All posts filed under: Ruling

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 …

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 …

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, …

Bay’a in Islamic History: Al-Walid’s attempt to change the designated successors

Abdul-Aziz ibn Marwan (father of Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz) was designated as the next Khaleefah (wali ul-Ahd) after Abdul-Malik but he passed away before Abdul-Malik, so that allowed a new succession contract to be created. Abdul-Malik designated his son Al-Walid as the first successor and Sulayman as the successor after him. When Abdul-Malik died, his son Al-Walid became the Khaleefah and was given the bay’a by the Ahlul hali wal-aqd in Ash-Sham. Under his rule the Khilafah reached its highpoint in terms of conquests, with Spain, Sindh and Central Asia all becoming part of the state. In 95H/714CE[1], Al-Walid attempted to change the succession contract (wiliyat ul-ahd) his father Marwan had instituted, by removing his brother Sulayman as the next Khaleefah after him. Al-Walid wanted his son Abdul-Aziz to be the next Khaleefah instead of Sulayman. As discussed, designating two or more successors as part of the wiliyat ul-ahd, which was Marwan’s ijtihad, was considered valid by the ulema and Ahlul hali wal-aqd, and so represents a shubhat daleel (semblance of an evidence). Mawardi mentions that …

Bay’a in Islamic History – When did Abdul-Malik ibn Marwan’s Khilafah begin?

Marwan ibn al-Hakam designated his son Abdul-Malik as the next Khaleefah (wali al-ahd) after his death. Marwan also designated his other son Abdul-Aziz, the father of Umar ibn Abdul-Aziz as the next Khaleefah after Abdul-Malik. Abdul-Aziz was the governor of Egypt under Abdul-Malik, but passed away before Abdul-Malik died. This meant Abdul-Malik could change the designated successors to his two sons Al-Walid and Sulayman, according to the opinion they had adopted on the bay’a at the time. While the Ahlul hali wal-aqd of ash-Sham did give bay’a to Abdul-Malik in 66H/685CE, this bay’a was initially invalid (batil) because Abdullah ibn az-Zubayr was the legitimate Khaleefah. It is not permitted for the bay’a to be given to two Khaleefahs at the same time. This is well-established from the sunnah where the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, “If a bay’a is taken for two Khaleefahs, kill the latter among them.”[1] The sahaba acted upon this sunnah and when they gathered in the courtyard (saqifa) of Banu Sa’ida to elect the first Khaleefah, one of the Ansar said, …