The Khulafaa are the rulers of the Muslim Ummah
Hadith 1, "The tribes of Israa'il were ruled by the Prophets, every time a Prophet deceased he was followed by another Prophet, and there will be no Prophets after me, and there will be Khulafaa (successors) and they will be many." The companions then asked "What do you order us?" To which the Prophet replied "Fulfil your pledge of allegiance to them one after another, and give them their rights, and truly Allah will ask them about their responsibilities" (Bukhari / Muslim)
A: The verb " تسو سهم " - to manage the affairs - indicates that the Prophets before the Messenger of Allah also used to rule their followers, managing their affairs according to whatever had been revealed to them by Allah
B: Khulafaa is the plural of Khalifah, and the hadith indicates from the use of the verb " يكثر ون " (they will be many) that there will be several after the Prophet , contradicting the claim that the Khilafah was only in existence during the period of the first 4 righteous leaders.
C: There is a narration which mentions the Khilafah remaining for 30 years, and as mentioned by Sheikh ibn Taymiyya this is considered to be the complete example of Khilafah upon the Sunnah and way of the Prophet , and not a restriction to say that the Khilafah was only for 30 years. And in this way the this narration and the hadith of this section are understood together.
D: As mentioned by Imam Nawawi, the phrase "fulfil your pledge of allegaince to them one after another" indicates that it is only permitted to have one Khalifah at a time, and any other pledge given during a time when there is a Khalifah in existence is considered invalid.
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