بسم الله الرحمـن الرحيم
والصلاة والسلام على رسوله الكريم
Restoration of the Caliphate
In the previous entry I discussed the reality of Khilafah fil-Ard (Succession in the Land), but there are actually different kinds of Khilafah. In Sufism, the disciple who succeeds his Shaikh upon the latter’s death is referred to as his Khalifah. The term Khalifah can be used in its purely linguistic sense as meaning ‘successor’, a neutral term, and in its technical sense as referring to the individual who exercises the temporal authority of the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ over the Muslims. Such a Khalifah, if following the model of the Prophet and governs in accordance to the Shari’ah, is described as a Khalifah Raashid, or Rightly-Guided Caliph, and his Khilafah is a Khilafah ala Minhaj al-Nubuwwah (Caliphate upon the Prophetic Way). In the previous entry, I mentioned the fact that the Rightly-Guided Caliphate or the Caliphate upon the Prophetic Model historically was a very brief period – thirty years – and as an enduring phenomenon never returned to date. After the Prophetﷺ died he was succeeded by his five Rightly-Guided Caliphs: 1. Abu Bakr, 2. Umar, 3. Uthman, 4. Ali, and 5. Hassan رضى الله عنهم. This succession of multiple Rightly-Guided Caliphs, who exercised authority over the entire Muslim Ummah, was never again repeated in the history of Islam to date. After the Prophet’s grandson al-HassanRA resigned from the office of Caliphate and pledged allegiance to Mu’awiyah b. Abi Sufyan, in order to end the civil war, the period of dynastic rule began. The Prophet ﷺ said:
تَكُونُ النُّبُوَّةُ فِيكُمْ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا ، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ خِلَافَةٌ عَلَى مِنْهَاجِ النُّبُوَّةِ ، فَتَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا ، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ مُلْكًا عَاضًّا ، فَيَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ يَكُونَ ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا ، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ مُلْكًا جَبْرِيَّةً ، فَتَكُونُ مَا شَاءَ اللَّهُ أَنْ تَكُونَ ، ثُمَّ يَرْفَعُهَا إِذَا شَاءَ أَنْ يَرْفَعَهَا ، ثُمَّ تَكُونُ خِلَافَةً عَلَى مِنْهَاجِ النُّبُوَّةِ
“Prophecy shall be among you for as long as Allah wishes, then it shall be removed when He wishes. Then there shall be Caliphate upon the Prophetic Way, so it shall be as long as Allah wishes. Then it shall be removed when Allah wishes. Then there shall be a biting Kingship, so it shall be as long as Allah wishes, then it shall be removed when He wishes. Then there shall be a coercive kingship, so it shall be so long as Allah wishes, then it shall be removed when He wishes. Then there shall be Caliphate upon the Prophetic Way.”
Then he ﷺ became silent (Musnad Ahmad b. Hanbal)
This Hadith is highly significant in that it predicts the revival of the Caliphate upon the Prophetic Way, but only after there is a period of dynastic rule and coercive dictatorship. Undoubtedly, with the formal end of European colonialism over the Muslim world, the latter entered into the fourth phase described in this Hadith, which is Mulkan Jabriyyatan or coercive rule (dictatorship). This is especially true in the Middle East and Arab world, where the people are ruled by either military strongmen or dictators. In the Gulf there is still dynastic rule of kings, sultans, and emirs but even they are increasingly authoritarian. At present, the dictator Sisi is nothing short of being a modern-day Pharaoh of Egypt. Likewise Assad in Syria and Bouteflika in Algeria. However, the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ has given us the glad-tidings that this coercive dictatorship shall be removed when Allah wills and replaced by a Caliphate upon the Prophetic Way. Other Hadith indicate that this Caliphate shall be based in the Holy City of Jerusalem and shall perhaps be initiated by the expected Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance). Now it seems that the removal of this coercive dictatorship, in accordance with Allah’s Will, is gradual. Through the agency of the Americans, the dictatorial and fascist rule of Saddam came to an end in Iraq. Then the so-called “Arab Spring” resulted in the sudden removal of several dictators in the Arab world, beginning with Ben Ali in Tunisia, Mubarak in Egypt, Gaddafi in Libya and Saleh in Yemen. Revolutions in Syria and Bahrain, however, failed to topple Assad and the Al Khalifah dynasty respectively. Tunisia successfully established a democracy, while Libya and Yemen descended into civil war. Egypt, however, returned to coercive dictatorship under General Sisi. The rest of the Muslim world is a mosaic of different forms of government. Some are functioning through struggling democracies, others autocratic dictatorships, while Iran has a unique form of government called Wilayat-al-Faqih (government of the jurist). So we see the stage being set for the continued weakening of coercive dictatorships in the Muslim world and the eventual rise of a Caliphate upon the Prophetic Way. The Prophet ﷺ predicted that the Caliphate would ‘descend’ upon the Holy Land, and when that happens the Hour (Judgment Day) will have drawn extremely close. (Sunan Abi Dawud #2535) At present, the Holy Land is occupied by the evil, secular Zionist State, but soon the promised Mahdi shall appear and establish a Caliphate upon the Prophetic Way with Jerusalem as its capital. The promised Messiah shall also ‘descend’ upon the Holy Land with Jerusalem being the seat of his rule. According to a Hadith:
تَخْرُجُ مِنْ خُرَاسَانَ رَايَاتٌ سُودٌ لَا يَرُدُّهَا شَيْءٌ حَتَّى تُنْصَبَ بِإِيلِيَاءَ
“Black banners shall come out from Khorasan, nothing shall turn them back until they are planted in Aelia.” (Jami at-Tirmidhi #2269)
Aelia refers to Aelia Capitolina, the name given to the city built by the Romans on the site of Jerusalem after they razed it.
But this Hadith is weak due to the narrator Rishdin b. Saad. Nevertheless, it is a supporting evidence that the Caliphate shall be established in Jerusalem through the agency of an army of black banners in the name of the Imam al-Mahdi (may Allah hasten his appearance).