Rafed English

Creating ambiguity in defining the legitimate freedom

Adopted from the book : "Freedom; The Unstated Facts and Points" by : "Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi"

In reply to the above statement, it can possibly be said that we do not say to have absolute freedom. Our point is that there should be legitimate freedoms.


We ask this question: What do you mean by “legitimate”? Do you mean it a thing that the religious law accepts? In language, there are two meanings for the word “legitimate”. The first meaning is that which the religion has permitted. If what you mean is this one, then it is the same with what we are talking about, for we are saying that freedoms must be within a framework that has been allowed by the religion.

The other meaning of “legitimate” is that which is legal. According to this meaning also, in the Islamic Republic of Iran, as what the Constitution stipulates, the law must be concordant with Islam. Our Constitution monolithically shows that all rulings and laws must be consistent with Islam, and essentially, the philosophy behind the existence of the jurist-members of the Guardianship Council, 89 as per the Constitution, is to study the bills that the Islamic Consultative Assembly (the Iranian Parliament or Majlis) has approved so as to determine whether they are consistent with Islam or not.

Assuming that all the people and deputies in the Majlis (with the exception of the deputies of religious minorities whose rights are also reserved) are all Muslims, religious and committed. Nonetheless, sometimes it is also possible that they would be complacent and approve a thing that is inconsistent with Islam.

According to the Constitution, the bills of the Majlis should be examined in the Guardianship Council whether they are consistent with Islam or otherwise. The jurist-members of the Guardianship Council confirm the Islamic nature of the Majlis bills while the lawyers of the Guardianship Council confirm their compatibility with the Constitution.

If our Constitution does not regard it necessary (to check) the Islamic nature of the laws, what then is the philosophy behind the existence of the Guardianship Council? What for are all these emphases on the sovereignty of Islam and the absolute Guardianship of the Jurist that have been laid down in the articles of the Constitution?

Then, one should not be surprised if there are those who introduced themselves as legal experts would say: “Since the Constitution states that freedom should be respected, no religion and no law has the right to set limits on those freedoms”! Which one that the Constitution states: to have legitimate, or illegitimate freedoms? Do you yourselves say legitimate freedoms? What do you mean by “legitimate freedoms”?

If the word “legitimate” [mashru-‘] is taken from “religion or religious law” [shar‘], i.e. freedoms that the religion [shar‘] confirms, and by “legitimate” [mashru-‘] it means “legal”, then according to the Constitution, the freedoms that the religion and the law would confirm are the “legitimate” freedoms.

Notes :

89. To guard the laws of Islam and the Constitution against contradictions of the approvals of the Majlis, a council named Guardianship Council is set up in the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is composed of six just and learned jurists and six lawyers in various branches of the law (Art. 91 of the Constitution).

They will be appointed for a period of six years (Art. 92). The Islamic Consultative Assembly has no legal validity without the Guardianship Council (Art. 93). All bills approved by the Majlis shall be forwarded to the said Council for confirmation and to check them for compatibility with the Islamic tenets and the constitutional law (Art. 94). [Trans.]

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