قُلْ إِن كُنتُمْ تُحِبُّونَ اللَّهَ فَاتَّبِعُونِي يُحْبِبْكُمُ اللَّهُ وَيَغْفِرْ لَكُمْ ذُنُوبَكُمْ ۗ وَاللَّهُ غَفُورٌ رَّحِيمٌ
“Say, [O Muhammad], ‘If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful.'” [3:31]
A simple method for attaining the love of Allah (subhanahu wa ta’ala) and attaining forgiveness: follow the prophet Muhammad (sullulahu alaihi wa salam).
This ayah is a test for us, a litmus test of faith and love of Allah. Allah (swt) is asking us to PROVE our love for Him! And, SubhanAllah, the proof of our love for our Rabb (Lord) lies in following His Messenger. And, even more amazing is the reward that Allah has promised for following His Messenger: Allah’s Love! What can be a greater reward than this?
This ayah clearly shows the great status of the prophet (saw) and the great status of his sunnah. It is a clear proof against those who reject the sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saw).
Allah (swt) immediately after this says,
قُلْ أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَالرَّسُولَ ۖ فَإِن تَوَلَّوْا فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْكَافِرِينَ
“Say, ‘Obey Allah and the Messenger.’ But if they turn away – then indeed, Allah does not like the disbelievers. “ [3:32]
Allah (swt) emphasizes the message from the previous ayah with a direct command: Obey Allah and obey the Messenger. It is not enough to merely obey Allah, because obedience in Allah entails the obedience of the Messenger. Allah (swt) directly links His obedience with obedience to the Messenger (saw) inextricably. What an honour for the Prophet (saw) and what a clear sign for us to follow his Sunnah.
And, in case more emphasis of this was needed, this ayah also indicates that defiance and turning away from the obedience of Allah or His Messenger (saw) is kufr/disbelief. Thus, we cannot claim to love Allah and to be true believers unless we follow the prophet (saw) and obey him. Belief in Allah and belief in the prophet (saw) go hand in hand. That is why even our declaration of faith includes witnessing the prophethood of Muhammad (saw).
لا إِلّهَ إلاَ اللهُ مُحَمَدُ رَّسُول الله
There is no diety worthy of worship except Allah, Muhammad is His Messenger.
Notice the absence of a “و” or the word “and” between the two statements. The absence of the word “and” from this statement serves the purpose of conjoining the two statements. Again, emphasizing their inextricable nature.
May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala guide us in following our beloved prophet (saw) and giving him the proper reverence that he deserves. Ameen.
Action Item: Choose at least one sunnah that you haven’t been practising and incorporate it into your daily schedule with the intention of following the Prophet sullulahu alaihi wa salam. Eg. Saying bismillah before everything you do.