The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The leaders are from Quraysh. The righteous among them are the leaders of the righteous, and the wicked among them are the leaders of the wicked.”The hadîth is recoeded by al-Hâkim in his Mustadrak. It is supported by narrations in Musnad Ahmad, Sunan al-Nasâ’î al-Kubrâ, and Musannaf Ibn Abî Shaybah.
Al-Nasâ’î relates it from Anas. Likewise al-Tabarânî cites it in al-Du`â, as well as al-Bazzâr and al-Bayhaqî, with chains of transmission going through Anas.Its Legal Implications:
I have written a short treatise on the subject of this hadîth’s various narrations from roughly forty different Companions.
Al-Hâkim, al-Tabarânî, and al-Bayhaqî relate the hadîth from `Alî. Scholars disagree whether it is his personal statement or the statement of the Prophet. Al-Dâraqutni, in al-`Ilal, deems it more likely to be `Alî’s personal statement.
Abû Bakr b. Abî `Asim narrates the hadîth from Abû Bakr b. Abî Shaybah from the Companion Abû Barzah al-Aslamî. Its chain of transmission is good.
We also have, in Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim, a hadîth related by Abû Hurayrah which reads: “The people follow Quraysh.” In Sahîh Muslim, this is also related from Jâbir.
Then we have in Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Muslim, by way of Ibn `Umar: “This matter will remain with Quraysh as long as there are two of them alive.” This comes in Sahîh al-Bukhârî by way of Mu`âwiyah with the wording: “Indeed this matter is with Quraysh.”
In Sunan al-Tirmidhî and Sunan al-Nasâ’î, we have `Amr b. al-`As relating: “Quraysh are the leaders of the people in good and evil until the Day of Judgment.”
Being from the tribe of Quraysh is regarded by all scholars as a condition for being the supreme political leader. They have considered it a point of consensus (`ijmâ’). No disagreement about this has been related to us from any of the Pious Predecessors, nor from any of those who came after them the prominent scholars of the provinces.This conforms to the practice of the Companions and those who came after them up until the time of al-Nawawî
The Prophet (peace be upon him) meant this only for a case where there is a choice between candidates. When we want to choose a supreme leader for the Muslims, we should choose someone from Quraysh. Yet, who from Quraysh should be chosen? He should be someone who adheres to the faith. It is not just a mere question of ancestry, of being able to trace your lineage back to Quraysh as a tribe or even to the Prophet (peace be upon him). There is no special distinction in this without true piety. If a iniquitous man from Quraysh comes forward and says he is entitled to the office, we would not appoint him. We would say to him that the primary consideration of a leader is that he must be just.It would seem that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said that the leader should be from Quraysh because a head of state needs to be able to command respect and have the power to mobilize people to action. He needs to possess this ability in order to work towards the welfare of the nation. This will not be possible for a leader regarded in his society as being a person of ignoble status. In Arabia at the Prophet’s time, only Quraysh had the necessary political clout.
Abû Bakr al-Bâqillânî* was among those who did not consider being from the tribe of Quraysh a condition for holding supreme political office. He realized that in his day, the tribal chauvinism in favor of Quraysh had all but vanished and that non-Arab kings were actually the ones to possess political power over the Qurayshi “Caliphs”. He therefore saw no need for this condition – in spite of the fact that he was agreeing with the opinion of the Khawârij in this matter – since he could observe the state of the Caliphs in his time.”And Allah knows best.