The following is part of a question answered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV (rh) at the London Mosque, during a question and answer session some time ago.
All Muslims believe that the Holy Quran is one and complete without doubt. The Traditions of the Holy Prophet of Islam (SAW) are final and both the Holy Quran and the Traditions are to continue as the Word to be Accepted, as the Word to be believed and as the Word to be followed till the end of the time. Yet, our Holy Prophet despite this knowledge that the book is complete and that he is the final prophet till the end of time, himself prophesied that a time will come when Imam Mahdi would appear from Allah and be raised by Allah. Let’s now ask a very sincere question –
What was the need for Imam Mahdi and why should Imam Mahdi be acceptable to us, when the Holy Quran is complete; the traditions are there and the contents of these books are final?
Yet according to the Holy Prophet, Muslims need Imam Mahdi and are waiting for Imam Mahdi. Why do we need Imam Mahdi, and why are we waiting for Him, and what will the status of Imam Mahdi be? I’m sure you never thought of that. If you should think of it now, you will be surprised that Muslims belief and Ahmadis beliefs are exactly the same. Not an iota of difference can be proved between our two beliefs.
All Muslims believe that Imam Mahdi is going to be appointed by Allah, and is not going to be elected by the Muslims. There should not be a single Muslim who believes that Imam Mahdi will not be appointed by Allah, but will be elected by the masses. If any Muslim claims this, all the ulema of the world will declare that that person is a kafir, because he is holding a belief contrary to the belief of the entire Ummah. So, Imam Mahdi is a person to come, if he has not come already, who will be directly raised and appointed by Allah. However, this is one part of the belief. The other part of the belief is that whoever refuses to accept him will become kafir. The entire Ummah believes in these two things except the Chakaralvis and the Ahle Quran. The rest of the Ummah believe that Imam Mahdi will be appointed by Allah himself, and there will not be an election. They also believe that Imam Mahdi, once he is appointed, will be the imam for the whole Ummah and for the whole universe. Whoever denies him, and whoever opposes him would go out of the pale of Islam.
Now, bearing these two beliefs in mind, quote me one example of any person having these two attributes and these two qualities who was a non- prophet. Not a single man on earth appeared in history with these two qualities who was not a prophet. In fact a single man can not be quoted from the entire history of all the religions where a man can be said to have been appointed directly by Allah, and to believe in him is not imperative. Read the Holy Quran on Iman, where it states in whom you must believe :
(verse of Holy Quran)
These are your fundamental beliefs. Out of the six principles quoted above, only one refers to man, and that is prophets. So among men, except for the prophets, the Holy Quran does not make it incumbent on you to believe in any man but only the prophets are for us to believe in. Thus, according to Quran, only the prophets are us to believe in, otherwise we will become kafirs. Therefore from among men, except for prophets, we are not bound to believe in anybody. Quote one verse form the Holy Quran where apart from the prophets, we are bound to believe in anybody other than a prophet. Yet, this accepted view, Muslims themselves ascribe to Imam Mahdi. Whoever is appointed directly by Allah, is a prophet. So Muslims maintain that they do not believe even a subordinate prophet would ever come, while they believe in Imam Mahdi, and that Allah himself will appoint and raise him. So they are most surely contradicting their own claim. The truth is that Muslims believe in a subordinate prophet the moment they believe in Imam Mahdi. So now it is only a question of personalities left. As far as the beliefs are concerned, any honest and true person will have to agree and admit that the concept of Imam Mahdi is exactly that concept which Ahmadis term as a subordinate prophet. Whether you call him a subordinate prophet or not, whether you call him man or not, is not important. What is important is definition. If you call a man a dog, he still remains a man. If someone enjoys the 2 qualities of Imam Mahdi, he will remain a prophet, whatever you call him. Even if you do not believe in him, he will still remain a prophet.
Again, Muslims believe that Jesus Christ is going to come again. In what capacity is he going to come? Will he leave his prophethood behind in the heavens, if he descends from the heavens? Obviously not, because all Muslim scholars believe and claim, that whoever believes or claims that Jesus Christ, when he reappears, will leave his prophethood behind, and will come as an ordinary person, is a liar and is beyond and outside the pale of Islam. This is a common belief of every Muslim scholar, Ahmadi or non-Ahmadi. The reason for this belief is that our Holy Prophet (pbuh), himself prophesied that when Jesus Christ comes, He would come as a prophet. In the book of Hadith – Muslim, the Holy Prophet (pbuh), himself calls Jesus Christ four times a prophet of Allah ( Nabi-Ullah) in his second coming. Thus according to the hadith of Muslim, Muslims also believe that the Messiah will come, and that he will come as a PROPHET.
Now contrary to common sense, Muslims turn Ahmadis out of the pale of Islam, because they believe the Promised Messiah to be a prophet. While the Promised Messiah, whom Muslims are waiting for themselves, is going to be a prophet. If the Promised Messiah is true, he had to be a prophet, because the Holy Prophet(pbuh) himself said, that the Messiah that is to come will be a prophet. So suppose the Promised Messiah said ” I am not a prophet”, the Holy Prophet (pbuh) would be declaring the Promised Messiah as a liar, because He would say ” Have you not read the Hadith of Muslim?, I have myself named the messiah to appear in this Ummah as a prophet.” So if anybody claims that he is a messiah, and not a prophet, he is definitely a liar, you can not prove him otherwise. Yet according to Muslims, if anybody claims to be a messiah, and says that he is a prophet, he is also a liar. So what sort of messiah can come here, in this Ummah. By one way of judgment, he is a liar, because he says he is the messiah and also a prophet – Muslims say prophethood is finished in every form. But when he says that he is the messiah and not a prophet, them Muslims will again say that he is a liar, because the Holy Prophet (pbuh) proclaimed that the messiah to come would also be a prophet.
The only solution offered by other Muslim scholars is that he will be an Ummati Nabi (subordinate prophet). Being an Ummati Nabi is not against the finality of the Holy Prophet (pbuh), and this is exactly what Ahamdis believe in. We do not believe in a new prophethood. We believe in an Ummati, subordinate, prophet, as prophesied, in the Holy Quran, Sura Al-Nisa. (Chapter 4, verse 70 & 71).
Translation: (Chapter 4, verse 70 & 71).
70. And whoso obeys Allah and this Messenger of His shall be among those on whom Allah has bestowed His blessing, namely, the Prophets, the Truthful, the Martyrs, and the Righteous. And excellent companions are these.
71. This grace is from Allah, and sufficient is Allah, the All-Knowing.
So anybody who is going to get any reward or any favor from Allah, after the Holy Prophet (pbuh), according to this verse, has to be SUBORDINATE to the Holy Prophet (pbuh). Once he is subordinate, according to this verse, no reward will be held from him, neither the first reward nor the last one, because all four rewards are mentioned one after the other, namely Prophet, Truthful, Martyrs, and the Righteous – so the belief of all Muslims, Ahmadi and non-Ahmadi, is exactly the same. Apply this belief to Imam Mahdi, who Muslims believe will come, and both our beliefs are exactly the same. He must be a subordinate prophet!. Apply the same belief to the Promised Messiah. Here again both our beliefs are again the same.
So now only one question is left, Has the Imam Mahdi appeared or not?
Muslims declare Ahmadis as non-muslims, because we believe in a new prophet. If we are kafirs because of this, Muslims belief being exactly the same as Ahmadis, every Muslim is therefore a Kafir!