The Messenger of Allah ﷺ said*:
لَيُنْقَضَنَّ عُرَى الْإِسْلَامِ عُرْوَةً عُرْوَةً فَكُلَّمَا انْتَقَضَتْ عُرْوَةٌ تَشَبَّثَ النَّاسُ بِالَّتِي تَلِيهَا وَأَوَّلُهُنَّ نَقْضًا الْحُكْمُ وَآخِرُهُنَّ الصَّلَاةُ
The knots of Islam will be undone one by one, each time a knot is undone the next one will be grasped, the first to be undone will be the Rule [of Islam; The Caliphate] and the last will be the Prayer (Salah).
Narrated by Abu Umamah al-Bahili (ra)
And in another version of the hadith authenticated by al-Hakim in his Mustadrak:
Verily, the knots of Islam will be undone and there shall be misguided rulers.
Commentary on the hadith from The Sixty Sultaniyya:
A: It was the Prophet ﷺ who tied together the knots of Islam, including the uppermost knot of ruling after he established the Islamic state between the Ansar [Helpers], the Muhajiroon [Emigrants], and the non-Muslims in and around Yathrib (Medina) after Hijra from his own people of Mecca.
B: As mentioned by Imam Mawardi, the leadership has been prescribed as the succession of the Prophet ﷺ in protecting the deen and governing the societal affairs. In this respect, Imam Baidawi mentioned that the Imamah/Khilafah is the succession from the Prophet in the establishment of the laws of the Shari‘ah and the protection of the territory. So without the Imam the laws lie unapplied and the territory is not protected effectively.
C: The hadith indicates that it is the uppermost knot that keeps the subsequent knots safe from being untied. This is since it is the ruler that is responsible to apply Islam in its entirety, to implement the limits proscribed by Allah سبحانه وتعالى and to protect the society.
D: Imam Ahmed mentioned without an Imam (for the Muslims as their leader) there would be fitna, and the destruction of the symbols of Islam ending with the Prayer is a great fitna.
- al-Bukhari, Ta’rikh al-Kabir, 4:233.
- Imam Ahmad from Fayruz al-Daylami from his father in the Musnad, 4:232, hadith no. 18068 (hasan, Shaykh al-Arna’ut).
- al-Tabarani, Mujam al-Kabir, 8:98, hadith no. 7486.
- al-Hakim, al-Mustadrak ‘ala ’l-Sahihayn, 4:469, hadith no. 7022 where he declared the isnad (chain of transmission) as sahih
- Ibn Hibban in his Sahih, 15:111, hadith no. 6715 with a very strong isnad (Shaykh al-Arna’ut).
- Al-Mundhiri, al-Tarhib wa’l-Targhib, 1:263 with a sahih chain of transmission
- Al-Haythami, Majma‘ al-Zawa’id, 7:284 where he comments that the narrators of the hadith are all sound (rijaluhu rijalun sahih).
Hat Tip: Dar al-Nicosia