Freedom in the legal and political parlance: mastery over one’s destiny
- :Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi
Adopted from the book : "Freedom; The Unstated Facts and Points" by : "Ayatullah Misbah Yazdi"
One current meaning of freedom advanced in law and politics is freedom in the sense of “mastery over one’s destiny”. In this meaning, man is free in the sense that he is not subject to the sovereignty of others and he is the one determining the mode, nature and way of his own life. Naturally, on the contrary, a person who is under the domination of others, receiving orders from the latter to do or not to do something, and cannot act the way he likes, is not free.
Thus, freedom in the legal and political parlance of the contemporary world means the negation of the right of others to have sovereignty over man, even if they happened to be God, the Prophet, the Commander of the Faithful, 12 and the Ima-m of the Time 13 (‘a). 14 In this perspective, only man and his sovereignty right are genuine. If man himself willfully delegated this genuine right of him to God,
the Prophet or others, they will acquire the same right; otherwise, they do not have the right. In sum, “man is free” means that no one and no being has the right to trample on the right of man to have mastery over his destiny and to designate duties for his life and actions. In interfering on the affairs and lives of people, the jurist-guardian [wali- al-faqi-h], infallible Ima-ms (‘a) and the Prophet (s?),
who have their own particular stations, and even God Himself have to wait for their approval otherwise they have no right to issue decree and order to the people, and even if they did so, it has no value, and the people are not obliged to accept their enjoinment and prohibition.
We will examine this meaning of freedom in the future discussions. We will clearly explain the viewpoint of Islam on this issue.
12. The Commander of the Faithful: ‘Ali- ibn Abi- T?a-lib, cousin and son-in-law of the Prophet, and first of the Twelve Ima-ms after the Prophet. He exercised rule from 35/656 until his martyrdom in 40/661. See Yousuf N. Lalljee, ‘Ali the Magnificent (Qum: Ansariyan Publications, 1987); Muhammad Jawa-d Chirri, The Brother of the Prophet Mohammad (Ima-m ‘Ali), (Qum: Ansariyan Publications, 2000); George Jordaq, The Voice of Human Justice, trans. M. Fazal Haq (Qum: Ansariyan Publications, 1990). [Trans.]
13. It refers to Ima-m Muhammad ibn Hasan al-Mahdi-, the Twelfth and Last Ima-m from the Prophet’s Holy Progeny who is presently in the state of major occultation and will appear on the appointed time in the future to fill the world with truth, justice and faith after being engulfed by falsehood, injustice and unbelief.
For further information on the Islamic belief on the Mahdi-, see A-yatulla-h Ibra-hi-m Ami-ni-, Imam Mahdi: Just Leader of Humanity, http://www./mahdi/nontl/index.htm; A-yatulla-h Sayyid Muhammad Ba-qir as-Sadr and A-yatulla-h Murtada- Mut?ahhari-, Awaited Savior, http://www./awaited/index.htm. [Trans.]
14. The abbreviation, “‘a” stands for the Arabic invocative phrase, ‘alayhis-sala-m, ‘alayhimus-sala-m, or ‘alayha-s-sala-m [may peace be upon him/them/her], which is used after the names of the prophets, angels, Ima-ms from the Prophet’s progeny, and saints (‘a). [Trans.]
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