The Holy Prophet, peace be on him, was raised so that man’s freedom of faith and freedom of conscience may be guaranteed, and man, by carrying out divine commandments in freedom, of his own will and volition, and being surcharged by the love of God Almighty, should devote himself to, and offer himself as a sacrifice in, the cause of Allah.
God has said: Thy people have rejected the message that We have sent through thee, though it is the Truth. Tell them: I am not appointed a guardian over you (6:67). The Arabic expression vakil, employed in this verse, means guardian, watchman, one with authority to restrain from vice forcibly. Thus this verse sets forth: I am not your guardian, in the sense that I have not been authorized to force you to accept the message that I have brought, and that you should proclaim your faith in it. I am only a warner. Having conveyed the message to you clearly I have discharged my responsibility. If you deny the message, God will be wroth with you and you would witness that of which I am warning you. God will call you to account for your denial (Tafseer Ruhul Bayan Vol. III p. 48).
Another eminent commentator has said: The verse means: I have not been appointed a guardian over you so that I should punish you or call you to account for your rejection of the message I have brought you, and your turning away from the reasons that have been clearly expounded to you. It is not my function to punish you and to chastise you. I am but a warner. It is Allah Who will call you to account and punish you. That is not my function (Tafseer Kabir of Iman Razi, Vol. IV p.65).
In another commentary the verse has been interpreted as meaning: I have not been appointed that I should perform your duty in your place. It is your business to listen to the reasons, to reflect upon them and to accept them and to partake of their blessings. I have not been authorized to force you to do this. It is your business and you have to do it; I have not been appointed to supervise your conduct so that I may punish you. I am but a warner and I have left out nothing in warning you. To Allah pertains calling you to account. My function is only to convey the message and to warn you (Tafseer Ruhul Maani, Voll11 Part VII, p. 182).
In the commentary Al-Manar of Muhammad Abduhu, published in 1928 by Muhammad Rasheed Raza, the verse is interpreted as meaning: Tell them, O Prophet; I have not been appointed a guardian (an authoritative officer) over you. I have been sent only as a Messenger.
He observes: Vakil means one who is placed in charge of the affairs of another. Such appointment carries authority and force with it. Thus if a ruler appoints someone as his representative or as governor of a province, or as manager of an estate, he would have authority from the ruler to exercise compulsion over the people in respect of their mistakes and defaults, but a Messenger is not appointed by God to punish. God has reserved that for Himself. A Messenger is charged with conveying the message which God Almighty sends down to him for the people. He admonishes the people and teaches them and gives them glad tidings that if they would follow the guidance they would become the recipients of God’s bounty, and warns them that if they would turn away God would be wroth with them and they would be called to account by Him. He establishes the religion of Allah among the people through his admonitions and teachings and glad tidings and warnings. This is his function. He is not a representative of his Lord Who sends him, in the sense that he is authorised to reward or punish on behalf of God. This is not the function of the Messenger, nor is he bestowed such power by God Almighty. Had he been authorised to punish or to discipline, God Almighty would have bestowed upon him the power to do so, whereas we know that he passed the whole period of his prophethood in Mecca as an oppressed person.
He adds that the Holy Prophet had not been bestowed power by his Lord to rule over his people like God, and to compel them to believe, that is to say, to believe and to continue to believe and to act in accordance with their belief. Thus there is neither permission to compel nor the power to do so. He cannot force people to act contrary to their inclinations.
He has cited several verses in support of his thesis. He construes: There shall be no compulsion in religion (2:257); as both laying down a principle and as a command addressed to the Holy Prophet, peace be on him. Thus the Holy Prophet was directed that he was not to exercise compulsion in matters of religion; he was to admonish, for he was but an admonisher (88:22) and had no authority to compel people (88:23). This has been interpreted as meaning that the Holy Prophet had not been set in authority over people to compel them to carry out his will and to accept that which he believed to be the truth. He then cites: We know well what they say, and thou hast not been appointed a despot over them. So admonish, by means of the Quran, him who fears the warning (50:46). The Holy Prophet had no responsibility in respect of those who did not fear God’s warning. God well knew all that they said in refutation. Then it is said: Thou art not charged with guiding them to the right path; it is Allah who guides whomsoever He pleases (2:273). He then says that vakil connotes a guardian to whom God may have committed authority to punish creatures for their sins.
So that the purport of the verse is that God Almighty had not committed to the Holy Prophet the divine authority whereby God rewards the doers of good and punishes the doers of evil. The Holy Prophet’s function is to convey to the people God’s message, His teaching and His perfect law which are comprised in the Holy Quran and have been communicated to man through him.