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The Ahmadiyya Caliphate is a non-political caliphate established on May 27, 1908 following the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, who claimed to be the promised Messiah and Mahdi, the expected redeemer awaited by Muslims. It is believed by Ahmadis to be the re-establishment of the Rashidun Caliphate that commenced following the death of the Islamic prophet Muhammad. The caliphs are entitled Khalīfatul Masīh (Arabic: خليفة المسيح; English: Successor of the Messiah), sometimes simply referred to as Khalifa (or Caliph). The caliph is the elected spiritual and organizational leader of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and is the successor of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. He is believed by the Community to be divinely ordained and is also referred to by its members as Amir al-Mu'minin (Leader of the Faithful). The 5th and current caliph is Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
After the death of Ghulam Ahmad, his successors directed the Ahmadiyya Community from Qadian, India which remained the headquarters of the community until 1947 with the creation of Pakistan. From this time on the headquarters remained in Rabwah, a town built on land bought in Pakistan by the community in 1948. In 1984, Ordinance XX was promulgated by the government of Pakistan which rendered the caliph unable to perform his duties and put the very institution in jeopardy. Due to these circumstances, Caliph IV left Pakistan and migrated to London, England, provisionally moving the headquarters to the Fazl Mosque.
The members of the community believe that the Ahmadiyya caliphate (Arabic: Khilāfah) is the resumption of the Rightly Guided Caliphate (Arabic: Rāshidūn). This is believed to have been re-established with the appearance of Ghulam Ahmad whom Ahmadis believe was the promised Messiah and Mahdi.
Ahmadis maintain that in accordance with Quranic verses (such as [Quran 24:55]) and numerous hadith on the issue, Khilāfah can only be established by God Himself and is a divine blessing given to those who believe and work righteousness and uphold the unity of God, therefore any movement to establish the Khilāfah centered around human endeavours alone is bound to fail particularly when the condition of the people diverges from the ‘precepts of prophethood’ and they are as a result disunited, their inability to establish a Khilāfah caused fundamentally by the lack of righteousness in them. Although the khalifa is elected it is believed that God himself directs the hearts of believers towards an individual. Thus the khalifa is designated neither necessarily by right (i.e. the rightful or competent one in the eyes of the people at that time) nor merely by election but primarily by God.
According to Ahmadiyya thought, it is not essential for a Khalifa to be the head of a state, rather the spiritual and organisational significance of the Khilāfah is emphasised. It is above all a religious/spiritual office, with the purpose to uphold, strengthen and spread Islam and maintain the high moral standards within the global community established by Muhammad who was not merely a political leader but primarily a religious leader. If a khalifa does happen to bear governmental authority as a head of state, it is incidental and subsidiary in relation to his overall function as khalifa which is applicable to believers transnationally and not limited to one particular state or political entity.
Ahmadi Muslims believe that God has assured them that this Khilāfah will endure to the end of time, depending on their righteousness and faith in God. The Khalifa provides unity, security, moral direction and progress for the community. It is required that the Khalifa carry out his duties through consultation and taking into consideration the views of the members of the Shura (consultative body). However, it is not incumbent upon him to always accept the views and recommendations of the members. The caliph has overall authority for all religious and organisational matters and is bound to decide and act in accordance with the Qur'an and sunnah.
Qudrah al-Thāniyyah (The second Manifestation of God’s power)
The succession of the caliph is believed by the Ahmadis to be the second manifestation of God’s power that Ghulam Ahmad wrote about in his last testament Al-Wassiyyat (The Will).
... it is essential for you to witness the second Manifestation. Also, and its coming is better for you because it is everlasting, the continuity of which will not end till the day of Judgement. And that second Manifestation cannot come unless I depart but when I depart, God will send that second Manifestation for you... And after I am gone there will be some other persons who will be the manifestation of the second power (of God).
Basis in Qur'an and Hadith
According to Ahmadiyya belief, God has promised in the Qur'an to appoint a successor among the righteous. In this respect, verse 56 of Surah Al-Nur says:
Allah had promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then who so is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.
"Prophethood shall remain among you as long as Allah shall will. He will bring about its end and follow it with Khilafat on the precepts of prophethood for as long as He shall will and then bring about its end. A tyrannical monarchy will then follow and will remain as long as Allah shall will and then come to an end. There will follow thereafter monarchial despotism to last as long as Allah shall will and come to an end upon His decree. There will then emerge Khilafat on the precepts of Prophethood." The Holy Prophet said no more.
System of election
The Ahmadiyya community holds that the institution is not hereditary, even though all the successors except the first have been from the direct lineage of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The Khalifa is elected to the office by voting of the members of the Electoral College, which was established for this purpose by Mirza Mahmood Ahmad. During the life of a Khalifa, the Electoral College works under his supervision. However, after the demise of an incumbent, the Electoral College becomes completely independent and elects the next caliph. During the election, names are proposed and seconded by the members of the Electoral College, and then they vote for the proposed names by raising their hands.
List of Ahmadiyya Caliphs
|Khalifatul Masih I.||1841–1914||1908–1914||Close companion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, he sent the first Ahmadiyya Muslim missionaries to the UK, and successfully dealt with internal dissensions within the community.|
|Khalifatul Masih II.||1889–1965||1914–1965||Son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was elected as Khalifa at the young age of 25, considered to be the 'promised son'. He established the entire organisational structure of the community, and is known for extensive missionary activity outside the subcontinent of India.|
|Khalifatul Masih III.||1909–1982||1965–1982||Spoke himself for the Ahmadiyya community at the National Assembly of Pakistan, laid the foundation of the first mosque in Spain after 750 years. He oversaw the compilation of the writings, revelations and the dialogues of the founder, Ghulam Ahmad.|
|Khalifatul Masih IV.||1928–2003||1982–2003||Led the community through periods of severe persecution, provisionally changed the Ahmadiyya headquarters from Rabwah to London and launched the first Muslim satellite TV channel by the name of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International.|
|Khalifatul Masih V.||1950–present||2003–present||Presently guiding the community through a period of widespread skepticism towards Islam, regularly holds peace conferences. Launched sister channels MTA 2 and MTA 3.|
- J. Gordon Melton, Martin Baumann. Religions of the World: A Comprehensive Encyclopedia of Beliefs and Practices. p. 57.
- Khilafat, the Successorship of Prophethood – The Guided Khilafat – Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya
- http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Khilafat-e-Rashida.pdf Khilafat-e-Rashidah
- http://www.alislam.org/egazette/updates/the-islamic-khilafat-its-rise-fall-and-re-emergence/ The Islamic Khilafat – Its Rise, Fall, and Re-emergence
- Ahmad, Ghulam. The Will.
- "The Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement" by Maulana Muhammad Ali
- "A Passage from the Quran on Khilafat".
- "Prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad".
- Review of religions - V75 p172 1980 "The Promised Messiah passed away in 1908 and was succeeded by his foremost votary and closest companion, Hazrat Hafiz Haji Hakim Maulvi Noor-ud- Din as Khalifa-tul Masih I. After his death in 1914, the Promised Son of the Promised Messiah..."
- On his death on November 8, 1965, the electoral college named with one accord, Sahibzada Hafiz Mirza Nasir Ahmad, Promised Messiah's grandson, Khalifa-tul Masih III