Rafed English

The necessity of delegation of auhtority by Allah

Adapted from: "The Uprising of Ashura and Responses to Doubts" by: "‘Ali Asghar Ridwani"

Some doubters say that if the Divine Lawgiver entrusts the matter of deciding when and how to hold religious rites to common parlance it follows that Allah has delegated religious lawmaking. They contend that this type of relinquishment is null and void.


Application of a general rule to a current specific instance does not amount to entrusting or delegating one’s lawgiving authority. Delegation in this sense is only true when the general rule has been obtained by common parlance. To put it another way, secondary meanings are of two types:

a. Predicate secondary meaning: in which the essence is consequential; hence, the predicate is also consequential, such as loss, sin, forgetfulness, disinclination, anxiety, etc.

b. Subject secondary meaning: which is defined as an instance that occurs to the subject, not to the predicate. The essences of these accompanying instances are not secondary but primary and only their subjects are secondary; such as instances which pertain to holding one’s parents in high respect and paying due honor to a guest and other topics of this kind.

Their predicates are primary, but their subjects are secondary; that is to say, different conditions apply in various instances.

About this particular matter, we say: paying due respect is a primary concept that is demanded by wisdom and divine law, but the customs and common practices that apply to paying due respect to others are subject to change and only originate in the subject of the predicate, not in the predicate itself.

In other words, respect itself is a constant, but the customs regarding respect vary. These customs have been entrusted to common parlance so long as there is no specific prohibition placed on the particular subject by divine law.

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