God made us his ‘Khalifa’ i.e. vicegerent on earth. In chapter 2 God relates a very interesting conversation with Angels regarding our role in this world.
وَإِذْ قَالَ رَبُّكَ لِلْمَلاَئِكَةِ إِنِّي جَاعِلٌ فِي الأَرْضِ خَلِيفَةً قَالُواْ أَتَجْعَلُ فِيهَا مَن يُفْسِدُ فِيهَا وَيَسْفِكُ الدِّمَاء وَنَحْنُ نُسَبِّحُ بِحَمْدِكَ وَنُقَدِّسُ لَكَ قَالَ إِنِّي أَعْلَمُ مَا لاَ تَعْلَمُونَ
Behold, thy Lord said to the angels: “I will create a vicegerent on earth.” They said: “Wilt Thou place therein one who will make mischief therein and shed blood?- whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” He said: “I know what ye know not.” (2:30)
The term ‘vicegerent’ is defined in the dictionary as “someone appointed to exercise all or some of the authority of another, esp.. the administrative powers of a ruler.” Our appointment as “vicegerent on earth” is a very powerful one, and sounds daunting if you look at it in this way.
Most of us fail to recognise this responsibility and most importantly the potential we have to fulfil this responsibility.
The verse also highlights our weaknesses that, Angels warned God, would hinder us in fulfilling this responsibility. We know well, how to do mischief and bloodshed on earth.
The verse made me think how well informed the Angels were, about this new creation and it’s characteristics. The second part of their statement that “whilst we do celebrate Thy praises and glorify Thy holy (name)?” hints to the fact that they were also very disappointed by this appointment and were probably expecting themselves to be given a chance.
But there was something they missed out on. The role probably required a lot more than just praises and glorification. The verse ends with God’s response: “I know what ye know not.” – mention of the term “Knowledge” and that is exactly what got us in this role.
Among us there are many who represent our weaknesses and we see this in wars and destruction all around us but at the same time we have this amazing potential to do God’s work on earth. That mean a lot.
Everything that happens on Earth is within our remits, even the natural disasters I would think. If we are God’s vicegerent on earth, are we doing justice to this role? why are we subservient to the wrath of the earth? Something to think about!