What is Khalifat?
The term Caliphate or ‘Khalifat’ mean successorship, and the Caliph or ‘Khalifa’ is a successor to a Prophet of Allah whose goal is to carry to the completion tasks of reformation and moral training that were brought by the Prophet, continuing to nurture the community’s faith and practices for as long as Allah wishes.
The Caliph or ‘Khalifa’ is a Prophet’s spiritual heir, his vicegerent and subordinate. He derives his authority from his Master-Prophet and as such becomes the central authority for his followers.
Why do we need Khalifat?
Caliphate is a spiritual institution that succeeds prophethood. It provides unity, progress, righteousness and security to the followers of the Prophet.
Caliphate establishes the authority of Allah on earth, and the Caliph strives to uphold that authority within the community of followers. For the believers, Caliphate is an embodiment of Allah’s unity, as they choose to take divine authority through the person of the Caliph. The believers partake of the blessings of Caliphate by holding firm to their faith and practices, united under him.
How was Khalifat established?
When the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as), the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, passed away, Khilafat was established like it was for his Master-Prophet, Muhammad (saw). This is known as the Khilafat of Ahmadiyyat or Khilafat al-Ahmadiyya.
The Khalifa of the Promised Messiah(as) is known as Khalifa-tul-Masih, or Khalifa of the Messiah.
The first successor to the Promised Messiah(as) was Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddin (ra). He was elected the first khalifa after the demise of the Promised Messiah(as) He was a favorite companion of the Promise Messiah(as) and was the first to pledge allegiance to him (bai’at). He was known for his deep understanding of the Holy Qur’an. He remained khalifa for 6 years.
A prophecy had been revealed to the Promised Messiah(as) by God, that he would be given a son, through whom the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat would be spread to the ends of the earth.
This prophecy was fulfilled in the form of Hazrat Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra), who became Khalifa II in 1914. He was known as Musleh Maud, the Promised Reformer. He remained Khalifa for 52 years and achieved numerous milestones for the community.
The third Khalifa was Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad (rh). He was the oldest son of the second successor. He launched two major projects, The Fazle Umar Foundation, and Nusrat Jahan scheme, in the spirit of continuing his father’s work. He also announced the popular Ahmadi motto, “Love for All, Hatred for None.”
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh) was the fourth Khalifa. He was elected upon his brother’s death, in 1982. One of his greatest achievements was the development of a 24-hour satellite TV channel, MTA. In 1993, the first live international initiation ceremony was broadcast on that channel, where hundreds of thousands of persons entered the Ahmadiyya community at his hands.
The current Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), the Fifth Sucessor of the Promised Messiah (as).
Born in September 1950, he dedicated life for Islam at the age of 27. One of his greatest accomplishments while serving as the manager of the Ahmadiyya Agricultural Farm in Ghana, was the experiment of planting, growing and nurturing wheat as an economic crop in Ghana, despite a series of experiments revealing that wheat could not grow in Ghana. These accomplishments revolutionized the country’s economy and paved the way for self-sufficiency. He currently resides in Islamabad, England.