The following is a translation from arabic.
Question: Can you explain the fatwa of Ibn Taymiyyah, with respect to fighting the invading Tartars, and his proclamation of Jihad against them? There are some who argue, that from this fatwa we can deduce that this is the methodology to establish the Khilafah, as the Khaleefah was reappointed after this Jihad? Also that there was no need for the Khaleefah to be present to fight the Jihad? Also the hadith “There will always be party (‘asaabah) from my Ummah who will fight according to the command of Allah, defeating their enemies. They will not be harmed by those who go against them until the Final Hour reaches them while they are upon that.”, can it not be argued that this applied to ibn Taymiyyah and the Muslims who fought alongside him against the Tartars?
Answer: The fatwa of Ibn Taymiyyah is correct in terms of its subject, which was to fight the Tatars who attacked the Muslims since jihad in this situation was an individual obligation (farD ‘ayn). It was obligatory on the Islamic Ummah to fight the kuffar to eliminate and expel them from the lands of the Muslims. Ibn Taymiyyah (rahimahullah) was from the distinguished ‘Ulamah who encouraged the Muslims to fight. He was at the forefront of the Ulamah and the Muslims. He held position that was grave and well known regarding the fighting of the Tatars.
As for what the question mentioned in terms of the deductions and comments regarding this, they are not correct for the following reasons:
Firstly: the question mentioned that the Muslims fought even though there was no Khaleefah since the Tatar had killed the Khaleefah in Muharram 656 AH when they ransacked Baghdad. Then the question mentions also that if the Muslims had not fought under the pretext that there was no Khaleefah then they would have been destroyed and wiped off from the face of the earth.
Who said Jihad cannot take place except when there is a Khaleefah and it is fought under him? Jihad continues under the leadership of any Ameer whether he is pious or not as mentioned in the noble hadeeth. Thus jihad is undertaken under the leadership of any Muslim ruler whether he is Khaleefah or not as long as the fighting is against the kuffar. So any Muslim ruler who mobilizes the army to fight the kuffar such fighting is correct. It is well known that the Islamic lands had walis and the wali is a ruler. When the Khaleefah was killed the walis were present. And with their armies they opposed the Tatars. This took place in the wilayah of Sham during the time of Ibn Taymiyyah. It also took place in the wilayah of Egypt during the time of ‘Izz b. Abd as-Salam when the Tatar were defeated at the battle of ‘Ayn Jalut. So the Muslims were fighting and the armies were fighting. And there were walis present in the respective wilayaahs.
This is in regard to Jihad generally and mobilization of the armies to fight whether there is a Khaleefah or not. As for when the lands of the Muslims are attacked by the kuffar, it is incumbent on every person who is able to bear weapons to fight the aggressor and repel his aggression. This does not require the permission of the ruler to fight, even the woman can go out to fight without the permission of her husband and the servant can go out without the permission of his master.
Second: the question mentioned also that the Muslims reestablished the Khilafah by fighting and they established a new Khaleefah. The questioner wishes to say that the method to reestablish the Khilafah today is through fighting.
The reality of what happened is not like this. Rather when the Khaleefah was killed Muslims had walis. The Muslims together with their walis were looking to find who had survived from Banu al-‘Abbas so that they can give bay’ah to one of them. In the same year in which the Khaleefah was killed, some of Banu Al-Abbas were able arrive at Egypt which was the strongest wilayah in the Muslim lands at that time. One of them took an army and returned wishing to restore the Khilafah to Baghdad, but he was not able to do so. Many were killed and the leader of the army did not return to Egypt.
The Muslims continued to search for someone from Banu al-Abbas for whom they can give the pledge of the Khilafah. The situation continued until Rajab 659 AH when one person from Banu al-‘Abbas from the relatives of Khaleefah al-Mu’tasim billah whom the Tartars killed, reached Cairo, where a council of governors (walis) was held in the presence of the Ulama, and after they had checked his lineage and ability they gave him the Bay’ah of Khilafah. The Khilafah remained in Cairo since that time for 300 years until it transferred to the Ottoman Sultan Saleem and the seat of the Khilafah moved to Istanbul.
Thus, the Muslims did not fight the Tatar in the time of Ibn Taymiyyah to reestablish the Khilafah. They fought the Tatars who were advancing on the Muslim lands. This is clear. The Khialafah was not established in Sham but in Cairo. Also, the reality of the interruption to the Khilafah those days is not the same as today. The Muslims in those days had walis ruling them by Islam. So the land was dar al-Islam. They used to give obedience to Banu al-‘Abbas and they were looking for someone who had survived from them in order to appoint him as Khaleefah, and this is what happened on Rajab 659 AH. They used to consider the Khilafah as continuing among the Abbasids.
As for today, the land is one of daar ul-Kufr. The Khilafah has been destroyed and it ceases to exist. The reality of its reestablishment is like the reality of establishing the state in Madinah al-Munawwarah. The method should be the same method through which the Messenger (saw) established the state in Madinah ie via the Ummah by seeking the Nusrah (help) from the strongest faction from the Ummah.
As for the hadeeth of the chosen group that Muslim has narrated: There will always be party (‘asaabah) from my Ummah who will fight according to the command of Allah, defeating their enemies. They will not be harmed by those who go against them until the Final Hour reaches them while they are upon that.’ And in the narration: ‘Victorious over those who oppose them’. Bukhari narrates it with close wording.
This hadith is applicable to any group that is able, in terms of numbers and preparation, to fight the enemy. The purpose of the fighting is to achieve the victory, vanquish the enemy and be dominant over it. It is not a group which merely fights but it is a fighting group which has been described by the Messenger (saw) as: ‘vanquishing their enemies’ and in another narration: victorious over those who oppose them.’ So the group must be in a situation of means and number that enables it to achieve the victory and vanquish the enemy and become dominant over it. Or the group must work to establish the state that is able to achieve the victory, vanquish the enemy and become dominant over it.
The hadith applies to the Muslims those who fought the Persians and the Romans in the time of the Islamic state and the Muslims who fought the crusaders and finished them off in the time of Salah ud-din and the Muslims of Sham and Egypt who fought the Tatar and defeated them in the time of Ibn Taymiyyah and Izz b. ‘Abd us-Salam. It also applies to us today because we are working to establish the state that will be able to fight the enemy, vanquish it, achieve the victory and gain dominance. This is what most likely can be understood from the aforementioned hadith.
It is worth mentioning that the saying of the Messenger (saw) ‘There will always be..’ [laa tazaalu] does not mean the Muslim group which fights the enemy, defeats them, and achieves victory over them continues through the years, rather it means it is present in most of the times and ages. The interruption of its existence will be for some periods, which when compared to the age of nations it will be short. We pray to Allah (swt) that the establishment of the state that will fight the enemy, vanquish it and defeat it will not be delayed. Verily, Allah is All- Powerful, Irresistible.