Q&A: What is the Evidence for Specifying a Time Period for the Election of the Khaleefah?

Assalamu alaikum waRahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu.

Yaa sheikh, I would like to ask you a question about the 3-day deadline of nasb ul-Khaleefah after the retirement of the previous Imam. It is stated in the Ajhizah book that this time-span is based on Umar’s (radhiyallahu anhu) order to kill any among the six Sahabas if they reject the agreement of the others after 3 days. My question is that there are some people who state that this Riwayat taken from Tarikh Thabari is categorized as dha’if (weak). What do you say about it? Baarakallaahu fiik wa jazaaka khayran jazaa.

Ahmad Nadhif


The subject of Umar (ra) specifying to the Sahaabah the time period of three days to elect the Khalifah… This command took place amongst a group of the Sahaabah and ‘Umar (ra) said to Suhaib in front of the group of Sahaabah:

»صَلِّ بِالنَّاسِ ثَلَاثَةَ أَيَّامٍ، وَأَدْخِلْ عَلِيًّا وَعُثْمَانَ وَالزُّبَيْرَ وَسَعْدًا وَعَبْدَ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنَ عَوْفٍ وَطَلْحَةَ إِنْ قَدِمَ… وَقُمْ عَلَى رُءُوسِهِمْ، فَإِنِ اجْتَمَعَ خَمْسَةٌ وَرَضُوا رَجُلًا وَأَبَى وَاحِدٌ فَاشْدَخْ رَأْسَهُ أَوِ اضْرِبْ رَأْسَهُ بِالسَّيْف «

“Lead the people in prayer for three days and put together ‘Ali, ‘Uthman, Az-Zubair, Sa’d, Abdur Rahman Bin ‘Auf and Talhah if he returns. Stand over their heads and if five of them come together (in agreement) and choose one man whilst one refuses then smash his head or strike his head with the sword…”

This was related by Ibn Shabbah in ‘Taareekh Al-Madeenah’, Tabari in his ‘Taareekh’ (History) and Ibn Sa’d transmitted similar to this in ‘At-Tabaqaat Al-Kubraa’. This was in spite of them being from the people of Shuraa and from the senior Sahaabah. This occurred in front of the eyes and ears of the Sahaabah and it has not been transmitted that there was somebody who opposed or denounced this. As such it represents an Ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah upon it not being permitted for the Muslims to be without a Khaleefah for more than three days and its accompanying nights. And the Ijmaa’ of the Sahaabah is a Daleel (source of evidence) just like the Kitaab and the Sunnah.

Due to that the Muslims are not given time in regards to choosing a Khaleefah after the previous Khaleefah if his place becomes vacant other than three days unless they are prevented from achieving this due to overwhelming circumstances which they are unable to repel. The sin is lifted from them due to busying themselves with the obligation and due to being compelled upon the delay due to what is overwhelming upon them. Ibn Hibban and Ibn Maajah related from Ibn ‘Abbaas (ra) who said: The Messenger of Allah صلى الله عليه وسلم said:

«إن الله وضع عن أمتي الخطأ، والنسيان، وما استُكْرِهوا عليه»

“Verily Allah has put aside from my Ummah the mistake, forgetfulness and that which they was compelled upon them.”

And if they were not busying themselves and engaging in that then they are all sinful until they establish the Khilafah and at that time the Fard (obligation) falls from them. As for the sin that they commit by not engaging in the establishment of the Khilafah then this does not fall from them, but rather in remains and Allah سبحانه وتعالى will account them upon it, just like any other act of disobedience that the Muslim commits when he abandons the Fard action.

Your brother,

Ata Bin Khalil Abu Al-Rashtah

25 Rajab 1434 AH

04 June 2013 CE