After reading your responses regarding the obligation (or apparent lack of) of the Khilafaah upon the Muslims, one question came to my mind. Did the Prophet’s (P) position as a Prophet of Allah mean he was automatically the leader of the Muslims? Can another person be the leader of the Muslim Community, in the presence of the prophet? Correct me if I am wrong, but weren’t some of the “Jewish” Kings the prophets of God also (e.g. David (P)), but not all the said prophets were the kings of their communities?
Whether or not a prophet or a messenger would lead his people politically, depends on the circumstances faced by the particular prophet and, especially, the response that he gets from his people. However, the important thing to keep in mind is that the prophets do not directly challenge the political set up of their people. Their direct concern is only the eternal well being and salvation of their addressees.
If all the addressees of the prophet, including the existing political leaders, accept his call, then the prophet of God does not take away power from their hands. The rule remains with the existing rulers. However, because of their acceptance of the prophet’s message, they rule according to the God’s guidance given to them through their prophet or messenger. Thus, it is quite clear from the history of the prophets based upon the Bible that the people of Nineveh, including their rulers, accepted the message of Jonah – Yunus – (pbuh). After their acceptance of God’s message, the rule of the land remained in the hands of the existing rulers, who ruled according to the guidance they received through Jonah (pbuh). Saul – Taloot – is another example of a king, who ruled the Israelites according to the directives of God, in the presence of one of the prophets of God – Samuel (pbuh).
If, on the other hand, the addressees of the prophets and messengers persist in their rejection of the prophet and refuse to submit to God’s directives, then any of the following outcomes may result:
In the case of prophets – Nabi – this rejection, is generally succeeded by the persecution and killing of the prophets and their followers. Examples include Zechariah and John the Baptist – Yahya – (pbut);
In the case of messengers – Rasu’l – this rejection is generally succeeded by the persecution of the followers of the messengers. However, in contrast to the prophets, the rejecters of the messengers are not allowed to kill the messengers. Even under these circumstances of extreme persecution, the messengers are saved from their rejecters. Finally, the messengers and their followers are directed to migrate from their land. After this migration of the messengers, the rejecters are subjected to a severe punishment. This migration of the messengers may or may not result in the formation of an Islamic state:
If the messenger has only a handful of followers and no existing collectivity (organized state) is willing to accept his message, then the messenger and his followers leave their land for any given place of refuge. This was the case with Noah, Lot, Saleh, Shu`aib (pbut) etc.
If, on the other hand, the number of the followers, migrating with the messenger is very large – as was the case with the migration of Moses (pbuh) – or if an existing collectivity accepts his message – as was the case with the migration of Muhammad (pbuh), then an Islamic state is formed with the migration of the messenger. In both these cases, because the basic binding force of the newly formed collectivity is the messenger himself, therefore, in this case, the messenger has to assume the role of the head of the newly formed state.
It is, in fact, only in the last stated situation that the messenger is also the political leader of the collectivity formed by his believers. This role of political leadership is not assumed by the messengers in any other situation.
The case of Solomon and David (pbut) is different from other prophets and messengers of God. Both Solomon and David (pbut) are, in fact, two kings, whom God selected as His prophets, rather than prophets/messengers – like Moses and Muhammad (pbut) – who due to their particular circumstances had to take charge of the collective affairs of their people.
I hope this would help.
April 27, 2001