Allah, the Exalted, sends His chosen servants to guide mankind and steer them away from paths of vice and immorality. These divinely appointed individuals are Prophets and their Khulafa’/Caliphs. A Khalifa does not preach his own message but continues the work of the Prophet who came before him. In the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Khalifatul Masih spreads the message of the Promised Messiah(as) as his successor, and the Promised Messiah(as) is himself the successor of the Holy Prophet(sa) and came to remind the world of his teachings.
As human beings, we have limitations. Our knowledge of our future and what is best for us is minimal, making us hasty in decision-making. On the contrary, God is All-Knowing and He alone knows with absolute certainty about the positive and negative impact of worldly matters. There are times when we think we know what is best for us but since our connection with Allah is not as strong as that of the Khalifatul Masih, we cannot always make the best decision. Sometimes, we follow trends just because everyone else is doing them without realizing what the harm may be. Allah, Who possesses complete knowledge of all things, guides His Khalifa to warn us from indulging in harmful behaviour. A Khalifa, like a Prophet, has a greater understanding of what is best for us and can admonish us to refrain from evil. In the Holy Quran, Allah says, “Admonish, therefore, for you are but an admonisher” (88:22).
An example of the sheer wisdom behind the guidance of a Khalifatul Masih is exemplified by Huzoor (may Allah be his Helper) who recently warned members of the Jama‘at of the drawbacks of social media. Huzoor formally addressed this topic in a few Friday Sermons and drew the attention of all Ahmadis to the (at the time) unpopular opinion that social media can be harmful. There are many children today who use social media as a pastime but are being exposed to peer pressure, cyber bullying, predators and other ill effects. Even when parents are unaware, God is not! The Khalifa warned us of the dangers of excessive and unsupervised use of social media and showed it for what it is. Even the founders of different social media and Internet companies have kept their children away from these platforms at some point. Many experts now frequently talk about the harms of social media.
After a Prophet, Allah appoints a Khalifa to continue the system of guidance so that an everlasting relationship is created between the Creator and His creation. This is beautifully expressed by the Promised Messiah(as) when he writes, “Since no one can live forever, Allah the Exalted ordained that the Anbiya’ [Prophets], who are the most honourable and the best people of the earth, continue their existence upon the earth by way of reflection. For this purpose, God instituted Khilafat so that the world should at no time be deprived of the blessings of the nubuwwat [Prophethood]”.[i]
The directive of a Khalifa has been laid out in the Holy Quran where Allah tells us that a Khalifa is to ensure that people come towards Him, worship Him alone and do good deeds, so that we fulfill our purpose and are granted salvation (24:56). Whether it is a sensitive subject such as how family matters are to be addressed, or to warn us against something as appealing as social media, the divine guidance of a Khalifa honours our faith and helps us maintain a living connection with our God.
We are surrounded by influences that visibly contradict fundamental teachings of Islam, and then there are some that are subtler and easy to overlook. To be able to hear the wise words of the Khalifa, whose prayers are directly heard by God, is a great privilege that can ultimately lead to our salvation.
As ordinary individuals, we are innately weak and require a constant source of guidance to help us stay on the path of the righteous. Although some social vices may seem harmless, we can never have an absolute guarantee that we will be able to distinguish what is best for us in the long term, due to our mental and spiritual limitations. Therefore, by listening to the Khalifa and following his guidance, we are actually protecting ourselves from things that may harm us and destroy our inner peace. Time and time again, this has been proven in the lives of those who are close to the Khalifa of the time. All of them testify to the immense blessings that they have received, and the signs of Allah they have seen, in their lives. Abid Khan sahib has narrated many incidents and testimonies of Ahmadi Muslims from around the world who attest this truth in their lives.[ii]
[i]. Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 6, p. 330
[ii]. Diaries are archived here: http://www.pressahmadiyya.com/personal-accounts/, Retrieved August 26, 2019