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A letter and response
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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.

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 not arise.

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
California, USA

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 Ahmad’s 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, p. 233)

Read addendum to this letter and our response.