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Should Muslims Establish the Khilafah?

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
With the ‘ism’ of Allah, the Most Compassionate the Most Merciful


Muslims, currently being at the lowest point, are at a state of diaspora for hundreds of years after the fall of the khilafah. There is no one to protect the Muslims, no state to defend the honour and safety of the Muslims, no state that surrenders their affairs solely to God. Muslims today, instead of taking God as their protector, seek refuge under the system of jahiliyyah, where their political and economic matters are no longer decided by God, but by man. Islamic laws are diminished to only personal matters, very insignificant in collective matters. There are no efforts bring back the khilafah.

World goverments are turning one eye to humanity’s problem. They think they are solving the problems, but they are actually causing them. They created wars, poverty, death through their economic and political manipulation. Today 1% of the global population owns more than 50% of the world’s weatlh. African and Middle East countries are experiencing famine and poverty due to the effects of post-colonialism by the West.

Muslims have to realise that a state is required to fully carry out the deen (system) of Islam. Without the state, not only Muslims but humankind are manipulated an oppressed. Unfortunately, there exists a group of Muslims themselves who advocates that Muslims do not have to strive to establish the khilafah.

In this essay, my aim is to prove that it is an obligation of every Muslim to strive to establish the khilafah. But before that I will first define what is ‘khilafah’ and what do i mean by ‘establishing khilafah’. Then I will examine the arguments of those who do not support movements to establish the khilafah. Only then  I will go to my own arguments why the khilafah is a responsibility, by proving the three main points above. After that is a synthesis, where I will state the new things I learnt from writing this essay.


  • Introduction
  • Table of Contents
  • Definition
  • Arguments of those who say that establishing the khilafah is not obligatory
  • Arguments on why it is obligatory to strive towards establishing the khilafah
  • Synthesis between the two differing views/ Appendix
  • Conclusion


Khilafah (or caliphate) is an Islamic state under the leadership of a Muslim leader. The leader of the Khilafah is Khalifah (or caliph).

It should be noted that Allah didn’t explicitly told us to “establish the khilafah” in the Quran. What Allah exactly ordered us to do is to “establish deen” (Quran, 42:13) or, in other words, “rule by what Allah sent down” (Quran, 5:48). Therefore, it is important to note that our true duty in essence is actually upholding the laws of Allah and the deen (system/ way of life) pleased by him, not khilafah per se. However, for practical purposes, I’ll be using the word “establish the khilafah” synonymous to “establish deen” since most people have the idea that establishing the khilafah means establishing an Islamic state where the laws of Allah are upheld.


The responsibility of ruling with the laws of Allah.

It is clear, without a shred of doubt, that Allah commands us to judge and rule only by the Quran from verses 5:44,45, 47; 5:48; 12:40, 6:114. I’m sure even the opponents of khilafah are aware of these verses.

How then, can Muslims rule by the laws of Allah, when they do not have their own state? How can humans rule with the laws of Allah when they themselves submit to other set of man-made laws?

There are commands in the Quran which can be carried out personally, like the commands of salat, fasting, zakat and others. But there are also other commands that requires collective effort and authority like Islamic political system, Islamic financial laws, penal codes, the laws of qisas (retributive law) and others. How can the divine law be established without Muslims having their own state dedicated to put Quran as the highest and ultimate source of law?

Those who are against the idea of khilafah are quick to argue that Islam is basically a matter of personal belief, basically a human-God relationship with less emphasis on human-human relationship. According to them, as long as one establish salat, fast, give zakat, they have completed their duty as Muslims.

This argument, unfortunately (or fortunately), is without any basis. Where does it say in the Quran that you can choose what commands to carry out and what commands to not carry out? Indeed Allah calls Muslims to enter Islam as kaaffah (whole). By entering Islam as whole, we must work towards realising all the commands of God. In contrast, Allah condemns those who believe in a part of the scripture and rejecting another part:

Do you then believe in a part of the Book and disbelieve in the other? What then is the reward of such among you as do this but disgrace in the life of this world, and on the day of resurrection they shall be sent back to the most grievous chastisement

Quran 2:85

Is this verse not a strong enough warning:

“It is not fitting for a Believer, man or woman, when a matter has been decided by Allah and His Messenger to have any option about their decision: if any one disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he is indeed on a clearly wrong Path.”

Quran 33:36

Rahmatan lil-alaamin

Allah said in the Quran 21:207 “And We have not sent you (O Muhammad) but as a mercy to the worlds.” How can Islam be mercy to all the worlds when Islam can’t even protect itself? A people always need a state to protect them and empower their interest, that’s why states are born. That’s why Muslims are currently failing today.

Any kind of ideology, in fact, requires a state for that ideology to survive. That’s why the Bolshevik Revolution happened when Vladimir Lenin wanted to turn Russia into a communist state. It is through political might that Christianity flourished, otherwise the Christians will continue to be fed to the lions in Rome. No civilization can exist on its own without effort. Allah said in Quran 13:11 “…Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition;…”. This means the Islamic state cannot exist on its own without any effort.

The Khilafah is an integral part of Islam

To rule/judge by what Allah sent down is the most important essence of monotheism (tawheed). Otherwise, it is nothing but syirk. As how much the tawheed is an integral part of Islam, striving to uphold the laws of Allah is no less.  To judge by and uphold the laws of Allah, ie by establishing the khilafah, lies the very essence of obedience to God, which is an indispensable characteristic of Islam. It not only signifies the obedience of a slave to God, but also manifests it.

It is also important to understand that upholding the laws of Allah requires that person to fully submit to Allah’s laws only, without the intervention or mixing of other set man-made laws. To perform only a part of God’s law, while apply man’s law on the other parts, is the very essence of syirk, which is poylytheism; paganism. This is because doing such a thing, whether you realise or not, is associating the laws of God with the laws of man, and that ‘association’ is syirk. This kind of syirk is what is currently happening in Malaysia today where the jurisdiction of the Sharia court is very small compared to the jurisdiction of the Civil Courts.

It’s not a wonder that God said in Quran 5:44 “And those who do not judge by what Allah sent down (Quran) those are the disbelievers.”; 5:45 “And those who do not judge by what Allah sent down (Quran) those are the wrongdoers.”; 5:47 “And those who do not judge by what Allah sent down those are the disobedients”.

By establishing the khilafah, a slave of Allah is manifesting his one undivided obdience to God, and since to struggle in the way of Allah to establish the khilafah is the hardest duty, it represents the paramount of one’s monotheistic submission to God.

This is confirmed by the Quran when God said: “And those who believed, and emigrated, and fought in the way of Allah; and those who provided place to live and helped (the emigrants), those are the true believers. For them is forgiveness and a noble reward


‘Let the Khilafah emerge naturally’

Those who do not support the notion of making effort towards khilafah (non-khilafah from now on) argue mainly that the khilafah will emerge naturally. According to them, religion is mainly about personal matter between an individual and God. It is only when there is a group of believers, then it is necessary for the society to be ruled by the laws of God. As in the words of Dr Shabir Ally (whom I have high respect for), the society cannot be forced to implement the laws of Allah but the members of the society itself must be willing to accept the laws of Allah. That is how it should be done.

We can definitely learn something from their point of view. But i cannot ignore the Quran when it says: Quran 5:48 “therefore judge between them by what Allah has sent down, and do not follow their low desires (to turn away) from the truth that has come to youThis verse clearly told us to NOT to follow the low desires of humans when the truth has come. It clearly refuted the idea that an Islamic state has to be accepted willingly by the society. The laws of Allah must be upheld, no matter what because it is what Allah commanded.

Furthermore, Allah gave a strong warning in Quran 5:68 “Say: “O People of the Book! You are standing on nothing until ye uphold the Torah, the Gospel, and what has been sent down (Quran) to you from your Lord.” The phrase “lastum ‘ala syaiin” literally meaning ‘you are standing on nothing’ is to mean that a person is nothing, no any good, until they uphold the revelation sent down by God. We are nothing, no good …until we uphold what is sent down to us!

Secondly, there’s no such thing that the khilafah will emerge naturally. Allah said in Quran 13:11 “…Surely Allah does not change the condition of a people until they change their own condition;…”. ‘Naturally’ is just a fantasy, it will never happen. There will always be resistance! Quran 2:217 “And they will not cease to fight you until they turn you back from your religion if they are able.”

Just look at the world today and the global perception towards Islam, it will not make it able for the Khilafah to emerge naturally! Fun fact, there are 1.6 billions of Muslims today, why isn’t there any Islamic state today if it is suppose to emerge naturally? It’s because Muslims are in a state of diaspora, cluelessly dwellling in their abyss of ignorance. The Muslims’ rights for education, safety, property are all not taken care of, how is there going to be any khilafah? How are the Muslims going to be protected?

Muhammad saw didn’t have any plan to establish a state

The non-khilafahs say that Muhammad didn’t make any effort to establish an Islamic state, but a chain of events led him to establish a state. The believers in Makkah were kicked out of their homes forcing them to migrate to Medina and the people of Medina accepted the rulership of Allah and His Rasul. However, even before the hijrah, Muhammad (saw) had made a treaty with 72 people of Yathrib before the hijrah, called the second treaty of Aqabah. This actually suggests Muhammad’s (saw) strategy to establish the deen of Islam and save the Muslims from continuing to be oppressed in Makkah. We cannot know for sure whether Muhammad didn’t have any plans to establish an Islamic state. But isn’t it true that his prophetic life ended when there is a state, and that time the deen was perfected (Quran 5:3)? Shouldn’t we take Muhammad Rasulullah as role model/uswatun hasanah (Quran 33:21)? Shouldn’t we then, at least, strive to uphold the laws of Allah?

The prophet said “Whosoever takes off his hand from allegiance to Allah (swt) will meet Him (swt) on the Day of Resurrection without having any proof for him, and whoso dies whilst there was no Bay’ah (allegiance) on his neck (to a Khalifah), he dies a death of Jahiliyyah (ignorance)” (Muslim)

An Islamic state has to be accepted willingly by the society, not forced (inside out)

Not all prophets establish a state

Some non-khilafahs still try to insist that Islam is just a matter of personal belief by saying that previous prophets like Nuh, Ibrahim, Isa, did not establish any state. I say, first of all, not all prophets were given the responsiblity to establish an Islamic state. Each prophet/messenger was sent to its people at a particular time for a particular mission. For example, Nabi Ayob serves as a lesson not to give up despite many tests he had to endure. Nabi Yunus serve as a lesson to us to never give up in our effor to spread Islam. Nabi Yusuf serve as a lesson to us to not give up on Allah. Some prophets act as a development to an Islamic state. So which prophets play a role in establishing the deen of Allah? They are stated in Quran 42:13 “He has ordained to you of the religion what He enjoined upon Nuh and that which We have revealed to you and that which We enjoined upon Ibrahim and Musa and Isa to establish the deen (system) and be not divided therein; hard to the unbelievers is that which you call them to; Allah chooses for Himself whom He pleases, and guides to Himself him who turns (to Him), frequently.” Ibrahim indeed had a state, he was the one who opened Makkah. Nuh’s people were flooded, leaving no opposition to prophet Nuh to implement the deen solely for Allah. Musa, it is obvious he was the one who led the Israelites to have their own independent state from Pharaoh. Isa, his state was not known, as people thought he died on the cross. It’s probable that other prophets have helped in the deen, like Daud who defeated Jalut and Sulaiman who became a successful king of the Israelites. With all that said,  Muhammad (saw) summed up the whole prophetic mission from Nuh to Isa. He sealed the prophets. Quran 33:40 “…but he is the messenger of Allah and the Seal of the Prophets…”. Strenghthened by Quran 5:3 “…This day have I perfected your deen for you and completed My favour unto you…”. Therefore, following the Final Prophet is the best because he summed up the whole prophetic mission from Nuh to Isa. That’s why we should follow Muhammad (saw) in his ways and methods. Besides, why do we look at whether other prophets establish a state or not, when we have our Messenger specifically sent for humankind, clearly set an example by establishing a state to finally perfect the deen. Quran 33:21 “Certainly you have in the Messenger of Allah an excellent exemplar for him who hopes in Allah and the latter day and remembers Allah much.” The best way to manifest the teachings of the Quran is how the Muhammad manifested it.


This part is called a synthesis because it blends the two views and extracting the best lessons from them. I did learn something from non-khilafahs and I did deepen my understanding why we need to establish the khilafah.

I believe that the movement to establish the khilafah should be done under the banner of ‘La ilaaha illa Allah’ (no god but Allah), not under the banner for Muslim supremacy or anti-colonialism. This means that tauhid and belief is what ultimately should be the driving factor for one to establish the khilafah, not any other reason. The purpose is not to show that Muslims are powerful or advanced. This is further elaborated in the article: The right idea of ‘establishing khilafah’. The wrong view is what causes some to be trapped in the ideals of extremist Muslims.

Secondly, although earlier I stated that the khilafah must be established with or without the will of the society, I don’t mean that that Islamic laws should be imposed without the proper procedures. There is a method, and it was demonstrated by the Prophet himself; by migrating to Medina where the people accepted the leadership of the Prophet. Contrary to what non-khilafahs argue that the Islamic laws can only be done when the society wills it, what they mean is a democracy where people will eventually accept Islamic laws. Hard pill to swallow, if that was the right way, Muhammad (saw) could have done it in Makkah by joining Darul Nadwah, a place where the leaders of Quraisy join to decide on a political, economic or social matter. Darul Nadwah is equvalent to the Parliament we have today. But the Prophet didn’t join any political entity in the Makkah, not even Darul Nadwah. Instead he migrated to a land where the people have made allegiance to the Prophet (saw), and it was there the Prophet was able to fully implement the laws of Allah, because authority had been shifted to Allah and His Messenger.


The Khilafah or Islamic State is a necessary condition for the success of Islam and establishment of deen. Those who deny this fact, are living in a world of fantasy, where they think things can happen without having a proper method and effort. Upholding the laws and system (deen) pleased by Allah is an absolute obligation, evidented by the repeating warnings and commands from the Quran.

Muslims have to wake up and bring back their jihad spirit, not just sitting on their couches watching religious TV shows and thinking they are ‘religious’. The world and ummah is facing many problems. Sadly, what the Muslims are doing is just pointing fingers at world governments and asking themselves why is the ummah failing. True believers not only believe, they put it to action.

Quran 5:8 “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness.”

Quran 8:74 “And those who have believed and emigrated and fought in the cause of Allah and those who gave shelter and aidedit is they who are the believers, truly. For them is forgiveness and noble provision.”

And God knows best.

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