Dr. Iyad Qunaybi – Khilafa: Is it a thing that is declared or decided by the situation?

Khilafa – Is it a thing that is declared or decided by the situation?
By: Dr. Iyad Qunaybi

From what is obviously self evident is that there is no governorship (Imarah) without a Jamaah (community) and also, from what is self evident is that the supreme leadership i.e the Khilafa is at the end ultimately a governorship in a Jamaah (community). That is why the Imam or the Khalifa is described as Ameerul Mumineen (The leader of the believers). But the supreme leadership (Khilafa) even though is ultimately a governorship, it is unlike any other governorship and it has what it distinguishes itself with and has specific rules and laws.

So while talking about the supreme leadership (Imamat ul Uzma), then what is intended would also be that of the bigger community (Jamaath ul Uzma) which is “THE Muslim Community” and NOT “a community FROM amongst the Muslims”. And “THE Muslim community” refers to the majority of the ummah and its greater populace. So the Imam is only the one whose authority and power extends over to the majority of the ummah.

And that is because the existence of the Grand Imam cannot at all be assumed of without the gathering of the Muslim community and its majority in a union in which it would be appropriate for them to have one single leader. And the evidences associated with this are:

The advice of the Prophet (saw) given to Hudhayfa (ra) when he said to him, “Stick to THE Muslim community and their leader”. So the Prophet (saw) combined these two together putting them in one category and did not differentiate between the two.

And the Prophet (saw) said, “Whoever sees a disliked thing from his leader, let him be patient over it since the one who separates himself from THE COMMUNITY for a handspan and died as such, it is then a death of jaahiliya”.

And he said, “Whoever left obedience and separated from THE COMMUNITY and died, then he has died the death of jaahilia”.
And he said, “Whoever comes to you while you are united under a single leader, while desiring to break your unity and divide YOUR COMMUNITY, then kill him”.

All these hadeeths make the supreme leadership/Grand Imamat and the Muslim community as one single thing and categorizes the one who goes out of the Imam as one who has gone out of the community. This is because the former cannot be assumed without the latter as we mentioned.

And there is no difference amongst those with intellect that the authority of any ameer whose existence is known, its extent is specified and has limits in accordance with his power and ability that he actually has in the circumstance. So if we suppose that a man from amongst the people in the east stood up and declared that he considered himself as the leader of the people in the west whom he does not know nor do they know him and also he does not have any command over them nor any ability or power, he would with that have opposed logic before he opposed the Shareeah, since of what value is a declaration like this that has no reality or truth?!

Hence, governorship is not a declaration but a description that reflects the ongoing reality. It is not gained by intentions or hopes or claims. Similarly is the case with the Grand Imamat. It is absolutely impossible for a man to be considered a Khalifa or an Imam with the supreme leadership unless he has fulfilled the prerequisites of this leadership as to his power and authority over the Muslim community ie. its masses and its great majority. So this is the prerequisite of the Grand Imamat which is different from the rest of the Emirates. And every leader who does not have this authority and such a power, then his authority is not that of the supreme leader or a Khilafa even if he claimed it a thousand times. So names and terminologies are decided by the scenario and not the opposite. Infact any authority can turn into the supreme leadership and Khilafat if it fulfills its conditions and its scenario even if those in authority do not call it an Imamat or Khilafat…!!

Similarly, the opposite may happen. Any of those having any authority can call their leadership as Khilafat and describe their leader with the Grand Imamate but that does not become so. And history is filled with it.

So names do not change the reality of the objects, but the actual authority and its capacity is what decides.

So declaration for an Imam or a Khalifa does not mean that he has become an Imam or a Khalifa, rather this announcement can in the best case be considered to be no more than a request for this man’s authority and an invitation for his appointment. As for him actually being an Imam or a Khalifa or not, then this is completely beyond the announcement and is decided by looking into the actual scenario. Similarly, Umar (ra) gave bayah to Abu Bakr (ra) and declared him to be a leader, but the Imamat or the actual leadership of Abu Bakr was not established until after the majority of the people of shawka (strength) approved of him. Ibn Taymiyyah says,

“As for the governorship and authority, then it is a term for the ability that is held. It could be gained by means that is pleasing to Allah and His messenger like the authority of the Khulafa u Rashideen, and it could also be gained in ways that are in disobedience (to Allah) like the authority of the oppressors. And if it is assumed that Umar and those with him pledged allegiance (bayah) to him (Abu Bakr) but the rest of the companions refused the bayah, then he would not have become an Imam by that. Indeed he became an Imam only by the pledging of allegiance by the majority of the companions who are the people of authority and strength. That is why the abstinence of Sad bin Ubadah did not harm (the leadership), and that is because it would not break the purpose of the governorship whose intent is to get power and authority by which the benefits of the Imamat can be attained. And that occurred by the agreement of the majority over it”.

He also says, “So indeed there is no condition for the khilafat except the agreement of the people of shawkah (strength) and the majority through whom the matter may be set up for gaining the objectives of the leadership. This is why the Prophet (sa) said, “Stick to the jamaah (community) for indeed the hand of Allah is with the community” and “Indeed the devil is with the lone one and is further away from two”.

And none can be found from amongst mankind who separated the Grand Imamah from its conditions for its fulfillment except the Raafidhah! So they caused the people to laugh at their intellects where they named some of the noble ones from Ahlul Bayt as Khulafa and as Imams merely due to them being more entitled for it. Whereas the truth is that even if they were more entitled to it, they did not become Khulafa or Imams as per this meaning. In fact, it would be correct to call them as Imams in the religion but not the Imams of the dunya. And this is not degrading them, may Allah be pleased with them, but a statement regarding the actual reality.

So if a questioner asks, that if the Khilafat and its existence are decided by the scenario and it has conditions to be fulfilled and we are not to claim it or announce it to begin with, then how would you carry the statements of the scholars who stated the obligation to set up a Khalifa/Imam through whom the worldly and religious benefits would be fulfilled? Does this not mean that an announcement for a khalifa should be made today so as to take away the sin from us?

Our reply is that the sayings of the scholars regarding the obligation of setting up an Imam are when the prerequisites of it have been achieved, then it would be an obligation on the ummah to set up an Imam. And when the prerequisites have not been achieved/fulfilled then the talk about the Grand Imamat would be incomprehensible to begin with. And setting up the Imam is an obligation over the jama’ah (community). And when the Muslims do not have the jamaah, then the Muslims are addressed to bring their jama’ah into existence first, and not to bring the khaleefa whose leadership will have no meaning without such a jamaah.

And in our times, if we talk about the obligation of setting up the jamaah (community), then it is a talk about the obligation of repelling every obstacle which prevents such a jamaah from existing i.e. Jihad against the transgressing enemy and its agents who plundered away from the Muslims their authority and who are dividing the Muslim community by laying down borders which they drew by pens so that the allegiance would be for them and not for Islam, those who prevent the law of Allah from ruling and from the return of the unity of their word. So repelling the authority of this kufr is the obligation of our times absolutely by all means and with all certainty. When those obstacles have been removed and such hurdles have been set aside and the authority of Muslims have been returned back to them from those who snatched it from them and their community, from those who divided them, and the authority of the kufr from its chiefs has been removed from them, then it would be easiest for them at that time to chose a man from amongst them who would then be their Imam and Khalifa in reality and not just by claims or announcements!

And here, there is an issue: If the unity of community and authority has been achieved within a jamaah or group from amongst the Muslims and they exist in one of the regions or a unity of community and authority has been achieved in a number of different regions which are away from each other, then I do not know of any difference of opinion regarding their permissibility to have a number of leaders so that each region will have a leader over it. And the meaning of “dispute” and “breaking of ranks” would be non existing because the ummah has not yet united as one community while each of those regions would be in need of a leader who governs it. And it would not be permissible then for any of those leaders to claim an authority that he does not have and to claim himself a position that does not exist and say that he has become the Khalifa and the Imam over the entire Muslim community who may not have even heard about him at all, and then after that claim to have invalidated and cancelled all those Emirates even those over whom his authority has not reached nor is it even anywhere near them. This then would be an act that not just trespasses against the Shareeah but goes against the intellect. We have mentioned previously that those with intellect from every nation have agreed that the rule of every leader is in accordance with his authority and he does not have any command over those he does not have authority. So what meaning will a leadership have without such authority!

And this is not the prohibited plurality of leaders, for indeed what has been prohibited is for there to exist two Imams who are disputing over the same status and authority but not the plurality of leaders in the manner that we have explained and the existing conditions.

As for the Imam having no command outside his authority both in terms of logic and Shareeah, then there can be no clearer evidence than the incident of Abu Basir and his group. When they were not under the authority of the Prophet (sa), it was permitted for them to not abide by the treaty that the Prophet (sa) made with the polytheists (ie Hudaybiya). And infact Abu Basir would receive those who came to him from Mecca and shelter them and they would attack the caravans of the Quraysh and the Quraysh did not accuse the Prophet (sa) of having violated the treaty as they knew well that the command of any leader does not go outside his authority. And Abu Basir was not under this authority and this was permissible for him inspite of there existing the Imam and the leadership with an absolute reality and by fulfilling its conditions in a manner that will never occur in history again. So what then would be the case of the one who does not possess even one tenth of that and compels the people to accept an authority when it has not even reached them?

And with that you will understand that there is no meaning for something known as “announcement for the establishment of the khilafa” just as there no meaning for something known as “announcement for the fall of the khilafa”… since the Khilafa had in actual sense fallen even before 1924 and the announcement of the fallen Ataturk for that did not change any of the rules of reality or legitimacy. So Imamah is not obtained by announcement as we have mentioned and similarly does not fall by announcement. In fact it is only a matter that either occurs in reality or does not occur!

And I am here speaking only about the prerequisites and the current scenario which specifies as to whether a leadership is to be described as the Grand Imamat (Imamat ul Uzma) or no, far from it. Whether the means by which capability and power has been achieved is approved or not is not the subject of my talk since the leader can gain this authority either by consultation (shura) and approval or he may gain it by force, and the sword and overpowering. But whereas if were to speak about the Khilafa that is praised by the sharia and that which has been promised about and which is a specific picture of the supreme leadership, then it is altogether a different talk.

And Allah knows best.

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