Is the term Khilafah for the Islamic state is a jurisprudential (Fiqhi) term that Allah made it obligatory to be used for this state or is it a political term?
Wa Alaikum Assalam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
For the first question, the ruling system that is made obligatory by Allah (saw) on the Ummah is the Khilafah system; and therefore the term is a jurisprudential term, that is it is a “Legal (Shari’) fact”. In addition Khilafah is a ruling system, meaning that it includes political acts that are carried out by the Khaleefah. The explanation of that is as following:
1. The term Khilafah is a jurisprudential term “Legal (Shari’) fact”, because the legal texts have shown that, and of these texts:
– Allah the Almighty says:
وَعَدَ اللَّهُ الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا مِنْكُمْ وَعَمِلُوا الصَّالِحَاتِ لَيَسْتَخْلِفَنَّهُمْ فِي الْأَرْضِ كَمَا اسْتَخْلَفَ الَّذِينَ مِنْ قَبْلِهِمْ وَلَيُمَكِّنَنَّ لَهُمْ دِينَهُمُ الَّذِي ارْتَضَى لَهُمْ وَلَيُبَدِّلَنَّهُمْ مِنْ بَعْدِ خَوْفِهِمْ أَمْنًا يَعْبُدُونَنِي لَا يُشْرِكُونَ بِي شَيْئًا وَمَنْ كَفَرَ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ فَأُولَئِكَ هُمُ الْفَاسِقُونَ
“Allah has promised those who have believed among you and done righteous deeds that He will surely grant them succession [to authority] upon the earth just as He granted it to those before them and that He will surely establish for them [therein] their religion which He has preferred for them and that He will surely substitute for them, after their fear, security, [for] they worship Me, not associating anything with Me. But whoever disbelieves after that – then those are the defiantly disobedient.” [An-Nur: 55]
– And it was directed by Ahmad and Abu Dawood Al-Tayaalisi from Huthaifa ibn al-Yaman that Rasulullah (saw) said:
إِنَّكُمْ فِي النُّبُوَّةِ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ خِلَافَةٌ عَلَى مِنْهَاجِ النُّبُوَّةِ، فَتَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ مُلْكًا عَاضًّا، فَيَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ جَبْرِيَّةً، فَتَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ خِلَافَةٌ عَلَى مِنْهَاجِ النُّبُوَّةِ»، ثُمَّ سَكَتَ
“Prophethood will last with you as long as Allah wants it to last. Then there will be Khilafah according to the method of Prophethood, and it will last for as long as Allah wishes, then He will lift it if He wishes. Then there will be hereditary rule, and it will last for as long as Allah wishes, then He will lift it if He wishes.
Then there will be an oppressive rule, and it will last for as long as Allah wishes, then He will lift it if He wishes. Then there will be Khilafah according to the method of Prophethood.” Then he (saw) fell silent.
– Muslim narrated from Hazim saying that: “I lived with Abu Hurairah for five years, and heard him speaking of the Prophet (saw), who said:
«كَانَتْ بَنُو إِسْرَائِيلَ تَسُوسُهُمُ الأَنْبِيَاءُ، كُلَّمَا هَلَكَ نَبِيٌّ خَلَفَهُ نَبِيٌّ، وَإِنَّهُ لاَ نَبِيَّ بَعْدِي، وَسَيَكُونُ خُلَفَاءُ فَيَكْثُرُونَ قَالُوا: فَمَا تَأْمُرُنَا؟ قَالَ: «فُوا بِبَيْعَةِ الأَوَّلِ فَالأَوَّلِ، أَعْطُوهُمْ حَقَّهُمْ، فَإِنَّ اللَّهَ سَائِلُهُمْ عَمَّا اسْتَرْعَاهُمْ
“The children of Israel used to be ruled by the Prophets, whenever a prophet perished, another Prophet followed him, and there is no Prophet after me, but there will be Khulafa’a and they will number many”. They said: “what do you order us to do?” He (saw) said: “Fulfill the Bayah (pledge of allegiance) to them one after the other, and give them their due right, surely Allah will account them for that which he entrusted them with”.
– Also Muslim extracted on the authority of Abu Sa’eed said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) said:«إِذَا بُويِعَ لِخَلِيفَتَيْنِ، فَاقْتُلُوا الْآخَرَ مِنْهُمَا» “If two Khulafaa’ were pledged allegiance (Bayah), then kill the latter of them”
Thus the Shariah texts showed that the system is the “Khilafah” and the rulers in this system are the “Khulafaa”. That is what the Prophet (saw) called them, and that is what the rightly guided Khulafaa were called … The Khaleefah is the Ameer Al-Mu’amineen and the Imam of Muslims, who rules them by the Laws of Allah. Thus “Khilafah” and “Khaleefah” are jurisprudential terms, “Legal (Shari’) fact”, stated in Shari’ texts, including the above-mentioned texts.
2. As for the fact that the system of Khilafah is Fardh (obligatory), it is because of the evidences that are contained in the Book (Quran) and the Sunnah and the Consensus of the Sahabah, including the following evidences:
As for the Book: Allah the Almighty says, addressing the Prophet (saw):
(فَاحْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ عَمَّا جَاءَكَ مِنَ الْحَقِّ)
“So judge between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations away from what has come to you of the truth.” [Al-Ma’ida: 49]
And His saying:
(وَأَنِ احْكُمْ بَيْنَهُمْ بِمَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ وَلَا تَتَّبِعْ أَهْوَاءَهُمْ وَاحْذَرْهُمْ أَنْ يَفْتِنُوكَ عَنْ بَعْضِ مَا أَنْزَلَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْك)
“And judge, [O Muhammad], between them by what Allah has revealed and do not follow their inclinations and beware of them, lest they tempt you away from some of what Allah has revealed to you.” [Al-Ma’ida: 49]
The address to the Prophet (saw) to rule by what Allah has revealed is an address to his Ummah. The implication of this is to find a ruler after the Messenger of Allah (saw) to rule between them by what Allah has revealed.
The command in the Ayah is an obligation; because the content of the command is obligatory. This is an evidence of assertiveness as defined in the Islamic legal methodology (Usul). The ruler who rules between Muslims with what Allah has revealed after the Messenger of Allah (saw) is the Khaleefah, and the ruling system in this manner is the Khilafah system. In addition, the establishment of the proscribed punishments (Hudud) and other obligatory laws cannot take place unless through a ruler. Whatever is necessary to accomplish a Wajib (obligation) is itself a Wajib, so the establishment of a Khaleefah who implements the Shari’ is an obligation. The ruler in this way is the Khaleefah, and the ruling system is the system of Khilafah.
As for the Sunnah: It was narrated from Nafi’ who said: Abdullah ibn Umar told me: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say:
«من خلع يداً من طاعة لقي الله يوم القيامة لا حجة له، ومن مات وليس في عنقه بيعة مات ميتة جاهلية»
“Whosoever takes off his hand from allegiance to Allah (swt) will meet Him (swt) on the Day of Resurrection without having any proof for him, and whoever dies without the Bayah (allegiance) on his neck dies the death of Jahiliyyah.” [Reported by Muslim]
Thus the Prophet (saw) made it compulsory upon every Muslim to have a Bayah on his neck, and described the one who dies without having a Bayah on his neck that he dies a death of Jahiliyyah (ignorance). After the Messenger of Allah (saw), Bayah cannot be to anyone except the Khaleefah. The Hadeeth obliges the existence of a Bayah on the neck of every Muslim; that is the existence of a Khaleefah who is accordingly deserves a Bayah upon the neck of every Muslim, otherwise the defaulting dies the death of Jahiliyyah; thus, indicating the graveness of the sin resulting from abandoning the work to find a Khaleefah who governs by Islam.
As for the consensus of the Sahabah: They (ra) unanimously agreed on the necessary to establish a Khaleefah to the Messenger of Allah (saw) after his death. The consensus of the Sahabah to establish a Khaleefah was confirmed by them delaying the burial of the Messenger of Allah (saw) after his death, and engaging themselves in appointing a successor (Khaleefah) to him, although the burial of the dead after his death is an obligation. The Sahabah, who were obliged to engage themselves in preparing the burial of the Prophet (saw), some of them worked to appoint the Khaleefah rather than engaging themselves in the burial. The other Sahabah kept silent over this action, and participated in delaying the burial of the prophet (saw) for two nights, despite their ability to condemn the delay, and their ability to bury the Prophet (saw). The Prophet (saw) died Monday morning, and remained without burial throughout Tuesday night and Tuesday, when Abu Bakr (ra), was given the Bayah. Then the Messenger of Allah (saw) was buried in the middle of the night; in the night to Wednesday. Thus the burial was delayed for two nights, and Abu Bakr was given the Bayah before the burial of the Prophet (saw). Therefore, there was a consensus of the Sahabah to engage in appointing a Khaleefah rather than to bury the dead, and this could not be legitimate unless the appointment of a Khaleefah is more obligatory than the burial of the dead.
• Based on this, the establishment of the Khilafah is an obligation (fardh), and therefore appointing a Khaleefah is fardh, and what a fardh!
3. As for the Khilafah, the ruling system in Islam, which contain political acts that are carried out by the Khaleefah, this is because politics means taking care of the affairs of the people and the basic work of the Khilafah and the Khaleefah is to take care of the affairs of the Ummah, and taking care of the affairs by the ruler is politics.
The word “sisaysah” (politics) in the [Arabic] language comes from the root words “sasa” – “yasusu”, which carry the meaning of taking care by the ruler. According to Almuheet dictionary: “sistu ar ra’yyata siyasatan means amartuha wa nahaituha”, that is “I ordered and forbade the people”.
The word was mentioned in Mukhtar As-Suhah dictionary in the article “s u s”: (sasa ar ra’yyata yasusuha siyasatan).
There are a number of Ahadeeth linking Khaleefah with taking care of the affairs of the Ummah, including the following Ahadeeth:
Al-Bukhaari reported from Ibn Shihab … that Salim told him that Abdullah ibn Umar, says: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) said:
«كُلُّكُمْ رَاعٍ، وَكُلُّكُمْ مَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ، الإِمَامُ رَاعٍ وَمَسْئُولٌ عَنْ رَعِيَّتِهِ…»
“Every one of you is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. The leader of the people is a guardian and is responsible for his subjects…”
Thus the task of the Khaleefah is to take care of the affairs, and taking care of the affairs by the ruler is politics in accordance to the linguistic meaning.