Khelafat After The Prophet (sws)


It is obvious that the issue of Khelafat was always a difficult issue in the history of Islam and one that affects Islam a lot:

  • Immediately after the passing away of the Holy Prophet there were arguments and disagreements between some of the Sahabeh. The recording of history is controversy but as a whole it appears that it wasn't like every one was happy (at first at the beginning) with the Khelafat of Abu Bakr. Ansar wanted their own rep. Ali and Zubayr were not happy (as recorded in Bukhari), etc.
  • The same problem was there between Moawiah and Hassan.
  • Same between Yazid and Hussain.
  • Same through out the history of Khelafat among Bani Omayyeh and Bani Abbas.
  • Khalafat became like king-prince system and was corrupted.
  • Finally Muslims lost their system of Khelafat.

Question is:

As we can see most of the problems that Muslims face these days are because of the lack of a system of Khelafat. As such it is difficult to agree that khelafat is only a political matter and not a religious one.

The Holy Prophet used to advise Muslims about what ever he thought they will need in future.

How come the Prophet was absolutely silent about the issue of Khelafat?

If not clearly appointing a person, at least why he did not advised Muslims about the system of assigning a Khalifh?

Some thing like:

"After me, do such and such and consider such and such and use this or that procedure to appoint a Khalifah"

Being the last Prophet whose nation supposed to be the strongest nation till the end of the world, isn't this (lack of direction about Khelfat) weird?

Every leader's concern near his dead is about the leadership system in his nation. We can see many examples in the history where successful leaders always established a system of leadership before their passing away.

Why the Holy Prophet (SWS) was an exception?


The Shari`ah does not give details about all the spheres of human activity. Its main concern remains purification of human self. In matters other than worship, the Shari`ah only gives guidance in those spheres where the human mind was prone to making such errors of judgment which were likely to have a negative impact on the cleansing of the human mind, body or soul, whether at the individual or the collective level. The guidance of the Shari`ah relating to the political life of the Muslim community is no exception.

The Holy Qur'an clearly guides that collective affairs of Muslims should be based on consultation. Al-Shooraa 42:38 reads:

And their affairs are based on their consultation.

The verse provides us with necessary guidance in all the collective affairs of Muslims. It requires us to decide all these affairs with mutual consultation. This principle covers all political systems from choosing a head of the state to running a municipality.

Had the Holy Prophet (sws) suggested a parallel course for the matter or imposed a ruler of his own choice that would mean depriving people of the very right, which the Almighty had granted them.

Muslims after the death of the Prophet [sws] did not ignore this principle. Abu Bakr (ra) was elected Khalifah by the majority opinion of the chiefs of Quraish a tribe, which undoubtedly enjoyed confidence of the entire Arab tribes. Naturally there may have been some people who would have expected to be elected but it was the majority who had to decide. We do not find any proof of Abu Bakr's (ra) disregarding the opinion of other Muslims in all the important matters. All the other caliphs were elected with the majority vote until the establishment of monarchy which is totally in contrast with the Islamic teachings in this regard.

The effect of this freedom of choice given in the referred Qur'anic directive is that the collectivity, on the basis of the opinion of the majority, may alter its political system. We can devise system of government today different from that of Khilafah.

Therefore, the Holy Prophet (sws) by leaving the matter upon the Companions only fulfilled the divine will in this regard. It would be unjust to term it indifference to a very important matter of the Ummah.[1]

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