The Sixty Eighth Call: The Obligation of Obeying Allah and the Messenger
Almighty Allah says (what can be translated as): “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.”
Almighty Allah directs the believers to obey Allah and His Messenger and fulfill all His commands and avoid his prohibitions. He forbids them from invalidating their good deeds by committing transgressions, major sins and hypocrisy and all the kind of bad deeds that would do away with the good deeds.
This directive suggests that within the Muslim community there were some who might not have been fully obedient, or who might have found it hard to fulfill some of the duties and sacrifices that combating the different powerful groups opposing Islam required. Some might have been tied by bonds of kinship or common interests with others on the opposing side and found it hard to sever such ties.
This directive had a profound effect on true believers. They were shaken by the implied threat that they might do something that would do away with their good deeds and bring them to nothing.
Several reports speak of the way this verse was received. One of them mentions that "the Prophet’s Companions used to think that when a person truly believed in Allah’s oneness, then no sin he committed would harm him, in the same way as no good deed is of any use when done by a person who associates partners with Allah. However, when this verse was revealed, they feared that sins might ruin their good deeds: “O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and do not invalidate your deeds.”
Abdullah ibn Omar is quoted as saying: "We, the Prophet’s Companions, used to think that every good deed would inevitably be accepted by Allah until this verse was revealed. We wondered what thing could render our deeds worthless. We thought that it must be major and grave sins. However, Allah revealed this verse: “Indeed, Allah does not forgive association with Him, but He forgives what is less than that for whom He wills. And he who associates others with Allah has certainly gone far astray.” (4: 116) We stopped speaking about this issue. We only feared for those who committed major sins and hoped for good reward for those who avoided them."
Such reports clearly show how true Muslims used to receive Qur’anic verses. They were profoundly affected by them, fearing every warning, careful lest it applied to them and keen to do what the Qur'an required of them. With such sensitivity, they achieved superb standards.