Praise be to Allaah.
The Muslim ruler must appoint people who are qualified to
hold positions of high office in the state, and he must also hold
consultations with people of knowledge and those who are specialized in
various fields. That should not be left to the common folk or the masses for
everyone to elect his relative or a member of his party, or to elect the one
who will pay the most.
Shaykh Saalih ibn Fawzaan (may Allaah preserve him) said:
Official positions that are lower than that of caliph or
ruler: Appointing people to these positions was the job of the caliph or
ruler. He had the authority to select for them people who were competent and
had integrity. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning): “Verily,
Allaah commands that you should render back the trusts to those, to whom
they are due; and that when you judge between men, you judge with justice”
[al-Nisa’ 4:58]. This is addressed to rulers and those in authority.
Trusts (amaanaat) here refers to official positions and positions of
high office in the state, which Allaah made a trust that is entrusted to the
ruler. The way in which it is to be fulfilled is by choosing people who are
competent and have integrity, as the Prophet (peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) and the caliphs who came after him and the Muslim rulers
after them appointed to various positions those who were fit to hold those
positions and were able to fulfil these duties as prescribed in sharee’ah.
With regard to elections as they are known today in different
states, they are not part of the Islamic system and they may lead to
disorder and chaos and personal ambitions. They are subject to favouritism
and greed, and may lead to fitnah (tribulation) and bloodshed. They do not
achieve the purpose they are meant to achieve; rather they are more like
auctions, buying and selling, and false propaganda. End quote.
Al-Jazeerah newspaper, issue no.
The imam (ruler) or caliph was appointed to lead the Islamic
state by one of three methods:
He was chosen and elected by the decision makers (ahl al-hall
wa’l-‘aqd). For example, Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq became caliph when he was
elected by the decision makers, then the Sahaabah unanimously agreed with
that and swore allegiance to him, and accepted him as caliph.
‘Uthmaan ibn ‘Affaan (may Allaah be pleased with him) became
caliph in a similar manner, when ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab (may Allaah be
pleased with him) delegated the appointment of the caliph to come after him
to a shoora council of six of the senior Sahaabah, who were to elect one of
their number. ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn ‘Awf consulted the Muhaajireen and Ansaar,
and when he saw that the people were all inclined towards ‘Uthmaan, he swore
allegiance to him first, then the rest of the six swore allegiance to him,
followed by the Muhaajireen and Ansaar, so he was elected as caliph by the
‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib (may Allaah be pleased with him) became
caliph in a similar manner, when he was elected by most of the decision
Appointment to the position by the previous caliph, when one
caliph passes on the position to a particular person who is to succeed him
after he dies. For example, ‘Umar ibn al-Khattaab became caliph when the
position was passed on to him by Abu Bakr al-Siddeeq (may Allaah be pleased
By means of force and prevailing over others. When a man
becomes caliph by prevailing over the people by the sword, and he
establishes his authority and takes full control, then it becomes obligatory
to obey him and he becomes the leader of the Muslims. Examples of that
include some of the Umayyad and ‘Abbasid caliphs, and those who came after
them. This method is contrary to sharee’ah, because it is seized by force.
But because great interests are served by having a ruler who rules the
ummah, and because a great deal of mischief may result from chaos and loss
of security in the land, the one who seizes authority by means of the sword
should be obeyed if he seizes power by force but he rules in accordance with
the laws of Allaah.
Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have
mercy on him) said:
If a man rebels and seizes power, the people must obey him,
even if he seizes power by force and without their consent, because he has
The reason for that is that if his rule is contested, it will
lead to a great deal of evil, and this is what happened during the Umayyad
period when some of them seized power by means of force and gained the title
of caliph, and people obeyed them in obedience to the command of Allaah. End
Sharh al-‘Aqeedah al-Safaareeniyyah
For more information on this topic, and to find out how the
state should operate and how its affairs should be run, please see Ahkaam
al-Sultaaniyyah by Abu’l-Hasan al-Maawardi al-Shaafa’i and Ahkaam
al-Sultaaniyyah by Abu Ya’la al-Farra’ al-Hanbali, and al-Tarteeb
al-Idaariyyah by al-Kattaani.
And Allaah knows best.