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Khilafat – A Brief History

Khilafat has always been a source of solace to Muslims. Here is a very brief history of Khilafat.

By Aneeq Muhammad Anjum - Baitun-Noor Region
Published on December 24, 2021 at 2:00 pm

“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 whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.” (Surah Al-Nur, Chapter 24, Verse 56)

This verse of the Holy Qur’an sheds light on one of the vital Islamic principles. While the previous chapter of the Holy Qur’an emphasised the future of Islam, this chapter articulates the success of Islam through Khilafat: a leading light which was to become the main instrument for establishing the spiritual and political hegemony of Islam. The primary role of Khilafat is to convey the beautiful teachings of Islam to the world, which were brought to us by the Holy Prophetsa. However, this task can only be completed when people of the same faith are united under divine leadership. The verse itself states that this promise will only be fulfilled when Muslims will observe prayers, offer Zakat and obey the Holy Prophetsa in all religious and temporal matters. When Muslims fulfil these conditions, only then will Khilafat be bestowed upon them and their state of fear will be replaced by security and peace. Islam will reign supreme in the world, and above all the Oneness and Unity of God will be established in this world. However, it is our responsibility to prove ourselves worthy of the blessings of Khilafat.

In 632 CE, the Muslim Ummah witnessed the blessings of Khilafat when Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra was elected as the first Khalifah of Islam. Upon his election, he had to deal with an extremely difficult situation which developed due to the sudden demise of the Holy Prophetsa. In the beginning, some of the tribes renounced Islam, due to the fact that their tribal chiefs did not feel necessary to pledge their allegiance to Hazrat Abu Bakrra. Not only that but they made plans to attack Medina to end the institution of Khilafat. Then there were others among them who refused to pay the Zakat, which was essential for fulfilling the needs of the Islamic state and caring for the poor. An imposter by the name of Musalima Kazaab even raised a large army for commencement of hostilities towards the Islamic state. However, despite all of these difficulties Hazrat Abu Bakrra defended Islam with limited resources and Allah the Exalted granted him victory against the mischief mongers.

Hazrat Abu Bakrra was also blessed with victory over two large empires of the time: the Persian Empire and the Roman Empire. During the last days of his life, the Holy Prophetsa decided to send an army of fearless warriors of Islam to battle against the Romans who had made incursions into the Northern borders. After the demise of the Holy Prophetsa, the law-and-order situation started deteriorating outside of Medina. Many notable companions of the Holy Prophetsa advised Hazrat Abu Bakrra to stand down the army that was to fight against the Romans and instead focus on the areas surrounding Medina. Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied forcefully:

“What authority has the Son of Abu Qahafah, to stop that which was started by the Holy Prophetsa”.

The Muslim army, under the command of Hazrat Khalid bin Walidra left Medina and defeated the Persians and Romans in the battles of Ajnadayn and Yarmuk, and thus the whole of Syria came under the control of the Islamic state.

During his last days, Hazrat Abu Bakrra sought the advice of the companions in terms of who should be appointed as the second Khalifah of Islam. The majority of companions deemed Hazrat Umar Bin Khattabra as the second Khalifah of Islam. However, some of them argued that Hazrat Umarra was of a very strict nature and he might be hard on the Muslim Ummah. Hazrat Abu Bakrra replied that the harshness of Hazrat Umarra would vanish when he would be burdened with the responsibility. All the companions agreed and Hazrat Abu Bakrra addressed the Muslims and said:

“I have continuously deliberated on who should be your Khalifah after my demise. After much contemplation and prayer, I have decided to nominate Hazrat Umar Bin Khattabra as Khalifah. So Hazrat Umar Bin Khattabra will be the Khalifah after me.”

All of the companions and others agreed with Hazrat Abu Bakrra and took Bai’at of Hazrat Umarra in 634 CE after the demise of Hazrat Abu Bakrra.

During the Khilafat of Hazrat Umarra, the Muslims fought a number of battles against Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Syria. This resulted in Muslims gaining control of vast areas of these countries. When the city of Jerusalem was conquered by Muslims in 17 Hijri (17th year of the Islamic Calendar), the Romans requested Hazrat Umarra to attend the city and take the keys of Jerusalem. Hazrat Umarra established the Shura, a consultative body of advisors to the Khalifah, the finance department and building of schools and mosques in different parts of the state. He also introduced an Islamic Hijrah calendar and divided the whole Islamic state into provinces to facilitate administration. His administrative capabilities were incredibly foresighted and brought great organisation to the Muslim world.

In 644 CE, Hazrat Umarra was stabbed by a Persian slave while he was offering his Prayers in the Mosque. In the time that followed this attack, Hazrat Umarra realised that his demise was imminent, therefore, he nominated six people and advised them to elect the next Khalifah from among themselves. He appointed Hazrat Miqdad bin Al-Aswadra to oversee the consultation and election process and directed him to hold the Electoral College at one place and to guard it. The six people that were selected by Hazrat Umar Bin Khattabra were Hazrat Uthmanra, Hazrat Alira, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra, Hazrat Sa‘d bin Al-Waqqasra, Hazrat Zubairra, and Hazrat Talhara. In addition to them, he included his son, Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar, as advisor, but did not declare him as entitled to Khilafat. After the Electoral College, Hazrat Abdur Rahman bin Aufra spoke with other Muslims and Hazrat Uthman Bin Afaanra was elected as the next Khalifah of Islam.

In the time of Hazrat Uthmanra the Islamic empire expanded even further and defeated Iran, Egypt and the Romans. As a result of these victories, Allah the Almighty granted the whole of Iran, Asia Minor and Egypt to the control of the Islamic Empire. It was during his Khilafat that an Islamic fleet in the form of a navy was first established.

The Holy Qur’an, as we see it today, was compiled under his direct supervision. Hazrat Uthman Bin Afaanra instructed standard copies of the Holy Qur’an to be produced which were prepared from the ones that Hazrat Abu Bakrra had compiled. These copies were then sent to all the provinces of the state to ensure unity in access to Allah’s revealed Word.

During the last six years of his Khilafat, various conflicts began to build in the Islamic state due to the conspiracies of certain groups including those led by Abdullah Bin Sabah, a Jew who had become a Muslim with the intention of weakening the Islamic empire. This disorder continued and grew until it led to open conflict. The end result of this was the martyrdom of Hazrat Uthman Bin Afaanra on June 17, 656 CE, while he was reciting the Holy Qur’an.

After the demise of Hazrat Uthman Bin Afaanra, the Companions who were present in Medina witnessed discord and conflict spreading among the Muslims. In order to resolve this matter, they approached Hazrat Alira and asked him to take the Bai’at from the Muslims—knowing that Muslims had to be united under Khilafat. Thus, Hazrat Alira became the fourth Khalifah. Some companions were of the view that Hazrat Alira should punish the killers of Hazrat Uthmanra. He told the companions that his top priority was to restore law and order and only then would he be able to bring the murderers of Hazrat Uthmanra to justice. This difference led to further unrest in what was already becoming a divided Islamic state, owing to groups of individuals (who were in reality hypocrites) fanning the flames of disorder. This group of hypocrites known as the Khawariji (The Outsiders) planned to assassinate Hazrat Alira and succeeded.  Hazrat Alira was martyred in 40 Hijri and became the third Khalifah to have been martyred as a result of disorder.

Undoubtedly, Hazrat Abu Bakr Siddiqra, Hazrat Umarra, Hazrat Uthmanra and Hazrat Alira were great leaders of the Muslim Ummah who sacrificed their own comfort for the sake of preaching the true teachings of Islam. All four were given glad tidings by the Holy Prophetsa that they would be rewarded with paradise in the hereafter.

It is important to clarify that the disorder was not caused by the companions of the Holy Prophetsa.  Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra states:

“The disorder that emerged during the time of Hazrat Uthmanra was not instigated by the Companions. Those who say that this mischief was caused by the Companions are mistaken. There is no doubt that many Companions stood in opposition to Hazrat Alira and many stood in opposition to Mu‘awiyahra. However, I say that the Companions were not the cause of this disorder; rather, it was those who joined [Islam] later and were not fortunate enough to have received the companionship of the Holy Prophetsa and never sat in his company”.

The Khilafat of these four companions was called Khilafat-e-Rashida – The Rightly Guided Caliphate. This was a Khilafat established by God Almighty.

However, later on the Muslim Ummah witnessed the Umayyad Caliphate, Umayyad Caliphate of Córdoba, Abbasid Caliphate, Mamluk Abbasid Dynasty, Caliphate of Cairo, Ibn Al-Zubayr’s Caliphate, Fatimid Caliphate, Almohad Caliphate, Indian Caliphate, Sokoto Caliphate, Sharifian Caliphate and Ottoman Caliphate etc. All these Caliphates were material kingdoms and dynasties that came to an end in the manner of all man-made political dynasties. These were different to the Khilafat of the Khulafa-e-Rashideen as those Khulafa were appointed by God Almighty and were spiritual in nature.

During World War I (1914-1918), the Ottoman Caliphate was defeated. When the European Allies defeated the Ottoman Empire, Muslims across the world had a strong reaction and some Muslims in India initiated a ‘Khilafat Movement’ to preserve the integrity of the Caliphate and the Ottoman Empire. However, they totally failed. The age was crying for a saviour to safeguard the Muslim Ummah. Little did they know that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas had already been appointed by Allah as the Imam of the Age, the Mahdi, and the awaited Messiah. He initiated the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in 1889 and his mission was to revive faith in the One God and to unite all mankind. He declared:

“I have been sent to strengthen faith in God by proving He exists and by making His Being manifest to the people. The condition of faith has become so weak that the Hereafter is now taken as a mere fantasy, and the actions of men clearly show that the degree of certainty with which they believe in this world, and the sort of trust which they put in worldly means, they do not possess such conviction about God and the Hereafter. They pay a lot of lip-service to God, but their hearts are dominated by the love of the world alone. Therefore, I have been sent so that Truth and Faith may again dominate, and fear of God may again be kindled in the hearts of men! These are the ends for which I have come!” (Kitab al-Barriyya, pp. 293-294.)

He admonished his followers:

“Be united, and give up all miserliness, rancour, jealousy and lack of compassion. There are two great Commandments of the Holy Qur’an. One is Unity, love and obedience of the Lord, hallowed be His name; and secondly, sympathy with your brethren and with the whole of mankind.” (Azala Auham, pp.446-452.).

“This age has become empty of true righteousness and purity. The way of the Holy Prophet, which is the means of purification, has been discarded. Now God Almighty desires that the time of Prophethood should be revived in this age, and the same righteousness and purity may be re-established. Thus, the purpose of God Almighty in setting up this (Ahmadiyya) Community is that the lost understanding might be re-established in the world through this Community.”

To achieve these objectives, his methodology was clearly defined:

“This humble one is appointed by the Omnipotent and Most Glorious God to work for the betterment of mankind in the manner of the Israeli prophet of Nazareth, the Messiah, with extreme humility, meekness, modesty, love and courtesy. To those who are unaware of the right way, I am to show them the straight path through which they can achieve true Salvation, and feel in this very world the signs of achieving heavenly life, and experience the enlightenment of being accepted and loved by God.” (Tablighe Risalat, Vol. 1, p.11.).

In 1908, when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas passed away the community was left without a spiritual leader. But as was mentioned earlier in this article, Allah had promised that He will surely make Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before. That promise of Allah was fulfilled when He established Khilafat-e-Rashida after the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. That promise was once again fulfilled after 1400 years in 1908 when Allah showed His mercy to the Muslim Ummah and established Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya after the demise of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad—the Promised Messiahas. Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is the only Khilafat after Khilafat-e-Rashida that was established by Allah. We have witnessed the success of this Khilafat to this day and shall continue to witness it till the day of judgement. While other Muslims await a Mahdi who would wage a Jihad by the sword, Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya has successfully emerged as the leading force among Muslims to demonstrate and convey the true teachings of Islam that were brought by the Holy Prophetsa.


Shahid Diaries – Sarfraz Bajwa

A Murabbi narrates anecdotes from staying in Islamabad during the pandemic

Huzooraba took a lot of care of us while we were here, down to the smallest details. During one class he began asking us how the food is. A few students said it’s normal Langar food: Daal, Aloo Gosht and occasionally pasta. I had been craving buttered chicken for the past week so I jokingly asked Huzooraba if we could have buttered chicken. Huzooraba laughed and jokingly said there was a lot of fat in butter which was not good for my health. I jokingly replied that I would have less butter and more chicken. Huzooraba laughed but said he agreed that they should make food that everyone wants to eat so that people do not feel the urge to go out and get fast food since going outside into public places and restaurants was a risk due to COVID-19. I thought that that was the end of that.

The day after that class Huzooraba came for Asr prayer as usual. However, after prayers he came outside into Masroor Hall where our class was staying. He came and inspected our beds and sleeping area. As we had just moved in not to long before, many of us still had their clothes in their suitcases. I had recently ordered quite a few things online and they were scattered all over my bed and my area. I was not next to my bed so Huzooraba asked one of my classmates whose bed this was to which he replied it was Sarfraz’s bed. Huzooraba said that it was very messy and then continued to the rest of the beds. He noticed that most of us were living out of our suitcases so he instructed Sadr Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to get some sort of cupboards to put our clothes in. Then Huzooraba made his way to the kitchen and the first thing Huzooraba said to the chefs as soon as he walked in was “Aap ko buttered chicken banana ata hai?” [Do you know how to make buttered chicken?] The chefs were startled at this question and said yes and instantly began reciting the recipe for buttered chicken and describing how it was made. Huzooraba laughed and said that they should make it then. When I asked Huzooraba if we could have buttered chicken, I said it as a joke just to make Huzooraba laugh. I could not have imagined Huzooraba would come out, go to the kitchen and tell the chefs to make it for us! I realised how much love and attention Huzooraba was showing us.

Two days later the cupboards arrived and we set up our areas. That day Huzooraba came out again to inspect our sleeping area. I had tidied up and sorted my things away neatly, so I was looking forward to Huzooraba seeing the difference. But Huzooraba only inspected the area on the other side of the hall briefly before going back inside. I didn’t think too much about this until the next class when Huzooraba asked me if I had tidied my area. I said that I had. Huzooraba said it was quite unorganised last time. I explained that I had ordered a few things online and just left them lying around to open later. But I had packed them all away in the cupboards Huzooraba had gotten us. Huzooraba said “main doosri dafa tumhari jagah peh nahi aya taakeh tumhai yeh na lage ke main baar baar chaapah maarne aajata hoon” [I did not inspect your area the second time in case you start feeling like I have come to raid your area.] I laughed and said that I had organised everything in the cupboard. This was a beautiful example of Huzoor’saba compassion, he did not want me to feel embarrassed in case I had not yet been able to tidy up.

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The Sermon that Brought Khuddamul Ahmadiyya into Existence

1938 marks the year of the establishment of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmadra, The Promised Son. Initially, its aim was to encourage young individuals to serve the Jama’at. However, today its impact can be felt in hundreds of countries with thousands of members actively working in various roles in the Jama’at.

On 1 April 1938, Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih IIra presented the idea of forming Khuddamul Ahmadiyya to the community. Throughout the speech he stressed the need to reform the youth. He explained how this organisation would need to work to properly achieve its goal. He also mentioned the many advantages of this organisation, what it can contribute to the Jama’at and how it will nurture and develop the minds of young individuals. He said:

“I have frequently reminded the Jama’at that a nation cannot be reformed without reforming its youth. If the new generations are devoid of faith and the principles established by Allah the Almighty through His Prophets, the nation cannot develop and take a step forward. Of course, development will happen, but it will happen and stop, or it will prosper, but then hardships will occur. This way, it will rise and fall like the mountains. But hardships are not a good thing, rather they are bad, and should be dealt with as fast as possible. Thus, it is clear that [especially in this era] without proper training, one cannot deliver the true message of Islam to the world.

It is crucial to cultivate and improve the upbringing of children and women. If one wants to ensure the success of Tehrik-e-Jadid, then he needs to establish associations for young people just like there are for Lajna Imaillah. When this idea arose in some young individuals in Qadian, they set up an organisation named Khuddamul Ahmadiyya with my permission. As it is beneficial to work with people of a similar nature, I permitted them to include people with similar experiences. But I also urged them, if possible, to have other individuals and also to consider that those who join gain interest in helping. I advised not to include people who are learned scholars in the Jama’at. Due to this, some companions misunderstood and one missionary came to meet me and asked, ‘are you angry with me?’ I replied, ‘I am not. What gave you this idea that I am angry with you’. He said ‘I have been informed that you are not allowing me to join the ranks of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya’. To which I then replied, ‘This situation is not just for you, but for anyone who possesses special skills, they are prohibited from joining, and the reason for this is that if the elders are also permitted to join, this would result in only the elders being elected as president, the secretary etc. They would always accept the elder’s advicex and due to this, they will not think on their feet and would remain unintelligent.’ For example, if one joins any association or gathering, it would be natural to elect the Khalifatul-Masih as he holds the highest status with Allah, so he would be elected president. As a result, the training gained by working as a president will be neglected, and the Jama’at will be deprived of this experience.

Thus, I have especially advised them not to include intellectuals and scholars, so they can work and gain experience by doing things themselves. However, you can accommodate individuals of the second or third rank to gain interest in working and figure out how the Jama’at operates. I have noticed that so far, they have worked very hard and very well. I understand that if I had allowed missionaries like Maulvi Abul-Ata Allah Dita or Maulvi Jalaluddin Shams, or any missionary to join the organisation, any announcement that they have written so far would have been written by them. They would be the ones to have addressed any objection, and no young individuals would be aware of how they are being answered. Therefore, I stopped the missionaries from joining [Khuddamul Ahmadiyya]. Although I have said to ask for advice from [scholars], if you write anything, write it yourself, so you feel responsible for it even if you feel extremely worried. So, they read books and asked people regarding what ideas to address. After this, they wrote essays and reviewed them multiple times. But when they finally presented the articles, they were written brilliantly. I have realised that their articles are on par with other articles. Even if it takes them a month or two to produce something that people like me, who are well versed in writing, can produce in one or two hours without any aid: while it took them ten people working for a month to produce it but what resulted is that the spiritual knowledge hidden from their eyes appeared in front of them; they read and expanded their knowledge. If they continue this, many works of literature like the recorded books of Islam, commentary of Islamic texts, books of Ahadith, books of jurisprudence, the books of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas and many more like this will appear in front of them, and their souls will thrive with knowledge.”

Hazrat Musleh Maudra also emphasised that community branches outside of Qadian should also set up Khuddamul Ahmadiyya in their respective regions. He also advised on how each Khadim should act. He stated that “You should forget that anyone else in Qadian is left for this role. You should understand as if you are the only one who has been tasked with this responsibility, as one cannot call himself a true believer if he implies that this is my role and that is your role. A true believer is not one that chooses his responsibilities”.

Indeed, from this we learn that Khuddamul Ahmadiyya was formed with high expectations from the second Khalifah. It is when we understand our role as Khuddam that we can work towards fulfilling the grand task of reforming our youth.

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Connection with Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya

The Qaid of Dundee Qiadat shares his experience of Khilafat in relation to the acceptance of prayer

Khilafat is a divine source of guidance and being an Ahmadi Muslim I believe we are immensely fortunate to experience this on a day-to-day basis. Even though some of us cannot physically see our beloved Khalifah every day we still have a powerful spiritual connection with him.

Personally, I have experienced a connection with Khilafat in a variety of different ways. One example is the satisfaction and reward when you write to beloved Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba for prayers.

There are a multitude of examples that I can narrate on acceptance of prayers but the one I have selected is from the time when I moved to the UK and claimed asylum in order to escape persecution in Pakistan. During this initial period, I was moved to a detention centre where I was held for almost 5 weeks. The availability of a fax machine in the detention centre meant I wrote to beloved Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba for prayers every day. I had a great desire to attend my first ever Jalsa Salana UK and expressed this through various letters to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba.

For various reasons, the first detailed interview regarding my detention could not be completed in the initial meeting and it seemed very unlikely that I would be able to attend Jalsa Salana that year as it was a mere three weeks away. Despite this, I had faith and continued writing letters to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba daily.

After a long week, I was informed of the decision of my case – it was rejected. I was shocked, worried and mostly saddened that I will now definitely miss Jalsa Salana UK. At this point I increased the number of letters I sent to Huzooraba, sending him 2 letters a day. I appealed the decision and my court hearing was scheduled with just two weeks to go until Jalsa.

The day prior to my hearing, I phoned the Private Secretary’s office and requested if they can pass my request for special prayers to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba. I was interviewed in court for several hours. Once the judge was happy that she had all the necessary information, I was informed that due to her busy schedule she wouldn’t be able to give a decision on my case anytime soon. This meant that, even if within the next week there was a positive decision, I would still miss Jalsa Salana. I immediately wrote a letter to Huzoor-e-Aqdasaba explaining the whole situation.

Early the next morning, my phone rang whilst I was still half asleep. It was a call from my solicitor in which he informed me that he had some good news. He had just received a fax from the Home Office that I had been granted Refugee status. I was in shock for a while because the news came so unexpectedly. My heart was full of praise to Allah for He had listened to the prayers of the Khalifah. To this day, it astounds me that I was the recipient of the blessings of those prayers.

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