Misinterpretation of 33:36

It is not for a believing man or a believing woman to have a choice in their affair
when God and His messenger have decreed a matter. Anyone who disobeys
God and His messenger has strayed a clear straying indeed.
33:36

The above Quranic words have been used by the hadith followers to claim that the hadith and sunna of prophet Muhammad are legitimate sources of law that all believers must uphold and obey, and that the Quran is not the only source of religious legislation.

On first impression, the words "when God and His messenger have decreed a matter" may appear to denote such an interpretation. However, God's precision in choosing Quranic words always exposes the false interpretations and instates the correct meaning of the Quranic words.

The truth shall be validated and falsehood shall be nullified, however much the criminals dislike it.
8:8

God, the Most Wise, knows all the Quranic verses that will be disputed, and also those that will be manipulated by those who attempt to instate other sources of law besides the Quran.
In order to aid the believers in attaining the correct meaning of such verses, God installs various keywords within such verses with the aim of guiding the believers to the correct meaning.
When we analyse the words used in 33:36 we find two such keywords. They are contained in the following sentence:

"When God and His messenger have 'qada' (decreed) a 'amran' (matter)".

First Keyword:

The first keyword is the Arabic word
'qada' which translates to: decreed.
This word, wrongly translated to "decided" by some translators is of prime importance.
God does not decide matters, God decrees matters. When a matter is decreed by God it is law and it must be obeyed by all mankind.
In all the Quran, we never find the words "God decided" but always "God decreed".
The act of 'deciding' is an act that can be exercised by humans. Decisions are not law, they are open to revision and amendment. However, what God decrees can never be changed, amended or reviewed:

There is no changing the Words of God.
10:64

More befitting of God's Majesty is to proclaim that the law of God is 'decreed' upon mankind rather than it being 'decided' for mankind.
Those who translated the word 'qada' in 33:36 as "decided" have totally dispersed the meaning of this glorious verse. In their attempt to employ a word that fits with the messenger making decisions, they compromised God's authority in decreeing laws.
Following from the above, it is necessary to determine who has the authority to decree religious laws for the people.

Shall I seek other than God as a lawmaker when it is He who has brought down to you the Book fully detailed? 6:114

As per 6:114, we learn that God is the only lawmaker.
To confirm God's exclusive right as the only lawmaker, we read in 66:1 of the incident when prophet Muhammad was reprimanded by God for prohibiting something that was made lawful by God. The prophet was reprimanded because he played the role of a lawmaker besides God:

O you prophet, why do you prohibit what God has made lawful for you, seeking to please your wives? God is Forgiver, Merciful. 66:1

The words in 66:1 do not only serve as a reprimand for the prophet, but they also serve as a reminder for all believers as to who has the exclusive right of lawmaking.
The messengers of God are not sent as lawmakers. Their only duty is to deliver the messages of God:

The sole duty of the messenger is the delivery (of God's message)
, and God knows what you reveal and what you conceal. 5:99

Following from the verses above (6:114, 66:1 and 5:99), which all confirm that God is the only lawmaker, we also have confirmation in Sura 10 that God alone has to authority to decree what is halal (lawful) and what is haram (prohibited):

Say, "Have you seen what God has brought down to you of provisions, of which you have made some unlawful and some lawful?" Say, "Did God give you permission, or are you fabricating lies about God?" 10:59

The significance of the words "Did God give you permission" (for what is lawful and what is unlawful) cannot be ignored. The only name mentioned in connection with granting permission for what is lawful and what is not lawful is the name of God.

Second Keyword:

"When God and His messenger have 'qada' (decreed) a 'amran' (matter)"
.

The second keyword in the above phrase is the word
'amran' which translates to 'matter'. We note that this word is singular and not the plural 'matters'. The deliberate use of the singular is of prime importance. The singular indicates that the matter 'decreed' by God is one and the same as the 'matter' decreed by the messenger. The messenger does not decree a matter that is different or independent from what God decreed.
Had the plural 'matters' been used this would have indicated that some matter is decreed by God while others may be decreed by the messenger.
The only case where the decreed matter by God is also the matter decreed by the messenger is if the messenger is the Quran.
The Quran is the Word of God. Thus, whatever is decreed in the Quran is nothing other than what God decreed.
Verse 33:36 is one of numerous Quranic verses where the messenger referred to is the Quran and not a human messenger.