The Constitution of the Caliphate State, Delegated Assistants
- Category: Delegated Assistants §42-48
Article 42: The Khalifah appoints a delegated assistant or more for himself, who carry the responsibilities of ruling. So he delegates to them the management of affairs, where they conduct them according to their opinion and Ijtihad.
On the death of the Khalifah, the role of his assistants ends, and they do not continue in their work except for the period of the temporary leader.
The proof for this article is what Al-Tirmidhi narrated; the Messenger said:
«وَأَمَّا وَزِيرَايَ مِنْ أَهْلِ الأَرْضِ فَأَبُو بَكْرٍ وَعُمَرُ»
“My two ministers in the World are Abu Bakr and Umar” (reported by Al-Hakim and Al-Tirmidhi from Abu Said Al-Khudri). This narration has been used by the Fuqaha’ and has been accepted by most of the scholars, so it is a Hasan narration and accordingly is a Shari’ah evidence that the Khalifah can appoint assistants. The narration used the word “minister” in the linguistic meaning, which is assistant, and the Quran uses it with this meaning; Allah (swt) said:
(( وَاجْعَلْ لِي وَزِيرًا مِنْ أَهْلِي (29)))
“And appoint for me a minister from my family.” (TMQ 20:29), in other words, an assistant. And the ministry was present during the time of the Messenger , and its proof is the text of the narration from Al-Tirmidhi. However, it was the Messenger who was the one who ruled, and there is nothing which indicates that he made Abu Bakr (ra) and Umar (ra) carry out what he did from ruling, but making them into ministers indicates that he commissioned them to assist him; in other words, commission for both of them to carry out what he did from ruling. After the death of the Messenger Umar (ra) was the minister of Abu Bakr (ra), and used to carry out what the Khalifah used to carry out in terms of ruling, and that was apparent to the point that some of them used to say to Abu Bakr (ra), “We don’t know whether Umar is the Khalifah or you” reported by Ibn Hanbal in Fada’il Al-Sahabah from Nafi’. After the death of Abu Bakr (ra), ’Uthman (ra) and ’Ali (ra) were the ministers of Umar (ra), and each of them carried out what Umar (ra) did in terms of ruling, except that the power of the personality of Umar (ra) meant that the actions of assistance of the two ministers were not so apparent as that of Umar (ra) with Abu Bakr (ra), although due to the power of the personality of ’Ali (ra), it was clear that he carried out these actions in the time of Umar (ra). After the death of Umar (ra), ’Ali (ra) and Marwan b. Al-Hakam (ra) were the two ministers of ’Uthman (ra). However, ’Ali (ra) was not content with some of the actions, and so his work with ’Uthman (ra) was not prominent since he was similar to someone withdrawn. On the other hand, Marwan (ra) was apparent in his undertaking of the ministry, in other words, the actions of ruling.
The Khalifah would delegate the management of affairs to his minister, and this occurred with each Khalifah from the righteous Khulafaa’ in that their assistant (minister) was present, though how the assistants practised the management of affairs differed from one to the other. It is understood from the linguistic meaning of the word “minister”, or assistant to the Khalifah, that it means an assistant for the actions of the Khalifah, and since the word came general without any restrictions, then it means assistant for the Khalifah in all of the actions of the Khilafah. This is what is understood from the narration, and is supported by what occurred with Umar (ra) and Abu Bakr (ra), and so the Shari’ah meaning of the word is the one who assists the Khalifah in all the actions of the Khilafah. However, he does not possess the mandatory powers of the Khalifah himself. Rather, if the Khalifah said “I have appointed so and so as a minister for me”, or “as an assistant for me”, or “act on my behalf in what I govern”, or anything similar, then the person would have all the mandatory powers of the Khalifah as his representative. In Al-Ahkam As-Sultaniyyah, Al-Mawardi called them the “delegated minister” (Wazeer Tafweed), and defined it with this meaning, saying, “As for the delegated minister, he has taken his ministry from the Imam who authorised him to manage the affairs according to his opinion, and for them to proceed according to his Ijtihad”. It is however necessary that the Khalifah is aware of every action that the delegated minister undertakes, since he is an assistant and not a Khalifah, and so he is not independent; rather the Khalifah inspects every action of him, whether it was small or big.
This Shari’ah reality of the assistant or minister differs completely with the reality of the minister in the democratic system. Since the cabinet in the democratic system is the government, and it is a group of people established with its characteristic as a specific group for ruling, as the ruling for them is for the group and not for the individual; in other words, the leadership is collective and not individual. So the ruler who possesses all power of ruling is the cabinet or the group of ministers collectively, and no single one of them possesses the power absolutely, but rather the power of ruling is in the cabinet collectively. As for the individual minister, he is appointed to specialise in a particular section of ruling, in which he possesses the mandatory powers that the cabinet as a whole determined for him, and whatever powers in this section were not given to him remain with the cabinet and not him.
In Islam, there is no cabinet of ministers who hold the power collectively (on the democratic model); rather the leadership is for the Khalifah who is given Bay’a by the Ummah in order to rule them by the Book of Allah (swt) and the Sunnah of His Messenger . The Khalifah appoints ministers for himself (ministers of Tafwid) who are given general authorisation to act on his behalf and generally support the Khalifah in carrying the responsibilities of the Khilafah, and so they are ministers according to the linguistic meaning, or in other words, assistants of the Khalifah in what they are charged with.
Accordingly the wide difference between the word “minister” and “ministry” in the system of Islam, and the word “minister” and “ministry” in the system of democracy, has become clear. Since the meaning that is understood from the democratic meaning of the word “minister” is dominant in the minds of the people, and when it is used the only thing that comes to mind is the democratic meaning, in order to avoid confusion and to specify the Shari’ah meaning alone, it is not correct to use the term “minister” alone for the assistant of the Khalifah without specifying it. Rather, the term “assistant” should be used in its real meaning, or the term “minister” and “ministry” should be specified such that it is removed from the democratic understanding, and the Islamic meaning alone is understood, such as using the term “minister of authorisation” (Wazir Al-Tafwid)
The assistant is appointed and removed at the order of the Khalifah. At the death of the Khalifah, the assistants’ role comes to an end, and they only continue through to the end of the period of the temporary leader. They then require a new authorisation from the new Khalifah in order to continue in their role, and they do not require to be formally removed since their role ended with the death of the Khalifah who took them as assistants.