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Al-Ahkam as-Sultaniyyah:
The Laws of Islamic Governance.
Abu'l-Hasan al-Mawardi
-translated by Dr. Asadullah Yate.

Taken from Chapter 1 - The contract of Imamate

Having established the obligation of Imamate it must then be known that it is incumbent in a social and a collective way, like the Jihad and the acquisition of Knowledge- that is if one person who is competent in the matters takes it up, the obligation is removed from the rest of the community; if no one takes it up, two parties may be distinguished as responsible for making this choice among the people: the first, those who are worthy of choosing an Imam for the Ummah and second, those who themselves are worthy of the office of Imamate.

No Pressure is to be applied, and no sense of negligence is to be ascribed, to anyone else outside of these two parties regarding choosing the Imam.

Once these two parties have been distinguished `from amongst the ummah with respect to the election of the Imam, it is necessary to assess each of the two parties according to the conditions which are binding in this matter.

There are three conditions regarding those eligible to make the choice:

  1. That they must be just and fulfill all the conditions implied in this quality;

  2. That they possesses a knowledge by which they may comprehend who has a right to the Imamate and that they fulfill all the conditions implied by this knowledge;

  3. That they possess the insight and wisdom which will lead them to choose the person who is most fitting for the Imamate and who is the most upright and knowledgeable with respect to the management of the offices of administration. 

Those living in the Country of the Imam do not possess any advantage over those living in other countries: it is rather that someone resident in the Country of the Imam contract to elect the Imam by custom not by any legal imposition of the shari'ah; moreover such residents will come to know of the death of the Imam before people from other countries and usually the person who is most fitting for the succession is to be found in the Country of the Imam.

There are seven conditions regarding those suited to the Imamate:

  1. Justice together with all its conditions

  2. Knowledge which equips them for Ijtehad in unforeseen matter and arriving at relevant judgments

  3. Good health in their faculties of hearing, sight and speech such that they may arrive at a sound assessment of whatever they perceive

  4. Sound in limb, free of any deficiency which might prevent them from normal movement;

  5. A judgment capable of organising the people and managing the offices of administration;

  6. Courage and bravery enabling them to defend the territory of Islam and mount the Jihad against the enemy

  7. Of the family of the Quraysh, because of the text (of a prophetic hadith) on the matter and by virtue of consensus.. No credibility should be given to the opinion of Dirar who is alone in  saying that the post is open to all;
    Abu Bakr as-Siddiq, may Allah be pleased with him, used the testimony of the Prophet. may the peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, against the Ansar on the occasion of Saqifah when the latter defended the succession of Sa'd ibn Ubadah to whom they had given allegiance, in his  saying , " The Imams are of the Quraysh" As a result of this the Ansar renounced their exclusive claim to this Imamate and renounced the claim to share the rights of the Quraysh explicit in their saying  " From amongst us an Imam and from amongst the Quraysh an Imam"- submitting thereby to this narration and affirming its content and accepting the following reply of Abu Bakr " From us the amirs and from you the Wazirs" The Prophet may the peace and blessings be upon him said " Give precedence to the Quraysh and do not put others before them" There is not the least doubt  or controversy attached to this impeccable text

The Following Translation is Currently Available:- 

Al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyya w'al- Wilayat al-Diniyya
The Ordinance of  Governance.
-translated by Professor Wafaa H Wahba
Paperback  Page -translated by Professor Wafaa H Wahba
Paperback  Pages: 302  
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