The ultimate reward promised by God for a devout Muslim is to rest in peace in the everlasting paradise of the Hereafter. God states in the Holy Qur’an that His faithful servants will be in a state of complete peace of mind and soul, where no vain or idle talk, or lying will exist (1). Since God is as-Salam, the source and the architect of peace, He states unequivocally in the Holy Qur’an that the greatest gift and reward that the inhabitants of paradise will receive from Him will be “peace” (2).
God has always safeguarded the principle of treating mankind equally in terms of spirituality by sending a Prophet to every nation. As the Holy Qur’an explains, God desired to establish a more spiritual society for the betterment of mankind, hence God appointed His representative Adam (as) as His first Prophet on earth and guided him accordingly.
As the human race evolved physically and spiritually, God continued to send a series of His Prophets to help man to keep up with and to increase the level of human understanding of Divine guidance. Prophet Noah (as) was appointed to expand the spiritual status of human beings, while Prophet Abraham (as) focused on the unity of God in such a way that was unprecedented in anticipation of unifying mankind in a single bonded society. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) was chosen to bring the final, universal teaching in the shape of the Holy Qur’an, through which God gave mankind a comprehensive, precise, and succinct message that was the ideal way of life, one that would lead Muslims to paradise. It also instituted rules and regulations to construct human society on a universal basis and bring about the eventual peaceful society that mankind always wished for. The focus of the teaching was, and is, to establish and to improve one’s relationship with God, alongside ways to conduct oneself in the best manner with one’s fellow human beings. In the Holy Qur’an, God Almighty states:
“And we did raise among every people a Messenger with the teaching” (3).
God’s grace is universal, and it encompasses all nations, all countries, and all languages. No nation can complain nor claim that such and such a nation was blessed while they were not.
Since prophets of God have a limited life span, as do all human beings, God appoints a body of Khulafa [plural of Khalifa]or successors of prophets, to continue the mission and teachings so future progeny can be benefited.
Some Prophets appointed their Khalifa in their lifetime, otherwise, the followers of the Prophet elected one after his passing away. The function of the Khalifa of the Prophets was to continue the mission of that Prophet and perform their best in meeting the objectives set forth by the Prophet under the guidance given by God. God chooses the person who is most eligible to become a Khalifa and guides a group of pious believers into manifesting His will through a process of selection of the Khalifa. Thus, it may seem apparent that the Khalifa is chosen by a group of pious people, but it is in fact the will of Allah that guides their faculties in electing the Khalifa of His choice. Once a Khalifa is selected, he holds that position for the rest of his life as a living testament to Divine will (4).
The community of followers of a Prophet continues to nourish its faith and traditions under the blessing of the institution of Khilafat [successorship]for as long as Allah wishes. Allah says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Allah has 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 rebellious” (5).
Hazrat Mirza Bashir Ahmad (ra) states:
“God Almighty does everything through wisdom and foresight, and there is always a good reason and logic behind it. According to nature’s physical laws, man has only a limited life span, but the task of reformation and training of society requires an eternity. This is why Allah has established the system of Khilafat after the system of Prophethood. The Khalifa continues and carries on the task of the Prophet. The seed sown by the Prophet is protected and nurtured by the Khalifa till it becomes a strong and sturdy tree. It shows that in fact, Khilafat is an offshoot or branch of the system of Prophethood, that is why the Holy Prophet (sa) says that after every Prophet, the system of Khilafat is established” (6).
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) states: “According to the Holy Quran, till the end of time, you will continue to be blessed with spiritual life and material vision from God and the people of other religions and nations will receive this light from you. This spiritual life and material vision will empower you to invite others towards Islam. And such ability in you, in other words, is called Khilafat” (7).
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh) states:
“In Islam, it 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 Qur’an especially emphasizes the need for congregational prayer. The 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” (8).
Hazrat Hakeem Nuruddin (ra) states beautifully in his book The Importance of Khilafat:
“Look at the solar system. All the planets are attached to and revolve around the sun. Nature tells us that it is vital to have a central personality in any organization. Look at the life of the noble companions (ra) of the Holy Prophet (sa), or the activities of other nations. They all marched forward because of a central leader. Look around today; we have the same Holy Qur’an. We have the translation and commentary of the Holy Qur’an, and on top of that, we also have the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sa). However, despite all this, Muslims are divided and are victims of all kinds of humiliation. There is no unity, and there is only one reason for this, that is, lack of obedience to an Ameer (leader)” (9).
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah (as), announced a New World Order in his book, Al-Wasiyyat, under Divine guidance. He shares that humanity will secure tranquility, peace, and paradise on earth under the system of the Khilafat after him. The Khulafa do not represent the government; Instead, the Khalifa is only answerable to God, who does not partake in any political party, country, race, or tribe. Khalifa’s view of the world is based on one human race regardless of skin color, dogma, or origin. The Khalifa continues reminding people to turn to Allah and warn of the world’s difficult outcome and potential destruction if humanity does not change its ways in such world turmoil or on the verge of war.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah (as), says:
“The second manifestation cannot occur until I depart, and it is only when I depart that God shall send the second manifestation for you, which will be with you forever. It is, therefore, necessary for you to see the day of my departure so that the day may follow, which is the day of everlasting promise. I have appeared from God as glory, and I am one of His glories duly personified, but there shall be other persons after me who shall bear the glory of His second manifestation” (10).
Describing the role and responsibilities of Khalifa, Sir Muhammad Zafrullah Khan stated:
“The Khalifa holds office for life. He is not permitted to abdicate, and cannot be called upon to do so. He must devote his whole time, all his faculties, and his full capacity to the service of the people. He is bound by the ordinances of Divine law and by the principles on which they are based. He must carry them out both in the letter and in the spirit, and see that they are put into effect within the state in the most beneficent manner possible” (11).
Paradise and peace on earth can be realized if the community members comprehend the true concept of this spiritual movement. God is Gracious and Merciful and, through His abundance, grace, and guidance, continues to lead humanity towards inner peace and spiritual prosperity through His Prophets and Khulafa. The ultimate purpose for humanity is to worship God to get close to its Creator. Continuous guidance is required which is being provided by the Khalifa of the time. This propitious blessing of Khilafat should not be taken lightly; instead, the importance of Khilafat is best studied in depth to establish a sincere connection with God, the Source of peace, through His Khalifa of the time.
1 The Holy Qur’an (78:36), Malik Ghulam Farid, English Translation and Short Commentary, Islam International Publication, Ltd., 2017
2 Holy Qur’an (36:59)
3 The Holy Qur’an (16:37)
4 Atif Mir, Temporal and Spiritual Authority of the Institution of Khilafat,
5 The Holy Qur’an (4:56)
6 Taken from “Welcome to Ahmadiyyat the True Islam,” by Karimullah Zirvi, Islam International Publication, Ltd., 2005, Page 295
7 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Tafseer of Surah Maryam to Surah Ankabut (Urdu), Page 291
8 Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Ahmadiyya Gazette, Canada. Khilafat Number, May 2001 https://www.alislam.org/library/q-and-a/importance-of-khilafat/[Accessed: January 16, 2022]
9 Abdul Qadir, Hayat-e-Noor (Urdu), Editon 2003, Page 656
10 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Al-Wasiyyat, Pages 6-7, Islam International Publication, Ltd., 2005
11 Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, “Islamic Concept of the State,” Address delivered on September 28, 1979, at the Zurich Mosque, Switzerland. Review of Religions, February 1993. Taken from https://www.alislam.org/articles/islamic-concept-state/
[Accessed: January 20, 2022]
Last modified: February 2022