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> A Reply to "No Need of a Mujaddid in the
Presence of Imamate" a Friday Sermon by Mirza Tahir
Ahmad Sahib by Basharat Ahmad Baqa
Books Section > A Reply to "No Need of a Mujaddid in the Presence of Imamate" a Friday Sermon by Mirza Tahir Ahmad Sahib by Basharat Ahmad Baqa Sahib
Reply to --
"No Need of a
Mujaddid in the Presence of Imamate"
"27 August: Our Leader, Hazrat Imam of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, may Allah help him with His Mighty support, has said that Gods support and His testimony through His acts have proved that there would be no need for a Mujaddid (Reformer) in the presence of the Imamate. Gods corroborative testimony has forever put this mischief to rest. It has been said that the chain of Imamate shall not end, even up to the Day of Resurrection, and hence in the presence of Imamate there is no need for a reformation of any kind!"
A Review of Mirza
Tahir Ahmads Friday Sermon
The heading set-up by the Editor of Al-Fazl is: "There is no need of a Mujaddid in the presence of the Imamate." The deliverer of this sermon has laid his entire emphasis and exhausted all his knowledge on one point -- that no Mujaddid (Reformer) can appear when an Imam or a Caliph is present! Nay, he has gone so far as to call the institution of Tajdid (appearance of reformer at the head of every century) a mischief (fitna). Mirza Tahir Ahmad has not addressed the Muslims in general in his sermon, because the Muslim Community has already declared all those connected with the Ahmadiyya Movement to be non-Muslims and outside the pale of Islam. When the majority of the general body of Muslims does not consider even the Holy Founder to be a truthful man, how can these think his successors to be worthy of any attention? So we necessarily come to the conclusion from the above that the said sermon of Imam Tahir is addressed only to the Lahore Group of the Ahmadiyya Order.
The members of the Lahore Group [The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam], who entertain complete faith and absolute certitude in the hadith: "Verily Allah raises for this Ummah [Muslim Nation] at the head of every century one who would reform their religion for them," and according to which they believe in the raising of a Reformer and a leader shortly. They believe that though heaven and earth may move from their places but the promise and the saying of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) cannot go amiss.
They have not only the external and internal condition of the Lahore and the Rabwah Groups under their purview, nay, they are concerned with the overall moral, spiritual, social, economic and political condition of the whole Muslim world. The Sufis and scholars have utterly failed to mould the Muslim Ummah according to the true Islamic teachings; nay, the entire Muslim world is going downhill day by day and no cure for remedying this situation is in sight. All the faults and defects that made the ummahs [followers] of the prophets of yore deserving of divine punishment have crept into the morals and character of this Ummah. Leaving aside the other Muslim countries, take the God-given state of Pakistan itself, a country which was born in the name of Islam. How big a tragedy it is that even though forty-seven years have elapsed since its creation, it has not been possible so far to enforce the Islamic Order in this country nor have the Laws of Shariah [religion] taken root.
Few and far between are those in this country who are anguishing over this moral degradation of their countrymen and are crying to their Lord with tearful eyes and upraised hands, appealing to the Merciful Lord to cast a compassionate glance and devise some way for the reformation of this Ummah. Imam Tahir, having become the head of his community of a few hundred thousand followers, is making grandiose claims about his Caliphate (Imamate) and is proclaiming his Caliphate to be a perpetual institution. He has gone so far to the extreme that he is now declaring the Divine Plan for the reformation and guidance of the Ummah, given to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) in response to his unceasing beseeching, in the form of Hadith-i Mujaddid (the hadith about the appearance of Mujaddids), to be a mischief (fitnah).
I present to Imam Tahir a writing of his Divine Guide, his own grandfather, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, the Holy Founder, which occurs in his letter to one Muhammad Walilullah Sahib dated December 1888 and published in the paper Al-Hakam of Qadian on 31st May 1901, for the benefit of the public. In this letter the Holy Founder said:
"A prophet used to follow another prophet in time of need. Then, when Hazrat Muhammad Mustafa (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) appeared in this world, God the High, declared him to be the Seal of the Prophets (Khatam al-Ambiya). So, because of this sealing of Prophethood, the Holy Prophet used to be filled with anxiety and grief, lamenting that before him thousands of prophets were needed to keep people upright and in the proper faith, and now there would be no prophet after him who would provide spiritual relief and in such a case his Ummah was likely to go wrong. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) prayed incessantly for this purpose, and then God, the High, gave him the glad tidings and promised him that Mujaddids would appear one after the other at the head of each century, and at their hands God, the High, would cause the religion to be renovated and reformed. So when the True Herald, the Holy Prophet, has given us the news about the coming of a Mujaddid at the head of every century, how and where can you run by denying this glad tiding?"
I have copied only a part of this letter and I also ask you, Imam Tahir, the same question: "Where can you run from the glad tidings that God the High has given to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) about the coming of the Mujaddids and what lame excuse can you find as a refuge? Else, pray prove it from the Holy Quran and the Hadith that this Hadith-i Mujaddid [Tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) prophesising the appearance of Mujaddids (Reformers) at the head of every century] is only confined to the first fourteen centuries and has since been abrogated.
The above extract from the Holy Founders letter should also unravel the intricate problem of Khatam-i Nubuwwat (the Finality of Prophethood) for Imam Tahir, and the connotation as understood by the Holy Prophet about in the expression Khatam-i Nubuwwat should also become clear to him. In fact, all that the second Caliph, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and his colleagues had been saying about the continuance of prophethood in Islam, becomes null and void in the face of this categorical quotation. For the Holy Founder has produced the testimony of the Holy Prophet himself regarding the Finality of Prophethood, which cannot be changed, and has clearly said that no prophet can appear after the Holy Prophet; rather, because of this finality of Prophethood, God the High has prescribed an alternative in the form of the raising of Mujaddids. And the Holy Founder himself, the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century, has quoted this Hadith-i Mujaddid, in support of his claim to being an appointee of God, in his last book Haqiqat al-Wahy and which is mentioned under Sign Number One in the said book.
Imam Tahirs claim that no Mujaddid can come in the presence of the Imamate has been made without any substantiation. The burden of proof now lies on him: Let him produce some verse of the Holy Quran or some hadith of the Holy Prophet in support of his claim. And if he cannot, he should forthwith abandon this false and baseless stand of his.
Now let us cast a glance at the history of Islam. It is well known that the span of the rightly guided Caliphate could only remain in force for thirty years and all the four Caliphs became Caliphs under the promise contained in the verse regarding the Caliphate (Ayat-i Istikhlaf). After that, the Caliphate took on the character of a monarchy. At first it remained with the Umayyads and then it was transferred to the Abbasids, and remained with them till the fall of Baghdad. Thereafter, the Caliphate-turned-monarchy went to the kings of the Ottoman Empire, the last being Sultan Abdul Hamid, whose extensive empire was destroyed as a result of the First World War, and the Islamic Caliphate collapsed so completely that it has not been revived since. In this long span of fourteen hundred years, Mujaddids kept appearing at the turn of each century, and in the reign of the Caliphs, duly carrying out their duties regarding the renovation of the Faith. Not one of these Mujaddid ever raised a standard of revolt against the reigning Caliph, nor did any of them negate the temporal authority of the Caliph of his time. God the High let the monarchy continue, and declared the Mujaddids to be the actual verifiers of the Ayat-i Istikhlaf, and it was under the promise contained in this verse that the Holy Founder, the Mujaddid of the fourteenth century [Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian], declared himself to be the Caliph of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). But the absolute caliphate that was established in the Ahmadiyya Order with the induction of Hazrat Maulana Noor-ud-Din was definitely not a caliphate within the ambit of the Ayat-i Istikhlaf. And Imam Tahir is also not a caliph under the meaning of this verse, and if he were to make such a claim, it would be void and worthy of rejection.
Imam Tahir claims that the absolute Caliphate (Imamate) that was established after the demise of the Holy Founder is perpetual, i.e., that whilst the Holy Prophet Muhammads Caliphate was temporary, the Caliphate of the Promised Messiah is perpetual, and hence no Mujaddid can now come for the renovation of the Faith. Nay, he has gone so far as to declare this divine plan to be a mischievous and seditious idea. Now I ask him, that if this chain of Caliphate (Imamate) is perpetual and would endure even till the Day of Resurrection, then what has happened to the door of prophethood which his late father and his scholars or companions tried all their lives, and expended all their energies, to prove that it was open and not closed? Did they not proclaim to the whole world that the institution of prophethood continues in this world after the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)? Would this prophethood perhaps become a legacy to be inherited by his (Imam Tahirs) family? If a prophet does appear by chance, would there be a chain of his Caliphs after him, or would there still be caliphs who would follow the Promised Messiah?
The procedure that has now been laid down for election to the office of the Caliph (Imam) makes it impossible that the Caliphate may fall to someone outside the progeny of Mirza Mahmud Ahmad. And if someone, after receiving inspiration from the Holy Spirit, does stand up to make a claim, the Caliph of the time would at once declare him fit for annihilation, because the person inspired by the Holy Spirit and making such a claim would definitely be an appointee of God, and in his very presence the grandiose edifice of the so-called perpetual Imamate (Caliphate) would collapse with one big bang.
Imam Tahir claims that piety (taqwa) continues to permeate the present Imamate (i.e., himself) and since piety is present, therefore this Imamate is capable of bringing about the second revival of Islam and carrying out the work of renovation of the Faith, and hence nobody from outside can now stand up and make a claim to being a Mujaddid. By making such a claim to piety, Imam Tahir has opened a door to strong objections against such a brazen boosting of his own image.
An important event, which drove the last nail in the bogey of piety in the Qadian Jamaat, was the publication in 1915 of the sworn testimony of seventy senior disciples of the Holy Founder, who were forced to leave Qadian after the acquisition of the seat of Caliphate in 1914 by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad who took shelter in Lahore. It reads as follows:
"We, the undersigned signatories to this document, bear sworn testimony to the fact that when Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani declared in 1891 that the death of Jesus (peace be upon him) stands proven from the Quran and that he was the Messiah, son of Mary, who is mentioned in some Ahadith [Traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh)] and who would appear in the Muhammadan Ummah, he had not thereby made a claim to prophethood. However, some of the Ulama misled the people and by declaring him to be a claimant to Prophethood, had a Fatwa of kufr (heresy) prepared against him. Thereafter, Hazrat Sahib declared clearly several times (as is evident from his writings) that to attribute a claim of prophethood to him is nothing but a forged slander, and that he considered prophethood to have ended with the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and considered anyone making a claim to prophethood after the Holy Prophet to be an impostor and a kafir [non-believer]; and that the words 'messenger' or 'prophet' occurring in some of his divine revelations, or the word 'prophet' used in reference to the coming Messiah in the ahadith, do not mean a real prophet. Rather, such words connote a figurative, partial and reflective prophethood which is called Muhaddathiyyat (having communion with God); and no prophet, new or old, can come after the Seal of the Prophets (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him)."
This sworn testimony was repeatedly publicised through periodicals and advertisements, and repeated demands were made to the Qadian Group that they should not conceal evidence, as regards the divine commandment, and that anyone doing so stained his heart with sin -- that those senior disciples who pledged their fealty (Baiat) at the hands of the Promised Messiah and who had then pledged their Baiat to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, should also come forward and publish their sworn testimony over this point, i.e., whether the Holy Founder made a change in his claim in November 1901 -- but a complete silence was observed in response to this demand. Nay, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad went to the extent of forbidding some of his disciples from giving any sworn testimony.
I would like to make one point clear to Imam Tahir in respect of the Hadith-i Mujaddid -- that every revelation of the Promised Messiah is subservient to the Sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), and it cannot become a judge over any hadith of the Holy Prophet. I would like to narrate an incident from the life of the Holy Founder in support of my stand. Once the Eid moon could not be sighted in Qadian, and a divine revelation came down to the Holy Founder: "Today is Eid, whether you celebrate it or not." His companions asked the Holy Founder, "If it is Eid today, should we abstain from keeping fast?" To this the Holy Founder replied: "As regards the Hadith, sighting of the moon is mandatory." So the people kept fast that day. Later at 10 a.m. the news arrived from an out-station that it was Eid that day. Thereupon the Ahmadis broke their fast and offered Eid prayers. And they were overjoyed to observe that the divine revelation of their Imam had turned out to be true. But the God-appointed Messiah kept his revelation subordinate to the hadith of the Holy Prophet and declared the sighting of the moon to be mandatory. If Imam Tahirs stand is opposed to mine, he should substantiate his position by means of irrefutable arguments, but I can say with confidence and certainty that he would never be able to repudiate my point of view. So, as regards this rule, if any writing of the Holy Founder apparently appears to be against the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet, we shall either have to interpret it suitably, or reject it.
In his Friday sermon Imam Tahir has made an incomplete quotation from the booklet. Al-Wasiyyat [The Will], which does not fully express the intentions of the Holy Founder, so I reproduce hereunder the complete quotation from the Holy Founder's Testament. He said: "I have come from God, the High, as a manifestation of His Power and I am an embodiment of it. And after me there shall be some other personalities who would be manifestation of His Second Power. So you should all congregate to pray in anticipation of the appearance of Gods Second Power (Qudrat-i Saniya), and it should be that all the outlying communities in every country should congregate and engage in supplications, so that the second manifestation of God's Power may come down from heaven and would thus show you how powerful your God is."
The status and station of the said Qudrat-i-Saniya, as explained by the Holy Founder, is quite clear and free of any vagueness, and one can clearly observe that every manifestation of this Second Power will be an appointee of God, and whose descent from heaven will be a spiritual one. In my view, not a single manifestation of the Second Power has appeared so far, i.e., during the last eighty six years. As for the absolute Caliphate that obtains in the Rabwah Group, it is entirely dependent on a system of election, the procedure for which has been so designed by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad that it has made the Caliphate limited to his progeny and his progeny's descendants. The Holy Founder clearly commanded his followers that the righteous from among them in every country should congregate and pray in anticipation of the coming of the manifestation of the Second Power, so that by coming down from heaven he may show them the power of God. If Imam Tahir includes himself among these purified and holy personages, he is committing an act of grievous wrong.
I have said above that by the appearance of the second manifestation of God's Power after the demise of the Holy Founder is meant the advent of appointees of God. It is worth investigating this aspect. When the booklet Al-Wasiyyat was written in 1905 and published, in how many countries of the world had communities of upright Ahmadis been established? According to my research up to that time no community in any foreign country, apart from the Indian sub-continent, had been founded. Neither did the communities that were founded in the Indian sub-continent nor the central Jamaat in Qadian ever organise a special congregational prayer in anticipation of the appearance of the Second Power, because they knew, as regards the testament contained in Al-Wasiyyat, that the Holy Founder had by his own hand made the Anjuman and that he had established it to be his successor, and he reposed all the powers and duties in respect of the aims and objects of the Ahmadiyya Order, and in respect of its foremost objective of propagation of Islam, in the said Anjuman. He clearly stated that: "Since this Anjuman is a successor to the God-appointed Caliph, it shall have to keep itself cleansed from all stains of worldliness and all its affairs should be transparent and based on equity." And the public contributions that accrued to the Centre was fully under the control of this Anjuman. Only the management of the Guest House (Langarkhana), was kept by the Holy Founder under his own control.
By establishing the Anjuman on such firm and permanent footing he showed his followers in a practical manner that the manifestation of the second power was not destined to be made immediately after his death. Rather, he wrote clearly:
"Till such time that someone arises after being inspired by the Holy Spirit from God, you should all work together after me."
This indicates that the. Holy Founder wanted to see a democratic system in his Jamaat after him, and was not in favour of an absolute Caliphate. In Al-Wasiyyat, (the Last Testament) the Holy Founder used the words "Caliph appointed by God" only about himself, and he did not write the word "Caliph" or "Imam" about any other person.
So the use of the word Imamate by Imam Tahir has not even a distant connection with the provisions contained in the Holy Founders Last Testament (Al-Wasiyyat). Imam Tahir says: "If God is Truthful, and surely He is Truthful, and if the Founder of the Order is truthful, and surely he is truthful, then those who say that the chain of Imamate is about to end, and who say that we should now anticipate the coming of a new Mujaddid with the coming of the new century, are all liars. Thirteen years have elapsed since the commencement of the fifteenth century and no one has appeared from outside the Imamate of the Ahmadiyya community during this time to carry out the task of renovation and this has exposed the hollowness of this false propaganda. Even if they were given another hundred years of life, they would not find any new order of renovation."
In reply to this pontification I say that if God, the High, is truthful and surely He is truthful, and if the Holy Prophet is truthful and surely he is truthful, then someone will surely appear for the work of renovation in this fifteenth century.
I have clarified above that by the manifestation of the Second Power of God are meant the appointees of God, who would keep on coming and proclaiming their appointment after being inspired by the Holy Spirit of God, the High. By the Second Manifestation are not meant those who, after having been elected through a Papal election procedure, would occupy the chair of Caliphate of the Rabwah brand. The chain of Renovators (Mujaddids) coming under the Hadith-i-Mujaddid, is surely perpetual and would endure even till the Day of Resurrection, and this is also the view of the Promised Messiah.
If Imam Tahir does not agree with my stand that no mention is made in the Al-Wasiyyat of any absolute Caliphate, (as it obtains in the Rabwah Group now), I reproduce hereunder a saying of his father, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, for his satisfaction He said:
"In the fundamental principles of the Committee of Trustees, which is in fact, a basic principle of Islam, the person of the Caliph of the time was not included. A resolution was passed in the time of the Second Caliphate that the Committee would obey whatever the Caliph commands, but this is not based on any principle. This means that a body of members says that it will do such and such, but the same body can turn around and say that it will not do such and such. For example, an Anjuman can pass a resolution to the effect that it will obey every command of the Caliph. If after ten years it says that it is not bound to obey the Caliph, it can surely do so under the laws of the Anjuman. Now, even if after all these sacrifices the condition of the Order remains unsecured, i.e., it is at the mercy of a few persons, who if they so wish, can continue the institution of the Caliphate and if they do not so wish, the said institution may disappear, then such a state of affairs cannot be tolerated. And since the community can be exposed to perils by virtue of the Doctrine of Caliphate not being included in the basic principles of the Jamaat a situation which can turn a body of Mubaeen, (those who pledged their fealty to the caliph) into a body of Ghair-mubaeen (those who abstain from pledging their fealty to the Caliph), and by one stroke of the pen by these ten or twelve people, Qadian may suddenly be turned into Lahore, therefore it was necessary to ensure the continuity of those activities of the Jamaat which pertain to propagation of the Faith and to training of the Jamaat. Notwithstanding the fact that the Anjuman may consist of the Mubaeens and however sincere its members might be it was essential to set up a focal point on which the Jama'at should be made steadfast so that it might never stumble in confusion in the future." (Al-Fazl, November, 1925)
This extract does not need any elucidation. Every word of this quotation corroborates my standpoint. How absolutely independent an institution the Board of Trustees of the Anjuman was, has been conceded by Imam Tahirs father in clear-cut words. It has also been conceded by him that in the rules of the Anjuman, which had been drafted by the Holy Founder himself and which had been published as an appendix to the AlWasiyyat, there was not even a hint of the "the Caliph of the times." So now Imam Tahir can draw his own conclusions as to what relationship his Imamate or caliphate bears to the Holy Founders Last Testament, Al-Wasiyyat.