Question: Prophet Muhammad (p.b.u.h.) was a president, besides being The Messenger of Allah. Should we differentiate the rulings he set as a president, from the rulings he set as a prophet? Are the rulings he set as a president subject of shariah, too?
RasulAllah refers to Allah’s messenger. The messenger was informing people with the verses which he received through revelation from Allah. Prophet Muhammed was also presenting rulings about every matter from these verses. He was informing people about these rulings and putting them into practice. In Quran this practice is called ‘hikmah – wisdom’, which refers to correct ruling. It was his duty to teach and apply the wisdom. Allah the Almighty commands:
“Just as We have sent to you a messenger from among you, reciting to you Our verses and purifying you and teaching you the Book and the Wisdom and teaching you that which you did not know.” (Al-Baqarah/ The Cow 2:151)
Prophet Muhammad might have made mistakes while he was drawing correct rulings from Quran. Allah the Almighty warned him in case of mistakes such as the ones he had made in relationships with his wives (At-Tahreem/The Prohibition, 66: 1-6); with his practices related to war captives (Al-Anfal/ The Spoils Of War, 8:67-68); with allowing some hypocrites (At-Tawbah/ The Repentance, 9:43) and with his attitudes towards some Muslims (Abasa/ He Frowned, 80: 1-10). Therefore, by being corrected about his mistakes, he is proved to be a human being, not a god.
Quran is a divine book that consists of the verses that are brought to Muhammad through revelation. Wisdoms that our Prophet presented from Quran constitute his Sunnah. It shows that Allah the Almighty approves his practices by correcting his mistakes. Allah the Almighty commands:
“It is not for a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, that they should [thereafter] have any other choice about their affair. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger has certainly strayed into clear error.”(Al-Ahzaab/ The Allies 33:36)
“ But no, by your Lord, they will not believe until they make you, [O Muhammad], judge concerning that over which they dispute among themselves and then find in themselves no resentment from what you have judged and submit in willing submission.” (An-Nisa/ The Women 4:65)
As a result, decisions and practices of the Messenger are binding for all Muslims, regardless of the matter.