Author: islamciv

Part 2: Bay’a in Islamic History – The Umayyad Khilafah

Disputes broke out many times throughout the Khilafah’s 1300-year history over who should govern the state. One thing remained constant however and that was the bay’a. No Khaleefah ever came to power without the bay’a, and this method of appointing the ruler continued until 1924. 1.    Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (41H/661CE – 60H/680CE) The Civil War between Mu’awiyah and Ali During the civil war between Mu’awiya and Ali, Mu’awiya never claimed the Khilafah for himself or took the bay’a for himself. Rather he made his bay’a conditional on Ali handing over Uthman’s assassins which Ali was unable to fulfil at that time. Abu Muslim Al-Khawlani and a group of people said to Mu’awiyah: “Do you disagree with Ali or are you like him?” So Mu’awiyah said: “No, By Allah! I know that Ali is better than me, and he has more right to the leadership than me. However, do you not know that Uthman was killed wrongfully!? I am his cousin (‘Uthman’s cousin), and I am asking for his blood, so go to Ali and …

Is the bay’a on belief or action?

The 9th year of the Hijrah is known as the ‘Year of the Delegations’ (سنة الوفود) in which each Arab tribe sent a group of representatives to meet with the Prophet ﷺ in Madinah. Apart from the Christians of Najran who chose to remain on their religion and pay the jizya, the rest of the Arab tribes accepted Islam and gave their bay’a to the Prophet ﷺ. Since the bay’a for many of these tribes and individuals was given at the same time as accepting Islam does this mean bay’a was taken on belief i.e. as a condition for accepting Islam? To answer this, we need to understand what is the bay’a, who is it taken from, and the difference between the bay’a in Makkah and the bay’a in Madinah. Linguistically bay’a (بَيْعَة) is derived from the verbal noun البيع which means “selling or purchasing”. Form III of this verb بايع means “to contract” or “pledge allegiance”. However, the Islamic Sharia texts assigned a different meaning to the word بَيْعَة which is – the contract …

The Ahlul hali wal-aqd in the time of Harun al-Rashid

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. 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. 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.[1] The classical scholars called this …

Islamic Monetary Policy in light of Pakistan’s ban on riba (interest)

The Federal Shariat Court (FSC) of Pakistan announced on April 28th 2022 that the current interest-based banking system is against sharia, and directed the government to implement an interest (riba)-free banking system by December 2027.[1] In fact, the first petition for the abolition of the interest-based banking system was filed in the FSC on June 30, 1990 and it has taken 32 years for a final verdict to be issued![2] It is well-established in Islam that riba is against sharia because of the numerous clear-cut verses of the Holy Quran such as, “O believers! Fear Allah, and give up outstanding interest if you are ˹true˺ believers. If you do not, then beware of a war with Allah and His Messenger!”[3] and “But Allah has permitted trading and forbidden interest.”[4] While most Muslims support a ban on riba, very few understand the alternatives to the existing economic system of banking and monetary transactions. The alternatives that emerge focus on offering interest-free loans through complex financial products, where the recipient still pays more than the capital. Those …

Can a time limit be placed on the Caliph’s term of office?

The question of limiting the head of state’s term to a specific number of years, was not an issue in ancient and medieval times because most heads of state were life-long monarchs. The renaissance in Europe paved the way for philosophers to develop new theories of governance based on the democratic model first developed by the ancient Greeks. After the French and American revolutions these new principles were codified in their constitutions. The republican system was developed to replace the monarchies of the past, and central to this was restricting the powers and term of office of the president who headed this system. The American constitution restricted the president to a four-year term but allowed re-election without restriction. In 1951 the Twenty-Second Amendment was passed which restricted the US President to two terms, so they can never serve more than eight years in office. This was done to prevent a life-long monarch emerging who if corrupt, would be corrupt for life. The dominance of the western democratic system and the shocking levels of corruption experienced …

Bay’a in Islamic History: The Removal of Walid II

Al-Walid’s father Yazid ibn Abdul-Malik became the Khaleefah according to the wiliyatul-ahd (succession contract) of Sulayman ibn Abdul-Malik, who nominated him as the successor after Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz. Since the Umayyads only nominated two successors, this allowed Yazid ibn Abdul-Malik to create a new wiliyatul-ahd. Yazid’s brother, the famous general Maslamah ibn Abdul-Malik, persuaded him to nominate his other brother Hisham ibn Abdul-Malik as the next Khaleefah, and then Yazid’s own son Al-Walid (Al-Walid II) after him. Yazid and Hisham try to change the designated successors Yazid regretted appointing Hisham before his son Al-Walid, but as mentioned in the section on Al-Walid ibn Abdul-Malik, the prevalent opinion adopted by the ulema and Ahlul hali wal-aqd was that it is forbidden to change the designated successors, unless the successors voluntarily agree to it. Yazid would say, “It is Allah who stands between me and the one who put Hisham between me and you.”[1]This shows that the sharia was adhered to by the Umayyad Khaleefahs who were not absolute monarchs. When Hisham became Khaleefah he also wanted …

A History of Islam in 10 Objects

Historical objects such as artefacts, manuscripts and buildings are one of the primary sources in the study of history. Their presence or absence in a society can offer a unique insight in to the past, especially when combined with other sources such as oral narrations. They can offer a more holistic view towards society, and easily dispel the sweeping generalisations we see among those who attempt to distort Islamic history for their own nefarious purposes.

6. CALIPHATE CONTENTIONS: Establishing the caliphate isn’t an obligation for me personally

BY DR. REZA PANKHURSTThis article has been reproduced from Prophetic Politics. Discussion of the Personal Obligation Denial argument – or summed up as “it’s not an obligation for me because (I’m not capable/ it’s something that the scholars and people of influence have to do as an obligation of sufficiency/Allah will establish it/ it’s not actually an obligation to begin with)” As for the last argument – that the caliphate is not obligatory to begin with, if we have to go over that again then please refer to earlier contentions here that deal with this question comprehensively (but here is one sample quote for those in a hurry: Sa`ad al-din al-Taftazani mentions it in his Sharh al-Maqasid where he states: “‘and whoever dies without knowing his Imam, dies the death of jahiliyya’ – and this is because the obligation to obey (those in authority) and to know (the Imam) requires that Imam to be established.” وقوله ﷺ: «من مات ولم يعرف إمامه مات ميتة جاهلية.» فإن وجوب الطاعة والمعرفة يقتضي وجوب الحصول The focus here are the other …

5. CALIPHATE CONTENTIONS: Historically, there was rarely a single unified caliphate, and therefore it is an unrealistic, utopian idea

BY DR. REZA PANKHURSTThis article has been reproduced from Prophetic Politics. Discussion of the Historical Precedence Argument –  summed up as “the practical reality was that there were several competing caliphs or sultans, and therefore it is not an obligation or realistic to have a single Imam”. Without debating the premise of the argument (which could itself be considered historically problematic) – it is important to consider that Islam came to deal with the human condition, in all its aspects – political, social, personal. And in doing so – while laying down ideals and normative standards, it also provided Muslims with a reference for correction – hence the entire corpus on enjoining the good and forbidding the evil for example. The fact that the Prophet – peace be upon him – made the statement that if two caliphs are appointed then the second should be killed – is evidence that disunity will occur among Muslims, and that there would be situations where authority would be contested. The direction of the Prophet to kill the second claimant …

Bay’a in Islamic History: Umar bin Abdul-Aziz changes the bay’a back to shura

How Umar bin Abdul-Aziz became the Heir Apparent When Sulayman ibn Abdul-Malik was Khaleefah he was advised by the righteous scholar Raja’ bin Haywah al-Kundi, to nominate his nephew and Wazir Umar bin Abdul-Aziz as the next Khaleefah instead of 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 leader overseeing the transition process to the next Khaleefah, describes the events surrounding Umar bin Abdul-Aziz’s nomination as narrated by Tabari. Raja’ bin Haywah says: ‘On the day of Jumu’ah, Sulayman ibn Abd al-Malik was wearing green silk robes and as he looked in mirror, he said: “By Allah! I am a young king.” He then left for prayer, led the people in the Friday congregation and he did not return except that he had fallen ill. When he later burdened his son, Ayyub, who was just a boy at the time, with writing a book on his Khilafah, …