The Concept of Khalifah

I really dig those versus in the Qur’an where God states, “And do you not think?” “And do you not reflect?” Even the verbal root, ‘aqala, comes from the brain – to reason. Well, I have done some reflecting lately (well, actually, I’m always reflecting but whatever). Specifically on the concept of khalifah – God’s vicegerent on Earth. I was talking with some friends of mine, who aren’t Muslim, about evolution and whether or not Man was the most intelligent force on the planet. They sited that some animals have bigger brains (dolphins, whales and supposedly octopi have some evil-genius type of intelligence we don’t quite understand). I said that they may be right. We, as humans, may not be the most intelligent of species on Earth. But we are the most dominant. And I believe that’s where the concept of the khalifa comes in.

According to Divine Revelation, God appointed man as the greatest of His creation. In His appointment of that nothing was mentioned as to us being the most intelligent. As a matter of fact, we’re low man on the totem pole when it comes to many other characteristics when compared to other animals. We’re slow, easy to injure and don’t take well to exposure from the elements. True, our brains have allowed us to adapt to our fragile bodies such that we can over come those weaknesses. But it isn’t for intellect alone that we’re able to do so. I believe that that is from being Khalifah. Dolphins and whales do have enormous brains and even exhibit certain characteristics of higher intelligence (language, complex emotions) but have not risen to the level of dominance that we, as humans, have.

Some say this is a matter of evolution. Now, I don’t have a problem with the concept of evolution if it includes that fact that God is at the helm, directing it. That that direction is so vast, with so many variables over an enormous period of time, that we come to think of it as evolution (I do reject that it’s out there on its own changing itself – that would nullify God and His name as Al-Khaliq, The Creator). So, in looking at evolution, it seemed there point was that no other species on the plant has risen to dominate the way humans have because evolution has taken us along different paths. Here is where I say, “no”. It is also here that many of us part paths (philosophically speaking of course). I don’t believe it to be a matter of time or random chance that dolphins may one day rule the world (even though they may have a better environmental plan than we do). Rather, it is because God appointed us and there can be no other Khalifah – no other vicegerent. Well, that’s my ¢2 for the day.

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