“Allah has promised those of you who believe and do righteous deeds that He will surely empower them as vicegerents in the land even as He empowered those that preceded them, and that He will firmly establish their religion which He has been pleased to choose for them, and He will replace the state of fear that they are in with security. Let them serve Me and associate none with Me in My Divinity.”
(Al-Qur’ān – 24:55)
This Aayat aims at warning the hypocrites that God’s promise to bestow His vicegerency on Muslims does not apply to those who only have Muslim names or who were registered as Muslims on the occasion of a census or at the time of their birth. That promise was in fact meant for true Muslims who are firm in their belief, who are righteous and God-fearing in their character and conduct, and who faithfully follow the religion of God, who are committed to purge themselves of every taint of polytheism and who worship with full devotion the One True God and none else. Those who are devoid of these qualities and only claim with their tongues that they are believers do not deserve to receive this favour, nor was the promise of this favour meant for them.
The term khilāfah means to possess the powers granted by God. In this sense all the descendants of Adam are vicegerents of God on earth. It also means to possess and exercise the powers of vicegerency within the parameters of God’s sovereignty and in accordance with God’s Will.