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If the position of the Khilafah becomes vacant due to the death of its leader, his resignation or his removal, it is obligatory to appoint a Khalifah within three days from the date that the position of the Khilafah became vacant.
Appointing the Khalifah becomes obligatory from the moment that the previous Khalifah dies or is removed. However, it is permitted for the appointment to occur within three days with their nights as long as it is due to working to achieve it. If it takes longer than three nights and the Khalifah has still not been appointed, then the issue is considered – if the Muslims are working to establish it but are unable to achieve that during the three night time limit due to overwhelming circumstances that they are unable to overcome, then the sin is lifted from them since they are busy working to establish the obligation and are compelled to delay its establishment due to whatever forced them. It is reported from Ibn Hibban and Ibn Maja from Ibn Abbas: the Messenger of Allah
said: “Allah has excused for my Ummah
mistakes, forgetfulness and what they are forced to do”. If they were not made busy with such
overwhelming issues, then the most time allowed for the appointment is three
days with their nights.
The evidence for the obligation of immediately working to establish the pledge of allegiance (Bay’a) to the Khalifah due only to the vacation of the position of the Khilafah is the Ijma’ of the companions. They immediately hurried to gather at Saqifa Bani Sa‘idah after the death of the Messenger
on the same day and before his
burial, and the pledge of contracting (bay‘at al-in‘iqad) was completed
on the same day with Abu Bakr (ra), and the next day the people gathered in the
mosque to give the pledge of obedience (bay‘at al-ta‘ah).
Limiting the time to establish the appointment of the Khalifah to three days is due to that when it became apparent that Umar (ra) was going to die from his stab wound, he delegated the issue of appointment of his successor to the people of Shura, and limited them to three days, and then commissioned that if the Khalifah was not agreed upon within the three days, those who differed after the three days should be killed. He appointed fifty men from the Muslims in order to execute this - in other words to kill the dissenter, even though they were from the senior companions, and all of this was seen and heard by the companions and none of them rebuked it even though normally anything similar to it would have been reproachable, so it is considered an Ijma’ of the companions that it is not permitted for the position of Khalifah to be left vacant for more than three days, and the Ijma’ of the companions is an Islamic evidence in the same manner as the Quran and the Sunnah.
Al-Bukhari reported through al-Miswar Bin Makhramah who said: “Abdur-Rahman called on me after a portion of the night had passed and knocked on my door till I got up, and he said to me, "I see you have been sleeping! By Allah, during the last three nights I have not slept enough”. And Ibn Kathir mentioned in the book al-Bidayah wa ’l-Nihayah “When the night whose morning would have been the fourth day after the death of Umar, ‘Abd al-Rahman Bin ‘Auf came to the house of his nephew al-Miswar Bin Makhramah and said “You are sleeping O Miswar? By Allah I did not get much sleep for the last three” - in other words the last three nights and when the people prayed the Morning Prayer the pledge with ‘Uthman (ra) was completed.
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