This subject of Khilafah is a political study. It is a discussion about the highest post of ruling, and of course, a study of thoughts related to it. It would be a great error for the non-Muslim reader to assess the truthfulness of the thoughts presented in this leaflet against anything other than the reality. Similarly, Muslims should only judge in accordance with the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of the Prophet (saw). This is the case because the correctness of the thought is not judged by another thought unless it is a branch of that throught. Rather, it is judged according to its agreement with reality, or its agreement with its origin which is proven to agree with reality. Therefore, we warn the reader of the necessity to read these thoughts with accuracy and awareness of the reality which they express. So while the ruling crisis in the Muslim world is apparent, and the crisis in ruling in many other parts of the world is noticeable, it is worth understanding the ruling thoughts so as to realise through contemplating that the solutions arrived at regarding the ruling crises in the world and the best solution for the ruling of human beings and caring for their affairs. To find the sound solution for ruling the people, thought must be directed in a way to limit the criterion for assessment to the agreement with reality or the agreement of the divine rules to them.
It is wrong to make democracy as a standard for the correctness of the thoughts, or to be influenced by its concepts. Since democracy has spread in the world to the extent that its name prevailed over all popularised nations as an ideal; the oriental countries began adopting it after the Western countries adopted it, despite the difference in its meaning. Muslims as a whole have been affected by it with no difference between those who believe that the Khilafah is established by Muslims or those who believe that Allah (swt) and His Prophet (saw) have assigned the Khalifah. Both parties reconcile their opinions to the people in the name of democracy or in the name of some of its thoughts. Therefore, we repeat the warning not to take, while studying these thoughts, any other thoughts as a criterion, particularly the thoughts of democracy and its many nuances. For example, some of those who study ruling, have noticed some forms of the governments in the countries familiar to them, and read about other forms of government historically. And by logical assumptions they write about the forms of governments and say: if the government was entrusted by all the people or the majority of them, then this form of government is called ‘democracy’. And if the government was restricted to the hands of a few people, then this form of ruling is called ‘autocracy’. But if the ruling was delegated to one ruler from whom all others take their authorities, then this form of ruling is called ‘royalty’ or ‘monarchy’. They mean by ruling both authority and legislation. Upon these bases all the various ruling forms were rebuilt. From this, the types of states and unions among states stemmed. It derived from this also the types of government, elections, the right of voting, and the like.
These thoughts are different from the Islamic thoughts of ruling both wholly and in detail. The difference between them is great, because the ruling system in Islam is the Khilafah system. It is a model completely distinguished from any other ruling style. The Shari’ah that is applied in founding the ruling, in caring for the citizens affairs, and in the external affairs is from Allah (swt). It is not from the people, nor from a few people or from any individual. Every person who embraces Islam has the right to understand this Shari’ah the way that his knowledge of the Arabic language and the Shari’ah texts achieves. And he has the absolute right, within the limits of the Arabic language and the Shari’ah texts, to understand what his mind brings him to and his opinion becomes a Shari’ah verdict on him and upon anyone who accepts his understanding of the Shari’ah verdict and adopts it. He has the right to govern the people according to it if he was a ruler or a judge. But if the Khaleefah, who is the head of the Islamic state, adopted any Islamic opinion, then the opinion that the Khaleefah adopts alone becomes the law, and it becomes a duty upon all the citizens to live according to the adopted opinion, although this does not mean they have to leave their opinions. Rather, they must legally work within the law, i.e. the opinion which the Khaleefah has adopted, and to submit to it alone. But they are not prevented from educating the people with their opinions and inviting to Islam according to them. People are left free to think in Islam according to the basis upon which Islam is established, that is the Islamic ‘aqeeda (creed). So they have the right to think regarding legislation and other matters provided that everything emanates from the ‘aqeeda.
This is in regard to the legislative and intellectual aspect. But with regard to ruling, it differs from legislation. It means the sultan (authority) and not the ruling system, because the ruling system is of the legislation, it is from the divine rules. And the authority has been assigned by the Shari’ah to the whole of the Muslims, i.e. the Ummah, to everybody of the Ummah, male or female. So every Muslim has the right in the authority, and has the right to practice this right whenever it is required. By this right in the authority which the Ummah possesses, she establishes upon her one man to implement the Shari’ah of Allah, and gives him the pledge upon the Book and the Sunnah by a pledge of consent and selection from him and from her. The resulting contract of Khilafah between him and her, is not a hiring contract. Because it is a contract to implement the Shari’ah, not a contract to serve and benefit her, although the implementation of the Shari’ah is for her service and interest since it is a mercy for her and mankind. But it should be noticed that in the action, upon which the Khilafah contract is concluded, that what matters is the implementation of the Shari’ah and not the benefit of the Ummah. If her immediate benefit disagreed with the Shari’ah then the Shari’ah alone has to be implemented. Therefore, if she demanded to leave a divine rule, the Khalifah obliges her to do it. And if she left the Shari’ah he is obliged to fight her till she returns to it, as he was established only to implement the Shari’ah. The Ummah has also no right to depose the Khalifah as she desires, rather she has the right to depose him in certain cases, and he is deposed by himself and removed from the Khilafah in particular cases. He can be fought against in one case only, that is if he were to apply anything other than Islam. So his matter is not within the hands of the Ummah though she herself has established him, rather this matter is in the hands of the Shari’ah.
But the authority, which is a right for the Ummah, does not end by appointing the Khaleefah rather the authority remains with her, and its nature in the case of the existence of the Khalifah is by taking him to task on his actions in applying the Shari’ah and in caring for her affairs, by the styles she decides within the limits of the Shari’ah law. He must submit to her accounting, and clarify for her the situation which she might complain of and question him about. Even if she raised arms against him because of that, he is not allowed to fight her till he clarifies any suspicion she holds and what he considers to be the truth.
This is the ruling in Islam, and upon this basis the ruling system is built. It does not lead to any types of states, rather it is itself one form. It is a system of unity not a system of union. It makes it a duty to struggle to preserve the unity system and to demolish the union system. It does not have types of governments, in fact it has no governments.
The state and the government are one body, which is the Khalifah and his mu’awin (assistants). As to what branches from this system regarding the method of appointing the Khalifah, the necessity to guarantee the consent and selection for every Muslim in electing the Khaleefah and giving a pledge to him, and facilitating for the Ummah on an individual basis, this consent and selection, all these matters come through divine rules specific to the subject of Khilafah and general in every contract, including the contract of Khilafah. Though the Khilafah system may appear similar to the democratic system with regard to the freedom of elections, voting, and to voice some opinions, it is incorrect to consider the two systems as similar because in the democratic system, these matters result from liberties, whilst in Islam they result from the conditions of the Khilafah contract and every contract, i.e. the consent and selection, which if not fulfilled in the Khilafah contract, the contract would be illegal, and the Khalifah would not then be legal.
The difference between guaranteeing freedom in elections and securing the consent and selection in the contract is that freedom is the decision of the people. So if it was not achieved it would not affect the legality of the contract. But securing the consent and the selection is a rule of the contract as opposed to the law of the people. So if it was not achieved the contract would be illegal and not concluded. Similarly, all the thoughts of Islam differ from the thoughts of democracy. They are at the same time different from aristocracy, monarchy, and off course the concept of empire. So if the thoughts of Islam are studied, they have to be studied in their capacity as a ruling system distinguished from any other system, and with regard to their agreement with the reality of the ruling, but not any ruling, rather the reality of a particular ruling, that is the ruling with which man governs mankind practically, and according to the highest level of exalted values, or with regard to the divine evidences from which these ruling thoughts have been deduced.
Upon this basis we demand the reader to study this subject as a study of a ruling system that is completely distinguished from other systems; without adopting any criterion for the correctness of these thoughts except their agreement with the reality of the system which is the most exalted compared to any other ruling system mankind has been ruled with, or their agreement with the basis from which they emanated, which is the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allah (saw).