Friday, June 29, 2007

Islamic Empire: The Khilafah – Part 2

AUTHOR-Imran Nazar Hosein

“This is the 2nd in a 9 part series on the Khilafah or Caliphate i.e. an Islamic Empire. What happens when a Caliph dies? He must be replaced within 2 days and if there is no agreement then the dissenters must be killed. Who decides who is the dissenter? As an example, could you imagine the election of a new Pope at the Vatican where the people wait for the puff of white smoke to indicate a new Pope has been elected. By the third day the white smoke appears and then a new Pope is announced. Great joy erupts, there is a new Pope! But wait a moment. Count the Cardinals! 10 are missing! It seems they were the dissenters and they have been slain. This is the scenario that would surround the election of a new Islamic Emporer or Caliph. I guess it gives one great incentive to “submit” in agreement. This is how Islam deals with electing its highest governmental official.”

The Time Limit Given for Muslims to Establish a Khaleefah The time limit given for Muslims to establish a Khaleefah is two nights. So no Muslim is allowed to stay for more than two nights without having a bay'ah on his neck. Making the upper limit as two nights is due to the fact that appointment of a Khaleefah is fard from the moment the previous Khaleefah dies or is deposed. But it is allowed to delay the appointment while engaging in it for two nights. If the delay exceeded two nights and the Muslims did not establish a Khaleefah, the matter is examined. If the Muslims were busy in establishing a Khaleefah but could not complete it within two nights due to overwhelming matters they cannot resist, then the sin will drop from them because they are engaged in establishing the duty and they are forced to delay it by compelling power. The Prophet said: "The sin due to mistake, forgetfulness and compulsion is removed from my Ummah." But if they were not engaged in performing the duty, then they would all be sinful until the Khaleefah is established and at that time the fard will drop from them. But the sin they committed in neglecting the establishment of a Khaleefah does not drop from them, it rather remains on them, and Allah (swt) will bring them to account for it the same way He (swt) brings any Muslim to account for any disobedience he commits when he neglects to perform a duty.

In regard with the evidence concerning the two nights time limit given to Muslims to perform the duty of establishing a Khaleefah, it is Ijma'a of the Sahabah The Sahabah started to meet in the courtyard of Bani Sa'ida, to discuss the appointment of a successor to the Messenger of Allah as soon as the news of the death of the Prophet reached them. They kept discussing in the courtyard, and on the second day they gathered the people in the mosque in order that they might give the bay'ah. This took two nights and three days. Also, when 'Umar became certain that his death was imminent as a result of the stab wound, he entrusted the people of shura (consultation) and gave them three days to choose a new Khaleefah. He recommended that if after the three days an agreement was not be reached about a Khaleefah then the dissenter should be killed after the aforementioned three days. 'Umar also empowered fifty Muslims to carry out this action, i.e. to kill the dissenter despite the fact they were of the shura people and of the eminent Sahabah. This order was given in front of the Sahabah, and no one was reported to deny or disagree with it, so it becomes Ijma'a of the Sahabah that Muslims are not permitted to stay without a Khaleefah for more than two nights and three days, and the Ijma'a of the Sahabah is a legitimate daleel shari'i (evidence) like the Qur'an and Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah.

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