Khilafat in the Ahmadiyya Movement:
Detailed article with references
Anjuman made successor by the
It was in his booklet entitled Al-Wasiyya (The Will), published
about two and a half years before his death, that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad announced the creation of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya,
and formulated its main objectives, rules and regulations. He
If Allah wills, this system will continue to function after
the death of us all. For this purpose, an Anjuman is required
which shall spend, as it determines fit, the funds which shall
accumulate from this income, coming in from time to time, on proclaiming
the teachings of Islam and propagating the message of the Oneness
published December 1905, p. 17.
In an Appendix to Al-Wasiyya, the Promised Messiah
published some rules and regulations of the Anjuman, from which
we quote below as they show the position he gave to this body:
9. The Anjuman, which is to hold these funds, shall
not be entitled to spend the monies for any purpose except the objects
of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and among these objects the propagation
of Islam shall have the highest priority.
Therefore the Anjuman was to be in control of all the finances and
funds of the Ahmadiyya movement. It was to receive all the income
of the movement and to determine how to spend it.
13. As the Anjuman is the successor to the Khalifa
appointed by God, it must remain absolutely free of any kind of
Here the Promised Messiah calls the Anjuman as his successor.
It is the Promised Messiah who is the Khalifa appointed
by God and his successor is the Anjuman created by him.
Rules and regulations of
Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya
In February 1906, more comprehensive rules
and regulations of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, as approved by the
Promised Messiah, were published in the Ahmadiyya communitys
Go here to read some essential points from
It is evident from these rules and regulations of the Anjuman,
and the powers given to it, that the Promised Messiah established
it as the supreme governing authority of the Ahmadiyya movement
after him. There is no trace whatsoever in these rules of any system
of personal khilafat or of any office of a khalifa having supreme
authority over the movement. Therefore the Qadiani concept and system
of khilafat is totally alien and opposed to the instructions of
the Promised Messiah, and an utter negation of the system set up
Anjuman to be supreme after
Promised Messiahs life
About a year later, it so happened that Mir Nasir Nawab, father-in-law
of the Promised Messiah, opposed a certain decision of the Anjuman.
When this disagreement was brought to the notice of the Promised
Messiah, he wrote down the following verdict about the authority
of the Anjuman, in his own hand-writing:
My view is that when the Anjuman reaches a decision
in any matter, doing so by majority of opinion, that must be considered
as right, and as absolute and binding. I would, however, like to
add that in certain religious matters, which are connected with
the particular objects of my advent, I should be kept informed.
I am sure that this Anjuman would never act against my wishes, but
this is written only by way of precaution, in case there is a matter
in which God Almighty has some special purpose. This proviso applies
only during my life. After that, the decision of the Anjuman in
any matter shall be final.
Go here to see this note in the Promised Messiahs
Was-salaam. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, 27 October 1907.
This clear verdict of the Promised Messiah
confirmed the Anjumans position as the supreme authority of
the Ahmadiyya movement after his life-time, its decisions being
final and binding. No individual head or khalifa was to have the
power to set aside, revoke, or go against any decision of the Anjuman.
Anjuman’s powers explained at the December 1908 annual gathering
The note mentioned above was read out before the Ahmadiyya community at the December 1908 annual gathering (jalsa salana),
the first one after the
death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. During this conference Maulana Muhammad Ali presented the report of the work of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya on the morning of 27th December 1908. At the end of his report, he read out this hand-written note of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. This was reported as follows in the Ahmadiyya community newspaper Badr:
“A hand written note of the Promised Messiah was read,
the summary of which is that after him all decisions of
the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya will be final.”
— Badr, dated 24–31 December 1908, page 13, column 1.
After Maulana Muhammad Ali’s speech, Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din addressed the gathering and
spoke about the position of the Anjuman in the Movement. He
“Around 22 December 1905 the Promised Messiah
received a revelation that very few days remained [of his
life]. Upon this, he immediately wrote and published his
Will, and separated himself almost entirely from the
management of the Movement, handing over all the work
to the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, as if he was ready to
meet his Maker at any moment. Then God, in order to
belie the predictions of certain false claimants to revelation, granted him life for a further two and a half years.
Because of this, he saw in his own life the system
working which was to come into effect after him.
From 1882 to 1900 he sowed a crop entirely by his own
labour with the help of God. But when the time came to
reap the crop and eat the fruit, he gave it not to his
offspring nor to his relatives, but to a man who had come
from outside [meaning Maulana Nur-ud-Din]. For me there is no
greater proof of his truth. The Holy Prophet Muhammad
conquered the land but in the end made it unlawful for
his own descendants to receive the zakat that came. This
example of selflessness without personal interest was
only again seen in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad,
peace be upon him. …
Anyhow, this Imam has appointed this Anjuman as his
— Badr, dated 24–31 December 1908, page 13, column 1.
The gathering at which these speeches were delivered was the
largest ever Ahmadiyya meeting up to that time. It was attended
by the leading figures in the Ahmadiyya Movement including
the head, Maulana Nur-ud-Din. Also present was Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad himself (who also gave an address) and
others who were later prominent in the creation of the Qadiani
group. This shows that it was a well known and publicised fact
that the Anjuman had been designated by the Founder of the
Movement as his successor for running the Movement.
These speeches also show the sense in which Maulana
Muhammad Ali and Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din
accepted Maulana Nur-ud-Din as Khalifa. They regarded him
as a head but who was within the system in which the Anjuman
was the supreme executive body. This entirely refutes the
Qadiani allegation that, by accepting Maulana Nur-ud-Din as Khalifa, the Lahore Ahmadiyya leaders had accepted the khilafat system. That khilafat system which the Qadianis mention, in which there is an autocratic the Khalifa possessing absolute,
despotic power, was created by them after the Split of 1914.
Nur-ud-Dins exposition of Anjumans position
During his period as head, Maulana Nur-ud-Din too considered the
Anjuman as being the khalifa of the Promised Messiah for governing
the Movement. During the course of his khutba on the occasion
of Id-ul-Fitr on 16th October 1909, he re-iterated
the position and the powers given to the Anjuman by the Promised
Messiah. Referring to the booklet Al-Wasiyya, he said:
Scan of extract from original newspaper:
In the writing of Hazrat
sahib [i.e. the Promised Messiah] there is a point of deep
knowledge which I will explain to you fully. He left it
up to God as to who was going to be the khalifa.
On the other hand, he said to fourteen men: You are collectively
the Khalifat-ul-Masih, your decisions are final and
binding, and the government authorities too consider them
as absolute. Then all those fourteen men became united in
taking the baiat (pledge) at the hand of one
man, accepting him as their khalifa, and thus you
were united. And then not only fourteen, but the whole community
agreed upon my khilafat.
I have read Al-Wasiyya
very thoroughly. It is indeed true that he has made fourteen
men the Khalifat-ul-Masih, and written that their
decision arrived at by majority opinion is final and binding.
Now observe that these God-fearing men, whom Hazrat sahib
chose for his khilafat, have by their righteous opinion,
by their unanimous opinion, appointed one man as their Khalifa
and Amir. And then not only themselves, but they
made thousands upon thousands of people to embark in the
same boat in which they had themselves embarked.
Qadian, 21 October 1909, p. 11, col. 1.
The following points emerge very plainly from this speech:
- The Promised Messiah made no mention of any individual to hold
the office of khalifa in the Ahmadiyya movement in a personal
- He appointed the Anjuman, a body of
fourteen men, as a collective khalifa, whose decisions he declared
as absolute, final and binding.
- In the eyes of the law of the land
too, the decisions of the Anjuman were final and binding in the
affairs of the Ahmadiyya movement; in other words, the Anjuman
was a legally registered association with the power of governing
- It was the Anjuman which, by its
unanimous agreement, had decided to accept one man, Maulana Nur-ud-Din,
as the head or khalifa. The Maulana did not become khalifa because
there existed any office or position of a personal khalifa in
the Ahmadiyya movement who would have supreme, absolute power
over the movement.
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad usurps
The establishment of the Anjuman on these principles by the Promised
Messiah prevented anyone from becoming an autocratic head or creating
an inherited spiritual seat (gaddi) in the Ahmadiyya Movement,
as had been the fate of previous Muslim spiritual orders. Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad, having exactly these ambitions of wielding absolute
power, resented the formation and the powers of the Anjuman, and
from the very time of the creation of the Anjuman he did all that
he could to have it rendered powerless.
In March 1914, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was successful in his long-standing
plans to gain the headship of the movement upon the death of Hazrat
Maulana Nur-ud-Din. Immediately thereafter, having first ensured
that no opposition could be voiced against him in Qadian, he had
the following resolution of the Anjuman passed by his supporters:
By Resolution 198 of the Majlis-i Mutimidin (Council
of Trustees) held in April 1914 it was resolved that in Rule no.
18 of the rules of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian, in place
of the words Promised Messiah the words Hazrat
Khalifat-ul-Masih Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad the second
Khalifa shall be entered. Therefore, Rule no. 18 shall now
be as follows: In every matter, for the Majlis-i Mutimidin
and its subordinate branches if any, and for the Sadr Anjuman
and all its branches, the order of Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih Mirza
Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad the second Khalifa shall be absolute
Review of Religions,
Urdu edition, the issues for April 1914 and May 1914, inside of
the front cover.
By this resolution, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad removed from the Anjuman
its position of supreme authority given to it by the Promised Messiah,
and raised himself to the Divinely-appointed status of the Promised
Messiah by writing his own name in Rule no. 18, giving his orders
supremacy over the Anjumans decisions. He thus destroyed the
system created by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and replaced it by
personal, autocratic rule by a khalifa, the concept of which is
in complete violation of the principles of Islam as well as the
teachings of the Promised Messiah.
It will be seen that when Maulana Nur-ud-Din became head, he did
not substitute his name for that of the Promised Messiah in this
Rule. On the contrary, he followed the regulations laid down by
the Promised Messiah regarding the powers of the Anjuman.
Therefore, the sense in which M. Mahmud Ahmad made himself khalifa
was entirely different from, and quite opposed to, the sense
in which Maulana Nur-ud-Din was khalifa. This is one of the main
reasons why those, like Maulana Muhammad Ali, who accepted Maulana
Nur-ud-Din as khalifa could not accept M. Mahmud Ahmad as khalifa.
Ahmads 1925 speech: makes Anjuman entirely subservient to
By means of the change in the rules referred to above, Mirza Mahmud
Ahmad arrogated himself to the position of an absolute leader whose
orders had to be obeyed unquestioningly by everyone in the movement.
Despite this amendment and despite the fact that the Anjuman now
consisted entirely of his own supporters, he still felt insecure
that the Anjuman might seek to regain its authority some time in
In a speech in October 1925, therefore, he laid down a new system
of administration, reducing the Council of Trustees to an entirely
subservient body. In this speech, published under the title Jamaat
Ahmadiyya ka jadid nizam amal (A new system of working
for the Ahmadiyya Movement), at the very outset he attacked
the principles upon which the Anjuman was founded, and declared:
As I have said again and again, the
name Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya and its method of working were devised
by others and not by the Promised Messiah. But since the approval
of the Promised Messiah had been given in respect of it, I have
decided that all those names which were established during the
time of the Promised Messiah should be retained.
Al-Fazl, 31 October 1925, p. 3,
col. 1. (See original
He then announced his decision that the names Sadr Anjuman
Ahmadiyya and Majlis-i Mutimidin (Council of Trustees)
would be transferred to certain other bodies, so that their names
would be retained but the institutions themselves would cease to
Mirza Mahmud Ahmads statement given above is self-contradictory
and indeed plainly absurd. Firstly, he admits that the Promised
Messiah had given his approval of the name and the rules of the
Anjuman, but he says that these were devised by others
and then attacks the rules. This amounts to alleging that the Promised
Messiah approved these rules merely at the behest of others,
without himself knowing or caring that these would be harmful to
the Movement, and now Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was going to rectify the
Promised Messiahs error!
Secondly, since in his view the names as well as the rules were
devised by others and merely approved by the Promised
Messiah, it is entirely illogical for him to retain the names because
of their association with the Promised Messiahs time but destroy
the rules. The rules were also from the Promised Messiahs
time. Therefore, the names and the rules should both be eliminated
or both be retained!
M. Mahmud Ahmads
admissions in his speech
There are several very interesting and revealing admissions made
by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in this speech. He said:
The founding principle of the Council
of Trustees (Majlis-i Mutimidin) did not include the existence
of the khalifa of the time, which is the very fundamental issue
in Islam. A resolution has been passed during the second khilafat
to the effect that the Council must accept whatever the khalifa
says. But this is not a matter of principle. What it means is
that a body of members says that it would do so. However, the
body which is entitled to say this, can also say that it shall
not do so. For, the Anjuman which can pass the resolution that
it shall obey the khalifa in everything, if ten years later it
says that it shall not obey him, it is entitled to do so according
to the rules of the Anjuman. Or if the Anjuman says that it will
obey this khalifa in everything but will not obey another one,
it has the right to do so according to its rules, as happened
in the time of the first khalifa.
3 November 1925, p. 3, col. 1. (See
Here Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made the following admissions:
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad then goes on to say:
- There is no mention of the concept or the institution of a personal
khilafat in the basic principles of the Anjuman, upon which it
was created by the Promised Messiah.
- It is within the Anjumans powers
to revoke at any time its resolution, which he got it to pass
in 1914, to follow the khalifas orders. This shows that
the Anjuman was not originally created to be subservient to any
individual leader, but was the supreme and sovereign executive
of the Movement. He is, in fact, expressing his fear that the
Anjuman may at some time in future decide to re-assert its original
authority and cease to be subservient to an individual khalifa.
- He says: “…it [the Anjuman] has the right to do so according to its rules, as happened
in the time of the first khalifa”. This is a clear admission that it was the Anjuman’s own decision to obey the first khalifa (Maulana Nur-ud-Din), and according to its rules the Anjuman was entitled to refuse to extend this to obey the khalifa after him.
For the sake of the khilafat we had to make an
unparalleled sacrifice. And that was that we sacrificed for its
sake the old followers of the Promised Messiah, those who were called
his friends, those who had a very close relationship with him. If
this religious difference had not arisen between them and ourselves,
they would be dearer to us than our own children because they included
those who knew the Promised Messiah and those who were his companions,
and had worked with him.
But because a difference arose regarding
a teaching which was from God, and which had to be accepted for
the sake of our faith and the Jamaat, we sacrificed those
who were dearer to us than our children. So, over this question,
we have made such a magnificent sacrifice that no other sacrifice
can equal it. This is far greater than sacrificing ones life
because in that case a man sacrifices only himself. But here we
had to sacrifice a part of our Movement.
If even after so much sacrifice the movement still
remains insecure, that is, it is at the mercy of a few men who can,
if they so wish, allow the system of khilafat to continue in existence,
and if they do not so wish, it cannot remain in existence, this
cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Because the institution
of khilafat was not included in the basic principles of the Jamaat,
the movement lives in the constant danger which can turn pledged
members into non-pledged members, and by the stroke of the pen of
ten or eleven men Qadian can at once become Lahore.
Therefore, the works of the Jamaat relating to propagation
and training cannot be entrusted to such an Anjuman, even though
that Anjuman may consist of pledged members, and even though they
may be men of the highest sincerity.
3 November 1925, p. 3, cols. 12. (See
(Translators Note: The word translated
as pledged members is mubaeen, referring
to those who have taken the baiat of
the Qadiani khalifa.)
Here Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made the following interesting admissions:
- He and his supporters forced the old followers, friends
and companions of the Promised Messiah out of the Ahmadiyya
Movement, which he describes as an unparalleled sacrifice
made by the Qadianis, in order to establish an autocratic khilafat.
This clearly disproves the allegation made commonly by the present-day
Qadianis that the separation in the Movement in 1914 came about
because Maulana Muhammad Ali was trying to become the head, and
having failed in that attempt he left and formed his own separate
group. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad says here, on the contrary, that we
had to sacrifice a part of our Movement for the sake of
the system of khilafat. In other words, Maulana Muhammad Ali and
his associates were opposing the system of khilafat which Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad was striving to introduce, and this opposition was
thus purged, or sacrificed, out of the Movement.
- Mirza Mahmud Ahmads words that by the stroke of
the pen of ten or eleven men Qadian can at once become Lahore
are highly note-worthy. He is admitting that what makes Lahore
different from Qadian is that the Lahore Ahmadis hold the Anjuman
to be supreme, and if this supremacy was again accepted in Qadian
then Qadian would become Lahore. Since that is the difference,
as admitted here, then it is false to allege that the Lahore Ahmadis
separated from Qadian because Maulana Muhammad Ali failed to become
the khalifa there. If that had been the reason for the split,
then the only way Qadian could become Lahore would be by accepting
the Maulana as their leader!
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad makes
Anjuman totally powerless
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad then went on to announce in this speech that
in his new system the term Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya would refer to
the khalifa and his advisors, the advisors would advise
and the khalifa would decide, and this would be known as the decision
of the Sadr Anjuman. The Majlis-i Mutimidin (Council
of Trustees) would merely carry out the decision without question.
It can be seen that these institutions, which had been created
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, were demolished by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad
in order to create a system of absolute, autocratic, personal rule,
and establish a family succession.