Thursday, September 25, 2014

Ahl al-Hal wal-ʿAqd...

By Brother/ Dai'ee Yahya al-Bahrumi

Regarding the testimony of Ahl al-Ḥall wal-ʿAqd (1) for convening on the Khilafah, then even if we considered this a condition for the Khilafah, we would also consider that: If Ahl al-Hall wal-ʿAqd did not come together to choose the imam, and they left that for some time — whether a day or three days or a year or a thousand years — then the religion of Allah would be suspended because of these negligent people. Allah forbid that be the case!

The wording "Ahl al-Hall wal-ʿAqd" is a technical term not mentioned in either the Book or the Sunnah. However, it's in the meaning of: Those six people whom ʿUmar ibn al-Khattab chose when he died, so that they could come together on a khalifah from among themselves. May Allah be pleased with all of them. So the basis in this issue is that it was the ijtihad of ʿUmar, and since it does not contradict the shariʿah: it is permissible but not obligatory. It was considered obligatory by Abu Bakr al-Baqilani and others like him, based on personal opinions and not revelation. (2)
Ahmad ibn Hanbal said:

The imamah is not effective except with its conditions [...], so if testimony was given to that by Ahl al-Hall wal-ʿAqd of the scholars of Islam and their trustworthy people, or the imam took that position for himself and then the Muslims were content with that, it is also effective. (3)

He thus mentioned two affairs, both of them are allowed. The first is the testimony of Ahl al-Hall wal-ʿAqd and the second is that the imam takes the leadership role for himself while the Muslims are content with that. This is our opinion, except that we also explain this "contentment", that we say: If a group of Muslims is content, that is enough. (4)

Our evidence is that action of the Prophet (saws): He died without specifying Abu Bakr by name for the Khilafah. Rather, he commanded Abu Bakr to lead the prayer in his stead. Through that command, some of the Sahabah — like ʿUmar ibn al-Khattab — understood that he (saws) meant to appoint al-Siddiq as his successor. So Abu Bakr, ʿUmar, and Abu ʿUbaydah made ijtihad until they agreed upon Abu Bakr, and they were only three people. Actually, it could be said that it was ʿUmar, one man by himself, who initiated the bayʿah and then the rest of the people recognized that it was wajib upon them to pledge allegiance to him. (5)

So the bayʿah is contracted in three or more ways (depending on one's ijtihad) and Allah knows best: By the previous imam's order, by a group of Muslims called by the scholars "Ahl al-Hall wal-ʿAqd" choosing the imam, and by the ijtihad of a single Muslim if there was no order of the imam nor a decision made by said group. (6)

If it is said: If we allowed this, then there would be many khulafaʾ in the world. Then we say: All of them would be killed except the first, just as none of them are legitimate except the first. Allah's Messenger (saws) said: 
«وَمَنْ بَايَعَ إِمَامًا فَأَعْطَاهُ صَفْقَةَ يَدِهِ، وَثَمَرَةَ قَلْبِهِ، فَلْيُطِعْهُ إِنِ اسْتَطَاعَ، فَإِنْ جَاءَ آخَرُ يُنَازِعُهُ فَاضْرِبُوا عُنُقَ الْآخَرِ»
«Whoever gives bayʿah to an imam, giving him his hand and the fruit of his heart, then he must obey him if he is able. Then, if another comes to challenge him, then strke the neck of the other.» (7) 

So he said: «Whoever gives bayʿah to an imam», and he did not say, "Whoever gives bayʿah to the imam whom the Muslims before him pledged allegiance." So the bayʿah is established by a single person, and it is an obligation to kill whoever is given the bayʿah after him.

In conclusion, if a knowledgeable Muslim man of Quraysh is given the bayʿah upon listening and obeying, having no (previous) challenger to the claim, then he is Imam al-Muslimin, Amir al-Muʾminin: the Khalifah for the whole world. Whoever does not give him the bayʿah has incurred a great sin. Allah's Messenger (saws) said: 
«مَنْ خَلَعَ يَدًا مِنْ طَاعَةٍ، لَقِيَ اللَّهَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَا حُجَّةَ لَهُ، وَمَنْ مَاتَ وَلَيْسَ فِي عُنُقِهِ بَيْعَةٌ، مَاتَ مِيتَةً جَاهِلِيَّةً»
Whoever removed his hand from obedience will meet Allah on the day of resurrection without a case. Whoever died and did not have a bayʿah around his neck, he died a jāhilī death.» (8) 

  1.  Literally, "the People of Solving Problems and Making Contracts", this term refers to the scholars and noble people who come together to resolve important matters.
  2. al-Baqilani, Tamhīd al-Awāʾil wa Talkhīṣ al-Dalāʾil (1/467).
  3. Ahmad, al-ʿAqīdah bi-Riwāyah al-Khallāl (1/124).
  4. It is not possible that every Muslim in the entire world must be content with an individual before his leadership is valid. Furthermore, Abu Bakr al-Siddiq was the valid khalifah after ʿUmar ibn al-Khattab, Abu ʿUbaydah ibn al-Jarrah, and the Ansar with them gave him the bayʿah, and this was before determining if the rest of the Sahabah — including the greatest of scholars and generals — were content, as they had no knowledge of the bayʿah until it came to them as news.
  5. To consider these few companions as Ahl al-Hall wal-ʿAqd would entail that any group of knowledgeable, firmly established Muslims can be considered such, i.e. without consulting their peers and so forth. This means that when the Islamic State's scholars and leaders came together to appoint Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, those scholars and leaders were Ahl al-Hall wal-ʿAqd; so any disputing their decision is a direct violation of accepting the choice of a valid council.
  6. The claim that the bayʿah to Abu Bakr was not contractually valid until the "rest of the companions" also gave their pledge is void of practicality. Then if it was said that it must be the majority of the companions, and then as such the majority of today's scholars and leaders, then it is still an opinion that requires evidence from the Qurʾan and the Sunnah, and there is no such proof. Rather, we know that the Prophet commanded individual bayʿah and that the first to receive the bayʿah is the valid leader; and anyone who comes after him must be killed. The only "evidence" that has been mentioned is the speculation of a later scholar about what could have happened if the rest of the companions did not give the pledge.
    As for ʿUmar ibn al-Khattab's statement that "Whoever pledges to a man without consultation from the Muslims, then neither of their pledges count, lest they both be killed", then there are three points to make: (1) there is no evidence in the single statement of ʿUmar, may Allah be pleased with him, (2) he admitted that Abu Bakr's bayʿah was done impromptu and without consulting eminent companions like ʿAli and al-Zubayr, and that was done for fear of disunity (!); and (3) the consultation that ʿUmar meant, as proven through his own actions, was that of appointing a group of six people to decide the next khalifah. Regardless, our situation, if we were to measure it up between now and then, is more similar to the time when ʿUmar initiated the bayʿah with Abu Bakr, in order to avoid further disunity. That, and there was consultation between the leaders of the Islamic State in declaring the khilafah of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and it was not a spur of the moment decision by Abu Bakr and one other person, and Allah knows best.
    Regarding the statement of the Prophet to adhere to his sunnah and the sunnah of the rightly-guided khulafaʾ after him, then this can only be understood in two ways: It either means to follow the khulafaʾ's opinion(s) if — and only if — they were all in agreement on a single view, i.e. a consensus, and not merely to follow the opinion of one of them excluding another; or it means to follow the general way in which they ruled on matters, and that was by following the Qurʾan and the Sunnah, making ijtihad based on these two texts. Since we know that Abu Bakr, ʿUmar, ʿUthman, and ʿAli did not agree on everything, and we have recorded disagreements between them on many matters, then we know that to use this hadith as evidence to follow the opinion of ʿUmar, excluding the other three, or to follow two of them, excluding the other two, and so forth, is not practical and not in line with the religion of Islam, which was completed the day the Prophet died.
    Likewise, whoever understood ʿUmar's statement to mean that whoever pledges allegiance to someone who fulfills the conditions, without consulting the majority of Muslims or the scholars of divided groups, that such a khalifah and his followers should be killed; then may Allah kill such a person who is clearly a fitnah maker who wants to see bloodshed, while the others want only unity and strength for the ummah.
  7. Muslim, al-Ṣaḥīḥ (1844).
  8. Muslim, al-Ṣaḥīḥ (1851).

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