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The Untold History of the Khaleefas

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imprint of the historical seal of Muhammad. Th...

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Earlier Post: Judiciary in an ancient empire. Can you identify its leader?

The best people to convey Allah’s Guidance and commands were the prophets and messengers. The best & last of them was Muhammad (pbuh). We are not going to get any more. The next best (i.e. 2nd best) people in terms of understanding Allah’s Guidance and commands were the students of the final messenger (i.e. Companions, Sahabas). That is not just logical, but the final messenger himself told so. “The best of people is my generation, then those who come after them, then those who come after them”. [Bukhari and Muslim]

Nobody, in Islam, becomes “Best” without excellent knowledge. If anyone thinks that companions (Sahabas) were best in piety, worship & obedience but not in knowledge, then he doesn’t understand the importance of knowledge in Islam. He contradicts a Quranic verse “It is only those who have knowledge among His servants that fear Allah” (Qur’an 35:28). He also seem to ignore the Prophet’s sayings which instruct us to learn certain things from certain companions.

If any Aalim / Shaykh thinks that he has a better, smarter, or more knowledgeable way, here is a warning from Prophet himself: “And this Ummah will divide into seventy-three sects all of which except one will go to Hell and they (i.e. the Saved Sect) are those who are upon what I and My Companions are upon (i.e. those who follow My Way and the Way of my Companions.)” [Reported by at-Tirmidhee]

The best among the sahabas are the khaleefas (Caliphs, Khulafaa). Please see the attached file Follow the Khaleefas – Some hadeeths for hadiths ordering us to follow them. When you obey the Messenger (pbuh), you are actually obeying Allah (because, it is Allah who ordered us to obey His Messenger). When you follow the Khaleefas, you are actually following the Messenger (pbuh) (because it is the Messenger who ordered us to follow his Khaleefas). In other words, the status of the Messenger and his khaleefas come from the orders of Allah & His Messenger respectively.

A few brothers have an understanding that Prophet told us to follow his khaleefas only in political and administrative matters. This is an incorrect understanding. Those who know usool al-Fiqh & the history of fiqh wouldn’t say such a thing. Neither the Prophet, nor anyone from early generations nor the later Imams hinted anything like “follow them in political and administrative, but ignore their Islamic things”. They never distinguished religion from worldly affairs, like politics. Also, there is nothing in the hadeeths restricting the applicability of those commands only to his companions. So, how can you & I who live several generations after the khaleefas follow political and administrative decrees / rulings of Abu Bakr, Umar etc.

For those who say “We know Astronomy better than Sahabas”, the response is: Knowledge of Astronomy (or Medicine or engineering) doesn’t make a Muslim better or more deserving of Paradise. If it were the case, Muslims who would come in the future are better than us, because they’d have more knowledge of Astronomy than us. And, the best Muslims would be those who live closest to the Last Day. Is that the case? I can write more, but this should suffice for those who seek clarification.

Clarification: Islamic Shariah comprises only Qur’an and Sunnah. We are not talking about adding “Sahabas” as a 3rd source of Shariah. We are also not talking about blindly following them (Taqleed). Prophet himself made a few mistakes (e.g.: ignoring the old blind companion while doing Da’wa, being lenient to the Badr prisoners of war, etc) and Allah corrected him. These mistakes don’t reduce the status of our Prophet (pbuh). The best sahabas made some mistakes too. That doesn’t bring them down to our level. Those mistakes don’t make our Aalims equal to them.

Now, how do we follow khaleefas / caliphs when we don’t know about them? Some Muslims say that Khilafat is the solution to all of the community’s problems. How could a good Khilafat be established when people know very little about the best Khalifas? Assuming if people get political power, what kind of government would they establish?

One academic mentioned the below to Dr. ‘Ali Muhammad As-Sallaabee, author of Prophet’s and Khaleefas’ biographies:

“There now exists a chasm between Muslims and the era of the rightly guided Khaleefas. The priority of the Muslims are out of whack, with many of them knowing a great deal about the lives of scholars from recent centuries, and comparatively little about the lives of the rightly guided khaleefas. To be sure, much can be learned from the era of rightly guided Khaleefas, for it was an era that was replete with lessons about just governance, sound economic policies, military heroics, good manners, Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) – and the necessary steps that must be taken in order to establish a stable, just, upright, and God-fearing society. These are the very lessons Muslims desperately need to learn about today”. What is the legacy of the Aalim / Shyakh / Imam we know, adore and follow?

The Khaleefas accomplished phenomenal success in many areas, despite limited resources and time. For example, Abu Bakr ruled the young nation just for 2 years & 2 months – his achievements last even now. He defeated Persia and Roman empires, rooted out apostasy from the Arabian Peninsula with an all-out assault against Apostates, and compiled Quran in one book. The areas they conquered (Egypt, Sudan, Morocco, Syria, Iraq etc) are still Muslim countries. The fact that rightly guided khaleefahs achieved accomplishments of astounding magnitude that continued until today is a living proof that Allah blessed their efforts because of their knowledge, piety, steadfastness, and hard work. They wanted to please only Allaah. They had no other agenda.

What is our agenda? Whom do we want to please? And, whose understanding of Qur’an and Hadeeths do we want to follow?

Insha Allah, i will try to post a few events and lessons from the lives of khaleefas, and some extracts from their letters and speeches in

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Written by S Ibrahim

Jan 15, 2012 at 7:10 pm

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