100 Years Ago… – From division to unity: Solution to Khilafat issue


The Review of Religions, May 1924 & Al Fazl, 30 May 1924

The following is a summary of the views that His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra, [then] head of the Ahmadiyya Community, expressed with regard to the deposition of the Turkish Khalifa and the abolition of Khilafat, in his Friday sermon delivered at Qadian on 14 March 1924. (Editor, The Review of Religions)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra said [summarised]:

When war broke out between England and Turkey, the Indian Muslims helped the former against the latter and the ulema issued fatwas pronouncing it to be a duty incumbent on the Muslims to help the English in the war. Even then, the Indian Muslims looked upon the Sultan of Turkey as the Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen but they went forth with their guns on their shoulders to fight the forces of the Khalifa and wrested from him with sword and fire the sacred places for the possession of which English armies had been sent into Turkey. Our community also helped the English on that occasion. We also fought for the English against the Turks; but we did not go out to fight against the Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen, for we did not look upon the Sultan as Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen. He was at war with our king and it was our religious duty to help our king, so we fought for him.

When the inevitable result of the war was about to come out and the Turks had to taste the bitter fruits of defeat, the very Muslims who had fired bullets at the forces of the Khalifa and had conquered his territory for the English, changed their attitude and began to represent the action of the government as interference in religious matters.

We, too, sympathised with the Turks, for, after the victory, the victor meted out to them a treatment which they did not mete out to others and that for the only fault that the Turks professed the religion of Islam. This made us feel for the Turks and we drew the attention of the British government to the injustice that was being done to them. Yet, in spite of this, we were accused of sycophancy and pusillanimity, charges that might, with justice, be applied to those who believed the Sultan to be their Khalifa and yet went forth to fight with him on behalf of the English.

After the conclusion of the war, two All-India meetings were convened by the Muslims of India and I too was invited to attend. On both occasions, I sent my views in writing to the meeting and asked the Muslim leaders to base their demand for sympathy with Turkey not on the fact that the Sultan was the Caliph, but on the fact that Turkey was a Muslim power, for all sects of Islam did not look upon the Sultan as Khalifat-ul-Muslimeen and therefore their sympathies for Turkey could not be enlisted on the ground of the Sultan being the Caliph. But my advice was not heeded.

Now, we find that the Turks have broken the backs of the Muslims by abolishing Khilafat altogether. He who had been styled as the ‘saviour’ and ‘protector’ of Khilafat has now been guilty of the most heinous deed with regard to the Khilafat. He does not content himself with the mere abolition of Khilafat, but permits himself to do a most atrocious deed. He not only deposes and exiles him, whom he had himself invested with Khilafat but also expels his whole family from Turkish territory and confiscates their property. This is a punishment which is not meted out even to thieves and robbers, for although they are sent to prison, yet their wives and children are not made to share the imprisonment with them, nor are they exiled from their homes. If the Khalifa was not qualified for the post or if he had made himself deserving of punishment by his misdeeds, there was morally no justification whatever for the banishment of his wife and children. What must he have thought of the allegiance of 20 crores of Muslims who called him their Khalifa.

But why did this happen? I think all this is due to the agitation which the Muslims of India made with regard to the Khilafat. It is the so-called friends of the Khalifa who have brought down this misfortune on him. The Turks were led to think that if there was ever a rupture between the Republic and the Khalifa, the sympathies of the masses would be with the Khalifa and the republic would fall to pieces. From a political standpoint, this view of theirs was right but the treatment which they have accorded to their Khalifa is extremely deplorable and must be condemned.

After making the above remarks, His Holiness drew the attention of the Muslims to the Khilafat which God has established in the Ahmadiyya Movement and declared that now there could be no Khalifa except one who was a follower of the Promised Messiahas and that if the Muslims desired the welfare of this world and the next, they should accept the Khilafat established by God.

Khilafat and means of tabligh

Al Fazl, 30 May 1924

Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahim Nayyarra (1883-1948)

Weekly report

The Promised Messiahas has published in his book, Fath-e-Islam (Victory of Islam), that the means currently at hand for the spread of Islam are as follows:

Compilation and publication

Leaflets, (public speeches and sermons)

Meetings and discussions [with visitors and travellers]


Bai‘at, i.e., pledging allegiance to a holy personage, and working under an organised system

Adhering to the branches presented above, I [Hazrat Abdur Rahim Nayyarra] always send my weekly reports to the office of Khilafat through Nazir Da‘wat-o-Tabligh (Invitation and Preaching). This week’s report is given below:

Sermons and speeches

Apart from the Friday sermon, the public speech held every Saturday evening took place as usual, followed by an interesting question-and-answer session.

At times, it appears that some Christians are particularly tasked with causing disruption in our gatherings. However, the attendees handle them very well.

Last Sunday morning, a lecture was held on the prophecies mentioned in the Bible about the Holy Prophetsa, which was listened to with great interest by the people.

After the Sunday lecture, this humble one met a Turk and an Iranian. They mentioned that they regularly attended my gatherings and also expressed their sincerity towards the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. The Turk gentleman, who resides in Holland, said, “I am already an Ahmadi.”  After last week’s speech, an Indian youth, who is a law student, shared a dream with me. He witnessed me wearing a green turban and preaching to him. After the preaching, he found a Persian book in his hand, and was told that it was a book by Hazrat Ahmadas, the Promised Messiah.

This young man already possesses great devotion, and upon being told the interpretation of his dream, he said to me, “From tonight, consider me an Ahmadi.”

Along with him was another Indian who is a professional trader. He expressed, “Since coming aboard, I am experiencing a profound impact on my thoughts. And I feel very much inclined towards Ahmadiyyat.”


By the grace of God Almighty, through this branch, [i.e., correspondence], significant and beneficial work is being accomplished. Many seekers of truth from far-off corners of the world write to us in their quest for the true [Islam]. Consequently, the available literature is dispatched to them.

There is a strong desire in the hearts of people to study the claims of the Promised Messiahas. Recently, a doctor, who has been a spiritualist for 40 years, is also manifesting great interest in Ahmadiyyat. 


The work of preaching is progressing steadily in the three countries of West Africa [where Ahmadiyya missions are established]. Our greatest need in these countries is education. If we can educate the children of Muslims and reduce the influence of Christians, who are fewer in number, we will consider it a significant service to Islam. The community in Lagos is fully focused on this, and may Allah be their helper and supporter. 

Issue of Khilafat and the pitiable state of Indian Muslims

Four years ago, an Indian barrister living in London brought a memorial to us at the Ahmadiyya Dar al-Tabligh. In it, threats were made to the British government for maintaining a stance against the Turkish caliphate. We refused to sign it. As a result, this gentleman was so displeased with us that when we met him again at the beginning of the year 1923, he strongly expressed his past grievances and anger.

When Muhammad Ali Sahib of Oxon arrived and harshly admonished the British government at the Woking Mosque, thinking he could get everything accepted through mere words, we were deemed worthy of condemnation in his speech as well.

In short, these political leaders, on every occasion, considering their stance to be infallible, look down upon those who, by following the Divinely appointed leader, view the message of the Promised Messiahas as the pathway to Muslim Ummah’s progress. However, the course of time has proven that Allah and His Messengersa are truthful and that true progress lies in heeding the voice coming from the heavens, [i.e., revelation of God Almighty].

The damage caused by the migration movement in [British] India, the adverse effects and lack of respect resulting from false threats spread abroad, and the recent decision of the Turkish Parliament regarding the Khilafat have created a very precarious and pitiable situation for the Indian Muslims. 

Mr Lloyd George, former British Prime Minister, wrote an article in the Daily Chronicle mocking Mr Muhammad Ali’s views on Khilafat. In the Times newspaper, a letter by a prejudiced priest titled “The Future of Islam” was published, and Christians, by plotting against Islam, are taking advantage of these words of Mr Ramsay MacDonald, the British Prime Minister [1924], “The foreign policy of the [British] Empire is becoming consistent with Christianity,” and spreading hate against Indians, Egyptians, and Turks. On top of that, an Indian Arya Samajist in London stated, “Now, Hindus are not at all afraid of Muslims. Those days of fear are gone. If you want to live in India, live passively.”

This is the opinion of our fellow countrymen and outsiders, caused by our repeated unprincipled approach, irreligiousness, and adherence to self-invented principles of freedom.

مسلمانان ہند خدارا ہوش کرو

سنبھل جاؤ کہ وقت امتحان ہے

“O Indian Muslims! For the love of God, wake up. Be cautious, for it is a time of trial.” 

Ahmadiyya view on Khilafat

The newspaper [New] Near East has published a letter by the imam Ahmadiyya Mosque, London, on the subject of Khilafat. In it, while commenting on the recent actions of the Turks, this humble one has informed the British public that four epochs are mentioned in the traditions of the Holy Prophetsa:

The era of prophethood

The era of the caliphate on the precepts of prophethood

The era of monarchy

The era of Khilafat on the precepts of prophethood 

Now is the time of the fourth, i.e., Khilafat. Earthly empire belongs to earthly kings. Spiritual empire belongs to the spiritual king, the Promised Messiahas, and the Khilafat is also his. The purpose of the current Khilafat is solely the propagation of Islam and to conquer hearts for Muhammadsa, the Messenger of Allah.

Preaching in London

By the grace of Allah, every week, hundreds of people hear the message of the Promised Messiahas. Seekers of truth benefit from the words of Prophet Ahmadas. Besides the usual three weekly lectures, I had the opportunity to visit a [literary] society. The topic of my lecture was “Saints of the East and West.”

At the end of the speech, Allah blessed me with the opportunity to mention the Khatam-ul-Auliya [Seal of the Saints], Hazrat Ahmad, peace be upon him. Consequently, while discussing the saints of the East, I aptly mentioned the Promised Messiahas and his Khulafa. This turned out to be another lecture, and the audience really appreciated it. All praise belongs to Allah the Almighty.

(Transcribed and edited by Al Hakam from the original English published in The Review of Religions, May 1924, and translated from the original Urdu, published in the 30 May 1924 issue of Al Fazl)

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