K  H  I  L  A  A  F  A  H  .  O  R  G


What is Khilaafah?


Khilaafah (also transliterated 'khilafah', eng. 'caliphate') is the Islamic ruling system. Linguistically, 'khilaafah' means 'succession'. The sharia'h meaning of khilaafah is the succession of the leadership of the Muslim ummah, based upon the prophethood. It refers to the system of government whereby one man is appointed to organize the affairs of the deen and the dunya. Thus it is a general, comprehensive and highest authority after prophethood itself.

In the Arabic language ‘khilaafah’ comes from the three radical letters kha-lam-fa and the verbal root is ‘khalafa’ and its primary meaning is ‘to succeed’ as opposed to ‘salafa’ which is 'to precede.' Other meanings which are derived from the same root include ‘khilaaf’ which means ‘difference’ or ‘contradiction’and ‘khalf’ which means ‘back’ or ‘rear’ and ‘takhalluf’ which means ‘staying away’ or ‘staying behind’ but it is the its primary meaning of ‘succession’, that is relevant to the word 'khilaafah'. So khilaafah means ‘succession’ and ‘khaleefah’ means ‘successor’, plural forms including 'khulafaa' and 'khalaai'f'. This can be seen from any of the classical dictionaries of the pure Arabic language such as ‘Al Qaamoosul Muheet’ by Fayroozabaadi (d. 817 h.) or ‘Lisaanul A’raab’ by Ibn Manzoor (d. 711 h.).

The fact truth of this meaning is proven from the Arabic language (i.e. that it means succession) and texts of the Quran and Sunnah such as the following:-

1) The part of the meaning emphasizing 'succession' i.e. of the leadership of the prophet over the ummah. Is known in Arabic by the scholars and the common people of the language. e.g. Imaam Raaghib al Isfahaani [d.502 h.] said "Khilaafah is substitution for another either due to the death of him who is being substituted, or because of his absence, or because of his inability or for the reasons of honouring the deputy. It is in this last sense that Allah (swt) has used this term for his awliyaa' on earth as He (swt) said "He it is who made who successors [khalaai'fa] in the land" (Faatir 35:39) (ISFAHAANI 'al Mufradaat fi Ghareeb al Qura'n')

This meaning of succession is indicated by verses such as the following:-

"He it is Who made you successors [khalaai'f] on the earth and raised some of you above others in degrees that He may try you in that which He has bestowed on you. Verily your Lord is Sareeu'l I'qaab [Swift in Punishment] and verily He is Ghafoorun [Forgiving], Raheem [Merciful]." (al Ana'm 6:165)

“Then there succeeded [fakhalafa] after them a later generation who gave up prayers and followed lusts so they will be thrown into Hell.” (Maryam 19:59)

"Then We made you successors [khalaa'ifa] in he earth from after them that we may see how you act." (Yoonus 10:14) Imaam Ibn Jareer at-Tabari says "Accordingly, a king is also called a khaleefah because he succeeds another who was before him." (TABARI 'Jaami' al Bayaan fi Tafseer al Qura'n')

“And He it is who has put the night and day in succession [khilfah], for such who desire to remember or desires to show his gratitude.” (al Furqaan 25:62) Therefore the day succeeds the night and the night succeeds the day.

Allah (swt) mentions the words of the Prophet Saalih (as) when addressing the people of Thaamood “And remember when He made you successors [khulafaa] after A’d (people) and gave you habitations in the land…” (al A’raaf 7:74) The succession of the A’d people by the people of Thaamood was also mentioned by Allah when mentioning the words of the Prophet Hud (as) "If ye turn away I (at least) have conveyed the Message with which I was sent to you. My Lord will make another People to succeed [yastakhlifu] you and you will not harm Him in the least. For my Lord hath care and watch over all things." (Hood 11:57)

Allah (swt) also mentioned the words of the Prophet Hud (as) “…And remember that He made you successors [khulafaa’] after the people of Nooh…” (al A’raaf 7:69)

Allah mentioned the words of Moosa (as) “…‘It may be that your Lord will destroy your enemy and make you successors [yastakhlifakum] in the earth , that He may see how you act’…” (al A’raaf 7:129) So this verse means that Allah can make the people succeed the existing people who are dominant, so khilaafah meant succession and the words ‘…in the earth...’ (‘fi’l ard’) described the subject matter of succession. This removes the confusion of those who thought khilaafah meant 'power', rather 'khilaafah' means 'succession' and the shariah texts use khilaafah in various contexts so that the subject matter of succession could be leadership, material objects or domination on the earth. Further clarity comes from the fact that sometimes the word may be used in the singular, as 'successor' [khaleefah] or in the plural 'successors' ['khalaai'f' or 'khulafaa'].

The same subject matter of the succession of one group of people over another is made in the warning by Allah (swt), that He (swt) can destroy any people and succeed them with another “And your Lord is Al Ghanee [Rich without need] full of Mercy, if He wills, He can destroy you [yudh-hibkum] and succeed you [yastakhlif] with whom He wills after you as He raised you from the seed of other people.” (al Ana'm 6:133)

"Is not He (better than your false gods) Who Responds to the distressed one, when he calls on Him, and Who removes the evil and makes you successors [khulafaa] on the earth? Is there any ilaah with Allah? Little is that you remember!" (an Naml 27:62)

"And if it were Our Will We could have made angels from you on the earth to succeed [yakhlufoona] you."(az Zukhruf 43:60)

"Then their succeeded [fakhalafa] after them successors [khalfun] who inherited the book, but they chose the goods of this low (life) saying '(Everything) will be forgiven for us'..." (al A'raaf 7:169)

There are also ahadeeth that talk about different subject matter but which are again meaning 'succession', Umm Salamah narrated ‘The Messenger of Allah (saw) came to Abu Salamah (as he died). His eyes were fixedly open. He closed them, and then said: “When the soul is taken away the sight follows it.” Some of the people of his family wept and wailed. So he said: “Do not supplicate for yourselves anything but good, for angels say "Amen" to what you say.” He then said: “O Allah, forgive Abu Salamah, raise his degree among those who are rightly guided [mahdiyeen], grant him a successor in his descendants who remain [wakhlufhu fi a’qibihi fi’l ghaabireen]. Forgive us and him, O Lord of the Universe, and make his grave spacious, and grant him light in it.” (MUSLIM Kitaabus Salah [no.2003]) So in this hadeeth the subject matter of khilaafah was succession of the deen within the family and descendents.

Ibn Masoo’d reported that rasool Allah (saw) said “There had been no prophet whom Allah had sent among his people before me, but for whom there were no disciples [huwaariyoon] and companions (ashaab) from among his people who accepted his teachings and followed his commands. Then there succeeded [takhlufu] after them their successors [khuloofun], saying what they did not do and doing that which they were not commanded…” (MUSLIM [kitaabul Imaan no.81]) Here the successors are groups of Muslims who sinned in comparison to their predecessors.

The plural verb is also used in ahadeeth such as in the following, Abu Sa’eedul Khudri that Nabi (saw) said “Verily, the world [dunya] is sweet and green and verily Allah is going to appoint you as successors [mustakhlifukum] in it, in order to see how you act. So avoid the allurement of women. Verily the first trial of the bani Israa’eel was caused by women.” (MUSLIM kitaabur Riqaaq [no.6606] and in a similar version the hadeeth ends “…so protect [faattaqoo] against the dunya and protect against women…” IBN MAAJAH kitaabul Fitan [vol.5 no.4000])

As the above proves, an important deducation from the Arabic language is that 'khilaafah' has nothing to with power [shawkah, mana', qudrah, quwwah etc] but it only becomes related to power when domination or power or an indication of it are indicated as the subject matter of succession. Those ayaat above which mention becoming successors on the earth either using the plural nouns 'khalaai'f' or 'khulafaa' or the plural verb 'yatakhlifakum' are addressing the believers collectively concerning them succeeding other nations in power and domination, they do not address an individual succeeding the leadership from another individual, neither do they address a group appointing a leader for themselves.

2) The fact that the succession is that of the leadership of the prophet (saw) and governing the affairs is taken from the following:-

Abu Haazim said ‘I accompanied Abu Hurayrah for five years and heard him talking of the Prophet’s (saw) saying “The prophets ruled over the affairs [tasoosuhum] of the children of Israel, whenever a Prophet died another prophet succeeded [khalafahu] him, but there will be no Prophet after me. There will be khulafaa and they will number many.” They asked ‘What then do you order us?’ He (saw) said “Fulfill the baya’h to them, the first then the first and give them their rights. Surely, Allah will ask them about what He entrusted them with.” (MUSLIM kitaabul Imaarah [no.4543-4544], BUKHAARI kitaab Ahadeethul Anbiyaa’ [English version vol.4 no.661]) Therefore the prophets were khulafaa of eachother in leadership of the people's affairs as well as their prophethood and they were succeeded by khulafaa who take over the leadership of the prophet (saw) but inherit his beliefs and laws to govern the people with. The hadeeth also indicates that the khilaafah is not as some wrongly think, only for the first thirty years after the Prophet (saw), as Nabi (saw) in this hadeeth said they would be many and no other alternative system of governing the affairs of the Muslim ummah was given.

The above hadeeth makes very clear that the khilaafah is the only system to organize the affairs of the Muslims. The hadeeth also makes clear the obligatory nature of the khilaafah and having a leader as the prophet (saw) commanded the Muslims to give the baya'h [pledge of obedience] to the khulafaa' and to give them their rights (such as obedience, advice etc.). The hadeeth also made clear the political nature of Islam and the role of the prophets and the khaleefah by it mentioning that the prophets came to govern the affairs of the people. i.e. 'siyaasah'. Imaam Fayroozabadi (d 817 h.) said that 'siyaasah' means to 'command and forbid'. And this has two main elements to it. Commanding and forbidding with the Islamic rules i.e. amr bil ma'roof wan nahi a'nil munkar (commanding the good and forbidding the evil, as defined by revelation) and commanding and forbidding the organisation of these rules, that is, the command based upon authority and organisation. Therefore, the prophets were sent with beliefs and laws and their leadership over the people was based upon establish that in the society and organising the people with it, and it is that role which the khaleefah fulfills after the prophets. Imaam Ibn Taymeeyah (d. 728 h. HANBALI) said

Although it is ahadeeth and language that mainly establish the sharia'h meaning of khaleefah, there are also ayaat that indicate its reality such as the following, Allah (swt) says, “And We appointed for Moosa thirty nights and added ten (more), and he completed the term, appointed by his Lord of forty nights. And Moosa said to his brother Haaroon, take my place [akhlufni] among my people, act in the right way and follow not the way of the mufsidoon.” (al A’raaf 7:142) So Haaroon was the successor [khaleefah] of Moosa in leadership of the people while Moosa was absent.

3) The fact that Khaleefah is a position of authority and making a decision among the people and ruling them is also proven by the ayah:-

Allah (swt) says, "O Dawood! Verily, We have made you a khaleefah on the earth so judge between men with the truth..." (Sad 38:26) So due to Dawood being the legitimate authority over the people he must judge by the truth between the people, i.e. truth in terms of judging the reality and circumstances in peoples affairs (as opposed to the source of legislation, which of course would never be strayed from by the anbiyaa' who are ma'soom and who are guided by wahi and submit in tawheed al haakimeeyah). This is further emphasized by the fact that Dawood's khilaafah [succession of leadership] was distinguished by Allah (swt) from his mulk [dominion or kingdom], where Allah (swt) said "...We made his kingdom strong [shadadnaa mulkuhu]..." (Sad 38:20). This distinguishing between legitimate succession of authority [imaarah] or leadership [imaamah] is also proven by the fact that Dawood (as) succeed Taaloot, whose kingship was characterised by few supporters and weakness at the beginning. It could be argued by some that the meaning of the above verse is also a succession of power, as it is known from the Quran that the prophethood of Dawood (as) became strong with a powerful kingdom and that the verse says 'We made you a khaleefah on the earth' and this is a declaration in the singular for what has occurred in the numerous above verses in the plural form, and the meaning of being established as successors on the earth means 'power'. The answer to this is that, even if the indicated meaning is 'O Dawood judge with truth between men, because we gave you power over the land and people (i.e. don't abuse the trust)' Then still this does not establish the meaning of 'khaleefah' is one in power, and that is because the power is being derived from 'in the earth' [fi'l ard] and not 'khaleefah'. And the reality is that Dawood was the legitimate leadership over the people, not due to his power but due to his prophethood. This is not only proven by the reality of Dawood's immediate predecessors but also the reality of many of the anbiyaa' who were weak and powerless in comparison to those who opposed them, yet they were still the legitimate authority and not the those disbelievers who held the reigns of power.

All of this is concentrating on the word 'khaleefah' but in the sharia'h did not only use this term for the shariah reality it describes. The shariah reality of the khaleefah is the one who has the general leadership over the Muslims, i.e. the legitimate leader, he leads them by his command which is based on wahi, and through this command he organises their affairs. The shari'ah also used terms such as 'Walee' [governor], 'ameer' [commander], Imaam [leader], sultaan [authority]. The most common of these terms in the shariah texts 'Imaam' and 'Ameer' do not have any meaning of power but only 'leadership' and 'command'. And words such as 'walee' which can possess meanings of 'protection' and 'guardianship' and 'sultaan' which can refer to power are commonly used in the shariah texts without indicating power.

This meaning of 'khaleefah' is also derived from the ahadeeth mentioning those other sharia'h terms which are used for the position of khaleefah such as 'ameer' and Imaam'.

The classical u'lemaa had common definitions for the khaleefah such as the following:-

* Imaam Mawaardi (d.450 h.SHAFI'I) said ‘The Imaamah is prescribed to succeed the prophethood as a means of guarding the deen and managing the affairs of this world’ Further explaining the term ‘khaleefah’ he says ‘He is called the ‘khaleefah’ (‘successor’) as he stands in for the messenger of Allah (saw) at the head of his ummah and so it is permitted for someone to say ‘O khaleefah of the messenger of Allah’ or for someone to say ‘khaleefah’ on its own. There is a difference of opinion as for whether it is permitted to say ‘O khaleefah of Allah!’ Some have permitted this based on the fact that he fulfills Allah’s rights over His creation and because of His (swt) saying “And He it is who has made you [khalaa’if] on earth and has raised some of you over others by degrees.” (al Ana’m 6:165) The majority of the u’lemah however, do not permit this and treat those who do say this as corrupt, arguing that the khaleefah succeeds someone who is absent or dead and Allah is not absent and does not die. When Abu Bakr as Siddiq was addressed ‘O khaleefah of Allah!’ He replied, ‘I am not the khaleefah of Allah but rather the khaleefah of the messenger of Allah (saw).’’ (Ahkaamus Sultaniyyah wal Wilayatud Deeniyyah)

* Imaam al Juwayni (d.478 h.SHAFI'I) said “The position of Imaam is a complete leadership, a leadership that deals with both the specific and the general the important affairs of the religion and the world.” (Ghiyaathul Umum p.15)

* Imaam Shahristaani (d.548 h.SHAFI'I) “Imaamah is the same subject as Khilaafah, it is the matter of succession of the prophethood in guarding the deen and governing the affairs of the dunya” (al Milal wan Nihal)

* Imaam Burhaan ad Deen al Marghinaani (d.591 h. HANAFI) said "By the rightful Imaam is understood a person in whom all the qualities of being a judge are united such as Islam, freedom, sanity, maturity and who has been appointed by any tribe of Muslims with their general consent, whose view and intention is the advancement of the true deen and the strengtheining of the Muslims and under whom the Muslims enjoy security in person and property....and who is just in all dealings with the Muslims, for whoever does not answer this description is not the right Imaam and it would not be obligatory to support such a person but rather it is a duty to oppose him and make war upon him until such time as he either adopts a proper mode of conduct or be killed..." (MARGHINAANI 'al Hidaayah')

* Imaam Fayroozabadi (d.817 h) said concerning the meaning of ‘khaleefah’ - “The Greatest Authority [as Sultaanul A’zaam]” (al Qaamoosul Muheet [vol.3 p.136])

* Imaam Ibn Khaldoon (d.808 h. MAALIKI) said “The representative of the Prophet (pbuh); the exponent of the divinely inspired law (Shari'ah) and function to protect religion and the government of the world.” (al Muqaddimah)

* Imaam Ibn Rajab (d.795 h. HANBALI) said "Listening to and obeying the Muslim rulers entails happiness in this world and they (the khulafaa') achieve the interest of the people and help them obey their Lord and support His deen. Ali ibn Abi Talib (r) said 'People will not follow the straight path except with a ruler, be he guided or not (i.e. a sinner not a kaafir)...'" (IBN RAJAB 'Jaami' al U'loom wal Hikam')

* Shah Waliullah ad-Dehlawi [d.1176 h.] said "It is the general authority to undertake the estblishment of the deen through the revival of the religious sciences, the establishment of the pillars of Islam, the organization of jihaad and its related functions of maintenance of armies, financing the soldiers and the rightful allocation" (SHAH WALIULLAH 'Izaalat al Khafaa' a'n Khilaafat al Khulafaa' [vol.1 p.13])

The khilaafah system of governance is also proven from those ayaat which command the Muslims to obey to the legitimate authority amongst themselves, e.g. Allah (swt) says "O you who believe! Obey Allah, obey the Messenger and those in authority amongst you. If you differ in anything amongst yourselves then refer it back to Allah and his messenger if you believe in Allah and the Last Day. That is better and more suitable for final determination." (an Nisaa' 4:59) The other side of this is that Muslims have been prohibited from taking disbelievers as authorities over themselves, this has been proven by many ayaat, Allah (swt) says:-

  • “So obey not the disbelievers but strive against them with it with a great striving.” (al Furqaan 25:52)

  • “And obey not the disbelievers and the hypocrites…” (al Ahzaab 33:48)

  • “…and do not obey from them a sinner nor an ingrate.” (al Insaan 76:24)

  • “So obey not the mukadhibeen.” (al Qalam 68:8)

  • “…and obey not him in whose heart We have made heedless of Our Remembrance and who follows his own desires and whose affair has been lost” (al Kahf 18:28)

Even more important than this principle, is that the whole basis of the khilaafah is that Muslims can only live their lives individually and collectively according to the sharia'h law. Anyone who accepted a law other than the laws of Allah would be performing shirk [association] and kufr [disbelief] because it is the right of Allah alone to make law. From the tawheed [monotheism] of the asmaa' [names] and sifaat [attributes] of Allah is that he is Khayrul Haakimeen [Best of Legislators], Ahkamil Haakimeen [Most Judicious of Legislators]. From the tawheed of u'boodeeyah [slavehood] is that a Muslim worships Allah by submitting to His commands and laws and does not oppose that for the systems and laws of man. This principle, which rests at the very foundation of worship in Islam and is included in the meaning of the shahaadah [testimony of faith], and which is the foundation for the whole Islamic way of life is mentioned continuously throughout the Qura'n. e.g. Allah (swt) says:-

  • "...The rule is for none but Allah. He declares the truth, and He is the best of judges [khayrul faasileen]."" (al Ana'm 6:57)

  • "...The rule is for none but Allah. He has commanded that you worship none but Him, that is the Straight deen, but most men know not.” (Yusuf 12:40)

  • "...The rule is for none but Allah. On Him do I put my trust: and let all that trust put their trust on Him." (Yoosuf 12:67)

  • “…Verily, His is all creation and commandment…” (al A’raaf 7:54)

  • “…and He makes none to share in His Rule…” (al Kahf 18:26)

  • “Or have they taken awliyaa besides Him? But Allah He alone is the Wali. And it is He who gives life to the dead, and He is able to do all things. And in whatsoever you differ, the judgement of it is with Allah (fahukmuhu ilallah). Such is Allah my Lord in whom I put my trust, and to Him I turn in all of my affairs and in repentance.” (ash Shoorah 42:9-10)

  • "Shall I seek other than Allah for Judge [hakaman], when He it is who hath revealed unto you (this) Scripture, fully explained? Those unto whom We gave the Scripture (aforetime) know that it is revealed from thy Lord in truth. So be not thou (O Muhammad) of the waverers." (al Ana'm 6:114)

  • “Have you seen those who claim that they believe in that which was sent down to you and before you and they wish to go for judgement to the Taaghoot while they have been commanded to reject them? But Shaytaan wishes to lead them far astray. And when it is said to them ‘Come to what Allah has sent down and to the messenger’ you see the munaafiqeen turn away from you with aversion. How then when a catastrophe befalls them because of what their hands have sent forth they come to you swearing by Allah, ‘We meant nothing more than goodwill and conciliation’.” (an Nisaa’ 4:60-62)

  • “Or do they have partners [shurakaa'u] with Allah to legislate [shara’oo] for them in the deen what Allah does not allow” (ash Shoora 42:21)

  • “Do they seek the judgement [hukm] of jaahileeyah? Who can be better in judgement [hukman] than Allah for a people of certainty [yooqinoon].” (al Maai’dah 5:50)

  • "...If any do fail to judge by (the light of) what Allah hath revealed, they are Unbelievers.” (al Maai’dah 5:44)

  • “But no by your Lord, they can have no imaan until they set you  (O Muhammad) as judge in any disputes that arise among them and then find in themselves no resistance against your decisions but accept them with full submission.” (an Nisa 4:65)

The obligation of the Islamic system and Islamic leadership was mentioned in hundreds of ahadeeth and there is ijmaa' of the sahaabah and u'lemaa upon it. The baya'h itself was mentioned in the Quran and numerous ahadeeth, so indeed there is no reason for doubting the obligatory nature of khilaafah, whether it was referred to by that or other terms such as 'Imaarah', 'Imaamah', 'Sultaneeyah' etc. Some examples of these ahadeeth include:-

  • Irbaad ibn Sariyah reported that Nabi (saw) said “I have left you upon clear white ground, its night is like its day, no one deviates from it except that he is destroyed, and whoever lives among you will see great differences. So stick to what you know from my Sunnah and the Sunnah of the rightly acting (raashideen) rightly guided (mahdiyeen) khulafaa, cling to that with your molar teeth and stick to obedience even if it is an Abyssinian slave, since the believer is like the submissive camel, wherever he is led he follows.” (AHMAD [4/126] IBN MAAJAH [no. 43] AL HAAKIM [1/96] BAYHAQI in ‘al Madkhal’ [no.51]) This hadeeth makes clear that khilaafah and shari'ah authority is from the Sunnah and part of the solution to division. This hadeeth alsoindicates that khilaafah was not for the first thirty years only, as some wrongly assert. Rather the assured and known khulafaa' raashideen (Abu Bakr as Siddeeq, U'mar ibn al Khattaab, U'thmaan ibn A'ffaan, Ali ibn Abi Talib, Hasan ibn A'li) were for the first thirty years. After this for many centuries the khilaafah still remained as the Islamic system but it was not khilaafah raashidah. The khilaafah raashidah is also not restricted to the first thirty years as there can be khulafaa raashideen after this, and they will be classed as that according to their behaviour and actions of governance. Therefore, U'mar ibn A'bdul A'zeez of the Amawee Khilaafah was regarded as being from the khulafaa raashideen and so too Imaam Mahdi is from the khulafaa raashideen as the ahadeeth affirm that he will rule according to the Sunnah. Also when I'sa (as) comes and when he becomes the khaleefah of course, he too will be from the khulafaa raashideen. The following ahadeeth also make clear that system of khilaafah is not just for the first thirty years:-

  • Jaabir bin Samurah said Nabi (saw) said “This deen would not cease to be powerful [a’zeezan] and [maneea’n] dominant until there has been twelve as khaleefah” Then he said something I could not hear due to the people, I asked my father ‘What did he say’ He said “Everyone from Quraysh” (MUSLIM kitaabul Imaarah [no.4482]) and in another version “The deen will not cease to be established until the Hour has been established or until there has been upon you twelve as khaleefah, everyone of them from Quraysh” and I heard him say “A small group of Muslims will conquer the white house [baytul abyad] the house of Kisraa of the descendents of Kisraa” and I heard him say “Before the Day of Judgement there will appear liars, so guard against them.” (MUSLIM kitaabul Imaarah [no.4483] Imaam Muslim relates several other version of this hadeeth) and in a version of Bukhaari, Jaabir bin Samurah said, ‘I heard Nabi (saw) saying “There will be twelve as ameer” Then he said some words I did not hear. My father said “Everyone of them from Quraysh” (BUKHAARI kitaabul Ahkaam [vol.9 no.329]) This latter hadeeth showing that the word 'Ameer' has been used in sharia'h texts for the khaleefah or Imaam (although 'ameer' has also been used for positions of lesser authority than the khaleefah, but the same is the case with the words 'Imaam', 'Walee', 'Sultaan' and 'Khaleefah')

  • Nu’maan reported on the authority of Hudhayfah ibn al Yaman that that Nabi (saw) "Prophethood will remain among you as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a khilaafah upon the method of the prophethood as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a distressful kingdom (mulkiyyah) which will remain as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a proud kingdom which will remain as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a khilaafah upon the method of the prophethood (a’la minhaajan Naboowah)." Then he stopped.  Habib said: "When Umar ibn AbdulAziz became khaleefah I wrote to him, mentioning this tradition to him and saying, "I hope you will be the commander of the faithful after the distressful and the proud kingdoms." It pleased and charmed him, i.e. Umar ibn AbdulAziz." (TIRMIDHI [no.5378] BAYHAQI in ‘Dalaa’il an Naboowah’ AHMAD from Nu’man bin Basheer [vol.4 p.273] AT TAYAALISI, AL BAZZAR, AT TABARAANI) So apart from this proving that khilaafah will exist after the first period of khilaafah, it also proves that the basis of the correct khilaafah is the leadership of the prophet (saw). Note also that the hadeeth says that khilaafah upon the method of the prophethood will be removed it does not mean that khilaafah altogether will be removed. ANother point is that 'khilaafah raashidah' in usoolul fiqh is an attribute in relation to correct actions of government, it is not restricted to specific individuals, names, places and time periods.

  • Abu U'baydah and Mua'dh ibn jabal reported that nabi (saw) said "This affair began as prophethood and mercy it will become khilaafah and mercy, then a biting kingdom [mulkan a'doodan], then there will be oppression [jabareeyah], rebellion [u'toowa] and corruption [fasaad] in the earth. They will take silk, private parts and wine as lawful. They will be given provision upon that and they will be helped until they meet Allah." (BAYHAQHI) This hadeeth also shows that the correct system to follow the prophethood is khilaafah.

  • Abu Sa’eedul Khudri reported that Nabi (saw) said “If two khaleefahs have taken the baya’h then kill the latter of them.” (MUSLIM kitaabul Imaarah [vol.]) This hadeeth is general and refers to any khaleefah, not just khulafaa' raashideen. This evidence also shows the obligatory nature of the khilaafah and that there should only be one khaleefah as the evidence commanded the execution of the second, even though he is a Muslim.

  • Abdullah ibn A’mru reported that Nabi (saw) said “...Whoever takes a baya’ah to an Imaam and gives him the clasp of his hand and the fruit of his heart, let him obey him if he can. If another comes to dispute with him strike the neck of the latter.” (MUSLIM kitaabul Imaarah [no.4546] ABU DAWOOD Kitaab al Fitan wa’l Malaahim [no.4236] IBN MAAJAH kitaabul Fitan [no.3956]) This hadeeth also proves the obligatory nature of Imaamah (i.e. khilaafah) as the hadeeth commanded obedience to the Imaam as much as possible and that another coming to dispute this should be executed.

  • A'bdullah ibn U'mar reported that Nabi (saw) said “Whoever dies without there being over him an Imaam of the Jama’ah [a’layhi Imaamu Jama’ah] then he has died the death of jaahileeyah.” (AL HAAKIM ‘al Mustadrak’) This hadeeth proves that being leaderless is sinful and that the Imaam is one of the pillars of unity.

  • Also Hudhayfah reported that Rasool Allah (saw) said "Cling to jama'tul Muslimeen and their Imaam." (BUKHAARI, MUSLIM) The hadeeth again proves the relationship between the unity of the Muslims and the Imaamah.

  • Abu Umaamah reported that Nabi (saw) said “I advise the khaleefah after me with taqwa and I advise him about the jamatul Muslimeen to honour their elders and to have mercy on their youngsters and to respect their aa’lim, not to beat them, not to dishonor them, not to desolate them as to term them as kaafir, not to castrate to discontinue their race and not to close his door upon them so their stronger ones may dominate over their weak.” (BAYHAQI ‘Sunan al Kubra’ [161/8], KANDHLAWI ‘Muntakhab Ahadith’ [p.473]) The hadeeth again proves that khilaafah is the correct system of governance and that unity is connected to the khaleefah.

When we understand that the khaleefah is the leader of the ummah who takes over the political role of the prophet (saw) in guarding the deen and governing the affairs of the dunya as derived from the life of Nabi (saw). And when looking at the main obligations and consequences of sharia'h authority in ayaat and ahadeeth then we see the khaleefah must pursue certain objectives such as:-

1) Protection of the Deen

2) Removing the Zulm

3) Protecting the Ummah

4) Settling the disputes and unifying the ummah

5) The global call to the Islamic belief and system

6) Organizing the material needs

7) Commanding the ma'roof and forbidding the munkar

All of the above objectives are achieved by the revealed Islamic systems and detailed rules. These objectives are served by the obligations upon him and the ummah who obey him. They are not conditions upon him as the conditions must exist in him before he is appointed, rather these are duties he is commanded to make effort in organizing and commanding. In matters of effort, organizing and obligations individuals will differ, some more efficient than others, some more neglectful than others. The Khaleefah (i.e. Imaam) is to be accounted for any neglect in these affairs by the u'lemaa, ummah and umaraa' just as the Muslims must account eachother in their neglect.

Appointing the Imaam is fard kifaayah [a duty of sufficiency], meaning that once the Imaam has been appointed then no-one else needs to appoint him and if an Imaam had not been appointed, then the whole ummah would be sinful.

As for being under the authority of the Imaam, and entering into his authority by the pledge of obedience [baya'tu taa'ah], and listening to him and his appointed umaraa and obeying them, and the obligation to unify under the Imaam and the duty to be governed by the shari'ah at all times, then this is an obligation on all Muslims as proven by a multitude of clear texts from the Qura'n and ahadeeth.



Rational [A'qlee]

Textual [Naqlee]

For Non-Muslims

System of Rule & Authority [Nizaam al Hukm wal Imaarah]
System of Ritual Worship [Nizaam al I'baadaat]
The System of Education [Nizaam at Tarbeeyah]
  The Judicial System     [Nizaam al Qadaa']
   The Penal System       [Nizaam al U'qoobaat]
The Economic System    [Nizaam al Iqtisaad]
  The Social System       [Nizaam al Ijtimaa']
      Foreign Policy          [Nizaam as Siyar]
     Method of Change         [Minhaaj at Taghyeer]

Character [Akhlaaq]

Purification of the Soul [Tazkiyatun Nafs]

Etiquette [Adab]

   Encouraging & Deterring        [at Tarheeb wat Targheeb]