by Falahud Din Shams
Khilafat Newsletter, April 2007.
Ever since human beings decided to live under a structured society, debates have been taking place as to what is the best way to accomplish it. Human beings want to make sure that their basic needs for existence, security, continuity of their race and overall happiness is guaranteed under such a system.
Initially human beings were scattered in various geographical areas and did not have much contact with each other’s society. Under those circumstances, a system of tribes and clans evolved. Each tribe came up with their own rules to live by that provided them security and peace from each other as well as from the outsiders. Some societies are still ruled under this system such as in remote areas of Africa and Asia.
When some human beings started to travel and the tribes started to get together and make bigger societies, it gave rise to a new system of kings taking over larger areas. Eventually, it evolved into combining the kingdoms into bigger political structures and there were emperors who ruled over many kings.
Under all of these systems, the conversations and debates still take place as to what is the best system for the human race. The debates over Democracy, Communism, Socialism, separation of Church and State all relate to the same subject. The opinion of the general population needed to be heard under all these systems and the debate started whether it is better under a Parliamentary system or a Republic etc. The main clash of ideas in these discussions involved the public good versus the individual desires in a society. It is still debated which should take precedent and to what level.
According to the Holy Quran, God presented a plan for the human race for their betterment as a society. God declared that the system He proposed is the best system for them because He is the All-Knowing. God appointed Adam as his first Caliph on earth and taught him knowledge directly.
The very first responsibility of the governing body was established to guarantee all human beings food, clothing, shelter and water. It is amazing that what God established as the basic and rudimentary responsibility for a government is what today’s worldly governments consider as their ultimate goal. Along with the basic necessities of human beings, God also provided the spiritual guidance through His caliph Adam because it was fundamental to the inner peace and happiness of the human beings.
As the human beings developed themselves physically and spiritually, God responded to them with series of His Caliphs, which we refer to as the Prophets to keep up with the level of the human understanding and achievements. Prophet Noah was taught to further the spiritual status of human beings and Prophet Abraham established the unity of God in such a manner, which was unprecedented in anticipation of uniting the human race in a single bonded society.
Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) brought the final teachings in the shape of the Holy Quran through which God gave the human beings a comprehensive, detailed and clear message to live by. It also established all the rules and regulations to structure a human society on a global basis and bring about the eventual peaceful society that humans wished for since their beginning.
The Caliphs of God (Prophets) had a limitation. As human beings, they had a limited life span. Sometimes it was not enough time to accomplish all their goals and objectives assigned to them. Therefore, a system of Caliphs of the Prophets evolved. In some cases the Prophets appointed their caliph in their lifetime and in other cases, the followers of the prophet elected one after his passing away. The function of the caliphs of the prophets was to continue the mission of the particular prophet and do their best in meeting the objectives set forth by the prophet under the guidance given by God.
Joshua, the first Caliph of Prophet Moses, took over his mission and brought the Israelites to the Promised Land and thus accomplished the mission of Moses. St. Peter as the caliph of Jesus took his message to other lands where the Israelites had established themselves. The caliphs of Prophet Muhammad(sa), Abu Bakr, Omar, Othman and Ali expanded the Islamic way of life to the Persian Empire on the East and the Roman Empire towards the West.
The question that needed to be pondered over was why the system of caliphs under one prophet succeeded and not under some others. For example, after the first four caliphs under Prophet Muhammad, it changed into a kingdom and it was not a pure system of caliphs as it started out to be. On the other side, the system that started with St. Peter has existed for over two thousand years and has continued regardless of its weaknesses and problems on the way. The Holy Quran has pointed out the previous appointments of caliphs so we can analyze and learn from the experiences of various societies that evolved under these systems.
Hazrat Ahmad appeared as the Caliph of Prophet Muhammad for the last one thousand years of the current cycle of human life. He also fulfilled the prophecies of the second coming of the Messiah. In all the prophecies of the Christian tradition as well as the Islamic tradition, it is clear that the peace on earth and the establishment of paradise on earth will take place at the appearance of the Messiah in the latter days. Under the Islamic tradition, it will take place throughout the world as one family under one Prophet (Muhammad) and under the final Law given by God in the shape of the Holy Quran.
This mission is again of such magnitude that it could not be fulfilled in the lifetime of the Promised Messiah but will take place under his Caliphs. A system of electing Caliphs was established to continue his mission throughout the world a hundred years ago and currently we are living in the time of his fifth caliph. As the Promised Messiah foretold this system of caliphs will stay with us for the rest of this cycle of human race.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V
The system of Caliphate under the Promised Messiah is based on the guidance from God. The person who is given this position is not obligated to anyone for his position. He is not desirous of that position and therefore does not run a campaign to run for elections. One who votes for him at the election fulfils his duty and does not do any favor to him and therefore, the caliph does not owe anything to him for his vote. This system was established by using the good things in the long running Catholic system of elections but in considering the Islamic principles as laid out in the Holy Quran.
Under this system of Caliphate, there are no taxes; it is run exclusively with voluntary contributions of the members of the community. This keeps the outside influences impossible. The members of the community are not forced by any law to share their wealth, unlike a system of government where the public is forced to pay and the individuals keep on striving to avoid payment. Under the caliphate, members pay voluntarily and consider it a blessing.
The relationship of the Caliph with his members is a combination of love and authority. The caliph is the ultimate authority under this system. However, the caliph has a direct contact with all the members and there is a mutual feeling of love on both sides because there is no army that enforces allegiance to him, it comes from the hearts. Members know and feel that their Caliph loves them and has their interest in mind at all times.
Alongside the system of caliphate, there always will be a system of government. So the question arises which system is better for human beings. The Holy Quran gives preference and promotes a system, which is based on consultation but does not rule out any other system as a bad one as long as it is based on true justice. There were kings such as David and Solomon whom God declared as Prophets (His Caliphs on earth) because they ruled with justice.
Islam also establishes that a vote in consultation or elections is a trust that needs to be discharged. It is not a right or a privilege that can be sold or bought. A person discharging his duty by voting is answerable to God alone as to why he voted in the manner that he did. He should not and cannot expect anything in return from the person that he voted for. There are not to be any negative campaigns but only good things can be said about a proposed person. It also rules out one voting for oneself because a person desirous of a position should not be given that position. It declares that God’s blessing will not be with any such person.
Regardless of the system, justice must prevail in exercising the duties of the government. Great power is given to the Justices under the Islamic system under which they have the power of calling anyone, powerful or weak, to the witness stand. The second caliph of Prophet Muhammad established the salary system for the government employees. He assigned the highest wages for the Justices. One of the reasons was to avoid the temptation of bribery in their decision making process.
Alongside all these systems of government, the caliph is in an advisory position and not a ruler. This clarifies the Islamic stand of church versus state.
The Promised Messiah’s community has shown tremendous progress under his caliphs in the first one hundred years. There are missions in over 200 countries, mosques being built all over the world and literature being made available in almost all the known languages. It has established a system of religious administration following the Islamic principles exclusively.
Under this system, it is astonishing to see that no terrorism activities have taken place in this community. It is even more noticeable when we consider that it has members all over the world from all ethnic, geographical, racial and political lines. In such a wide variety of membership, it is miraculous that not a single incident of such unlawful and inhumane activity has taken place. Its members act under the instructions of its caliph as one unit. When the persecution takes place in Pakistan, India, Bangladesh or Indonesia and they are told to show humility and humbleness, that is exactly what they do. They do not lose their tempers but show patience as they are instructed. On the other hand, this organization has produced the first Muslim winner of Noble Prize in Physics and one unprecedented personality of holding the office of Chief Justice of International Court of Justice and the Chairman of the United Nations General Assembly.
It is under this system that a town was established in Pakistan, named Rabwah, under the guidelines established by Islam. This is an important factor that needs to be looked at because it provides a practical proof how a town should run its affairs. In this town the basic needs of the people were taken care of. No one was homeless, the basic food was available to anyone, water sources were available to people free of charge and the system was in place to make sure that other needs of widows, orphans and poor were taken care of. In essence, the basic requirements established by God through Adam (His first Caliph) were fulfilled. At the same time, the religious and spiritual training of its citizens was looked after.
The streets, mosques, schools and hospital were built with the volunteer community based efforts. The rich and the poor hauled bricks and felt proud that they were part of building their own town. Education was made available to anyone male or female and was promoted constantly.
It was a model city to be copied until 1974 when the laws were changed and it was not under the full administration of the community. However, it is an example of how a town can be established and run under the laws established by God for the betterment of the society even in a third world country where the resources are scarce.
The Promised Messiah announced a New World Order in his book Al-Wasiyyat (The Will) under the Divine guidance. Under the program outlined the human beings will accomplish tranquility, peace and paradise on earth under the system of Caliphate after him. The Caliphs are not the government and are only answerable to God. They do not belong to a political party, country, race or tribe. Their view of the world is based on one human race regardless of the color of the skin, creed or origin. They have no borders to protect, no taxation to enforce. They are also the international central location for intelligence, information and consultations because of their personal relationships with individuals in their community worldwide.
A New World Order can only be established when there are no borders, nor political priorities and the needs of the human beings can be looked after regardless of selfish attitudes of individual communities. It can only be established through a single entity covering the globe without ambitions of power and glory. That entity has been designated as the community of the Promised Messiah under his Caliphs and in accordance with the prophecies, it will one day, God Willing, establish Paradise on earth.
We invite people of all nations and in particular the Christians and the Muslims to accept the Promised One who has been sent in the spirit of Jesus. He is the way, the light and the path for salvation under the guidance of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the final Message of God, the Holy Quran. Jesus told his followers to judge the tree by its fruit. So it behooves all Christians to come and taste this fruit before passing judgment. The Holy Prophet had commanded his followers that when the Messiah appears to go to him and give him his greetings of peace even if they would have to travel on their knees in snow. You will find that for today’s problem, the only acceptable interpretation of religious principles is what the Promised Messiah has presented because it came through the Holy Ghost. So come and see the fruits of the tree of the second Messiah through his Caliphs and join in the effort of bringing peace, tranquility and paradise on earth. This is the real pursuit of happiness for all mankind. If not you, your next generation or the one after that will accomplish this goal because “It has been written and so shall be done”.