Some of those who missed the truth of Islam and the nature of its provisions say that “the Khilafah (Caliphate) will not come except at the hands of Imam Mahdi and it does not require doing any work.” In fact, this is a destructive and a misleading concept that had turned away many people from the work to establish the obligation of the Khilafah, placing them in sin and achieving the goal of the disbelievers in delaying the establishment of the Khilafah and in the empowerment of secularism in the Muslim countries. To respond to that, I say and my success is only by Allah (swt):
1- The work for the establishment of the Islamic state, the Khilafah state, which is the executive entity for the rules of Islam and which is a general leadership over all Muslims to govern by Islam internally and to convey it to the rest of the world by Dawah and jihad, this work is a great duty (Fardh) whose obligation has been proven in the Book (the Quran), the Sunnah and the consensus of the Sahabah (r.a). No one would say otherwise except that who is deaf, for he is deaf of the shariah law as Imam al-Qurtubi (Rahimahu Allah) said. The obligation must have a method for performing it; otherwise, the person is sinful. And the obligation in Shariah is not waited to happen, but is worked for it as the Shara’ ordered, whereas the results are in the hands of Allah Almighty.
2- The method for an obligation (Fardh) comes from the Shariah in the fixed way of how to perform it. For example, performing Zakat means taking out 2.5% of the money after reaching the quorum (Nisab) and a year has passed over it. And establishing the prayer (Salat) is by the method in which we perform prayer. Similarly, the method for the obligation of establishing the Khilafah is determined by the Shar’a which is the method of the Prophet ﷺ in his establishment of the first Islamic state in Medina.
3- Such an obligation is not carried out in a method other than its Shari legitimate method. He who prayed, fasted and performed Hajj and Zakat had removed these obligations from his neck, but he had not done so for this Fardh (of establishing the Khilafah). Just as paying Zakat does not avail performing the prayer, also performing all the duties does not avail the establishment of the Khilafah except in its legitimate method. And just as jihad does not avail prayer, it also does not avail the establishment of the Khilafah.
4- The legitimate method of the Khilafah is the method of the Prophet ﷺ in the establishment of Dar al Islam in Medina, and whoever has an evidence for other than this method of work, let him bring it forth on the condition that the method is from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Prophet ﷺ and not according to the whims. And whoever says Khilafah is obligatory (Fardh), then the argument necessitates him to work for it.
5– Khilafah, when it is established, will be in one country and then it will expand, for it will not be established once in all countries. It is a state that implements the Shar’ law and carries it to the world whatever its name is or the title of its ruler, for the problem is not in its name or the title of its ruler. So, let him be called a Khaleefah, a President, an Imam or Ameer al Muamineen, for what matters is the method of governance, the life systems and achieving the conditions of legitimacy in the country where the Islamic state is established.
6- Khilafah will not descend on the wings of the angels, but there will be people who will establish it. It is the issue of the Ummah and not a divine right of a particular person, and this means that the work for Khilafah is obligatory and necessary.
7- Imam al-Mahdi, if he is the one who establishes the Khilafah, then he is a person and will not be printed on his forehead that he is the Khaleefah. People will not know that he is the one concerned except upon his ruling by Islam and his good application of it to achieve justice that lifts injustice. People will not be submissive to him just like that, for the people denied who is better than him, our dear Prophet Muhammad ﷺ, and he is not more honourable to Allah than the Prophet. Rather, there must be awareness among the Ummah and cohesion of the people of strength and power to support him.
8– Shara’ did not relate the provisions of Islam to the presence of a specific person; this is a disruption of the Deen and the Shar’ such as saying that the establishment of the duty of Khilafah and the application of religion is related to the emergence of Mahdi, but before that, they are not duties!! Therefore, we are working for the duty until we acquit ourselves of sin even if Imam Mahdi is the one who will establish it, for we are meant to work for it and not to search for al- Mahdi. Our issue is not the search for someone who is fit for Khilafah while it has not been established yet; the issue is building a state and reviving a nation, so by Allah, do these reliant thoughts revive the Ummah?
9- The reliance on the unseen and leaving the work required by the Shar’i are not permissible in Islam. Nothing has lost Muslims but the metaphysical fatalism that made them fail to do what they should. So, has our thinking become like that of the superficial and the dervishes?! Were it not these irresponsible ideas that contributed to the elimination of the Ottomani Khilafah?!
10– It is also stipulated in the Usul that Hadeeth reports (Akhbar) that do not include an indication (Qareena) to indicate a command, they remain mere Akhbar that do not require doing any action, and the authentic Ahadeeth of the Mahdi did not include any Qareena to indicate a command except following al-Mahdi and his obedience and this is subject to his appearance.
11- There is a Hadeeth of the Holy Prophet that shows that al-Mahdi will come after the death of a Khaleefah, and this means that the Khilafah will be established before al-Mahdi and that he is not the one who establishes it initially, it was narrated by Umm Salamah (r.a) who said: I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said:
«يَكُونُ اخْتِلَافٌ عِنْدَ مَوْتِ خَلِيفَةٍ فَيَخْرُجُ رَجُلٌ مِنْ بَنِي هَاشِمٍ، فَيَأْتِي مَكَّةَ، فَيَسْتَخْرِجُهُ النَّاسُ مِنْ بَيْتِهِ وَهُوَ كَارِهٌ فَيُبَايِعُونَهُ بَيْنَ الرُّكْنِ وَالْمَقَامِ، فَيُجَهَّزُ إِلَيْهِ جَيْشٌ مِنَ الشَّامِ، حَتَّى إِذَا كَانُوا بِالْبَيْدَاءِ خُسِفَ بِهِمْ، فَيَأْتِيهِ عَصَائِبُ الْعِرَاقِ وَأَبْدَالُ الشَّامِ، وَيَنْشَأُ رَجُلٌ بِالشَّامِ، وَأَخْوَالُهُ كَلْبٌ فَيُجَهَّزُ إِلَيْهِ جَيْشٌ، فَيَهْزِمُهُمُ اللَّهُ، فَتَكُونُ الدَّبْرَةُ عَلَيْهِمْ، فَذَلِكَ يَوْمُ كَلْبٍ، الْخَائِبُ: مَنْ خَابَ مِنْ غَنِيمَةِ كَلْبٍ، فَيَسْتَفْتِحُ الْكُنُوزَ، وَيُقِسِّمُ الْأَمْوَالَ، وَيُلْقِي الْإِسْلَامُ بِجِرَانِهِ إِلَى الْأَرْضِ، فَيَعِيشُ بِذَلِكَ سَبْعَ سِنِينَ أَوْ قَالَ: تِسْعَ سِنِينَ»
“Disagreement will occur at the death of a Khaleefah, and a man of Bani Hashim will flee to Makkah and some of the people of Makkah will come to him and will bring him out against his will, and they will pledge allegiance to him between the corner (Black Stone) and the Maqam. An army will be sent against him from Ash-Shaam, which will be swallowed up by the earth in Al-Baida. When the people see that, the devoted worshippers (Abdaal) from Ash-Shaam and the best people (Asaa’ib) from Al-Iraq will come to him and pledge allegiance to him. Then there will arise a man in Ash-Sham whose maternal uncles belong to Kalb and send against them an expeditionary force which will be overcome by them, and that is the expedition of Kalb. The real loser will be the one who does not receive the booty of Kalb. He will divide the wealth and Islam will become established on earth and he will remain for seven years, or he ﷺ said nine years.” (Reported by al-Tabarani in al-Awsat, and al-Haythami mentioned it in Majma’ al-Zawaid , and said, “the transmitters are sound and authentic.”)
The narrators of the hadeeth and its commentary agree that the Khaleefah mentioned in this hadeeth is al-Mahdi. For at the beginning of the hadeeth, he ﷺ said: «اخْتِلَافٌ عِنْدَ مَوْتِ خَلِيفَةٍ» “Disagreement will occur at the death of a Khaleefah”, meaning that the Khilafah exists before the appearance of Imam Mahdi.
The word “Khaleefah” in the previous hadeeth has a legitimate term that cannot be passed away except by an indication (Qareena). And this legitimate term makes the meaning of the Khaleefah to be the ruler who assumes the general presidency over all Muslims by a legitimate allegiance (Bay’ah) given by them to rule by Islam and to carry it to the world by Dawah and jihad. It is not true what some people argue that the death of the Khaleefah means the death of a ruler of today’s rulers who do not rule by Islam and have no legitimate allegiance nor a general presidency over Muslims.
12- Waiting delays the emergence of the Khilafah and gives thousands of opportunities for the oppressors and the disbelievers to undermine Islam and its people. Thus, the Kuffar, the hypocrites and the oppressors support the idea that Khilafah will only be during the time of al-Mahdi, and this is a sedating and misleading concept that sedates many Muslims both Shiites and Sunnis!!
The Shiites are waiting for him to leave the basement and some Sunnis are waiting for his appearance between the corner and the Maqam!!! Therefore, whoever does not stand up for this duty, brings to the disbelievers – whether knowingly or not – a service that they have always worked to perpetuate among Muslims, and he contributes to the assertion that secularism is the solution, rather, he even follows their words that Khilafah is a religious state and its position is divine!!
There are Prophetic Ahadeeth that have been received to indicate that Khilafah will be on the methodology of the Prophethood and that it will be, by Allah’s permission, and it necessitates believing in it. Among these Ahadeeths:
1- Thawban (r.a) said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: «إِنَّ اللَّهَ زَوَى لِي الْأَرْضَ، فَرَأَيْتُ مَشَارِقَهَا وَمَغَارِبَهَا، وَإِنَّ أُمَّتِي سَيَبْلُغُ مُلْكُهَا مَا زُوِيَ لِي مِنْهَا…» “Allah drew the ends of the world near one another for my sake. And I have seen its eastern and western ends. And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends which have been drawn near me…” (Narrated by Muslim, Ahmad, Abu Dawud, Tirmidhi and Ibn Majah). The words of the hadeeth: «وَإِنَّ أُمَّتِي سَيَبْلُغُ مُلْكُهَا مَا زُوِيَ لِي مِنْهَا» “And the dominion of my Ummah would reach those ends which have been drawn near me …” have not been achieved so far, since Muslims have not yet owned the eastern and the western ends of the land, and this will be in the future, referring to the establishment of a Muslim state to open the eastern and the western ends of the land.
2- On the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (r.a)that he said: I heard the Messenger of Allah «إِذَا تَبَايَعْتُمْ بِالعِينَةِ، وَأَخَذْتُمْ أَذْنَابَ البَقَرِ، وَرَضِيتُمْ بِالزَّرْعِ، وَتَرَكْتُمُ الجِهَادَ، سَلَّطَ اللَّهُ عَلَيْكُمْ ذُلًّا لَا يَنْزِعُهُ حَتَّى تَرْجِعُوا إِلَى دِينِكُمْ» “If you are conducting business, holding the ears of your oxen and are satisfied by engaging in farming whilst you have abandoned the performance of Al-Jihaad, then Allah will make disgrace and humiliation dominate over you and this will not be removed until you return to your Deen” (Narrated by Abu Dawood). The saying: «حَتَّى تَرْجِعُوا إِلَى دِينِكُمْ» “until you return to your Deen” means to return to work by it and its arbitration in your life affairs. Thus, it is a glad tidings of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ that Muslims will return to their Deen after they have left its arbitration.
3- It has been narrated on the authority of Abu Qaabeel that he said: We were with ‘Abdullaah ibn ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas and he was asked which city will be conquered first: Constantinople or Rome? So ‘Abdullaah called for a sealed trunk and he said, “Take out a book from it” Then ‘Abdullaah said: «بَيْنَمَا نَحْنُ حَوْلَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم نَكْتُبُ، إِذْ سُئِلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: أَيُّ الْمَدِينَتَيْنِ تُفْتَحُ أَوَّلًا: قُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةُ أَوْ رُومِيَّةُ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم: مَدِينَةُ هِرَقْلَ تُفْتَحُ أَوَّلًا يَعْنِي قُسْطَنْطِينِيَّةَ» “While we were with the Messenger of Allah ﷺ writing, the Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked, “The Messenger of Allah ﷺ was asked which of the two cities will be opened first Constantinople or Rome? He ﷺ said: “The city of Hercules will be opened first”, meaning Constantinople.” (Reported by Ahmad).
The Messenger ﷺ, when asked about the opening of the two cities of Constantinople and Rome, the capital of Italy, he did not deny the conquest of Rome, but said that Constantinople will be opened first. This indicates that Rome will be opened after it. And since Rome is not opened by Muslims until today, this hadith gives glad tiding for the Muslims that they will open the capital of Italy, and it is not imagined that the Muslims will open it without the return of the Khilafah which resume jihad for the sake of Allah and the opening of countries.
4- Nu’man bin Bashir narrated on the authority of Hudhayfah (r.a) who said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said: «تَكُونُ النُّبُوَّةُ فِيكُمْ 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 اللَّهُ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ مُلْكًا عَاضًّا، فَيَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ مُلْكًا 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 for as long as Allah wants it to last. Then there will be Khilafah according to the Method of Prophethood, and things will be as Allah wishes them to be. Then Allah will end it if He wishes to end it. Then there will be hereditary rule, and things will be as Allah wishes them to be. Then Allah will end it if He wishes to end it. Then there will be an oppressive rule, and things will be as Allah wishes them to be. Then Allah will end it if He wishes to end it. Then there will be a Khilafah according to the method of Prophethood.” Then he ﷺ fell silent”
This hadeeth indicates that the Khilafah will be established after the hereditary and the oppressive rules and that it will be on the method of the Prophethood. That is, it was described by what the Khilafah at the times of the righteous Khulafaa was described, and so it will be, with Allah’s permission, Khilafah Rashidah (righteous Caliphate) on the method of the Prophethood.
Thus, Khilafah is obligatory by the Shariah, it was a reality and had filled the history. And the West fears its return and tries to delay it. So, how the Western research centers are aware of its proximity and that the Ummah is marching on its way, while the Muslims are oblivious or frustrated. By Allah, we should not stay away from the work so we will be perished upon evidence.
Our Lord, let not our hearts deviate after You have guided us and grant us from Yourself mercy. Indeed, You are the Bestower.
Our Lord, grant us what You promised us through Your messengers and do not disgrace us on the Day of Resurrection. Indeed, You do not fail in [Your] promise, and may Allah’s blessings be upon our Master Muhammad, his family, and Companions.
Abdul Mu’min Az-Zayla’i
Head of the Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir in Wilayah Yemen