Article 17: The ruling is centralised and the administration is decentralised.
This article was drafted in order to separate between the rule and the administration. The difference between the two of them is apparent from two angles: from the reality of each of them and from the actions of the Messenger of Allah in the appointment of the governors (Wali) and the assignment of civil employees. As for the reality of each of them, the rule (Hukm), power (Mulk) and the authority (Sultan) have the same meaning, and that is the authority which implements the laws. It is mentioned in the Al-Muheet dictionary that “…Al-Mulk is greatness and Sultan”, and in another place “Al-Sultan is the proof and the capability of Mulk”, and in a third place “Al-Hukm: the decree…and Al-Haakim is the one who implements the Hukm”. And this means that the rule linguistically means the decree and the Haakim (ruler) linguistically is the implementer of the rule, and what is intended by the rule in this article is the terminological meaning; the implementation of the laws, in other words, the power, the authority and the capability of rule. Or by another expression, the action of leadership which the Shari’ah obligated upon the Muslims with the words of the Messenger
«وَلا يَحِلُّ لِثَلاثَةِ نَفَرٍ يَكُونُونَ بِأَرْضِ فَلاةٍ إِلاَّ أَمَّرُوا عَلَيْهِمْ أَحَدَهُمْ»
“It is unlawful for three people in any barren land not to appoint one of them as their leader” reported by Ahmad through ‘Abd Allah Bin Amr, and the action of leadership is the authority which is used to prevent injustice and to settle disputes, or by another expression the rule is the guardianship of the authority mentioned in His (swt) words
( أَطِيعُوا اللَّهَ وَأَطِيعُوا الرَّسُولَ وَأُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْكُمْ )
“O you who have believed, obey Allah and obey the Messenger and those in authority among you.” (TMQ 4:59) and His (swt) words
( وَلَوْ رَدُّوهُ إِلَى الرَّسُولِ وَإِلَى أُولِي الْأَمْرِ مِنْهُمْ )
“But if they had referred it back to the Messenger or to those of authority among them.” (TMQ 4:83), which is the undertaking of practically governing matters. This is the reality of the rule. Based upon that, the guardianship of the authority, the leadership and the power are the rule, and anything else is considered to be administration. Consequently, what the Khalifah and the leaders from the governorsand workers do in terms of managing the affairs of people by implementing the Shari’ah rules and the legal judgments is considered to be the rule; anything else from what they or others do from those who were appointed from the people or by the Khalifah is considered to be administration. Accordingly the difference between the ruling and administration has become obvious.
The Shari’ah gave the rule as described to the Khalifah who was elected by the Ummah, or the Amir chosen by them, so by the Ummah’s choice for the Amir or by her pledge of allegiance to the Khalifah, the Khalifah or the Amir then becomes the one who has the right to the rule, or the rule is for the Khalifah or the Amir. No one else can take the rule unless it was given to them by him, and in this manner the rule is centralised. In other words, the rule is for the Ummah to give to a person, Khalifah or Amir, and by giving them the rule by the pledge of allegiance or by selection or elections, the rule becomes his, and at that time he gives the right to rule to whomever he wishes and no one else has the right to rule unless he gives it to them. Accordingly, it becomes apparent that centralisation of the rule is the restriction of the right to the rule with the one whom the Ummah has selected, where he is entitled to the rule automatically. No one else is entitled to the rule automatically; rather they gain it through being granted it by someone else, and are limited with respect to this permission by time, place and situation, and in that case the reality of the ruling indicates that it is centralised and its centralisation is necessary.
As for the actions of the Messenger of Allah he used to send governors to the districts and order them to implement the Shari’ah rules upon the people. He also used to appoint civil employees in order to carry out the functions not to implement the laws. So for example he appointed governors and gave them the right to implement the laws and did not restrict the means and styles of implementation but rather left that to them. Some of them would be written letters which would include the Shari’ah rules but not the means or style of their implementation and others would be ordered to implement the Shari’ah of Allah (swt); so he appointed Amr Bin Hazm as governor and wrote him a letter and he appointed Mu’adh Bin Jabal and he asked him how he would rule, and then he confirmed the correctness of his view. He also appointed ‘Itab b. Usayd as a governor in order to implement the Shari’ah of Allah (swt), and he used to appoint people as governors based upon the view of their suitability to execute; it is narrated
«أَنَّ عِمْرَانَ بْنَ الْحُصَيْنِ اسْـتُعْمِلَ عَلَى الصَّدَقَةِ، فَلَمَّا رَجَعَ قِيلَ لَهُ: أَيْنَ الْمَالُ؟ قَالَ: وَلِلْمَالِ أَرْسَلْتَنِي؟ أَخَذْنَاهُ مِنْ حَيْثُ كُنَّا نَأْخُذُهُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ وَوَضَعْنَاهُ حَيْثُ كُنَّا نَضَعُهُ»
“Imran bin Hussain was appointed to collect the Sadaqah (Zakah). When he came back, it was said to him: 'Where is the wealth?' He said: 'Was it for wealth that you sent me? We took it from where we used to take it at the time of the Messenger of Allah , and we distributed it where we used to distribute it.” (reported by Ibn Maja and Al-Hakim that authenticated it).
This is different to the civil employees, since their roles are limited and they do what is requested of them. For example, the Messenger of Allah appointed ‘Abd Allah Bin Rawaha as an estimator who would estimate for the Jews; in other words, estimate the yield of crops prior to harvest. It is reported by Ahmad with a Sahih chain from Jabir Bin ‘Abd Allah who said,
«أفاء الله عز وجل خيبر على رسول الله . فأقرهم رسول الله كما كانوا، وجعلها بينه وبينهم، فبعث عبد الله بن رواحة فخرصها عليهم ثم قال لهم : يا معشر اليهود أنتم أبغض الخلق إلي، قتلتم أنبياء الله عز وجل، وكذبتم على الله، وليس يحملني بغضي إياكم على أن أحيف عليكم. قد خرصت عشرين ألف وسق من تمر فإن شئتم فلكم وإن أبيتم فلي. فقالوا: بهذا قامت السماوات والأرض قد أخذنا فاخرجوا عنا»
“Allah gave Khaybar to the Messenger of Allah as booty. The Messenger of Allah confirmed the Jews on previous crop division between Him and them which was fifty percent for each side. He then sent ‘Abd Allah b. Rawaha to assess the division of the crop. When he was finished, he said to them: O Jews, you are among the most hateful to me; you killed the Prophets of Allah, and you lied upon Allah . But it doesn’t promt me to deal unjustly with you . I have estimated twenty thousand loads of dates, so if you want they are for you, or for me. They said: This is what supports the heavens and the earth, and so we accept it, so leave us”. He also used to send collectors for the Zakat who would collect and deliver it to him, and he would pay them their wages, as narrated by Bishr Bin Sa‘id Bin Al-Sa’adi Al-Maaliki who said:
«عَنْ بُسْرِ بْنِ سَعِيدٍ عَنِ ابْنِ السَّاعِدِيِّ الْمَالِكِيِّ أَنَّهُ قَالَ: اسْتَعْمَلَنِي عُمَرُ بْنُ الْخَطَّابِ عَلَى الصَّدَقَةِ، فَلَمَّا فَرَغْتُ مِنْهَا وَأَدَّيْتُهَا إِلَيْهِ أَمَرَ لِي بِعُمَالَةٍ، فَقُلْتُ: إِنَّمَا عَمِلْتُ لِلَّهِ وَأَجْرِي عَلَى اللَّهِ، فَقَالَ: خُذْ مَا أُعْطِيتَ، فَإِنِّي عَمِلْتُ عَلَى عَهْدِ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ فَعَمَّلَنِي، فَقُلْتُ مِثْلَ قَوْلِكَ، فَقَالَ لِي رَسُولُ اللَّهِ : إِذَا أُعْطِيتَ شَيْئًا مِنْ غَيْرِ أَنْ تَسْأَلَ فَكُلْ وَتَصَدَّقْ»
“Omar b. Khattab (ra) appointed me as a collector of Sadaqa. When I had finished that (the task assigned to me) and I handed over that to him, he commanded me to (accept) some payment (for the work). I said: I performed this duty for Allah and my reward is with Allah. He said: Take whatever has been given to you, for I also performed this duty during the time of the Messenger of Allah He assigned me the task of a collector and I said as you say, and the Messenger of Allah said to me: When you are given anything without your begging for it, (then accept it), eat it and give it in charity.” (reported by Muslim).
So ‘Imran b. Husayn disapproved of the ruler requesting the Zakat that he had gathered from him, since he had implemented the law of Allah (saw) and given it to those who had right over it in the same way he used to at the time he was appointed by the Messenger of Allah (saw), but Busr b. Sa‘id was an employee who did what he was assigned to do with respect to collecting the Zakat but he did not undertake the implementation of the Shari’ah rules. Accordingly the difference between the actions of the ruler and the actions of the civil employee has been made clear. So the actions of the ruler are the implementation of the Shari’ah, in other words, the rule, power and authority, and the actions of the civil employees are to undertake the actions and not the implementation of the laws, and so they are not from the rule but rather they are only part of the administration.
In addition, the difference between the actions of the ruler himself have become clear, since amongst them is the rule which is the implementation of the Shari’ah rules and the implementation of the judgements, and no one has the right to do these actions except for the one who is appointed with the right to rule according to the position given. And amongst the actions of the ruler are the styles and means used in order to achieve the implementation, and these are part of the administration, and these do not have to be defined for the ruler and he does not need to refer back to those who appointed him. Rather his appointment as a ruler gives him the right to use the means that he considers and the styles that he wants as long as those who appointed him did not specify specific styles and means for him, in which case he would be obliged by what was specified for him. In other words his appointment as a ruler gives him the right to carry out the administrative actions as long as there are not administrative systems in place originating from those who gave him the right to rule, in which case he would follow those systems.
Consequently, it is clear that the meaning of centralised rule is the carrying out of the authority, in other words, of the implementation of the Shari’ah, and no one possesses that authority unless he was given it by the Ummah and so it is restricted to him and is exercised by whoever he gives it to. The meaning of decentralised administration is that the ruler who has been appointed does not have to refer to those who appointed him in the issues of administration; rather he carries them out according to his opinion. And that is established from the reality of the rule as has been mentioned in the Shari’ah texts, and from the actions of the Messenger in appointing the rulers.
This is the evidence for this article.