Thursday, May 5, 2011

Fourth Khalifa on Khilafat and Mujaddidiyat

One of the most unfortunate statements ever made by the Fourth Khalifa Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib was in the course of a Friday Sermon of August 27, 1993. He stated:

"Since the imamat [i.e. Ahmadiyya Khilafat] is in existence, there is no need for the coming of a Mujaddid. The supporting testimony of God has crushed this evil [fitna] for all time. The imamat shall not end till the Day of Judgment, so there is no need for a Mujaddid till the Day of Judgment. . . . Only those can deny this fact whose hearts are devoid of the fear of God. . . . As God has indeed spoken the truth, and the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement has indeed spoken the truth, so those people are false who believe that imamat will now come to an end and now that the new century [Hijra] has started they must wait for a Mujaddid. Thirteen years have already passed since the beginning of the fifteenth century and in this period no Mujaddid has arisen outside the imamat of the Ahmadiyya Movement. This has exposed this false propaganda. Even if God makes them live for a hundred years they will not see another Mujaddid." - Al-Fazl, 30 September 1993.

Why the Statement is unfortunate?

1. Because it was made by a man elected by people and was given the position of Khalifa of the Promised Massih (as) to lead them in the path of Sahih Al Islam

2. Because he thought that by saying what he did, he was following in the footsteps of the Promised Massih (as) and defending the larger cause of the Jamaat and Islam for the future.

3. Because the best of intentions may not be sufficient at times- People can be wrong even when they fervently believe something to be true and correct.

Why the Fourth Khalifa is Wrong?

The Fourth Khalifa certainly believed that “the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement has indeed spoken the truth”. How did the Promised Massih (as) look at the question of Islamic Khilafat? How did the Promised Massih (as) look at the coming of Mujaddidin? Did the Promised Massih (as) believe or state that no Mujaddid will ever come after him? In short, did the Promised Massih (as) share the perception of Fourth Khalifa on the matter?

Muslims as a spiritual community have always had the Holy Qur’an among them. Like wise, the noble traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) were also with them to guide them on spiritual matters. Yet, Allah, the Most High made the arrangement of sending His Khulafa in every age to dispel wrong notions and doctrinal misunderstandings of believers. A Mujaddid do not add up or subtract anything from the faith; he only restores and revives the original purity of the faith. In his writings, the Promised Massih (as) has made it absolutely and abundantly clear that the Divine Plan is for all times, as the religion of Islam is for all times. 

Hadhrat Ahmad (as) had a broad understanding of religious history and a profound sense of spiritual experience. He did not reduce the concept of Islamic Khilafat solely to the category of leaders being elected by the assembly of people, as the Ahmadiyya Community is unfortunately doing today. Those who reduce Khilafat to the period of thirty years in early Islam have been described as “foolish” by the Promised Massih (as) as they “overlook the true purpose of Khilafat”. According to the Promised Massih (as), Muslims are offered permanent Khilafat by the Holy Qur’an and the noble traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). For the Promised Massih (as), the Islamic Khilafat consisted of not only the four righteous Khulafa who were elected by people to preside over the Muslim community at a time when no divinely ordained Mujaddid was around. For him, Islamic Khilafat also included the divinely ordained Mujaddidin who were raised in every century of Islam.

Hadhrat Ahmad (as) specifically linked the coming of Mujaddidin at the turn of every century to the prophecy regarding Khilafat in Surah Al- Nur. Addressing those who oppose the need for Mujaddidin, he stated: “It should be remembered that the perfection of faith does not dispense with the need of safeguarding it…These people do not reflect that the completion of a structure is one thing and its seasonal cleaning is quite another. It should be remembered that Mujaddidin do not add anything to or subtract any thing from the faith. They restore to the hearts that which had been lost. To assert that it is not necessary to believe in Mujaddidin is disobedience of a Divine command. He has directed: ‘Whoever rejects the Khulafa, after they have been sent, is indeed from amongst the sinners’ (24: 56).  [Shahadat-ul-Qur’an, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol.6, pp.339-352]

In his testamentary declaration, Al Wassiyat, where the Promised Massih (as) spoke about the future, the message is loud and clear: He specifically asked the community of followers to remain united under a single spiritual leadership till the arrival of an Elect of Allah. Hadhrat Ahmad (as) stated:

“Let the righteous persons of the Jamaat who have pure souls accept Bai‘at in my name. God Almighty desires to draw all those who live in various habitations of the world, be it Europe or Asia, and who have virtuous nature, to the Unity of God and unite His servants under one Faith. This indeed is the purpose of God for which I have been sent to the world. You, too, therefore should pursue this end, but with kindness, moral probity and fervent prayers. And till that time when someone inspired by God with the Holy Spirit is raised by Him, all of you should work in harmony with one another. (Al Wassiyat, p.9)

Hadhrat Ahmad (as) believed in the authenticity of the tradition of the Holy Prophet (sa) regarding the coming of Mujaddidin and projected it in support of his famous claim as the Mujaddid of the Fourteenth Century. Even in Al Wassiyyat, he wrote:Had the world opened its eyes it would have seen that I appeared at the beginning of a century. Nearly one fourth of the fourteenth century has elapsed…(p.7). On every opportunity that became available to explain the importance of the tradition regarding the coming of divinely ordained Mujaddidin at the turn of a Century, the Promised Massih (as) urged his followers to be careful against complacency on the matter. He cautioned that any one who raises objections against this noble tradition objects to the wisdom of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). Further, he stated that rejecting this tradition amounts to denial of a Divine Plan of Allah, the Most High.   

Today, the mainstream Ahmadiyya Community is daring to negate the applicability of that noble tradition of Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) in the new Century while claiming to be the greatest defenders of the faith. Unlike the Promised Massih (as), his so- called disciples do not consider it a disobedience to the command of the Divine to assert that it is not necessary to believe in a Mujaddid in a new century. They consider that the meaning of Islamic Khilafat has changed after the death of Hadhrat Ahmad (as). They feel that whatever has been said by the Promised Massih (as) regarding the Mujaddidin is applicable only in the past. In other words, they have virtually disowned the understanding of Hadhrat Ahmad (as) regarding the profound meaning of Islamic Khilafat while simultaneously claiming that the Promised Massih (as) always spoke the truth.

The Ahmadiyya Community today treats Khilafat and Mujaddidiyyat as separate issues. They no longer believe that Mujaddidiyyat is the greater part of Islamic Khilafat as understood by Hadhrat Ahmad (as) and consider that man-elected Khulafa have replaced the Divinely-raised Mujaddidin forever. These man elected- Khalifas are, then, raised to the position and status of Mujaddidin and are attributed the qualities and faculties of an Elect of Allah. This perversion of spiritual doctrine has been done and is being justified in the name of protecting and perpetuating ‘Islamic’ Khilafat till the Last Days. It is a strange irony that by reducing Islamic Khilafat to the system of elected Khalifas, the Community has preferred to adopt the perspective of those who were described as “foolish” by the Promised Massih (as). In the name of promoting the legacy of Hadhrat Ahmad (as), the teachings of the Promised Massih (as) have been trampled to dust.

According to the official website of the Ahmadiyya Community, the Promised Massih (as) wrote 91 Books in languages as varied as Urdu, Arabic and Persian and it is estimated that in his Collected Works, there are over 5,00,000 statements in total. And yet, contrary to the official Ahmadiyya position, there is not even a single statement which exists to exhibit as  evidence to suggest that Hadhrat Ahmad (as) ever thought that Ahmadiyya Khilafat elected by the assembly of the faithful will remain the only form of Divine favour on the Community till the Day of Judgement. On the other hand, there are innumerable writings and prophecies that suggest that the Promised Massih (as) truly believed in the arrival of divinely ordained people in future as well. There are so many references one can point out and add up from the writings of the Promised Massih (as) in this regard.

1. A question put to the Promised Massih (as) and his reply to it are recorded as follows:

"29 September 1905, before noon. A man asked the question: 'Will a Mujaddid come after you?' He [the Promised Massih] replied:

"What is wrong with a Mujaddid coming after me? The prophethood of Moses had come to an end, and that is why his chain of successors ended with Jesus. However, the dispensation of the Holy Prophet Muhammad will last till the Day of Judgment. Therefore, Mujaddidin will arise in it till Judgment Day. As long as the Day of Judgment withholds its destruction, it does not matter that someone else should come. We most certainly do not deny that good and righteous people will continue to come, and then all of a sudden the Day of Judgment will come." (Ruhani Khaza'in no. 2, vol. 8, p.119.)

2. In his book Shahadat al-Qur'an, the Promised Massih (as) has argued long and vigorously that successors to the Holy Prophet Muhammad will always be arising. He writes: "It should also be remembered that the conveying of the argument [of Islam] takes place in a different sense in every age, and the Mujaddid of the time comes with the powers, faculties and qualities upon which depends the reformation of the prevalent evils. God will continue to do this forever, as long as He pleases that the signs of righteousness and reform remain in the world." (p. 46)

3. While the Fourth Khalifa has said that "till the Day of Judgment" no Mujaddid will come, the Promised Massih (as) commenting on a verse of the Holy Qur’an said the very opposite:

"Another point is that the letter ra in the word alif-lam-ra shows that this word refers to the permanent institution of Mujaddidin and the sent ones, which will continue till the Day of Judgment....All these miraculous works and victories which took place at the hands of the Mujaddidin among the followers of the Holy Prophet Muhammad after him, and will continue till the Day of Judgment, are really the achievements of the Holy Prophet." (Ruhani Khaza'in no. 2, vol. 2, p.63.)

Did the Fourth Khalifa has any malafide intention in saying what he did? People can be mistaken even if and when they have "good" intentions, however one may define it. He was, most likely, driven by a desire to protect the existing administrative structure of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat, as the possibility of Allah (swa) directly raising and blessing a spiritual progeny of the Promised Massih (as) with a mandate of Mujaddidiyat and Khilafat might have appeared threatening to his own institutional logic. Yet, the method he adopted- denying the possibility of Divine favour on the community through the coming of Mujaddidin in future- directly contradicted the understanding and perspective of the Promised Massih (as). Possibly becuase of his own line of thinking, the Fourth Khalifa drifted away from the True Path in spite of his sincere character. 

And more egregiously, the view of the Fourth Khalifa went against the Divine Plan for the protection of Islam in every age. The leadership of the best of men cannot replace the bounty of revelation from Allah the Most High. The question of raising a Divine servant is a Divine prerogative. It would not need the permission or concurrence of any human creature, in the implementation of this Divine decision. It is to dispel precisely such wrong notions and misunderstandings that Allah will always send His Khalifa in every age. After all, "true guidance is Divine Guidance".

For the second part of this essay, click here