of Allah (s) did not permit avoiding the obligations and doing the prohibitions. One such prohibited deed is drinking any intoxicating drink, which is forbidden for everyone. The Prophet (s) did not allow the people to abandon the two units he added to all the obligatory prayers, except while in travel, so they should be stuck to. As a result, Prophet Muhammad’s (s) enjoining and forbidding is obligatory to be obeyed by the servants just as Allah’s enjoining and forbidding.’”[65]

Moreover, Imam Sadiq (`a) has stated, “The Exalted Allah trained His Prophet (s) until he reached perfection. Then Allah told him, ‘And thou (standest) on an exalted standard of character.’, presented the religion to him, and said, ‘So take what the Apostle assigns to you, and deny yourselves that which he withholds from you.’ Allah defined the heritage shares of family members, but set nothing for the forefather. The Prophet (s) defined one-sixth of the dead property for the forefather and Allah verified it. That is why Allah said,

هَذَا عَطَاؤُنَا فَامْنُنْ أَوْ أَمْسِکْ بِغَیْرِ حِسَابٍ

‘Such are Our Bounties: whether thou bestow them (on others) or withhold them, no account will be asked.’[66]”[67]

Imam Baqir (`a) stated, “The Messenger of Allah (s) defined the compensation for eye loss and murder and prohibited wine and any intoxicating substance.” The narrator asked Imam (`a), “Did the Prophet (s) issue any commandments without being first revealed by Allah?” Imam Baqir (`a) said, “Yes. It was for recognizing those who obeyed and those who disobeyed the Prophet (s).” [68]

Imam Sadiq (`a) stated, “By Allah that the Exalted Allah relegated the religious issues to no one but His Messenger (s) and the Imams (`a). Allah stated,

إِنّا أَنْزَلْنا إِلَيْكَ الكِتابَ‏بِالحَقِّ لِتَحْكُمَ بَيْنَ‏النّاسِ بِما أَراكَ اللَّهُ

‘We have sent down to thee the Book in truth, that thou mightest judge between men, as guided by God: so be not (used) as an advocate by those who betray their trust.’[69]

The same is true about the Prophet’s (s) successors.” [70]


[59] Surah Al-Ahzab (33): 6.
[60] Jami’ Ahadith Al-Shi’ah, Vol 1, p. 247.
[61] Surah Al-Nisa’ (5): 59.
[62] Surah Al-Najm (53): 2-5.
[63] Surah Al-Qalam (68):4.
[64] Surah Al-Hashr (59): 7.
[65] Kafi, Vol 1, p. 266.
[66] Surah Al-Sad (38): 39.
[67] Kafi, Vol 1, p. 267.
[68] Ibid.
[69] Surah Al- Nisa’ (4): 105.
[70] Kafi, Vol 1, p. 268.