Is the Ahmadi leadership system a Khilafah?

بسم الله الحمد لله و صلاة و سلام على رسول الله و على آله و سلم

Throughout my dialog with current Ahmadis, I have explained why Mirza Masroor and his ilk are not Khulafa’. This criticism has been met with push-back, insistence that he is a khalifah. In this article, I hope to explain why Muslims do not consider the “Khulafa-e-Ahmadiyya” system to be a Khilafah.

In a nutshell: The key historic definition of a Khalifah is the supreme political leader of the ummah (Muslim Nation), with autonomous power over an independent state, whose job is to govern based on the Shari’ah. None of the supreme Ahmadi leaders have ever met this definition and are therefore not Khulafa’.

When most think of the Khilafa, they exclusively think of Saydina Abu Bakr, Saydina ‘Umar, Saydina ‘Uthman and Saydina ‘Ali رضى الله عنهم. This time was one of the few eras in Islamic history when the political and spiritual authorities were vested in the same person, the ideal that the Muslims have always nostalgically looked upon.

Most Ahmadis (and even most Muslims) are only aware of their anecdotes, usually during the lifetime of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. But after his departure, they do not know the policies and styles of governance any of them implemented. The Ahmadiyya view of Islamic history essentially ends after Imam ‘Ali عليه السلام and does not pick up until British-run India. This creates a skewed view of what the Khilafah is: a purely spiritual figurehead. Unfortunately, this notion is not in line with historical reality.

In this article, we will discuss:

  1. The historical incongruence of the spiritual Imams and Khulafa’, which highlights that the Khilafah is not a purely spiritual position;
  2. The role of the khalifah during the vast majority of Islamic rule;
  3. Do the Ahmadi leaders fit the definition of Khulafa’.

Differences between Imams and Khulafa’

As mentioned, with the exception of the first four rightly guided khalifahs, for centuries, there has been open hostility between the righteous Imams and the Khalifah system. What this shows is that the khalifah was not always the most righteous amongst the believers. Examples include:

  • During Yazid ibn Mu’awiyah, the 6th Khalifah. Imam Husayn ibn ‘Ali عليه السلام, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, was widely accepted as the spiritual leader of the Muslims and more befitting of leadership than Yazid. Al-Husayn attempted to take the Khilafah from Yazid, but was repelled and murdered, along with much of the Ahl al-Bayt (family of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم).
  • ‘Abdullah ibn Zubayr رضى الله عنه was a companion of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, a righteous man, and best befitting of the Khilafah. However, the 9th Khalifah’s deputy had him executed and murdered his followers. The same deputy attacked Makkah with catapults and physically destroyed the Ka’bah.
  • All Muslims honor Imam Abu Hanifah as a great spiritual Imam, but many do not know that the Imam supported a revolt against the Khalifah.
  • Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, widely accepted as the leader of the Muslim lived through several khalifahs, most notoriously the 26th khalifah Mu’tasim-Billah, who tortured the Imam nearly to death.

Undoubtedly there were good khulafa’, such as ‘Umar bin Abdul ‘Aziz. But, recognize that he was only noteworthy because he attempted to reform the Khilafa’ after it had gone astray, implying corruption amongst the Khalifahs! Other than him, the khulafa’ were generally not spiritual leaders. Rather, they were seen by the spiritual Imams as corrupt.

This establishes that a Khalifah’s role is not always spiritual eminence.

The Role of the Khalifah during the vast majority of Islamic History

So, if the Khulafa’ were not religious personages, what was their dominant role? In short, it was to administer over the affairs of the Muslims and implement the law of Allah in the land. Literally, khalifah is translated to mean vicegerent, “an officer appointed as deputy by and to a sovereign or supreme chief.” The supreme chief is Allah, and the affairs he implements is the Shari’ah.

This was the primary role of the Khalifah: implement the Shari’ah in matters of civil financial disputes, family law, business transactions, criminal codes, religious rites, zakah collection and distribution, diplomacy, and the wide range of matters the Shari’ah speaks on.

This implies that the Khalifah must have autonomous political control over the land he rules. He cannot merely be a “Pope-like” figure, who has no sovereignty and is ultimately subject to a president of prime minister, but must have independent power to command the machinery of the state. Otherwise, he would not be able to fulfill the duties of a khalifah.

Another proof that a khalifah must have state authority is the famous narration by the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم speaking about the stages of the Ummah: First will come a prophet, then rightly guided khalifahs, then kingdoms, then dictatorships, then khilafah upon the prophetic way. The prophet was Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, the rightly guided khalifahs were Abu Bakr through ‘Ali, the kingdoms were Banu Umayyad, Banu ‘Abbas and the Ottoman Empire, the dictatorships is what we are currently living through (but are ending as you read this, in sha Allah) and the rightly guided Khilafah is next. Notice, all of these leadership positions had political and state authority over the Muslims.

These two proofs establish that the Khalifah’s primary role is to run the state affairs of the Muslims.

Do the Ahmadi leaders fit the historic definition of the Khalifah?

To repeat the two conclusion, 1) the Khilafah is not purely a spiritual position, and 2) his role demands political autonomy.

Ahmadiyya give primary stock to Mirza Masroor as a khilafah based on spiritual grounds. But as established, this has no bearing on who is or isn’t the Khalifah – otherwise, Imam Al-Husayn عليه السلام would have been considered the 6th Khalifah!

What about his political authority? In short, he has none. He is subject to the authority of David Cameron and cannot implement the aspects of the Shari’ah that necessitate state power (ie, financial disputes, family matters, no war with Iraq, etc). He only has soft-power over his followers, who are technically free to reject his commandments without legal reprimand if they deem fit.

So, is he a Khalifah? Is he Amir al-Mu’mineen? According to any classical definition of the term Khalifah he is most certainly not the Khalifah on Earth, he is not the Commander of the Faithful. He is merely a pope-like figure living in London with no authority.

Shakespeare said “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet.” I say, call Mirza Masroor by whatever name you wish, he is not a Khalifah anymore than Mohammed Burhanuddin, Karim al-Husayni, Taiyeb Ziyauddin or any of these likes.

May Allah continue to guide Ahmadis away from the false teachings of Mirza Ghulam and to the true teachings of the last prophet sent to humanity, Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. May Allah end all violence directed against them based purely on their religion. May Allah bring current Ahmadis to Islam and unite us all together in Jannah with the Prophets, The Truthful, the Martyrs and the Righteous.

و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله و سلم

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30 thoughts on “Is the Ahmadi leadership system a Khilafah?

  1. Brother Farhan Jazak’Allahu Khayran for another insightful piece. I am always impressed with your pieces on here. May Allah (swt) bless you and your family and may Allah (swt) bless the followers of Mirza Masroor to true guidance away from qadianism and towards Islam. Ameen.

  2. In a nutshell Mirza Masroor is more likethe “khalifa of a Peer”, the peer in this case being MGAQ!

    • Yes, in Sufi terminology, a ‘Khalifah’ is the deputy of a Shaykh/Pir. In that sense, Mirza Masroor is a Khalifah, but so are hundreds of others (2 of whom I personally know). But they aren’t the “Commander of the Faithful”.

      I was considering putting this in, but opted to keep it out. Maybe I should put an appendix?

      • Growing up as an Ahmadi…

        I was taught that khilafat and the caliphate were two different things altogether. I never knew why I was being taught this nor did I ever question the Qaid or speaker as he laid his rhetoric-laden, brainwash-heavy ideals into the young Atfal who are present and become victims of this temporary watered down image of what a Khalifa is.

      • Sahibzadah Pir Sirajul-Haqqra narrates that the Promised Messiah peace be upon him) said: One day I was lying down in the courtyard of my house when, in vision, I experienced a meeting with angels. I saw many angels in my vision, beautifully and richly clad, singing joyously. They came round to me repeatedly and each time extended their hand towards me and recited a verse of a poem, the concluding word of which was,
        ‘Spiritual preceptor of spiritual preceptors’. Pointing with their hands towards me when they were right opposite to me, they repeated: ‘Spiritual preceptor of spiritual preceptors.’

        (Tadhkirah. Second English Edition. Islam International Publications Ltd, 2009. 1064).

        • What that proves???

          By the way according to Mirza Ghulam himself he is the Last Khalifah while doing the tafsir of verse of QURAN which ahmadies refer mostly as proof of Khilafat

  3. please correct your error:

    In {164 A.H.} 763 A.C. Al-Mansoor – the Banu Abbas Khalifa of the Muslim Empire at Baghdad whose capital was Baghdad – offered Imam Sahib the post of Chief Qadhi of the state, but Imam Abu Hanifah declined to accept the post and chose to remain independent. In his reply to Al-Mansoor, Imam Abu Hanifah excused himself by saying that he did not regard himself fit for the post offered. Al-Mansoor, who had his own ideas and reasons for offering the post, lost his temper and accused Imam Abu Hanifah of lying.

    “If I am lying,” the Imam said, “then my statement is doubly correct. “How can you appoint a liar to the exalted post of a Chief Qazi?”

    Incensed by this reply, Al-Mansoor charged the Imam with contempt, had him arrested and locked in prison.

    Even in prison, Imam Abu Hanifah continued to teach those who were permitted to come to him.

    It was here in prison that Imam Abu Hanifah was administered a dose of poison in 150 A.H. Realizing that the end was near, the Imam prostrated in prayer and passed away in this condition in the month of Rajab, 150 A.H.

    • Yah, I heard that was also part of it. Perhaps both? Either way, I’ll take your source. Correction upon return, in sha Allah.

  4. This is something really interesting by Farhan and also comical, as I read through this
    I keep on imagine who knows one of these days he and his companions could turn out to be influnce political figures and run a state waiting for the right time to resume as khalifa, in which even the present Saudi Kingdom dare not to dream.

    • Read:

      Another proof that a khalifah must have state authority is the famous narration by the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم speaking about the stages of the Ummah: First will come a prophet, then rightly guided khalifahs, then kingdoms, then dictatorships, then khilafah upon the prophetic way. The prophet was Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, the rightly guided khalifahs were Abu Bakr through ‘Ali, the kingdoms were Banu Umayyad, Banu ‘Abbasid and the Ottoman Empire, the dictatorships is what we are currently living through (but are ending as you read this, in sha Allah) and the rightly guided Khilafah is next. Notice, all of these leadership positions had political and state authority over the Muslims.

  5. “However, the 9th Khalifah’s deputy had him executed and murdered his followers. The same deputy attacked Makkah with catapults and physically destroyed the Ka’bah.”

    I had heard that before somewhere but i am not able to find any credible reference for it.Can you provide some source for it. From where i heard the source is not credible.

    regards

    • The deputy in question is Al-Hajjaj bin Yusuf al-Thaqafi.

      Abdullah bin Zubayr رضى الله عنه, son of Zubayr ibn Awwan رضى الله عنه and Asma bint Abu Bakr رضى الله عنهما, had a rebellion against the ruling Umayyad khilafah. Makkah was with Zubayr, so Hajjaj’s army attacked Makkah with catapults (amongst other things). Some of the rocks hit the Ka’bah and damaged it. It was caught on fire and was severely damaged.

      Any source on the history of this time will do, but I initially learned it from Br. Kamal el-Makki has a CD-set titled “The Fitnah”, discussing the history of the political disputes amongst the early Muslims.

      But even Wikipedia talks about this incident on Hajjaj’s page.
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Al-Hajjaj_ibn_Yusuf

  6. Farhan nailed it! The system of khilafat in Ahmadiyyat was only setup to enable the Mirza family to have a continous stream of income from the followers that Mirza sahib had accumalated over the years in British India. Hie eldest (from wife #2) son took over the family business and called his election as divine.

    There is a major off-shoot more preciously called ‘qadiani-light’ that was against the khilafat. They called it the ‘gaddi-nasheen’ or in english its something like “seat”.

    The Mirza family was short on cash in 1908 to 1914…they needed money desperately…hence they created their system of khalifat and subsequntly fabricated many ahadith on their way to securing their financial future.

  7. Ahmadis say that there is no compulsion in religion. Therefore a khalifa who imposes sharia in a state would be unislamic in a way. Sharia would be implemented by inserting sharia codes into country constitutions little by little. The khalifa should be a spiritual figure only

    Thats what i understood from their explanations.

    • There is no compulsion in accepting or rejecting a religion. ie, if you’re a Hindu and you come to a Muslim country, no one can force you to embrace Islam. That ayah was revealed in regards to Jewish children who could not be forced to accept Islam.

      That ayah is about accepting Islam, not about the laws of Islam.

      Historically, being a Muslim was not merely a “personal religion”, it had legal implications. Amongst which were that a Muslim was legally binded to the Shari’ah. If for example two parties disputes on an issue, took it to a judge and the judge ruled in favor of one over the other, the “losing” party can’t simply reject the court’s decision and say “No compulsion in religion”.

      The “no compulsion” refers to accepting Islam to begin with.

  8. @Farhan,

    Dear, you need to clarify Qadianis that Mirza Masroor Ahmad is Khalifa of Mirza Tahir Ahmad, as he (Masroor) came after him (Tahir). Mirza Masroor Ahmad is NOT Khalifa of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. His (MGAQ) Khalifa was ONLY ONE PERSON i.e. Maulvi Noor ud Din.

  9. @Farhan:
    “May Allah bring current Ahmadis [QADIANI CULT FOLLOWERS] to Islam…”

    Unfortunately, Qadiani Cult followers when leave their cult they do NOT come to Islam, rather they become ATHEIST…..like your good friend and your co-star in your YouTube videos “the other Farhan”…. who has become atheist. I’m sure you knew it before anyone else!!!!!!

    • Fair Mind sounds alot like Mushtaq Malik or is it Zahid Aziz???

      Your Ahmadiyyat really screws with the head of pakistanis. We are so screwed up after a life in the ‘A’ that its hard to decide what we want in general terms.

      At least the Qadianis dont deny the revelations of their founder. You people pretty much only seperated from the main thrust of the ‘A’ because Muhammad Ali was set to make millions off of his Quran.

      And finally, here is what the Quran says about people like you:

      6:159

      As for those who split up their religion and became divided into sects, thou hast no concern at all with them. Surely their case will come before Allah, then will He inform them of what they used to do.

    • The “other Farhan” did not become an atheist. I know him personally, we’re good friends and I saw him just last Tuesday.

      He is NOT an atheist.

    • Sadly Fair Mind your generalisation about ex-Ahmadis is off the mark. Way off the mark. I’m an ex-Ahmadi and I continue to believe in the Creator if the Heavens and the Earth, Allah (swt). Please refrain from such comments which have no basis in facts or the truth.

  10. Another proof that a khalifah must have state authority is the famous narration by the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم speaking about the stages of the Ummah: First will come a prophet, then rightly guided khalifahs, then kingdoms, then dictatorships, then khilafah upon the prophetic way. The prophet was Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, the rightly guided khalifahs were Abu Bakr through ‘Ali, the kingdoms were Banu Umayyad, Banu ‘Abbasid and the Ottoman Empire, the dictatorships is what we are currently living through (but are ending as you read this, in sha Allah) and “the rightly guided Khilafah” is next.

    Ahmadis believe that theirs is “the rightly guided khilafah” of the latter days mentioned in the hadith above. The rest of the Muslim Unmmah is waiting for the same. Incidentally, according to your understanding of khilafah do you propose that this rightly guided khilafah will have supreme physical and temporal domain over the entire Muslim Ummah and enforce Shariah?

    • I don’t know about every last drop of the Ummah. Even historically, there were periods when the Khalifah didn’t have complete control. But, unified leadership as before is the general message.

      By the way, this does not mean we try to force it to come. We can’t hasten the hour. Our job is to worship God, not get involved in grandiose schemes.

    • @ bashir

      To FYI you….

      The hadith that you are referring to was only mentioned by MGAQ once in all of his books and lectures. See Shahadutal Quran (1894)

      http://www.aaiil.org/text/books/mga/testimonyholyquran/testimonyofholyquran.pdf

      See page 45 & 46 (beginning at the bottom of page 45).

      This book was written in 1894, before the claim of prophethood by MGAQ. Thus proving that he himself, in this instance was referring to himself as a khalifa of Allah and not a prophet. The entire Ahmadiyya theory of this hadith is against the writ of it own founder. Along the lines of prophethood??? in 1894, MGAQ hadnt realized that his satanic dreams were pushing for him (MGAQ) to be a prophet. Or at least that was his alibi after 1901.

      The interpretations that you present of this hadith appear to have come from Mahmud Ahmad, not Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Mahmud Ahmad needed to solidify his business venture, i.e. khilafat. Thus he went looking for hadith that would hoodwink his followers to believe that this khilafat racket that he was running had some type of divine assistance.

      And finally, Mahmud Ahmad learned the trade of bending and altering Quran and hadith from his father, i.e. MGAQ. He only elaborated on the terms and conditions of the business that MGAQ had introduced. Sorry for the reality check.

      • The main contention against the Khilafat e Ahmadiyya here seems to be that no Ahmadi Khalifa is the head of some state and hence is/will be unable to “impose” the Shariah etc. In reply to this allegation I will reply of which state do you want the Khalifa to be the head of today? Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Indonesia? Were he even the head of state of one of these countries the people of the other Muslim countries won’t accept such a Khilafat as they would consider him the Khalifa of another country and not theirs… Now from a religious perspective Khalifa means ” Successor of the one before you” meaning that the Khalifas succeeded each other while Hadrat Abu Bakr ra succeeded the Holy Prophet saw. Now if being head of state was so necessary to implement/inculcate the Shariah, then how come the Holy Prophet saw succeeded in implementing the Shariah while not being the head of any state for more than half of his life as nabi? What I mean here, is that the Holy Prophet saw was not the head of any state for the 13 years that he lived in Mecca (would we, God forbid, say that he failed to implement/inculcate the Shariah then?) and what is valid for the Holy Prophet saw is valid for his Khulafas or any future khalifas. Then there is also the lives of the other prophets. Were they all heads of states? If the answer is no, (as we know it should), then how did they implement/inculcate their respective Shariahs? The truth is that being the head of state was never a precondition to become a Khalifa and will never be a precondition as when you read the Holy Quran you see that all the duties that has been mentioned for the Khalifa are spiritual in nature. The Khulafa Rashida happened to be heads of states as well; that’s all. So please revise your concept of Khilafat. And then has never meant to be imposed as Allah says ” there’s no compulsion in religion”. People are only encouraged/admonished to follow and not “forced” to follow (as is done in some states you know today!!). True Khilafat is a relationship with the hearts of its followers as was the Khilafate Rashidin and actually how the Khilafat e Ahmadiyyah is.

        • @ waseem

          You are comparing the formulative period of Islam to your current system of khilafat. Nice try. That may work on the brainwashed Ahmadis that you prey on, but, it wont work on those Muslims who have Islam in their hearts.

          And…you didnt answer the question that I posed in the above. It is obvious that even Mirza sahib didnt quote the hadith that is described in the above in the context that you are now using it. In fact, it was an invention of his son.

          What kind of Khalifa runs to the white man for protection? That is exactly what Mirza Tahir Ahmad did in 1984 when he fled Pakistan. Till this day your Khalifa cannot even return to Pakistan. He is a wanted criminal. Ahmadiyyat has set a new standard for their khalifas, that is..when their is trouble..they turn to the West for support.

  11. Assalaa mo alaikum ww

    Did the Holy Prophet saw have political power in the first 13 years of his prophethood ie when he was still in Makkah? If your answer is no; then did this prevent him from implementing /applying the Shariah?

    If not having political power then did not prevent him from doing it, why then would a Khalifa (without plotical power) be prevented to do the same?

    The Holy Prophet saw is our best example. Same we also have the examples of other prophets. Did they all, initially have political power? Did this prevent them from implementing their respective Shariahs?

    The author should then, I humbly, believe revise his concept of Khilafat.
    May Allah enable all of us to see the light from his Holy Book.

    Wassalam

    • Was he a political leader in Makkah?
      Did Islam even have its laws and societal structure at that point?

      If no, then this undoes your argument. I humbly submit you should rethink your concept of Khilafah.

  12. Mirza ghulam claimed himself to be the last Khalifah
    now thats confusing for ahmadies and for us as well 🙂

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