The fifth and final criticism is that an approved Khilafat or Imamat cannot exist without the support of a Nasse Sarih i.e. an authority directly derived from the Holy Quran or the sayings of the Holy Prophet. In consequence, unless the Quran or the Holy Prophet have mentioned by names the Khalifas who were to follow, they do not have the support of Nasse Sarih.
This is a self‑contrived argument which is not supported by any authoritative injunction. Khilafat falls in the same category of offices as Prophethood and is therefore bound by the same criteria. Real faith consists of believing in the unseen; even prophets and messengers of Allah have rarely been mentioned by name in any ancient scriptures for the simple reason that believers should make use of their own powers of understanding and reasoning to seek them and thus earn the rewards of their labour. The reason for not nominating a Khalifa is therefore strictly because the appointment has to be made by God. The Founder of Ahmadiyyat has stated:
“The reason why the Holy Prophet of Islam did not nominate his successor was because he knew that God would Himself appoint a Khalifa as it was strictly His function” (Al‑Hakam 14.4.1905)
Because of this situation, God confirmed in the Khilafat verse of Surah‑Noor that He would establish the institution of Khilafat with a view to giving glory and strength to the faith, but did not mention beforehand the names of those who were to occupy this office so that the believers may earn the reward of recognizing them through their own efforts. The absence of their names in the Holy Quran also proves the fact that the Quran also does not think it necessary to do so. The Holy Prophet was in the unique position that had he nominated a person to succeed him, the entire following would have accepted the appointment, but the Holy Prophet did not think it necessary to do so. Indeed a nomination by the Holy Prophet would have saved Muslims from many untoward incidences which eventually took place around this issue, and would certainly have created a precedence for the Khalifas to nominate their own successors. But the fact is that such a nomination would certainly have been devoid of God’s blessings and would not have carried the approval of Muslim democracy. However since this type of nomination is not acceptable in Islam, the Holy Prophet did not nominate a successor even though he had the names of very prominent and capable faithful devotees on his fingertips appropriate for this office, e.g. Abu Bakr who was the Prophet’s companion in the cave during his flight from Mecca, Omar who enjoyed full confidence of the Prophet for his sagacity and wisdom, Osman who was married to two of the Prophet’s daughters and in whose behalf the Holy Prophet initiated a Ba’it‑i‑Rizwan, and of course Ali who had been likened to Aaron by the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him.
The Nomination of Hazrat Ali
It may be mentioned here that Hazrat Ali also believed that the naming of a Khalifa was not necessary; indeed, he regarded it against the precepts of the Holy Prophet. At the time he was fatally attacked, Jundab bin Abdallah asked him whether Hazrat Hassan should take the oath of allegiance. Ali replied: “I neither ask you to do so nor say anything against it, you know it better already”. (Tabri Vol. VI 346). He is even reported to have added: “I am leaving you in the same state as the Holy Prophet did” (Tabaqat bin Saad Vol. III p. 34). That is, just as the Holy Prophet had left the question of succession to the believers, so was Ali leaving the matter to be decided by the nation. Hazrat Abu Musa Ashaari has explained this position by saying: “Khilafat and Imamat comes through consultation but kingship is attained through the power of sword” (Tabaqat bin Saad Vol. IV p. 113).
From the above discourse it is clear that the naming of Khalifas is against Islamic precepts, at the same time however the Holy Prophet left certain sign‑posts to guide the believers in their effort to find a successor, e.g. as is mentioned in his saying that he wanted to nominate Abu Bakr but then abandoned the idea as he believed that God would not accept election of any other person.