The Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) is instructed in this verse to inform Banu Asad and all who would consider their acceptance of Islam a favour to others that the true motives and factors behind their actions and statements can not be hidden from Allah, so they should be honest and humble. The verse also contains a general reminder to the wise; nothing escapes Allah’s knowledge, therefore, the wise are those who are conscious of His presence at all times and act accordingly. They carefully perform all of their obligatory (fardh) duties, then they piously try to make up for the inevitable deficiencies by doing a host of voluntary acts of worship. These voluntary acts protect the obligatory duties from decay, for if someone who regularly does voluntary worship gets a bit lazy, he might neglect to do some of the voluntary acts but his obligatory acts of worship will remain intact. Whereas, if he did not have a protective shield of voluntary acts around his obligatory duties and he fell into a period of laziness, perhaps his obligatory duties might suffer. The more someone strengthens hisfardh by performing extra voluntary acts known as sunnah and nawafil, the more his life comes in conformity with the shari’ah, the will of Almighty Allah.
Allah conveyed this principle through the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) saying:
“The most beloved thing with which my slave may come close to me is what I have made fardh (obligatory) on him. My servant will continue to come close to me by doing voluntary acts of worship until I love him. When I love him, I will become his ears by which he hears, his sight by which he sees, his hand by which he grasps, and his foot by which he walks. If he asks Me anything I would give it and if he seeks refuge in Me, I will protect him.”
This close friend, wali, of Allah only hears, sees, grasps and walks toward what is halal (permissible) and cautiously avoids the haram(forbidden) as well as that which leads to it or resembles it. This is the only true goal worthy of dedicating one’s life. Its attainment is the perfection of the role of Khalifah, governor of the world, to whom Allah commanded the angels to bow. But it cannot be reached except by the route prescribed in Allah’s statement mentioned above. First the fardh obligations have to be completely established, then the prescribed voluntary acts of worship have to be performed consistently and according to the correct manner. Allah emphasized this method by telling His Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) to inform the Believer:
“Say, if you all love Allah, follow me (Muhammad) and Allah will love you.”
Therefore, Allah’s love can only be attained by strictly following the directives of His Apostle and avoiding all innovations in religious matters. This formula is contained in a previously quoted hadith in which the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) was reported by Abu Najih to have said:
“Keep to my sunnah and that of rightly guided Caliphs and bite on to it with your molars. But beware of innovations, for verily, they are all bid’ah (heresy), which themselves are all misguidance leading to the Hellfire.” [Collected by Abu Dawud (Sunan Abu Dawud (English Trans.), vol. 3, p. 1294, no. 4590) and At-Tirmidhi, and authenticated by Al-Albani in Sahih Sunan Abi Dawud, vol. 3, p. 871, no. 3851].sunnahonline.com