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.
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.
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.
From the book: Welcome to Ahmadiyyat, The True Islam