Revisiting the Khilafat Centenary speech: 5 lessons for Ahmadis

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Last Updated on 21st January 2022

Mudabbir Din, UK

I was 17 years old at the historic event of the Khilafat Centenary Jalsa in 2008 in which Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa delivered the keynote address. At that age, I had little understanding of Islam and even less of the status of Khilafat – a blessed institution which Allah had once again blessed the Muslim ummah with since the time of the Promised Messiahas. But now, as I listen back to that momentous Khilafat Centenary speech and the historic pledge Ahmadi Muslims made, the older me learns a few new lessons that I had missed out on all those years ago.

Lesson 1: Gratitude to Allah

The Khilafat Centenary was celebrated throughout the world and Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa said the celebrations were only for one purpose: Gratitude to Allah. Adhering to the following command of Allah was a religious obligation:

وَاَمَّا بِنِعۡمَۃِ رَبِّکَ فَحَدِّثۡ

“And as for the bounty of your Lord do relate [it to others].” (Surah al-Duha, Ch.92: V.12)

Meaning to express thanks for the bounties of Allah, we must show gratitude to Allah for bestowing the bounty of Khilafat and that was the very purpose of the historic event on the Khilafat Centenary.

As Ahmadis Muslims, we need to show deep gratitude that Allah has granted us the citadel of Khilafat. The whole ummah is left devoid of this blessing, yet Ahmadi Muslims have enjoyed Khilafat for well over 100 years now. This is a blessing that is monumental and cannot be forgotten.

Lesson 2: Fear into peace

In the verse of the Holy Quran wherein Allah has promised Khilafat, He has also stated that this divine institution will establish peace and security after fear. Huzooraa mentioned two parts to this:

Firstly, there is the transformation of fear into peace for the whole Jamaat, just like after the Holy Prophet’ssa demise, when all the Muslims were in a state of shock and fear; internal anxieties about the future of Islam began spreading; Muslims, with great anguish, looked for direction and leadership, amid the external fear of the enemies who were rejoicing the demise of the Prophetsa of Islam. The enemies firmly believed Islam had now ended, but Allah allowed them to dwell in this misconception.

Then, Allah showed the awe-inspiring magnificence of His power by establishing Khilafat.

This was the same after the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiahas. On the one hand was the internal fear, sorrow and anxiety at the death of the Promised Messiahas, and on the other, the munafiqeen – hypocrites – were taking their seats and lining up to watch, what they thought, was the end of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. Newspapers and clerics alike were in a frenzy. Little did they know their excitement would be short-lived. Allah once again gifted Islam with Khilafat and through it dissolved all doubt, all anxiety and all fear.

This we can all understand, and will have heard many times. But the second part Huzooraa mentioned in his Khilafat Centenary speech is even more majestic and inspiring.

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said that once God Almighty had selected his Khalifa, He removed all worldly fears and doubts from within him. He gave His Khalifa the strength to confront fear, provided His Khalifa consolation in any difficult situation and then the Khalifa comforted the Jamaat.

It is because of this guaranteed divine support that no matter what worldly platform it might be, no matter which world leader it might be, even if millions of people are watching him, even if internal hypocrites emerge forcefully within the Jamaat, even if there is external opposition against the Jamaat, we never see Huzooraa overwhelmed and we never see any sign of fear.

The Khilafat Centenary speech in 2008, ExCel centre, London
The Khilafat Centenary speech in 2008, ExCel centre, London | Photo courtesy of alislam.org

Lesson 3: History repeats itself

In his speech, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa spoke of the various hurdles and challenges the Jamaat faced – from internal hypocrites, to external enmities – since the demise of the Promised Messiahas and throughout the era of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. But then, inevitably, all these hurdles turned to dust and became a thing of the past when they came up against the divinely guided Khilafat.

After the demise of the Promised Messiahas, the enemies of the Jamaat, anti-Ahmadiyya newspapers, religious clerics and intellectuals all jumped on the bandwagon of opposition and mocked the Ahmadiyya community. “How will this old man, Hakim Maulvi Nuruddin[ra], now lead the community? He will just be left with the task to sit in a mosque to recite the Quran to his followers”, they said. Opponents from outside the Jamaat and hypocrites from within predicted the end of the Jamaat at the election of this “weak” individual as the Khalifa. However, with his very first speech as Khalifatul Masih, Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddin, Khalifatul Masih Ira completely demolished these allegations and disturbances. All those present, whether they were hypocrites or those of weak faith, unanimously accepted his leadership. This was the first manifestation of turning “fear into peace”.

Then, at the demise of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira, the Jamaat again was plunged into a state of fear and uncertainty. Once again, hypocrisy reared its ugly head from within. “How will this 25-year-old ‘child’, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad[ra] occupy the seat of Khilafat? How will this inexperienced youth lead the community?”, they said.

Allah displayed the second manifestation of “fear into peace” and angels led the hearts of the faithful to accept the bai‘at of the young “Mian Sahib”. The 52-year era of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra needs no words. A prestigious and monumental chapter adorned with undeniable success was the fruit of divine succour.

After the demise of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, the Jamaat felt it was hit with an unrecoverable blow. A night of fear had descended on the Community. But with the election of Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIIrh, Allah fulfilled his promise again by lifting the state of fear and enveloping the Community in the blanket of peace. From establishing schools and hospitals in Africa to safely steering the Jamaat in the perilous year of 1974 in Pakistan, each achievement was a challenge to every worldly power and enemy, and echoed the words that “this divine Community can never be destroyed”.

Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh was the fourth manifestation of the divine promise of transforming “fear into peace”. The enemies of Islam tried everything within their power to destroy this “man of God”. What was Allah’s response? Not only did Allah completely obliterate the enemy, but He also granted unimaginable success. With the blessing of MTA, the message of the Messiahas of Islam now reached further than ever.

The Khilafat of the Holy Prophetsa only saw four caliphs. This was according to the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa himself. The Khilafat of the Promised Messiahas, however, was to be everlasting. This again was in exact accordance with the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa himself.

The fifth election of a successor of the Promised Messiahas – the fifth time Allah turned “fear into peace” through the election of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, and the fifth challenge to the enemies of the Community – was witnessed by the whole world.

This election was a statement to the whole world that “this community is united under this divine institution [of Khilafat]. No matter what you do, its progress cannot be stopped.”

Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa delivering the Khilafat Centenary speech | Photo courtesy of alislam.org

Lesson 4: A golden chapter in Ahmadiyyat

This, for me, was the most inspiring part of Huzoor’s centenary speech. These few words of the speech were clear proof of the communication between a divinely elected Khalifa and his Creator. It was clear proof of the unbreakable trust Huzooraa has in Allah. 

Huzooraa began this part by talking about himself. The words Huzooraa used highlight his immense humility and meekness, which only a person ordained by Allah to be the Khalifa could possess, especially considering the fact that he is a leader.

The speech then took a sudden turn. Awe-inspiring words left me spellbound on the trust Huzooraa had in Allah. Huzooraa promised, “Allah the Almighty, with His uncountable blessings, will lead the Jamaat on the avenues of progress and this progress can never be stopped”.

Huzooraa said that anyone who stayed attached to Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya would witness these blessings. Allah would also continue to grant Khilafat such persons whose hearts would be filled with the love of this divine institution and they would make every effort for its establishment.

“I have been assured by Allah the Almighty about this a long time ago that He Himself will prepare the faithful ones”.

Hearing these words now, all one can do is pray that Allah accepts us among these faithful ones that will be blessed and fortunate to serve Khilafat.

Lesson 5: The oath

A once-in-a-lifetime experience. Nobody knew that halfway through this speech, Ahmadis around the world would be standing and making an oath to Allah with their Khalifa. We have all heard this oath many times on MTA but let me try to put into context exactly what we promised to Allah on that day.

We promised to Allah that we will:

  1. Strive till our last breaths to spread the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat and the name of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa to the corners of the world
  2. Offer the greatest sacrifices and keep our lives dedicated to this objective
  3. Strive till our last breath for the safeguarding and establishment of Khilafat
  4. Exhort our children and their progenies to always remain attached to Khilafat and benefit from its blessings

Revisiting the Khilafat Centenary speech and oath (which is available to watch on YouTube) put into perspective how Allah treats divine communities, and that success, no matter what the trial may be, always emerges by staying closely attached to Khilafat and by moving, as believers, in accordance to the instructions of Khalifatul Masih.

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