Every Khilafat Day – year in year out – our thoughts automatically flow to a sad but very important episode of the Jamaat’s history: the split of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat into two sections. A vast majority of the Jamaat, including very close companions of the Promised Messiahas, believed that his succession should continue in the form of Khilafat. This opinion was inferred from the Promised Messiah’sas book Al Wasiyyat.
But there was a small section that thought that the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya (administrative body) was the only true successor of the Promised Messiahas, and they too claimed to infer this from the same book, Al Wasiyyat.
This conflict led to the split with one group following the system of Khilafat and the other taking only the Anjuman to be the rightful heir and successor of the Promised Messiahas. The latter, who later took on the name of Ahmadiyya Anjuman-e-Ishaat-e-Islam Lahore (AAIIL), were adamant that the Promised Messiahas had on no occasion mentioned in Al Wasiyyat, or anywhere else for that matter, that a Khalifa or Khilafat would be his successor.
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya (Qadian) continued to point to passages where the Promised Messiahas had cited the example of Hazrat Abu Bakrra, claiming that this was sufficient to prove that he wanted the system of Khilafat to succeed him. However, the AAIIL insisted that had this been the case, the Promised Messiahas should have categorically mentioned the concept of Khilafat as his successor in clear cut terms.
By the grace of Allah, the Ahmadiyya Archive & Research Centre has discovered a document, handwritten by the Promised Messiahas which sheds light on the issue of Khilafat.
This handwritten note of the Promised Messiahas is a reply to a letter written to him by a Mustafa Hussain Tirmizi (of Lucknow, India). The writer, referring to the Sunni-Shia dispute over the Khilafat of Hazrat Abu Bakrra and Hazrat Alira, asked why the Holy Prophetsa had not clearly stated that he was to be succeeded by Khilafat and the procedure of election thereof. The six questions posed to the Promised Messiahas by the writer are as follows:
1. Was there a need for Khilafat after the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa?
2. If there was, then why did God or the Prophetsa himself not appoint someone as his Khalifa?
3. If there wasn’t the need, then why was Khilafat established?
4. If his companions felt that there would be the need of Khilafat, why did they not request the Holy Prophetsa to appoint a Khalifa?
5. Why did they not enquire that if the Holy Prophetsa was not appointing someone, should they choose a Khalifa?
6. Has the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa clearly stated anywhere that his successor was to be elected through ijma [consensus]?
To this, the Promised Messiahas replied:
مولوی صاحب [حضرت مولوی نورالدین صاحبؓ] سے جواب دریافت کرلیں۔ اور میرے نزدیک تو اب یہ بحث ہی فضول ہے۔ اسوقت نہ حضرت ابوبکر زندہ ہیں نہ حضرت علی۔ وہ دور گذر گیا۔ اب تو یہ تحقیقات چاہئیں کہ اب خلافت کا کون مستحق ہے۔ قرآن شریف میں خلافت کے بارے میں صریح پیشگوئی تھی، اس کے موافق ہونا ضروری تھا، اورپیش گوئیوں کے امر میں رسول کو دخل دینے کی کیا ضرورت تھی؟ خدا اس کا متکفل تھا، جیسا کہ سورۃ نور سے سمجھا جاتا ہے۔
“You can get a reply from Maulvi Sahib [Hazrat Maulvi Hakim Nuruddinra]. According to my understanding, this debate is now futile. Neither is Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiq present, nor is Hazrat Ali. The research now required is as to who is worthy of Khilafat now. Since the Holy Quran clearly prophesied about Khilafat, it was destined to happen accordingly and there was no need for the Holy Prophet to intervene in matters of divine prophecy. God had the matter in His own hand, as is understood from Surah al-Nur.”
This blessed note by the Promised Messiahas clearly explains that although he had given indication in Al Wasiyyat about Khilafat, yet he had firm belief that Khilafat should follow. Also, keeping in line with the practice of his holy master, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa, he had left it to Allah to establish Khilafat as He had done after the Holy Prophetsa.
Although the dispute erupted in 1914 when the election of the Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra took place, it had its roots right from the very inception of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya in 1908.
The 111 years that have gone by are a clear proof of Khilafat being the true succession of the Promised Messiahas. The Promised Messiahas had prophesied that his Jamaat would spread to the corners of the Earth; the world has seen this happen only with the Jamaat that was led by Khalifatul Masih. He had prophesied that millions of people from around the world would come under the banner of his Jamaat; the world has witnessed this happen to the Jamaat that sided with Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. The Promised Messiahas had prophesied that his Jamaat would face fierce persecution and tests at the hands of its opponents but would continue to progress in its great mission of propagating Islam; we all know that all this opposition was faced by the Jamaat that gave their hand in the hand of Khilafat and this guiding hand led the Jamaat to great heights despite the bitter opposition.
The Jamaat was blessed with the first Khalifa, then the second, the third, the fourth and, in April 2003, with the fifth Khilafat. Every phase had its own unique features. We are fortunate to be living in the time of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa and to be witnessing the great bounties of Allah that have been bestowed on the Jamaat in this blessed era.
How true are the words of the Promised Messiahas in the note given above! Allah is the guardian of Khilafat. Allah took it into His own hands. Allah was to sow it, Allah was to take it to the heights of progress. The words of the Promised Messiahas have proven that Khilafat was, is and always will be the only true successor of the Promised Messiahas.