Sunday, 1 July 2018

Kingship in Islam


بســم اللــه الرحمــن الرحيــم

والصلاــة والسلاــم علــى نبيــه الكريــم

وعلــى اهــل بيتــه الطيبيــن الطاهريــن المظلوميــن

والعاقبة للمتقين

Monarchy, as in kingship, dynastic and hereditary rule, is not the most ideal form of government according to Islam, as that honor is reserved for Khilafa (caliphate), nevertheless, it is not an invalid form of government either. According to the holy Qur’an, Allah appointed Talut (Saul) as King of Israel through the Prophet Samuel:

وَقَالَ لَهُمْ نَبِيُّهُمْ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ قَدْ بَعَثَ لَكُمْ طَالُوتَ مَلِكًا

And their Prophet said to them: “Verily, Allah has raised for you Talut as King”

(Sura 2:247)

Similarly, Allah says about David (peace be upon him):

وَآتَاهُ اللَّـهُ الْمُلْكَ

And Allah gave him the kingship

(Sura 2:251)

The great Prophet Moses (peace be upon him) gave glad tidings to the Children of Israel that Allah would make for them kings from among them:

وَجَعَلَكُم مُّلُوكًا

And He made you kings

(Sura 5:20)

a reference to the Davidic monarchy that was initially a blessing for the Israelites.
Those who argue that kingship/monarchy is not sanctioned in the Shari’a, or that it is even a form of shirk, are simply ignorant. It is well known from history that Najashi (the Axumite Negus Ashama of Ethiopia) converted to Islam during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) and even said:
وَلَوْلاَ مَا أَنَا فِيهِ مِنَ الْمُلْكِ لأَتَيْتُهُ حَتَّى أَحْمِلَ نَعْلَيْهِ
“If it were not for me being in the position of kingship, I would come to him and carry his shoes” (Sunan Abi Dawud #3205)
The original Muslim refugees from among the Prophet’s earliest companions, including his cousin Ja’far b. Abi Talib (radi Allahu anh), were later recalled when the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) emigrated to Medina, but the Prophet never ordered the Negus to leave his throne and join them. Rather, the Negus (radi Allahu anh) continued to reign as king of Ethiopia until he died and the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) offered his funeral prayers in absentia. If it were forbidden for anyone to be a king or refer to himself as “king”, the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) would have clearly said so. Instead, he said:
أَخْنَى الأَسْمَاءِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ رَجُلٌ تَسَمَّى مَلِكَ الأَمْلاَكِ
“The most awful of names on the Day of Resurrection in the sight of Allah is a man named king of kings.” (mutaffaq alayh)
Incidentally, this Hadith contains a severe warning to those ignorant and arrogant so-called Muslims who bear the name shahinshah “king of kings” and refuse to renounce such a name or title, as they are usurping the name which belongs only to Allah, Who alone is the King of kings, Lord of lords and God of gods. Abi Humayd al-Sa’idi (radi Allahu anh) narrates:
غَزَوْنَا مَعَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم تَبُوكَ، وَأَهْدَى مَلِكُ أَيْلَةَ لِلنَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم بَغْلَةً بَيْضَاءَ، وَكَسَاهُ بُرْدًا، وَكَتَبَ لَهُ بِبَحْرِهِمْ‏
We accompanied the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam) in the expedition of Tabuk and the King of Aila presented a white mule and a cloak as a gift to the Prophet (sall Allahu alayhi wasallam), and he wrote for him a treaty allowing him to keep authority over his country. (Sahih al-Bukhari #3161)
Now if kingship is contrary to the Shari’a of Islam, the Prophet (peace be upon him) would neither have accepted the gifts of this king nor allowed him to retain authority over his kingdom. Incidentally, this Hadith also proves that the Prophet (peace be upon him) did not necessarily consider all the kings and rulers other than him as ruling without any validity, a sharp rebuke to the idea that he was sent to establish some sort of global rule, or those who call for a “one-world caliphate” and demand only a single state and government for the entire planet. Another incident illustrates that not only is kingship allowed in Islam, the Prophet himself appointed someone to reign as king:
حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ حُمَيْدٍ ، قَالَ : حَدَّثَنَا سَلَمَةُ ، عَنْ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِسْحَاقَ ، عَنْ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ أَبِي بَكْرٍ ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ ، عَنْ أَبِي سَلَمَةَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الرَّحْمَنِ بْنِ عَوْفٍ : " أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ حُذَافَةَ قَدِمَ بِكِتَابِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، عَلَى كِسْرَى ، فَلَمَّا قَرَأَهُ شَقَّهُ ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : مُزِّقَ مُلْكُهُ ، حِينَ بَلَغَهُ أَنَّهُ شَقَّ كِتَابَهُ - ثُمَّ رَجَعَ إِلَى حَدِيثِ يَزِيدَ بْنِ أَبِي حَبِيبٍ - قَالَ : ثُمَّ كَتَبَ كِسْرَى إِلَى بَاذَانَ ، وَهُوَ عَلَى الْيَمَنِ : أَنِ ابْعَثْ إِلَى هَذَا الرَّجُلِ الَّذِي بِالْحِجَازِ رَجُلَيْنِ مِنْ عِنْدِكَ جَلْدَيْنِ ، فَلْيَأْتِيَانِي بِهِ ، فَبَعَثَ بَاذَانَ قَهْرَمَانَهُ ، وَهُوَ بَابَوَيْهِ ، وَكَانَ كَاتِبًا حَاسِبًا بِكِتَابِ فَارِسَ ، وَبَعَثَ مَعَهُ رَجُلا مِنَ الْفُرْسِ ، يُقَالُ لَهُ : خرخسرهُ ، وَكَتَبَ مَعَهُمَا إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، يَأْمُرُهُ أَنْ يَنْصَرِفَ مَعَهُمَا إِلَى كِسْرَى ، وَقَالَ لِبَابَوَيْهِ : ائْتِ بَلَدَ هَذَا الرَّجُلِ ، وَكَلِّمْهُ ، وَأْتِنِي بِخَبَرِهِ ، فَخَرَجَا حَتَّى قَدِمَا الطَّائِفَ ، فَوَجَدَا رِجَالا مِنْ قُرَيْشٍ بِنَخْبٍ مِنْ أَرْضِ الطَّائِفِ ، فَسَأَلاهُمْ عَنْهُ ، فَقَالُوا : هُوَ بِالْمَدِينَةِ ، وَاسْتَبْشَرُوا بِهِمَا ، وَفَرِحُوا ، وَقَالَ بَعْضُهُمْ لِبَعْضٍ : أَبْشِرُوا ، فَقَدْ نَصَبَ لَهُ كِسْرَى مَلِكُ الْمُلُوكِ ، كُفِيتُمُ الرَّجُلَ . فَخَرَجَا حَتَّى قَدِمَا عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، فَكَلَّمَهُ بَابَوَيْهِ ، فَقَالَ : إِنَّ شَاها نشَاه ، مَلِكَ الْمُلُوكِ كِسْرَى ، قَدْ كَتَبَ إِلَى الْمَلِكِ بَاذَانَ ، يَأْمُرُهُ أَنْ يَبْعَثَ إِلَيْكَ مَنْ يَأْتِيهِ بِكَ ، وَقَدْ بَعَثَنِي إِلَيْكَ لِتَنْطَلِقَ مَعِي ، فَإِنْ فَعَلْتَ كَتَبَ فِيكَ إِلَى مَلِكِ الْمُلُوكِ يَنْفَعُكَ وَيَكُفُّهُ عَنْكَ ، وَإِنْ أَبَيْتَ فَهُوَ مَنْ قَدْ عَلِمْتَ ، فَهُوَ مُهْلِكُكَ وَمُهْلِكُ قَوْمِكَ ، وَمُخَرِّبُ بِلادِكَ ، وَدَخَلا عَلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، وَقَدْ حَلَقَا لِحَاهُمَا ، وَأَعْفَيَا شَوَارِبَهُمَا ، فَكَرِهَ النَّظَرَ إِلَيْهِمَا ، ثُمَّ أَقْبَلَ عَلَيْهِمَا ، فَقَالَ : وَيْلَكُمَا ، مَنْ أَمَرَكُمَا بِهَذَا ؟ قَالا : أَمَرَنَا بِهَذَا رَبُّنَا ، يَعْنِيَانِ : كِسْرَى ، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ : لَكِنَّ رَبِّي قَدْ أَمَرَنِي بِإِعْفَاءِ لِحْيَتِي وَقَصِّ شَارِبِي ، ثُمَّ قَالَ لَهُمَا : ارْجِعَا حَتَّى تَأْتِيَانِي غَدًا ، وَأَتَى رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، الْخَبَرُ مِنَ السَّمَاءِ أَنَّ اللَّهَ قَدْ سَلَّطَ عَلَى كِسْرَى ابْنَهُ شِيرَوَيْهِ ، فَقَتَلَهُ فِي شَهْرِ كَذَا وَكَذَا ، لَيْلَةَ كَذَا وَكَذَا مِنَ اللَّيْلِ ، بَعْدَ مَا مَضَى مِنَ اللَّيْلِ سَلَّطَ عَلَيْهِ ابْنَهُ شِيرَوَيْهِ فَقَتَلَهُ " . قَالَ الواقدي : قَتَلَ شِيرَوَيْهِ أَبَاهُ كِسْرَى ، لَيْلَةَ الثُّلاثَاءِ لِعَشْرِ لَيَالٍ مَضَيْنَ مِنْ جُمَادَى الأُولَى ، مِنْ سَنَةِ سَبْعٍ ، لِسِتِّ سَاعَاتٍ مَضَتْ مِنْهَا - رَجَعَ الْحَدِيثُ إِلَى حَدِيثِ مُحَمَّدِ بْنِ إِسْحَاقَ - عَنْ يَزِيدَ بْنِ أَبِي حَبِيبٍ ، فَدَعَاهُمَا ، فَأَخْبَرَهُمَا ، فَقَالا : هَلْ تَدْرِي مَا تَقُولُ ؟ إِنَّا قَدْ نَقِمْنَا عَلَيْكَ مَا هُوَ أَيْسَرُ مِنْ هَذَا ، أَفَنَكْتُبُ هَذَا عَنْكَ ، وَنُخْبِرُهُ الْمَلِكَ ؟ قَالَ : نَعَمْ ، أَخْبِرَاهُ ذَلِكَ عَنِّي ، وَقُولا لَهُ : إِنَّ دِينِي وَسُلْطَانِي سَيَبْلُغُ مَا بَلَغَ مُلْكُ كِسْرَى ، وَيَنْتَهِي إِلَى مُنْتَهَى الْخُفِّ وَالْحَافِرِ ، وَقُولا لَهُ : إِنَّكَ إِنْ أَسْلَمْتَ أَعْطَيْتُكَ مَا تَحْتَ يَدَيْكَ ، وَمَلَّكْتُكَ عَلَى قَوْمِكَ مِنَ الأَبْنَاءِ ، ثُمَّ أَعْطَى خرخسرهَ مِنْطَقَةً فِيهَا ذَهَبٌ وَفِضَّةٌ ، كَانَ أَهْدَاهَا لَهُ بَعْضُ الْمُلُوكِ ، فَخَرَجَا مِنْ عِنْدِهِ حَتَّى قَدِمَا عَلَى بَاذَانَ ، فَأَخْبَرَاهُ الْخَبَرَ ، فَقَالَ : وَاللَّهِ مَا هَذَا بِكَلامِ مَلِكٍ ، وَإِنِّي لأَرَى الرَّجُلَ نَبِيًّا كَمَا يَقُولُ ، وَلْنَنْظُرَنَّ مَا قَدْ قَالَ ، فَلَئِنْ كَانَ هَذَا حَقًّا ، مَا فِيهِ كَلامٌ ، إِنَّهُ لَنَبِيٌّ مُرْسَلٌ ، وَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ فَسَنَرَى فِيهِ رَأْيَنَا ، فَلَمْ يَنْشَبْ بَاذَانَ أَنْ قَدِمَ عَلَيْهِ كِتَابُ شِيرَوَيْهِ : أَمَّا بَعْدُ ، فَإِنِّي قَدْ قَتَلْتُ كِسْرَى ، وَلَمْ أَقْتُلْهُ إِلا غَضَبًا لِفَارِسَ ، لِمَا كَانَ اسْتَحَلَّ مِنْ قَتْلِ أَشْرَافِهِمْ وَتَجْمِيرِهِمْ فِي ثُغُورِهِمْ ، فَإِذَا جَاءَكَ كِتَابِي هَذَا فَخُذْ لِي الطَّاعَةَ مِمَّنْ قِبَلَكَ ، وَانْظُرِ الرَّجُلَ الَّذِي كَانَ كِسْرَى كَتَبَ فِيهِ إِلَيْكَ ، فَلا تُهِجْهُ حَتَّى يَأْتِيَكَ أَمْرِي فِيهِ ، فَلَمَّا انْتَهَى كِتَابُ شِيرَوَيْهِ إِلَى بَاذَانَ ، قَالَ : إِنَّ هَذَا الرَّجُلَ لَرَسُولٌ ، فَأَسْلَمَ وَأَسْلَمَتِ الأَبْنَاءُ مَعَهُ مِنْ فَارِسَ ، مَنْ كَانَ مِنْهُمْ بِالْيَمَنِ ، فَكَانَتْ حِمْيَرُ تَقُولُ لِخرخسرهَ : ذُو الْمُعْجِزَةِ ، لِلْمِنْطَقَةِ الَّتِي أَعْطَاهُ إِيَّاهَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ ، صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ، وَالْمِنْطَقَةُ بِلِسَانِ حِمْيَرَ : الْمُعْجِزَةُ ، فَبَنُوهُ الْيَوْمَ يُنْسَبُونَ إِلَيْهَا خرخسرهَ ذُو الْمُعْجِزَةِ . وَقَدْ قَالَ بَابُوَيْهِ لِبَاذَانَ : مَا كَلَّمْتُ رَجُلا قَطُّ أَهْيَبَ عِنْدِي مِنْهُ ، فَقَالَ لَهُ بَاذَانُ : هَلْ مَعَهُ شُرَطٌ قَالَ : لا .
According to Ibn Humayd - Salamah - Muhammad b. Ishaq - Abdallah b. Abi Bakr - al-Zuhri - Abu Salamah b. Abd al-Rahman b. Awf: Abdallah b. Hudhafah delivered the letter of the Messenger of God to Kisra. When the latter had read it, he tore it in half. When the Messenger of God heard that he had torn his letter, he said: “His kingdom has been torn up.” [Muhammad b. Ishaq] then resumed the report of Yazid b. Abi Habib, who said: Kisra then wrote to Badhan, who was governor of Yemen, saying, “Send two strong men of yours after this man in the Hijaz, and have them bring him to me.” So Badhan sent his steward Babawayh, who was a scribe and accountant, with the writ of Persia, and with him he sent a Persian named Khurrakhusrah. He wrote a letter to be taken by them to the Messenger of God, commanding him to go back with the two men to Kisra. He said to Babawayh, “Go to this man’s land, speak to him, and bring me a report about him.” So the two men set out. Having reached al-Ta’if, they found some men of Quraysh at Nakhib in the territory of al-Ta’if and asked them about him. They said he was at Medina. The men of Quraysh were delighted and glad to have met the two men; they said to one another: “Rejoice! Kisra, the king of kings, has become his enemy. You have become rid of the man.” The two men set out and reached the Messenger of God. Babawayh addressed him, saying: “The shah of shahs and king of kings, Kisra, has written to King Badhan, commanding him to send someone to you to bring you to him. Badhan has sent me to you so that you may go back with me. If you do, he will write concerning you to the king of kings on your behalf and will keep him from you. If you refuse, you know who he is! He will destroy you, destroy your people, and lay waste to your lands.” Now the two men had come before the Messenger of God having shaved their beards but left their mustaches, so that he disliked looking at them. He turned to them and said, “Alas, who ordered you to do this?” They said, “Our lord” - meaning Kisra - “ordered us to do it.” The Messenger of God said, “But my Lord has ordered me to leave my beard and clip my mustache.” Then he said to them, “Go away, and come to me tomorrow.” Then a message from heaven came to the Messenger of God that God had incited against Kisra his son Shirawayh. He had killed him in such and such a month, on such and such a night of the month, after such and such hours of the night had passed. God incited his son Shirawayh against him, and he killed him. According to al-Waqidi: Shirawayh killed his father, Kisra, the eve of Tuesday, the 10th day of Jumada I of the year 7, at the sixth hour of the night. Resumption of the account of Muhammad b. Ishaq - Yazid b. Abi Habib: He summoned the two men and told them the news. They said: “Do you know what you are saying? We have reproved you for what is less than this. Shall we write this on your authority and report it to the king?” “Yes,” he said, “report it to him from me, and tell him that my religion and my dominion shall reach as far as the kingdom of Kisra has reached and extend to the utmost reach of camel’s pad and horse’s hoof. Say to him, ‘If you submit yourself, I will give you what you possess and make you king over your people, the Abna.’” Then he gave Khurrakhusrah a belt containing gold and silver that one of the kings had given him. The two men departed from him. They came to Badhan and told him the news. He said: “By God, this is not the language of a king. I think the man is a prophet as he says. Let us await the event of what he has said. If it proves true, there is no disputing that he is indeed a prophet who has been sent. If it does not prove true, we shall consider what to do concerning him.” Soon Badhan received Shirawayh’s letter, which said: To proceed: I have killed Kisra. I killed him only out of zeal for Persia, because he allowed himself to kill its nobles and detain them on the frontiers. When you receive this letter of mine, secure for me the obedience of those who are with you. See to the man about whom Kisra wrote to you, and do not provoke him until you receive my order concerning him. When Shirawayh’s letter reached Badhan, he said, “This man is indeed a messenger,” and he became a Muslim, and the Abna - those from Persia who were in Yemen - became Muslims with him. (The people of Himyar used to call Khurrakhusrah Dhu al-Mi’jazah, because of the belt that the Messenger of God gave to him. ‘Belt’ in the language of Himyar is mi’jazah. His sons today take their surname from it: [sons of] Khurrakhusrah Dhu al-Mi’jazah.) Babawayh said to Badhan, “Never have I spoken to a man more awesome to me than he was.” Badhan said, “Does he have picked troops?” “No,” he replied. (Tarikh al-Tabari)

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