Article 32: If the position of the Caliphate (Khilafah) becomes vacant due to the death of its leader, his resignation or his removal, it is obligatory to appoint a Caliph (Khalifah) within three days from the date that the position of the Caliphate (Khilafah)became vacant.
Appointing the Caliph (Khalifah) becomes obligatory from the moment that the previous Caliph (Khalifah) dies or is removed. However, it is permitted for the appointment to occur within three days with their nights as long as it is due to working to achieve it. If it takes longer than three nights and the Caliph (Khalifah) has still not been appointed, then the issue is considered – if the Muslims are working to establish it but are unable to achieve that during the three night time limit due to overwhelming circumstances that they are unable to overcome, then the sin is lifted from them since they are busy working to establish the obligation and are compelled to delay its establishment due to whatever forced them. It is reported from Ibn Hibban and Ibn Maja from Ibn Abbas: the Messenger of Allah said:
«إِنَّ اللَّهَ وَضَعَ عَنْ أُمَّتِي الْخَطَأَ وَالنِّسْيَانَ وَمَا اسْـتُكْرِهُوا عَلَيْهِ»
“Verily Allah has pardoned for my Ummah: their mistakes, their forgetfulness, and that which they have been forced to do”. If they were not made busy with such overwhelming issues, then the most time allowed for the appointment is three days with their nights.
The evidence for the obligation of immediately working to establish the pledge of allegiance (Bay’a) to the Caliph (Khalifah) due only to the vacation of the position of the Caliphate (Khilafah) is the Ijma’ of the companions. They immediately hurried to gather at Saqifa Bani Sa‘idah after the death of the Messenger on the same day and before his burial, and the pledge of contracting (Bay'at Al-In‘iqad) was completed on the same day with Abu Bakr (ra), and the next day the people gathered in the mosque to give the pledge of obedience (Bay'at Al-ta‘ah).
Limiting the time to establish the appointment of the Caliph (Khalifah) to three days is due to that when it became apparent that Umar (ra) was going to die from his stab wound, he delegated the issue of appointment of his successor to the people of Shura, and limited them to three days, and then commissioned that if the Caliph (Khalifah) was not agreed upon within the three days, those who differed after the three days should be killed. He appointed fifty men from the Muslims in order to execute this - in other words, to kill the dissenter, even though they were from the senior companions, and all of this was seen and heard by the companions and none of them rebuked it even though normally anything similar to it would have been reproachable, so it is considered an Ijma’ of the companions that it is not permitted for the position of Caliph (Khalifah) to be left vacant for more than three days, and the Ijma’ of the companions is an Islamic evidence in the same manner as the Quran and the Sunnah.
Al-Bukhari reported through Al-Miswar Bin Makhramah who said:
«طَرَقَنِي عَبْدُ الرَّحْمَنِ بَعْدَ هَجْعٍ مِنْ اللَّيْلِ، فَضَرَبَ الْبَابَ حَتَّى اسْـتَـيْقَظْتُ، فَقَالَ أَرَاكَ نَائِمًا، فَوَاللَّهِ مَا اكْتَحَلْتُ هَذِهِ اللَّيْلَةَ بِكَبِيرِ نَوْمٍ»
“Abdur-Rahman called on me after a portion of the night had passed and knocked on my door till I got up, and he said to me, "I see you have been sleeping! By Allah, during the last three nights I have not slept enough”. And Ibn Kathir mentioned in the book Al-Bidayah wa ’l-Nihayah
(فلما كانت الليلة التي يسفر صباحها عن اليوم الرابع من موت عمر، جاء - عبد الرحمن بن عوف - إلى منزل ابن أخته المسور بن مخرمة فقال: أنائم يا مسور؟ والله لَم أغتمض بكثير نوم منذ ثلاث ...)
“When the night whose morning would have been the fourth day after the death of Umar, ‘Abd Al-Rahman Bin ‘Auf came to the house of his nephew Al-Miswar Bin Makhramah and said “You are sleeping O Miswar? By Allah I did not get much sleep for the last three” - in other words, the last three nights and when the people prayed the Morning Prayer the pledge with ‘Uthman (ra) was completed.