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    The Vital Issue

    In the month of Rabi al-Awwal, 13 AH, the Islamic State centred at Medina was plunged into the most serious crisis since its establishment…the death of the Prophet (saw). Having conquered the forces of Kufr, subjugated the elements of shirk and established a governing state; the Prophet (saw) passed away having completed his mission. The news of his death quickly spread to all parts of the city. On hearing it, some wept, some were dumbstruck and others refused to believe that the Messenger of Allah (saw) had died.

    Amidst the confusion, several other critical issues arose. News reached the capital that large numbers of people had publicly refused to pay the Zakah. Others were rallying around an impostor prophet by the name of Musailima. On the borders of the state far to the North the armies of the Roman Empire were preparing to fight while the army of Jihad, having just been given its orders to march, had encamped outside Medina. Within this atmosphere of unrest another issue, perhaps the most critical of all still remained to be solved; the burial of the Prophet (saw).

    It was at this most serious of junctures that the most outstanding personalities of the Islamic State, the Sahabah, took control.

    The Ansar of Medina had gathered in the saqifa of Banu Sa’ida, to discuss the issue of ruling and government after the Prophet (saw). Abu Bakr (ra), along with Umar bin al-Khattab (ra) and Abu Ubaidah (ra) made their way to the meeting place. A long and fierce debate then ensued which continued beyond two nights. At its conclusion the Sahabah who had gathered decided that Abu Bakr (ra) be given the bay’ah and chosen as Khalifah for the Ummah. Thus, the successor to ruling and implementation of Shari’ah was chosen. The critical issue to note is that during these three days and two nights of discussion all the other problems that the Ummah faced were still in existence. However the Sahabah (ra) prioritised the selection of a Khalifah as the most critical issue. Following Abu Bakr’s (ra) appointment, units were organised to fight against the false prophet, those refusing to pay the Zakah were punished, the army of Jihad was dispatched to deal with the Romans and the Prophet’s (saw) body was buried.

    It is vital that the actions the Sahabah took at this time are closely examined, for the Ijma’a’ of the Sahabah indicates a Shari’ah rule for us. What they were faced with was a collection of issues which all required solving. All the issues were either Fard to carry out or were hudood to be implemented; neither could be delayed. Thus the burial of a body is Fard, the punishment of those who refuse to pay Zakah is obligatory, Jihad must continue and impostor prophets attacking the foundation of the Islamic State must be dealt with. However, the action prioritised above these actions was the selection of a Khalifah.

    Rasoolallah (saw) had in fact already commanded what the Muslims should do upon his death and had laid down the hukm regarding the issue of rule. His (saw) hadith recorded in the Sahih of al-Bukhari states, “And after me there will be no more prophets, but there will be Khulafah, and they will be many”. The Sahabah asked, “What do you order us regarding them”. He (saw) replied, “Fulfil the Bay’ah to them, one after one.” Rasoolallah (saw) also emphasised the obligatory nature of this bay’ah. The Sahih of Muslim narrates, the Prophet (saw) said, “Whoso dies whilst there was no Bay’ah (pledge of allegiance) on his neck, he dies the death of jahiliyyah (ignorance).” Thus the Prophet (saw) made it compulsory on every Muslim to have the pledge of allegiance to a Khalifah.

    It is this bay’ah that the Sahabah sought to establish. They immersed themselves in this work and gave it the priority it deserved. That is, being the most important issue above other issues, even over the burial of the Prophet (saw) himself. For it is by the establishment of the ruling system of Allah (swt) that the Shari’ah is implemented, the Hudood is enforced, the rights are upheld and the Deen is made dominant.

    This idea has remained with the Muslim Ummah throughout its history. Wherever Islam spread, the rule of Allah (swt) was implemented and the bay’ah to the Khalifah was maintained. After the age of colonialism when the Ummah was given an opportunity to assert itself, to implement a law, to profess a belief, it was always Islam. Thus the hundreds of millions in the Indo-Pak subcontinent who were roused, did so in the name of Islam, did so behind the slogan, Pakistan ka matlab kya? La ilaaha illallah! What is the meaning of Pakistan? There is no God but Allah!

    It was the desire to re-establish an Islamic ruling authority, to restore the Shari’ah, and to implement the Deen that moved the masses, that led to the sacrifices, that convinced millions to migrate. Their goal was one, a land where a Mu’min could live under the shade of the Shari’ah.

    That aspiration today still remains unfulfilled. In its place are a host of issues, problems and calamities that affect the Muslim Ummah, globally and locally. In government the rule of Allah (swt) is replaced with the rule of Insaan, economically our lands lie chained to debt, militarily our vast arms gather dust while our brothers and sisters are butchered. Once again the Ummah questions itself. What issue should we pursue? What problem should we solve first? Where does the solution lie? We are in fact at that critical juncture faced by our predecessors, the Sahabah (ra). The guidance given to them applies to us today, the rule given to them applies to us today, and the actions undertaken by them apply to us today, to re-establish the Khilafah. The lack of the rule of Allah (swt) is indeed the most critical issue, for in its absence, Kufr reigns supreme. In order to arrest this situation, lead this Ummah to revival and fulfil our Fard, the re-establishment of the Khilafah is the vital issue.

    The struggle and sacrifice that the Muslim Ummah has undertaken throughout its history, recent as well as distant, is a testament to her desire to live by Islam, is a proof of her unshakeable Iman and is a confirmation of her attachment to Islam. The tragedies in Bosnia, Palestine and Kashmir, and the reactions of this Ummah speak for themselves. Just as the Muslims were unwilling to live under a British Raj they were unwilling to live under a Hindu Raj. They knew that they were not a slave nation but a ruling nation.

    Thus today, despite having suffered bitter disappointment from the rulers of Pakistan, despite having humiliation and disgrace forced upon them, the Muslims mightily resist. They resist compromise in Kashmir, they resist the spread of secularism and they resist the meltdown of their morals. They work hard to maintain their identity, pass on their values and re-establish their law. They need only the spark of truth, to once again refocus their activity, rejuvenate their souls and direct their energy. The spark of truth that ignited the sands of the Arabian Desert 1400 years ago has, by the will of Allah (swt), still been preserved. It exists in the hearts and minds of all those who love Allah (swt) and his Messenger (saw). It is what will make this Ummah realise the urgency of the Khilafah, the necessity of its re-establishment and the obligation of working for it.

    The Khilafah is the promise of Allah (swt), the order of his Messenger (saw) and the example of the Sahabah (ra). It is the necessity of the time. It is the requirement of this Ummah. It is the Vital Issue.

    Imam Ahmed narrated in his Musnad, the Prophet (saw) said, “Bring glad tidings to this Ummah, she will have the power, the pride, the Deen, the victory and the authority on Earth. So he who worked to reap the rewards in this life rather than the hereafter, he would have no reward in the hereafter.”

    Hassan Mujtaba

    Source: Khilafah Magazine September 2001 Edition