Translated from Arabic distributed widely in the Muslim world 13th Thil-Qi'dah 1415h, 13th April 1995.
The Islamic state
In Arabic, the word Al Dawlah means linguistically the “Ghalaba”, i.e. the supremacy, it is also a term used to indicate the change of time; it is also said: The days have alternated or rotated, i.e. they have changed; or Allah (swt) alternates it between people etc. States change and vary according to the change of concepts, the change of times and the change of peoples. The State is a word of terminology which refers to an authority that commands and prohibits a group of people who live in a certain piece of land. However, the definition of the state differs due to the difference of viewpoints and nations towards its reality.
The westerners for instance, despite the different viewpoints they hold towards the reality of the state and towards the type of rule within the state, whether this were religious, as was the case in the medieval times, or dictatorial or democratic, all agree that the state is reflected in the land, its peoples and its rulers, and that these three represent the cornerstones of the state. To them, the state is established over a specific peace of land, in which a specific group of people live permanently, and over whom a ruling authority presides.
As for the Islamic state, it is a ruling authority, and a political entity that looks after the citizens' affairs according to the Shari’ah rules; in other words, it is a Khaleefah ruling by what Allah (swt) has revealed and carrying Islam as a Message to the entire world. Allah (swt) has decreed that the Islamic state should be the method to implement the Shari’ah rules and to carry Islam by way of Da’awa and Jihad as a Message of guidance and light to the whole world.
The Islamic state does not consider its territory, nor its specific group of people as her cornerstones, although she has to have citizens for whom she runs their affairs, and a piece of land on which she is established; however, her citizens are growing in numbers at all times, and they include different races and colours; also the land over which she rules must not be confined within certain borders, but it must be expanding at all times. This is so because the Islamic state has a universal Message, and because Allah (swt) has ordered her to carry that Message to the whole world, and to invite all people, be they black, white, brown, yellow, Arab, non-Arab, European, American or Russian to Islam, and to enter into the Deen of Allah (swt). Therefore, any race and any people, who respond to the call, and believe in Islam, would become part of the state's subjects, and their land becomes part of her land. Also, any land which the Islamic state carries the Message to and conquers by way of Jihad, that land becomes part of her land and under her authority and her rule, even if its people did not embrace Islam.
The state as it stands, is born out of new thoughts on which it bases itself; the authority in the state changes when these thoughts change once power is seized. For when the thoughts turn into concepts and convictions, one's behaviour is affected, and he becomes fashioned by these concepts, thus his viewpoint vis-a-vis life would change, and consequently his viewpoint towards relationships and interests change as well. The authority is established in order to look after the people's affairs, relationships and interests.
The Islamic state was established by the Messenger of Allah (saw) as soon as he set foot in Madinah, after he had taken the second pledge (Baya'a) of Al-Aqaba from the Ansar, a pledge of protection and war, and a pledge to hand the authority in Madinah to the Messenger of Allah (saw). The birth of the Islamic state was the result of a new Aqeeda and a host of new concepts adopted by those who believed in him (saw); these concepts generated in his followers a new viewpoint about life, which in turn changed their viewpoint towards relationships and interests.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) built the Islamic state in Madinah on the basis of this Aqeeda, and on the concepts which emanated from it, despite the fact that the verses of legislation had not been revealed yet. She was therefore a new state, built on a new Aqeeda, and on a host of new thoughts and concepts.
The Islamic state is unique in her nature, her structure, what she stands for and the basis on which she is built. She is completely different from the nature and the structure of all the existing states in the world. She is a state founded on the Islamic Aqeeda, the Aqeeda of “There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”, which is a comprehensive thought about life, and according to which and to the concepts which emanated from it, the Muslims viewpoint about life has been determined; this viewpoint leads to the belief that life is created by a Creator, and that it is conducted by the commands and prohibitions of the Creator. For the Muslims, it is a foregone conclusion that there is no legislator but Allah (swt),and that there is no sovereignty in this life and in this Islamic state except to the rule of Allah (swt), not to the Ummah, nor the people, nor the ruler. Sovereignty is rather to the law of Allah alone.
Therefore, the Ummah and the ruler alike, have no mandatory powers to legislate any rule or any system or any law other than that revealed by Allah (swt) upon His Messenger (saw). Even if the Ummah were to commonly consent on legislating any rule that contradicts one of the Islamic rules, her consent would have no value whatsoever. So, if for instance, the Ummah were to consent on legalising Usury, under the pretext that the economy and the trade could not prosper without it, or if the Ummah were to consent on legitimising sexual relationships outside marriage, under the pretext that it is personal freedom, or if she were to prohibit the killing of the apostate from Islam, under the pretext that his killing would violate human rights, or if the state was to consent to have more than one doctrine or belief as a state or the succession to power of Muslims or even secular parties under the pretext of democracy, all these types of common consensus, if they ever took place, wouldn't have any consideration whatsoever, for they contradict the Islamic rules, the sovereignty of Shari’ah, and the belief that Allah is The Only Legislator, and not humans.
The fact that the Islamic Aqeeda acts as the basis of the Islamic state, means that there is no place for anyone, be they rulers, judges, intellectuals, politicians, members of the Shura council, Ummahs council or parliamentarians to legislate any rule in order to organise people's relationships, nor to adopt a constitution, or to adopt a system, or enact a state law to be implemented by the rulers in the Islamic state, if these were other than what Allah (swt) has revealed. It is also forbidden for the rulers to force people or even give them a choice in following systems and laws laid down by humans in order to run their affairs.
When the Khaleefah according to his mandatory powers adopts a constitution or a system or a law, he must take these from the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger (saw), by way of either his own Ijtihad (exertion) or that of the Muslim jurisprudents and learned scholars. This necessitates that the Islamic state's constitution, her systems and laws be taken from what Allah (swt) revealed to His Messenger (saw), i.e. taken from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, and what they may guide to from the Qiyas (analogy made on Shari’ah texts) and the general consensus of the Sahaba.
It is therefore forbidden for the Islamic state to nurse any thought or to hold any concept, rule, constitution, law, or any criterion which does not emanate from the Islamic Aqeeda, and which is not derived from the Book of Allah and the Sunnah of His Messenger, or from a legitimate Qiyas or from the general consensus of the Sahaba. So it is therefore forbidden for the Islamic state to adopt the democratic way of life and the ruling systems democracy calls for, such as a multiplicity of beliefs, the succession to power of Muslims or those of secular belief, or the various types of freedoms, for all these do not emanate from the Islamic Aqeeda, nor are they taken from the Shari’ah rules, apart from the fact that they all contradict the Islamic rules. It is forbidden as well to have in the Islamic state any consideration to the concepts of nationalism, patriotism or autonomy (separation), because these concepts do not emanate from the Islamic aqeeda, and they all contradict Shari’ah rules, apart from the fact that the Islamic rules have abhorred and prohibited them and warned against adopting them. Furthermore, it is forbidden for the Islamic state to hold any monarchical, republican, dictatorial imperial concepts, for these do not emanate from the Islamic Aqeeda, and they are not taken from the Shari’ah rules, beside the fact that they contradict the Shari’ah rules.
Allah (swt) has commanded all the Muslims, including the rulers, to abide by Islam and to comprehensively implement all of its rules exactly as they have been revealed; Allah (swt) says:
“Do take all that the Messenger of Allah has brought to you, and do refrain and keep away from all that he prohibited for you, and fear Allah for Allah is swift in punishment” [TMQ 59:7]
The Arabic word "Ma" in the verse is a form of generality, thus it indicates the obligation of acting upon all the duties, and to refrain from all the prohibitions. The request of taking and refraining in the verse is decisive and it is obligatory, because there is a conjunction acting as evidence about this at the end of the verse where Allah (swt) orders us to be pious and warns us against the severe punishment awaiting those who do not take all that the Messenger (saw) has brought and do not refrain from all that he (saw) prohibited.
Allah (swt) has also ordered His Messenger (saw) to rule by what He revealed; He (swt) says:
“And rule between them by what Allah has revealed” [TMQ 5:49]
This is a decisive command from Allah (swt) to His Messenger and to all the Muslim rulers after him, to rule by all the rules that He (swt) has revealed, whether these were commands or prohibitions, for again the word "Ma"" in the verse indicates the form of generality, thus it engulfs all the revealed rules.
Allah (swt) has also forbidden His Messenger, as well as all the Muslim rulers after him, from following people's whims and submitting to their desires, for He (swt) says:
“And do not follow their vain desires” [TMQ 5:49]
He (swt) has also warned His Messenger (saw) and all the rulers after him against falling for people's corruption and against being lured away from implementing what Allah (swt) has revealed to him. Allah (swt)has described he who rules by other than what He revealed as being a disbeliever if he were to believe in what he ruled by, or if he were to believe in the invalidity of what Allah (swt) has revealed. He (swt) says:
“And whoever does not rule by what Allah has revealed, they are the disbelievers” [TMQ 5:44]
He (swt) described he who rules by other than what He revealed, without believing in what he rules by, as a fasiq (rebel) and dhalim (wrongdoer).
The implementation of the Islamic rules must be complete, comprehensive and simultaneous, not gradual, for the gradual implementation flagrantly contradicts the Islamic rules, and this would render he who does not implement all of Allah's rules, or he who implements some and ignores some of the rules, a disbeliever if he did not believe in the validity of Islam, or if he did not believe in the validity of even some of the Shari’ah rules which he had ignored; it would also render him a rebel and a wrongdoer if he were not implementing all of the Islamic rules but he still believed in the validity of implementing Islam.
Therefore, there should be no complacency in the implementation of all the Shari’ah rules, nor should there be any gradual implementation of the rules, for there is no difference between one obligation and another, nor is there a difference between a prohibition and another, nor between a rule and another; the rules of Allah (swt) are equal and they must all be all implemented without any delay, postponement or graduation, otherwise the following verse would apply to those who do so. Allah (swt) says:
“So do you believe in some part of the Book and disbelieve in some. The penalty awaiting those who do this is nothing but humiliation in this life and the severest of punishment on the day of Judgement. For Allah is aware of all you do” [TMQ 2:85]
Therefore, there is no excuse for not implementing all of the rules of Islam; pretexts such as the inability to implement the Islamic rules, or the absence of the appropriate circumstances, or the fact that the world public opinion is against the implementation of Shari’ah, or that the superpowers do not allow us to implement it, or any other trivial excuses that have no value whatsoever, are unacceptable.
The Islamic state is a human state and not a holy one, and the Khulafa’ and Imams who run her are human beings, they have no holiness nor infallibility. It is the Ummah who appoints them and not Allah (swt), for Allah has ordained the authority i.e. the rule to the Ummah, and He (swt) has delegated the appointment of the Khaleefah to her by the Baya'a (pledge of allegiance), so that he undertakes the rule and the authority on her behalf. Abdullah Ibn Amr Ibnul A'as reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah(saw) say: “Whoso pledged allegiance to an Imam giving him the clasp of his hand and the fruit of his heart shall obey him as much as he can.” Abdullah Ibnu Omar reported: I heard the Messenger of Allah (saw) say: “And whoso dies while there was no allegiance on his neck dies a death of the days of ignorance.” The Khaleefah implements the Shari’ah rules on behalf of the Ummah, and he who resumes the post of the Khaleefah would be entrusted with all the mandatory powers of rule and authority, and he would reserve the right to adopt the systems, laws and rules. He who undertakes the post of Khaleefah would merely be a human, it is possible that he could err, forget, lie, betray or rebel, he would not be infallible, for infallibility is exclusive to the Prophets and Messengers.
The Messenger of Allah (saw) has informed us that the Imam, who is the Khaleefah, can make mistakes, and he could commit an injustice or a sin, which would make people hate him for it, or curse him; he (saw) informed us that he may commit flagrant disbelief. All this contradicts infallibility and negates that the Imam and Khaleefah could be infallible. Muslim reported on the authority of Abu Hurayra that the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “Behold, the Imam is but a shield from behind which people fight and by which they protect themselves”. Muslim also reported on the authority of Auf Ibnu Malik that the Messenger of Allah(saw) said: “The best of your Imams are those whom you love and they love you, and who pray for you and you pray for them, and the worst of your Imams are those whom you hate and they hate you and you curse them and they curse you”. Bukhari also reported on the authority of Ubada Ibnus-Samit who said: The Messenger of Allah (saw) called upon us so we gave him the pledge of allegiance. We pledge ourselves to him in complete obedience, in well and woe, in ease and hardship in preference over ourselves, and that we would not dispute with the people in authority; and he (saw) said: “Unless you witness an act of flagrant disbelief of which you have proof from Allah.” These Ahadith serve as a clear indication that the Imam or the Khaleefah can make mistakes, and he can commit a sin, which indicates clearly that the Imam or the Khaleefah are not infallible.
Therefore, Allah (swt) has ordered the Muslims to hold the ruler accountable; this He (swt) made their right, for the ruler has no holiness, and no infallibility, and because he may make mistakes, and he may commit a sin and even acts of disbelief, despite the fact that he is their representative in rule and authority, and despite the fact that it is them who appoint him.
Allah (swt) says:
“And let there arise out of you a group calling to the Goodness, commanding what is right and forbidding what is evil.” [TMQ 3:104]
When the Messenger of Allah (saw) was asked: What is the best Jihad? He (saw) replied: “A word of truth uttered before a tyrant man of authority.” He (saw) also said: “The master of martyrs is Hamza Ibnu Abdul-Muttalib, and a man who stood up to a tyrant Imam to command him and prohibit him and was killed.” In the Sunan (book of Hadith) of Abu Dawood on the authority of Abdullah Ibnu Mas'ud, the Messenger of Allah (saw) is reported to have said: “No by Allah, you shall command what is right and forbid what is evil, and you shall hold the hand of the oppressor and you shall curb him and confine him to following the truth.” In another narration of Ibnu Mas'ud's Hadith he (saw) added: “Or Allah shall strike animosity between your hearts and then He shall curse you just like He cursed them.”
Islam commands us in some cases to go further than just holding the ruler accountable with our tongues, it commands us to take-up arms against the Khaleefah if he showed acts of flagrant disbelief that was not there in the first instance, as mentioned in the narration of Ubada Ibnus-Samit: “And that we shall not dispute with the people in authority”; and he (saw) said: “Unless you witness an act of flagrant disbelief of which you have proof from Allah.”
O Muslims, this is the Islamic state which Allah (swt) has commanded all the Muslims to establish, and which we invite you to work with us towards establishing, in order to bring about a "Khilafah Rashida" on the method of Prophethood, and realise the goodness in which the Messenger of Allah (saw) said: “And then it will be a Khilafah Rashida on the method of Prophethood”
13th April 1995