The authority to legislate belongs to God alone: He makes what He wills permissible or forbidden, according to His knowledge and infinite wisdom. His legislation is to ensure that both religion and life are on the proper course.

God’s legislation for religion and life: Both are the same.

The authority to legislate belongs to God alone: He makes what He wills permissible or forbidden, according to His knowledge and infinite wisdom. His legislation is to ensure that both religion and life are on the proper course. His commands apply to all those who are subject to them and cannot be removed at any time or place without His permission.

We do not differentiate between His legislation for religion and life, they are both religious and for life. The religious ones include prayer, fasting, the pilgrimage, glorifying Him and attending mosques. Those that are concerned with human life include commercial transactions, marriage, divorce, inheritance, etc. Whoever distinguishes between the two, assigning judgement over religious matters to God and giving to someone other than God the authority to rule over worldly or life matters is an unbeliever. Judgement belongs to God alone and whoever assigns this authority to anyone else is in the same position as one who says that prostration may be offered by right to someone other than God. He says:

‘All judgement rests with God alone’. (12: 40)

This was the way the Children of Israel became unbelievers, as God says:

‘They make of their rabbis and their monks, and of the Christ, son of Mary, lords besides God. Yet they have been ordered to worship none but the One God, other than whom there is no deity. Exalted be He above those to whom they ascribe divinity’. (9: 31)

In this verse God clearly describes their action as giving divinity to beings other than God.

God revealed His book and gave His legislation knowing what conditions will be like at all times and what had happened in the past. He also knew the exact situation at the time He bestowed His legislation from on high. His knowledge is not diminished because of an event that might have taken place in the past or may take place in the future. Nor is His knowledge increased because of an event that is happening at present. To Him, knowledge of the past, present and future is all the same. All glory be to Him.

Whoever believes that God’s legislation was only suitable for the time when it was revealed and in future people may legislate for themselves what they feel suitable, even though it may be in conflict with God’s legislation and judgement, is an unbeliever. Whoever says this starts from the premise that human knowledge of the present and what has not yet taken place is different, and as a result man’s judgement will differ according to the difference in his knowledge. He imagines that this also applies to God and thus gives present human knowledge a higher position than that of God’s knowledge at the time of revelation or what will happen in the future. This is blatant disbelief. God knows nwhat is witnessed in the here and now in exactly the same way as He knows what is beyond the present. As He describes Himself:

‘He knows all that is beyond the reach of human perception, and all that can be witnessed. Sublimely exalted is He above anything they associate as partner with Him’. (23: 92)

His judgement applies to what is witnessed in the same way as it applies to what lies beyond our perception. He says:

‘Say: “God! Originator of the heaves and the earth! You have knowledge of all that is beyond anyone’s perception and all that anyone may witness. It is You who will judge between Your servants concerning all that over which they differ”’. (39: 46)

His judgement applies to all His servants: those who are present and those who are not.

Whoever separates judgement on religious matters from that of life matters, assigning the first to God and giving man the authority to judge the latter, favours a multiplicity of legislators, while in fact God alone is the Legislator:

‘Do you, then, believe in some parts of the Scriptures and deny others?’ (2: 85)

Whoever denies any part of God’s book denies it all.

It is God’s commandment that judgement between people should be on the basis of what He has revealed to His messenger of the Book and wisdom. As God says to His messenger:

‘Hence, judge between them in accordance with what God has revealed and do not follow their vain desires, but beware of them lest they tempt you away from any part of what God has revealed to you’. (5: 49)

The verse relates to judgement in disputes between people. The Prophet is warned against submitting to any temptation that leads him to deviate from God’s judgement.

On questions where revelations do not give us any details competent scholars may deduce rulings, provided that the judgement they arrive at is not in conflict with any confirmed divine ruling.

People’s judgement that is in conflict with God’s ruling may not be given precedence. Had this been the case, prophets would have deviated from the truth. Prophets were sent to peoples who had already agreed among themselves what was contrary to the divine law, at least most of them, and in delivering their message prophets advocated what was contrary to the views of their communities.