Study Guide #14 Respect For Authority

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As–Salaam Alaikum
(Peace Be Unto You)
Dear Believers and Students:
May this letter find you growing in the Knowledge and Spirit of Allah (God) and the Triumphant
Message of Islam.
This Study Guide, Number 14, is a very important one, for it lays the base for peace in the home,
the mosque, the society, or wherever we are confronted with a relationship with authority.
Peace with Allah (God) is gained through submission to His Will. Peace with Self is gained
through obedience to the knowledge and truth that we know, for it has authority over us and if
we recognize the sovereignty of truth above all and submit to its authority, peace comes to Self
with Self.
The most difficult thing to do is to submit to authority that we do not believe is worthy of our
respect or obedience and it is this difficult part that we must take under analysis in the Study
May Allah (God) Bless you to go as deeply as you can into the Truth of that which you are
studying and apply it immediately in the home, the mosque and everywhere you go in society.
Your Brother and Servant,
Minister Louis Farrakhan
Servant to the Lost Found Nation of Islam in the West


Self-Improvement Study Guides - Study Guide 14: Respect For Authority




Holy Qur'an
Surah 4 "The Women", Section 9
Surah 39 "The Companies" Sections 1 and 2


In both the Bible and the Holy Qur'an, we are enjoined to respect those in authority over us. Allah demands of His servants such respect for authority that order, rather than chaos, may exist, for "God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." (1 Corinthians 14:33)

"O you who believe, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among you; then if you quarrel about anything, refer it to Allah and the Messenger, if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. This is best and more suitable to achieve the end." Holy Qur'an 4:59

"Obey them that have the rule over you and submit yourselves; for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief; for that is unprofitable for you." Hebrews 13:17

Allah (God) send servants with authority over us, to guide us to obedience to His Will. That authority is often expressed through teaching. The servants of Allah (God) have always been challenged and opposed by the authorities over the people to whom they are sent.

"For he taught them as one having authority and not as the scribes." Matthew 7:29

"And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the leaders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, 'By what authority doest thou these things? And who gave thee this authority?"


ABJECT Utterly hopeless, humiliating or wretched; contemptible, despicable, cast aside, thrown down.

AUTHOR The maker of anything; creator; originator; designer; (Latin root: "auctor"-"progenitors; mauctus" --- "magnified".

AUTHORITY The power to determine; the right to control or command; having the power to make and enforce the law; having force, rule, power sway, influence, over others; applied to the complete and successful direction or manipulation of persons and things; also power derived from deference of others to one's character, ability or position.

The right, because of office or position, to issue commands and punish violations.

GOVERN To rule by right; hold in check; control, supervise.

HINDER To cause delay, interruption or difficulty in; to prevent from doing, happening or acting; to hold back.

RESPECT Esteem for or a sense of the worth or excellence of a person, a quality or trait, or something considered as a manifestation of quality or trait; deference to a right, privilege or position, or to someone having a right, privilege or position.- to refrain from interfering with; to express esteem or deference toward someone; the result of admiration and approbation.

OBEDIENCE The state or quality of being obedient. The act or practice of obeying; dutiful or submissive compliance; submission to authority. (TO OBEY): To comply with or follow the commands, restrictions, wishes, or instructions of; to respond conformably in action to.

PERSECUTION (TO PERSECUTE) To pursue with harassing or oppressive treatment; harass persistently; to annoy persistently; importune; trouble; drive away. Worry, badger, pester, bother; to subjugate because of beliefs or practices.

SLAUGHTER Brutal, violent killing of a person; killing of great numbers of people indiscriminately; carnage.


TOLERANCE (TOLERANT) A fair and objective attitude toward those whose opinions and practices differ from one's own; the act or capacity of enduring; endurance; allowance; patience; suffering; forbearing; to put up with; to undergo or sustain pain or hardship.

TYRANT (TYRANNY) Any person in a position of authority over someone else who exercises power oppressively; arbitrary or unrestrained exercise of power; undue severity or harshness; cruelty.



1) Should we obey authority if the authority is unjust or even wicked?

2) Is there a difference between "respect" and "obedience"? If so, what is it?

3) Is there a difference between "producing" and "creating"? If so, what is it?

4) The Holy Qur'an teaches that "persecution is worse than slaughter." How could this be so?

5) Each of us has the responsibility of governing and the responsibility of being governed. We have experienced such dual roles as being parent and child, teacher and student, employer and employee. What difficulties do we encounter in each of these situations? What are some principles to follow in handling these situations?



"Now surely sincere obedience is due to Allah Alone ... He is Allah, the One, the Subduer of all. He has created the heavens and the earth with truth; He makes the night cover the day and makes the day overtake the night and He has made the sun and the moon subservient; each one moves on to an assigned term. Now surely He is the Mighty, the Forgiver ... He creates you in the wombs of your mothers --- creation after creation---in triple darkness. That is Allah, your Lord; His is the Kingdom. There is no God but He. How are you then turned away? If you are ungrateful, then surely Allah is above need of you ... " 39:1-7

"This is the love of God, that we keep His commandments." 1 John 5:3

If we look at the word 'authority', its root is in the word "author". The "author" of anything is usually the maker or creator of that thing. Allah (God) is referred to as the Author of all existence, therefore, Allah is He Who has the greatest right to be obeyed.

However, there are lesser beings that have been given the privilege of exercising authority over what they did not create and Allah demands of us respect for those lesser authorities and even obedience to those lesser authorities out of respect for Him, the Supreme Authority by Whom all authority has authority.


We must remember, if we are Believers, that nothing happens except by the Permission or Active Will of Allah (God). So whoever is in authority is there for a reason and also for a season.

The servants of Allah (God) are tested by those persons that are in authority over him or her.

Allah teaches in the Holy Qur'an, that He made Adam from the dust of the Earth, or Black mud, and fashioned into shape. And when He made Adam complete He breathed into him of His Inspiration (Wisdom) and commanded the angels to bow to what He had made and placed in authority over them. All the angels submitted, except Iblis. Allah questioned him, asking:

"What hindered thee that thou didst not submit when I commanded thee? He said: I am better than he; Thou hast created me of fire, while him Thou didst create of dust"

Iblis did not look deep enough into Who commanded him.

He was blinded by his pride and/or arrogance of who he thought he was in relationship to who he was asked to submit to. He gave no weight at all to Who commanded him--that the One Who commanded him was Creator of both the fire and the dust.

As a result of his failure to respect Allah (God) by bowing to what He had put in authority over him, Allah (God) then drove him forth from the circle of peace that he was in:

"He said: Then go forth from this (state), for it is not for thee to behave proudly therein. Go forth, therefore, surely thou art of the abject ones."

How often do we reject respect and obedience to authority because we think ourselves better than those who commanded us?

Suppose the ruler is wicked. Should we respect that rule?

Again, Allah says in the Holy Qur'an, "I am going to place a ruler in the earth" and the angels respond, "Wilt Thou place in it such as make mischief in it and shed blood?" And Allah answers, "I know what you know not."

Even if the ruler is wicked, he could not come to power except by Allah's Permission for reasons we may or may not be acquainted with.


Respect for authority does not necessarily imply obedience in all things the -authority says. We can respect authority, but Allah says obey those in authority over you except when it is against your religion (Will of God). Then you are commanded to disobey, but still in a respectful way.


"And He it is Who has made you successors in the land and exalted some of you in rank above others, that He may try you by what He has given you. Surely thy Lord is Quick in requiting (evil) and He is surely the Forgiving, the Merciful." Holy Qur'an 6:166

"When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice, but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn." Proverbs 29:2

Any human being who exercises authority has, along with that authority, powers to enforce his or her authority. Our lack of respect for authority can cause authorities to use force to enforce that authority.

By virtue of the fact that a father and mother are the agents of procreation gives them authority over what they produce. However, they must be mindful that they have been given authority over what they produced, but did not create.

"And We have enjoined on man goodness to his parents. But if they contend with thee to associate others with Me, of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not. To Me is your return and I will inform you of what you did." 29:8

"And if they strive with thee to make thee associate with Me that of which thou hast no knowledge, obey them not, and keep kindly company with them in this world and follow the way of him who turns to Me; then to Me is your return, then I shall inform you of what you did." 31:15

Parents, kings, rulers, judges --- are never the sole authority for they are not the Author of existence. The Author of existence is also the Watcher of how we execute authority over what He creates.

How we handle authority manifests the quality of our faith, knowledge, wisdom and understanding, and, deeper, it manifests the level of our respect for Him Who created what we have authority over.

Child abuse is not just the abuse of children. It is also abuse of the privilege of exercising authority over Allah's (God's) creatures, therefore it is also abuse of Him.


Abusive parents produce hatred in the hearts of the abused child for them. Abusive authority, no matter on what level, creates hostility and the lack of desire, will or spirit to cooperate, ultimately leading to rebellion.

History is replete with examples of abusive rulers, what happened to them and their authority whenever their disrespect of what they ruled exceeded the limits.

"Surely Pharaoh exalted himself in the land and made its people into parties, weakening one party from among them; he slaughtered their sons and let their women live. Surely he was one of the mischief makers ... And we desired to bestow a favour upon those who were deemed weak and to make them the leaders and to make them the heirs. And to grant them power in the land and to make Pharaoh and Haman and their hosts see from them what they feared." 28:4-6

"Then We sent Moses and his brother Aaron with Our messages and a clear authority ... To Pharaoh and his chiefs, but hey behaved haughtily and they were an insolent people. So they said: Shall We believe in two mortals like ourselves while their people serve us? So they rejected them and became of those who were destroyed." 23: 45-48

Everything in creation has a tolerance level beyond which it cannot endure. When authority exceeds the limits in its abuse, of the people, the people reach a level of tolerance beyond which they cannot go. The Holy Qur'an teaches that "persecution is worse than slaughter."

When the people reach a level beyond which they cannot tolerate further abuse, they actually prefer slaughter to persecution, so they rise up against that authority that is persecuting them and generally, it is the same God Who permitted that authority to come into power Who stirs the people to rise up and destroy it.

"They said: We were persecuted before thou camest to us and since thou hast come to us. He said: It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you rulers in the land, then He will see how you act." Holy Qur'an 7:129


In order for any authority to be successful in carrying out its authority, that authority needs the good will of the governed and the way to obtain good will is to govern with justice and equity.

One the other hand, those who are the governed, as we all are under some authority, have the duty and the obligation to respect and obey those in authority among us, whether they are of our own race, religion or not.


There are times when I have been stopped by abusive authority who appeared to be bent on provoking an incident to justify their misuse of the power they possess to enforce their authority. But by following the Guidance of Allah (God) found in the Holy Qur'an and the Bible as given by the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I handled that abusive authority with such respect, that it forced them to act in a way that they did not intend by me.

I am not saying that this method works on every occasion, but 90% of the time, if we show respect for those in authority over us, no matter how they come, we will find that we can spare ourselves and others undue and unnecessary harm.

Each of us who is governed also governs and the best rule to use to protect both those who govern and those who are governed is:

"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you"