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Khilafah – As Interpreted by the Hizb al-Tahrir

By: admin

Question

In one of the posts on the issue, another brother has given the definition of Khilafa (as it has been adopted by the Hizbuttehreer) as follows:

The Khilafat is a common leadership for all the Muslims in the world. Its role is to establish the laws of the Islamic Shariah and to carry the da’wa of Islam to the world.

The brother has also explained the principles of deriving the Shariah of the Hizbuttehreer as follows:

As for the basis of this definition it is the Qur’an, the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw), the Ijma (consensus) of the Companions and the legal Qiyas (analogical deduction). After a study of the Islamic texts, Hizb ut Tahrir, decided that only these 4 sources constitute the Shariah sources, and they are therefore the sources of all the rules of Islam be they related to prayer or politics, fasting or economics.

The definition mentioned above was arrived at after a study of all of these sources and after studying the works of the classical scholars of Islam…

Very similar definitions are mentioned by many of the classical scholars of Islam.

For your reference please consult the following books for these references:

  • Al-Ahkam Sultaniyya Imam Mawardi (Cairo 1966) Page 5
  • Al-Siyasa Al-Shar’iyyahIbn Taymiyyah [ed. Ali al-Maghribi, Kuwait 1986] pp 23, 23
  • Sharh al-MaqasidAl-Taftazani Volume 2 Page 272
  • Ghiyath al-Umam Al-Juwayni, Imam al-Haramayn (ed. Mustafa Hilmi, Alexandria, 1979) Page 15

This list is by no means exhaustive, but I would suggest that you study these works in the first instance. I can provide further references if need be.

Replying to the question: “Kindly give me just one commandment in the Quran where it “specifically and unequivocally” states that to establish a universal Islamic state is compulsory upon every individual Muslim”, the brother says:

Hizb ut-Tahrir has never stated that the command to establish a single Islamic State or the command for the Muslims to appoint one Khaleefah is mentioned “specifically and unequivocally” in the Qur’an.

In fact Hizb ut-Tahrir said the following about the obligation of the Muslims appointing a Khaleefah:

The evidence that the appointment of a Khaleefah is obligatory upon all Muslims is in the Sunnah and the Ijma (consensus) of the Sahabah [Al-Shakhsiya Islamiya Volume 2 Page 9, ibid]

The book then continues to explain in detail the evidences from the Sunnah and the Ijma of the Sahabah. For the sake of brevity I have not quoted those passages, since my intention is merely to answer the question you have posed. I suggest you consult the book should you require the detailed evidences.

As for the lack of a single “specific and unequivocal” commandment in the Qur’an that obliges the Muslims to establish a single Islamic State this is not surprising at all. The reason for saying this is that the belief and rules of Islam are conveyed in a general manner in the Qur’an and are specified by the Sunnah. This is the case on all issues of Islam.

For example, the Qur’an certainly obliges prayer as one of the brothers correctly pointed out in a previous posting [I will not re-quote all the verses you cited].

However it is the Sunnah that specifies the general commandments of the Qur’an and therefore the Muslim who submits to Allah (swt), would, after realizing that the Qur’an obliged him to pray, seek the method of prayer. As an example the initial Takbeer of the prayer and the manner of its execution is not defined “specifically and unequivocally” by a single commandment of the Qur’an. The obligation of Surah al-Fatiha in the prayer is also not affirmed in the Qur’an but in the Sunnah. The number of Rakat in each prayer are also affirmed in the Sunnah and not in the Qur’an.

In very much the same way, although the cutting of the hand of the thief is explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an, the detailed rules about the magnitude of the theft, the specific nature and conditions attached to the crime, and the nature and conditions of the punishment, are not mentioned in the Qur’an.

Similarly, the ruling according to Islam alone, and the prohibition of ruling with other than Islam, is explicit, specific and unequivocal in the Qur’an. As for the method by which this ruling should occur and the shape and structure of the ruling system this is detailed in the Sunnah, not the Qur’an.

What strikes me as dangerous is the notion that if something is not mentioned “specifically and unequivocally” as a single commandment in the Qur’an then it would somehow not be important or not be Islamic. May Allah (swt) protect us from such error.

As for the “specific and unequivocal” commandments concerning the obligation of ruling with Islam and the prohibition of ruling with other than Islam, I can forward you these if required, however this was not requested in your question, so for the sake of brevity I have omitted them from my reply.

Can you please comment on these points?

Answer

Before giving my comments on the definition of ‘Khilafah’, as presented by the referred author, I would first like to comment on a latter part of his writing, in which he has given a few examples where, in his opinion, rules of the Shari`ah are derived from narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). He writes:

it is the Sunnah that specifies the general commandments of the Qur’an and therefore the Muslim who submits to Allah (swt), would, after realizing that the Qur’an obliged him to pray, seek the method of prayer. As an example the initial Takbeer of the prayer and the manner of its execution is not defined “specifically and unequivocally” by a single commandment of the Qur’an. The obligation of Surah al-Fatiha in the prayer is also not affirmed in the Qur’an but in the Sunnah. The number of Rakat in each prayer are also affirmed in the Sunnah and not in the Qur’an.

In very much the same way, although the cutting of the hand of the thief is explicitly mentioned in the Qur’an, the detailed rules about the magnitude of the theft, the specific nature and conditions attached to the crime, and the nature and conditions of the punishment, are not mentioned in the Qur’an.

Similarly, the ruling according to Islam alone, and the prohibition of ruling with other than Islam, is explicit, specific and unequivocal in the Qur’an. As for the method by which this ruling should occur and the shape and structure of the ruling system this is detailed in the Sunnah, not the Qur’an.

The author is requested to kindly provide his ‘specific and unequivocal’ evidence of the obligation regarding the establishment of the Khilafah from the Sunnah.

Regarding the evidence from the Sunnah, the author writes:

The book then continues to explain in detail the evidences from the Sunnah and the Ijma of the Sahabah. For the sake of brevity I have not quoted those passages, since my intention is merely to answer the question you have posed. I suggest you consult the book should you require the detailed evidences.

I have already presented my comments on the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) in this respect. The author is requested to kindly let me know if, and on what basis, does he think my understanding of these verses is incorrect.

Now let us turn to the definition provided by the author. The author writes:

“The Khilafat is a common leadership for all the Muslims in the world. Its role is to establish the laws of the Islamic Shariah and to carry the da’wa of Islam to the world.”

Although the author has not provided any basis for this definition from the Qur’an, the Sunnah, the Ijma` of the Sahabah or Qiyaas, yet it is obvious that his basis are the same which were cited and analyzed in my previous responses on the topic. The following analysis may help in summarizing the basic difference that exists in our opinions:

  • 1- The Concept of Common Leadership for All Muslims

The Cited Author’s Opinion:

The Prophet (pbuh) has said:

إذا بويع لخليفتين فاقتلوا الآخر منهما (مسلم، كتاب الإمارة، باب إذا بويع لخليفتين، رقم الحديث ٣٤٤٤)

When allegiance (bay`ah) is pledged for two rulers (Khaleefahs), kill the latter among the two.

In view of such sayings of the Prophet (pbuh), it is clear that the Khilafah should not be divided into various rules. The Khilafah is thus a ‘common leadership for all Muslims’.

My Opinion

The referred narrative ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) is a directive to safeguard mutiny against the Muslim state. It only implies that when, in any given Muslim state, people are living under a particular established rule (Khaleefah), if a person tries to depose the ruler and seeks allegiance of the people for himself, then, to safeguard against anarchy in the land and mutiny against the state, the person seeking allegiance latter should be killed. Seen in this perspective, the narrative has nothing to do with the concept of the ‘Universal Islamic State’ or that of ‘Common Leadership for all Muslims’.

  • 2- The Concept of the ‘Role’ of the Khilafah

The Cited Author’s Opinion

Because of the directives of the Shari`ah relating to collective laws and Da`wah to other states, and also because of the stipulations of the Qur’an1 that those who do not judge according what is revealed by God, they are Kafir2Fasiq3, and Zalim4, a Khilafah by its very definition establishes the laws of the Islamic Shariah and carries-out the da’wa of Islam to the world. Thus, if any Muslim state does not carry out the directives of the Islamic Shari`ah, it cannot then be called ‘Khilafah’.

My Opinion

The implementation of the directives of the Shari`ah, relating to the collectivity of the Muslims is, without any doubt, the responsibility of their rulers. If they do not implement these directives of the Shari`ah, they shall be held accountable on the Day of Judgment. However, it is clear from the Qur’an5 as well as a number of narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh)6 that even though the avoidance of the rulers to judge according to the stipulations of the Shari`ah is a grave sin on their part, yet it does not effect their position as rulers. The Muslims should still obey him and avoid raising mutiny against him.

  • 3- What is the State of the Non-Existence of Khilafah?

The Cited Author’s Opinion

In view of the author’s definition of Khilafah, it is clear that a state of non-existence of Khilafah is where:

  1. where a common leadership for all Muslims of the world does not exist; and
  2. In case a common leadership for all Muslims exists, where this leadership does not implement the laws of the Islamic Shari`ah on its subjects.

My Opinion

Non-existence of ‘Khilafah’ for a particular people is only when there is no-rule or when anarchy prevails in the particular country that they live in. In such a state of affairs, various groups shall try to gain power and establish their rule over the others.

  • 4- What are Muslims Directed to Do in Times of Non-Existence of the Khilafah?

The Cited Author’s Opinion

In a state of the non-existence of ‘Khilafah’, it is obligatory upon all Muslims to try to reestablish the common leadership of all the Muslims of the world, which implements the laws of the Islamic Shari`ah upon its subjects.

My Opinion

In a state of non-existence of Khilafah, there is no responsibility of its reestablishment on the shoulders of the common Muslims. In fact, under such circumstances, the Prophet (pbuh) has directed the Muslims7 to not become a part of any of the conflicting groups and, thereby, be a source of bloodshed.

The fourth point is extremely important. It clearly refers to a situation where there is no ‘Khilafah’. In this situation the Prophet (pbuh) is reported to have directed one of his companions to remove himself away from all conflict and not be a part of any of the mutually conflicting Muslim groups. It is important to note that the Prophet (pbuh) did not direct him to strive for the reestablishment of the Khilafah, which according to the Hizb al-Tehreer is an obligation upon all Muslims.

I wonder what would be the position of Hudhaifah ibn al-Yamaan, acting according the directives of the Prophet (pbuh), in the eyes of the Hizb al-Tehreer.

These are the four basic differences in my opinion and that of the cited author. I am willing to go all the way in discussing these issues for anyone who is willing to keep his mind open. However, it would hardly be of any use to discuss any of these issues without properly understanding the other’s stance.

I hope this helps.

UIUK

  1. As given in Al-Maidah 5:44, 45 and 47. []
  2. i.e. rejecters. []
  3. i.e. disobedient. []
  4. i.e. unjust. []
  5. Reference is to Saad 38: 26, in which the Qur’an says: “O David, We have made you a ‘Khalifah’ [i.e. ruler] in the land, so, judge among people with truth and justice and do not pursue any vain desires”. Had Khaleefah or Khilafah, by definition, implied complete adherence to the directives of the Shari`ah, there was no need to mention the duties separately in the refered verse. It would simply had sufficed to say: “We have made you a Khaleefah in the land’, as ‘Khaleefah’, by its definition would have meant “judge among people with truth and justice”. []
  6. Reference is to those narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh), in which he is reported to have directed Muslims to remain obedient toward their rulers even if they do not follow the directives of the Shari`ah. The Muslims have been directed to remain obedient toward their ruler even if they do not like him, even if he unjustly prefers others over them, even if he is guilty of general injustice, even if he refuses the legal and moral rights of the subjects, even if he does not offer prayers at their prescribed timings and even if he is a Fajir (disobedient). Obviously, all these qualities are clearly against the stipulations of the Shari`ah, yet the Prophet (pbuh) has directed the Muslims to steadfastly remain obedient toward their rulers. []
  7. As reported in Bukhari, Kitaab al-Manaaqib, No. 3338. []
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