Most of us have been celebrating Khilafat Day on 27 May all our lives, which makes it one of those aspects of life that we rarely stop to think when and why it might have started.
Khilafat Day was not always there, rather it was commemorated for the very first time on 27 May 1957. Al-Musleh-ul-Maud, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, went to every possible extent to make the Jamaat realise the blessings, status and importance of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. He passed through very turbulent phases during his life when opponents of the Jamaat seemed determined in annihilating Khilafat, as they saw it as the only means to bring down the ever-rising edifice of Ahmadiyyat.
Right from the very onset of the Khilafat of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra in 1914 all the way up to 1956, various types of attacks were hurled at the institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. Allah the Almighty always kept this blessed institution, founded by His own will and decree, under His special protection and no malicious schemes could ever cause any harm.
However, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra felt that not only more awareness should be raised among the members of the Jamaat about this unique blessing, but they should also be grateful to Allah the Almighty for bestowing this grand blessing upon them.
It was in 1956 when the Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya were holding their National Ijtema in Rabwah that they were graced with the attendance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra. Addressing the Ahmadi youth, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra said:
“Always remember the blessings of Khilafat. To remember something, nations have historically allocated a day to commemorate it. For instance, the Shiites march in processions once a year so that the martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Husseinra is not forgotten. Similarly, I advise the Khuddam to dedicate a day and celebrate it as Khilafat Day wherein they should offer their gratitude to Allah the Almighty and revive history. It might be hard to find old newspapers, but Al Fazl has recently retold the whole history; Hazrat Khalifatul Masih I’sra arguments in support of Khilafat and also the abuse hurled at him in return by the Paighamis [the Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i-Ishaat-i-Islam Lahore, who deviated from the system of Khilafat].
“Such passages should be read out from these newspapers. If Khilafat Day is celebrated once a year, the younger generation will listen to them every year and eventually know them by heart. Continue holding these Jalsas until the end of time, so that the Jamaat never forgets the blessings and importance of Khilafat. The Khilafat of Jesusas has been around for around 1900 years. May the Khilafat of the Promised Messiahas – who is higher in rank than Jesusas – remain for 10,000 years. This is only possible if you dedicate a day of the year for this purpose.
“I would also like to instruct the Markaz that, like Sirat-un-Nabi Day, a day should be celebrated as Khilafat Day. The Markaz should advise [the organisers of these Jalsas] as to what topics should be covered in speeches, what parts of Al Fazl to be read out to the youth to make them aware of how Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira upheld the institution of Khilafat and how the Paighamis wrote in opposition. Those dreams and visions should be mentioned that Allah the Almighty vouchsafed to me well ahead of time and how He fulfilled each one of those to show that His blessings are still with Khilafat.”
In light of these instructions by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra, Nazarat Islah-o-Irshad, in consultation with the members of the Jamaat, proposed that 27 May be dedicated as Khilafat Day and will be commemorated by all Jamaats. This announcement appeared in the Al Fazl of 9 November 1956.
Ever since, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, commemorates the blessings of Khilafat on this day, celebrating by offering prayers, recalling the blessings of Allah on the Jamaat through this blessed institution and looking back to see how every passing year brought – and brings – prosperity to the Jamaat under this Divinely guided leadership.