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Mirza Masroor Ahmad’s khutba on the “ever-lasting” Qadiani khilafat

Misrepresents Promised Messiah’s writings

Worried by his own elder’s view that khilafat will decline after four khalifas

by Dr. Zahid Aziz

Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Khalifa of the Qadian/Rabwah Section of the Ahmadiyya Movement, delivered a Friday khutba in London on 27 May 2005 on the topic of their concept of khilafat. This is the day every year when they celebrate the establishment of their khilafat. The original Urdu text of the khutba is published in their weekly Urdu organ Al-Fazl International for its issue dated 10 June, available on their website

The main thrust of his speech was that their khilafat is an institution that will last forever. He informs us at the outset that a specific reason for delivering this khutba is that some unknown person in their movement has been circulating an article written some years ago by Mirza Bashir Ahmad, younger brother of the second khalifa Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, in which the author argued that the khilafat in their Jama‘at will not remain in its pure form forever, but will degenerate into a hereditary institution after the first four khalifas. Apparently, Mirza Bashir Ahmad drew a parallel with the history of the early khalifas of Islam, when after the first four khalifas, who were truly worthy of holding this office, the headship deteriorated into a worldly monarchy in which succession was by descent, and not by the true Islamic worth of a person.

As Mirza Masroor Ahmad is the fifth khalifa of his movement, he is naturally anxious to dispel any such suggestion about the decay of their khilafat. He says that this was a personal view of Mirza Bashir Ahmad, and that Mirza Mahmud Ahmad had, at the time this article was published, issued a clarification that there is no Divine law that a khilafat must always suffer the same fate that befell the early Islamic khilafat after the four righteous khalifas. Whatever explanation of the comments of Mirza Bashir Ahmad may be given, the fact remains that a senior-most figure in the Qadian/Rabwah Jama‘at believed that their khilafat institution would not endure in an uncorrupted form beyond four khalifas.

According to Mirza Masroor Ahmad, and also according to the clarification by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad as quoted in this khutba, the decline of the early Islamic khilafat after four khalifas is not a general law but was particular to the circumstances and conditions of that time. Otherwise, true khilafat continues to exist as long as the community remains on the right path. Explaining the meaning of the verse 24:55 of the Holy Quran, Mirza Masroor Ahmad declares:

“God’s promise of establishing a khilafat is with those people who are strong in faith and are doing good deeds. When believers are setting such a standard, Allah will continue the institution of khilafat according to His promises. Through a khalifa after the death of a prophet, and through the next khalifa after the death of every khalifa, the state of fear will be changed into a state of security. We have been witnessing this for the past one hundred years. But the condition is that the people must be worshippers of the One God and must not be involved in shirk due to the lure of the attractions of this world. If they are ungrateful, neglectful of worship, and prefer materialistic considerations over the commands of Allah, then due to this disobedience they will be deprived of this blessing.” (pages 5–6, Al-Fazl International, 10 June 2005)

Later, after giving examples of the devotion shown towards the institution of khilafat by his followers in Africa, Masroor sahib says:

Inshallah, these good deeds and this sincerity will always be the basis for the establishment of the khilafat in the Ahmadiyya community. … Inshallah, those who do good deeds will always continue to be produced and the institution of khilafat shall go on forever. … It is a misgiving to say that, because there have been four khalifas as there were four khalifas in the early khilafat, therefore this has come to an end, and that Allah had only this much power that after bestowing the blessing of khilafat for a period three times longer than that of the early righteous khilafat, His powers have been exhausted.” (page 7, col. 1)

According to Mirza Masroor Ahmad’s interpretation, his present-day community of followers is adhering to such a high standard of religious faith and practice that khilafat continues to be bestowed upon them as a reward, but the early Muslims had fallen below the same standard just thirty years after the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s death so that Allah withdrew from them the blessings of the institution of khilafat. Thirty years after the Holy Prophet’s death many of his distinguished companions were still alive, eminent persons such as his wife Aisha were still alive, and the highly-esteemed tabi‘in (those belonging to the next generation after the companions) were yet reaching their prime. But according to the Qadiani stance, those people were not a good enough Muslim community as compared to today’s Qadiani Jama‘at and hence they were punished by having the blessing of khilafat withdrawn from them, the same blessing which is still with the Qadiani Jama‘at and will continue with it forever! In terms of verse 24:55, the Muslim community thirty years after the Holy Prophet had degenerated into a group of ungrateful sinners (fasiqs) while today’s Qadiani Jama‘at has true faith and does good deeds. Nothing could be further from the truth than this patently absurd, false and outrageous claim.

Misrepresentation of the Promised Messiah

Just before the extract quoted above, Mirza Masroor Ahmad puts forward the following statement from the Promised Messiah’s book Shahadat-ul-Quran to claim that he had written that the khilafat in the Ahmadiyya Movement will last forever:

“Now it should be remembered that although there are many verses of this kind in the Holy Quran, giving the glad tidings of an ever-lasting khilafat in this Umma, and Hadith is full of reports about this as well, for the moment this much will suffice for those who accept proven facts like a great treasure. There could be no worse misgiving about Islam than to consider it to be a dead religion and to believe its blessings to be limited only to the first generation.” (Ruhani Khaza’in, v. 6,  p. 355).

A reading of the book Shahadat-ul-Quran will show that to present the words “an ever-lasting khilafat in this Umma” as referring to the so-called khilafat in the Ahmadiyya Movement after the Promised Messiah is nothing but deceit and distortion. What he is discussing at length in this book is that the khilafat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad did not end after the four righteous khalifas, as believed by many Muslims, but that it continued throughout the history of Islam in the form of the appearance of mujaddids and saints, and that he is one of those mujaddids and saints. Leaving aside the rest of the book, if we simply continue the above statement, it reads as follows:

“Does the Book (i.e. the Quran) which opens the door to ever-lasting blessings teach the disheartening lesson that there is no blessing or khilafat to look forward to, but that all has been left behind? Prophets certainly cannot arise in this Umma, 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. In that case, such a faith can bear no comparison to the spiritual power and glory of the Mosaic religion in which thousands of spiritual khalifas continued to arise over a period of fourteen centuries.” (p. 355–356)

He says that because “prophets certainly cannot arise in this Umma”, hence in their place khalifas to the Holy Prophet have been coming throughout all the centuries of Islam, not just for the first thirty years, and he himself is the khalifa of his time. But Mirza Masroor Ahmad says the opposite: that the institution of khilafat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad was closed after the first thirty years, and it was restarted only after the appearance of the next prophet, namely, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

Similarly, only a few lines before the statement quoted by Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the Promised Messiah writes:

“Given that God had explained by use of an analogy that He would raise khalifas in this Umma in the same manner as He raised khalifas after Moses, one should see what course did God follow after the death of Moses: did He send khalifas for only thirty years, or did He extend this series for fourteen hundred years? The grace of God upon our Holy Prophet, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, was far greater than that which was upon Moses … how could it be that the series of successors of Moses should be continued for fourteen hundred years, but here the khilafat terminate after a mere thirty years?” (p. 354–355)

It is absolutely crystal clear from a reading of Shahadat-ul-Quran, without the least doubt whatsoever, that the ever-lasting khilafat that the Promised Messiah is writing about is the coming of the mujaddids and auliya throughout the history of Islam, of which he himself is one, and there is no mention whatsoever in this book that it refers to a khilafat to be established after the alleged prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

Mirza Masroor Ahmad, explaining the meaning of a hadith, says:

“The Holy Prophet Muhammad has declared the institution of khilafat after the Promised Messiah to be forever” (p. 6, col. 1).

But the position outlined in the book Shahadat-ul-Quran can be expressed as follows:

The Promised Messiah has declared the institution of khilafat after the Holy Prophet Muhammad to be forever.

Observe the contrast between these positions.

In this book Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has discussed at length the khilafat verse of the Quran (24:55), the verse ever being repeated by Mirza Masroor Ahmad and his Jama‘at. The explanation given by the Promised Messiah is that in this verse it is promised that just as after Moses God instituted “a long chain of temporal as well as spiritual khilafat, by way of reward and favour, which continued for about fourteen hundred years, and ended with Jesus” (p. 322), by analogy the same would happen after the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

“For fourteen hundred years, Moses was granted servants of the law who were messengers of God and His inspired ones; and this series ended with a messenger who invited to the truth, not with the sword, but merely by mercy and good morals. Therefore, so it was that our Holy Prophet was also granted servants of the law who, in accordance with the hadith ‘The learned ones among my followers are like the prophets of the Israelites’, were Divinely inspired (mulham) and recipients of Divine communication (muhaddas). And just as in the last era of the Mosaic law was sent Jesus who, not with the sword, but with good morals and mercy invited to the truth, likewise for this law God sent the Promised Messiah so that he too should invite to the right path only by good morals, mercy and heavenly lights. … thus the dispensation of Muhammad attained complete analogy with the dispensation of Moses.

If it is said that in the Mosaic order those who were raised for the advocacy of the faith were prophets, and Jesus was also a prophet, the reply is that the prophet (nabi) and the saint (muhaddas) are on a par in terms of being sent (mursal). Just as God has called prophets as mursal, so has He termed saints as mursal. … As our Master and Messenger, may peace and the blessings of God be upon him, is the Khatam-ul-anbiya, and after him no prophet can come, for this reason saints (muhaddas) have been substituted for prophets in this religious system. … it is proved conclusively that the saints (muhaddas) of this Umma, in terms of their number and the length of their order, are equal to the apostles of the Israelites. In fact, another verse to the same effect is as follows.” (p. 323–324)

Then he quotes the khilafat verse, 24:55, indicating that this is the explanation of that verse.

The Promised Messiah claims that he himself has come as a muhaddas and a mujaddid in fulfilment of the promise in the above verse to raise khalifas to the Holy Prophet Muhammad:

“Now it has been proved from the Holy Quran that in this blessed Umma a system of ever-lasting khilafat has been established in the manner and likeness of the one which was established in the dispensation of Moses, and there is merely a verbal difference to the effect that at that time, for the support of the Mosaic religion, there used to arise prophets, but now saints (muhaddas) come. This proof implies the acceptance of the proposition that just as in the last days of the Mosaic law a prophet arose named Jesus, … similarly it is necessary that in this Umma too there should arise a muhaddas, in the likeness of that prophet and of his time  …” (p. 356–357)

“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 khalifas in the earth as He made those before them to be khalifa’ (24:55). This clearly conveys that a mujaddid must come bearing the name of the Messiah in the fourteenth century, because the Muhammadi khilafat can only attain the most complete and total likeness to the Mosaic successorship if the first and the last respective phases have a high degree of mutual conformity.” (p. 363–364)

Thus it is Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who was raised as khalifa according to the promise in verse 24:55, and not the so-called ‘khalifas of the Messiah’ after him.

Qadiani Jama‘at disagrees with beliefs in Shahadat-ul-Quran

While Mirza Masroor Ahmad quotes from Shahadat-ul-Quran, yet he and his Jama‘at hold totally the opposite beliefs to the beliefs expressed by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in this book about his claims. We list these differences below:

1.    Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes that the Holy Prophet Muhammad being the Khatam-ul-anbiya means that no prophet can come after him (p. 323–324), and “prophets certainly cannot arise in this Umma” (p. 355). The Qadiani Jama‘at holds that prophets can most certainly arise in this Umma despite the Holy Prophet Muhammad being the Khatam-ul-anbiya.

2.    Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes that the khilafat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad has continued throughout the history of Islam after the righteous khilafat of the first thirty years (p. 323). The Qadiani Jama‘at holds that the khilafat of the Holy Prophet Muhammad came to an end after the righteous khilafat of the first thirty years, and was only re-established after Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in the form of khilafat to the Promised Messiah.

3.    Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes that the Messiah to arise among Muslims should be a saint (muhaddas) and reformer (mujaddid) of this Umma, and not a prophet. The Qadiani Jama‘at holds that muhaddas and mujaddid is not a sufficiently high rank for the Promised Messiah and he must be a prophet.

4.    Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad writes that he has come in fulfilment of the khilafat verse of the Holy Quran as a khalifa of the Holy Prophet. The Qadiani Jama‘at holds that he is not a part of the khilafat of the Holy Prophet but is himself a prophet who establishes a khilafat after him.

If Qadiani khilafat is ever-lasting, no prophet can come in future

If the so-called Qadiani khilafat is considered by its adherents as ever-lasting, then this contradicts their own vociferous belief that the door of prophethood is open for all time after the Holy Prophet Muhammad. For, if a prophet arose in future his own khilafat would be established after him. On the other hand, the same Qadiani Jama‘at has been vigorously proclaiming for ninety years that, according to the Quran and Hadith, prophethood continues after the Holy Prophet Muhammad and prophets will always be arising among Muslims. In his book Anwar-i Khilafat, published in 1916, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad argued as follows against those who believe in the finality of prophethood:

“Likewise they say that however much a person may advance in virtue and goodness, … but God will never make him a prophet, never raise him to that dignity. Their thinking thus is due to not assigning to Allah the attributes due to Him; otherwise, to say nothing of one prophet, I say there shall be thousands of prophets … They question the prophethood of the Promised Messiah, but I say, even now there can be a prophet.” (p. 62; p. 124 of the online edition; emphasis is ours)

“I ask, Is prophethood a mercy or a curse? If it is a mercy, then why has it come to an end after the Holy Prophet Muhammad? It should have increased all the more after him. He was a prophet of a very great status. Therefore a prophet who comes after him must also be of a great status, not that no one could at all become a prophet.” (p. 64; p. 126 of the online edition)

“Even if someone placed a sword on my neck and told me to say that no prophet can come after the Holy Prophet, I would say to him: you are a liar, a great liar, prophets can come after the Holy Prophet, most certainly they can.” (p. 65; p. 127 of the online edition)

(The online edition of Anwar-i Khilafat is on the Qadiani Jama‘at website at the address: . The page numbers for that edition have been indicated above.)

Mirza Masroor Ahmad needs to explain what would happen to the khilafat in his Jama‘at if one of these many prophets arose, who can come according to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad.

Does a khalifa know beforehand that he will be elected?

Mirza Masroor Ahmad answers an objection of someone who wrote to him saying: “you have become a khalifa by a great deal of pre-planning”. Within his reply he also mentions:

“Often outsiders ask me this question. I always give them the reply given by the third khalifa. Someone also asked him: Did you know that you would be chosen as khalifa? His reply was: Even the thought of that would not occur to any person having any sense.” (page 6, col. 1)

According to Mirza Nasir Ahmad’s reply, even the thought of becoming khalifa had not occurred to him. For the interest of our readers, I refer to an article in Paigham Sulh by the Lahore Ahmadi missionary Sayyid Akhtar Husain Gilani, published in 1944, some 21 years before Mirza Nasir Ahmad became khalifa. It is written in it:

“Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has prepared his son Nasir Ahmad for the khilafat. … Mirza Nasir Ahmad is the president of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya etc. The young are being instructed to render obedience to him, and in every way he is being put forward for the khilafat in various ways. It is definite that the khilafat will pass down as an inheritance in the family of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. Its foundation is being laid on concepts such as the ‘promised progeny’, and it is impossible now that a non-related person could become khalifa.” (Paigham Sulh, 31 May 1944, p. 13)

It appears that it was being publicly discussed for years before Mirza Nasir Ahmad became khalifa that he was being prepared for this office, and yet it is claimed that even this thought had never occurred to him!

In connection with whether a “non-related person” would be eligible for becoming khalifa, Mirza Masroor Ahmad seems to have given an indication of this in his khutba:

“So, instead of being crafty and cunning, you should become righteous and remain engaged in prayer so that this gift of khilafat continues among you forever. To preserve this honour, which for the past 97 years has been bestowed upon people of a certain country or upon the family of the Promised Messiah, what is required is prayers and good deeds. Whichever nation excels in sincerity, devotion and piety, will be the one which holds aloft this banner because it is the promise of God with the Promised Messiah that this power is eternal.” (p. 6–7).

Mirza Masroor Ahmad should clarify more explicitly whether he means by this statement that any person belonging to any nation, and far from being related to the Promised Messiah’s family, is eligible for becoming khalifa on the sole basis of righteousness, sincerity and doing of good deeds.

Whose fear?

We are repeatedly told, as Mirza Masroor Ahmad also says in his khutba, that a khalifa arises when the community is in a state of desperate fear and anxiety, and he changes their fear into security. However, from his khutba the reverse appears to be the case. Here it is the khalifa who is in a state of deep apprehension about his position and he appeals to his community to change his fear into security by stopping criticising him and accepting him as worthy of his office. Those who are truly appointed by Allah, whether a prophet or a mujaddid such as Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, do not rely on, or ask for, or even care for, the support of any human beings in order to remain in their Divinely-appointed office.

 Zahid Aziz

6 July 2005.