The society of Muslims needs to be guided by caliph after prophet Mohammad (PBUH). Hence, after the death of holy prophet (PBUH), a caliph was assigned to guide and rule the Muslims. According to my findings in noble Qur'an, God has assigned the caliph. For example, Moses the prophet (PBUH) didn't ask people to form a Shura for choosing a successor when he left for Miqat.

Moses said: "O’ Allah) assign me a vizier from my family, (that is) my brother Aaron (Haroon) ...,”(Allah) said: "We granted your requests, O’ Moses.”(20:29-36).

Or in another verse, Allah the exalted, directly mentions the word "Caliph":

يَا دَاوُودُ إِنَّا جَعَلْنَاكَ خَلِيفَةً فِي الْأَرْ‌ضِ فَاحْكُم بَيْنَ النَّاسِ بِالْحَقِّ وَلَا تَتَّبِعِ الْهَوَىٰ فَيُضِلَّكَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ ۚ إِنَّ الَّذِينَ يَضِلُّونَ عَن سَبِيلِ اللَّـهِ لَهُمْ عَذَابٌ شَدِيدٌ بِمَا نَسُوا يَوْمَ الْحِسَابِ

[We said], "O David, indeed We have made you a successor upon the earth, so judge between the people in truth and do not follow [your own] desire, as it will lead you astray from the way of Allah." Indeed, those who go astray from the way of Allah will have a severe punishment for having forgotten the Day of Account.(38:26)

But I didn't find other clues mentioning the authority of the prophet or people. Please let me know if others except God has such an authority. Support your answer using Qur'an and Hadith.


2 Answers 2


ALL the personalities that you mentioned to support the claim that it's only God that can elect leaders for the Muslims are Prophets, who are divinely ordained by God to guide mankind. We can't use those verses to then argue that Abubakar, Umar, Usman and Ali and indeed any subsequent caliph/ruler must be specially commissioned by God before they can be considered as legitimate.

If we were to elect a Caliph today, how are we going to go about that, if we're to wait upon divine command from heaven?

The Prophets are exceptions. Can humans elect Prophets for themselves? That's God's prerogative.

With regards Q38:26 that you quoted, that as well can't be used as an argument, because the entire mankind were made to be "khalifa" on the earth:

Q2:30 And [mention, O Muhammad], when your Lord said to the angels, "Indeed, I will make upon the earth a successive authority." They said, "Will You place upon it one who causes corruption therein and sheds blood, while we declare Your praise and sanctify You?" Allah said, "Indeed, I know that which you do not know."

And after David and his son Solomon (both Prophets), the Jewish people still had to "elect" leaders for themselves (usually through succession) as people can't remain ungoverned. Yusuf also served under the King of Egypt, and he wouldn't have done that if he had considered his leadership to be illegitimate. Yusuf himself rose to his position by being nominated by the King.

With regards how to go about electing leaders, we've witnessed nomination and consultation and in later years, succession, being used throughout Islamic History. Ultimately, of course, nobody can be a caliph/ruler unless God wills it to happen (Q3:26).


This is a matter on which there is a well known disagreement between the Ahl al-Sunnah and the Shias.

According to the Ahl al-Sunnah, the caliph can be appointed by the people. This is done by giving of allegiance by a quorum of Muslims. The choice should be made by consultation of the Ahlul Hal wal Aqd (أهل الحل والعقد) and\or by nomination from the previous caliph. See Who elected Khalifah in Rashidun Chalipate?

The evidence the Ahl al-Sunnah cite for their view includes the Quranic verse which describes the desired behavior of the Muslims:

وأمرهم شورى بينهم

whose affair is [determined by] consultation among themselves

Quran 42:38

Appointment of the caliph is among the affairs of the people, and there is no clear text which excludes caliphate from this verse. Hence this is a matter which can be determined by the people through mutual consultation.

They also cite evidence from ahadith such as :

  • The hadith about appointing a leader in a group:

    إذا خرج ثلاثة في سفر فليؤمروا أحدهم

    When three are on a journey, they should appoint one of them as their commander.

    Abu Dawud

    This hadith implies that the leader can be appointed by the people, and the caliph is a type of leader.

  • The ahadith about which claimant to to support:

    قالوا فما تأمرنا قال فوا ببيعة الأول فالأول

    The people asked, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! What do you order us (to do)? [regarding the calips]" He said, "Obey the one who will be given the pledge of allegiance first."

    Bukhari 3455

    إذا بويع لخليفتين فاقتلوا الآخر منهما

    When oath of allegiance has been taken for two caliphs, kill the one for whom the oath was taken later.

    Muslim 1853

    These ahadith imply that the caliph is selected by the choice of the people, otherwise the Prophet ﷺ, would have simply commanded us to accept whomever Allah had appointed via revelation.

  • The decision of the Prophet ﷺ, to not specify a successor:

    فقال النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم ... لقد هممت أو أردت أن أرسل إلى أبي بكر وابنه، وأعهد أن يقول القائلون أو يتمنى المتمنون، ثم قلت يأبى الله ويدفع المؤمنون، أو يدفع الله ويأبى المؤمنون

    The Prophet (ﷺ) said: ... I felt like sending for Abu Bakr and his son, and appoint him as my successor lest some people claimed something or some others wished something, but then I said (to myself), 'Allah would not allow it to be otherwise, and the Muslims would prevent it to be otherwise'.

    Bukhari 7217 and 5666

    This hadith implies that the Prophet ﷺ did not appoint a caliph to succeed him and let the Muslims appoint one instead. It is evidence that the caliph can be appointed by the people.

It is also evident by Ijma' since the Sahaba appointed Abu Bakr (Bukhari 7219), Umar (Bukhari 7218), Uthman (Bukhari 7207) and Ali through consultation or through nomination. Their conduct is evidence near the Ahl al-Sunnah since the Sahaba are those with whom Allah is pleased (Quran 9:100, Quran 48:29) and they are the best nation (Quran 3:110) - these verses would be violated if they all did something unlawful.

And it is also evident from logical reasoning: The Ahl al-Sunnah believe that revelation has ceased and there can be no prophet after Muhammad ﷺ, so appointment of caliphs through revelation from Allah is no longer applicable. Hence the need for a ruler has to be met in some other way and the only way that is possible is by the people selecting him.

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