We have already seen in the article https://secondriseofislam.blogspot.com/2016/06/obeying-allah-vs-following-allah.html that there is difference between obeying (ata,at) and following (itba,a). Obeying is related to commandment; whereas following is related to every act/saying whether commanded or not. We are under obligation to obey Allah; we are not under obligation to follow Allah. The reason is simple; we do not have capability to follow Allah, and we are not required to follow Allah. Allah is owner of life and death and everything; we as humans cannot be owner of everything. Allah is limitless in His every Quality; but we cannot. Allah is owner of ‘Day of Judgment’; but we cannot. Allah is Creator and Sustainer of this universe; but we cannot. Allah is ‘samad’/ Self Sufficient; but we cannot. There is no equivalent to Allah; but we have so many equivalents. It is true Allah commands us to follow His some Qualities and Acts; but following such Qualities and Acts of Allah is called obedience to Allah because Allah has commanded us to follow those His Qualities and Acts, and secondly following any such Quality of Allah is subject to obedience to Allah; in other words, we should not follow any such Quality of Allah to the extent where we should fail to obey Allah. The reason is simple; primarily, we have been created to worship/obey Allah, NOT to imitate Allah.
From the foregoing, we can divide Allah’s ‘wahi’ into two categories. The first form of Allah’s ‘wahi’ is which is in the form commandments; following Allah’s such wahi is also called Obedience to Allah/ ‘Ata,at e Ilahi’. The second form of Allah’s ‘wahi’ is which is not in the form Allah’s commandments (e.g. informations, knowledge, examples, events, persuasion, Allah’s acts/sayings given in Quran). Following Allah regarding both categories of wahi is called ‘Itba,a e Ilahi’; in other words, Itba,a is following ‘wahi’ which is commandment as well as following wahi which is not commandment.
It may please be appreciated that there is a difference between Allah’s following/ ‘itba,a’ and following Allah’s ‘wahi’. Following Allah’s wahi is included in Allah’s following; but ‘Allah’s following’ is not included in ‘following Allah’s ‘wahi’. Because Allah’s acts.qualities and sayings are not confined to Allah’s wahi, Allah’s following cannot be limited to Allah’s wahi. Following/Itba,a means following an entity’s every act/saying/qualities-whether people are commanded or not thereof. But we cannot follow every act/saying/quality of Allah because we can follow only such acts/sayings/qualities of Allah, which are part of ‘wahi’ and outside the ambit of wahi we can neither know nor follow Allah- it means there is no such thing as ‘Allah’s following’. There is not a single Quranic verse which contains words ‘Allah’s following’; only ‘following Allah’s wahi’ have been mentioned at various places. We are under no obligation to follow Allah; we can only obey Allah OR follow Allah’s ‘wahi’.
However we are under obligation to follow our Nabi (ﷺ).
“Say, [ Muhammad ﷺ] "If you should love Allah , then follow me, [so] Allah will love you and forgive you your sins. And Allah is Forgiving and Merciful” (al-imran-31)."
In this verse, Allah is commanding people through our Nabi (ﷺ) that people should follow our Nabi (ﷺ).
As already stated, following/ ‘Itba,a’ of a person means to follow every act/saying/quality of that person- whether people are commanded to follow or not- therefore people are under obligation to follow our Nabi’s (ﷺ) every act/saying/quality-whether people have been commanded thereof or not by our Nabi (ﷺ). However such acts which have been explicitly prohibited by Allah or our Nabi (ﷺ) are not to be followed by the people (actually ‘not following’ such acts/sayings would have to be categorized as ‘following of commandments’; whereas regarding Allah's acts/sayings/qualities out side the ambit of wahi, we cannot say they are prohibited by any commandment because such qualities/acts/sayings are unknown to us and no positive or negative commandment has been passed about them by Allah so such qualities/acts/sayings of Allah are neither permissible nor prohibited to be followed ). In another verse Quran says:
“Follow/ittabi-u’ what has been revealed to you from your Lord and do not follow guardians besides Him, how little do you mind” (al-a,araf-3).
In this verse Allah commands people to follow what has been revealed to them. The previous verse tells people to follow our Nabi (ﷺ). As both verses are independent clauses- no one is subordinate to the other one- no one of them can override the other one. We can only adopt combined meanings of the two. The combined meaning is that people should follow the wahi; but in order to know how the wahi is to be followed, people should follow our Nabi (ﷺ). Because this is our Nabi (ﷺ) who (ﷺ) received ‘wahi’ and because our Nabi (ﷺ) was also to follow ‘wahi’, the best way for the people to know how to follow ‘wahi’ correctly was and is to follow our Nabi (ﷺ). Quran says:
“Follow/ ‘ittabi’, [ Muhammad ﷺ], what has been revealed to you from your Lord - there is no deity except Him - and turn away from those who associate others with Allah” (al-an,am-106).
This verse commands our Nabi (ﷺ) to follow ‘wahi’ because there is no deity except Him and turn away from those who associate others with Allah. This verse implies that following Allah’s wahi is relating to faith/belief in oneness of ‘Ilah’; the stronger a person is in faith, the more he would be able to follow wahi correctly. As our Nabi’s (ﷺ) faith is the strongest of all, he (ﷺ) is more likely than all people to follow wahi correctly. Moreover as our Nabi (ﷺ) followed wahi under Allah’s guidance which is called ‘wahi khafi’, all people have been commanded to follow our Nabi (ﷺ) in order to follow Allah’s wahi.
We may conclude that there is no such thing as Allah’s following. We can only obey Allah or follow Allah’s wahi. We are under no obligation to follow Allah; however we are under obligation to follow our Nabi (ﷺ) in all his acts/sayings/qualities- whether we have been commanded or not to follow such acts/sayings/qualities of our Nabi (ﷺ) except those which have been explicitly prohibited to be followed.