Deviating from the Messenger
All praises be to Allah who said, addressing His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him:
“Say, ‘Were I to go astray, I would only stray to the hurt of myself; but if I am guided, it is because of what my Lord reveals unto me; He is indeed All-Hearing, Ever-Near.” (Surah Saba’ 34:50)
This carries a clear evidence that the Messenger’s guidance occurs only through wahy, or revelation. How surprising it is to find people with confused minds and conflicting opinions who claim to be guided! How does the guidance reach them? Indeed:
“He whom Allah guides is rightly guided; but as for him whom He leaves to stray, you will find no protector to lead him.” (Surah al-Khaf 18:17)
Allah also tells us:
“A Book has been revealed unto you so let there be no tightness in your chest about it – that you might warn [people] with it, and remind the Believers. Follow [people] what has been sent down to you from your Lord, and do not follow other than Him – as allies and protectors. How seldom do you remember [the admonition].” (Surah al-Araf 7:2-3)
Here Allah commands the people to follow what He was revealed to His Messenger, and He forbids them following others. One can either follow the Revelation or follow others – as allies; Allah does not give other than these two alternatives. Thus anyone not following the wahy is indeed following falsehoods and other allies instead of Allah. By Allah’s grace this should be clear and obvious.
And Allah says:
“On the Day when the wrong-doer will bite his hands [in despair], saying, “Oh! Would that I had followed the path shown to me by the Messenger! Ah! Woe is me! Would that I had never taken so-and-so for a confidant! Indeed, he lead me astray from the Message (of Allah) after it had come to me! Ah! Satan is ever a betrayer of man.” (Surah al-Furqan 25:27-29)
Anyone who follows a person other than the Messenger, peace be upon him, abandoning his guidance for the sake of that person’s words or opinions, will surely say these same words. This is why Allah refers here to the confidant and ‘so-and-so’, which is a generic term that could apply to any person taken as a confidant instead of Allah.
This applies then to confidants whose friendship is based on anything other than obeying the Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him: their friendship will eventually turn enmity and accusations, as Allah tells us:
“The confidants on that Day will be foes unto one another – except the pious.” (Surah Az-Zukhruf 43:67)
The Followers and the Followed
Allah describes the plight of the followers and of those whom they followed in several places of His Book. He says:
“On the day when their faces will be tossed about in the Fire, they will say, “Woe to us! Would that we had obeyed Allah and obeyed the Messenger!” And they will say, “Our Lord! We obeyed our chiefs and our great men, and they lead us astray from the right path. Our Lord! Give them double suffering, and banish them utterly from Your Grace!” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:66-68)
Those people will wish they had obeyed Allah and His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. But they will do it at a time when wishes avail them nothing. They will confess that they had obeyed their chiefs and leaders and disobeyed the Messenger, acknowledging that they had no excuse for doing so. This realisation will lead them to request doubling the punishment and curses for those leaders. This carries an important lesson and a useful admonition for a man of reson. Indeed assistance in seeing the truth is from Allah only.
Partners in Deviation
“Who could be more unjust than the one who devises lies against Allah or rejects His messages? For such, their appointed portion must reach them from the Book [of Decrees] until, when Our messengers [of death] arrive to take their souls, they say, “Where are the things that you used to invoke besides Allah?” They will reply, “They have forsaken us!” And thus they will testify against themselves that they had been denying the truth. He (Allah) will say, “Join these peoples who have preceded you, of men and jinn, in the Fire.” Every time a new people enters, it curses its sister people [that went before]. Once they have all joined each other in it, the last of them will say about the first, “Our Lord! It is these who have misled us, so give them a double suffering in the Fire.” He will reply, “Every one of you will have a double suffering, but this you do not understand.” Then the first of them will say to the last, “See them! You have no advantage over us, so taste the suffering for all that you did!” (Surah al-Araf 7:37-39)
A sensible person should reflect on these ayat, and on the lessons that they carry. The first ayah mentions two class of evil doers: those who start fallacies, establish injustice and call people to it by distorting truth and initiating falsehood, and those who reject and deny truth. Ever evil doer belongs to one of these two classes. If, in addition, they call people to falsehood, they deserve a double penalty.
The above discussion deals with the followers who share in the deviation with those whom they follow. Another case is that of those who turn away from whom they claim to follow, taking a different course than theirs, while maintaining false claims of true compliance with them. Allah mentions these people in the following:
“Then those who had been followed disown their followers; they (the followers) would see the suffering [awaiting them], and all the relations between them would be cut off. And then those followers would say: “If we can only have one more chance: we would disown them as they have disowned us.” Thus will Allah show them the fruits of their deeds as nothing but bitter regrets. Nor will there be a way for them out of the Fire.” (Surah al-Baqarah 2:166-167)
The followed ones are truly guided. Their “followers” claim to adhere to them when, in reality, they follow a different way and guidance. They claim to love them, presuming that this love would benefit them despite their deviation. But they will discover on the Day of Judgement that they will be disowned by them.
The Only Un-severed Tie
On the day of Resurrection, all connections and allegiances that had not been for Allah will be severed, leaving only one tie: that which connects a slave to their Lord. This tie is maintained by:
- Continued migration to Allah and to His Messenger, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
- Continuously purifying one’s acts of worship to Allah. This includes love, hatred, giving, preventing, taking as allies or enemies and the like.
- Continuously purifying one’s adherence to the Messenger, peace be upon him. This includes abandoning others’ opinions for what he says, discarding anything that disagrees with his guidance, peace be upon him, and associating none with him in this adherence.
This is the only tie that will not be severed. It is true that the relationship between a slave and their Lord: the relationship of pure ‘ubudiyyah, being a true slave of Allah with the heart tongue and limbs. It is the only thing that he continues to long for, no matter how far he departs from it. This relationship with Allah is the only one that profits a person.
Allah will sever all connections and ties that are between people in this life on the Day of Judgement. The only that will be spared are ties between a person and his Lord, which is accomplished through true adherence to the messengers, peace be upon them all. Allah says:
“And We shall turn to whatever deeds they did (in the first life), and We shall make such deeds as floating dust scattered about…” (Surah al-Furqan 26:23)
So all the deeds of this life that are conflicting with the way and guidance of Allah’s Messengers, and with which was sought anything other than Allah’s Countenance, will be turned away by Allah on that Day and scattered into dust. This is indeed one of the greatest miseries on the Day of Judgement: for one to find all that they did was completely worthless, at a time when one will be in the greatest need for every good.