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May 28th, 2016

Hadith about khilafat after despotic kings

Submitted by Omar Raja.

Regarding the hadith: "Prophethood will remain among you as long as Allah wills. Then Caliphate (Khilafah) on the lines of Prophethood shall commence, and remain as long as Allah wills. Then corrupt/erosive monarchy would take place, and it will remain as long as Allah wills. After that, despotic kingship would emerge, and it will remain as long as Allah wills. Then, the Caliphate (Khilafah) shall come once again based on the precept of Prophethood (Masnad Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Mishkat, Chapter Al-Anzar Wal Tahzir)

This hadith cannot be interpreted to mean a new khilafat will be established after the Promised Messiah because the Promised Messiah himself did not even interpret it as such! Furthermore, a divinely-ordained institution of everlasting khilafat after the Holy Prophet already existed and continues to exist with the coming of mujaddids whom are in fact the spiritual khalifas of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, to include the Promised Messiah as he himself explained and claimed to be, stating mujaddids are in fact "deputies and spiritual successors (khalifas) of the Messenger of Allah" and come "by way of zill." (Fath Islam, 22 January 1891, p. 6 footnote).

The hadith in question can only mean the early days of Islam and the last days are similar in terms of an abundance of blessings for the progress of Islam. The Promised Messiah explained, "it is proven from the Hadith that there are three ages: first, the period of the righteous khilafat, then the "age of corruption" in which there were to be tyrannical kings, and after that the last days which would be on the pattern of the times of prophethood. The Holy Prophet has gone so far as to say that the early days of his followers and the last days would be very similar, and that these two ages are like the rain: it is full of such good and blessings that one knows not whether the blessings lie more in the beginning or in the end. (Shahadatul-Quran pp. 45-46).

6 Responses to “Hadith about khilafat after despotic kings”

  1. May 28th, 2016 at 8:55 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    1. According to this hadith, the true Islamic caliphate will be re-established after the time of the despotic kings without a prophet coming to establish that caliphate. If the Qadiani beliefs are correct, it should have said that after the despotic kings a prophet will come after whom the true caliphate will be established. In fact, as quoted in Qadiani Jamaat literature, this hadith begins as follows:

    "Prophethood shall remain among you as long as God wills. He will bring about its end and follow it with Khilafat on the precepts of Prophethood for as long as He wills and then bring about its end…."

    So prophethood ended when the caliphate of the four righteous caliphs came into being with Hazrat Abu Bakr! The coming of no further prophet is mentioned in it, after whom the true caliphate would be re-commenced.

    2. Interestingly, in the book of Hadith called Mishkat, after quoting this hadith, it is stated by one of the narrators

    "When Umar ibn Abdul Aziz came to power, I sent him this hadith in writing to remind him of it and I said I hope you are the Amir-ul-Mo'mineen after the kings and tyrants, he was happy and liked this".

    So this hadith was applied at the turn of the first century Hijrah to Umar ibn Abdul Aziz who is regarded as the first mujaddid. And Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself considered the chain of mujaddids to be a continuation of the khilafat of the Holy Prophet, as anyone can see by reading his book Shahadat-ul-Quran. So one can say that this caliphate on the pattern of prophethood, after the time of the first despotic Muslim kings, started with the first Mujaddid.

  2. May 29th, 2016 at 5:41 pm
    From Omar Raja:

    Dear. Dr. Zahid Aziz, thank you greatly as always for your deep points of insight. What you have said helps me very much in my understanding about this subject. Do you think there can be individuals that can arise in the future, that may not be mujaddids, but whom the khilafat verse of 24:55 may still be applied to?

  3. May 30th, 2016 at 2:01 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    According to Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, in his Arabic book Sirr-ul-Khilafah, this verse applies principally, truly and fully to Hazrat Abu Bakr, who of course was not a mujaddid. It applies in a spiritual sense to mujaddids, as they are the Holy Prophet's successors in the spiritual sense. But it also applies to anyone who is a successor to the Holy Prophet in ruling over Muslims, and (according to Maulana Muhammad Ali) in having physical rule over Makkah and Madinah. In case of such a successor (e.g., the Ottomon rulers), he may be a good or a bad person, and that doesn't affect his being a physical khalifa of the Holy Prophet.

    A khalifa, under 24:55, has to be a successor to the Holy Prophet in some sense, and to be a source of strength to Muslims in some way or other.

  4. May 31st, 2016 at 12:28 am
    From Omar Raja:

    Thank you Dr. Zahid Aziz! I’d just like to present what I’ve understood. I’ve just read Maulana Muhammad Ali’s article in the Islamic Review from 1920 regarding Khilafat in Islam and have read the translation of Sirr-ul-Khilafah by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

    Maulana Muhammad Ali explains, “In short, the doctrine of the Khilafat in Islam requires the maintenance of a strong central Muslim Government, which should also be the supreme ruling authority over Arabia. It is true that succession to the Holy Prophet includes succession to both offices, the temporal as well as the spiritual. But such succession was only limited to the first four Caliphs, to Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali, peace be on them, to those great men who were prepared for the high office under the eyes of the Holy Prophet. Hence it is that the first four Khalifas are distinguished from all the rest by the addition of the wordRashidin to the word Khulafa, i.e. they are called Khulafa-i-Rashidin, or the rightly directed Khalifas. They combined both the spiritual and the temporal offices. People looked to them not only as the chief ruling authority but also as types of virtue, as religious guides, as the exponents of the Islamic Law. But those who came after them were only Khalifas in the sense of rulers or kings, the spiritual office being inherited by the learned imams or by the great saints or the mujaddids, i.e., the reformers. Thus succession to the Holy Prophet after the first four Khalifas ran in two parallel channels, the temporal office devolving on the ruling authorities and the spiritual office on the learned imams or the great reformers, uniting only rarely again, as in the case of Umar II. This is the reason why the Khilafat of the later rulers is sometimes called kingdom (mulk) to distinguish it from the Khilafat-i-Rashida. But still the guardianship of the holy places and kingship of the Jazirat-ul-Arab is honoured with the name of Khilafat. Thus Khilafat, as it now stands, is essentially temporal, being spiritual only in the sense that it is a religious institution which cannot be denied by any Muslim. Yet it must be clearly borne in mind that it is not like an ordinary Muslim kingdom. The Khilafat is the heart of the Muslim political power in the world, which may be shorn of its glory by the fall of a kingdom in the East and a kingdom in the West, but a blow directed at the heart amounts to giving a deathblow” (Islamic Review, April 1920, p. 156-157).

    If anything is not correct in my understanding in what I state below, please correct me. Sorry if I come across redundant; just trying to correctly convey the right message to my fellow family-members, especially to those are willing to have a discussion about this.

    So, the first four khalifas in Islam (Hazrat Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthmaan, and Ali) whom held the distinction of being “rightly-guided” held not only physical rule with an established kingdom in Arabia, but also spiritual rule in that they were not only seen as temporal leaders, but also as spiritual and moral guides to their people (but not appointed by God as Q-Jamaat claims since the first four khalifas were of course elected by their people). So it was in this sense that their “khilafat was on the precepts of prophethood” since the Holy Prophet too had that combined role as a physical ruler and spiritual/moral guide to their people (albeit as a prophet).

    Then after them, physical rulers were only seen as kings without having that spiritual authority as was once seen with the first four khalifas but were nonetheless khalifas in the physical sense as they held rule over Muslims in Arabia and guardianship over the holy places of Makkah and Madinah. But in the spiritual sense, the promise and coming of mujaddids was a continuation of the khilafat of the Holy Prophet, whom are the spiritual successors of the Holy Prophet. It was only the first mujaddid (i.e. Umar II), however, whom had both offices (temporal and spiritual) combined in his rule, and can therefore be said to be part of that category of khilafat that would find reemergence on the pattern of prophethood.

    I would think that until there is a general acceptance of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as Mujaddid of the 14th century Hijrah, whom we know named the movement, Ahmadiyya, after the second name of the Holy Prophet (i.e. Ahmad), representing the first phase of the Prophet’s life when devoid of physical rule and political power in Makkah and amidst heavy persecution,  that such a khilafat “on the pattern of prophethood” that exemplifies both spiritual and political power, could not possibly be brought about until that happens; hence, all the more need to clear up the enormous misunderstanding of the true status and claims of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, for the greatest obstacle today in advancing the mission of the Promised Messiah, a great mission for the everlasting unity and sympathy of mankind and world-peace, is regretfully the mistaken belief being perpetuated in his good name by the Q-Jamaat of his laying claim to prophethood!

  5. May 31st, 2016 at 8:32 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Dear Omar: Your exposition doesn't really require any correction.

    There are two very valuable booklets in Urdu on this subject, each about 20 pages long, published in 1914, and written by Dr Basharat Ahmad:

    Khilafat ala minhaj-i nubuwwat: This is about the hadith we have been discussing above.

    Khilafat-i Mauooda (i.e. The Promised Khilafat).

  6. May 31st, 2016 at 9:51 pm
    From Omar Raja:

    Thank you so much Dr. Zahid Aziz for pointing out these booklets; I will do my best to study these. You've been a great help to me in enhancing my understanding about this subject througout this discussion. Kind regards, Omar. 

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