Skip to main content

Ahmadis: From 'Khalifa' To 'Khalifatullah'

Most Ahmadis today believe that their system of Ahmadiyya Khilafat is the embodiment of Divinely- appointed spiritual leadership, as prophesied for and among the Muslims of the Later Days.  

This 'doctrinal' understanding and inherited belief is essentially based on what they have been taught by their leaders and scholars from the early days of the Khilafat system, invented by the Community. As is mostly typical within the Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Qadian, instead of individual Ahmadis thinking for themselves on religious matters, they are content with endorsing what they have inherited from their fathers. Almost every other Qadiani Ahmadi, unfortunately today, belong to this unthinking category of people, like the Qur'an speaks off: ‘We found our fathers following a certain course, and we are guided by their footsteps’ (43:23). So, the spiritual doctrines- their meaning, interpretations, nuances and implications- remain largely un-examined within the Community.

With the appearance of a new Reformer among the Ahmadis, with the grand mandate of being the Messenger of Allah of our times, in the person of Hadhrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib (atba) of Mauritius, the intellectual landscape of Ahmadiyya theology is increasingly being redrawn. 

Ahmadi youth have begun to question their inherited religious notions and hitherto un-examined understandings and common convictions in the light of the Divine Manifestation and the spiritual light that emanates from his teachings. It is in this backdrop that we should view the recent series of articles/ extracts from the speeches of the previous Khulafa etc. that are being published in the AL HAQ, the monthly organ of the Ahmadiyya youth wing Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, Kerala. In recent months, the journal is on a campaign mode among Ahmadi youth. The campaign objective is to instill the Ahmadiyya concept of Khilafat among the youth.


In the August 2011 issue of the AL HAQ, one could read an extract from the speech of the Khalifatul Massih I Maulvi Hakkim Nuruddin Sahib on the status of Khilafat. The speech of Hadhrat Khalifa Awwal was occasioned by certain developments within the Jamaat whereby some companions of the Promised Massih (as) pointing to the express words in his testamentary declaration AL WASSIYAT argued that Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya is the representative of God’s Khalifa [Hadhrat Ahmad (as)] after his departure. 

They also thought that the elected Khalifa is only the administrative head and that he has to be subservient to the collective wisdom of the Anjuman which was entrusted by the Promised Massih (as) with the task of determining the future course of the Jamaat. Through the speech, Hadhrat Khalifa Awwal was articulating his conviction that the establishment of Khilafat was a divine blessing on the community of the faithful and the importance of unity and cohesion within the ranks. In the speech, he valiantly defended his concept of spiritual leadership and expressed the opinion that Khalifa is appointed by Allah, the Most High.  

At a time when Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam, Kerala is advocating the original Islamic/Ahmadiyya principle of the continuity of revelations and the coming of Mujaddidin and other elects of Allah from time to time, the Ahmadi youth are being fed a staple diet of such speeches to keep them away from the perceived enemies of Khilafat who are inviting divine wrath!   
   

The simple fact is that we are no enemies of Khilafat. We believe that the position taken by the Khalifa Awwal was correct in its time and context. At a time when a divinely-raised soul is not present within the community, the believers have every duty to remain united under a single spiritual leadership and do good deeds under the umbrella of that leadership. Moreover, those who were perceived to be opposing the Khilafat were not offering a better arrangement under the circumstances. To put it differently, they were not speaking with the superior guidance of divine revelations on the matter and they had no business creating confusion within.   

The divine appointment mentioned by Hadhrat Khalifa Awwal was only metaphorical and that is why he did not present any revelation to claim the position, but merely pointed to the logical plausibility from a reading of the Qur’anic blessings vouchsafed for true believers. Secondly, the metaphor of “divine appointment” of a Khalifa is also evident from the title he held- Khalifatul Massih. As we know, Hadhrat Ahmad (as) was the Khalifatullah (God-appointed Khalifa). If Khalifa Awwal was indeed divinely-appointed, he would have been Khalifatullah and not just Khalifatul Massih.  

A position and status that is metaphorically attributed to the Khalifa should not be abused of its meaning through taking it literally. That Ahmadis have converted spiritual metaphors into literal concepts is a sign of the times- the decadence within that happens in spiritual communities after a period. 

If the present Khalifa was indeed appointed by Allah the Most High, he would not have been deprived of divine revelations all through his Khilafat years in the last decade.

In short, Ahmadis today cannot cite this speech of 1911 to defend their present Khilafat arrangement, especially when the Khalifatullah has clearly claimed a divine mandate and speaks with the assistance of Rooh-ul-Quddus. The speech was made at an entirely different context. 

What is being questioned is not the need for the position of 'Khilafat' being conferred on a person as the elected leader of a spiritual community like the Ahmadi Muslims. It is indeed a necessary arrangement when a Divinely-raised leader is not present among the believers. However, when such a secular and mundane leadership position is virtually sought to be elevated and placed on very lofty pedestal, even at the cost of rejecting a Messenger of Allah, raised by Allah (swt), then, such a move augurs ill for the larger Community of believers. 

For, the Holy Qur’an clearly instructs believers to follow those who bring “better guidance” than that which they inherited from their fathers. (43:25). Will the Ahmadi youth reexamine what they inherited as spiritual beliefs and embrace the new Divine Manifestation or  would they prefer to tread on a trajectory made familiar to them by their fathers in a different milieu? Spiritual Path requires awakened reasoning, critical subjectivity to existing ideas, a sublime commitment to Tawheed, deep humility, and profound thinking about the subtle and almost incomprehensible trajectories of the manifestations of the Divine Will. Clearly, believers are on tests on faith. 

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

'Surah Al- Fil': A Commentary

Holy Qur'an, Chapter 105: Al-Fil
1. In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 2. Have you not seen how your Lord dealt with the companions (i.e., owners) of the elephant? 3. Did He not make their treacherous plan go astray? 4. And He sent against them Birds in flocks, 5. Striking them with stones of hard-baked clay. 6. Then did He make them like an empty field of stalks and straw, (of which the crops) has been eaten up.
The Fate of Hubris: A Lesson from History
This Surah was revealed at Mecca in the early days of the prophethood of Hazrat Muhammad (pbuh). It speaks about the event that took place in the year of the birth of the Holy Prophet (saws), around the year 570 of the Christian calendar.Yemen at that time was under the control of the Abyssinians who were Christians and the latter had driven out the Jewish government that was in power at that time. Abraha Al-Ashram was the governor or Viceroy of Abyssinia. The thirst for power led him to self-proclaim himself king…

Significance of Surah Al Fatiha

... I have chosen to talk/explain today on a never-ending subject. I can say that if the ocean was ink and all trees in this world and the universe were pens and the sky and earth were papers, therefore all these would have come to an end but not the commentary of the Surah Al-Fatiha. This is because of the high importance of this chapter in the life of a believer, and this chapter is the first chapter of the Holy Quran. It is so important that one has to start with the Surah Al-Fatiha when he begins his prayer (Namaz/Salat). And to start supplications (duahs) to Allah, the Surah Al-Fatiha needs to be recited first. This is because of the nature of its greatness as a chapter and duah. In whatever situation a person may be, be it a difficulty, an illness or a state of suffering or any other problems he finds himself in, therefore he needs to recite the Surah Al-Fatiha.
By the grace of Allah, today 22nd August 2014, I have thought about explaining a bit again on this very important chap…

'Surah Al-Takathur': A Commentary

1. In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 2. The race for (an increase in) wealth distracts you 3. until you visit the graves. 4. But no! You will soon know! 5. Again, You will soon know! 6. No! If you only knew with knowledge of certainty... 7. You will certainly see the Furnace. 8. Then you will certainly see it, with the eye of certainty. 9. Then, surely, you will be questioned that day about the delights (which you used to enjoy on this earth).
Competing for More
This chapter, Surah At-Takaathur (Ch.102) - Cupidity (i.e., the desire to have more and more) contains a warning to those who wish to possess everything, those who like to accumulate wealth.
Verse 2:‘Alhaakumut-Takaathuur - The race for (an increase in) wealth distracts you;
This fanaticism to acquire wealth and to increase one's fortune, position, the number of one's adherents, disciples or supporters, mass production or organization, affects not only one person but Societies and Nations.
What is called &…