Indeed, Allah (swt) has imposed laws for the changing of societies, laws which cannot be contradicted, and amongst these laws is His (swt) saying:
إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُغَيِّرُ مَا بِقَوْمٍ حَتَّى يُغَيِّرُوا مَا بِأَنْفُسِهِم
“Indeed Allah does not change that which is in the people until they change with is within themselves.” (Surah Ar-Ra’ad 12:11)
So, for the situation of people to change, it is upon them to change what is within themselves, which is their thoughts, their feelings and the systems to which they adhere to in judging upon each other. Moreover, Allah (swt) has made it a condition for the Muslims to execute that which he obligated upon them, so that He (swt) can send down upon them victory, for indeed Allah (swt) said:
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ تَنْصُرُوا اللَّهَ يَنْصُرْكُمْ وَيُثَبِّتْ أَقْدَامَكُمْ
“O you who have believed, if you support Allah, He will support you and plant firmly your feet.” (Surah Muhammad 47:7)
So, even though Allah (swt) is capable of changing the situation of the people, and ensuring their victory, without the need for humankind to lift a finger, Allah (swt) made it Obligatory upon humankind to undertake material actions, which have material consequences.
Allah (swt) has made it an Obligation to rule by Islam through an Islamic State and society. Such a goal is unattainable by an individual or a few people, rather it is through the combined efforts of all those who are sincere to their Deen, desiring the pleasure of Allah (swt) and the revival of their Ummah. It was so in the era of RasulAllah ﷺ, when the Companions of RasulAllah ﷺ entered the Deen of Islam, from various segments of society. There were those amongst them who were notables, whose entry to Islam was a Support for the Muslims and Islam within Makkan society. And from those notables was the first man who entered Islam, Abu Bakr As-Siddiq (ra). The characteristics of Abu Bakr As-Siddiq had a great influence in firming the position of RasulAllah ﷺ, since Abu Bakr (ra) was one of the nobles of the Quraysh and one of their notables before Islam. Before Islam, he (ra) used to cater for the Hujaaj and hosted the people. The people used to seek his help in their disasters and calamities. He was renowned by them for his good character and they used to love him and know him for his goodness. He was also famous for his generosity and spending his money with openhandedness. He never prostrated to an idol for it was his sound enlightened mind that compelled him to refuse to do so and he prohibited alcohol for himself before Islam. He (ra) was given the title of as-Siddiq, “the truthful one,” because he affirmed the truth of the RasulAllah ﷺ and his affirmation extended to great degrees, as it did on the morning of the Isra’a (Night Journey), when it was said to him: your friend has claimed a Night Journey and he replied: If he said as much, then he is truthful! Allah (swt) characterized him as truthful when He (swt) said,
وَالَّذِي جَاء بِالصِّدْقِ وَصَدَّقَ بِهِ أُوْلَئِكَ هُمُ الْمُتَّقُونَ
“And the one who has brought the truth and (they who) believed in it – those are the righteous.” (Surah Az-Zumar 39:33)
Indeed in the characteristic of Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (ra) as a notable amongst his people was a Support for Islam and empowerment of it. Whosoever is endowed with such characteristics in his environment, his opinion holds weight and is followed by his contemporaries, his country and environment. His belief in any thought is a guide to his people of its correctness and accord. For example, the entry of Abu Dhar Al-Ghaffar (ra) into Islam, his return to his tribe of Ghaffar and his invitation for them to Islam, it was the personality and nobility of Abu Dhar (ra) that had an effect on his people such that they entered Islam.
Therefore the role of notables is a pivotal role. So their duty as the leadership of their community in the process of change for the ruling by the law of Allah (swt) is a greater duty than that of the general public, who have little influence in society or it is confined to their family. At the same time, were they to fall short in the work of revival of their Ummah, their sin is greater than the sin which falls on the necks of the general Muslims. The Greatest Companions (ra) who had these distinctive qualities understood this equivalence and the entry into Islam of Abu Bakr, Umar ibn Khattab, Hamza ibn Abi Talib, Uthman bin Affan and Abdul Rahman bin Auf (ra) was a Support for Islam and not merely an increase in the number and multitude of Muslims.
And every Companion who entered Islam did work which distinguished him from all others. Abu Bakr Al-Siddiq (ra) was distinguished by his inseparability from RasulAllah ﷺ in giving Dawah to establish Islam as an authority. He (ra) knew of the lineage and nobility of the tribes and this enabled RasulAllah ﷺ to select tribes for contacting, to offer Islam to them and ask for Nussrah for Islam from them in order to establish the Islamic State. It was narrated from Abu ibn Taghlib from ‘Ikrimah from Ibn ‘Abbas: Ali ibn Abi Talib told me: When Allah (swt) commanded His Messenger ﷺ to present himself to the Arab tribes, he went out, and Abu Bakr and I went with him, to Mina, where we joined one of the gatherings of the Arabs. Abu Bakr (ra) went forward and greeted them and he was known for his prominence in doing good and his knowledge of Arab lineages … Then we went to another gathering, which was a gathering of dignified and respectable people. Abu Bakr went forward and greeted them, and he said: “Who are you?’ They said: “Banu Shayban ibn Tha’labah.” Abu Bakr (ra) turned to the Messenger of Allah ﷺ and said: “May my father and mother be sacrificed for you. These are the best of the people’’
Thus, Abu Bakr (ra) did not content himself merely with entering into Islam, as do many of the notables in our time, where they pray, fast, pay Zakat and go to Hajj and Umrah, but spend most of their life chasing after the Dunyah, raising their children and building a “future” for them. He (ra) spent his all in raising the Deen of Allah (swt) highest, offering his wealth and very being. He (ra) did not spare anything of his wealth and effort for himself or his family. He paid ransoms for the release of many of the Companions, who had entered Islam and were consequently tortured by the Quraysh. He spent such that when Allah (swt) caused his death, he did not leave Dinaar and Dirham, though he was then the Khaleefah of RasulAllah ﷺ. Indeed, he (ra) is of those upon whom the saying of Allah (swt) applies,
وَابْتَغِ فِيمَا آتَاكَ اللَّهُ الدَّارَ الْآخِرَةَ وَلَا تَنْسَ نَصِيبَكَ مِنَ الدُّنْيَا وَأَحْسِنْ كَمَا أَحْسَنَ اللَّهُ إِلَيْكَ وَلَا تَبْغِ الْفَسَادَ فِي الْأَرْضِ إِنَّ اللَّهَ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُفْسِدِينَ
“But seek, through that which Allah has given you, the home of the Hereafter; and (yet), do not forget your share of the world. And do good as Allah has done good to you. And desire not corruption in the land. Indeed, Allah does not like those who corrupt.” (Surah al-Qasas 28:77)
Indeed, the acknowledgement of the society and respect for them makes them the true People of Influence (Ahl ul Hali wal Aqd) in society. It is in their capability to form and shape a public opinion upon Islam, Therefore, the role of the notables is to form the public opinion that it is essential to change the corrupt reality and replace it with Islam as a way of life, through a state that rules by Islam. This role is one of the Duties of the notables in the first place, since if they called for that the rest of the people will listen and follow them. Additionally, the notables have a way to have influence upon the People of Power and Security (Ahl ul Quwwa wa Man’a), who can take power from the rulers who usurped the authority, handing it over to the sincere advocates for the establishment of the Khilafah (Caliphate) on the Method of the Prophethood. Therefore, although they are not from the People of Nussrah, they have a moral authority and compulsion over the People of Nussrah. It is their duty to conform to the Seerah of the Companion of RasulAllah ﷺ, Abu Bakr (ra), by calling the People of Nussrah to support the advocates for the Khilafah on the Method of the Prophethood. If they fail to do their duty, they will be sinful, incurring upon themselves not less than the sin of those who flee the battlefield, for the Nussrah for Islam is akin to Jihad in the Path of Allah. Even more than that, it is greater than Jihad in the Path of Allah, for the Nussrah is for Islam and the establishment of the Islamic State is the guardian of all the Duties and not the guardian of the Obligation of Jihad in the Path of Allah alone. Their abandoning of their Duty means their content at the Ummah remaining in the darkness of the rule by other than all that Allah (swt) has revealed. There is no doubt that there is a great sin in such neglect for those who are weighed upon the balance of Shariah and the destructive consequences of failing to undertake this Duty. Allah (swt) said,
وَلَقَدْ كَانُوا عَاهَدُوا اللَّهَ مِنْ قَبْلُ لَا يُوَلُّونَ الْأَدْبَارَ وَكَانَ عَهْدُ اللَّهِ مَسْئُولًا
“And they had already promised Allah before not to turn their backs and flee. And ever is the promise to Allah (that about which one will be) questioned.” (Surah Al-Ahzab 33:15)
And Allah (swt) said,
يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِذَا لَقِيتُمُ الَّذِينَ كَفَرُوا زَحْفًا فَلَا تُوَلُّوهُمُ الْأَدْبَارَ * وَمَنْ يُوَلِّهِمْ يَوْمَئِذٍ دُبُرَهُ إِلَّا مُتَحَرِّفًا لِقِتَالٍ أَوْ مُتَحَيِّزًا إِلَى فِئَةٍ فَقَدْ بَاءَ بِغَضَبٍ مِنَ اللَّهِ وَمَأْوَاهُ جَهَنَّمُ وَبِئْسَ الْمَصِيرُ
“O you who have believed, when you meet those who disbelieve advancing (for battle), do not turn to them your backs (in flight) – And whoever turns his back to them on such a day, unless swerving (as a strategy) for war or joining (another) company, has certainly returned with anger (upon him) from Allah, and his refuge is Hell – and wretched is the destination.” (Surah Al-Anfaal 8: 15-16)
Written for the Central Media Office of Hizb ut Tahrir by
Bilal Al-Muhajir – Pakistan