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Reply to Qadiani article on khilafat (Part 1 of 2)

The Qadianis have placed an article on their Website ( entitled Khilafat and Pledge of Allegiance to Khilafat, written by their missionary Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad, attempting to justify the Qadiani khilafat system and to prove that "the system of Khilafat which was established after the Holy Prophet [Muhammad] has been re-established after the Promised Messiah" . This article is part of the material they have been putting on their website to refute the standpoint of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.

We are both surprised and, on reflection, grateful to the author because his article contains some quotations which we have been citing in our support. He has, therefore, at least accepted and vouched for the authenticity of those quotations, and we need not prove their existence to the Qadianis.

As there is nothing of any substance in the writings and statements of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad about any khalifas as his successors in the Ahmadiyya Movement, Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad has had to resort to the following two tactics:

  1. He quotes statements from Hazrat Mirza sahib dealing with the khilafat established after the Holy Prophet Muhammad (Hazrat Mirza sahib himself claiming to be one of the khalifas of the Prophet Muhammad), and presents these quotations as if they are speaking of a system of khilafat to be established after Hazrat Mirza sahib.
  2. Any example of the word khalifa or leader used by Hazrat Mirza sahib that the Sheikh sahib could find, no matter how incidental and brief, or how irrelevant to this subject, he has quoted it to justify the Qadiani khilafat.

Here, in Part 1 of our response, we reply to Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad's article from the beginning up to the point where he finishes presenting the statements and writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

Section I: Shahadat-ul-Quran

In Section I of his article Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad gives quotations from the book Shahadat-ul-Quran by the Promised Messiah to the effect that the Khilafat is not confined to the time of the Companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad but that it is a permanent and everlasting institution. However, what Sh. Mubarak Ahmad is not disclosing is that:

  1. the Khilafat that Hazrat Mirza sahib is referring to throughout this book is not any khilafat to be established after him but the Khilafat or successorship to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, in which the khalifas were the mujaddids and Divinely-inspired saints (muhaddases) of Islamic history.

  2. By proving that this Khilafat is permanent and continuing, and did not terminate in the age of the Companions, Hazrat Mirza sahib is putting himself forward as a khalifa in the khilafat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

Let us quote some extracts from Shahadat-ul-Quran:

“Thus God Almighty says that He shall send khalifas of the Holy Prophet from time to time. ... [A critic] raises the objection that since religion has reached perfection and the favour has been completed, there is then no need of a mujaddid, or of a prophet. But it is regrettable that, by believing this, the critic has raised an objection against the Holy Quran itself, for the Quran has promised the appearance of khalifas among the Muslims”.

Here the khalifas are clearly identified with mujaddids, and the two terms are used interchangeably. We give below further extracts showing exactly who these khalifas are that Hazrat Mirza sahib is mentioning:

“... we say that when, after the passage of a period of time, the dust of corrupted notions settles upon the holy teachings, and the face of the pure truth is hidden, then to show that beautiful face there come mujaddids, muhaddases and spiritual khalifas. It is not known from where and from whom the poor critic heard that mujaddids and spiritual khalifas come into the world to amend and revoke the religion to some extent. ...

Unfortunately however, the critic does not understand that mujaddids and spiritual khalifas are needed by the Muslim people in the same way as were the prophets required from ancient times. ...

And to say that it is not obligatory to believe in the mujaddids is to deviate from the command of God because He says: ‘And whoever disbelieves after this, they are the transgressors’ (24:55), i.e. after the sending of the khalifas, whoever remains a denier of them, he is among the transgressors.”

The words mujaddid and khalifa are used interchangeably in this book. When Hazrat Mirza sahib says that khalifas will continue to come forever what he is referring to is that mujaddids and saints will always continue to arise among Muslims. But the Qadianis cunningly take his words khalifa and khilafat and imply that he is mentioning a khilafat to be established after him. At the same time the Qadianis reject the continuance of the khilafat regarding which Hazrat Mirza sahib is saying here that it continues forever! They have declared that the coming of mujaddids is at an end and no mujaddid can appear in the future. So the situation may be summed up as below:

  • The khilafat which Hazrat Mirza sahib says in Shahadat-ul-Quran will continue forever, the Qadianis say it has terminated.

  • The khilafat which the Qadianis believe to be eternal, Hazrat Mirza sahib has made no mention of that khilafat whatsoever.

The following extracts show that Hazrat Mirza sahib himself claimed to be a khalifa in the khilafat of the Prophet Muhammad:

“Now it has been proved from the Holy Quran that in this blessed Muslim nation a system of perpetual khilafat has been established in the manner and likeness of the one which was established in the dispensation of Moses, ... this proof implies that just as in the last days of the Mosaic law a prophet arose named Jesus, ... similarly it is necessary that among the Muslim people too there should arise a muhaddas, in the likeness of that prophet and of his time”.

“Secondly, the perfect and complete likeness between the khilafat to the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the successorship to Moses renders imperative the coming of the Promised Messiah, as is understood from the following verse: ‘God has promised to those of you who believe and do good that He will surely make them successors [khalifas] in the earth as He made those before them to be successors’ (24:55). This clearly conveys that a mujaddid must come bearing the name of the Messiah in the fourteenth century (Hijra), ... among the Muslim people too, in their last days which are close to the Day of Judgment, there must come a khalifa like Jesus”.

So Hazrat Mirza sahib is himself a khalifa in terms of the khilafat spoken of in verse 24:55 of the Holy Quran. If, as the Qadianis claim, their khalifas are khalifas in terms of this verse, then they hold a position equal to that of the Promised Messiah. Would the Qadianis care to tell us if they believe their khalifas to hold the same office as was held by the Promised Messiah?

General application?

While trying to create the impression that Hazrat Mirza sahib is here speaking of some khilafat to be established after him, Sh. Mubarak Ahmad must have realized that the objection would arise that Hazrat Mirza sahib is not speaking of a khilafat after him. To overcome this, he has also referred to these quotations as “statements of general applicability” and talks about the “general application” of the khilafat verse (of Sura Nur) of the Quran. He is suggesting that what Hazrat Mirza sahib has written here about the Khilafat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad are general principles which can be applied to the establishment of the Qadiani khilafat. But Hazrat Mirza sahib is speaking specifically and only about the khilafat to the Holy Prophet Muhammad, not of any general principles applying to all khilafats. As he is repeatedly mentioning and stressing that the khilafat to the Holy Prophet is permanent and everlasting, how can his statements apply to another khilafat which is yet to come? How can another khilafat be established when a permanent and everlasting khilafat already exists?

No prophet after Prophet Muhammad

Lastly, Hazrat Mirza sahib plainly announces and affirms in Shahadat-ul-Quran that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, but only saints can come:

  1. “As our Master and Messenger, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the khatam al-anbiya, and after him no prophet can come, for this reason saints (muhaddas) have been substituted for prophets in this religious system.”

  2. Prophets certainly cannot arise among the Muslims, but if khalifas of the Holy Prophet do not come either, showing the marvels of spiritual life from time to time, then the spirituality of Islam comes to an end.”

The Qadianis, however, have declared that these statements of Hazrat Mirza sahib are wrong and incorrect and must be disregarded because he wrote this at a time when he did not understand that he himself was a prophet (i.e., he had been made a prophet by Allah, but failed to realize this). So why are Qadianis quoting from this book when they have declared his beliefs about prophethood as given in this book to be wrong?

Section II: Specific statement about khalifas

1. Statement in Hamamat-ul-Bushra

In his Section II, Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad gives his first argument as follows:

1. In Hamamat-ul-Bushra, the Promised Messiah has narrated a hadith of the Holy Prophet and has written:

Then the Promised Messiah or one of his Khulafaa would travel towards Damascus. (Ruhani Khazain, vol. 7, p. 225)

By writing this the Promised Messiah has provided two very clear arguments in favour of Khilafat: One: that the Holy Prophet has promised that the Promised Messiah would be followed by Khulafaa, one of whom would travel to Damascus., and Two: He accepted the applicability of this hadith to himself and thus, fifteen years before his demise, he declared that he would be followed by several successor Khulafaa, and one of them would travel to Damascus.

This creates a totally false impression of what the Promised Messiah wrote. What he wrote is:

“It is indicated in some Hadith reports that both the Promised Messiah and the Dajjal shall appear in an eastern land, that is, India. Then the Promised Messiah or one of his khalifas would travel towards Damascus. This is the meaning of the statement which occurs in the hadith in Sahih Muslim that Jesus will descend by the minaret of Damascus, for descending (tanzil) refers to a traveller who comes from another country ...”

This is an interpretation by the Promised Messiah of the sign in the hadith report that Jesus would “descend near the minaret to the east of Damascus”. The hadith report itself does not mention ‘India’ or any ‘khalifa’. Therefore Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad’s claim that “the Holy Prophet has promised that the Promised Messiah would be followed by Khulafaa, one of whom would travel to Damascus” is totally misleading. Such interpretations, relating to how a particular sign in a prophecy has been fulfilled, are not absolute and definite matters. The Promised Messiah himself has often given more than one possible interpretation of a particular sign. In his book Izala Auham he has interpreted this very sign as meaning that Damascus here refers to Qadian, because tyrants and oppressive rulers would arise in Qadian as tyrants like Yazid arose in Damascus, and the descent of the Messiah refers to the fact that he would come as a heavenly blessing, as opposed to the Dajjal who symbolises worldly attributes. Therefore this interpretation, that the Promised Messiah or a khalifa of his would travel to Damascus, is not any kind of absolute, literal fact but only a possibility of how this sign might be fulfilled.

It may be said that the Promised Messiah himself has mentioned his khalifas here. But this most certainly does not mean that he is referring to the kind of khilafat established by the Qadianis. There certainly can, and have to be, heads of the Ahmadiyya Movement after Hazrat Mirza sahib and they may be known as his khalifas or successors. But this does not at all mean the establishment of the Qadiani concept of khilafat which considers the khalifa to be the representative of God's will on earth, so that he has to be obeyed unquestioningly and absolutely just like God is obeyed, he cannot be judged by his followers as to whether he is acting according to the Quran or not, and he is not accountable before any human beings.

Also, by a khalifa of the Promised Messiah here can be meant a representative of the Promised Messiah in his lifetime.

2. Al-Wasiyya (The Will)

Then in his Section II, Sh. Mubarak Ahmad quotes from Al-Wasiyya where Hazrat Mirza sahib has mentioned the two manifestations of God's power, one during a prophet's life and the other after his death, and then gives the example of Hazrat Abu Bakr after the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and mentions the khilafat verse of the Quran. From this, the Sheikh sahib draws his first conclusion as follows:

Thus the chain of khulafa which started with Hadhrat Abu Bakr is a manifestation of the promise made by Allah the Exalted in that verse.

Indeed this is true. But that chain includes Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who was a khalifa of the Holy Prophet Muhammad just as Hazrat Abu Bakr was. The promise made by Allah was with the Prophet Muhammad, that khalifas to him would arise; the promise was not with Hazrat Mirza sahib that any similar chain of successors would be established after him.

The Sheikh sahib goes on to say:

It can also be concluded that it is destined that after the demise of the prophets, the believers face trials and tribulations. These trials were met through the Khulafaa.

Sheikh sahib has quoted two passages from Al-Wasiyyat, the second of which occurs shortly after the first in the book. But he has omitted what occurs in between the two. In that omitted text, Hazrat Mirza sahib also puts forward the example of Jesus as a case in which Divine support came to his followers when they faced tribulations after his crucifixion. He writes:

“Similar was the case with Jesus. At the time of the crucifixion, all the disciples scattered, and one of them even became a renegade.”

But the followers of Jesus did not receive any Divine support through a khalifa like Hazrat Abu Bakr. The fact is that Hazrat Mirza sahib is explaining the general principle that as regards those sent with a mission by God, such as the Holy Prophet Muhammad, Moses or Jesus, after they are gone God does not abandon their followers but helps them in the completion of the Divine mission according to the promise that He revealed to them. But the form and manner of the Divine help is different in different cases. Both Moses and the Prophet Muhammad were given the promise of the establishment of a khilafat, as is stated in the khilafat verse of the Quran. But Jesus was given a promise of a different type of help as stated in the Quran: “I will make those who follow you to be above those who disbelieve till the Day of Judgment” (3:55). And immediately after the second passage quoted by the Sheikh sahib, Hazrat Mirza sahib goes on to say:

“as God has given the promise in Barahin-i-Ahmadiyya. That promise is not about myself, but it is about you, as God says: I will make this community, who are your followers, prevail over those who deny you, till the Day of Judgment.”

So Hazrat Mirza sahib mentions that he was given the same promise of help for his followers after him as was Jesus. As no Divinely-ordained khilafat was promised to or established after Jesus, none was promised to or established after Hazrat Mirza sahib.

The coming of the second manifestation means that Allah will rescue the Ahmadiyya Movement at all times of great danger and threat. This has happened twice in particular. In 1914, the threat which the Movement faced was the introduction of the wrong beliefs coined by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and his supporters. The Movement was rescued by the creation of the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam in Lahore, which came into being from nothing and has preserved the true beliefs of the Movement from destruction. Then in 1974, when it was widely believed that the Pakistan government's declaration of Ahmadis would wipe out of existence the Lahore Jama'at, it not only survived but progressed and prospered more and more. Moreover, the constant claims of the Qadianis that the Lahore Jama'at has ceased to exist, which they tell anyone who enquires from them about us, have been falsified by the help which Allah has been sending to the Lahore Jama'at.

Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad concludes his Section II with the statement:

the writings in Al-Wasiyyat show that the system of Khilafat will be established forever after the Promised Messiah (Peace be upon him) and it would always be Khilafat in the form of a person

The fact is that the Promised Messiah has not even mentioned this word anywhere in Al-Wasiyya for the system after him. He has written the following in Al-Wasiyya which is entirely to the contrary of such a khilafat:

1. “After me, the righteous ones in the Jama‘at, possessing pure souls, should take the bai‘at from people in my name. --- Such persons shall be chosen by mutual agreement among the faithful. So any person in respect of whom forty faithful agree that he is fit to take from people the bai‘at in my name, he shall be entitled to take the bai‘at.”

Clearly, there can be more than one person at one time. They are not appointed by God but chosen by mutual agreement of the members of the Movement. The members may, if they wish, decide to have one such person, as they did in the case of Maulana Nur-ud-Din, or they may have more than one. All such persons are spiritual khalifas of the Promised Messiah. A Head of the Movement is not the sole person for taking the bai‘at from people.

2. Shortly after the writing above, he says: “And until such time as someone arises having received the holy spirit from God, you must all work together after me.” He says work together not work as directed by a khalifa.

3. He established an Anjuman and laid down its rules and regulations, and called it his successor.

4. Nowhere in those rules is there any mention of any khalifa and his powers with respect to the Anjuman.

Section III: Statement in Sabz Ishtihar

The Sheikh sahib quotes a statement from Hazrat Mirza sahib, and draws the conclusion:

“The second way of sending mercy is to send Messengers, Prophets, Scholars Divine, Auliya, and Khulafa, so that people may be guided to the right path through their leadership and guidance and should attain salvation by following their way. So Allah the Exalted decreed that the progeny of this humble one may manifest both these forms.” (Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 2, p. 462 Footnote)

This writing also shows that system of Khilafat would be established in the community of the Promised Messiah (Peace be upon him) and some of the Khulafaa would be from his progeny.

By the khalifas here are meant, exactly as in the book Shahadat-ul-Quran, the Mujaddids of Islam who are the khalifas of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The progeny of a spiritual leader, such as Hazrat Mirza was, mean his spiritual offspring or true followers. It need not at all mean his physical offspring. A future mujaddid may indeed arise from among his followers.

Even if khalifa here is taken to mean a khalifa or successor of Hazrat Mirza sahib, it does not indicate the kind of khilafat established by the Qadianis in which the khalifa has absolute, unquestioned power, he is to be obeyed like God and is not answerable to the community.

Section IV: Khalifas after a Sheikh

Here Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad quotes a statement which is entirely in favour of our beliefs. He quotes Hazrat Mirza sahib as saying:

The Sufis have said that the person who is to be the Khalifa after a Sheikh or a Messenger or Prophet is first one who is inspired by God to accept the truth. The death of a Messengers or is a severe earthquake and is a time of great danger. But Almighty Allah provides reassurance through a Khalifa, and that Khalifa revives and strengthens afresh the purpose of the advent of the deceased. Why did the Holy Prophet (May peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) not appoint his Khalifa to succeed him. It was because he knew very well that Almighty Allah would Himself appoint a Khalifa.

... In one revelation Allah the Exalted has addresses me as Sheikh: You are the Sheikh, the Messiah, whose time will not be wasted. (Al-Hakm 14 April 1905)

Here Hazrat Mirza sahib has said that there can be khalifas after a sheikh as well as after a nabi or rasul. The term sheikh means a spiritual leader among the Muslims who is not a prophet. And in that context he goes on to mention a revelation of his in which he has been called sheikh. He does not here mention a revelation in which he has been called nabi. This proves beyond all doubt that according to Hazrat Mirza sahib:

  1. Just because a leader's successor is called khalifa does not show that the leader himself was a prophet because the successor to a sheikh can also be called khalifa.
  2. Hazrat Mirza sahib was a sheikh and his successors are khalifas of a sheikh, not khalifas of a prophet.

Far from helping the Qadiani viewpoint, this reference entirely demolishes their beliefs about their khilafat as the khilafat of a prophet.

Section V: From the book Paigham Sulh

Here Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad quotes Hazrat Mirza sahib from his book Paigham Sulh and adds his comment as follows:

Those who are outside my Community, are all scattered in nature and thoughts. They do not follow a leader whose obedience is incumbent upon them. (Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 23, p. 455)

It is obvious that leader whose obedience is incumbent upon everyone after the prophet is a Khalifa.

He goes on to say:

Similarly, in Paighami Sulh the Promised Messiah wrote inviting the Hindus to a pledge of peace and in relation to the breach of that pledge they would pay penalty not less than 300,000 rupees to the leader of the Ahmadiyya Community. This also shows that it is essential that a leader and an Imam whose obedience is incumbent upon all members, must always be present in the Community; otherwise the pledge would become meaningless.

It is perfectly correct and reasonable to say that a Muslim religious community requires a leader who should be obeyed. But this does not at all justify the Qadiani khilafat which regards the leader as the representative and spokesman of God on earth, who speaks and acts directly under the command of God, and who must be obeyed by the followers absolutely and unquestioningly without any reference to whether his orders comply with the Holy Quran and Sunna or not.

Hazrat Abu Bakr reiterated the principle of obedience to authority as taught by Islam when he told the people after becoming khalifa: "Obey me as long as I obey Allah and the Messenger; if I disobey Allah and the Messenger, then I have no right to obedience from you". Hazrat Umar, when he held the office of khalifa, was open to being questioned, corrected and challenged by people about his orders and actions.

In Part 2 of our response, we will reply to the remainder of Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad's article, starting with the views which he ascribes to Maulana Nur-ud-Din.