How is Khalifatul Masih elected?
The Ahmadiyya Khilafat is the second manifestation and Allah has assured Ahmadi Muslims that this Khilafat will endure to the end of time. Khilafat provides unity, security and progress for the Jama’at-i-Ahmadiyya. No other sect in Islam has such a strong leadership, nor enjoys such unity and devotion among its followers.
Election of Khalifatul Masih
Islamic teaching regarding appointment and status of a Khalifah is that the office of Khilafat can under no circumstances be inherited. Rather, Khilafat is a holy trust which is entrusted to a pious member of the Jama’at through election. Islam further teaches that although the Khalifah is appointed through elections, in fact, God Almighty is guiding the members towards election of a righteous and able person as Khalifah. This is such a subtle and spiritual system of appointment of a Khalifah that it might be difficult for worldly people to understand. Once a person is elected as Khalifah, then according to Islamic teachings all members of the community are required to fully obey him. At the same time, it is required that the Khalifah carry out his duties as Khalifah through consultation and taking into consideration the views of the members. However, it is not incumbent upon him to always accept the views and recommendations of the members.
The Khalifatul Masih (successor to the Promised Messiah and Mahdia.s.) is elected to the office by voting by the members of the Electoral College, which was established for this purpose by Hadrat Musleh Maud Khalifatul Masih IIr.a. During the life of a Caliph, the Electoral College works under the supervision of the Caliph. However, after the demise of a Caliph, the Electoral College becomes completely independent and elects the next Caliph. During the election of the Caliph, names are proposed and seconded by the members of the Electoral College, and then they vote for the proposed names by raising their hands. (Q/A session with Hadrat Khalifatul Masih IVr.a, August 24-26, 2001, Mannheim, Germany)
Ahmadi Muslims firmly believe that it is Allah who selects the Khalifah as he did in the Khilafat-i-Rashida; for whenever an election of the Khalifah occurs, the hearts and minds of the electors are all turned towards the same person. This belief further increases the sense of peace and security that the Khalifah provides for the Jama’at. When a Khalifah has been elected, every man, woman, and child of the community must render complete and utter obedience to him, and reaffirm their Bai’at (allegiance) to him.
Status of Khalifatul Masih
The Khalifatul Masih (successor to the Promised Messiah and Mahdia.s.) is the worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The presence of the Khalifah is a great blessing from Allah for the Jama’at. He is the spiritual leader of every Ahmadi, the beacon of light towards which every member looks for guidance. Whenever, a Khalifah makes a scheme or plan for the community, he does so with Divine guidance and assistance. He is concerned for the welfare of every member of the community. When faced with illness or problems, Ahmadis often write to the Khalifah for prayers, and immediately it seems that their burden becomes lighter.
Answer to An Important Question: Importance of Khilafat
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IV r.a.
MTA Question/Answer Session
Muslim Television Ahmadiyya, telecasts a very interesting program for our Arab brothers which is called “Meeting With Arabs” – Liqa’a Ma’al Arab – in which Arabs seeked answers from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV. Following question was asked by an Arab brother.
Question: In this age, the world, especially the Muslim world direly needs the Institution of Khilafat. Whats is its importance?
Answer: The Muslims who should have been united and be in harmony, are divided in countless sects and divisions. It is not only in religious field but in politics too. When there is schism, they can achieve nothing in the world, which a united and harmonious people can do. By discord and disharmony the power of the Muslim world has not only disintegrated, but also they are using this broken strength against one another. When such are the conditions, the aggregate will be below zero.
The groups may be very powerful, but if they will oppose and counteract each other in minor and major issues and remain busy in fighting, their power will be scattered and strength broken.
This is happening in every Muslim country. Unfortunately it is being named as Jihad. What will they gain from all this? What resources will remain for their own nation building, defense of Islam or fighting the enemy? Therefore, it is incumbent that Muslims should unite on the hand of One Imam. There should be one Imam of the Muslims of the whole world. But without Khilafat, it is just impossible. Khilafat is the successor after the prophet in the form of a person who is representing the deceased prophet and Khalifa is the vicegerent and his subordinate. He is the central authority. This is the basic principle of Khilafat.
Muslims do understand its need as well as importance. This need was felt after the sad demise of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also. In Islam this is quite clear like broad daylight and is a part of Islamic teaching that without unity and harmony you cannot rightly work on the teachings of Islam. When you go to the mosque for Namaz five times a day, there must be an Imam. Standing behind an Imam is a demonstration of unity among people. That is why the Holy Quran especially emphasizes the need of congregational prayer. Imam is given so much importance that if the Imam falters, the entire congregation must follow his mistake even if they know that a mistake has been committed. What better instance can be presented for the need of an Imam and unity in his following? If Imam is mandatory in a small mosque, then how can the whole of Muslims Ummah survive without an Imam.
As far as the Ummah is concerned, there is commandment in the Holy Quran to turn their faces towards Qiblah. For the Muslims throughout the world, there is one and only one Qiblah. You may go anywhere in the world, the Qiblah remains the same. This is a pointer that it is incumbent for the Muslim Ummah that they should be united under one Imam. Had this not been the sole purpose, there would have been no Khilafat at all because the spiritual condition of Muslims in the days of the Holy Prophet was a thousand times better than the Muslims of today. If they need to follow an Imam, how can we live without an Imam today when the condition of Muslims is crying for it. This is the answer why Khilafat is needed.
The issue is that once Khilafat is terminated, then it is not within the power of the people to introduce it again themselves. This is a dilemma, which the Muslim world is facing today. Khilafat starts after the passing away of the prophet and if unfortunately once it is destroyed, it is impossible that it restarts without a prophet. As far as Muslims are concerned, they are victims of dual issues. According to a large number of Muslims, the chain of Khilafat ended with the Khilafat of Hazrat Ali. After him, there was no Khiafat-e-Rashida. It was monarchy in the name of Khilafat and majority of Muslims agree that Khilafat-e-Rashida ended after Hazrat Ali. So how can you start this Khilafat once again?
As far as Shia Imams are concerned, there is no problem for them because majority of them believes that Imamate continued till the twelfth Imam. Some believe it up to the sixth Imam. Some think that it is continuing till today. But majority of Muslims deprived of the blessings of Khilafat. Even if we accept the continuity of Imamate till today, they are unable to unite the whole Ummah on one hand. We are discussing the issue of uniting the whole Ummah on one hand and it cannot be achieved by partial or regional Khilafat. It can be achieved only by universal or global Khilafat, which will unite the whole Ummah.
Muslims believe that no prophet, of whatever category, can come now. This means that the single avenue to open the way of Khilafat has been barred. This is the big issue, which the Muslim Ummah is facing today.
The non-Ahmadi Ulema present the only solution of this problem and say that they also believe in the coming of a prophet. No doubt, he will be an old prophet, but they say that when he will come, he will be a prophet. Thus the lost Islamic Khilafat will once again be revived by Jesus Christ of Nazareth when he will descend with his old form and body. But the problem is that fourteen hundred years have passed, and there is no trace of second coming of that Jesus. There is no sign visible of his descent. World conditions have totally changed. Muslims have passed and are still passing through their worst phase of decline. But no Jesus has descended from the sky so far.
Now, the majority of Muslims are so much frustrated that they say that he has died or is living they are least interested. The scholars of al-Azhar University have repeatedly expressed their well thought and considered opinion that according to the Holy Quran, Jesus Christ has died and his second advent is absolutely impossible. It may be in their fancies, but practically, they have completely closed this door.
No one will ever descend from skies, and this is the big and difficult problem, which the Muslim world is facing today. With this they have not only destroyed the most important institution like Khilafat but they have also blocked the entrance of the beginning of Khilafat.
(Ahmadiyya Gazette, Canada. Khilafat Number, May 2001)