All posts filed under: Ruling

Conditions of the Caliph: Why only a Muslim Caliph?

The Khilafah (Caliphate) is an ideological Islamic State where the Islamic ‘aqeeda (belief) is the basis of the state, its institutions, systems and societal relationships. There is no separation between religion and politics in Islam as we find in the west. The Khilafah’s strength depends directly on the strength of the ideology within the state. This means those in ruling positions must be people who will work to protect, implement and propagate the deen of Islam, so the state becomes a beacon of high values, and a leading nation in the world. Only someone who believes in the ideology of the state i.e. Islam could do this, which means those in ruling positions must be Muslim. The Islamic State is no different to any ideological state within the world today. America or Western Europe for example would never accept a Muslim or Communist as President or Prime Minister. The fact that former US President Barack Obama had to repeatedly deny he is a secret Muslim is clear evidence of this. Muhammad Asad says, “One cannot …

Conditions of the Caliph

There is consensus (ijma) among the scholars on the pillars (arkan) that someone must possess to take up the post of Khaleefah. However, there are differences of opinion (ikhtilaaf), on some of the other conditions (shuroot) such as being from Quraysh, a mujtahid (able to perform ijtihad) and brave. The contractual conditions must have a shar’a daleel (divine evidence) from the divine text (Qur’an and Sunnah). Imam Ghazali (1058-1111) says, “Conditions for the Imamate must be proved, and proof is either a text from the Trustee of the Law, or a reasoning about the benefit (maslaha) for which the Imamate is sought. The only text is that about descent from Quraysh. The other conditions are from necessity and needed for the purpose of the Imamate.”[1] Before discussing the opinions of the classical scholars concerning the contractual conditions of a Khaleefah, we need to understand the time period they lived in. Only then can we begin to appreciate why they emphasised certain conditions over others, and why they legitimised certain abnormal situations, such as the Khaleefah …

Is the bay’ah a “social contract”?

A “social contract, in political philosophy, is an actual or hypothetical compact, or agreement, between the ruled or between the ruled and their rulers, defining the rights and duties of each.”[1] While on the surface, this seems to apply to the bay’ah contract, as Ulrika Martensson has mentioned[2], the “social contract” is not in line with Islamic thought because the premise in the “social contract” is that man is sovereign (Rouseau), whereas in Islam the sharia is sovereign.[3] Shahrough Akhavi elaborates on this point: “Although social-contract theorists differ on a number of points, they concur that human beings choose to form associations to promote their interests. An important corollary is that tension exists between the individual’s inherent independence and freedom and the authority to which she or he must submit to achieve compliance with the goals of the contract. Occasionally, a theorist discusses God in the overall scheme of things, but the conception is deistic, so that the God who created the world does not intervene in its operation. For the rest, contractarian theories privilege …

What is the Bay’ah?

The bay’ah or pledge of allegiance, is a ruling contract which governs the relationship between Muslims and the Islamic state. For those Muslims living under the authority of the state, the bay’ah is their citizenship contract with its ruler – the Khaleefah. The bay’ah is the method of appointing the Khaleefah and legitimising his rule. It must be given with the consent of the ummah, who are free to choose whomever they wish to rule them, within the boundaries of the sharia rules. If the bay’ah and its conditions are absent, then the Khaleefah has no authority to rule and will be considered a usurper. From the time of Abu Bakr to the last Khaleefah Abdul-Majed II, the bay’ah was always present and legally convened, albeit misapplied for much of Islamic history. If we look back to Islamic history, most of the major political problems and fitan (tribulations) that occurred, can be traced back in some way or the other to the misapplication of the bay’ah. It’s the misapplication of the bay’ah that distinguishes a …

Bay’ah 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’ah 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’ah to the Prophet ﷺ. Since the bay’ah for many of these tribes and individuals was given at the same time as accepting Islam, this may lead someone to the conclusion that the bay’ah is related to belief, and withdrawing bay’ah is apostasy. In response to this, bay’ah is related to ruling which is an action, and those who give bay’ah are already Muslim. The evidences for this are as follows. 1- Bay’ah is always taken from a believer Allah (Most High) says: يا أَيُّهَا النَّبِيُّ إِذا جاءَكَ المُؤمِناتُ يُبايِعنَكَ “O Prophet! When women who have iman come to you pledging allegiance to you…”[1] لقد رضي الله عن المؤمنين إذ يبايعونك تحت الشجرة …

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 …