Saturday, May 21, 2011

Demystifying the Ahmadiyya Khilafat-II

Today, the Ahmadi Muslims attribute a mystical halo around their current Khalifa Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahib. This extraordinary reverence has to do with three distinct assumptions:

1) Ahmadiyya Jamaat established true Islamic Khilafat for the first time in over a millennium after the departure of the rightly-guided Khalifas of early Islam.

2) The current Khalifa is the Imam of the Age and appointed by none other than Allah Himself.

3) No one on the face of earth will get the Divine favour of a spiritual station above that of the Ahmadiyya Khalifa.

As a divinely-assured religion, Islam challenges its opponents to the battle ground of proof and evidence in favour of beliefs that they claim to uphold. Like wise, the mystical halo of the Khalifa can be assessed on the altar of Islamic spirituality and we can analyse how far the halo remains behind after a critical examination on the basis of Qur’anic doctrine.  

As we have noted in the previous installment of this essay [To access that part, click here), the idea that Ahmadiyyat restored Islamic Khilafat after a millennium is sheer nonsense, if we go by the Divine plan for Islam and the Holy Prophet’ prophecies on the issue. If you have any respect left for Promised Massih (as), you cannot argue the case that Islam failed to offer a permanent Khilafat to the Muslim Ummah or that Allah failed to raise His Khulafa in every age in the service of His chosen faith. This kind of a claim would completely contradict his belief and impassioned arguments on the subject. More significantly, such a world view depicts Islam poorly in the company of other great faiths: what is so special about Islam if it cannot produce living testimonials in favour of its majesty and grandeur in every age?

So, Imam of the Age is an important concept in Islam. Hadhrat Ahmad’s (as), in the very first paragraph of his book, The Need for the Imam writes:

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”. 
 
Is the Current Khalifa the Imam of the Age?

Ahmadis wholeheartedly believe that their Imam is divinely appointed, though the simple fact is that he is elected by the assembly of the faithful. There is a remarkable parallel to the Ahmadiyya theory: Christians believe that their Imam, the Pope, is a representative of Jesus and is elected by the assembly of the faithful. But, they also consider that somehow the choice of the faithful is the choice of God Almighty Himself.   

Islam provides a test to identify the Imam of the Age: the preliminary criterion is that he must be a man in receipt of frequent revelations from Allah Himself. As Hadhrat Ahmad (as) has pointed out, Imam of the Age is appointed by Allah and the status of the Imam of the Age is far above that of even a Wali who lives and enjoys divine revelations from Allah at the same point in time.

Since Ahmadis believe that their Khalifa is the Imam of the Age, it is only fair to expect that he must be a man in receipt of divine revelations of the highest order.  Has the current Khalifa ever claimed direct revelations from Allah as the source for his guidance and statements to the community and the world at large? The simple fact is that the current Khalifa has never claimed in the last 8 years that he receives any divine revelations, nor has he started any programme or policy for the Jamaat on the basis of what Allah has told him to do. In short, there is no evidence to suggest that Khalifathul Massih V enjoys divine converse even though he is “God-appointed”, as Ahmadis would have us believe. The current Khilafat should be removed of this mystical halo and recognized as what it actually is: an elected leadership at the hands of the assembly of the faithful.   

In the early Islamic Khilafat, Hadhrat Abu Baker (ra) did not take himself as “God- appointed” or as an infallible human being incapable of failures and mistakes. At his very first speech as Khalifa, he made it absolutely and abundantly clear: I have been given the authority over you, and I am not the best of you. If I do well, help me; and if I do wrong, set me right’.  The speech also makes it clear that Obey me so long as I obey God and His Messenger. But if I disobey God and His Messenger, ye owe me no obedience”.

Can the presence of an elected Khalifa be ever seen as obstructing Allah’s ability to send a Messenger of His choice when there is a felt need in a new Century? Allah's Messengers are of an altogether different league than an Apostle of a deceased Massih. So, the presence of a Khalifathul Massih in the world cannot and should not be seen as a hindrance for Allah to send an Elect of His- be it a Mujaddid, a Massih or even a Non-Law Bearing Prophet as the Imam of the Age.

In short, there is nothing spiritually unuusual in a Messenger of Allah being raised in this age in the person of Hadhrat Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius who has been bestowed all of these titles by Allah, the Most High:  Mujaddid of the Fifteenth Century, Massih of Allah, Imam of the Age and non-Law bearing  Prophet.

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