This is from the islamic-world.net forum, Letters to the Caliph. Dr Muhammad al’Mahdi gives a clear explaination on freedom and license.
Freedom is our ‘right’ to choose from within that range of behaviour that is acceptable, and acceptable is defined as that which is allowed by Allah. Every human being should be given total freedom to choose to act within that range of acceptable behaviour, but only to the degree that is commensurate with their ability to carry out that behaviour responsibly. Acting responsibly would generally mean acting in a manner that will not cause harm to ourselves, to others, or to property. For example, using a knife to slice vegetables is within the range of acceptable human behaviour; but a two year child has not progressed to a level of maturity where they can safely use a knife without danger. The total range of possible human behaviour is larger than the range of acceptable behaviour. To engage in that part of the total range of human behaviour which is outside the range of acceptable behaviour would be called taking license. License is therefore using your power to choose to act outside the range of acceptable behaviour.
Since no one has the ‘right’ to act outside the range of acceptable behaviour, although they have the ‘power’ to do so, it is allowable to have individual and social sanctions to restrict people from engaging in unacceptable behaviour. At the same time it is allowable to have individual and social rewards for acceptable behaviour which would encourage people to engage in acceptable behaviour. In human society each individual has been given by Allah the obligation to command acceptable behaviour and to forbid unacceptable behaviour. This is not a restriction of ‘freedom’ which would be wrong, but instead it is a restriction of ‘license’ which can only be right.