Rafed English

The demand of the Divine Vicegerency [khila-fatullah] means absolute freedom of man

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

Sometimes, it can be said that man, according to the description of the Qur’an, is the vicegerent of Allah [khali-fatulla-h] and it means that he is the representative of God on earth and functions like God. Just as God has created the world, man has to “create” the phenomena, too. Just as God is managing the universe as He wills, man is in control of the earth and has to act as he likes.


The reply to the above doubt is this: The meaning of vicegerency of God must be understood correctly and it must be noted that the title, “vicegerent of Allah” [khali-fatulla-h] given to Hadrat A-dam (Prophet Adam) (‘a) in the Qur’an 84 is not pertaining to all the sons of A-dam because the Qur’an labels some of his sons as “devils” [shaya-t?i-n], stating:

“Thus have We appointed unto every Prophet an adversary devils of humankind and jinn.” 85

Undoubtedly, human devils are neither “vicegerents of Allah” nor included among whom the angels were required to bow down in prostration before them when God said:

“And (remember) when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am creating a mortal out of potter's clay of black mud altered. So, when I have made him and have breathed into him of My spirit, do ye fall down, prostrating yourselves unto him.” 86

The vicegerent of Allah [khali-fatulla-h] has great qualifications and characteristics, among which are: (1) knowledge of the names: “And He taught Adam all the names”; 87 (2) the vicegerent of God should have the competence to implement justice on earth. So, the wicked man who commits carnage on earth, feels no inhibition in perpetrating any sort of crime, and does not observe justice cannot be the viceroy of God. Is God iniquitous in that his envoy is also iniquitous? The vicegerent of Allah is he who manifests divine attributes in both his private and social life, and not just any two-footed beings.

Therefore, those who are endeavoring to misguide the people and topple down the Islamic government, apart from being not the noblest creatures, are exactly the same devils [shaya-t?i-n] from among mankind whom God regards as more abject than the animals and concerning whom He says:

“Lo! The worst of beasts in Allah's sight are the deaf, the dumb, who have no sense.” 88

The statement that the nobility of man lies on freedom and any thing that sets limit on freedom is condemnable and rejected is a deceptive slogan that has been brought up in the Western world, and in other countries also some have also accepted it without taking into account its ramifications, and they regularly stand on this proposition.

What is meant by saying that man must be absolutely free and should have no limitation whatsoever? Does it mean that there should be no mandatory law? No rational person will ever accept it because it implies that everyone is free to do whatever he likes. Everyone is free to commit murder, to encroach upon the chastity of people, and create disorder in the society!

Without doubt, the first harm and defect of such thinking will be inflicted upon its proponents. Is it possible at all to live in a society wherein such a freedom has taken root? As such, there is certainly no unlimited freedom and man is not free to do whatever he likes at any time.

After it became clear that freedom is limited and conditional, this question comes to the fore: Who is the one that determines the scope and limitation of freedom?

And where are the bounds and limits of freedom? If every person is supposed to determine the extent, limit and boundary of freedom for himself, the result will be this: everyone will do whatever he likes, and it will experience the problem related to the absolute freedom. So, having no good option, to refer to a law must be considered in describing and determining the scope, limit and boundary of freedom.

In this case, if a person accepts that God exists Who knows better what is good and bad for man than what he himself knows, that no benefit from the life of human beings will reach Him, and that He only wishes for the good of His Servants, is there anybody for him who is more deserving to determine the limit of freedom? Thus, there is no contradiction in the intellectual and belief system of Muslims because they believe in God Who knows best what is good and bad for human beings and what will cause them felicity, and He, too, has announced the limit and boundary of freedom.

If we did not believe in God, however, or assuming to have belief in monotheism we did not recognize God as the Authority in determining the limit and boundary of freedom, we would be inflicted with thousands of mischief, for never would all the people arrive at a unanimous view and opinion.

Now, even if there were a majority and it embarked on determining the limits of freedom, how could the minority that does not accept the limits of freedom determined by the majority get its rights? Thus, though freedom is a beautiful and attractive term, it is not absolute and unlimited, and no one can have an absolute freedom.

Notes :

84. In this regard, God says: “And when thy Lord said unto the angels: Lo! I am about to place a viceroy in the earth, they said: wilt Thou place therein one who will do harm therein and will shed blood, while we, we hymn Thy praise and sanctify Thee? He said: Surely I know that which ye know not.” (Su-rah al-Baqarah 2:30)

85. Su-rah al-An‘a-m 6:112.

86. Su-rah al-Hijr 15:28-29.

87. Su-rah al-Baqarah 2:31.

88. Su-rah al-Anfa-l 8:22.

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