"Obey those in Authority among you" = Scholars?
"Believers! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you..." (Qur'an 4:59)
There are three parts in the verse. To obey:
2) the Messenger
3) Those with authority among you
Before reading this article, readers are urged to understand the first two parts 'Obey Allah and the Messenger' by following this link: Understanding "Obey Allah & the Messenger", as it requires prior understanding of these two entities.
The main point to grasp here, as with first two entities, is that all three entities must be in compliance with the Qur'an such that they are preaching the same Quranic message. It is not acceptable that a person claiming to have authority should state that we should do 'x', when the Qur'an says 'y', then quoting 4:59 to prove he should be obeyed. Unfortunately, this is exactly what is being done today. "Scholars" and "ulamas" take granted authority from the verse and then preach many teachings that are not in harmony with the Qur'an or which are completely against the Qur'an. If some people are brave enough to challenge them, they usually fire this verse of the Qur'an to silence them. However, it is unfortunate that most of such admirable people cannot respond back due to a gap in their understanding on this subject and overall Quranic knowledge.
For any knowledgeable man or woman to be obeyed, then his or her teachings must be in compliance with Quranic teachings, including the messenger's (which is the same as the Qur'an's). For example, this website only has authority if it is genuinely representing the Quranic message. If it is not, which you must deduce using your knowledge and wisdom, you must not obey it. You must not blindly follow it, as most are following the imams and sheikhs based on a crude and shallow understanding of 4:59.
2) the Messenger
3) Those with authority among us
must be in compliance with the Qur'an.
Moreover, who gave such people 'authority' to begin with? - to associate themselves with the verse? Who does Allah refer to with 'those with authority among you'? Where does it indicate that it means "ulamas", "sheikhs" and imams of all the sects of today? It may well be more general in its meanings. For instance, in a society for law and order to prevail, its citizens must obey the authorities placed by them, provided what they are commanding is within reason, logic and Quranic morality. For example, we must obey the Police force and the laws of the government, students should obey their teacher, we should not violate the high-way code which were designed by the transport authority for smooth and safe flow of traffic, etc.
On this topic, the following verses of the Qur'an must be remembered by those who wish to portray it to only mean obeying clergy and who do not use their own minds over the Qur'an:
"Is it not enough for them that We have sent down to you the Book that is recited to them? There is certainly a mercy and reminder in that for people who believe." (Qur'an 29:51)
"And they will say: 'Our Lord, we obeyed our masters and great men, and they misled us from the Path" (Qur'an 33: 67)
"Then We sent in their tracks Our messengers. We sent Jesus the son of Mary, and We gave him the Injeel, and We ordained in the hearts of his followers kindness and mercy. But they invented Monasticism - We did not ordain it for them, only that they should seek Allah's good pleasure - and even so, they did not observe it properly." (Qur'an 57:27)
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