Ten Features of the Islamic Khilafah
The Khilafah State has become a key topic of discussion over the past few weeks resulting in many questions across the world – perhaps exposing the lack of detailed knowledge about the idea and obligation of Khilafah in Islam. Against this background, we have listed ten distinct features about the Islamic Khilafah that would address some glaring problems in the Muslim world today.
1. Security – Since the destruction of the Khilafah in 1924, Muslim blood has become cheap. Invasion of Muslim countries by global and regional powers, externally sponsored inter-Muslim fighting and drone bombing are not seen as unusual in today’s day and age. Moreover, the existence of foreign security agencies within countries like Pakistan – where bombs go off in city centres fomenting unrest like that seen in Central America in the 1980s – illustrates exactly how the current rulers in the Muslim world have abandoned any duty to secure the lives of ordinary people. Armed forces of Muslim countries are more often used to attack their own people – or even to secure the Zionist entity – than to defend Muslim land. The Messenger of Allah SAW – called the Khaleefah ‘a shield’. Security of the state is the most basic duty of any government. But with today’s Muslim rulers this is something that goes beyond neglect – it is often with complicity.
2. Fixed Laws – The current situation prevalent in the Muslim world is one where ruling families decide the laws that society must abide by, whilst at the same time remaining above the very laws they have created. A direct consequence of people making the laws is they legislate to maintain the status quo, which only secures their own powerbase.
In Islam the Shariah of Allah (swt) is sovereign as explained in the Qur’an:
إِنِ الْحُكْمُ إِلَّا لِلَّه
“The rule is for none but Allah” (An-Anam:57)
This means all laws need to be derived from the Islamic sources which are the Qur’an, Sunnah, Ijma Sahabah and Qiyas. Whilst all laws, maxims and principles are contained within these texts their application is where people must use their own capacities to ensure the right rule is applied for the reality it came for. The people – whether elected or from the masses – take no part in legislating. Their role is to understand the rule of Allah in any matter. In this way what is right or wrong remains fixed and cannot be changed at a whim.
Through these fixed laws a constitution can be constructed, which allows for justice as everyone knows where they stand and are subject to the same laws as the rest of society – even the Khaleefah himself. Because Islam’s fundamental source – the Qur’an is revealed text, what is lawful and unlawful are defined and thus neither the ruler nor the judiciary can deviate from this. This ensures every individual in an Islamic society clearly knows the laws they will be measured by and it is this certainty that creates social cohesion.
3. Removal of Corruption – The flooding of political life with money means those who control most of it, be they large corporations, financial institutions or individuals have a disproportionate influence on governance and law making and thus a greater say over society.
In Islam corruption is rooted out through completely separating money and politics. In Islam the ruler is not an employee who gets paid a wage, since he is not hired by the Ummah. The Caliph is given a pledge of allegiance (bay’ah) by the Ummah to implement the Shari’ah and convey the Islamic Da’wah to the world. Although the Caliph is not paid a wage an allowance is assigned to him from the Bait ul-Mal [Treasury] to meet his needs. This allowance is a compensation for him since he is kept busy with the obligations of the office of the Khilafah and cannot work and pursue his own business interests. This allowance is determined by the Majlis ul-Ummah who will decide through shura (consultation) how much the Caliph’s allowance should be. They are the elected representatives of the Ummah and by giving them the ultimate decision prevents any abuse of the public funds by the Caliph. The ruler, governors and delegated assistants – all the positions of ruling are not paid a wage but an allowance as compensation as they are unable to take on employment. In this way Islam ensures money and ruling are kept at a distance.
4. Unity – The artificical borders, post-colonial national flags and client rulers maintain the biggest divisions in the Muslim world. Most of the borders in the Muslim lands were drawn by the colonialists and took no account of the ground realities. Jordan, Iraq and Syria were created out of thin air and minorities who were loyal to Britain and France were put into power. The borders aimed at dividing, rather than uniting the Muslims in the region. National flags, national anthems and nationalism were all crafted to separate the Ummah and organize based on ethnicity, sect and nationality.
Islam rejects all notions of nationalism, which was central to the development of Western nations. Islam transcends all of this because it defines identity upon the basis of a comprehensive view of the world. This view is based upon an understanding that all of creation is created by a Creator – Allah – and is subservient to his natural law. From a societal perspective Islam views all the inhabitants as humans rather than looking at their ethnicities or race. As a result all those who reside in the Islamic territories are viewed as citizens, irrespective of creed, colour or ethnicity. Citizenship is based on residency rather than birth or marriage. All those who hold citizenship are subjects of the State, their guardianship and the management of their affairs is the duty of the State, without any discrimination.
Islam forbids having more than one ruler and thus more than one Islamic state. This allows for massive synergies across the Muslim lands of industry, agriculture, resources and minerals. It will allow for the energy rich regions and agricultural rich nations to cater for each other, ending foreign dependency and allowing for domestic economic development.
5. Representative system – The Arab spring took place due to the failures of the incompetent and oppressive rulers imposing laws and systems which are at complete odds with the people’s beliefs. The Khilafah is a system which actually represents the values of the people and so is in complete harmony with the beliefs of the people.
6. The Enshrining of rights – The Khilafah implements the Islamic rules on peoples rights, which are enshrined in Islamic texts and fixed permanently. Islam has clearly ordained rights and responsibilities for women and men. Islam promotes (but does not limit her to this) the role of the woman as a mother, responsible for her household. Hence, those areas of society where women contribute – whether it is politics, medicine, education etc – will have to accommodate and protect the role of mother. A solid family structure is the bedrock of a stable society. The Qur’an and the hadith have clearly outlined the rights of women, which have been fixed and cannot be changed, amended or reformed, these include:
- The right to her own wealth
- The right to inherit
- The right to invest her wealth
- The right to keep her family name,
- The right to maintenance and accommodation
- The right to choose her spouse
- The right to receive a dowry
- The right to engage in political life
- The right to stand for a number of positions in government
- The right to receive an education
- The ability to work, gain employment or run a businesses without being forced to abandon her family in order to work.
7. Non-Muslims Protected – Islam does not recognize the term minorities with regards to non-Muslim in the Khilafah. Islam has detailed its stance regarding religious groupings and non-Muslims and has the concept of “ahl udh-dhimmah” (people of the covenant), which carries a moral significance not reflected in the term minorities. The word dhimmah means protection – as in the hadeeth in Sunan Abi Dawud – “the lowest (of the Muslims) carries their protection.” In the classical dictionary Lisan ul Arab, dhimmah is defined as “the covenant, protection, guarantee, sanctity and duty.” Non-Muslims citizens are not interfered with regarding their beliefs and worship. They are treated according to their beliefs in matters related to diet and adornment within the general frame work of the law. Disputes related to marriage and divorce for non-Muslims are dealt with by appointing judges from themselves in courts set up by the State. Whilst Muslims across the West are have their beliefs criminalised such as the Niqab and Hijab and other beliefs ridiculed through the media and by politicians, Islam ordained protection to non-Muslims, this is something fixed and rooted in Islamic texts.
8. Equitable wealth distribution – Muhammed Gadaafi’s overthrow subsequently brought to light the astonishing wealth he and his family had stolen from the masses. The US alone seized $30billion. Similarly the Mubarak family had an estimated $70 billion in British and Swiss banks plus UK and US property when overthrown. Wealth distribution is not just a problem in the Muslim lands but a global problem which has got worse under Capitalism. In a recent Oxfam report it was stated half of the world’s wealth is owned by just 1% of the world’s population and that 85 individuals own more wealth then 3.5 billion people in the world. The Islamic economy is all about wealth distribution and not merely producing more goods as is the case with Capitalism. Through rules to do with ownership and the removal of obstacles to wealth distribution Islam establishes a much more equitable economy.
9. Poverty alleviation – The Islamic economic system is fundamentally about people and their needs, this is the fundamental principal the Islamic economy is built around. In a narration from the Prophet (saw) it was said that: “The son of Adam has no better right than that he would have a house wherein he may live and a piece of cloth whereby he may hide his nakedness and a piece of bread and some water.” (Tirmidhi). The Islamic economy is geared towards fulfilling the basic needs of its citizens and these in origin were defined as food, clothing, accommodation, security, education and health. This forms the basis of the Economic system of Islam, all policies and rules are geared towards achieving such ends. Islam focuses on the needs of the people which various ahadith outlined and not merely increasing Gross Domestic Product (GDP) with policies that merely favour large corporations.
10. Price stability – The Islamic economy has a secure and stable monetary policy with the gold and silver standard. The Islamic ruling on a Gold and Silver standard creates a stable economy allowing long term decisions to be made.Having a gold and silver backed currency will bring the much needed stability to the economy by containing inflation. Currently the world is plagued by the spectre of inflation as governments across the world continue to print money at will. Islam solved this problem by pegging the currency to metal; this essentially restricts the state as any increase in money supply requires more gold and silver.