Caliphate, Featured, Ruling

Part 1: Bay’a in Islamic History – The Rightly Guided Khilafah

What is the bay’a?

The bay’a (البيعة) is a ruling contract which governs the relationship between Muslims and the Islamic state. For those Muslims living under the authority of the Khilafah the bay’a is their citizenship contract with the state.

The word bay’a in the Arabic language is derived from sale (البيع), but the sharia gave it a specific meaning which is the method of appointing a Khaleefah. This meaning is derived from the many ahadith such as the saying of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ:

“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 soon be Khulafa’ and they will number many.” They asked: ‘What then do you order us?’ He said: “Fulfil the bay’a to them, one after the other and give them their dues for Allah will verily account them about what he entrusted them with.”[1]

This sharia meaning is still in-line with the linguistic meaning of bay’a because sale is a contract of offer and acceptance, and the bay’a is also a contract of offer and acceptance where the Muslim ummah offers her authority to a man to rule them by the Qur’an and sunnah.

Unlike most Islamic contracts which are one-to-one such as buying, selling, and marriage, the bay’a is one-to-millions i.e. between the Khaleefah and the Muslim ummah. This poses a challenge on how you get the free choice and consent of millions of people which is a condition in Islamic contracts.

How is free choice and consent of millions achieved in the bay’a?

Historically in the rightly guided Khilafah of the sahaba, the senior representatives of the people would contract the bay’a to the Khaleefah. The rest of the Muslims would accept their opinion and rush to pledge their bay’a to the newly appointed Khaleefah directly in the Prophet’s Mosque in Madinah, which was the capital of the state, or indirectly through the governors in the other provinces.[2] The classical scholars called this contracting group the Ahlul hali wal-aqd which literally means the ‘people of solution and contract’.

Ahmad ibn Hanbal says: “The imamah is not effective except with its conditions […], so if testimony was given to that by the Ahlul hali wal-aqd of the scholars of Islam and their trustworthy people, or the imam took that position for himself and then the Muslims were content with that, it is also effective.”[3]

Mawardi says: “Imamate comes into being in two ways: the first of these is by the election of the Ahlul hali wal-aqd, and the second is by the delegation of the previous Imam.”[4]

Who are the political representatives (Ahlul hali wal-aqd) of the people?

The sharia has not defined who the people’s representatives are. This falls under manat ul-hukm (reality the rule is applied to). In any state the representatives of the people will be close to the government and so are found in the capital. This is why the representatives in the Islamic State’s capital Madinah used to contract the bay’a. In a tribal society these representatives will be senior members of the tribe or the tribal leader. The representatives will also need to be trusted individuals who are strong in the ideology of the state, which in the Khilafah is Islam. All of those contracting the bay’a in the rightly guided Khilafah were senior sahaba and tribal leaders, and were in fact all eligible for the post of the Khaleefah themselves. The main consideration is that the consent and free choice of the Muslim masses is achieved through these representatives for the bay’a contract to be valid and to prevent disputes and civil war.

Mawardi mentions: “There are three conditions regarding those eligible to make the choice:

  1. That they be just and fulfil all the conditions implied in this quality
  2. That they possess a knowledge by which they may comprehend who has a right to the Imamate and that they fulfil all the conditions implied by this knowledge
  3. That they possess the insight and wisdom which will lead them to choose the person who is most fitting for the Imamate and who is the most upright and knowledgeable with respect to the management of the offices of administration.

Those living in the country of the Imam do not possess any advantages over those living in other countries: it is rather that someone resident in the country of the Imam contracts to elect the Imam by custom not by any legal imposition of the shari’a; moreover such residents will come to know of the death of the Imam before people from other countries and usually the person who is most fitting for the succession is to be found in the country of the Imam.”[5]

We will now look at the bay’a of some of the previous Caliphs. This will showhow there was continuity of the bay’a and its conditions throughout Islamic history from 1H/622CE to 1342H/1924CE, albeit misapplied because the bay’a was confined to a ruling family instead of meritocracy.

Bay’a in the Rightly Guided Khilafah

Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (11H/632CE – 13H/634CE)

After the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ passed away, the Ahlul hali wal-aqd met in the saqeefa (portico) of the Sa’ida clan of the Al-Khazraj tribe to appoint a new head of state. A heated debate ensued, and then Abu Bakr As-Siddiq was selected and given the bay’a, becoming the first Khaleefah of Islam. Sa’eed ibn Zaid was asked, “When was Abu Bakr confirmed by the people?” he said, “The day on which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ died; they disliked for even a part of a day to pass by without them being united as a group (with a leader to rule over them).”[6]

The Muslims of Madinah fell in to two main categories. The Muhajireen who emigrated from Makkah with the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and the Ansar who consisted of two tribes called Al-Aws and Al-Khazraj. The Ahlul hali wal-aqd who contracted the bay’a to Abu Bakr consisted of tribal leaders, wazirs and those strongest in the ideology of Islam.

NamePosition within the state
Sa’d ibn Ubadahleader of the Ansar
Al-Bashir ibn Sa’dleader of Al- Khazraj
Usaid ibn Hudayrleader of Al- Aws
Abu Bakr As-SiddiqWazir, 10 promised jannah
Umar ibn Al-KhattabWazir, 10 promised jannah
Abu Ubaydah ibn al-JarrahArmy commander, 10 promised jannah
Hubab ibn al-MundhirArmy commander
Key figures at the saqeefa:[7]

Umar ibn Al-Khattab (13H/634CE – 23H/644CE)

When Abu Bakr became seriously ill and felt his death was fast approaching, he summoned the Ahlul hali wal-aqd who were the senior sahaba and said to them, “Verily, as you can clearly see I have been afflicted with a severe illness, and I feel certain that, because of the severity of my condition, I will soon die. Therefore, Allah has released you from the pledge that you have made to me, and my covenant with you (i.e., my covenant as your Khaleefah) has also come to an end. Allah has returned your affair to you (i.e., your ability to choose a leader among yourselves), so appoint over yourselves whomsoever you wish. Indeed, if you choose your new leader while I am still alive, you will be less likely to differ among yourselves after I am gone.”[8]The sahaba were unable to reach a decision so they authorised Abu Bakr to decide who his successor should be. They said, “O Khaleefah of the Messenger Allah, your opinion is our opinion (i.e., appoint your successor for us).” He said, “Then give me some time, so that I can see what is best in the view of Allah and what is best for His religion and His slaves.”[9]

He consulted Abdul-Rahman ibn Awf and Uthman bin Affan[10] who were from the 10 promised Jannah, and other prominent sahaba before announcing his recommendation that Umar ibn Al-Khattab should be the next Khaleefah. The wider ummah accepted this decision and after the death of Abu Bakr, the inhabitants of the capital in Madinah gave their bay’a to Umar in the Prophet’s Mosque as was customary at the time.

As mentioned previously, Mawardi says: “Imamate comes into being in two ways: the first of these is by the election of the Ahlul hali wal-aqd, and the second is by the delegation of the previous Imam.”[11]

This method of the Imam nominating his successor continued throughout the Khilafah’s 1300 history. Unfortunately, those Khulufa’ who came after the Rightly Guided Caliphs, on the whole turned the nomination from one based on shura and meritocracy, to nominating family members as we will come to later.

Uthman bin Affan (23H/644CE – 35H/656CE)

When Umar ibn Al-Khattab was stabbed and his death was imminent, the Ahlul hali wal-aqd came and asked him to nominate a successor as Abu Bakr had done for him. Umar couldn’t come to a decision so he appointed a council of six candidates who were all from the 10 promised jannah to meet after his death and appoint a Khaleefah. Umar summoned Ali, Uthman, Sa’d, Abdul-Rahman ibn Awf, and al-Zubayr ibn Al-Awwam and said to them, “I have looked into the matter and consider you to be the chiefs and leaders of the people. This matter will remain among you alone.”[12]

Someone suggested to Umar that he appoint his son Abdullah ibn Umar who was one of the prominent scholars of Madinah who used to give fatawa (legal decisions) for people, and an expert on governmental affairs. Umar responded harshly to this suggestion, “Allah curse you! You were not saying this for Allah’s sake!”[13] Umar was known as the door against fitnah (tribulations)[14] and wanted to prevent the concept of hereditary rule appearing in the state. Although, due to Ibn Umar’s skills he said to the council of six, “Abdullah ibn Umar will be there as an adviser, but he shall have nothing to do with the matter [of the actual appointment].”[15]

The candidates

NamePosition within the state
Abdul-Rahman ibn Awfshura, police
Ali ibn Abi Talibwazir, qadi
Uthman bin Affanwazir, shura
Sa’d ibn Abi WaqqasAmir of Jihad, Governor
Zubayr ibn al-‘Awamshura, police
Talha ibn Ubayd Allahshura, police. Talha was travelling so didn’t partake in the council.
The council of the six:[16]

The Time Limit for bay’a

There is no explicit evidence (daleel) from the Qur’an or sunnah which places a time limit on when the bay’a contract has to be concluded. The bay’a to Abu Bakr was concluded on the same day the Messenger of Allah ﷺ passed away[17], and the bay’a to Umar was also contracted on the same day Abu Bakr died. It was Umar ibn Al-Khattab who specified the three days and nights, time limit for concluding the bay’a contract. He said, “When I die, consult for three days, and let Suhaib lead the Muslims in prayer. Do not let the fourth day come without having an Ameer upon you.”[18]

In another narration he said to Suhaib, “Lead the people in prayer three days, and let ‘Ali, ‘Uthman, Az-Zubayr, Sa’d, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Awf, and Talha, if he came back (from his travel) and bring in ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, without allowing him any personal interest in the matter, and stand at their heads (i.e. supervise them). If five agreed and accepted one man, while one man rejected, then hit his head with the sword (kill him). If four consented and agreed on one man, and two disagreed, then kill the dissenters with the sword. If three agreed on one man and three disagreed then let ‘Abdullah bin ‘Umar arbitrate. The group that ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar judged for, let them select one from them. If they did not accept the judgement of ‘Abdullah ibn ‘Umar, then be (all of you) with the group in which is ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Awf, and kill the rest if they declined to accept what the people agreed upon.”[19]

The fact that Umar is ordering the killing of Muslims if the three-day time limit was passed, and none of the sahaba objected to this, makes it an ijma as-sahaba and a shara daleel for us. The sanctity of Muslim blood is well-established from numerous ayaat and hadith. So if the sahaba consented to killing a Muslim, and not any Muslim at that, but one of the ten promised Jannah (ashratul-mubashireen) then this is known in usul al-fiqh as a decisive qareenah (indication) which indicates an obligation.

Dr Muhammad As-Sallaabi disagrees with this ijtihad and objects to the narration of Umar based on its isnad (chain of narration) and matn (text). He says, “This is a report which has no sound isnad. It is one of the weird stories quoted by Abu Mukhnaf, and is contrary to the saheeh texts and what is known of the conduct of the Sahabah. Abu Mukhnaf narrated that Umar said to Suhaib, ‘…If five agreed and accepted one man, while one man rejected, then hit his head with the sword (kill him). If four consented and agreed on one man…’[20] But this is a false report. How could ‘Umar have said such a thing, when he knew that they were among the elite of the Companions of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and he was the one who had chosen them for this task because he knew of their virtue and high status?”[21]

Firstly, if we examine the full isnad of this narration we find it is as follows:

“Umar Bin Shibhat told us, he said: Ali Bin Muhammad told us from Wakee’, from Al-A’mash, from Ibrahim and Muhammad Bin Abdullah Al-Ansary, from Ibn Arooba from Qatadah from Shahr Bin Hawshab AND Abu Mukhnaf, from Yusuf Bin Yazeed, from Abbas Bin Sahl and Mubarak Bin Fadhala, from Ubaid Allah Bin Umar and Yunus Bin Abi Ishaq, from Amr Bin Maysoon Al Awdi that Umar Bin Al Khattab when he was stabbed…”[22]

This shows that Abu Mukhnaf was not the only one who narrated from Qatada, but also Shahr bin Hawshab also narrated from him, and he is considered trustworthy. Therefore, the text is not weak in its isnad.

In terms of the matn (text) then this shows the difference between a muhadith (scholar who collects and verifies narrations) and a mujtihad (scholar who derives rules from the sharia through ijtihad). Deriving law is a cold subject where emotion and personal biases cannot enter. Sheikh Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah says, “The Sharia rules are taken from their evidences and are not taken by desire and assumption.”[23]

As mentioned, if the sahaba collectively consented on the permissibility of an action, which on the surface seems to be forbidden by other evidences such as killing a believer or delaying the burial of a believer, then this becomes an ijma and is a sharia daleel. Umar’s command to kill someone from the ashratul-mubashireen indicates the strong obligation of completing the bay’a within three days.

There is also a hikmah (wisdom) here in the text on why it must be concluded within three days, and that is prolonging the time limit on the bay’a contract will lead to fitna and instability within the state.

Having said this, if circumstances arose where the contract could not be concluded within three days, such as an attack on the Majlis and electoral council, then the time limit can be extended and this is the decision of the Qadi Mazalim. The Provisional Ameer will simply continue running the state during this period along with the governors of the provinces.

The draft constitution of the Islamic State by Hizb ut-Tahrir has two articles covering this:

Article No 32: If the position of the Khilafah becomes vacant due to the death of its leader, his resignation, or his removal, it is obligatory to appoint a Khaleefah within three days from the date that the position of the Khilafah became vacant.[24]

Article No 33: A Provisional Ameer is appointed to take charge of the affairs of the Muslims, and to prepare for the election of the new Khaleefah after the vacation of the position of the Khilafah according to the following process: … 6-The Provisional Ameer makes all effort to complete the appointment of a new Khaleefah within three days, and it is not permitted for this to be extended except due to overwhelming circumstances which the Mazalim court has to confirm.[25]

Provisional Ameer

The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “It would be forbidden for three people who are in an open country, not to appoint one from among them as Ameer.”[26]

There should never be a situation where the Muslim Ummah is leaderless as she is today, because this will lead to severe fitna, disunity and deaths of millions. The Messenger of Allah ﷺ prophesised this, when he ﷺ said that despite our huge numbers, “The nations will soon summon one another to attack you as people do when eating invite others to share their dish.”[27]

When the Khaleefah dies, or resigns, or is incapacitated there needs to be a deputy to takeover the state. This deputy during the three-day election process is known as the Provisional Ameer and is appointed by the previous Khaleefah as Umar did with Suhaib or is one of the wazirs in the case the Provisional Ameer was not appointed, or was standing as a candidate for the post of Khaleefah.

The evidence that Suhaib was the Provisional Ameer is taken from the command of Umar to Suhaib, “Lead the people in prayer three days…If five agreed and accepted one man, while one man rejected, then hit his head with the sword (kill him)…”

The word salah in the Islamic Arabic texts can have a majaz mursal (hypallage)[28] meaning based on the principle, where the part is mentioned but the whole is intended, i.e. salah is an indication of ruling not simply praying. This is a well-known principle in balagha (rhetoric) which can be found in the Qur’an such as the ayah on who is eligible for zakat. Allah (Most High) says,

إِنَّمَا ٱلصَّدَقَـٰتُ لِلْفُقَرَآءِ وَٱلْمَسَـٰكِينِ وَٱلْعَـٰمِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَٱلْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِى ٱلرِّقَابِ وَٱلْغَـٰرِمِينَ وَفِى سَبِيلِ ٱللَّهِ وَٱبْنِ ٱلسَّبِيلِ ۖ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ ٱللَّهِ ۗ وَٱللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ

“The Sadaqāt are meant only for the poor, the needy, those who administer them, those whose hearts need winning over, to free necks (slaves) and help those in debt, for Allah’s cause, and for travellers in need. This is ordained by Allah; Allah is all knowing and wise.” (Tawba, 9:60)

Sararuk Chowdhury explains this verse, “Here, the word رِّقَابِ ‘neck’ refers to the entire person. The neck is a defining semantic feature of emancipating a slave – whether a believer or non-believer – and so is used here metaphorically in place of the entire person.”[29]

Moreover, only a ruler has the power of implementing punishments so this indicates that Suhaib was not simply leading the pray as an Imam in the masjid, but was the Imam of the state.

We will see further examples of the Provisional Ameer as we trace the bay’a through Islamic history. When Sulayman ibn Abdul-Malik was Khaleefah he was advised by the righteous scholar Raja’ bin Haywah al-Kundi, to nominate his nephew Umar bin Abdul-Aziz as the next Khaleefah over his own son and brother. Sulayman did this, and knowing that Banu Umayyah would not be happy he nominated his brother Yazeed ibn Abdul-Malik as the Khaleefah after Umar.

Raja’ bin Haywah, who was the Provisional Ameer overseeing the transition process to the next Khaleefah, sealed Umar bin Abdul-Azeez’s nomination in an envelope so no one could read it. He then asked the influentials from Banu Umayyah who were the Ahlul hali wal-aqd to take bay’a over the sealed document.

After Sulayman’s death, the sealed document was opened and Umar bin Abdul-Aziz’s name announced. Umar bin Abdul-Aziz reluctantly ascended the minbar in the Dabiq Masjid and Banu Umayyah came to give their bay’a. Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik initially refused to give bay’a but Raja’ threatened to have him beheaded so Hisham then gave bay’ah.

As mentioned, the Provisional Ameer has the power to implement punishments and can call on the police and army to assist him in quelling rebellion and dissent during the transition process if required. The police chief assisting Raja’ was Ka’ab bin Hamid al-‘Unsi,[30] and he played the same role as Abu Talha Al-Ansari did for Suhaib Ar-Rumi.

Role of the Police

Umar appointed Abu Talha Al-Ansari to select 50 men to protect the council. This is the role of the police and the army in the appointment of the Khaleefah – they are protectors not appointers. Within the Khilafah the military should be kept separate from politics and ruling to prevent the dominance of military opinions in domestic and external affairs.[31] This can lead to halting the Islamic conquests and the emergence of an oppressive police state as we saw during the later Abbasid period where the army became the defacto power and authority in the state, with the Khaleefah becoming a mere figurehead.

The debate

The council of the six were the Ahlul hali wal-aqd and although their contracting of the bay’a to Uthman would be sufficient, Abdul-Rahman ibn Awf withdrew his candidacy and went around the capital Madinah seeking shura from the different clans of Quraysh and the Ansar, on who they wanted as the next Khaleefah. He found their opinions were in favour of Ali and Uthman, but that the people also wanted a continuation of Abu Bakr and Umar’s actions in ruling rather than any stark changes.

Abdul-Rahman said, “Now then, O Ali. I have looked at the people’s tendencies and noticed that they do not consider anybody equal to Uthman, so you should not incur blame (by disagreeing).” Then Abdul-Rahman said (to Uthman), “I gave the bay’a to you on condition that you will follow the sunnah of Allah and His Messenger, and the two Khaleefahs after him.” So Abdul-Rahman gave the bay’a to him, and so did the people including the Muhajireen, the Ansar, the chiefs of the army and all the Muslims.[32]

Adding conditions to the bay’a

Binding Uthman to the condition of following the way of the two previous Khaleefahs – Abu Bakr and Umar, serves as a sharia daleel (evidence) that it is permitted to add extra conditions to the bay’a because the sahaba consented to this which represents an ijma.

The bay’a is a contract and as such it’s allowed to add extra conditions that the Khaleefah must abide by, as long as these extra conditions do not violate the fundamentals of the contract. So it would be haram to impose a four-year time limit on the bay’a contract which will we discuss in due course.

In origin it is not allowed to add a condition to the bay’a that obliges the Khaleefah to adopt a certain opinion which becomes law, because this contradicts the first executive mandatory power that adoption is for the Khaleefah only. However, a condition can be added to the bay’a that obliges the Khaleefah to adopt a certain opinion if the unity of the Muslims requires this. This is because of the principle in usul ul-fiqh (foundations of Islamic law) that a mujtahid (scholar) can leave his ijtihad and adopt another opinion if it is intended to unify the Muslims for their own good.

This is what happened with Uthman’s bay’a. It is therefore permitted to restrict the Khaleefah to certain constitutional processes such as the empowerment of the Majlis ul-Ummah and the judiciary as counterbalances to his executive power, if unity of the ummah demanded this.[33]

Ali ibn Abi Talib (35H/656CE – 40H/661CE)

After Uthman’s assassination at the hands of the rebels, the Islamic State was in a crisis and state of emergency. Al-Abbas, the uncle of the Prophet ﷺ and leader of Banu Hashim came to his nephew Ali and said, “Reach out your hand so that I may make bay’a to you, and that the people say that the uncle of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ has given bay’a to his paternal nephew, and so that there will not be two persons disputing your Khilafah.”[34] Ali then became the Khaleefah based on the contracting of one person from the Ahlul hali wal-aqd.

Is it sufficient and permitted for one person to contract the bay’a like this? Mawardi answers this question by listing four opinions of the scholars:

As for its formation by the election of the Ahlul hali wal-aqd, the ‘ulema, according to the different madhhabs, have different opinions as to the number of persons needed in the formation of the Imamate.

One group says that it can only be conferred by way of the majority of those of power and influence in each country, such that acceptance is general and submission to the Imamate is by a consensus; this madhhab is rejected by the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr, may Allah be pleased with him, that is to a succession arrived at by way of the election of only those who were present they made the oath of allegiance to him and did not expect any other person from outside to present himself for this election.

Another group say that the minimum number of persons that should gather for the formation of the Imamate is five or that it should be formed by one of them with the agreement of four others. They take two matters as their proof: the first that the oath of allegiance to Abu Bakr (ra) was made by five persons together and that the people followed them in this matter. These persons were ‘Umar ibn al-Khattab, Abu ‘Ubaidah ibn al-Jarrah, Usayd ibn Hudayr, Bashir ibn Sa’d and Salim the freed-slave of Abu Hudhayfah (ra). The second proof is that ‘Umar set up a council of six persons so that one of them should take on the Imamate with the acceptance of the other five – and this is the opinion of most of the fuqaha and the mutakallimun from amongst the people of Basra.

Others from amongst the ‘ulema of Kufa say the Imamate comes into being by way of three persons, one of them taking charge by virtue of the acceptance of the other two such that there is one who decides the matter together with two witnesses, in the same way as the contract of marriage is made valid by the man in charge (the wali) and two witnesses.

Another group says that it comes about by way of a single person as ‘Abbas said to ‘Ali, may the pleasure of Allah be upon them both, “Reach out your hand so that I may make allegiance to you and that the people say that the uncle of the Messenger of Allah, may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has given allegiance to his paternal nephew and so that there will not be two persons disputing your succession.” They also say that it is ruling which when given, even by one person, has to be carried out.[35]

The strongest opinion is that the sharia has not specified any specific number of representatives to contract the bay’a. So even one person of sufficient standing and influence who Muslims will listen to can contract the bay’a as Al-Abbas did with Ali.

Al-Hasan ibn Ali (40H/661CE – 41H/661CE)

The capital of the Khilafah moved from Madinah to Kufa in the time of Ali ibn Abi Talib. Kufa was a new town founded by Umar ibn Al-Khattab and many Arab tribes migrated there such as Banu Asad, Hamdan and Tay. Most of the tribes who migrated to Kufa were Yamani.

After the death of his father, Al-Hasan was given the bay’a by the Arab tribes of Kufa who constituted the Ahlul hali wal-aqd during his time.[36]

Although al-Hasan was the son of the previous Khaleefah it was not Ali ibn Abi Talib’s intent to establish hereditary rule which Mu’awiya did when he appointed his son Yazid. It was said to ‘Ali ibn Abi Talib: ‘Why don’t you appoint a successor to rule us?’ He answered: ‘The Messenger of Allah ﷺ did not appoint a successor, so why should I appoint a successor? But if Allah wills good for the people, He will unite them after my death under the leadership of the best of them, as He united them after the death of their Prophet ﷺ under the leadership of the best of them.’[37] This clearly establishes free choice and meritocracy as the basis of choosing the Khaleefah not familial ties.

Al-Hasan was only in power for six months before he resigned, abdicating the Khilafah to Mu’awiya, and ending the civil war which had ensued since the assassination of Uthman. This fulfilled the prophecy which the Messenger of Allah ﷺ had foretold. One day the Prophet ﷺ brought out al-Hasan and took him up to the mimbar with him and said, “This son of mine is a Saiyid (i.e. chief) and I hope that Allah will help him bring about reconciliation between two Muslim groups.”[38]

The bay’a is a contract and as mentioned requires the consent and free choice of the parties involved. This includes the Muslim masses and the Khaleefah himself. The Khaleefah is therefore permitted to resign. Al-Mawardi mentions, “it is the Imam’s prerogative to ask of the Ummah that he be allowed to resign from the Imamate.”[39]

The motivation for al-Hasan signing the peace treaty with Mu’awiya and abdicating the Khilafah to him was to restart the Islamic conquests which had halted after Uthman’s assassination, and deal with other territories which had taken advantage of the situation and rebelled in the East. Al-Hasan said, “I have been thinking of going to Madinah to settle there and yielding (the caliphate) to Mu’awiya. The turmoil has gone on for too long, blood has been shed, ties of kinship have been severed, the roads have become unsafe, and the borders have been neglected.”[40]

To be continued…

Part 2: Bay’a in Islamic History – The Umayyad Khilafah
Part 3: Bay’a in Islamic History – The Abbasid Khilafah
Part 4: Bay’a in Islamic History – The Abbasid Khilafah within the Mamluk Sultanate
Part 5: Bay’a in Islamic History – The Ottoman Khilafah


[1] Sahih Al-Bukhari, 3455 https://sunnah.com/bukhari:3455

[2] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘The Biography of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq’, Dar us-Salam Publishers, pp.250

[3] Ahmad, al-ʿAqīdah bi-Riwāyah al-Khallāl, 1/124

[4] Abu l-Hasan al-Mawardi, The Laws of Islamic Governance, translation of Al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyah, Ta Ha Publishers, pp.12

[5] Ibid, pp.11

[6] Ibraaheem Shu’oot, ‘Abaatel Yajibu An-Tamuhhu Minat-Taareekh,’ pp.101

[7] Abu Ja`far Muhammad b. Jarir al-Tabari, ‘The History of Al-Tabari’, translation of Ta’rikh al-rusul wa’l-muluk, State University of New York Press, Volume X, pp.1

[8] Sallaabee, ‘The Biography of Abu Bakr As-Siddeeq’, Op.cit., pp.723

[9] Ibid, pp.724

[10] Tabari, Op.cit., Volume XI, pp.145

[11] Abu l-Hasan al-Mawardi, The Laws of Islamic Governance, translation of Al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyah, Ta Ha Publishers, pp.12

[12] Tabari, Op.cit., Volume XIV, pp.145

[13] Ibid, pp.144

[14] Sahih Bukhari 7096 https://sunnah.com/bukhari:7096

[15] Tabari, Op.cit., Volume XIV, pp.146

[16] Ibid, pp.145

[17] Ibraaheem Shu’oot, ‘Abaatel Yajibu An-Tamuhhu Minat-Taareekh,’ pp.101

[18] At-Tabaqat by Ibn Sa’ d, 3/364

[19] Tabari, Op.cit., Volume XIV, pp.146

[20] Ibid

[21] Dr Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, ‘Life of Umar ibn Al-Khattab,’ Vol. 2, pp.386

[22] Sheikh Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah, http://www.khilafah.com/qaa-strength-of-hadith-evidence-used-in-specifying-the-time-limit-to-appoint-a-khaleefah/

[23] Ibid

[24] ‘An Introduction to the Constitution and its obligation’ translation of Muqadimatud-Dustur Aw al-Asbabul Mujibatulah, Hizb ut-Tahrir, pp.99

[25] Ibid, pp.100

[26] Narrated by Ahmed from ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr

[27] Abu Dawud 4297, https://sunnah.com/abudawud:4297

[28] Sararuk Chowdhury, ‘Introducing Arabic Rhetoric,’ Ad-Duha 2008, pp.92

[29] Ibid

[30] Dr. Ali Muhammad As-Sallabi, ‘Umar bin Abd al-Aziz,’ Darussalam, pp.106

[31] Taqiuddin an-Nabhani, ‘The Islamic Personality,’ Volume 2, translation of Shakhsiya Islamiyya,

http://www.maktabaislamia.com, 5th edition 2003, pp.133

[32] Sahih Bukhari 7207, https://sunnah.com/bukhari:7207

[33] Taqiuddin an-Nabhani, ‘The Islamic Personality,’ Volume 1, translation of Shakhsiya Islamiyya, http://www.maktabaislamia.com, 6th Edition 2013, pp.171

[34] al-Mawardi, Op.cit., pp.12

[35] Ibid

[36] Jalal ad-Din as-Suyuti, ‘History of the Khalifahs who took the right way,’ translated by Abdassamad Clarke, Ta Ha Publishers, pp.214

[37] al-Bayhaqi, al-I’tiqad ‘ala Madh-hab as-Salaf Ahl as-Sunnah wal-Jama’ah, 184. Its chain of narration is good.

[38] Sahih al-Bukhari 3629, https://sunnah.com/bukhari/61/133

[39] al-Mawardi, Op.cit., pp.41

[40] Ibn Sa’d, at-Tabaqat al-Kubra at Tabaqat al-Khamisah min as-Sahabah, 1:331