Are there two Gods in Islam? Who is the bigger authority, God, or the prophet Muhammed?

Question:

There is no question that God is a bigger authority than the prophet. However, this hadith is difficult to understand

Bukhari Volume 6, Book 60, Number 226:

Narrated by Abu Said Al-Mualla: While I was praying, the Prophet passed by and called me, but I did not go to him till I had finished my prayer. When I went to him, he said, “What prevented you from coming?”

I said, “I was praying.” He said, “Didn’t Allah say” “O you who believes Give your response to Allah (by obeying Him) and to His Apostle.” (8.24) 

Then he added, “Shall I tell you the most superior Sura in the Qur’an before I go out of the mosque?” When the Prophet intended to go out (of the Mosque), I reminded him and he said, “That is:

“Alhamdu-lillahi rabbil-’Alamin (Surat-al-fatiha)’ which is the seven oft repeated verses (Al-Mathani) and the Grand Quran which has been given to me.”

Does not this imply that the prophet comes before God?

Short Answer:

We must consider the context of the hadith. The Sahabah were keen on praying the obligatory prayers in congregation behind Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume the prayer being offered by Abu Said was a naafil (voluntary) one.

Take note, the Messenger(saw) did not call him without a purpose. As we can see he had some beneficial knowledge to give Abu Said.

Addressing the issue of breaking a voluntary prayer:

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said:

If your parents call you when you are praying, it is obligatory to answer them, on condition that the prayer is not an obligatory one. If it is an obligatory prayer, it is not permissible to answer them, but if it is a naafil (voluntary) prayer, you should answer them.

If one can break their voluntary prayer to respond to their parent’s call, then what about breaking your voluntary prayer to respond to Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him)?

I do not see how this situation or that ayah you quoted proves that Prophet Muhammad was a bigger authority than Allah.

Should he interrupt his prayer to answer one of his parents if they call him?

There is no comparison between God and His messenger: God is God, and a messenger is a messenger. Allah has, however, clearly said to obey His messenger. So, if the prophet saw a man praying and called him, even while he knew that he was praying, he called him for a purpose; this doesn’t mean that the prophet is greater.

I don’t quite understand what you mean by the prophet being greater. If you mean it literally, then Allah is obviously greater. The prophet is just a prophet who follows his God.

If the prophet knows that it’s forbiddento call someone during his prayer, then he shouldn’t call him. However, since even the obligatory prayer can be remade or redone, my opinion would be to obey and listen to him; if he called me, it’s presumably because he had a very good reason for doing so.

Detailed Question

Is it true that if one is praying and one’s parent calls for them, they are to immediately leave prayer to their parent and then after going and restart the prayer? I was told this when I was a lot younger. Is there any truth to it?

Detailed Answer

Praise be to Allah.

If a Muslim is offering an obligatory prayer, he should not interrupt it in order to answer the call of his father or mother. But he can alert the one who is calling him to let him know that he is busy with the prayer, either by saying tasbeeh (“Subhaan Allah”) or by raising his voice in recitation and the like. 

And it is prescribed for him to make the prayer brief, then when he has finished, he can answer the call. 

Al-Bukhari (707) narrated from Abu Qatadah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Sometimes I stand in prayer, intending to make it lengthy, then I hear a child crying, so I make my prayer brief because I do not want to cause hardship to his mother.” 

This indicates that it is prescribed to make the prayer brief if there is something that is distracting the worshipper. 

If it is a naafil (voluntary) prayer, if he knows that his father or mother will not object to him completing the prayer, he may complete it and then answer them once he is free. But if he knows that they will object to him completing the prayer he may interrupt his prayer and answer them, and there will be no blame on him for that. Then he can go back and start praying again. 

Al-Bukhari (3436) and Muslim (2550) narrated from Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Jurayj used to worship in his cell, and his mother came to him. She said: ‘O Jurayj! I am your mother, speak to me.’ She found him praying and he said:

‘O Allah, my mother or my prayer?’ And he chose his prayer. She went away, then she came back a second time and said: ‘O Jurayj! I am your mother, speak to me.’

He said: ‘O Allah, my mother or my prayer?’ And he chose his prayer. She said: ‘O Allah, this is Jurayj and he is my son, and I spoke to him but he refused to speak to me. O Allah, do not let him die until he has seen prostitutes.’” He said: “If she had prayed that he be tempted, he would have fallen prey to temptation.” 

Al-Nawawi gave this report the title: Honoring one’s parents takes precedence over voluntary prayer and other actions. 

Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

The scholars said: What would have been correct in this case is answering her, because he was offering a naafil (voluntary) prayer and continuing with it is voluntary and not obligatory, whereas answering one’s mother and honouring her is obligatory, and disobeying her is haraam. He could have shortened his prayer and answered her, then gone back to his prayer… End quote. 

See: Fath al-Baari by al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar (may Allah have mercy on him), al-Mawsoo‘ah al-Fiqhiyyah, 20/342 

It says in al-Durr al-Mukhtaar (2/54) – which is a Hanafi book: 

If either of his parents calls him during an obligatory prayer, he should not answer unless his parents are urging him to come and help. End quote. 

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

If your parents call you when you are praying, it is obligatory to answer them, on condition that the prayer is not an obligatory one. If it is an obligatory prayer, it is not permissible to answer them, but if it is a naafil prayer, you should answer them. 

But if they are people who give things their due measure and if, when they realise that you are praying, they will excuse you, then in this case you should indicate to them that you are praying – either by clearing your throat or saying “Subhaan Allah” or raising your voice in the verse or du‘aa’ you are reciting – so that the one who is calling will realise that you are praying. 

But if they are otherwise, and they are people who will not make excuses or who want an immediate response, then you should interrupt your prayer and speak to them. 

But in the case of an obligatory prayer, you should not interrupt it for anyone except in the case of necessity, such as if you see someone who you fear will fall into mortal danger, such as falling into a well or into the sea or into a fire. In that case, you should interrupt your prayer because it is a case of necessity. Otherwise, it is not permissible to interrupt an obligatory prayer. End quote. 

Sharh Riyaad al-Saaliheen, p. 302 

Allah knows Best.

Almighty Allah is the highest and most knowledgeable, and the attribution of knowledge to him is the safest.

Right from Almighty Allah and wrong from me and Satan

Prepared by Mohamad Mostafa Nassar- Australia.

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Arrogance is not only a sign of insecurity, but also a sign of immaturity. Mature and fully realised persons can get their points across, even emphatically without demeaning or intimidating others.