One of the fundamental principles in Islam is that Muslims obey the prophet Muhammad, obey him in what he has ordered, and obey him in what he has forbidden.
This fundamental principle is stipulated in the Quran itself:
Say: "Obey Allah and His Messenger": But if they turn back, Allah loveth not those who reject Faith.
: O you who believe! Obey All‚h and obey the Messenger (Muhammad SAW), and those of you (Muslims) who are in authority. (And) if you differ in anything amongst yourselves, refer it to All‚h and His Messenger (SAW), if you believe in All‚h and in the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination.
This rule is stipulated in many more verses, but the above 2 should be enough for now.
A certain missionary has a problem with this though, and that missionary is none other than Sam Shamoun, he contends:
further evidence that Muhammad is Allah's equal it is important to note that Islam isn't merely centered on submission to Allah. it also entails fully submitting to Muhammad. In other words, a true Muslim isn't one who merely surrenders to Allah but also completely surrenders his/her entire will and decisions over to Muhammad! Doesn't this clearly prove that a Muslim must submit to Muhammad in the same way and to the same degree that s/he submits to Allah? (http://www.answeringislam.net/Shamoun/serve_besides_allah1.htm)
Shamoun yet again shows how he is completely ignorant in Islam and ignorant in general. This also shows why he also believes Jesus is God, since he is too ignorant to think properly.
It seems I have to teach Shamoun the basics of Islam yet again, while refuting his absurd claim that Muslims submit to the blessed prophet Muhammad in the same way or degree to Allah. This article should also be helpful for Muslims who want to understand the nature of the Sunnah, and its authority.
Now the reason why Muslims submit to the prophet Muhammad, in the rules and orders he has made, in what he has forbidden and what he has made legal, is because God himself has commanded us to! Hence when a Muslim obeys the prophet Muhammad, he is obeying none other than God because God has told us to obey the prophet. To disobey the prophet Muhammad is to disobey God because you have not followed God's order, which is to obey the prophet Muhammad.
For instance when God commanded Iblis to bow to Adam, Iblis refused, and God condemned him for refusing to bow, because he had directly contradicted and disobeyed God's command. Does this mean that if Iblis bowed to Adam, would it mean that Adam was equal to God? Off course not, it would simply be Iblis submitting his will to God, by following God's rule and command.
So therefore our submission and obeying the prophet Muhammad is a submission to God because we are directly obeying God's command by him commanding us to obey his final and last messenger.
Off course to Muslims this is very simple and we understand this, but even the simplest things are confusing for a pagan, hence we can excuse Shamoun as he is a polytheist.
Secondly, the reason why the Muslims obey the prophet in his Sunnah, what he has enjoined and what he has forbidden, is because the Sunnah is from God! The Sunnah rules of the prophet Muhammad are not his own personal desires, rather they are from God himself:
Narrated Al-Miqdam ibn Ma'dikarib:
The Prophet (peace_be_upon_him) said: Beware! I have been given the Qur'an and something like it, yet the time is coming when a man replete on his couch will say: Keep to the Qur'an; what you find in it to be permissible treat as permissible, and what you find in it to be prohibited treat as prohibited. Beware! The domestic ass, beasts of prey with fangs, a find belonging to confederate, unless its owner does not want it, are not permissible to you If anyone comes to some people, they must entertain him, but if they do not, he has a right to mulct them to an amount equivalent to his entertainment. (Sunan Abu Dawud, Book 40, Number 4587)
As you can see the prophet Muhammad made it clear that he was given the Quran AND something that is like it, and that something else happens to be the Sunnah. Notice how the prophet even goes on to warn people against heretics who will only go by the rules of the Quran and ignore the Sunnah that the prophet has been given.
Just go look around you today and you will find these heretics everywhere, we know them as Qurani's, a false title it must be said, as these people don't even follow the Quran as the Quran commands the Muslim to follow the Sunnah! Hence the true Quranis are the True Muslims who follow the Quran and hold fast to the Sunnah! These heretics should be given a new title; we should call them the rejecters, not the Quranis.
So back to the point, the Sunnah is from Allah, it is not the Prophet Muhammad's personal desires, rather he has been taught these rules, and they have been given and taught to him separately from the Quran.
This is exactly and directly why when you obey the prophet, you are obeying God, because what the prophet has, and what he is telling you pertaining to the religion is all from God! This is why God himself has told you this:
004.080 YUSUFALI: He who obeys the Messenger, obeys Allah: But if any turn away, We have not sent thee to watch over their (evil deeds).
So let us move to the next point. Does all of this mean we submit ourselves to the prophet Muhammad in the same equal manner as we do to Allah?
The answer is NO, and only an ignorant person who lacks understanding would think such a thing!
We Muslims do not pray to the prophet Muhammad, nor are we commanded to. No companion of the prophet ever prayed to the prophet Muhammad, and the prophet never commanded them to do such a thing. We Muslims do not even seek the prophet's mercy and help from his grave, and the companions never did such a thing, and nor did the prophet command such a thing. We Muslims do not make vows or oaths on neither the prophet's name, nor do we sacrifice animals in the prophet's name, and neither did the companions, and never did the prophet command such a thing.
So no, the Muslims do not submit themselves to the prophet Muhammad as they do to Allah, it is not equal, nor is it even close.