The classical scholars considered the Caliphate and ruling of such vital importance that they included this topic within their ‘aqīdah (creed) works. The Lebanese academic, Yusuf Ibish, states “there is hardly a book on uṣūl [beliefs] that does not contain, a long or short, discussion of it [the Imamate]”
Waiting for the Mahdi?
“It is not permissible for Muslims to abandon working for Islam and the establishment of its state on the face of the earth, waiting for the appearance of the Mahdi and the descent of ‘Isa, peace be upon them both, feeling despair and imagining that is not possible before (they appear). This notion is false.” [Shaykh al-Albani]
Imam Ibn Taymiyyah on Islamic Political Authority
Allah has commanded us to enjoin the good and forbid the evil, and this duty cannot be rendered without power and authority. Likewise, all other social duties such as jihād, maintaining peace and order, justice, organizing ḥajj and ‘īd festivals, redressing abuses, helping the oppressed, enforcing the ḥudūd, and so on, cannot be carried out without political power and authority.
Does Islam Only Have Five Pillars?
Hudhayfah ibn al-Yaman said: ‘Islam is divided into eight parts. The prayer is one part, zakat is one part, fasting is one part, hajj is one part, ‘umrah is one part, jihad is one part, commanding what is known to be right is one part, and forbidding what is recognised as wrong is one part. Disappointed is he who has no part of Islam.’
Forbidding what is Wrong is Part of Iman
It must be known that this aspect of Islam, i.e. the enjoining of what is right and forbidding of what is wrong, has largely been neglected for a very long time and very few aspects of it remain. Yet it is very important, indeed it is the principle that ensures society remains on the right course. When evil spreads, punishment is inflicted on the good and the bad alike. Unless people stop injustice, Allah may well extend his punishment to all of them. He says: ‘Let those who would go against His bidding beware, lest some affliction or painful suffering befall them’ (24:63). Its benefit is great indeed, particularly because it has been largely neglected, and a person who seeks success in the life to come and hopes to earn Allah’s pleasure should be keen to undertake this duty.