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Philosophy of the System of Khilafat

by Atif Munawar Mir

at Jalsa Khilafat on May 27th, 2006 in Mississauga, Canada


The primary function of Khalifa is to carry the message of the Prophet into the future without losing the spirit of the message. This task is best accomplished when the community is united and strong. And the community cannot be united and strong without the Institution of Khilafat. Moreover, it is the responsibility of Khalifa to admonish us with the help of Allah to stay on the right path. These are the blessings of Khilafat which give us peace and security of mind. However, it is our responsibility to prove ourselves worthy of the blessings of Khilafat.

Philosophy of the System of Khilafat

Allah says in Surah Al-Nur Verse 56:

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 who so is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.

According to this verse of the Holy Quran, when Allah makes Successors in the earth, the fear of people turns into peace and security.

In my speech, due to time constraint, I will only focus on how the Khilafat initiated after the passing away of Hazrat Masih Maud(as) is the source of unity, guidance and blessings for us all. How does this Khilafat give us security and peace of mind. Why Khilafat is needed to turn our fear into security? Finally, will this security in the form of Khilafat will la st forever?

The purpose of the institution of Khilafat is to bring people closer to Allah. Allah sends prophets to remind people that Allah is the ultimate reality and everyone should completely devote oneself towards this ultimate reality. After the prophets complete their mission, the challenge is to maintain the unity of the community and to keep the community on the right path. This task requires a leader who has a strong faith and a high level of righteousness. Khalifa is such a leader, who is elected by people but chosen by Allah.

Hazrat Masih Maud(as) says:

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.[1]

Hence Khilafat is the source of Tabligh, Talim and Tarbiyyat in the community.

The most basic function of Khalifa is to carry the message of the Prophet into the future without losing the spirit of the message. This task is best accomplished when the community is united and strong. And the community cannot be united and strong without the Institution of Khilafat.

Preservation of Message & Unity of the Community

Think of your sports team or a department in your company. When a great captain in your hockey team or an excellent manager in your company suddenly leaves for one reason or another, don’t we feel sad and experience uncertainty as to what kind of person will become our next leader. Will that leader be able to successfully lead your team or department against the competition?

There is always a fear that someone will use this opportunity for one’s own selfish gains. But once a good captain is chosen and the team unites under his leadership, the fear is replaced by a peace of mind.

Now imagine the passing away of a messenger of God. How must a community feel? How did Muslims feel when the perfect human being, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), passed away from this world? How did Ahmadis feel when Hazrat Masih Maud(as) passed away? When the prophet passes away, it is not just sadness of separation that the community faces, but also the fear whether the community is ready or capable to carry the message of the prophet to the rest of the world.

Another fear is that we might not be able to stay united and hence fail to protect and preserve the message of Allah let alone spread it. Since it is the message of Allah so Allah takes over the responsibility of preserving and spreading this message and hence He makes Khalifa.

Khalifa keeps the community united.

Khalifa tul Masih IV(rh) says that 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.[2]

According to this excerpt of Khalifa tul Masih IV(rh), Imam is a necessary figure in a mosque, then how can the whole Muslim Ummah continue its journey without an Imam?

According to Khalifa Sani(ra):

Khalifa has two primary objectives. One is to save the Jama’at from contamination of any kind and second is to unite and direct the individual powers of all members under one leadership.[3]

In other words, when the community is united and all the individual talent s, skills and passions are channeled and coordinated and guided by Khalifa, it becomes easier for Jama’at to achieve its goals.

Khalifa tul Masih I(ra), for instance, arranged for the education of the community by setting up religious newspapers and schools. When Jama’at became bigger, it was Khalifa tul Masih II(ra), who established auxiliary organizations to ensure that new converts and current members and their children are taught the true Islam and Ahmadiyyat.

Khalifa tul Masih III(rh) established libraries and schools in Africa. Khalifa tul Masih IV(rh) established MTA for the spiritual training of Ahmadis and tabligh to humanity across the globe. All these great achievements are only possible if the community is united under a leader and in turn these great achievements ensure that the message of Islam is transmitted to the whole world in its true form and spirit.

So far I have talked about the need of Khalifa to preserve the message of Promised Messiah(as) and establish the unity of community.

Need for Khilafat Today when Perfect Religion is Established

At this point, however, a question may arise as to why we do need a Khalifa to turn fear into peace, why do we need a Khalifa when religion has been perfected for us. We have the Holy Quran. We have Hadiths. We have the books of the Promised Messiah. Why do we need Khalifa to obtain right guidance? To answer this question, we need to understand the psychology of human nature. We believe that Allah has created us. Hence, He knows about the psychology of human nature more tha n anyone else.

Hazrat Masih Maud(as) states in Philosophy of Teachings of Islam, and I summarize, that according to Allah, humans are born in the state of Nafse Ammarah. Now what is Nafse Ammarah? Nafse Ammarah is the state of mind. In this state, man is inclined towards evil and evil pulls the man away from the moral growth and perfection. The second state is Nafse Lawwama. We enter into Nafse Lawwama when we discard evil and educate ourselves with religious teachings. In this state, man tries to run his life based on high moral principles but can’t achieve complete success. The third state is Nafse Mutmainnah. In this state, the man is delivered from all weaknesses and is filled with spiritual powers and establishes a relationship with God Almighty.

All this discussion about three states boils down into this.

In simple words, some men live like animals. Some men, on the other hand, live like angels. Others are in the middle. They try to stay on the right path but often slip. Generally, it may be argued that most of us are in the middle. We know what is right and we know what is wrong but often due to moral weakness or worldly temptations we make wrong choices.

That is why Allah says in the Holy Quran “continue to admonish, for admonition always help ” (87:10)

So that when we are presented in the court of Allah on the Day of Judgment we can’t say to Allah that you should have reminded us about what is right and what is wrong.

It is the job of Khalifa to constantly admonish us particularly through weekly Khutbas to keep us on the right track. After listening to Khutbas, how many times we feel that we were stepping away from God but Khutba reminded us what good life is and how we should live it.

According to modern philosophy, humans have natural rights such as life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. In other words, humans are free to choose their destiny, build their own future and choose a purpose that suits them. Allah is not in this picture.

On the other hand, Islam teaches us that we do have freedom but the exercise of freedom needs to be within the framework of the Holy Quran and Hadiths. The constant guidance and admonishing of Khalifa prevents us from stepping outside that framework and pulls us back into the framework if we do slip. In our material lives, most of us succeed only when we are constantly admonished. Teachers remind us that we must study hard if we want to excel in the school. Counselors remind us that if we want good jobs we must develop required skills. Parents remind us that if we want to succeed in life we must work hard. All people in the world who really care about us constantly admonish us. Allah has appointed Khalifa and he constantly admonishes us what should we do to succeed in this life and the hereafter.

The principal function of Khalifa, therefore, is to look after the spiritual, moral, social and intellectual welfare of the people.

Khalifa Sani(ra) says under the Islamic system of government Khalifat is separate from state. Under Islamic system, there will be a Head of State who will take care of political, social and economic matters. The system of Khilafat will be a parallel structure whose sole job will be the spiritual welfare of people and the guidance to state.

Thus we can say that Khalifa serves a crucia l function in the affairs of society and state by constantly guiding us and admonishing us about moral and spiritual matters.

Khalifa tul Masih I(ra) says:

Take the example of the solar system. All planets are revolving around the sun. The nature tells us that it is inevitable to have a central leadership for any organization. Look at the life of the companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH). They all marched forward in spiritual and worldly matters due to the central leadership. Look around today, we have the same Holy Quran. We have the translation and interpretation of the Holy Quran and above all, we have the Sunnah of Holy Prophet (PBUH). But despite all this Muslims are victims of all kinds of humiliation. This is all because of one reason and that is the lack of Ameer whom everyone must obey.[4]

Will these blessings of Khilafat continue forever?


Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) made this prophecy about Khilafat:

“Prophethood shall remain among you as long as Allah shall will. He will bring about its end and follow it with Khilafat on the precepts of prophethood for as long as He shall will and then bring about its end. A tyrannical monarchy will then follow and will remain as long as Allah shall will and then come to an end. There will follow thereafter monarchial despotism to last as long as Allah shall will and come to an end upon His decree. There will then emerge Khilafat on precept of Prophethood.” The Holy Prophet said no more (Masnad Ahmad)

Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) had how accurately prophesized about Khulafa I Rashdeen and then how that Khilafat will be corrupted. But then he prophesized the emergence of another Khilafat but did not say what will happen to this Khilafat.

However, in the book Al-Wasiyyat, Hazrat Masih Maud(as) says that Khilafat after his demise will continue forever.

But in the same book, Hazrat Masih Maud(as) says:

Don’t expect that Allah will help you; if you have even the slightest consideration of worldliness in your affairs, all your worship is useless. If you do so, you are following Satan and not Allah. In tat situation, you will only be like an insect on the earth and soon you will perish like an insect. Thus there will no God in you and God will be happy to wipe you out.[5]

Allah has granted us with the blessings of Khilafat.

But it is up to us whether we benefit from it or not. Remember, the blessings alone will not take us to our destination.

That is why Allah has said this in the Holy Quran.

But as for those who follow guidance, He adds to their guidance, and bestows on them righteousness suited to their condition (47:18).

Imagine a bird flying in the wind. When birds fly, the wind sometimes blows in the opposite direction and slows the bird down. Occasionally the wind does blow in the direction of the bird’s flight. Think of yourself as a bird and think of the wind as the blessings of Khilafat. The blessings in itself do not make us fly. We have to fly on our own and we have to fly in the right direction that is we have to fly towards our spiritual goals. Only then, the winds of the blessings of Khilafat will help us to fly faster and smoother. So the blessings of Khilafat are a favorable wind for the individuals of the Jama’at as well as for the Jama’at as a whole. But these blessings come into play only when we do our part and struggle to move on the right path.

In other words, we have to prove ourselves worthy of the blessings of Khilafat.

Hazrat Masih Maud(as) says:

Bai’t is only a seed. The seed can’t become a fruit unless the soil is prepared and regularly watered and fertilized and constantly protected by the farmer. Unless a farmer does all these things he can’t hope to reap the crop. Thus the crop will only belong to the one who remains a complete and whole time farmer. [6]

In simple words, Bai’t is only the beginning and the final outcome of the journey depends upon how we take care of the seed and transform it into a rich crop.

The guide of our journey has to be the Holy Quran, Life and sayings of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), books of Promised Messiah but the leader and Imam has to be the Khalifa. May Allah help us improve our level of Taqwa so that we become the strong hands of Khalifa tul Masih and we continue to deserve the blessings of Khilafat for all times to come. Ameen.


  1. Tafseer Surah Maryam to Surah Ankabut by Hazrat Masiah Maud(as) (Page 291)
  2. https://www.alislam.org/library/q-and-a/importance-of-khilafat/
  3. Khutbat e Mehmood, Page 421
  4. Hayat e Nur (First Edition, Page 643-644)
  5. Al-Wasiyyat (Urdu) Page 9
  6. Malfoozat, Vol. 4, Page 29 (Fourth Edition)