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The Concept of Khalifatullah


In his Friday Sermon of 25 May 2012, Hadhrat Khalifatullah Munir Ahmad Azim Sahib of Mauritius (atba) gave a discourse on the concept of Khalifatullah or the Vicegerent to Allah on earth. The speech is especially important for Ahmadi Muslims to ponder over, for the extraordinary light it throws on the concept of Khilafat in Islam and the insights it provides on the circumstances in which the favour of Allah deserted the man-elected Khilafat system and resulted in the emergence of the current Divine Manifestation in Mauritius.  

Islam offers the spiritual history of countless prophets in the Holy Qur’an as a living testimonial to an enduring Divine practice: Allah the Most High raises His Messengers, who (did and) would call people to the sublime path of spirituality. These Messengers would teach people the Divine Word and invite them to partake of the Divine blessings that pour down like a heavenly rain on a parched earth. Depending on the depth of their immersion in the Divine waters, these holy men of God are decorated by Allah the Most High Himself with spiritual titles of magnificent proportions- Rasulullah, Nabiullah, Khalifatullah, Muhyi-ud-Din, Mujaddid etc.  

Read the Extracts from the Sermon:  

“The word Khalifatullah can be explained with reference directly to Allah (swt) or with reference to an earlier prophet. The Khalifatullah is created on earth by the word of God and he is vicegerent to Allah, or a deputy to Allah. Hazrat Adam (as) is referred to as Khalifatullah and it (that is, the title and seat of Khalifatullah) came to its perfection in the person of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) and that also is the meaning of Khataman-Nabiyyeen. This is one understanding of the word Khalifatullah.

The second is that when a Khalifatullah created by Allah passes away, then the Khilafat descends among his followers and in that case, although that Khalifa is called the Khalifa of the previous prophet, the previous Khalifatullah, he inherits the Khilafat of Allah through that prophet or Khalifatullah only in the sense that it becomes binding upon him to follow exactly the teachings of the prophet whom he is following.

The true Khalifa of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), who was to be the Imam Mahdi and Messiah of the last century in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) and in this century, in the person of this humble self, we see that Allah in this century continues to send His blessings in the universe, and in a world wherein people have fallen in a complete darkness. Allah (swt) has therefore sent in this century this humble self as the Muhyi-ud-Din (Reviver of Faith), Khalifatullah (Caliph of Allah) and Mujaddid (Reformer) of this era, Alhamdulillah.


So I have come just for this purpose to forge unity among all the Muslims but remember that unity can be forged only among those who agree to the leadership that has been created by Allah (swt), not a leadership elected by man nor someone who wants to hold the sceptre of leadership by his own will, without the help of Allah (swt). If people reject a leadership (that of the Khalifatullah) that has been created by Allah (swt) and continue to reject him, then no unity can be forged among the Muslims. Only gradually, with the passing of time, those who follow this Khalifatullah created by Allah, will go on spreading and spreading and the others who reject him shall be squeezed into smaller and smaller units until this process becomes complete and a new unity is born in which all the previous Muslims are also included.

So, a Khalifatullah initially is the person whom Allah (swt) appoints to deputise Him on earth and as such its meaning varies in relation to the person chosen by Allah (swt) for this task at any particular time. According to the Holy Quran, the first Khalifatullah from among the humans was that prophet of Allah in whom Allah had breathed in His spirit. The breathing of spirit and bestowing of revelation is one and the same thing. So, a Khalifatullah begins with revelation bestowed specifically by God upon His servant whom He chooses to represent Him and deputise Him on earth, a task for which he has to be totally honest. He must deliver the message perfectly as it was delivered to him. The choice of the person lies entirely with Allah.

Since the appointment of the first Khalifatullah, all prophets of Allah (swt) were Khalifatullah on earth without exception, but their area of work depends on the nature of revelation bestowed upon them. Some prophets were given the task of deputising God among specified communities. Some were given a task by Allah (swt) to act upon His behalf within a race or a nation, as you see in the case of the Israelite prophets. We believe that the last perfect law-bearing Khalifatullah was to be the deputy of Allah (Glory be to Him) for the entire universe. Addressing the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), God states in the Holy Quran: “… We have not sent you except as a source of blessing for the entire universe.” (21: 108) and similar verses are found elsewhere in the Quran in which the universality of the message of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) is specially emphasised.

After a prophet (as) has passed away, his task is taken up by a person who is under him and below him and as such he is also called a Khalifa, like Hazrat Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali (ra). So, as long as he remains within the jurisdiction of his task, he is the caliph. If he steps outside that, then in that part he is not a caliph.

However, it so happens that no prophet of Allah leave behind truly pious caliphs who deviate from the right path. But if this happens after a prophet passes away, whereby a caliph deviates from the true teachings of Allah and His prophet, immediately Allah raises His Elect One, His Khalifatullah to make shine the true divine teachings.

So, the Khalifatullah come to perform the duty of the prophet with apparently the same effort on the Divine Guidance to fulfil the task and the Khalifatullah will be definitely successful in his task which Allah (swt) put on his shoulders. Allah (swt) breathes His spirit on His Khalifatullah, rendering him solid physically, morally and spiritually.

Let’s take for example what has happened in our own era. Just like the Holy Quran states in Surah An-Nisa Verse 70, Allah shall raise prophets from among the followers of His perfect prophet and messenger Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon). Then, some 1300 years after the demise of the best of mankind, after the Khulafa-e-Rashideen, and the other caliphs, disruption and defragmentation of the Muslim Ummah happened so much so that the Muslims were left without a pious leader to unite them on the laws of Allah. Therefore, came the Promised Messiah and Khalifatullah of his time Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as). He came into the mantle of a blessed deputy-prophet of Allah and His Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa).

After his demise, there were elected caliphs to continue on the pattern of progress he came to open. From among his caliphs, there was even one who represented the accomplishment of the promise of Allah in the form of a blessed son, reformer and caliph at the same time. Thereafter, with the advent of a fourth Khalifa, the awaited progress did not come but instead the followers of the previous (non law-bearing) prophet became dismantled through their association to the fashionable trends of this world, a thirst for earthly power and their constant worship of the established Khalifa. When Allah saw this situation He raised from among the followers of that same prophet/Khalifatullah, another Khalifatullah to stop the un-Islamic behaviours and trends which these followers and the world as a whole are adopting. He has come to make shine the unicity of Allah in all hearts, instead of Khalifa-worship or world-worship.

...May Allah bless all humanity to understand the concept of Khalifatullah and the need to accept the Khalifatullah of their time. Nobody can defy Allah in His ways of doing things. Whenever a system becomes corrupt, Allah changes it for a better one with is in line with the true teachings of Islam and the satisfaction of Allah.

May Allah accept our humble efforts to propagate His Deen as He has commissioned us. As a Jamaat we are bound to face many many trials but at the end of the day, it shall be Allah and His Khalifatullah and His Jamaat Ul Sahih Al Islam who shall be victorious; Islam shall be victorious under the gaze of believers and non-believers and the Might of Allah and His Supremacy shall become manifest. Insha-Allah, Ameen.

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