The Holy Qur’an reminds every believer: “Do men think that they will be left alone because they say, ‘We believe,’ and that they will not be put to trial?” (29:3). The biggest test of faith is the recognition of Allah’s Messengers and of the Imam of the Age whenever they come. The first paragraph of Hadhrat Ahmad’s (as) book, The Need for the Imam reads: “Now, then, let it be clear that an authentic Hadith testifies that he who does not recognize the Imam of his time, dies the death of ignorance. This Hadith is enough to make the heart of a righteous man seek after the Imam of the Age, for to die in ignorance is such a great misfortune that no evil or ill luck lies outside its scope. Therefore, in keeping with this testament of the Holy Prophet (sa), it becomes incumbent upon every seeker after truth to persist in his quest for the true Imam”. [The Need for the Imam, pp.1-2]
When a Khalifa in the person of Hadhrat Adam (as) was sent by Allah, even the angels showed their obedience and only Satan, the accursed “refused and acted with arrogance” (2:31-35). Likewise, as Hadhrat Ahmad (as) noted: “Whenever a Servant of God appeared at the turn of every century as a Reformer, the ignorant people vehemently opposed him and strongly detested any attempt to correct the errors which had become a part of their habit and custom”. (Lecture
, p.10) Hadhrat Ahmad (as) further stated: “See, a Mujaddid comes at the turn of every century. This is also a form of trial from Allah, the Most High. Now also a trial for Muslims is taking place. Allah, the Most High has sent a divinely raised one.” (Malfuzat, vol.10, p.250). Hence, Ahmadis today face a great test of faith: the choice is to accept the Messenger of Allah and be blessed or to reject him and go astray from the way of Allah. Sialkot
The Holy Prophet of Islam (sa) is on record, saying that ‘if a few among the rabbis (Jewish scholars of his time) believed in me, the entire race would have believed in me’. Like the present Ahmadiyya Khalifa, the rabbis were also “godly people and those learned in the Law” (5:45). It is a great irony of religious history and spiritual philosophy that the great scholars of the Jews did not accept the Messenger of Allah when he came. As Hadhrat Ahmad (as) noted: “But when the Promised Prophet (sa) did appear, self conceit and prejudice doomed most of these rabbis, and their hearts turned black. Some fortunate ones, however, became Muslims and their Islam was indeed praiseworthy. This should lead us to fear God and to be very careful and be cautious. Pray God, let no believer ever suffer the fate of Balaam. My Lord! Please save this Umma from all mischief, and safeguard it against the evil of Jews. Amen, repeats Amen” [The Need for the Imam, p.9]
The Ahmadiyya Khalifa has the historic opportunity to examine the issue anew and rectify a mistake committed by his predecessor in office by relying on an advice rendered by his Amir. In light of the Divine Plan that Allah has revealed by sending a Messenger of His in our times and in the larger interest of Islamic spirituality, there is a critical need to reexamine the statements of various Khulafa regarding the meaning of Second Manifestation of Divine Power and the coming of Mujaddidin in future.
It may be noted that the current Ahmadiyya doctrine on the question of Mujaddidin was fashioned in the 1970’s, during the time of the Third Khalifa Hadhrat Mirza Nazir Ahmad Sahib when the issue was merely theoretical. Given the prophecy of the Holy Prophet (sa) and the writings of Hadhrat Ahmad (as) which authenticated the veracity and validity of the prophecy, there was great excitement in the Jamaat about the possibility of the coming of a new Mujaddid in the near future, though no one had made any such claim at that point of time. Already, the Jamaat had witnessed the experience of Hadhrat Mirza Basheeruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), an elected Khalifa being raised by Allah to be the position of Musleh Maoud, a spiritual status which was bestowed upon him based on the revelations vouchsafed to Hadhrat Ahmad (as) by Allah, the Most High. This is the background of the current doctrine: If ever divine guidance comes, Allah’s choice is restricted to the Khalifas elected by people being elevated with true revelation.
It is possible to look at what the Khalifas have told the Jamaat at various occasions in the past as serving the purpose of the Jamaat and its unity at a time when the issue was merely hypothetical and the time of a new Messenger of Allah was still in the womb of future. But now that a new Messenger of Allah has come and believers have started recognizing him, it is only fair to point out that the Ahmadiyya Khalifa needs to utilize the opportunity and reexamine the prevailing doctrine in the light of the present age and adjust it in accordance with the requirements of the new circumstances as well.