The Khilafah (Caliphate)

The Khilafah (Caliphate) is a general leadership over all Muslims in the world. Its responsibility is to implement the laws of the Islam system and convey the Islamic Message to the rest of the world. The Khilafah is also called the Imama as both words have been narrated in many sahih ahadith with the same meaning.The Khilafah ruling system bears no resemblance to any of the governments in the Muslim world today. Although many commentators and historians have tried to interpret the Khilafah within existing political frameworks, it is in fact a unique political system.


The Khaleefah (Caliph) is the head of state in the Khilafah. He is not a king or dictator but an elected leader whose authority to rule must be given willingly by the Muslims through a special ruling contact called baya. Without this baya he cannot be the head of state. This is completely opposite to a king or dictator who imposes his authority through coercion and force. The tyrant kings and dictators in the Muslim world are ample examples of this, imprisoning and torturing the Muslims and stealing their wealth and resources.This contract of baya stipulates that the Khaleefah must be just and rule the people by sharia. He is not sovereign and cannot legislate laws from his own mind that suit his personal and family interests. Any legislation he wishes to pass must be derived from the Islamic legal sources through a precise and detailed methodology called ijtihad. If the Khaleefah legislates any law contrary to this or commits oppression against his people, the highest and most powerful court in the State – the Unjust Acts Court (mahkamat muzalim) can impeach the Khaleefah and order his removal from office.

The Khaleefah has been likened by some to a Pope, who is the Spiritual Head of all Muslims, infallible and appointed by God. This is not the case as the Khaleefah is not a priest. His post is an executive post within the Islamic government. He is not infallible and can make mistakes, which is why many checks and balances exist within the Islamic system to ensure he and his government remain accountable. The Khaleefah is not appointed by Allah rather he is elected by the Muslims and assumes authority through the contract of baya. The Khilafah is not a theocracy. Its legislation is not restricted to religious and moral codes that neglect the problems of society. Shari’ah is a comprehensive system that legislates on political, social, economic, foreign policy and judicial matters. Economic progress, elimination of poverty and enhancing the people’s standard of living are all goals the Khilafah will aim to achieve. This is completely opposite to the backward, medieval theocracies founded in Europe during the middle ages where the poor were forced to work and live in squalid conditions in return for the promise of heaven. Historically the Khilafah was an immensely wealthy state with a flourishing economy, high standard of living and a world leader in industry and scientific research for centuries.

The Khilafah is not an empire that favours some lands above others. Nationalism and racism have no place in Islam and are totally prohibited. The Khaleefah can be from any race or colour, and from any school of thought (mazahib) as long as he is Muslim. The Khilafah is an expansionist state but does not conquer new lands in order to steal their wealth and resources. Rather its foreign policy is to convey the Islamic message alone.The Khilafah bears no resemblance to the republican system that is widespread in the Muslim world today. The republican system is based on democracy where sovereignty is given to the people. This means they have the right to legislate laws and a constitution. Sovereignty in Islam is to the sharia. No one in the Khilafah including the Khaleefah can legislate laws from their own minds.The Khilafah is not a totalitarian state. It cannot spy on its Muslim or non-Muslim citizens. Everyone in the Khilafah has the right to express his or her opposition to policies of the state without fear of arrest or imprisonment. Torture and imprisonment without trial is completely forbidden.

The Khilafah does not oppress its non-Muslim minorities. Non-Muslims (dhimmi) are protected by the state and not forced to leave their religions and adopt Islamic values. Rather non-Muslim citizens are protected and their homes, properties and lives cannot be violated. Imam Qarafi, a Classical Scholar summed up the responsibility of the Khilafah to the dhimmi when he said: “It is the responsibility of the Muslims to the People of the Dhimma to care for their weak, fulfil the needs of the poor, feed the hungry, provide clothes, address them politely, and even tolerate their harm even if it was from a neighbour, even though the Muslim would have an upper hand (by the fact that It is an Islamic state). The Muslims must also advise them sincerely on their affairs and protect them against anyone who tries to hurt them or their family, steal their wealth, or violates their rights.”

Women in the Khilafah are not regarded as inferior or second class citizens. Islam gave women the right to wealth, property rights, rights over marriage and divorce as well as a place in society. Islam established a public dress code for women – the Khimar and Jilbab in order to establish a productive society free from the type of negative and harmful relationships prevalent in the west.Establishing the Khilafah and appointing a Khaleefah is obligatory on all Muslims in the world, male and female. Performing this duty (fard) is the same as performing any other duty which Allah (SWT) has ordered us, where no complacency is allowed. Indeed the Khilafah is a vital issue for the Muslims.

The future Khilafah will undoubtedly usher in a new era of peace, stability and prosperity for the Muslim world and beyond, ending years of oppression by some of the worst tyrants this world has ever seen. The days of colonialism and exploitation of the Muslim world will finally come to an end, and the Khilafah will utilise all resources at its disposal to further the interests of Islam and Muslims as well as establish an alternative for the people of the world to the Capitalist system.

Some Ahadith on Khilafah:

Then there will be a caliphate according to the manner of prophecy

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith

Hadith 5378 Narrated by Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman

An-Nu’man told on Hudhayfah’s authority that Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “Prophecy will remain among you as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a caliphate according to the manner of prophecy as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a distressful kingdom which will remain as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a proud kingdom which will remain as long as Allah wishes it to remain, then Allah Most High will remove it. Then there will be a caliphate according to the manner of prophecy.” Then he stopped. Habib said: “When Umar ibn Abdul Aziz became caliph I wrote to him, mentioning this tradition to him and saying, “I hope you will be the commander of the faithful after the distressful and the proud kingdoms.” It pleased and charmed him, i.e. Umar ibn AbdulAziz.” Ahmad and Bayhaqi, in Dala’il an-Nubuwwah, transmitted it.

The prophet or the Caliph has two groups of advisors

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith

Hadith 9.306 Narrated byAbu Said Al Khudri

The Prophet said, “Allah never sends a prophet or gives the Caliphate to a Caliph but that he (the prophet or the Caliph) has two groups of advisors: A
group advising him to do good and exhorts him to do it, and the other group advising him to do evil and exhorts him to do it. But the protected person
(against such evil advisors) is the one protected by Allah.”

Caliphate will remain with the Quraish

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith

Hadith 9.254 Narrated byIbn Umar

Allah’s Apostle said, “This matter (caliphate) will remain with the Quraish even if only two of them were still existing.”

As long as Quraish stick to the rules and regulations of the religion (Islam)

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith

Hadith 9.253 Narrated by Muhammad bin Jubair bin Mutim

That while he was included in a delegation of Quraish staying with Muawiya, Muawiya heard that ‘Abdullah bin ‘Amr had said that there would be a king from Qahtan tribe, whereupon he became very angry. He stood up, and after glorifying and praising Allah as He deserved, said, “To proceed, I have come to know that some of you men are narrating things which are neither in Allah’s Book, nor has been mentioned by Allah’s Apostle . Such people are the ignorant among you. Beware of such vain desires that mislead those who have them. I have heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘This matter (of the caliphate) will remain with the Quraish, and none will rebel against them, but Allah will throw him down on his face as long as they stick to the rules and regulations of the religion (Islam).

*Note: Caliphate will remain with the Quraish till they follow rules and regulations of Islam, but if they deviate then rebellions may succeed.

The nation of ‘Arabs, will remain prosperous as long as you choose and appoint another chief whenever a former one is dead.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith

Hadith 5.645 Narrated by Jarir

While I was at Yemen, I met two men from Yemen called Dhu Kala and Dhu Amr, and I started telling them about Allah’s Apostle. Dhu Amr said to me, “If what you are saying about your friend (i.e. the Prophet) is true, then he has died three days ago.” Then both of them accompanied me to Medina, and when we had covered some distance on the way to Medina, we saw some riders coming from Medina. We asked them and they said, “Allah’s Apostle has died and Abu Bakr has been appointed as the Caliph and the people are in a good state.’ Then they said, “Tell your friend (Abu Bakr) that we have come (to visit him), and if Allah will, we will come again.” So they both returned to Yemen. When I told Abu Bakr their statement, he said to me, “I wish you had brought them (to me).” Afterwards I met Dhu Amr, and he said to me, “O Jarir! You have done a favor to me and I am going to tell you something, i.e. you, the nation of ‘Arabs, will remain prosperous as long as you choose and appoint another chief whenever a former one is dead. But if authority is obtained by the power of the sword, then the rulers will become kings who will get angry, as kings get angry, and will be delighted as kings get delighted.”

Sahih Muslim Hadith

Hadith 6963 Narrated by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri

Allah’s Apostle (peace be upon him) said: There would be amongst your caliphs a caliph who would give handfuls of wealth to the people but would not count it.

Twelve caliphs & all of them will belong to Quraysh.

Sunan of Abu-Dawood

Hadith 4266 Narrated by Jabir ibn Samurah

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The religion will continue to be established till
there are twelve caliphs over you, and the whole community will agree on each of them. I then heard from the Prophet (peace be upon him) some remarks
which I could not understand. I asked my father: What is he saying: He said: all of them will belong to Quraysh.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith

Hadith 9.329 Narrated by Jabir bin Samura

I heard the Prophet saying, “There will be twelve Muslim rulers (who will rule all the Islamic world).” He then said a sentence which I did not hear. My father
said, “All of them (those rulers) will be from Quraish.”

There will be Caliphs who will increase in number

Sahih Al-Bukhari HadithHadith 4.661 Narrated by Abu Huraira

The Prophet said, “The Israelis used to be ruled and guided by prophets:Whenever a prophet died, another would take over his place. There will be no
prophet after me, but there will be Caliphs who will increase in number.”The people asked, “O Allah’s Apostle! What do you order us (to do)?” He
said, “Obey the one who will be given the pledge of allegiance first. Fulfiltheir (i.e. the Caliphs) rights, for Allah will ask them about (any
shortcoming) in ruling those Allah has put under their guardianship.”

The whole community [The majority] will agree on each of them

Sunan of Abu-Dawood

Hadith 4266 Narrated by Jabir ibn Samurah

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: The religion will continue to be established till there are twelve caliphs over you, and the whole community
will agree on each of them. I then heard from the Prophet (peace be upon him) some remarks which I could not understand. I asked my father: What is
he saying: He said: all of them will belong to Quraysh.

Follow my Sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs.

Sunan of Abu-Dawood

Hadith 4590 Narrated by Irbad ibn Sariyah

Abdur Rahman ibn Amr as-Sulami and Hujr ibn Hujr said:

We came to Irbad ibn Sariyah who was among those about whom the following verse was revealed:”Nor (is there blame) on those who come to thee to be provided with mounts, and when thou saidst: “I can find no mounts for you.” We greeted him and said: We have come to see you to give healing and obtain benefit from you. Al-Irbad said: One day the Apostle of Allah (peace be upon him) led us in prayer, then faced us and gave us a lengthy exhortation at which the eyes shed tears and the hearts were afraid. A man said: Apostle of Allah! It seems as if it were a farewell exhortation, so what injunction do you give us? He then said: I enjoin you to fear Allah, and to hear and obey even if it be an Abyssinian slave, for those of you who live after me will see great disagreement. You must then follow my sunnah and that of the rightly-guided caliphs. Hold to it and stick fast to it. Avoid novelties, for every novelty is an innovation, and every innovation is an error.
*Every evil innovation is an error.

The kingdom will belong to Quraysh.

Al-Tirmidhi Hadith

Hadith 5992 Narrated by Abu Hurayrah

Allah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) said, “The kingdom will belong to Quraysh, the legal authority to the Ansar, the office of making the call to prayer to the Abyssinians, and faithfulness to Azd,” i.e. the Yemen. In a version it is in mawquf form. Tirmidhi said, the mawquf is sounder Tirmidhi transmitted it, saying this (mawquf) is sounder.

*The kingdom will belong to Quraysh in Arabia

Sahih Muslim Hadith

Hadith 4568 Narrated by Abu Sa’id al-Khudri
The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) said: When oath of allegiance has been taken for two caliphs, kill the one for whom the oath was taken later.
*Note: Because the other one has no right take office of caliphate when one caliph has already been chosen.

The way to work for Khilafah

It has today become an indisputable reality that this Ummah yearns for the return of the Islamic Khilafah. She has witnessed much that solidifies this desire. Today, we find that Allah (swt) has brought back the desire in the hearts of the Muslims and this Ummah to return to the rule of Islam. Amongst them are those who are willing to dedicate their time and effort for the service of Islam. This article seeks to explain how such people can work for Islam and work for its noble aims.

Knowledge before action

Hazzam bin Hakeem narrated from his uncle from the Messenger of Allah (saw) who said: “You are in a time of many jurisprudents (fuqaha), few speakers/lecturers, many who give and few who ask; so action in this time is better than knowledge. There will soon come a time of few jurisprudents, many speakers, many who beg and few who give; so knowledge in this time is better than action.”

This noble advice by the Messenger (saw) builds the principle that Islam has always placed knowledge before action. It is saddening to see that amongst some workers for Islam, action comes before knowledge. This is highly dangerous, since we saw at the beginning of the last century a plethora of patriotic movements rising up against the colonialist occupation only to find that when the colonialists left they implemented the same secular models in their lands. Also we find today, under the banner of Islam, some Muslim governments conducting “experiments” for Islamisation, even though the Qur’an and Sunnah showed in detail the Islamic system, and this has been explained in many volumes of books.

Islam has placed knowledge and thinking as a precondition for action, and this ensures that the action undertaken is the correct action and that the action is according to Islam and is the correct action to achieve the aim. But the question may be asked – what type of knowledge is required? Here are a few areas that anyone working for Islam should seek to understand:

i. To gain an understanding of Islam and its basic concepts. These concepts need to start with the Aqa’id (belief) because this is the basis of all correct actions. A Muslim must be convinced of his basis, because under all strong structures lay a strong, solid foundation. We have witnessed, with great sadness, excellent people with much energy working for the goals of Islam one day and then leaving this work the other because their foundations were weak and all they had was zeal and desire rather than sound knowledge.

ii. To understand the Shari’ah rules. Islam has made it an obligation for a Muslim to understand the Hukm Shari’ concerning his actions. So a Muslim must be aware of his obligations. It is incorrect for a Muslim to work for Islam, yet fall short of abiding by the rules of Islam in his personal life. Again we witness with sadness many who openly call out against ‘Western culture’ yet in their own lives are engrossed with its films and music, soaps and trivialities the same West gives them. In understanding the Shari’ah rules, one must make sure he or she does not limit themselves to just a specific area which they are inclined to. Rather Islam needs to be taken completely.

iii. To understand the main points of Kufr. This area is unobvious to many. The Messenger (saw) used to know the thoughts of the Quraish so that he could speak out against them. Also Allah (swt) encouraged this, so in the Qur’an He (swt) points out on many occasions the contradictions that existed with the Mushrikeen. Today the Muslim needs to be aware of the dominant ideology, capitalism, its components and its contradiction with Islam. Again this knowledge requires more than just a superficial understanding such that the call of Islam becomes a general unconvincing call. When Allah (swt) says, “Say ‘This is my way: I call to Allah with sure knowledge, I and whosoever follows me. And Glorified and Exalted is Allah. And I am not of the Mushrikeen” [TMQ Yusuf: 108], he commands the knowledge to be precise. Today we need to understand globalization, democracy, freedom, interfaith dialogue, and secularism amongst many other ideas that are invalid and cannot be adopted by the Muslims.

iv. Knowledge of the correct Islamic work. If a Muslim were to study Islam correctly he would find that Islam has placed the authority as the most essential organ to safeguard the rules of Islam and the Muslims. This necessitates that in the absence of this authority work is required to bring it back. The Khilafah is the only correct structure Islam has laid down, the Messenger (saw) said, “after me there will be no Prophet, but there will be Khulafah and they will number many”. So the correct Islamic work is to call for the Khilafah. That means to work to bring back its return. This work by definition is a political work, and thus requires an aware Islamic political party.

Apart from what has been mentioned above, a Muslim must seek knowledge continuously and must always strive to excel in his or her understanding.

Carrying Da’wa

If a Muslim was to engage in gaining knowledge he would realise quickly that knowledge without action is like a donkey with books on its back. This knowledge would be of no use to the people no matter how much he gained and how much of a faqih he became. Islam has said that the most essential component in carrying Islam and bringing back the Khilafah is to carry Da’wa. That is to invite people. Allah (swt) says, “Invite to the way of your Lord…” [TMQ An-Nahl: 125]. Also Islam has mandated that Da’wa should be carried immediately after knowledge. Never in the history of Islam has a Da’wa carrier stayed at home after being affected by Islam. The stories of the Sahabah (ra) are all an evidence for this. Also the Messenger (saw) said, “Convey from me even if it is one ayah”. The following needs to be kept in mind when carrying Da’wa.

i. Da’wa should be a focused work. The Muslims need to be told in a clear, unambiguous way that the many problems we see are due to the absence of the Khilafah and that Islam demands the Da’wa carrier to discuss this issue. Muslims must expose the plans of the West in our lands, their agents in the form of our leaders and all that stems from their corrupt ideology that distances the Muslims from uniting once again under this strong leadership such as the erroneous concepts of nationalism, pragmatism, gradualism and the like.

ii. A Muslim should not talk about what he does not know. The Messenger (saw) always sought revelation from Allah (swt) before he spoke a word. This forms a general rule that one cannot speak out of ignorance.

iii. Da’wa should be carried purely for the pleasure or Allah (swt). A Da’wa carrier must not seek benefit or position from carrying Da’wa. Rather he must do this purely for the sake of Allah (swt). This principle, that is to carry Da’wa for the pleasure of Allah (swt) if understood, will ensure the Da’wa carrier does not stray from his path and change his argument to suit the people.

iv. When carrying Da’wa nothing should interfere with the correct idea and the conveyance of it. The Messenger (saw) was the best example, and he conveyed this message without allowing egoism or personality into the discussion.

v. The call should be carried without compromise. It is not permissible to change the message in order to please the people or to win a temporary supporter. Rather this call needs to be frank, carried with wisdom, that is using the best of styles but conveying the haq (truth) completely. Furthermore the ideas that are carried must not be reconciled with the Western ideology and its standards. It must rather be derived purely from Islam.

vi. The carrier of the Da’wa must be ready to face the trials and tribulations that those who oppose it will place in his or her path. The only way to prepare for this is to have the clear knowledge of the key Islamic ideas such as al Qadaa wal Qadr, or Rizq (sustenance) being from Allah (swt), or Al-Tawakkul (reliance on Allah [swt]) amongst other ideas. Also they must equip themselves with the knowledge of the previous Prophets (as) and their companions and how they bore hardships and finally they must be close to the Qur’an as there is not any other book but this that has the ability to motivate, inspire and energise.

Working with an Islamic Party

Allah (swt) has made carrying Da’wa Fard upon every Muslim. He (swt) has also obligated upon the community to establish at least one group to call to al-Khair, that is Islam, to enjoin al-Maroof (all that is good) and forbid al-Munkar (all that is evil).

Allah (swt) says in the Qur’an,

“Let there arise from amongst you a band of people, who call to Al-Khair, enjoining al-maroof and forbidding al-munkar. And they are those who will gain success.” [TMQ Ale-Imran: 103]

This ayah obligates the establishment of a group. If one was to study the nature of the task to re-establish the Khilafah one would find that for this work to be effective, there needs to be a collective effort. Furthermore the Messenger (saw) worked with the Sahabah (ra) as a group to change the Kufr society and transform it to an Islamic one.

There are some points to consider before choosing which group or groups are correct to ensure that the action undertaken is one with full awareness. As with all actions, Allah (swt) will account us for obedience to him and so to just choose any group would be impermissible, rather the one or ones that fulfils the obligation pointed out in this noble ayah must be considered. These are the points:

i. This group must call to Islam. Allah (swt) mentions in this ayah the word ‘Al Khair’, which is Islam. So if they were a nationalistic, democratic, capitalistic, socialist group etc… then they would not fulfil the command in this ayah. In fact joining groups who are based upon these foreign ideas or who call for such ideas would be sinful, as to call for these ideas and to gather around them is haram.

ii. This group must call to the vital issue, as defined by Islam. The vital issue today is the re-establishment of the Khilafah. It is the Khilafah that will implement Islam, and without it, it would be impossible for the society to adhere to all of the laws of Islam. By definition, calling for the Khilafah is a political work, as it involves changing the society to establish an authority and removing the present authorities based upon non-Islam. So this group must be a political group or party.

iii. It must have a clear method of affiliation. It has been observed that many groups are tarnished with infighting, strands, wings and the like. This is due to the members of these groups not having a unified aim and sets of ideas. Rather the people are often chosen because they show some sort of enthusiasm to do work regardless of them carrying the same ideas and aims.

iv. The group must have a ‘culturing process’. That is they must have a way of developing newcomers to the group as well as established members. This culturing must be taken seriously and all should need to go through it. This ensures they are built and developed with the Islamic culture, purifying their intentions and thoughts, building their concepts and strengthening their resolve. So the initial zeal and enthusiasm is transferred to a sound knowledge and consistent work. It is saddening to see the many who begin to work for Islam and then stop this work; this can generally be attributed to a lack of culturing with Islam in this group.

v. This group must be clear in its language, and bold in its actions – to enjoin the Maroof and forbid the Munkar requires from the Muslim to challenge all that is wrong and uphold all that is right.

vi. The group must study the reality clearly and comprehensively. Islam mandated that the reality in which the group works must be understood. This includes the study of the thoughts and ideas that exist in society as well as the plots and plans of the Kafiroon and her agent rulers in our lands. To just have a generalised understanding of the reality would not allow the people to understand the true nature of the problem we face.

vii. The group must not look down upon the Ummah nor abuse them for not working with them or not adhering to Islam. Rather it should seek to lift up their spirits, energise them, wake them from their slumber and bring about this change. The Messenger of Allah (saw) said, “Whoever says the people are destroyed are the most destroyed of the people.” [Sahih Muslim].

viii. The group should have a strong atmosphere that gels the members together. This atmosphere must be a pure one and it should be based upon seeking the pleasure of Allah (swt). We witness many groups that exist in the West that are run like a company, where the members have to continuously be forced to undertake actions. This is contrary to the way of Islam where the strength of the idea makes a person willingly want to sacrifice his time and effort. The Messenger of Allah (saw) wrote in a letter to Abdullah Ibn Jahsh, when he sent him to lead an expedition to keep an eye on Quraysh at Nakhlah, between Makkah and Ta’if: “Do not coerce anyone of your companions to proceed with you, and go forth with my order with those who follow you.”

These three points; gaining knowledge, carrying da’wa and working with an Islamic Party would be the practical way to work for Khilafah. So after this, we would say join this work with the sincere ones who seek to achieve the highest place in Jannah. Strengthen your resolve, for the Ummah yearns for change, and this change requires work. May our deeds be multiplied in reward in the eyes of Allah (swt) and may we become the ones who will be the “beloved” to the Messenger (saw)!

The Messenger Muhammad (saw) said:
“Islam began as something strange, and it shall return to being something strange, so give glad tidings to the strangers.” It was asked, “Who are those strangers, O Messenger of Allah?” He replied, “Those that correct the people when they become corrupt.” This is the narration of at-Tabaraani in his al-Kabeer.

And Allah Knows Best

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