[(1.2) /al-Fatawa al-‘Ata’iyyah]
Q & A
“The Inability of the Khalifah to Carry out His Duties”
The following is an answer by the noble faqih Sh. `Ata’ Ibn Khalil (Allah protect him):
عمل الخليفة هو تطبيق أحكام الشرع
وهذا يتطلب القدرة على مباشرة الأعمال بنفسه أو متابعة الأعمال بنفسه إذا كلف غيره القيام بها. فإذا أصابه مرض يمنعه من ذلك، فأصبح لا يمكنه المباشرة بنفسه ولا يمكنه متابعة من كلفه بنفسه كأن يكون مَرِض مرضاً يقتضي بقاءه في العناية الفائقة مدةً طويلةً، ثم أن لا يختلط بغيره بعد خروجه من العناية، كأن يكون هناك عدوى أو يصاب بآلام مبرحة تفقده القدرة على التركيز والاستيعاب أو يمرض يؤثر على الذاكرة، أو الشلل المؤثر على سلامة الحواس، وعلى القدرة على النطق أو نحو ذلك بحيث يستمر معه المرض مدةً تؤثر على سلامة الحكم في الدولة، وهذه يقدرها قاضي المظالم، فيدرس مع الخبراء مدة العلاج وسير العلاج، وهل هو ميئوس منه أو ممكن البرء منه وهكذا. في مثل هذه الحالات ونحوها فإنه يبقى خليفةً إلى أن تحكم محكمة المظالم بعزله بعد أن تنتظر عليه المدة التي لو استمر بعدها فإن أحكام الشرع تتعطل ويصيب الدولة والأمة الضرر من وراء ذلك. عند ذلك تحكم بعزله ويبايع خليفة غيره وفق أحكام الشرع…
My dear brother, after imparting my greetings,
 The function of the khalifah is to implement and apply the Islamic laws (ahkam al-shar`): this is based on him being able to do the work directly himself or to pursue and follow up the matter if he delegates it to someone else to carry it out on his behalf. If he is afflicted by an illness that prevents him from doing that such that he then becomes unable to carry out [his duties] directly or unable to follow up on anyone else he has delegated on his behalf due to:  prolonged illness requiring him to stay in an intensive care unit or  when he leaves the intensive care unit is unable to interact with others or  he has debilitating pain that removes any ability to focus or  illness that affects his memory or  any paralysis and illness that affects his senses or ability to speak and other such illnesses that persists for a period of time affecting the correct ruling of the State. This will be determined and judged by the Judge in the Courts of Unjust Acts (qadi al-muzalim) who will examine from reports the duration and course of the treatment, i.e. whether it is a hopeless situation or a hopeful one. In all these scenarios as well as others like it, he will remain the khalifah until the decree to depose him from office is issued by the Court of Unjust Act (mahkamat al-muzalim). At that time, the decree to remove him from office and to contract another in place of him would be in accordance with the rulings of the Law […]
Please accept my greetings.
- The jurist generally divide bodily deficiencies with regard to the khalifah (and any ruler in general) discharging his contractual duties into four categories:
 Those deficiencies that do not impede the khalifah in executing his duties. Thus, a khalifah cannot be replaced simply because he has certain minor impediments, e.g. hard of hearing, slight visual impairment or even a stammer – where in the case of the latter – based on the reasoning that if they were not an obstruction for receiving Prophethood (nabuwwah [s: as in the case of Prophet Musa]) then by greater reasoning it is not an impediment for anyone contracted into the temporal office of the khilafah.
 Those deficiencies that do not make him an ideal candidate for election into office because his election would lead to undermining the Ummah’s rights in this case, e.g. loss of limbs, amputated limbs, etc. thus seriously impeding mobility and hence affecting his discharging of his duties. This is based on the legal principle: ma la yutimm al-wajib illah bi-hi fa-huwa wajib (‘that which is required to realise an obligation becomes itself an obligation’).
 Those deficiencies that partially impede the khalifah in executing some of his duties and so he is not able to completely discharge his duties (kamal al-tasarruf) and hence whether he is suitable to continue in office or not, e.g. partial immobility, partial loss of limbs and partial disability.
 Those deficiencies that directly affect his work of discharging his contractual duties while in office (an example is outlined in the answer above).
 See al-Nabhani, Nizam al-Hukm, pp.55-59 and pp.117-126 (eng).
 Ibid., p.126.
 al-Dimyaji, al-Imamah al-`Uzama, MA Thesis, Umma l-Qura, Riyadh 1987, p.262
 al-Qalqashandi, Ma’athir al-Inafah, 1:69 and Abu Ya`la, al-Ahkam al-Sultaniyyah, p.21. Imam Ibn Hazm writes, al-Fasl fi ’l-Milal, 4:167: “There is no harm if the Imam has certain deficiencies as a person such as being blind, deaf or disfigured or whether he has no hands or legs, or reaches a very old age as long as he is sane and discerning or even if he is a hundred years old […] such a person would be fit to be Imam and their imamah would be permitted because no text of the Qur’an and Sunnah as well as consensus (ijma`), reason and evidence exists to the contrary…”
لا يضر الإمام أن يكون في خلقه عيب، كالأعمى والأصم والأجدع والأجذم والأحدب، والذي لا يدان له ولا رجلان، ومن بلغ الهرم ما دام يعقل ولو أنه ابن مائة عام … فكل هؤلاء إمامتهم جائزة، إذ لم يمنع منها نص القرآن ولا سنة ولا إجماع ولا نظر ولا دليل أصلا