A post was issued by a blog user named ”Farhan” on the ”The Cult Blog” today (20/05/11) regarding the illegitimacy of the title ”Khalifah” being attributed to the head of the Ahmadi Muslim Jama’at. I wish to here deal with some of the points he has raised. I should begin by suggesting that the user ”Farhan” takes another look at the subject. His perspective would greatly benefit from a study of some of the writings of the great Imams al-Mawardi, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn Khaldun, and Shah Wali Allah (radi Allahu ‘anhum). I should also state that the Rightly Guided Caliphs held both spiritual and temporal authority over the Muslim community. In this matter we do not disagree.
According to Shaykh Ibn Taymiyyah (radi Allahu ‘anhu), two types of Caliphate exist, namely, (1) al-Khilafah al-Khasah (Special, i.e., Rightly Guided), and (2) al-Khilafah al-‘Aamah (general, i.e., mulk / kingship). This is of course in line with the below Hadith in which the Prophet (Sall Allahu ‘alayhi wa sallam) clearly divides Caliphate into these two categories.
‘’Prophetic period will remain with you as long as Allāh wills that it remains, then Allāh the Supreme will lift it; then will emerge Caliphate based on the prophetic stanDārd of values and remain as long as Allāh wills it to remain; then Allāh will lift it; then will start cruel government and remain so long as Allāh wills it to remain; then Allāh will lift it; then will start conscription monarchy and remain so long as Allāh wills that it remain; then Allāh will lift it; then will emerge Caliphate based on the Prophetic standard of values (thumma takūn khilāfah ‘alā minhāj al-nabuwwah). Then he became silent.’’ (Musnad Ahmad)
I believe that Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (‘alayhi al-salam) was sent in the form of Zilli / Buruzi Nabuwwat and that after him followed a system of Caliphate on the same pattern as described above in the final part of the Hadith. The precise nature of this process, and the institution of Caliphate, is, I believe, as stated by Hadrat Shah Wali Allah (radi Allhu ‘anhu) in his book ”Izalah” as follows:
‘’The Will of God which descends from above the seventh heaven to spread the prophetic guidance among the people, to protect the prophetic light and make it dominant, and to effect the execution of the promises made to the Prophet, creates an urge in the heart of the khalifah. There may be thousands whose hearts are filled by divine inspiration, with the urge to help the Religion of the prophet, but this khalifah is among them (the Muslims) as the heart is among organs of the body. First of all, the divine inspiration enters the heart of the khalifa and then from there it reaches the hearts of other persons. This inspiration enters the heart of the khalifah through the agency of the Prophet and urges from inside, and unless it urges from inside no one can become special khilafah.’’
Further discussing this subject, and the precise nature of the Khalifah al-Khasah, Ibn ‘Abd al-Bar states in his book ”Al-Isti’ab:”
‘’The prophets are created with the purest and noblest souls and it is on account of this quality that they become the recipients of divine revelation and are given the charge of guiding mankind. Only God knows as to who among them posses this pure and refined nature, for the Qur’an says, ‘’ Allah knows the soul to which he assigns the commission of prophecy.’’ Similarly, in the ummah also there are some people whose soul is created almost pure and noble as that of the Prophets, and these are the people who become the real successors of the prophet. They get the spiritual illumination from the Prophet that others cannot get. And whatever knowledge they receive from him they believe in as if they have seen its truth and received its essence independently and the prophet has only confirmed it by giving its details. So the special Khalifah means that just as the Khalifah is the head of the Muslims in the temporal sense he is also their head in the spiritual sense.
The real successor of the prophet is like a pipe. When someone plays on a pipe and produces a sweet melody in the atmosphere this performance is attributed not to the pipe but to the piper. Similarly God has promised to do many things through the Prophet but he called him back before all of them were realised. The remaining things were then performed by his successors, and this performance will be attributed to the Prophet rather than these people, because they are, like the pipe, his mere organs. Thus the special Khalifah is one who compliments the works of the Prophets which have been explicitly and implicitly mentioned in the Qur’an and Hadith.
The Khilafah is an office of great responsibility. But satisfaction of the uncontrollable physical desires and devilish tendency are ingrained in the very instinct and blood of man. Therefore, if the Khalifah is elected by the people, the possibility is there that he may do tyranny and injustice. Hence there must be some factor to remove this possibility, so that normally it might be imposable for the khalifah to be negligent or tyrannical in performing his duties. This fear, however, cannot be removed except by the text (nass) of the Book or the Sunnah. So the special Khalifah is one whose knowledge and sense of equity are guaranteed by God and His Prophet.’’
It should, therefore, be quite clear why I believe Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (ayyadahu Allahu ta’ala bi-nasrihi al-‘aziz) and his predesessors (radi Allahu ‘anhum) to be legitimate Caliphs. Your note does not indicate any theological rationale in support of your contention, other than some of your own personal observations about the history of Caliphate. Neither have you proved that to be a Caliph one MUST have a State to rule. Was the Prophet (Sall Allhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), who held the title Amir (Prince / Leader), any less of an Amir during the days of ”Dar al-Arqam” when even preaching was not an open activity, let alone leading men? Of course not! It cannot possibly be the case that we, the Muslim Ummah, should begin to base our theology and fiqh on personal observations; unless, that is, you have reached the blessed status of being a Mujtahid Mutlaq?
You are free to disagree with al-Khilafah al-Ahmadiyya on the basis that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (‘Alayhi al-salam) was not a Prophet and therefore no Caliphate could follow him. Although I would still disagree with you, at least such a position would have some kind of basis.
Lastly, I also take issue with your statement ”The Ahmadiyya view of Islamic history essentially ends after Imam ‘Ali عليه السلام and does not pick up until British-run India.” Please support this statement with facts. I am an Ahmadi and I fully appreciate and an grateful to Almighty Allah for blessing this Ummah with great Caliphs such as Hasan b. ‘Ali, ‘Abd Allah b. al-Zubayr, ‘Abd Allah b. ‘Abd al-‘Aziz (Radi Allahu ‘anhum) and the later Seljuk and Ottoman Caliphs who varaciously repelled the Mongol and Crusade onslaughts.