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The Islamic Khilafah

What does Islamic Khilafah mean?

The Islamic Khilafah is the way of ruling the Islamic Ummah after the death of the prophet (). The Islamic Khilafah can be rightly guided, i.e., it is according to the prophet's method. The rightly-guided Islamic Khilafah was established at the times of the rightly-guided Khalifahs after the prophet () (Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman, Ali, and another Khalifah who is frequently mentioned among the rightly-guided Khalifahs; Omar Bin Abdul-Aziz) (R.A.) These Khalifahs were rightly called "the rightly-guided Khalifahs" because one of their unique situation was that they were chosen by the Ummah to rule.

The Islamic Khilafah could be less guided. This happens when a person becomes a ruler by inheriting the khilafah, or through force. This happened in the Khilafah of the Bani Ummayat, the Abbassi, and OttomanKhilafah, which was ended in 1924.

What is the objective of the Islamic Khilafah?

The scholars have issue very smeller statements like "It is to guard the affairs of the Deen, and take care of the world's affairs politics after the prophet-hood." {Imam Al-Mawardi.}

The prophet Muhammad () had two great tasks to do for the Ummah. The first is conveying the message, the second is that he was the Imam (ruling leader, the chief commander) obeyed by all Muslims, and the implementer of the Islamic legislation. The first task was done and finished by his death. The second task is executed by whoever comes after the prophet (). {Shikh Al-Khudari}

The Islamic verdict concerning the Islamic Khilafah:

Establishing the Islamic Khilafah is an obligation upon every Muslim. It is in the category of obligations of Kifayah, which means if it is established by a group of Muslims, the Muslims will be free of this obligation and they are not sinful. If it is not established, all Muslims will be sinning. The Muslims will be free of this great sin only if they work hard and make their utmost efforts to establish the Islamic Khalifah.

Imam An-Nawawi said: "The scholars have consensus that the Khalifah must be appointed."

Imam Ibn Khaldoon said: "Appointing the Imam is obligatory which was known to every one with the consensus of the companions and their followers. The companions of the prophet () hurried to appoint Abu Bakr (R.A.) as their Khalifah after the death of the prophet (). The Muslims had a Khalifah in every age afterwards, and they were not left in chaos (without a Khalifah) in any age. This was viewed as a consensus among the scholars that the Imam (Khalifah) must be appointed. {Book AL-Muqadimah, p 210}

Imam Ibn Taimiyah said: "It is a must that the Khilafah be considered as a debt and as something to get us closer to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) because getting close to Him (سبحانه و تعالى) by obeying Him and His messenger is one of the best ways." {Book As-Sisah As-Shar'iyah}

The Islamic scholars issued their verdict that the Khilafah is obligatory based on many evidences, among which:

Allah (S.W.T) said in surat An-Nisa', (Verses 59), what can be translated as, "O you who believe! Obey Allah and obey the Messenger (Muhammad) and those of you (Muslim) who are in authority…" In this verse, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) ordered us to obey those who are entrusted to take care of our affairs. This obligation can not be realized until a Khalifah is appointed. Imam Al-Mawardi says: "Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) ordered us to obey our care takers who were appointed to rule us."

Allah (S.W.T) said in surat Al- Hadid, (Verses 25), what can be translated as, "Indeed We have sent Our Messengers with clear proofs, and revealed with them the Scripture and the Balance (justice) that mankind may keep up justice. And We brought forth iron wherein is mighty power, as well as many benefits for mankind, that Allah may test who it is that will help Him (His deen), and His Messengers in the unseen. Verily, Allah is All-Strong, All-Mighty." In this verse, Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) clarifies to us the mission of the messengers and those who come after them. Their mission is to establish justice amongst people and this can not occur unless with appointing a Khalifah who establishes justice. Imam Ibn Taimiyah says concerning this verse: "That is why the prophet () ordered his Ummah to appoint leaders on them, and ordered those leaders to return the trust to the right owners and that if they rule, they are to rule with justice. The prophet () ordered the people to obey those leaders as long as they obey Allah." {Book Al-Hisbah}

Imam Ibn Taimiyah also says: "It is essential that we know that leadership is one of the most greatest obligators of Deen. As a matter of fact, there is no Deen without it. The children of Adam will not fulfill their needs unless they get together for their needs. And when they get together, they must have a leader. For this reason, the prophet () says: "If three are travelling, there must be a leader amongst them." So, the prophet () mandated that one is to be appointed as the leader in a simple situation where three people are travelling. This is to make us aware of other important types of get-togethers." {Book As-Siyasah As-Shr'eyah, p138&139}

Imam Muslim reported that the prophet () said: "…And whoever dies whilst there was no bay'ah (allegiance or a pledge) on his neck (to a khalifah), he dies a death of jahilliyah (UnIslamic)." The Hadithclarifies that it is a must upon every Muslim to entrust a Khalifah to take care of his affairs. Otherwise, he will be sinning and die like the non-believers. This means it is a must to appoint a Khalifah. This way, Muslims will be free of this great sin.

Imam Muslim reported that the prophet () said: "Behold, the Imam is but a shield from behind whom the people fight and by whom they protect themselves." The prophet () orders us in this Hadith to appoint a Khalifah and that his presence in the Ummah protects the Ummah from the evil of the enemies and that his absence from the Ummah is the absence of the protection. In this case, the Ummah becomes a weak prey for its enemies like what is happening today.

Imam Muslim reported that the prophet () said: "The children of Israel used to be ruled by their prophets. Whenever a prophet died another prophet succeeded him, but there will be no prophet after me. There will be Khulafa'a and they will number many. They asked: What then do you order us? He said: Fulfil the bay'ah to them one after the other and give them their due. Surely Allah will ask them about what He entrusted them with." In this Hadith, the prophet () clarifies to us our situation after his death and that the Khalifah are those who take care of the affairs of the Ummah and there will be many of them. So, he ordered us to appoint one at a time. This is a clear order from the prophet () to appoint a Khalifah.

Also, another a great and clear evidence that shows that appointing a Khalifah is obligatory is the consensus of the companions of the prophet () after the death of the prophet (). The consensus of the prophet's companions is divine evidence as we know and we must abide by. This is because the companions did not get to this conclusion only after knowing very well the greatness of this obligation from the verses and theAhadiths. The companions of the prophet () had a consensus that it is a must to appoint a Khalifah after the death of the prophet (), and had consensus to appoint Abu Bakr, then Omar, the Othman after the death of each and every one of them. Their consensus was so clear that they delayed burying the prophet () and got busy with something more important than burying the body of the prophet () and that is appointing the Khalifah. This took them three days.

The importance of appointing a Khalifah becomes so clear when we know that a great percentage of the Deen cannot be implemented except with the presence of a Khalifah. Many types of obligations are not performed like implementing the punishment system, and protecting the Ummah internally through the security system and externally through Jihad and carrying the Da'wa to the whole world. We know that if an obligation can be performed only with the presence of something, that something becomes obligatory. Ali (R.A.) said: "The people must have an Imarah good or bad. They asked: "We recognize a good Imarah, what about the bad one?!" He replied: "With it, the punishment system is implemented, the roads become safe, the enemies are fought, and the bounties are well divided."

It is clear from all the evidence that appointing a Khalifah is one of the most important divine obligations. It is a great sin not to establish it, and a waste for Islam, and a waste for the Muslim Ummah. The period allowed for not having a Khalifah is only three days. This is based on the evidence that the companions of the prophet () were busy for three days trying to appoint a Khalifah after the death of the prophet (). Also, Omar (R.A.) entrusted the people of As-shurah to appoint the Khalifah after his death and that they have only three days to do so. He also told them that if you could not agree on the Khalifah after three days, then kill the one who is not in agreement. This was heard by a lot of companions who did not object. This is an indication of a common consensus, which is evidence that the Khilafah is obligatory.

It is not necessary to call the leader of the Muslim Ummah "Khalifah". This was a nickname for Abu Bakr (R.A.). When Omar (R.A.) came, it became difficult to call him the Khalifah of the Khalifah of the messenger. So, he was called the Ameer of the believers, which became the tradition followed by the Muslim Ummah.


What are the tasks and duties of the Khalifah?

Imam Al-Mawardi said: " Khalifah must to fulfil ten duties in the affairs of the Ummah. (If we know these ten duties, we will realize how important his presence is and how dangerous his absence is).

1- Protect the Deen and the consensus of all the Salaf generation of this Ummah.

2- Implement the rules amongst those who are in conflict and removing the conflict so Justice will prevail

3- Protect the internal affairs of the Ummah.

4- Implement the punishment system to deter the criminals from attacking the rights of other people.

5- Beef up the borders with deterring force so that no Muslim or non-Muslim living amongst the Muslims is harmed.

6- Jihad fighting against those who reject Islam until they accept Islam or live under the rules of Islam.

7- Collect Zakat and charities and another finance revenues.

8- Decide the amount of salaries to who works for the state without over spending or stinginess and give the salaries on the due time.

9- Compensate the employees, and appointing the right people entrusted with jobs or with financial resources.

10- To look after the affairs of the Muslim Ummah by himself, and not to appoint someone else to do it for him because he is to busy enjoying this life or worshipping Allah (سبحانه و تعالى). {Book Al-Ahkamus-Sltanyyah}

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