A letter and response
The following letter was received from Dr Tahir Ijaz, U.S.A., in
reaction to our article Mirza
Masroor Ahmad’s khutba on the “everlasting”
Qadiani khilafat. A brief response by Dr Zahid Aziz is
given after the letter.
Dear Editor, The Light. Assalamo Alaikum.
I came across the article A Commentary on Mirza Masroor Ahmad's
khutba dealing with the 'everlasting' Qadiani khilafat by Dr Zahid
Aziz in the April-June 2005 edition of The Light.
As a 'Qadiani' Ahmadi I wanted to make a few comments realizing
of course it would be impossible to deal with all of the issues
raised by Dr Aziz in this short letter.
Dr Aziz poses the question that how is it we 'Qadianis' can adhere
to the belief that the khilafat is ever lasting, and yet espouse
a sincere belief that an ummati-nabi may arise in the future.
There are two ways to address this apparent problem as I see it.
First, we believe nabuwwat (prophecy) is a spiritual station
an ummati may attain, one of four stations mentioned in the Quran
(4:69), along with siddiq, saleh, shaheed. Thousands have attained
this station in the ummah according to the Promised Messiah, and
it is our belief that many saints (auliya) in our ummah were no
less than many of the prophets of past dispensations. Such ummati-nabis
will continue to appear, just as there will continue to be people
in our ummah the rank of siddiq, saleh and shaheed bestowed by
Allah, which is linked with the prayer in Surah Fatihah, 'guide
us in the straight path, the path on whom Thou hast bestowed Thy
blessings'. To attain the blessing and rank of prophecy does not
necessarily imply Allah will make that person a public Warner
and mamur and thus a conflict with the Khalifa of the time does
To close one rank will mean to close all ranks based on 4:69.
One can also refer to the expressed written opinions of Maulana
Muhammad Ali sahib before the split and see he was in full conformity
on this theological point.
Second, one should realize that khilafat is in essence a contract
between the faith- community and Allah the Almighty. As long as
the community as a whole conducts itself righteously and duly
respects its leader, it will be blessed with righteous leadership
and receive blessings from Allah. In this way upon the death of
a khalifa, the community elects another in a chain of successor
ship guided by Allah.
If the community falls short, Allah may lift the blessed leadership
and terminate this contract. This is what happened in the time
of khilafat-e- rashida. Despite receiving great blessings from
their khulafa, Muslims unfortunately killed three of their own
khulafa (only Hazrat Abu Bakr died a natural death), not learning
a lesson with each assassination. Many of the closest companions
of the Prophet (SAW) were still alive and the tragedy is many
paid no heed to the reminders of these blessed companions about
the sublime teachings of peace that were promulgated by the Prophet
only a short time before.
Though Muslims lost the true khilafat as an institution based
on the precept of prophethood, Allah, out of mercy, raised mujaddids
(khalifas in a general sense) from time to time for guidance of
the ummah, and promised the re-emergence of the true khilafat
in the latter days in the style of khilafat-e-rashida. The Promised
Messiah himself mentioned in Shahadatul Quran three stages in
the history of the ummah based on a hadith from Musnad Ahmad.
First, there was to be a period of khilafat on the precept of
prophethood. After this was a time of tyrannical regimes. By God's
decree this too was to end and the final phase was the era of
emergence of Khilafat on the precept of prophethood. In the aforesaid
hadith, the Prophet gave no indication that this latter-day khilafat
would ever end.
We believe that this latter day khilafat is in reality a continuation
of the tradition of khilafat-e-rashida, the prophethood of the
Promised Messiah being a reflection of the prophethood of the
Holy Prophet. These ideas are further elaborated in his book The
Will, written twelve years later in 1905.
Whereas we believe that inshallah, khilafat will continue to
the end of times, we have to work for it and strive hard in the
path of Allah and pray, for these glad tidings promised are in
the end conditional. If we fall short Allah reserves the right
to raise another ummati-Nabi/Messenger in the sense of a public
Warner, in the style of the Promised Messiah. The door to prophethood
is never closed.
It is for this reason the Khalifa of the time has to remind his
flock the nature of our responsibilities from time to time, as
did the previous khulafa, including Hazrat Maulvi Nuruddin.
I hope this short letter helps the readers understand our position.
Dr Tahir Ijaz
Response by Zahid Aziz
1. The main point of my article was that in the book Shahadat-ul-Quran
the Promised Messiah has not at all said what Mirza Masroor Ahmad
attributes to him, but in fact quite the opposite. The Promised
Messiah writes that the khilafat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad
is everlasting, and that he himself has come as a khalifa
as part of that institution. There is no mention there of another
khilafat to be established after him. My main point thus
stands established. Also, it is clear from Shahadat-ul-Quran
that the Promised Messiah regarded the khilafat to the
Holy Prophet Muhammad as having continued to exist in the thirteen
centuries after the first four khalifas down to his own time.
2. The mention of nubuwwat as a spiritual station which
a saint may attain is not relevant to our discussion because
in the quotation I gave from the book Anwar-i Khilafat Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad is actually speaking of the coming of prophets with
a mission of reform, i.e. public warners. My quotation
ended at the words: They question the prophethood of the Promised
Messiah, but I say, even now there can be a prophet.” This
continues as follows:
As error, misguidance and irreligiousness can spread in
the world, why cannot a prophet come? Whenever misguidance has
spread and people have forgotten God and become involved in misdeeds,
a prophet has come at that time. Similarly, when it so happens
in future that the world forsakes God, forgets the Holy Prophet
Muhammad, and becomes involved in impurity and filth, at that
time a prophet will come and will definitely come. However, he
will not bring another Shariah, but will spread the Shariah of
the Holy Prophet. (Anwar-i Khilafat, p. 62)
My point was that the belief expressed above conflicts totally
with Mirza Masroor Ahmads claim that his khilafat institution
will last forever.
3. As the topic has been raised of previous saints becoming ummati-nabis,
it should be noted that the Qadiani Jamaat, as represented by their
khalifas, does not believe that the previous saints were
ummati-nabis. In his book Haqiqat-un-Nubuwwat Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad writes:
Another question is asked, whether in this Umma
there has been another prophet apart from the Promised Messiah
or not. The short answer is No.
The Holy Prophet refuses
to verify the prophethood of any person in the Umma before
the Messiah. Therefore, we are also bound to deny that before
the Promised Messiah there was anyone in this Umma who
was an ummati nabi. (Haqiqat-un-Nubuwwat,
to this letter and our response.