The Qur’an employs the word ‘caliphate’ to mean ‘replacement of the previous’, and in particular generations or populations replacing the previous ones. ‘The new khilafah replaces the old khilafah’ means ‘the new generation replaces the old generation’ or a new people replaces a destroyed people. It implies an ongoing process.
According to what Allah has revealed to us, all human beings from Adam until the end of time are in a human caliphate. It’s not the same thing as the administrative caliphates found in Islamic history such as the Abbasids, the Fatimids, and so on. Yet, they are not mutually exclusive. Rather, whenever there is an administrative caliphate, then they coexist, and whenever there is not, then the human caliphate remains in place, made up of believers and non-believers.
Clearly, when they coincide properly, life is peaceful, and abundant, and faith is facilitated, as God’s blessings are distributed fairly, and God’s will is heard.
Yet when they diverge, there must be trials (fitnah) or punishment from God, until the fake caliphate falls and the human caliphate remains.
The administrative caliphate is a subset and a superstructure of the human caliphate. And while the Qur’an only refers to the human caliphate, the vast majority of mankind only mention the administrative caliphates. A lot of the mass media, a lot of government talk, and most of academia ignores the words of divine scriptures. Good imams stick to the revelations, and weak ones take up the political rhetoric.
This shift of focus from the divinely orchestrated process of one generation inheriting land and power from another, to discussions of man-made efforts at establishing power and holding power is heart-wrenching. We see the videos. War after war after war. It hardens hearts.
There is a lot of serious and deliberate misinforming going on, as revealed by wikileaks. And it’s known to have occurred throughout human history anyway, only now it feels like it’s bigger.
It’s a bad shift. Good people are working patiently to establish charity on earth, justice, and so on. They need power in order to be fully effective – to reach their full potential. Jesus wsn’t asked to do this, but Muhammad was.
They don’t accept the idea of gaining power by committing grossly sinful actions, whether those actions can be potentially be covered up or not.
Empires can escape morality, but Islam is a religion, not an empire, and it cannot ignore sound moral principles. Sound moral principles are the substance of the religion of Islam.
Administrative ascendancy is a gift from God when He chooses to grant it, if He chooses to grant it. Israel lost it when they were in Jerusalem. It began around 2,600 years ago and went on for centuries, until they were all out or subjected. Allah sent harsh people to kick them out – Persians – and then the Romans. The right to rule is given by God and every kingdom that has so far been established on the planet has failed. Where is there an ancient kingdom that is still up and running today?
Spiritually disconnected movements are brutalising the earth and it’s creatures, namely other human beings. It’s a crushing thing to realise, but it’s part of the wisdom of Allah’s plan. These are the days, we give them to men in turns, He tells us in chapter 3, Aal I Imran.
Yet the lasting caliphate has never come down. It was set up by Allah Himself!
And when your Lord said to the angels: “Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority” (Al Baqarah verse 30).
This caliphate is inherently human before it is administrative. To show this, we have Adam. He is a model for the members of the caliphate, which are the offspring of Adam.
Allah refers to us as Bani Adam in the Holy Book: The Tribe of Adam. So how was our tribe’s leader? Was he a caliph like the caliphs of Islamic history?
He was a man who had been given instructions by God. He was a prophet! And he was the only single one of them who has ever lived in Paradise. Subhaanallah! Glory be to God!
He was aware of the need to get back to Heaven and escape Hell. How do we know? We know because he repented. He disobeyed Allah and he repented. This is how we maintain the relationship with Allah, and Adam did it. And that shows us the real nature of our caliphate. We are the caliphate of Allah. You are, and I am, according to the Qur’an. And, we have to learn to follow the will of God, according to the revelation. Alhamdulillah.
So the true role of the caliphate is to allow people like Adam to maintain good relations with God, The Creator and Sustainer of our race. The caliphate is this human race, and we are free to be good or to sin. We will return to Allah for Judgement when the term of the earth is up.
My point is that it occurred on a spiritual level for Adam. Repentance is spiritual. It’s one of the acts of worship that is the most spiritual, requiring full submission, praise be to Allah.
This shows us that the caliphates of Muttasim, Uthman, and many believers were superstructures, not the core structure, and it’s also why they haven’t been able to last. It also explains the problems with ISIS.
All the administrative caliphates are superstructure. Importantly, they have to facilitate the goals and functions of the mother structure. If any administrative caliphate isn’t serving humanity sufficiently, it comes down by the will of Allah, even though the human race continues.
Islamic caliphates lay claim to administering the religion of God for the benefit of mankind. As long as they please Allah, they will survive. They will facilitate worship, education, justice, welfare, coexistence between peoples, and so on. Non-Muslims and Muslims will have their rights fulfilled.
However, if they become too political, too harsh, too idolatrous, etc., then they come down. And this is what the Qur’an says about it. Praise be to Allah!
And it is He who spread the earth and placed therein firmly set mountains and rivers; and from all of the fruits He made therein two mates; He causes the night to cover the day. Indeed in that are signs for a people who give thought.
And within the land are neighboring plots and gardens of grapevines and crops and palm trees, growing several from a root or otherwise, watered with the same water; but We make some of them exceed others in their fruit. Indeed in that are signs for a people who reason (Ar Ra’d verses 2 and 3).
Thus have We sent you to a community before which communities have passed on so you might recite to them that which We revealed to you, while they disbelieve in the Most Merciful. Say, “He is my Lord; there is no deity except Him. Upon Him I rely, and to Him is my return” (Ar Ra’d verse 30).
For people who reason, it should be clear that surah Ar-Ra’d lets us know about the natural position of human beings on earth and how this works: a variation will come amongst people, just as there’s variation in how plants grow. Even with the same water, a good apple tree might grow and a bad one might grow. That’s how it is. So we will have good caliphs and bad caliphs – they’re human beings. Good regimes and bad regimes.
That this variation occurs within the human race is a fact. We do good and bad deeds, and we will be judged for them, yet worship and repentance are the way out of it. It is brought home in chapters 11,12, and 13 of the Qur’an where it is shown that for lasting success and indeed salvation, repentance and righteousness are necessary.
Other components, such as faith, justice, the will to obey The Lord, generosity, and other virtues are also required. As such, the caliphate is moral, spiritual, and charitable, and we will see that indeed, the meek shall inherit the Earth.
All praises be to Allah the Lord of The Worlds.
or even political.