Ahmadiyya Caliphate

From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat
Pledge of religious allegiance

Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, or the Ahmadiyya Caliphate, is the system of spiritual and administrative leadership within the global Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

The present Caliph is Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who was elected on the demise of his predecessor in 2003. 

Caliphate in the Quran

Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors [Caliphs] 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.

- Quran 24:56

The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, comments on this verse: 

Thus [God] manifests two kinds of Power. (1) First He shows the Hand of His Power at the hands of His Prophetsas themselves. (2) Second, when with the death of a Prophetas, difficulties and problems arise and the enemy feels stronger and thinks that things are in disarray and is convinced that now this community will become extinct and even members of the community, too, are in a quandary and their backs are broken, and some of the unfortunate ones choose paths that lead to apostasy, then it is that God for the second time shows His Mighty Power and supports and takes care of the shaken community. Thus one who remains steadfast till the end witnesses this miracle of God. This is what happened at the time of Hadrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra, when the demise of the Holy Prophetsa was considered untimely and many an ignorant Bedouin turned apostate. The companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa, too, stricken with grief, became like those who lose their senses. Then Allah raised Abu Bakr Siddiqra [to become the first Caliph of Islam] and showed for the second time the manifestation of His Power and saved Islam, just when it was about to fall, and fulfilled the promise which was spelled out in the verse: "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" , that is, after the fear We shall firmly re-establish them.

- Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, The Will

Additionally, the Quran describes the prophets Adam (Quran 2:31) and David (Quran 38:27) as 'Khalifa' (Caliph).

Caliphate in the Ahadith

The Prophetsa said: "The Israelis used to be ruled and guided by prophets: Whenever a prophet died, another would take over his place. There will be no prophet after me, but there will be Caliphs who will increase in number." The people asked, "O Allah's Messengersa! What do you order us (to do)?" He said, "Obey the one who will be given the pledge of allegiance first. Fulfil their (i.e. the Caliphs) rights, for Allah will ask them about (any shortcoming) in ruling those Allah has put under their guardianship."

- Bukhari

The Holy Prophet said: Prophethood shall remain among you as long as Allah shall will. He will bring about its end and follow it with caliphate on the precepts of prophethood for as long as He shall will and then bring about its end. A tyrannical monarchy will then follow and will remain as long as Allah shall will and then come to an end. There will follow thereafter monarchical despotism to last as long as Allah shall will and come to an end upon His decree. There will then emerge caliphate on precept of Prophethood." The Holy Prophet said no more.

- Ibn Hanbal

Narrated Ubaidullah bin Adi bin Al-Khiyar: "...Uthman then recited Tashahhud and said, 'No doubt, Allah has sent Muhammad with the Truth and has revealed to him His Holy Book (i.e. Quran) and I was among those who responded to the call of Allah and His Apostle and I had faith in Muhammad's Mission, and I had performed the first two migrations as you have said, and I enjoyed the company of Allah's Messengersa and gave the pledge of allegiance to him. By Allah, I never disobeyed him and never cheated him till Allah caused him to die. Then Allah made Abu Bakr Caliph, and by Allah, I was never disobedient to him, nor did I cheat him. Then `Umar became Caliph, and by Allah, I was never disobedient to him, nor did I cheat him. Then I became Caliph. Have I not then the same rights over you as they had over me?' I replied in the affirmative."

- Bukhari

I urge you to fear Allah, and to listen and obey, even if (your leader) is an Abyssinian slave. After I am gone, you will see great conflict. I urge you to adhere to my sunnah and the path of the rightly-guided Caliphs, and cling stubbornly to it.

- Ibn Majah

History of the Ahmadiyya Caliphate

The Ahmadiyya Caliphate was established in 1908, following the death of the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. His companions elected his closest companion, Hazrat Al Hajj Hafiz Nooruddin as Caliph. He in turn was succeeded in 1914 by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad. 

The Caliph's residence: 
an apartment within the office block beside Fazal Mosque

The community had been founded and based in Qadian, India, from its inception. However on the partition of India in 1947, the Muslims of India migrated to Pakistan in large numbers. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community largely moved from India to Pakistan, including the Caliph. A new town was built in Pakistan, called Rabwah, and the Caliphate remained based there for the coming decades. 

The second Caliph passed away in 1965 and was succeeded by Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad. During his caliphate, the persecution of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community began to intensify in Pakistan and the government legislated against the community for the first time in 1974

In 1982, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad became the fourth Caliph. Legislation by Zia-ul-Haq, then dictator of Pakistan, in 1984 left it impossible for Ahmadis to practice their faith. So, the Caliph was forced to migrate and chose London as his destination. There, the community had built the London Mosque and within the mosque's complex a block of offices including a small apartment for the imam of the mosque. The apartment became the home of the Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad and remains the permanent residence of the Caliph to this day. 

Since 2003, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been led by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad. 

System & Structure of the Ahmadiyya Caliphate

Election of the Caliph

Each Caliph is elected on the demise of his predecessor by an Electoral College of Ahmadi Muslim officials. The Electoral College is made up of the presidents of each nation's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, senior Imams and selected officials. Ahmadi Muslims believe the selection is guided by God.

Unity of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

The Caliph is a person through whom the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is united around the globe. Each Ahmadi Muslim pledges allegiance to the Caliph and promises to obey him in all religious decisions. This allows the community to remain highly organised, structured and united around the world and is in fact a system which finds its basis in the Quran:

O ye who believe! obey Allah, and obey His Messenger and those who are in authority among you.

- Quran 4:60

Obey Allah and His Messenger and dispute not with one another, lest you falter and your strength depart from you.

- Quran 8:47

View of politics

When Ahmadiyyat spreads far and wide the caliphate will play no role in government and will never interfere with matters of state. We have no political ambitions or desires. We believe entirely in a separation of religion and matters of state.

- Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Singapore Press Conference, 28 September 2013

Comparison with the Pope

In Roman Catholicism they believe that Pope's cannot err, their decisions are always right. When they are confronted with the dilemma of one Pope in history giving a verdict on the same issue from the verdict given on the same issue by another Pope, they had in fact no solution to the problem. We as Ahmadis believe that Caliphs, the deputies of the prophets, they are not infallible. They can make mistakes. 

But what we believe is that even when they make mistakes, because they are truthful, when it is pointed out to them that this mistake has been committed, they are brave enough and they love truth enough that they accept their mistake and mend their way. So they are human and they are guided by the light of their inner truth and when you are true then even mistakes do not make such an important difference, as long as you make your mistakes in honesty and you are honest enough to own your mistakes and rectify them...

The Caliph believes himself to be the servant of his people and that is highly stressed in the Islamic concept of leadership. 

- Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Question & Answer Session 5 May 1991

Style of administration

At a particular period of time, and in certain contexts, a policy of strictness can create or achieve those objectives. Later on, when other things have changed, you have to change the policy in order to achieve the same objectives.

- Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, A Man of God