In the Name of Allah the Beneficent, the Merciful
To all sincere and faithful believers at every place...Peace and Blessings be upon you. We would like to attract your attention to the importance of our topic which we will now discuss and direct our spotlights on. Its importance is derived from its direct relationship with the content of your faith and the foundation which this faith is built on. This foundation which if it becomes shaken or imbalanced, your whole building of faith will be imbalanced. This building of faith with which and you will meet your Lord on the Day of Judgment when you hope to attain His mercy and forgiveness and salvation from punishment which is inflicted on the nonbelievers, infidels, the stubborn, and those who go astray. The well-being of this foundation and content is a safety valve in your lives. That's why you should be sure that this foundation and content is intact all the time. Especially when you see brothers and sisters who were among you at one point in time, but they went astray and easily failed the test. They deviated from the right path when they neglected and abandoned checking the safety and well-being of these foundations and its content. So their building became disturbed and collapsed through them in Hell-Fire, despite their many good deeds. It is not important to have a beautiful and tall building. Rather, what's important is the well-being of its foundation, pillars, and essence. A simple house made up of one floor only, but is strong and safe in its foundation is much better than a tall skyscraper that is beautiful and amazing as it stands proudly in the sky, but its foundation is weak and shaky, and any blow of wind may threat its existence. After all, if its foundation is weak and shaky, it will not be able to stand firmly in front of the trials and tribulations. Truthful is Allah the Great when He (SW) said Surat Al Nisaa "A believing slave woman who believes is better than an unbelieving woman, even though she allures you [2:221]." He (SWT) also said, "Have you not considered how Allah sets forth a parable of a good word (being) like a good tree, whose root is firm and whose branches are in heaven [14:24]." This means it does not have a stable, strong, or safe foundation. Our topic today which we'd like to shed some light on is one of the main foundation and pillars in faith, so pay attention and listen carefully. Our topic is the divine selection and the human selection, and the difference between both, and their relationship to the main structure and skeleton of faith building.
The human selection or choice is the selection or choice which humans make to those whom they desire, for a position, or mission, or leadership, or national representation, or a special role. This type of selection is usually built on rules and basis that is determined by the people themselves, or could be decided for them by their Lord. However, they have to make that choice based on these guidelines and regulations. This type of choice is often times influenced by personal interests and benefits, and conspiracies and twisting the rules. The human selection here is generally built on logical rules and on what humans usually agree on and are within the boundaries of human knowledge. The people are responsible of their choices in front of others and they will be held accountable on it and evaluated based on it. It is the other people's right to accept and abide by the selection made by other, or to reject it and make their own choices based on their opinion regarding the rules and conditions of the selection. Or based on their accusation to others who make the selection that they didn't follow the rules that are agreed upon or which they have been ordered to follow by their Lord. Ultimately, Allah (SWT) will hold everyone accountable, based on the sincerity of their intentions, their efforts to do the right, and the purity of their hearts. He (SWT) will forgive whomever He (SWT) pleases and whoever asks for his forgiveness. He (SWT) will punish whomever He pleases and He (SWT) is the most Merciful, so long as the choice is left for the people. The loyalty and sense of belonging of the people to those whom they select is collateral to the well-being of the process of selection itself and the performance of the chosen individuals in their roles and mission, as the people see and evaluate according to their knowledge, understanding, inclinations, self-interests, and their loyalties. A typical example for this is when the people choose and select their representative in the national assembly or congress. And when they choose their president, their mayor, or their governor.
As for the divine selection, it is the selection made by Allah (SWT) alone to certain individuals for a specific mission or role, or leadership or rulership, or prophecy or guardianship, or honorship or to convey a message. Usually, this choice is based on the ultimate divine wisdom which the people cannot encompass or know its reasons. It is also built on basis and criteria which Allah (SWT) knows. It is also based on the absolute knowledge of Allah (SWT) for anything and everything. The people have nothing to do with this divine selection at all. Their only choice is to listen and obey whether they're convinced or not, agree or not, desire or not, love or nor, and understand or not. Just like Allah (SWT) is not to be questioned about His choice and it is not the right of creation to question Him about the reason of His choice, since His knowledge is absolute while their knowledge is limited.
The divine selection is always pure, clean, and purified from human desires, plots, personal interests, sneaking around, and corruption of the selves and hearts. The most important thing that distinguishes a divine selection is it being compulsory and obligatory, and it is a twin to the faith in Allah (SWT) and His obedience. Therefore, the divine selection is one of the cornerstones and basis to the building of faith. Not obeying and submitting to this divine selection is clear (Kufr) infidelity and deviance from the circle of faith. Allah (SWT) does not accept that at all and there is no hope for forgiveness here. There is no option except immediate expulsion from the mercy of Allah (SWT) as He says, "Surely Allah does not forgive that anything should be associated with Him, and forgives what is besides that to whomsoever He pleases; and whoever associates anything with Allah, he devises indeed a great sin [4:48]. To make your mind and judge if you are going to obey the divine selection or not, this is a clear shirk because in that case, you are equalizing between the divine selection and your own selection and you want to choose between them. This is exactly the meaning of polytheism! As the holy verse says, "Have you seen him who takes his low desires for his god [25:42]?" Such a person deserves to be expelled from the mercy of God. Even if God gave him ample time, his fate will eventually be Hell-Fire, except if he repents, believes, and returns to the way of submission and surrender to the divine selection before his death. This aspect in particular makes this topic vital, grave, and very important. Most people overlook this while it can easily lead them away from the circle of faith and invalidate their good deeds. It could easily admit them to the circle of polytheism (shirk) and infidelity. In summary, if Allah (SWT) selects or chooses, a believer should submit blindly and completely and obey this choice and selection. There is no other option for the believer, that is, if he wants to continue to be a believer. This is contrary to human selection or matters where the selection process is left for the people. So if they made a good choice, they will get the reward from the Lord. And if they made a bad choice, it will work against them. But still, they should seek the forgiveness and mercy from Allah (SWT).
The loyalty and sense of belonging of humans to the divine selection is directly proportional to their loyalty and sense of belonging to Allah (SWT) Himself. Hence, it indicates the degree of their faith in Allah (SWT) Himself. This is totally opposite to what happens in human selection. It is very important and rather necessary that the distinction and contrast between the divine selection and the human selection be made very clear in our minds and never interfere with each other, even if the two selections coincide or match each other. The contrast and distinction in our minds should continue to exist because this will surely be reflected in our loyalty, obedience, and sense of belonging.
To demonstrate the importance of that, we will give you the following important example. Suppose that Allah (SWT) chose a particular man for a specific mission or leadership for a specific wisdom. However, this man possesses worldly qualifications that also make him qualified to the divine selection according to human rules and standards. In other words, if the matter was left for the people to choose according to worldly standards, they will definitely choose the same man that Allah (SWT) chooses since he possesses all of the necessary attributes from their own perspective which makes him qualified to carry out this role and take on this leadership position. So they are convinced that the man is really fit for the role which Allah chose him for. Here, the divine selection matches with the human selection. Despite that fact, it is very important to protect the infrastructure and sacred divine building of faith in order to keep the distinction between the two selections in our minds and not mix them together. Thus, we don't follow that leader and obey and feel loyal to him based on his worldly qualification or attributes which we consider him fit for leadership (e.g. his courage for example or his trustworthiness or his justice). Rather, as believers, we should continue to be loyal to that leader first and foremost, because of the divine selection to him. So our obedience is mainly to the divine selection and we set aside our personal opinions.
The importance of this arise from the fact that if the two types of selection become mixed and confused in the minds, the humans will slowly and gradually forget the sanctity of the divine selection to that chosen person. Man will remember only his human qualifications which qualify him to his mission. Gradually, the believer may fall into danger where the devil may seduce him without him knowing so. Suppose for example, that he saw a circumstance where the divinely selected leader contradicted what the person thinks should be done, or if he hears something from the leader which he didn't accept, or think that there is a deviation from the leader's qualifications based on human standards. Here, this person may become less loyal, less, committed, or less obedient to this divinely selected commander. He may even rebel against the leader and disobey, argue, or reject his leadership! The reason behind all that is that he did not keep in mind the necessity of making distinction between the divine selection and the human selection. He should keep in mind that this leader is first and lastly divinely selected and no one has the right to argue or question him, regardless of his human attributes from his point of view which qualifies the leader for human selection too. After all, divine selection is more important and everlasting and is the one which should be in front of your eyes all the time in order to avoid seduction of the devil. This way, your loyalty to the individual whom Allah (SWT) has chosen will continue to be perfect and complete. It will be driven by the obedience of Allah (SWT) Himself! And if you wish to invite other believers to obey that divinely selected leader, do not invite them based on his personal and human worldly attributes which qualify him for the divine selection. Rather, invite them first based on the fact that it is a divine selection and no one can question God about His choices. This is best for them and for the security of their faith and for the continuation of their obedience to this divinely appointed leader and respect of his orders. That is because humans are always unstable in their opinions and thoughts, and they are usually rebellious. Whomever they choose today, they may reject and abandon tomorrow. Whomever they love today, they may hate him tomorrow. So it is not appropriate to let the divine selection be collateral and be subject to the desires of the people and changes in their views, tendencies, opinions, and sicknesses of their hearts and souls. That's why distinction between the two selections will always protect the divine selection. And if you obey the same person because of your personal beliefs and conviction of the attributes of such person, you are disrupting the concept of true obedience to Allah (SWT). It will be like two persons; one performs prayer because praying it is an order of Allah (SWT) which he should listen and obey. And the second person prays because prayer benefits the body and soul and teaches good manners and patience. The second person would be going against the principle of absolute obedience to Allah (SWT) since he is involving his own personal beliefs and desires (even if they were true) in carrying out the order of Allah (SWT). This is not acceptable because it opens the door for personal desires and opinions (which are themselves changeable) to have an effect and role in the absolute obedience of Allah (SWT). This is totally rejected and leads to destruction, seduction, and falling into mischief and sins! So, obedience should be for the sake of obedience first and lastly, and this should be very clear in the mind of the believer, and therefore, be reflected in his behavior and relationship with His Lord. His personal beliefs and conviction has nothing to do with this concept at all, so long as it is an order from God.
We should follow and obey Muhammad, believe in him, love him, respect him, and take him as our prophet, messenger, Imam and guardian, and our role model. That is because Allah (SWT) chose him for prophethood and for this great position. He (SWT) ordered us to do so, not because Muhammad was trustworthy and truthful, and not because of his very high personal behavior and manners, and not because of his strength, courage, justice and compassion. Even if all these attributes make him qualified for that position which Allah (SWT) gave him, still, the distinction between divine and human selection in our minds and souls should continue to exist, even if both selections coincided and agreed with each other.
Allah (SWT) have taught us in His Holy Book when He spoke about His selection for Taloot to be King over the sons of Israel, despite the contradiction of the human selection with the divine selection in this case, and the protest of some Jews on the divine selection due to the criteria which their selections are based upon. They saw from their personal point of view that a king must be wealthy and possess lots of money and property. They also saw themselves more qualified for kingship than him. So they openly and publicly showed their protest to their prophet. Their Prophet (SA) told them according to the narration of Allah (SWT) in the Quran as indicated in Surat Al Baqara, Verse 247: "Allah has chosen him over you. He increases him in knowledge and bodily strength."
The distinction in this holy verse is very clear as Allah (SWT) first mentions that He (SWT) has chosen him over you. This is the divine selection. Since Allah (SWT) chose him, then you must listen, obey, follow and submit to Him without any argument or protest, that is, if you are true believers. Then after that, Allah (SWT) mentions to them some of the reasons and wisdom behind His selection in that Allah (SWT) increased him in knowledge and physical strength. This is a human standard which qualify him according to their point of view regarding kingship. However, Allah (SWT) mentioned that after emphasizing and highlighting the principle of divine selection. By that, Allah (SWT) keeps the distinction between the two selections clear so the believers would have a clear picture and learn the importance of this distinction in order to avoid falling into sin, mischief, and seduction of the devil.
We have seen what Allah (SWT) did with Satan (Iblees) when he refused the divine selection of Adam to be honored and prostrated to. Satan argued and tried to involve his own desires, interests, and personal measures and standards in the matter. He was the first one to use comparison in the matter and so he said, "I am better than him; you created me from fire and created him from clay [7:12]. And how can fire prostrate to clay? And I will not prostrate to a human being whom you created from clay." Satan used his personal comparison and standards with the divine selection. Now, what was the sentence of Allah (SWT) on him? And what was his punishment? Certainly, it was the immediate, decisive, and final expulsion from the mercy of Allah (SWT)! So Allah (SWT) said, "Then get out of it, for surely you are rejected, accursed. And the curse shall be on you till the day of Judgment." [15:34-35] He (SWT) also said: "Get out from this, disgraced and expelled [7:18]."
This is the ruling and sentence of Allah (SWT) on everyone who acts like him and refuses, argues, and does not follow the divine selection, whether it was selection of the prophets, messengers, guardians, executors of will, or those who have special roles, or the commanders, kings, or the honored, the close ones, or places, or events, or providence, or incidents, or time, or days. On the other hand and with the same importance, we should know that our rights and obligations towards any person, creature, or anything that is divinely selected are totally different from the rights that are given to them as a result of human selection. The first would be divine rights, and the second is worldly human rights. The first is sacred and protected rights which derive its sanctity from Allah (SWT) and it is not permissible to interfere with it. The second is judicial rights which are controlled by human laws and legislations. The prevention of those who have divine rights from their rights and from practicing their roles is a crime against Allah the Creator Himself. There is no punishment to it except eternal abode in Hell-Fire because those who take these rights lightly are not taking Allah (SWT) seriously. And those who are not take Allah (SWT) seriously are certainly committing infidelity, polytheism, and disbelief. The one who don't respect these divine rights is challenging Allah (SWT), therefore, he deserves His wrath, anger, curse, and punishment from Allah (SWT), and surely Allah (SWT) is not unjust to His servants!
As for preventing the owners of the earthly and worldly rights of their rights, this is an earthly crime where Allah (SWT) gives ample time for he who commits it to repent if he returns the rights back to its owners. And in the Hereafter, Allah (SWT) may forgive or punish and He (SWT) does as He (SWT) pleases. Therefore, we must always distinguish between the two cases; between the two crimes, and between the two who commit these crimes. They are never the same in front of our eyes and minds. He who prevents the divine right from reaching its owner is the worst criminal because he is very dangerous, cursed, and expelled from the mercy of Allah (SWT). His crime is heinous and is not to be forgiven. There is no correction to it because it is a crime towards Allah, the Great Creator and Lord. This criminal is not equal to any other criminal on earth and his crime is not comparable to the worldly and earthly crime.
If a prophet or messenger chosen by Allah (SWT) is prevented from performing his mission and conveying his message, then those who show animosity towards him, kill or expel him, is committing a heinous crime. Sure enough, Allah (SWT) has punished previous nations with eternal abode in Hell-Fire and curse in the life of this world and the Hereafter when they refused His divine selection. That was the punishment of the people of Noah, Hud, Saleh, Lut, Shoayb, Moses, and the sons of Israel when they belied their prophets and deprived them from their divine rights which Allah (SWT) gave them.
Just like it is necessary to distinguish in our minds the difference between the divine and human selection, it is also necessary to distinguish between the owners of the rights based on the divine selection, and the owners of the rights based on human selection. Even if the choices coincided and agreed on the same person. We must keep in mind that this person owns a right which has been given to him by divine selection. So, his right is great and must not be violated or usurped. Rather, it is incumbent on you to facilitate that the owner of this divine right successfully attain his right, with all your might and ability, even if you had to give up your soul, blood, money, and effort for that sake. All of that is considered to be struggle for the sake of Allah (SWT), and the rights of the owner of the divine selection is considered to be the word of Allah (SWT) which we should raise and elevate over anything no matter what it is. This is from the necessities of faith which is resulting and rising from the divine selection itself. Here, we must be careful not to mix up and confuse between the divine rights of the divinely selected one and between him deserving it even by human selection.
For example, if Allah (SWT) chose a person for commandership of an army, then based on that divine selection, this commander becomes the owner of a divine right which he earns because of the divine selection. So it is not appropriate for him to be deprived of his divine right under any circumstance. And if any person tried to deprive this commander from his divine right, we should stand up against that person and fight him until the command of Allah (SWT) is obeyed and this divinely appointed commander regains back his divine rights which have been violated, so that he can practice his role which Allah (SWT) chose for him. Carrying out the word of Allah (SWT) is a sacred struggle for the sake of Allah (SWT). If this divinely appointed commander who now has divine rights, is also qualified for commandership according to the earthly human standard because of his courage, wisdom, knowledge, insight, military skills, etc, according to this qualification, he would also earn worldly and earthly rights during his commandership. In this case, the two rights have coincided. But as we said before, we must not confuse between these two types of rights because of their agreement with each other. We hope that we made this important point clear and obvious so that the facts and rights are not mixed with each other. If we confuse these two types of rights, we would then be making it easier for some people to commit aggression on these divine rights and take them away from their true owners. Such aggressor who commits that may think that these rights are like other rights, but in fact, the difference is very great, the contrast is sharp, and the distinction is clear between the divine selection and human selection, and between the divine rights based on divine selection and the earthly rights based on human selection. Every believer and inviter to Islam must make this point very clear in front of his eyes and the center of his conscious so that he doesn't misguide or mislead or deceive. Nor let someone else gets misguided, misled, and deceived.
Prophet Moses (May Allah be pleased with him) was most worthy among the people to lead and command Bani Israel and deliver them from the aggression and oppression of Pharaoh and his associates. That is because of Moses' courage, wisdom, knowledge, strength, and military skills. However, the divine selection for him and the divine rights which he now has based on this divine selection is much more important and vital than anything else and we should be aware of that.
And the divine rights which Taloot gained by being a king chosen through divine selection should be made distinct in our minds. It should not be confused with his earthly right in kingship due to the increase in his knowledge and physical strength (and this is from the human standards in selection). So, if somebody stands between Taloot and his divine right given to him by Allah (SWT), as believers we should stand up against this criminal who tries to deprive the owner of the divine right from his right.
Likewise, Joshua bin Noon attained the guardianship over Bani Israel after Prophet Moses (May Allah be pleased with him) by divine selection. Therefore, this guardianship is his divine right which no one should dispute or prevent him from practicing his role. It is true that based on the worldly, earthly, and human standards, he also deserves the leadership after Moses (May Allah be pleased with him), due to his great courage, strength, pioneering in believing Moses and his unique support to him to the extent that Moses depended on him a lot. No one was closer to Moses than Joshua after the death of Aaron (May Allah be pleased with him). But despite that, the divine right of Joshua based on divine selection is most important and more worthy of concern. The scholars and inviters to Islam should clarify that to the people when they present the truth to them and they should be careful to clarify the difference divine selection and human selection and between the divine rights and worldly rights.
When we present to the people and to all of humanity the fact that Prophet Muhammad (SA) is the Seal of Prophets and Messengers, and when we invite them to Islam, we must present that to them from the stance that he has been divinely selected to be the Seal of Prophets. So he becomes an owner of divine rights which stem from the divine selection to him. After making sure that this has been established in their minds, and making sure that they believe in that sacred right, we will then talk to them about his manners, clemency, knowledge, courage, wisdom, personality, charisma, eloquence in speech, kindness, compassion, generosity, and the rest of these noble great attributes which also qualify him according to worldly and human standards, to lead humanity in its journey of faith.
When we present to the people the fact that Ali ibn Abi Taleb (AS) is the executor of will of Prophet Muhammad (SA) and the guardian of the Ummah after the Prophet, we should present that to the people from the stance that Ali is divinely selected for that role and that Allah (SWT) Himself have chosen and appointed him for this position and role. Based on that, he also has divine rights that are derived from the divine selection to him. After convincing them of that such that they believe in that divine right and this fact becomes clear in their minds, we would then talk to them about his virtues and kinship to the prophet, and his close attachment to him. And he being the first one to accept Islam, his struggle and fight for the sake of Islam, as well as his heroic achievements. We will then tell them about his knowledge, wisdom, eloquence, generosity, courage, chivalry, manners, and attributes which reached its peak and which no one after the Prophet reached it. All of that qualifies him to be the successor of the prophet and the guardian of the Ummah according to worldly and human standards. However, his divine right derived from thee divine selection to him is more great and important than his earthly and worldly qualification. After all, if the Muslims abided and recognized this distinction between the divine and human selection, they would never have deviated from following Ameer Al Momineen Ali ibn Abi Taleb (May Allah be pleased with him) after the demise of the Prophet (SA). They would never have accepted any substitute or replacement for him. They would never have violated his divine rights and committed aggression against him and failed to support him when he finally assumed the caliphate. Because by doing so, they would be committing a heinous crime in abandoning the divine leader appointed by God and by not submitting themselves to the divine selection. They would be mixing up between him being the guardian and the successor of the Prophet by the divine selection, and by him deserving caliphate by his worldly attributes.
When we present to humanity the fact that the eleven Imams from the sons of Ali ibn Abi Taleb (May Allah be pleased with him) are the guardians and legitimate Imams (leader) for the nation, we should present it to them on the basis that Allah (SWT) is the one who chose those eleven Imams, one after the another, as has been presented and narrated by the Holy Prophet who conveyed the order Allah (SWT). So those eleven Imams are the owners of divine rights in Wilayah, leadership, and guardianship. Their divine rights here cannot be disputed, denied, or competed except if the challenger to them is a nonbeliever. After presenting these facts to the people from this approach, and after they believe these facts completely, we can then talk to them about the virtues and unique characteristics and attributes, knowledge, and manners of those Imams which undoubtly qualify them over others to commandership, guardianship, and leadership, according to worldly and human standard.
And when we present to humanity the fact that the 12th Imam Al Hujjah ibn Al Hasan is the awaited and self-guided Imam, and that he will return and reappear when Allah (SWT) permits him to fill the earth with equity and justice. And that he is the Commander of the Time who is occulted, but he is alive and present, by the power of Allah (SWT) who is capable of everything. So, we should present this fact to them from the approach that Allah (SWT) is the one who chose that and selected this Imam. Prophet Muhammad (SA) and others have nothing to do with that selection. This is purely the divine selection, so it is incumbent on everyone to anticipate and be confident that it will happen. Everyone should be sure of the identity of the Commander of the Time (Imam Al Zaman) so the belief becomes complete in the heart and soul of the believer. This should be clearly distinguished from the fact that the Imam also deserves this great and important mission because of his earthly and worldly attributes. After all, the divine selection and its divine rights should be and is most important and vital.
We should present these facts as they are and as Allah (SWT) desired for it to be completely clear without any ambiguity. So whoever accepts, let him accept, and whoever refuses or denies it, let him do so, and everyone is ultimately responsible of his choices in front of Allah (SWT). We don't have to force the people to accept guidance; rather, we should try to guide them. We will not question them because they will eventually return back to Allah, and He (SWT) alone will question them. Tuba (a very special and unique place in Paradise) is for he who runs his life according to what Allah (SWT) ordered, designed, and chose. And he who treads on the right path to elevate what Allah (SWT) has elevated and put down what Allah (SWT) have put down. He who accepts the divine selection and respects the rights based on the divine selection, he who loves what Allah (SWT) loves and hates what Allah (SWT) has hate, he who chooses what Allah (SWT) chooses and abandons what Allah (SWT) abandons, this is the true faith and this should be the true Islam. Such is the real surrender and submission to the divine selection and it is the summit of faith and the target of all deeds and perfection of the religion. Just like we accept and surrender to the divine selection of oxygen alone from all other gases, to be the gas of respiration. And the divine selection for the sun stars to be the source of light and energy for us, over all other stars. And the divine selection for water to be our source of lives, over all other liquids. And the divine selection for the holy month of Ramadan to be the month of fasting. And the divine selection for the Kaaba to be the place in which we go for pilgrimage, and so on and so forth. There are countless divine selections in everything! We submit to them in our lives and in our world because we have no choice but to do so. Why then don't we do the same thing by our own free will with the same submission, surrender and certainty, to other divine selections related to our religion, beliefs and actions?! Even though in these cases, we have the choice and we are not forced! Why don't we do as the heavens and earths did when Allah (SWT) said to them, "Come voluntarily or involuntarily…". All of them answered, "We come voluntarily. We are not less than them, while Allah (SWT) granted us life and gave us sustenance and the best of everything which is the mind, thought, and will. And He (SWT) distinguished us with them over everything else in this life." So the least gratitude and thankfulness that we direct to this great God and Creator is to submit to His selection voluntarily by our own free will and out of love and conviction. This is the real meaning of Islam!