As mentioned elsewhere on this blog, the classical scholars considered the matter of the Imamate/Caliphate so important that they included discussion of the topic in their works on creed (see here). This is because certain deviant sects had mistaken beliefs regarding the Caliphate, and scholars considered refutation of these notions to be of vital importance.
The renowned Andalusian Maliki scholar Ibn Juzayy (d. 741 H) authored a well known book on jurisprudence entitled Al-Qawānīn al-Fiqhiyyah (‘The Judgements of Fiqh’), which has been translated by Dr. Asadullah Yate and published by Diwan Press. The author includes an introductory section on ‘aqīdah in this work. Interestingly, chapter eight of this section is on the Imamate.
Ibn Juzayy mentions the requirement, in opposition to the Shi’ites, to affirm the Imamate of the first four Caliphs (May Allah be pleased with them). And he also discusses the pre-conditions required for the Caliphate. He then concludes the chapter with a warning against rebellion*.
He starts the introductory section as follow:
“The opening discourse concerning what is necessarily true in matters of ‘aqīdah – being from amongst the roots of the various branches of the dīn of Islam. It comprises ten chapters, five pertaining to divine knowledges and five to transmitted.”
The following is chapter 8 of this opening discourse:
This comprises two matters
1. Affirmation of the imamate of the four Caliphs (May Allah be Pleased with them)
The proof of the imamate of each of them has three aspects:
First, each of them fufilled completely the conditions of imamate;
Second, the Muslims of their time reached consensus on pledging the oath of allegiance to them and obeying them – and this consensus is itself a proof;
Third, the fact that before becoming Caliphs, each of them lived as Companions to the Messenger (May Allah be Pleased with them). Each emigrated from Makkah to Madinah, each possessed outstanding characteristics, each enjoyed the commendation of Allah, and his ﷺ bearing witness that they would be accorded the Garden.
Moreover the Messenger also indicated the Caliphate of Abu Bakr and ‘Umar and commanded that they be followed, and he put Abu Bakr forward on the occasion of the Farewell Hajj and had him lead the people in ṣalāt when he himself became ill prior to his death – this being proof that he appointed him as Caliph; then Abu Bakr appointed ‘Umar as Caliph; then ‘Umar instructed that the matter of succession be decided by shūra, i.e. consultation, among six men and they agreed to the appointment of ‘Uthman – until he was killed unjustly, this having been testified to previously by the Prophet ﷺ who also gave him a promise of the Garden on account of this killing. Then the person with most rightful claim after him was ‘Ali on account of his noble rank and his aspects of excellence.
As for the dispute which arose between ‘Ali and Mu‘awiyah and those Companions who were with each of them, the best thing is to refrain from mentioning it, but if the matter is mentioned, then they should be mentioned in the best manner and one should seek the best explanation for them, for the matter was one of ijtihād, i.e. it was open to legal interpretaton…
2. The conditions of Imamate
They are eight in number;
- that the person be Muslim,
- have reached puberty,
- be sane,
- be male,
- be upright,
- have knowledge,
- be competent,
- and that he be related to the Quraysh, although there is a difference of opinion about this latter
However, if people unite under a person who does not fulfil all the conditions, then his imamate is permitted lest fitnah, i.e. chaos and civil strife, break out.
Moreover it is not permitted to disobey those in authority* even if they act unjustly – until they openly manifest kufr, and it is obligatory to obey them in both matters which are pleasing and abhorrent to one – unless they command to disobedience, for no obedience is due to any creature when it means disobedience to the Creator.”
*Verse 4:59 of the Qur’an commands us to “…obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you…”. Qadi Baydawi mentions, in relation to “those in authority”, in his well known tafsīr that “it comprises caliphs, judges and military commanders…as long as they stand for truth”. See here for a detailed discussion of the subject of obedience to a tyrant ruler.
Ibn Juzayy was Abu’l Qasim Muhammad ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Yahya ibn ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Yusuf ibn Sa‘id ibn Juzayy al-Kalbi. He was born on the 19th Rabī‘ al-Awwal in 693 H/1294 CE. He mastered the essential sciences of the dīn, and wrote significant works on tafsīr, hadith, ‘aqīdah, taṣawwuf and uṣūl al-fiqh. He died as a shahīd in the Battle of Tareef on Monday 7th Jumāda al-Ūlā 741 H/30th October 1340 CE.