Reflection No. 4:48 on Q 16:52 – Obedience to Allah
وَلَهُ الدِّينُ وَاصِبًا
And to Him belongs the enduring religion (obedience)
(Suratun Nahl, No.16, Āyat 52)
The holy Quran tells the human being to desist from taking a god other than Allah for God is the true Creator and King of the Heavens and the Earth. Such a Lord is worthy not only of obedience, but an obedience that is continuous and constant, an obligatory obedience necessitated by the fact that God alone is the sole Sovereign of the Universe. Obedience to God is wholly and completely submissive. When Allah calls, obedience dictates that believers reply: We hear and we obey. (Q 24:50)
In the verse above, the word wāsiban is from the root wa-sa-ba, meaning constant and continuous. Allāmah Tabātabāīi in Tafsīr al Mizān says this means that the obedience required of the human being is for all times, with no end. It is not only for certain times and occasions, nor is it tinged with obedience for any other than Allah. None other than Allah has the right to enforce a code of laws and none requires obedience other than Him.
It is only natural that the human being submits in obedience completely to One who:
1) Is the Originator and Creator of the entire system in the Universe. The Holy Quran says; All Praise is for Allah, the Originator of the Heavens and the Earth (Q35:1). To disobey is to show disloyalty to your own source and origin.
2) Is in charge and controls all affairs. Allah tells us; Say . . . Who is it who rules and regulates all affairs? (Q10:31).To disobey is to create disorder and chaos in the system.
3) Has a plan for the elevation of the human being. All things were created and guided for the fulfillment of that goal. Allah says: Who makes things according to a measure, then guides (Q 87:2-3). To disobey is to slide towards the fall of the human being instead of climbing up.
4) Wishes only good for the human being He has created. Imam Ali (a) says; He does not command you save for virtue and does not refrain you save from evil (Nahjul Balāgha, Letter no. 31). To disobey is to reject the goodwill and concern behind the rules.
Religion and Obedience is thus the natural recourse for one who recognizes God. It takes priority over all things. As Imam Ali wrote to Hārith al Hamdāni, a companion on the Holy Prophet (s) and a follower of the Imam: Obey Allah in all your affairs because Allah’s obedience has precedence over all other things.
‘Allāmah Tabātabā’ī, Tafsīr al Mizān;
Imam Ali (a), Nahjul Balāgha