Answers to Everyday Issues – Part 67: Obedience to Khalifatul Masih


Guidance regarding basic Islamic issues that Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, has given on various occasions in his written correspondence and during MTA programmes is being published officially below for everyone’s benefit.

Obedience to Khalifatul Masih

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Someone from Egypt wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, stating, “I had an extensive discussion with another Ahmadi about the jinn, during which I quoted a reference from Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra. I sensed that he differentiates between the sayings of the Promised Messiahas and his Khulafa. He believes that an Ahmadi can have differing opinions from the Khalifa on certain matters, but if there is a clear directive from the Promised Messiahas, then he is bound to follow it. Please, could you kindly guide me on how I should respond to this?”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 7 September 2022, provided the following answer to this question:

“There is no room for doubt or uncertainty that the Prophets of Allah are obligatory to be obeyed [by the people they were sent to]. Spiritual progress and salvation in the hereafter are tied to their complete obedience, and disobedience to them not only causes disgrace in this world but also leads to abiding punishment in the life hereafter. This concept has been repeatedly and variously expressed in the Holy Quran. As such, it is stated:

وَمَاۤ اَرۡسَلۡنَا مِنۡ رَّسُوۡلٍ اِلَّا لِيُطَاعَ بِاِذۡنِ اللّٰہِ

“‘We have sent no Messenger but that he should be obeyed by the command of Allah.’ (Surah an-Nisa’, Ch.4: V.65)

“It also states:

 وَمَنۡ يَّعۡصِ اللّٰہَ وَرَسُوۡلَہٗ وَيَتَعَدَّ حُدُوۡدَہٗ يُدۡخِلۡہُ نَارًا خَالِدًا فِيۡہَا وَلَہٗ عَذَابٌ مُّہِيۡنٌ

“‘Those who disobey Allah and His Messenger and transgress the limits set by Him, will He cause to enter a fire wherein they shall abide, and they shall have an humiliating punishment.’ (Surah an-Nisa’, Ch.4: V.15)

“Likewise, it states:

وَمَا کَانَ لِمُؤۡمِنٍ وَّلَا مُؤۡمِنَةٍ اِذَا قَضَي اللّٰہُ وَرَسُوۡلُہٗۤ اَمۡرًا اَنۡ يَّکُوۡنَ لَہُمُ الۡخِيَرَةُ مِنۡ اَمۡرِھِمۡ ؕ وَمَنۡ يَّعۡصِ اللّٰہَ وَرَسُوۡلَہٗ فَقَدۡ ضَلَّ ضَلٰلًا مُّبِيۡنًا

“‘It is not open to a believing man or a believing woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decided a matter, to exercise their own choice in deciding it. Whoso disobeys Allah and His Messenger, falls into open error.’ (Surah al-Ahzab, Ch.33: V.37)

“Similarly, in the Hadith, there are numerous instances where the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa not only followed him completely in religious matters but also in worldly affairs. This adherence was so thorough that in certain worldly matters, the Holy Prophetsa had to say:

أَنْتُمْ أَعْلَمُ بِأَمْرِ دُنْيَاكُمْ

“‘You know better about your worldly affairs than I do.’ (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-fada’il, Bab wujubi imtithali ma qalahu shar‘an duna ma dhakarahu min ma‘ayishi d-dunya ‘ala sabili r-ra’y)

The Promised Messiahas, in affirming the obedience to Prophets as the true obedience to Allah Almighty and the pivot of salvation, states:

“‘It is an established and manifestly evident truth that any violation of divine injunctions is a sin and cause for consignment to Hell. Here, just as God enjoins obedience to Himself, so does He enjoin obedience to the Prophet. Therefore, whosoever turns his back on His commandment is guilty of committing a crime the punishment for which is Hell. […] Anyone who exclusively relies upon his own barren Tauhid (which, in fact, is not even Tauhid), considers himself absolved from obeying the Messenger, and severs his ties with the Messenger, detaches himself completely from him, and insolently oversteps him; he is disobedient to God and bereft of salvation. […] God has linked belief in His existence to belief in His Messengers. The secret underlying this is that man has been invested with the capacity of believing in Tauhid in the way that fire is latent within a stone. The person of a Messenger is like a flint who strikes the stone by focussing his attention upon it and brings out that latent fire in the stone. It is not possible, therefore, that without the flint of a Prophet, the spark of Tauhid may be ignited in any heart. It is only a Prophet who brings down Tauhid upon the earth and it is achieved only through him. God is Hidden and He displays His countenance through a Messenger.’ (Haqiqat-ul-Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 22, pp. 128-132)

“He also stated:

“‘Obedience to a divinely appointed person [ma’mur] should be such that if an order is given, regardless of the allurements or temptations the enemy may offer, or whatever humility, self-abasement, or flattery they may employ, preference should never be given to these things over his command, and one should never turn their attention to them. […] You will not find a single incident in the lives of the Companions of the Holy Prophetsa where, even once a hint was given by him, they would pay heed to anything else other than that indication or hint, even if the most powerful person was exerting pressure on them.

“‘Complete obedience leads to complete guidance. The members of our Community should listen well and seek strength from God, [praying] that they may not indulge in [rebellious] behaviour.’ (Malfuzat, Vol. 5, 2016, p. 100)

“Thus, obedience to a Prophet is an essential part of faith, without which one can neither comprehend the Unity [Tawhid] of Allah Almighty nor attain true salvation.

“As for the obedience to the successors of prophets, the Khulafa, in religious matters, it is as necessary as obedience to the Prophets themselves. This is why the Holy Prophetsa emphatically advised his ummah in these clear words:

عَلَيْكُمْ بِسُنَّتِي وَسُنَّةِ الْخُلَفَاءِ الرَّاشِدِينَ الْمَهْدِيِّينَ عَضُّوا عَلَيْهَا بِالنَّوَاجِذِ

“‘Adhere to my practice [sunnah] and the practice of the rightly-guided successors. Cling to them steadfastly and with great perseverance.’ (Sunan Ibn Majah, Kitab al-muqaddimah, Bab ittiba‘i sunnati l-khulafa’i r-rashidina l-mahdiyyin)

“In a similar manner, the Holy Prophetsa said:

“‘An imam is appointed to be followed. Therefore, when he says takbir [Allahu Akbar], you should also say takbir; when he bows in ruku’, you should also bow; and when he prostrates in sajdah, you should also prostrate.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab as-salah, Bab as-salati fi s-sutuh wa l-minbari wa l-khashab)

“It is important to ponder that the Holy Prophet’ssa instruction pertains to the imam whom people elect to lead the prayer. Considering this, what level of obedience should be accorded to the person whom Allah the Almighty appoints as the Imam of people in the succession of His Prophets? Highlighting the significance of obeying the rightly-guided Khulafa, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira says:

“‘Your state should be like that of a corpse in the hands of the person washing it. All your desires and intentions should be dead, and you should attach yourself to your Imam as carriages are attached to the engine. Then, every day, observe whether you are emerging from darkness or not.’ (Khutbat-e-Nur, p. 131)

“There is another aspect to this matter regarding whether one can have a difference of opinion with a Prophet’s successor, the Khalifa. The response to this is that the Khalifa, too, is a human being. It is not mandatory that his each and every opinion in every religious as well as worldly matter be absolutely infallible. As already clarified above, the Holy Prophetsa also said to his Companions that they were better aware of their worldly affairs.

“Similarly, at another place, the Holy Prophetsa stated:

إِنَّمَا أَنَا بَشَرٌ مِثْلُكُمْ أَنْسَى كَمَا تَنْسَوْنَ فَإِذَا نَسِيتُ فَذَكِّرُونِي

“‘I am but a human like you, I forget as you forget; so if I forget, remind me.’ (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab as-salah, Bab at-tawajjuhi nahwa l-qiblati haythu kana)

“Thus, in the same way, if someone has a differing opinion from the Khalifa on a matter, it is the demand of faith and honesty to first present that matter before the Khalifa so that he can clarify and resolve the disagreement. However, one is not permitted to publicise this disagreement among people, as it poses a risk of harming the unity of the Community. In answering a similar type of question, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra stated:

“‘I have been apprised of another thought, and that is that some people say that since it is permissible to disagree with the Khalifa, therefore, we have certain disagreements with him. I was the first to present this matter, and I continue to do so, asserting that it is indeed permissible to disagree with the Khalifa. However, every statement has its own context. Exceeding this is not a sign of wisdom or intelligence. Consider, can anyone assert that a doctor’s opinion is always correct? Certainly not. Doctors err many times, yet despite this, no one suggests that since a doctor’s opinion can be incorrect, they will prescribe their own treatment. Why? Because a doctor has formally learned the profession, and his opinion is superior to ours. Similarly, lawyers make numerous mistakes, but in legal cases, their opinions are given importance. And the person who is more knowledgeable in a field, their opinion is respected. Therefore, there should be a boundary and a limit to disagreement.

“‘A person who pledges allegiance to a Khalifa should understand that God appoints the Khulafa, and a Khalifa’s task is to guide people day and night and to contemplate religious matters. His opinion in religious matters demands respect, and disagreement with him is only permissible when the one disagreeing is as certain of their opinion as they know that one plus one equals two. Then it is also a condition that they first present this disagreement before the Khalifa and explain their doubts about a particular matter so that the Khalifa can remove those doubts. Just as a patient also tells a doctor about their discomfort and asks the doctor to further consider the illness. Therefore, it is the duty of the one disagreeing that they present the matter of their disagreement to the Khalifa and not start propagating it themselves. Otherwise, if it were deemed permissible for everyone to start articulating whatever comes to their mind, then nothing of Islam would remain because not every individual possesses the ability  to make the right decision. Otherwise, it would not be stated in the Holy Quran that when you hear any matter of peace or fear, take it to those in authority among you. Do those in authority not err? They do, but their opinion has been accorded respect, and when their opinion is respected, so should be the opinions of the Khulafa. Not every individual is capable of arriving at the correct conclusion regarding every matter. There is an incident when the Promised Messiahas said: ‘If a person marries a hundred wives for the sake of piety, it is permissible for him.’ One person heard this and went to others, saying now the limit of four wives is not there; a person can have up to a hundred, and this has been stated by the Promised Messiahas. When asked, he explained that what he meant was that if someone’s wife dies, he can marry again for the sake of piety, regardless of his age.

“‘Therefore, not every individual can understand every matter correctly, and for the unity of the Community, it is essential that if someone has any disagreement on any matter, they should present it before the Khalifa. If an individual does not do so and harbours the disagreement in their heart, spreading it among the people, then they are engaging in rebellion. Such an individual should seek to reform themselves.’ (Minhaj-ut-Talibin, Anwar-ul-‘Ulum, Vol. 9, pp. 162-163)

“As for the matter of the jinn, my detailed response in the light of Islamic teachings has already been published in Al Fazl International and the Weekly Al Hakam. I am sending you its Arabic translation; please take a look at it.”

People of Pharaoh

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Someone from France wrote to Hazrat Amirul Momineen, Khalifatul Masih Vaa, and asked a question about the following verse of the Holy Quran:

وَحَاقَ بِاٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ سُوۡٓءُ الۡعَذَابِ۔اَلنَّارُ يُعۡرَضُوۡنَ عَلَيۡہَا غُدُوًّا وَّعَشِيًّاوَيَوۡمَ تَقُوۡمُ السَّاعَةُ اَدۡخِلُوۡۤا اٰلَ فِرۡعَوۡنَ اَشَدَّ الۡعَذَابِ

“So Allah safeguarded him against the mischief of that which they contrived, and a grievous chastisement encompassed the people of Pharaoh — The Fire, to which they are exposed morning and evening. When the Hour arrives, the decree will go forth: Cast the people of Pharaoh into severe torment.” (Surah al-Mu’min, Ch.40: V.46-47)

He wrote, stating, “In the context of this verse, the question arises as to why there is such severe punishment for the People of Pharaoh, especially when Allah the Almighty’s mercy is so extensive. Was there a specific crime committed by the People of Pharaoh during that time that continues as an inherited practice to this day? Moreover, does ‘People of Pharaoh’ [aal-i fir‘aun] refer to Pharaoh’s progeny and lineage, or is it referring to the Israelite nation?”

Huzoor-e-Anwaraa, in his letter dated 16 September 2022, provided the following answer to this question:

“Allah the Exalted states in the Holy Quran:

اِنَّ اللّٰہَ لَا يَغۡفِرُ اَنۡ يُّشۡرَکَ بِہٖ وَيَغۡفِرُ مَا دُوۡنَ ذٰلِکَ لِمَنۡ يَّشَآءُ

“‘Allah will not forgive anything being associated with Him as partner, but will forgive anything short of that to whomsoever He pleases. Whoso associates anything with Allah as His partner, has indeed strayed far away.’ (Surah an-Nisa’, Ch.4:V.117)

“Likewise, He states:

اِنَّ الشِّرۡکَ لَظُلۡمٌ عَظِيۡمٌ

“‘Surely, associating partners [with God] is a grievous wrong.’ (Surah Luqman, Ch.31: V.14)

“Pharaoh’s crime was not only that he committed shirk [associating partners with God], but he also claimed divinity and committed a grave sin by leading a large number of people astray. Therefore, Allah Almighty, in the Holy Quran, has warned about Pharaoh and his people [aal], who, in that era, were his supporters and accomplices, fully participating in his evils, as mentioned in Surah al-Mu’min. The teachings of the Holy Quran are not confined to a specific era but serve as a guide until the Day of Judgement. Hence, Allah Almighty has also indicated in these verses that in future times, those who adopt the ways of Pharaoh, following in his footsteps, will also be regarded as the People of Pharaoh and will taste the same punishment. This is why the Quran has used the term ‘aal-i fir‘aun’ [People of Pharaoh] instead of Pharaoh alone.

“However, those who save themselves from these evils and attain guidance, whether they are from the actual family of Pharaoh or among his followers, Allah Almighty will protect them from that punishment. Indeed, even in the court of Pharaoh, there was a person who advised Pharaoh and his companions to accept the truth and desist from opposing Prophet Mosesas, so they might be saved from the wrath of Allah. The Holy Quran has referred to this person as a ‘believer’ [mu’min] and also identified him as being منۡ اٰلِ فِرۡعَوۡنَ (from the People of Pharaoh). This incident is detailed in Surah al-Mu’min, verses 29 to 34, stating:

“‘A believing man from among the people of Pharaoh, who concealed his faith, said: Will you slay a man simply because he says: Allah is my Lord; and he has brought you clear proofs from your Lord? If he is an impostor, he will be called to account for his imposture; but if he tells the truth, then some of that with which he threatens you will surely befall you. Certainly Allah guides not any extravagant impostor. O my people, today you have dominant authority in the land; but who will safeguard us against the chastisement of Allah if it comes upon us? Pharaoh said: I point out to you only that which I consider right and seek only to guide you along the right path. He who believed said: O my people, I fear for you a day like the day which overtook erring people before you, Like the people of Noah, and the tribes of ’Ad and Thamud and those who came after them. Allah wills no injustice for His creatures. O my people, I fear for you the day of wailing and calling for help. The day when you will turn your backs and flee from the wrath of Allah, and there will be no one to shield you from Allah. For him whom Allah adjudges astray, there is no guide.’

“Therefore, Allah Exalted neither punishes anyone without reason, nor can one who commits a great injustice like shirk escape His punishment. Hence, Allah Almighty has issued this stern warning for Pharaoh and his people, who were involved in this grave sin, or those who would follow in Pharaoh’s footsteps in the future and become his aal.”

(Compiled by Zaheer Ahmad Khan, Head of Records Department, Private Secretariat, London and translated by Al Hakam.)

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