Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya: Style of leadership, aspirations and its future

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Last Updated on 21st May 2021

M Adam Ahmad, Al Hakam

There are different types of systems and governments prevalent across the globe. The majority prefers democracy in which public representatives offer their services to the nation. The ones who get more votes sit on the seat of government and run their respective states. They make policies, plans, laws etc., which are mostly in favour of the citizens and the nation as a whole.

Apart from the man-made political system of the world, there is also a heavenly system of Khilafat, established by the Lord of the worlds according to the needs of His creation to help and guide mankind towards the path of righteousness and prosperity through the light given by God Almighty. 

This blessed system is mentioned in the Holy Quran in the words:

“Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them successors [khulafa] in the earth, as He made successors [from among] those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security [and peace] after their fear: They will worship Me, [and] they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.” (Surah al-Nur, Ch.24:V.56)

Definition of “khalifa”?

The person who heads the institution of Khilafat is called the Khalifa. The word “khalifa” means successor and in Islam, this term refers to the successor of a Prophet. The Promised Messiahas said:

“The meaning of ‘khalifa’ is ‘a successor who revives faith’. Those who come in the place of prophets to remove the darkness that spreads after their time are called khulafa.” (Malfuzat, Vol. 4, p. 383)

At another place, the Promised Messiahas states:

“The word ‘khalifa’ refers to a successor, and only that person can be a successor of the prophet in the true sense who possesses within him the attributes of the prophet as a reflection.” (Shahadatul Quran, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 6, p. 353)

Hence, a khalifa carries on the works of a prophet, i.e. reforms and guides mankind towards God Almighty, peace and welfare.

Is Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya an administrative or spiritual leadership?

As mentioned in the verse presented at the outset, khulafa are chosen and appointed by Allah the Almighty to guide those who believe and do good deeds. This means that God grants the khalifa authority over the believers and in order to fulfil his duties in the best possible manner, his leadership is both administrative and spiritual. 

The primary role of khilafat is the spiritual wellbeing and moral improvement of the believers as the khalifa is a religious guide and not a worldly leader. It is the responsibility of khilafat to bring people closer to Allah and ensure that they worship One True God. In other words, khilafat spares no effort to complete the spiritual mission of the prophet.

On the other hand, the khalifa has to administer and look after the affairs and important matters of his community and this requires an administrative role. 

Shedding light on the authority of the Khalifa, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said:

“[The Khalifa] is absolute in the sense that he can, in certain cases, override the opinion of the representatives of the people; on the other hand, his authority is limited in the sense that he cannot override or set aside any portion of the Islamic constitution, by which he is bound. He is bound to seek the advice of the people and to preserve the elective character of his own office. He is an elected ruler in the sense that, under the will and guidance of God, he is appointed to his office through the agency of the people, and he is a representative of the people in the sense that he is expected to follow the advice of their representatives, except when compelled to depart from it by urgent or extraordinary necessity. 

“He cannot, by his own authority, spend a penny out of the public funds on his own person or for his personal needs. He rules by virtue of a divine right in the sense that he cannot be removed from his office and is promised divine aid in the discharge of his duties and in the carrying out of his undertaking.” (Ahmadiyyat or the True Islam, p. 268)

The present head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Khalifatul Masih V, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa said:

“Whilst worldly leaders have secular goals, the purpose of Khilafat is to draw the attention of all people towards fulfilling each other’s rights. It is to instil a spirit amongst Ahmadi Muslims of giving precedence to their faith over all worldly matters and Khilafat makes every effort to peacefully establish the Unity of God in the world.” (Friday Sermon, 6 June 2014)

He further said: 

“Let me make it clear to every Ahmadi Muslim, every youth and everyone, that Khilafat and dictatorship have no link whatsoever […]. There is no compulsion in religion and so, when a person willingly and entirely of his own volition accepts Ahmadiyyat, then for the sake of religion, it is necessary to fulfil that pledge.” (Ibid)

Hence, the authority of the leadership of true and rightful Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is poles apart from the picture drawn by most of Western media and extremist Muslims. It is completely based on compassion and winning hearts by love rather than force.

Does Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya aspire for any state or worldly governance?

Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya was established by God Almighty after the passing of His prophet, the Promised Messiahand Mahdi, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. The Khalifa only follows in the footsteps of the Prophet as Khilafat is formed on the precepts of prophethood (Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal). Prophet Ahmadas has explained on more than one occasion the purpose of the Messiah’s mission and his position on worldly power. He said:

“[The Holy Prophetsa] said that Christian faith would come to an end at the hands of [the Messiah] and that he would break the cross. He [the Holy Prophetsa] did not say that he would destroy their government. This signifies that the Promised Messiah’s kingdom would be spiritual and it would have nothing to do with worldly governments […].” (Shahadatul Quran, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 6, p. 353)

In accordance with the directions of God’s Prophet, Ahmadas, none of the Khulafa have ever aspired for any state or expressed desire for any worldly governance. The Khulafa have never enforced Islamic teachings on anyone. As highlighted before, true Khilafat aspires for the spiritual improvement and moral welfare of the people. 

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:

“For this Khilafat, neither is a violent uprising required, nor do bullets need to be fired. The reward of Khilafat can only be established with God’s grace, and has been established through His blessings; not through the efforts and schemes of the people.” (Friday Sermon, 25 February 2011)

On 28 September 2013, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa held a question-and-answer session at Taha Mosque, Singapore. In reply to a question on Khilafat and democracy, Huzooraa said: 

“Khilafat has no relation with government or politics. When Ahmadiyyat spreads far and wide, Khilafat will play no role in government and will never interfere with matters of the state. We have no political ambitions or desires. We believe entirely in a separation of religion and matters of state.”

The second Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, said:

“As the Promised Messiahas was only a spiritual Khalifa, his successors will also remain, so far as possible, outside and above politics, even when sovereigns and states join the [Ahmadiyya] movement. […] I have said that they will, so far as possible, remain outside and above politics. I have made this reservation to meet exceptional cases where the people of a particular country, in a time of difficulty or crisis, may request the aid of the spiritual Khilafat, and it may become necessary to make temporary arrangements for the government of that country. But such arrangements would be limited to the shortest possible period of time in each case.” (Ahmadiyyat or the True Islam, pp. 270-71)

Moreover, the Ahmadiyya Khilafat, according to the teachings of Islam and the Promised Messiahas, strongly advises every Ahmadi Muslim to love their respective countries and follow the laws and instructions of their governments. 

Emphasising this matter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:  

“We have always implemented the teaching of Islam that you should never take the law into your own hands, and always keep the best interests of your country in view and never create disorder because this is a requirement of true love for your country. Wherever in the world Ahmadis reside, no matter which country they originate from […] for the sake of attaining Allah’s pleasure, they always steer clear of all forms of disorder. And this is the conduct that will, one day, not only save the world from anarchy, but in fact, will be the guarantor for world peace […]. In terms of the role of our community – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat – we hold a passionate desire to establish peace and to end cruelty in light of the true Islamic teachings.” (8th Annual Peace Symposium, London)

Hence, neither does Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya aspire for any state or empire, nor does it seek any worldly governance or glory. Khilafat only aims to instil the love of Allah in the hearts of its followers and promote peace and harmony among mankind.

What should the world hope to expect from the leadership of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya?

The present situation of the whole world is very perturbing and requires immediate healing. There is widespread chaos, anxiety and uncertainty. The majority of the Islamic world is divided and Muslim countries have become centres of corruption and immorality. Their towns and streets seem devoid of Islamic values. The true teachings of Islam are not found in them and it is almost impossible to attribute these type of societies to Islam.

In the midst of all this, the leadership of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is like an orchard of mercy with streams of peace and serenity in the desert of pain and suffering. Everyone is welcome with open arms to come under the flag of this blessing of God Almighty. 

Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is the only hope for the Muslim world and a light at the end of the tunnel. Ahmadi Muslims are united under one Khalifa and the unification of the rest of the Muslims is only possible if they accept and submit to the divinely established institution of Khilafat. 

When it is said that Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is the only hope, it is because there can only be one true khilafat within Islam in the present age. 

Expounding on this matter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:

“There cannot be a khilafat in each sect of Islam. If Muslims wish to progress, then they have to unite on the leadership of one person in accordance with the prophecy of Prophet Muhammadsa, who said that the institution of Khilafat would be established within the community of the Promised Messiahas

“Certainly, you will not find any other Islamic community that is united like the Ahmadiyya Community. Wherever our members are in the world, they act in the same way and have the same beliefs.” (Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, at Taha Mosque, Singapore, 28 September 2013)

As previously mentioned, Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya has no worldly or political interest and this fact makes it much more powerful than any other leader of the world. Owing to this very quality, the leadership of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is fearless in voicing concerns regarding any global issue and providing key guidance to address these problems. 

At times, the vested interests of nations render their leaders so weak that they cannot even use the right vocabulary and take just actions to address the prevailing catastrophes and ensure peace in the world.

The divided Muslims in particular and the rest of the world in general, should consider Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya as a warm blanket in the fierce cold. They should, at least for once, experience the blessings and kindness of Khilafat which the Ahmadi Muslims enjoy. 

Speaking of this unique relationship between the Khalifa and Ahmadi Muslims, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa said: 

“Which leader or dictator is there who keeps a personal connection with each of his citizens? On the other hand, the Khalifa of the age maintains a personal connection with Ahmadi Muslims from amongst every race and from all parts of the world. It is Khilafat alone that cares for and feels the pain of every Ahmadi Muslim and prays for them.” (Friday Sermon, 6 June 2014)

Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa further said: 

“Before sleeping at night, there is no country of the world that I do not visit in my imagination and no Ahmadi for whom I do not pray whilst sleeping and whilst awake. I am not doing any favour because this is my duty; may Allah enable me to ever increase in assuming my responsibilities. The only reason I have said this is to make it clear that there can be no comparison between Khilafat and other worldly or secular leaders.” (Ibid)

Hence, the world should expect only the best from the leadership of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya as it is guiding and serving humanity in the best possible manner. No matter which race, class or nation you belong to, the Ahmadiyya Khilafat will embrace you with love and compassion.   

As Ahmadis, do we believe Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya will ever come to an end?

It is clear from the verse of the Holy Quran presented at the outset that God will Himself establish Khilafat. We also know from the long hadith about Khilafat in Musnad Ahmad bin Hanbal that the Holy Prophetsa said in its end that Khilafat would be formed on the precepts of prophethood and then became silent. 

The Promised Messiahas, who appeared in accordance with the prophecy of the Holy Quran and the Holy Prophetsa, explained to us that the Khilafat would come after him and last forever.

The Promised Messiahas said:

“So dear friends! since it is the sunnatullah [practise of Allah], from time immemorial, that God Almighty shows two manifestations so that the two false joys of the opponents be put to an end, it is not possible now that God should relinquish His sunnah of old. 

“So do not grieve over what I have said to you; nor should your hearts be distressed. For it is essential for you to witness the second manifestation also, and its coming is better for you because it is everlasting, the continuity of which will not end till the Day of Judgement. And that second manifestation cannot come unless I depart. But when I depart, God will send that second manifestation for you which shall always stay with you […].” (The Will, p. 7)

Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddin, Khalifatul Masih Ira, said:

“God has promised that when there will be negligence, people will become forgetful of the Holy Quran and the teachings of the Holy Prophetsa will be misunderstood, He will always raise Khulafa.” (Al Hakam, 17 July 1902, p. 15)

The present Khalifa, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, said:

“This second manifestation, or the institution of Khilafat, will remain established, insha-Allah. And its [duration] has nothing to do with the era of the Khulafa of the Holy Prophetsa

“If we consider that [the early Islamic Khilafat] remained for 30 years, then that 30-year period was according to the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa. On the other hand, this everlasting era [of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya] is also in accordance with his prophecy. Allah the Almighty knows best what will happen till the Day of Judgment, but let me make it clear to you that this period of Khilafat will continue to prosper, generation after generation, and for innumerable generations, insha-Allah, provided that goodness and righteousness remain in you.” (Friday Sermon, 27 May 2005)

In the concluding address of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya UK’s 2015 Ijtema, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:

“Gradually the world has passed through various eras, according to the prophecy of the Holy Prophetsa and now, Islam has entered the era of the everlasting Khilafat, which Allah promised.”

Hence, the Ahmadiyya Khilafat will last for a very long period of time, insha-Allah, as promised by God Almighty and it will continue to quench the spiritual thirst of mankind and strive to establish the unity of God in the world.

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