Critical Assessment of The Political Institutions of Khilafah


“Critical Assessment of The Political Institutions of Khilafah”

Talk about Political institutions among khilafah period, was has several types of political institutions during that’s period. But, before I write critical assessment of the political institutions during khilafah period, lets try to define the sources of khalifah/caliphs itself.

When Muhammad died in 632, the Muslim community faced a problem on how their community should be governed, and how leaders should be appointed. There were conflicting stories on what Muhammad had said. The tensions came already with the first appointment of a leader, a person acting in the place of the Messenger, a khalifatu r-rasuul, a few months after Muhammad’s death. Khalifa can be translated with ‘successor, vicegerent’, but is a term that is seldom used for anything else than the leader of the entire Muslim community. But when it is used, like in honorary titling of good Muslims, it always refer to its standard meaning.

Through history, we have seen parallel Caliphs, but none had as much symbolic power and influence as the one that followed the line of Caliphs from Abu Bakr, which was the first. This line of Caliphs had a steady residence in Damascus from 661 to 750 and Baghdad and Samarra up until 1258. After 1258 and until 1924 there have been several Caliphs, but all of these have had only limited influence. They have represented no continuation of the Caliphs of Baghdad, and in more than one case, these caliph hoods have been motivated by political motives rather than religious ones. The Muslim world has never agreed upon uniting behind anyone of these.

According to my explanation above, firstly I will try to critics the method to elect caliphs and also political movements since Abu Bakr until the end of Khilafah period. Before Muhammad SAW died he recommended Abu Bar to be a leader among muslimin after him. But, actually after Muhammad died, the muslimin in Madinah made some political group like anshar, Muhajirin, and Banu Hasyim. There were some claim from each group to be a leader. But they make conference to elect the caliph, Umar who was one of candidate, supported Abu Bakr to be a caliph. Then, the people agree and gave appointment to Abu Bakr to be The firs Caliph. The second caliph is Umar, it was also recommended from Abu Bakr and people agree with this. But if I see, it was different with> when Abu Bakr came to be caliph (there ware some candidates and there was election), and I think it was a decline of political movement in Islam. On the other han, Umar as a second caliph had some good idea of political policy. One of them is> Umar made Political institution which had function to propose some candidates and elect one of them to change him as a caliph.

Continue to Utsman Ibn Affan period, he was not do something special in political movement and also he only continued or adopted the system of politics from Umar period. After Utsman dead, Ali became to a caliph with agreement among muslimin. It was also the bad way to elect the leader or Imam during Khilafah period. Because in this case, the muslimin didn’t make conference (syura) or election to choose the leader.

The crazy movement is from Muawiyah. Some scholars explain that Muawiyyah came in 661 M to be a caliph with violence. He killed people who didn’t agree with him and who against his policy. Political constitution in Muawiyah period it was like nothing. Because in this period, all of political institution had made for personal interest.

Actually when Muawiyah put Yazid (Muawiyah son) as a one of candidates to be a leader is a normal policy, because some people agree to put Yazid as a candidate. Then, Yazid became a leader or caliph with population agreement. Then, the bad political movement had star from Yazid, he always make violence to force the people to follow his policy and his rule. In Ummayah period, there was not a good political institution could be “exist”. It’s mean the political institution in that’s period was like “a doll” which could be playing by the government. And star for this period also, I think Islam politic civilization came to monarchy system, which also became nepotism among the government. And of course we couldn’t heard the word “Election” from this period until the end of khilafah period.

That’s bad thing, had continue to Abbasiyah period. But during Abbasiyah period, actually Islam had revival and had improvement for the politic movement or policy. As I know, in Abbasiyyah period there are some political institution could be exist. In this period there was a representative council. This institution might be keep the problems of the people and give the advice to the leader to make political policy.

Finally in my presumption, the khilafah period couldn’t be a good foundation to political system in Islamic civilization. Even they made some a good act for political movement, it was made people confuse which one the best way or the pest system to implemented in Islamic political life.


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