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A caliphate (from the Arabic خلافة or khilaafah), is the Islamic form of government representing the political unity and leadership of the Muslim world. The head of state's position (Caliph) is based on the notion of a successor to Prophet Muhammad's political authority; according to Sunnis ideally elected by the people or their representatives,[1] and according to the Shia an Imamate chosen from the Ahl ul-Bayt. From the time of Muhammad until 1924, successive caliphates were held by the Umayyad, Abbasid, and finally Ottoman dynasties.

The caliphate is the only form of governance that has full approval in traditional Islamic theology, and "is the core political concept of Sunni Islam, by the consensus of the Muslim majority in the early centuries."[2] Andrew Hammond reports that medieval caliphates "enjoyed scientific and military superiority globally - both absent today".[3]


[edit] History

The caliph, or head of state, was often known as Amīr al-Mu'minīn (أمير المؤمنين) "Commander of the Faithful", Imam al-Ummah, Imam al-Mu'minīn (إمام المؤمنين), or more colloquially, leader of all the Muslims. Each member state (Sultanate, Wilayah, or Emirate) of the Caliphate had its own governor (Sultan, Wali or Emir). Dar al-Islam (دار الإسلام lit. land of Islam) was referred to as any land under the rule of the caliphate, including a land populated by non-Muslims and land not under rule of the caliphate was referred to as Dar al-Kufr (lit. land of non-Islam), even if its inhabitants were Muslims, because they were not citizens under Islamic law. The first capital of the Caliphate after Muhammad died was in Medina. At times in Muslim history there have been rival claimant caliphs in different parts of the Islamic world, and divisions between the Shi'a and Sunni parts.

The first four caliphs were Muhammad's Sahaba (disciples); Abu Bakr, then Umar ibn al-Khattab, then Uthman ibn Affan, and the fourth was Ali ibn Abi Talib. Sunni Muslims consider Abu-Bakr to be the first legitimate Caliph, Shi'a consider Ali to have been the first truly legitimate Caliph, although they concede that Ali accepted his predecessors, because he eventually sanctioned Abu-Bakr [7].

After the first four caliphs the Caliphate was claimed by the dynasties such as Umayyads, the Abbasids, and the Ottomans, and for relatively short periods by other, competing dynasties in al-Andalus, Northern Africa, and Egypt. Mustafa Kemal officially abolished the last Caliphate, the Ottoman Empire, and founded the Republic of Turkey, in 1924. The Kings of Morocco still label themselves with the title Amīr al-Mu'minīn for Moroccans, but lay no claim to the Caliphate.

[edit] First four

Abū Bakr nominated Umar as his successor on his deathbed, and there was consensus in the Muslim community to his choice. His successor, Uthman, was elected by a council of electors (Majlis), but was soon perceived by some to be ruling as a "king" rather than an elected leader. Uthman was killed by members of a disaffected group. ˤAlī then took control, and although very popular, he was not universally accepted as caliph by the governors of Egypt, and later by some of his own guard. He had two major rebellions and was assassinated after a tumultuous rule of only five years. This period is known as the Fitna, or the first Islamic civil war.

Muˤāwiyya, a relative of Uthman, and governor (Wali) of Syria became one of ˤAlī's challengers. After ˤAlī's death, Muˤāwiyya managed to overcome other claimants to the Caliphate. Under Muˤāwiyya, the caliphate became a hereditary office for the first time. He founded the Umayyad dynasty.

In areas which were previously under the Persian or Byzantium rule, the Caliphs lowered taxes, provided greater local autonomy, greater religious freedom for Jews, indigenous Christians, and brought peace to peoples demoralized and disaffected by the casualties and heavy taxation that resulted from the years of Byzantine-Persian warfare.[4]

[edit] Umayyads, 7th-8th century

Main article: Umayyad
The Caliphate, 622-750
The Caliphate, 622-750

Under the Umayyads the Caliphate grew rapidly geographically. Islamic rule expanded westward across North Africa and into Spain and eastward through Persia and ultimately to Sind and Punjab in India. This made it one of the largest unitary states in the history of West Eurasia, extending its entire breadth, and one of the few states in history to ever extend direct rule over three continents (Africa, Europe, and Asia). Although not ruling all of the Sahara, homage was paid to the Caliph by Saharan Africa usually via various nomad Berber tribes.

Largely due to the fact that they were not elected via Shura, the Umayyad dynasty was not universally supported within the Muslim community. Some supported prominent early Muslims like az-Zubayr; others felt that only members of Muhammad's clan, the Banū Hashim, or his own lineage, the descendants of ˤAlī, should rule. There were numerous rebellions against the Umayyads, as well as splits within the Umayyad ranks (notably, the rivalry between Yaman and Qays). Eventually, supporters of the Banu Hisham and the supporters of the lineage of Ali united to bring down the Umayyads in 750. However, the Shiˤat ˤAlī, "the Party of ˤAlī", were again disappointed when the Abbasid dynasty took power, as the Abbasids were descended from Muhammad's uncle, Abbas ibn Abd al-Muttalib and not from ˤAlī. Following this disappointment, the Shiˤat ˤAlī finally split from the majority Sunni Muslims and formed what are today the several Shiˤa denominations.

[edit] Abbasids, 8th-13th century

Main article: Abbasid

The Abbasids had an unbroken line of Caliphs for over three centuries, consolidating Islamic rule and cultivating great intellectual and cultural developments in the Middle East. By 940 the power of the Caliphate under the Abbasids was waning as non-Arabs, particularly the Berbers of North Western Africa, the Turkish, and later the Mamluks in Egypt in the latter half of the 13th century, gained influence, and sultans and emirs became increasingly independent. However, the Caliphate endured as both a symbolic position and a unifying entity for the Islamic world.

During the period of the Abassid dynasty, Abassid claims to the caliphate did not go unchallenged. The Shiˤa Said ibn Husayn of the Fatimid dynasty, which claimed descendency of Muhammad through his daughter, claimed the title of Caliph in 909, creating a separate line of caliphs in North Africa. Initially covering Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya, the Fatimid caliphs extended their rule for the next 150 years, taking Egypt and Palestine, before the Abbassid dynasty was able to turn the tide, limiting Fatimid rule to Egypt. The Fatimid dynasty finally ended in 1171. The Umayyad dynasty, which had survived and come to rule over the Muslim provinces of Spain, reclaimed the title of Caliph in 929, lasting until it was overthrown in 1031.

[edit] Shadow Caliphate, 13th century

1258 saw the conquest of Baghdad and the execution of Abassid caliph al-Musta'sim by Mongol forces under Hulagu Khan. A surviving member of the Abbasid House was installed as Caliph at Cairo under the patronage of the Mamluk Sultanate three years later; however, the authority of this line of Caliphs was confined to ceremonial and religious matters, and later Muslim historians referred to it as a "shadow" Caliphate.

[edit] Ottomans, 15th-20th century

Main article: Ottoman Caliphate
The Ottoman Caliphate.
The Ottoman Caliphate.

Ottoman rulers were known primarily by the title of Sultan and used the title of Caliph only sporadically. Mehmed II and his grandson Selim used it to justify their conquest of Islamic countries. As the Ottoman Empire grew in size and strength, Ottoman rulers beginning with Mehmed II began to claim Caliphal authority.

Ottoman rulers used the title "Caliph" symbolically on many occasions but it was strengthened when the Ottoman Empire defeated the Mamluk Sultanate in 1517 and took control of most Arab lands. The last Abbasid Caliph at Cairo, al-Mutawakkil III, was taken into custody and was transported to İstanbul, where he reportedly surrendered the Caliphate to Selim I. According to Barthold, the first time the title of "Caliph" was used as a political instead of symbolic religious title by the Ottomans was the peace treaty with Russia in 1774. The outcome of this war was disastrous for the Ottomans. Large territories, including those with large muslim populations, such as Crimea, were lost to the Russian Empire. However, the Ottomans under Abdulhamid I claimed a diplomatic victory by assigning themselves the protectors of Muslims in Russia as part of the peace treaty. This was the first time the Ottoman caliph was acknowledged as having political significance outside of Ottoman borders by a European power. As a consequence of this diplomatic victory, as the Ottoman borders were shrinking, the powers of the Ottoman caliph increased.

Around 1880 Sultan Abdulhamid II reasserted the title as a way of countering the spread of European colonialism in Muslim lands. His claim was most fervently accepted by the Muslims of British India. By the eve of the First World War, the Ottoman state, despite its weakness vis-à-vis Europe, represented the largest and most powerful independent Islamic political entity. But the sultan also enjoyed some authority beyond the borders of his shrinking empire as caliph of Muslims in Egypt, India and Central Asia.

[edit] Khilafat Movement, 1920

Main article: Khilafat Movement
See also: Partitioning of the Ottoman Empire

In the 1920s the Khilafat Movement, a movement to defend the Ottoman Caliphate, spread throughout the British colonial territories in Asia. It was particularly strong in British India, where it was a rallying point for Muslim and Hindu communities led by Maulana Muhammad Ali Jouhar. It was the first significant anti-British Indian political movement to enjoy support among Hindus and Muslims, including Gandhi as a member. However, after the arrest or abscondment of its leaders, and a series of offshoots the movement lost its momentum.

[edit] End of Caliphate, 1924

Further information: Atatürk's Reforms

On March 3, 1924, the first President of the Turkish Republic and its leader, Gazi Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, along the Atatürk's reforms, constitutionally abolished the institution of the Caliphate. Its powers within Turkey were transferred to the Turkish Grand National Assembly (parliament) of the newly formed Turkish Republic and the title has since been inactive. Though very unlikely, the Turkish Republic still retains the right to reinstate the Caliphate, if it ever chooses to do so.

Scattered attempts to revive the Caliphate elsewhere in the Muslim World were made in the years immediately following its abandonment by Turkey, but none were successful. Hussein bin Ali, a former Ottoman governor of the Hejaz who aided the British during World War I and revolted against Istanbul, declared himself Caliph two days after Turkey relinquished the title. But his claim was largely ignored, and he was soon ousted and driven out of Arabia by the Saudis, a rival clan that would have no interest in the Caliphate. The last Ottoman Sultan Mehmed VI made a similar attempt to re-establish himself as Caliph in the Hejaz after leaving Turkey, but he was also unsuccessful. A summit was convened at Cairo in 1926 to discuss the revival of the Caliphate, but most Muslim countries did not participate and no action was taken to implement the summit's resolutions.

Though the title Ameer al-Mumineen was adopted by the King of Morocco and Mullah Mohammed Omar, former head of the now-defunct Taliban regime of Afghanistan, neither claimed any legal standing or authority over Muslims outside the borders of their respective countries. The closest thing to a Caliphate in existence today is the Organization of the Islamic Conference (OIC), an international organization with limited influence founded in 1969 consisting of the governments of most Muslim-majority countries.

[edit] Reestablishment

Once the subject of intense conflict and rivalry amongst Muslim rulers, the caliphate has lain dormant and largely unclaimed since the 1920s. According to the Washington Post surveys show that since the U.S.-led invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, Muslims almost universally have seen the war against terrorism as a war on Islam.[5] Muslims regard themselves as members of the ummah, or community of believers, that forms the heart of Islam, and as the earthly head of that community, the Caliph is cherished both as memory and ideal, many interviews indicate. The caliphate is still esteemed by many ordinary Muslims.[6] Tight restrictions on political activity in many Muslim countries coupled with the obstacles to uniting over fifty nation-states under a single institution have prevented efforts to revive the caliphate. Popular apolitical Islamic movements such as the Tablighi Jamaat identify a lack of spirituality and decline in personal religious observance as the root cause of the Muslim World's problems, and claim that the caliphate cannot be successfully revived until these deficiencies are addressed. No attempts at rebuilding a power structure based on Islam were successful anywhere in the Muslim World until the Iranian Revolution in 1979, which was based on Shia principles and whose leaders did not outwardly call for the restoration of a global Caliphate.

[edit] Islamist call

A number of Islamist political parties and Islamist guerrilla groups have called for the restoration of the caliphate by uniting Muslim nations, either through peaceful political action (e.g. Hizb ut-Tahrir) or through force (e.g. al-Qaida).[7] Various Islamist movements have gained momentum in recent years with the ultimate aim of establishing a Caliphate; however, they differ in their methodology and approach. Some, such as the Justice and Development Party in Turkey, are locally-oriented, mainstream political parties that have no apparent transnational objectives.

One of al-Qaida's clearly stated goals is the re-establishment of a Caliphate.[8] Al Qaeda recently named its Internet newscast from Iraq "The Voice of the Caliphate."[9]

In Pakistan the Tanzeem-e-Islami, an Islamist organization founded by Dr. Israr Ahmed, calls for a Caliphate.

The Muslim Brotherhood advocates pan-Islamic unity and implementing Islamic law, it is the largest and most influential Islamic group in the world, and it's offshoots form the largest opposition parties in most Arab governments[8]. Officially sanctioned Islamic institutions in the Muslim world generally do not consider the Caliphate a top priority and have instead focused on other issues. Islamists argue it is because they are tied to the current Muslim regimes.

One transnational group particularily strong in Central Asia, and now growing in strength in the Arab World[10], Hizb ut-Tahrir (lit. party of liberation), has tried to recruit the world's Muslims to a renewed caliphate, aiming to ultimately form a pan-Islamic government.[9]

[edit] U.S. Presidential Position

United States President George W. Bush has warned repeatedly in speeches on the War on Terror that the Caliphate is at the heart of radical Islamic ideology. President Bush has said Iraq is a pivotal battleground in a larger conflict between advocates of freedom and radical Islamists.

Bush said that Al Qaeda terrorists and those that share their ideology

"hope to establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East, which they call caliphate, where all would be ruled according to their hateful ideology...This caliphate would be a totalitarian Islamic empire encompassing all current and former Muslim lands, stretching from Europe to North Africa, the Middle East and Southeast Asia."[11]

On 4 February 2006 United States Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld said U.S. allies should increase military spending to prevent the creation of a "global extremist Islamic empire."[10]

Various commentators, such as NBC and Buzzle, have criticized this approach, saying Bush is seeking to replace the red menace with a new illusory 'green menace' caliphate run by extremists, using an Appeal to fear.[12][13]. The Washington Post headed an article with the title "Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical, Restoration of Caliphate resonates With Mainstream Muslims", arguing that such a call is not radical nor only resonant with Islamic guerrilla movements. [11]

[edit] Political system

[edit] Electing or appointing a Caliph

Fred M. Donner, in his book The Early Islamic Conquests (1981), argues that the standard Arabian practice during the early Caliphates was for the prominent men of a kinship group, or tribe, to gather after a leader's death and elect a leader from amongst themselves, although there was no specified procedure for this shura, or consultative assembly. Candidates were usually from the same lineage as the deceased leader, but they were not necessarily his sons. Capable men who would lead well were preferred over an ineffectual direct heir, as there was no basis in the majority Sunni view that the head of state or governor should be chosen based on lineage alone.

This argument is advanced by Sunni Muslims, who believe that Muhammad's companion Abu Bakr was elected by the community and that this was the proper procedure. They further argue that a caliph is ideally chosen by election or community consensus, even though the caliphate soon became a hereditary office, or the prize of the strongest general.

Al-Mawardi has written that the caliph should be Qurayshi. Abu Bakr Al-Baqillani has said that the leader of the Muslims simply should be from the majority. Abu Hanifa also wrote that the leader must come from the majority. [14]

Shi'a Muslims disagree. They believe that Muhammad had given many indications that he considered ˤAlī ibn Abī Talib, his cousin and son-in-law, as his divinely chosen successor making a majority vote or elections irrelevant. They say that Abū Bakr seized power by threat[citation needed] against Ali and that the 3 caliphs before ˤAlī were usurpers. ˤAlī and his descendents are believed to have been the only proper leaders, or imams regardless of Democracy and what the majority wanted, in the Shia's point of view. This matter is covered in much greater detail in the article Succession to Muhammad, and in the article on Shi'a Islam, although it is worth mentioning that ˤAlī himself did not rebel against the majority choosing Abu Bakr though he may have disagreed. Some shia's argue that in the absence of a Caliphate headed by their Imams, the system termed Vilayat-e Faqih suffices.

Contrary to the Shia, Sunni Muslims believe that the caliph has always been a merely temporal political ruler, appointed to rule within the bounds of Islamic law (Shariah), and not necessarily the most qualified in Islamic law. The job of adjudicating orthodoxy and Islamic law (Shariah) was left to Islamic lawyers, judiciary, or specialists individually termed as Mujtahids and collectively named the Ulema. The first four caliphs are called the Rashidun meaning the Rightly Guided Caliphs, because they are believed to have followed the Qur'an and the sunnah (example) of Muhammad in all things.

[edit] Majlis al-Shura: Parliament

Main article: Shura
or Majlis-e-Shoora

Traditional Sunni Islamic lawyers agree that shura, loosely translated as 'consultation of the people', is a function of the caliphate; the people's will is represented in the form of the Majlis al-Shura which is similar to a parliament. This is premised on the following verses of the Quran:

  • "...those who answer the call of their Lord and establish the prayer, and who conduct their affairs by Shura. [are loved by God]" [42:38]
  • "...consult them (the people) in their affairs. Then when you have taken a decision (from them), put your trust in Allah" [3:159]

The majlis is also the means to elect a new caliph. Al-Mawardi has written that members of the majlis should satisfy three conditions: they must be just, they must have enough knowledge to distinguish a good caliph from a bad one, and must have sufficient wisdom and judgment to select the best caliph. Similarly Hizb ut-Tahrir have put no extra conditions that only Muslims should be part of the majlis. Al-Mawardi also said in emergencies when there is no caliphate and no majlis, the people themselves should create a majlis, select a list of candidates for caliph, then the majlis should select from the list of candidates. [15]

[edit] Accountability of rulers

Sunni Islamic lawyers have commented on when it is permissible to disobey, impeach or remove rulers in the Caliphate. This is usually when the rulers are not meeting public responsibilities obliged upon them under Islam.

Al-Mawardi said that if the rulers meet their Islamic responsibilities to the public, the people must obey their laws, but if they become either unjust or severely ineffective then the Caliph or ruler must be impeached via the Majlis al-Shura. Similarly Al-Baghdadi believed that if the rulers do not uphold justice, the ummah via the majlis should give warning to them, and if unheeded then the Caliph can be impeached. Al-Juwayni argued that Islam is the goal of the ummah, so any ruler that deviates from this goal must be impeached. Al-Ghazali believed that oppression by a caliph is enough for impeachment. Rather than just relying on impeachment, Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani obliged rebellion upon the people if the caliph began to act with no regard for Islamic law. Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said that to ignore such a situation is haraam, and those who cannot revolt inside the caliphate should launch a struggle from outside. Al-Asqalani used two ayahs from the Quran to justify this:

  • "...And they (the sinners on qiyama) will say, 'Our Lord! We obeyed our leaders and our chiefs, and they misled us from the right path. Our Lord! Give them (the leaders) double the punishment you give us and curse them with a very great curse'..." Al-Ahzab: 67-68 [16]

Islamic lawyers commented that when the rulers refuse to step down via successful impeachment through the Majlis, becoming dictators through the support of a corrupt army, if the majority agree they have the option to launch a revolution against them. Many noted that this option is only exercised after factoring in the potential cost of life. [17]

[edit] Economy and Banking

Main article: Islamic economics
Main article: Islamic banking

The caliphate would exercise several prerogatives related to trade and economics. One would be to protect property and commerce from theft or unethical business practices, and to establish bureaucracies to do the same. A Caliph can also put in taxes and regulations, include those which are not explicitly mentioned in the Sharia, as long as they do not impose excessive burden on property and commerce, and are done for the benefit of the society. The government should not interfere with the private property of the people [18].

The most well-known principles of Islamic Economics are:

  • The prohibition of interest or Riba mitigated by leasing, and hire purchase plans
  • Profit/risk sharing and equity investment
  • The prohibition of contracts or trade that rest primarily on chance or incalculable risk, rather than skill; all defined as gambling
  • Socially responsible investing [19]
  • The disincentives for hoarding wealth, and encouraging positive wealth circulation[12] [20]

In statements (Hadith) of Muhammad he said:

  • "The people share three things, fire based fuels, water and the green pastures"
  • "The child of man has no better right than that he should have a house wherein he may live, a piece of cloth by which he can hide his nakedness, and bread and water."[13])[21]

Some Islamic scholars argue this means that the caliphate would nationalise oil, gas, electricity, any other fuels hidden in the land or sea, water, unused pasture land, and use revenue generated from these industries in addition to the Khums tax, for education, a health care system, transport, and other public utilities. The second statement also indicates evidence for the provision of a welfare state for those that cannot sustain themselves[22][23]. Some argue that similarities between this can be made to socialism [24]

The Bayt al-Mal or state treasury was the financial institution responsible for the administration of taxes, and state finance, similar to the modern national bank. It served as a treasury for the caliphs and sultans, managing personal finances and government expenditures. Further, it administered distributions of zakah revenues for public projects. Modern Islamic economists deem the institutional framework appropriate for contemporary Islamic societies. Among others, the taxes named Jizyah, Ushr, Kharaj, Khums and Zakah were traditionally levied by the Bayt al-Mal.

Islamic banking via the Bayt al-Mal or private contract, among others, involves the following defined types of Islamic business contract

There are other forms mentioned in the books fiqh. Dr William Ballantyne of The Center of Islamic and Middle Eastern Law, at SOAS of the University of London commented on the question 'Is the Islamic System Preferable?':

When they (Muslims) look at the world banking system, which is based essentially upon interest, and which may seem to them at times to be tottering on its base; when they see the most powerful nations in debt rather than in credit – may this not provide, apart from basic beliefs (in Islam) which exist anyway, a powerful argument that what the Prophet (Muhammad) uttered so long ago was entirely right, and that the principle of profit-sharing and partnership is better not only from the religious point of view but in practice? Is Islamic banking not true merchant banking? Why then, they may say, erode the principles of riba as they exist, when it may be contended that they provide the only solution to impending chaos?[25]

[edit] Foreign policy and Jihad

The land that the Caliphate was at war with was referred to as Dar al-Harb (Arabic: دار الحرب "land of war") , and only the Caliph could declare war for Muslims if it was considered a just war, or Jihad. Only a Caliph, or one of the provincial governors in a caliphate, can declare an offensive jihad, in order to allow Islam to be practiced in foreign land, to stop persecution, or to protect the interests of Muslims there. [26].

[edit] Famous caliphs

Main article: List of caliphs

[edit] Further Reading

[edit] Primary Islamic evidences

[edit] The Quran

To Govern by Islam in the Quran

Some Sunni's argue that to govern a state by Islamic law (Shariah) is, by definition, to rule via the Caliphate, and use the following verses to sustain their claim.

So govern between the people by that which God has revealed (Islam), and follow not their vain desires, beware of them in case they seduce you from just some part of that which God has revealed to you

Qur'an 004:049

O you who believe! Obey God, and obey the messenger and then those among you who are in authority; and if you have a dispute concerning any matter, refer it to God and the messenger's rulings, if you are (in truth) believers in God and the Last Day. That is better and more seemly in the end.

Qur'an 004:059

But no, by the Lord, they will not believe (in truth) until they make you (Muhammad) the source of ruling of what is in dispute between them, And find in their souls No resistance against Thy decisions, but accept Them with the fullest conviction.

Qur'an 004:065

Lo, we reveal to you the scripture with the truth, that you may govern mankind by that which God shows you.

Qur'an 004:105

Whoso governs not by that which God has revealed, such are disbelievers (Kafir).

Qur'an 005:044

Whoso governs not by that which God has revealed, such are the oppressors (Dhallem).

Qur'an 005:045

Whoso governs not by that which God has revealed, such are the evil doers (Fasiq).

Qur'an 005:047

The rule is for none but God.

Qur'an 006:057

..Verily the ’Hukm’ (command, Judgment) is for none but God.

Qur'an 012:040

It is not for any believing man or woman, when God and his messenger have ruled in a matter, to have any choice for themselves in their affairs. For whoever rebels against God and His Messenger has gone astray into manifest error.

Qur'an 033:036

[edit] Sayings of Muhammad

Nafi'a reported saying:

Umar said to me that he heard [Muhammad] saying: Whoever takes away his hand from allegiance to God will meet Him on the Day of Resurrection without having any proof for him, and whoever dies whilst there was no baya'a on his neck (to a Caliph), he dies a death in the days of ignorance (Jahilliya).

Hisham ibn Urwa reported on the authority of Abu Saleh on the authority of Abu Hurairah that Muhammad said:

Leaders will take charge of you after me, where the pious (one) will lead you with his piety and the impious (one) with his impiety, so only listen to them and obey them in everything which conforms with the truth (Islam). If they act rightly it is for your credit, and if they acted wrongly it is counted for you and against them.

Muslim narrated on the authority of al-A'araj, on the authority of Abu Hurairah, that Muhammad said:

Behold, the Imam (Caliph) is but a shield from behind whom the people fight and by whom they defend themselves.

Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Hazim, who said,

I accompanied Abu Hurairah for five years and heard him talking of Muhammad's saying: The Prophets ruled over the children of Israel, whenever a Prophet died another Prophet succeeded him, but there will be no Prophet after me. There will be Khalifahs and they will number many. They asked: What then do you order us? He said: Fulfil the baya'a to them one after the other and give them their due. Surely God will ask them about what He entrusted them with.

Ibn 'Abbas narrated that Muhammad said,

If anyone sees in his Emir something that displeases him let him remain patient, for behold, he who separates himself from the sultan (authority of Islam) by even so much as a hand span and dies thereupon, has died a death of the days of ignorance (jahilliyah).

Muslim reported that Muhammad said,

"Whoever pledged allegiance to a leader (Caliph) giving him the clasp of his hand and the fruit of his heart shall obey him as long as he can, and if another comes to dispute his authority (cause division of the nation) you have to strike the neck of that man.

Imam Ahmed reported on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Amru that Muhammad said in a Sahih narration,

It is forbiden even for three persons to be together in a place without appointing one of them as their Emir.

[edit] The consensus of the Sahaba (Companions)

All of Muhammad's disciples agreed (Ijma as-Sahaba) upon the necessity to establish a successor (Caliph) to the Prophet's political authority after his death, and they all eventually accepted Abu Bakr, then Umar, Uthman, and Ali after the death of each one of them.

This consensus manifested itself emphatically when they delayed the burial of Muhammad after his death whilst engaged in appointing a successor to him, despite the speedy burial of the dead being an Islamic obligation (Fard). Sunni lawyers argued this would not be legitimate unless the Caliphate was a higher obligation (Fard) than the burial of the dead, especially for such a man of importance such as their prophet.

Although they disagreed upon the person to elect as a Caliph, they never disagreed upon the need for appointment.

Al-Habbab Ibn ul-Munthir said when the Sahaba met in the wake of the death of the Prophet at the Saqifah hall:

"Let there be one Amir from us and one Amir from you (meaning one from the Ansar and one from the Mohajireen)".

Upon this Abu Bakr replied:

"It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Amirs (rulers)..."

Then he got up and addressed the Muslims.[14][15][16][17][18][19]

It has additionally been reported[20] that Abu Bakr went on to say on the day of the meeting at the hall of Saqifah:

"It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Amirs for this would cause differences in their affairs and concepts, their unity would be divided and disputes would break out amongst them. The Sunnah would then be abandoned, the bida’a (bad innovations) would spread and Fitna would grow, and that is in no one’s interests."

Habbab ibn Mundhir (ra) who suggested the idea of two Ameers corrected himself and was the first to give Abu Bakr the Baya. This indicates an Ijma as-Sahaba and thus is considered a divine source of law. Ali ibni abi Talib (ra), who was attending the body of the Prophet at the time, also consented to this later. The supporters of Ali were also bound by this view. It is reported in Nahj al Balagha that Imam ali (RA) said:

"People must have an Amir...where the believer works under his Imara (rule) and under which the unbeliever would also benefit, until his rule ended by the end of his life (ajal), the booty (fay’i) would be gathered, the enemy would be fought, the routes would be made safe, the strong one will return what he took from the weak till the tyrant would be contained, and not bother anyone."[21]

[edit] The sayings of notable Islamic Scholars

Al-Mawardi says:[22]

It is forbidden for the Ummah (Muslim world) to have two leaders at the same time.

Al-Nawawi says:[23]

It is forbidden to give an oath to two leaders or more, even in different parts of the world and even if they are far apart.

Al Qalqashandi says:[24]

It is forbidden to appoint two leaders at the same time.

Ibn Hazm says:[25]

It is permitted to have only one leader (of the Muslims) in the whole of the world.

Al-sha’rani says:[26]

It is forbidden for Muslims to have in the whole world and at the same time two leaders whether in agreement or discord.

Al-Qadhi Abdul-Jabbar said:[27]

It is forbidden to give the oath to more than one.

Al-Jaziri says:[28]

The Imams (scholars of the four schools of thought)- may Allah have mercy on them- agree that the Caliphate is an obligation, and that the Muslims must appoint a leader who would implement the injunctions of the religion, and give the oppressed justice against the oppressors. It is forbidden for Muslims to have two leaders in the world whether in agreement or discord.

The Shia schools of thought and others expressed the same opinion about this[29][30][31][32]

ash-Shawkaani the Zaydi Shia[33] wrote:[34]

It is known from Islam by necessity (bi-dharoorah - i.e.: like prayer and fasting) that Islam has forbidden division amongst Muslims and the segregation of their land

Al-Qurtubi said in his Tafseer[35] of the verse, "Indeed, man is made upon this earth a Caliph"[36] that:

This Ayah is a source in the selection of an Imaam, and a Khaleef, he is listened to and he is obeyed, for the word is united through him, and the Ahkam (laws) of the Caliph are implemented through him, and there is no difference regarding the obligation of that between the Ummah, nor between the Imams except what is narrated about al-Asam, the Mu'tazzili ...

Al-Qurturbi (rh.a.) also said:

The Khilafah is the pillar upon which other pillars rest

An-Nawawi (rh.a.) said:[37]

(The scholars) consented that it is an obligation upon the Muslims to select a Khalif

Al-Ghazali (rh.a.) when writing of the potential consequences of losing the Caliphate said:[38]

The judges will be suspeneded, the Wilayaat (provinces) will be nullified, ... the decrees of those in authority will not be executed and all the people will be on the verge of Haraam

Ibn Taymiyyah (rh.a.) said:[39]

It is obligatory to know that the office in charge of commanding over the people (ie: the post of the Khaleefah) is one of the greatest obligations of the Deen. In fact, there is no establishment of the Deen except by it....this is the opinion of the salaf, such as al-Fadl ibn 'Iyaad, Ahmed ibn Hanbal and others

Al-Mawardi (rh.a.) said:[40]

The contract of the Imamah (leadership) for whoever is standing with it, is an obligation by Ijmaa'a (consensus)

Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal (rh.a.) said:

The Fitna (mischief and tribuulations) occurs when there is no Imaam established over the affairs of the people

Abu Hafs Umar al-Nasafi (rh.a.) a noted scholar of the 6th century Hijri states:

The Muslims simply must have an Imam (Caliph), who will execute the rules, establish the Hudud (penal system), defend the frontiers, equip the armies, collect Zakah, punish those who rebel (against the state) and those who spy and highwaymen, establish Jum'ah and the two 'Eids, settle the dispute among the servants (of Allah), accept the testimony of witnesses in matters of legal rights, give in marriage the young and the poor who have no family, and distribute the booty

Al-Jaziri, an expert on the Fiqh of the four great schools of thought said regarding the four Imams:[41]

The Imams (scholars of the four schools of thought- Shafi'i, Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali)- may Allah have mercy on them- agree that the Imamah (Leadership) is an obligation, and that the Muslims must appoint an Imam who would implement the deen's rites, and give the oppressed justice against the oppressors

Al-Haythami said:[42]

It is known that the Sahabah (r.a.h) consented that selecting the Imaam after the end of the era of Prophethood was an obligation (Wajib). Indeed they made it (more) important than the (other) obligations whilst they were busy with it over the burial of the Prophet

Al-Mawardi (ra) said:[43]

It is forbidden for the Ummah to have two Imams (leaders) at the same time.

An-Nawawi says:[44]

It is forbidden to give an oath to two Imams or more, even in different parts of the world and even if they are far apart

He also stated:[45]

If a baya’a were taken for two Khaleefs one after the other, the baya’a of the first one would be valid and it should be fulfilled and honoured whereas the baya’a of the second would be invalid, and it would be forbidden to honour it. This is the right opinion which the majority of scholars follow, and they agree that it would be forbidden to appoint two Khaleefs at one given time, no matter how great and extended the Islamic lands become.

The Ibn Hazm says:[46]

It is unlawful to have more than one Imam in the whole of the world.

Al-Jaziri, an expert on the Fiqh of the four great schools of thought said regarding the four Imams:[47]

...It is forbidden for Muslims to have two Imams in the world whether in agreement or discord.

[edit] See also

[edit] Notes

  1. ^ Encyclopedia of Islam and the Muslim World, (2004) v.1, p.116-123
  2. ^ John O. Voll: Professor of Islamic history at Georgetown University
  3. ^ Middle East Online, (statement under heading picture) [1]
  4. ^ John Esposito (1992) p.36
  5. ^ Washington Post. 'Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical, Restoration of Caliphate resonates With Mainstream Muslims' [2]
  6. ^ Washington Post. 'Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical, Restoration of Caliphate resonates With Mainstream Muslims' [3]
  7. ^ quote
  8. ^ The Moderate Muslim Brotherhood, Robert S.Leiken & Steven Brooke, Foreign Affairs Magazine [4]
  9. ^ Who is Hizb ut-Tahrir?, Hizb ut-Tahrir Britain website
  10. ^ Rumsfeld: Iran regime sponsors terrorism ABC News
  11. ^ 'Reunified Islam: Unlikely but Not Entirely Radical: Restoration of Caliphate resonates With Mainstream Muslims' [5]
  12. ^ Michael Bonner, "Poverty and Economics in the Qur’an", Journal of Interdisciplinary History, xxxv:3 (Winter, 2005), 391–406
  13. ^ reported in the collection of Al-Tirmidhi named Sunan al-Tirmidhi
  14. ^ "As-Sirah" of Ibn Kathir
  15. ^ "Tarikh ut-Tabari" by at-Tabari
  16. ^ "Siratu Ibn Hisham" by Ibn Hisham
  17. ^ "As-Sunan ul-Kubra" of Bayhaqi
  18. ^ "Al-fasil-fil Milal" by Ibnu Hazim
  19. ^ "Al-A’kd Al-Farid" of Al-Waqidi
  20. ^ "as-Sirah" of Ibnu Ishaq
  21. ^ Nahj-ul-Balagha (part 1 page 91)
  22. ^ Al-ahkam Al-Sultaniyah page 9
  23. ^ Mughni Al-Muhtaj, volume 4, page 132
  24. ^ Subul Al-Asha, volume 9, page 277
  25. ^ Al-Muhalla, volume 9, page 360
  26. ^ Al-Mizan, volume 2, page 157
  27. ^ Al-Mughni fi abwab Al-Tawheed, volume 20, page 243
  28. ^ Al-Fiqh Alal-Mathahib Al- Arba’a (the fiqh of the four schools of thought), volume 5, page 416
  29. ^ Al-Fasl Fil-Milal, volume 4, page 62
  30. ^ Matalib Ulil-Amr
  31. ^ Maqalat Al-Islamyin, volume 2,page 134
  32. ^ Al-Moghni Fi Abuab Al-Tawhid, volume 20, pages 58-145
  33. ^ The British-Yemeni Society: Book review: "Revival and Reform in Islam: The Legacy of Muhammad al-Shawkani" [6]
  34. ^ Tafseer al-Quran al-Atheem, volume 2, page 215
  35. ^ Tafseer ul-Qurtubi 264/1
  36. ^ Qur'an 002:030
  37. ^ Sharhu Sahih Muslim page 205 vol 12
  38. ^ al Iqtisaad fil Itiqaad page 240
  39. ^ Siyaasah Shariyyah - chapter: 'The obligation of adherence to the leadership'
  40. ^ al-Ahkam us-Sultaniyyah [Arabic] p 56
  41. ^ Fiqh ul-Mathahib ul- Arba'a" [the Fiqh of the four schools of thought], volume 5, page 416
  42. ^ al-Haythami in Sawaa'iq ul-haraqah:17
  43. ^ "AlAahkam Al-Sultaniyah" page 9
  44. ^ "Mughni Al-Muhtaj", volume 4, page 132
  45. ^ "Sharhu Sahih Muslim" (explanation of Sahih Muslim) chapter 12 page 231
  46. ^ "Al-Muhalla", volume 4, page 360
  47. ^ "Fiqh ul-Mathahib ul- Arba’a" (the fiqh of the four schools of thought), volume 5, page 416

[edit] References

  • Crone, Patricia & Hinds, Martin -- God's Caliph, Cambridge University Press, 1986
  • Donner, Fred -- The Early Islamic Conquests, Princeton University Press, 1981

[edit] External links