Khilafat in the Ahmadiyya Movement:
Detailed article with references
Anjuman made successor by the Promised Messiah
It was in his booklet entitled Al-Wasiyya (The Will), published
about two and a half years before his death, that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam
Ahmad announced the creation of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, and
formulated its main objectives, rules and regulations. He wrote:
"If Allah wills, this system will continue to function
after the death of us all. For this purpose, an Anjuman is required
which shall spend, as it determines fit, the funds which shall accumulate
from this income, coming in from time to time, on proclaiming the
teachings of Islam and propagating the message of the Oneness of
Al-Wasiyya, published December 1905, p. 17.
In an Appendix to Al-Wasiyya, the Promised Messiah published
some rules and regulations of the Anjuman, from which we quote below
as they show the position he gave to this body:
"9. The Anjuman, which is to hold these funds, shall
not be entitled to spend the monies for any purpose except the objects
of the Ahmadiyya Movement, and among these objects the propagation
of Islam shall have the highest priority."
Therefore the Anjuman was to be in control of all the finances and
funds of the Ahmadiyya movement. It was to receive all the income
of the movement and to determine how to spend it.
"13. As the Anjuman is the successor to the Khalifa
appointed by God, it must remain absolutely free of any kind of
Here the Promised Messiah calls the Anjuman as his successor.
It is the Promised Messiah who is "the Khalifa appointed by God"
and his successor is the Anjuman created by him.
Rules and regulations of Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya
In February 1906, more comprehensive rules
and regulations of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, as approved by the
Promised Messiah, were published in the Ahmadiyya community's newspaper
Go here to read some essential points from
It is evident from these rules and regulations of the Anjuman,
and the powers given to it, that the Promised Messiah established
it as the supreme governing authority of the Ahmadiyya movement
after him. There is no trace whatsoever in these rules of any system
of personal khilafat or of any office of a khalifa having supreme
authority over the movement. Therefore the Qadiani concept and system
of khilafat is totally alien and opposed to the instructions of
the Promised Messiah, and an utter negation of the system set up
Anjuman to be supreme after Promised Messiah's
About a year later, it so happened that Mir Nasir Nawab, father-in-law
of the Promised Messiah, opposed a certain decision of the Anjuman.
When this disagreement was brought to the notice of the Promised
Messiah, he wrote down the following verdict about the authority
of the Anjuman, in his own hand-writing:
"My view is that when the Anjuman reaches a decision
in any matter, doing so by majority of opinion, that must be considered
as right, and as absolute and binding. I would, however, like to
add that in certain religious matters, which are connected with
the particular objects of my advent, I should be kept informed.
I am sure that this Anjuman would never act against my wishes, but
this is written only by way of precaution, in case there is a matter
in which God Almighty has some special purpose. This proviso applies
only during my life. After that, the decision of the Anjuman in
any matter shall be final.
Go here to see this note in the Promised Messiah's
Was-salaam. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, 27 October 1907."
This clear verdict of the Promised Messiah confirmed the Anjuman's
position as the supreme authority of the Ahmadiyya movement after
his life-time, its decisions being final and binding. No individual
head or khalifa was to have the power to set aside, revoke, or go
against any decision of the Anjuman.
Maulana Nur-ud-Din's exposition
of Anjuman's position
During his period as head, Maulana Nur-ud-Din too considered the
Anjuman as being the khalifa of the Promised Messiah for governing
the Movement. During the course of his khutba on the occasion
of Id-ul-Fitr on 16th October 1909, he re-iterated
the position and the powers given to the Anjuman by the Promised
Messiah. Referring to the booklet Al-Wasiyya, he said:
Translation of extract
Scan of extract from original newspaper
"In the writing of Hazrat sahib [i.e.
the Promised Messiah] there is a point of deep knowledge
which I will explain to you fully. He left it up to God
as to who was going to be the khalifa. On the other hand,
he said to fourteen men: You are collectively the Khalifat-ul-Masih,
your decisions are final and binding, and the government
authorities too consider them as absolute. Then all those
fourteen men became united in taking the bai'at (pledge)
at the hand of one man, accepting him as their khalifa,
and thus you were united. And then not only fourteen, but
the whole community agreed upon my khilafat.
"..... I have read Al-Wasiyya
very thoroughly. It is indeed true that he has made fourteen
men the Khalifat-ul-Masih, and written that their
decision arrived at by majority opinion is final and binding.
Now observe that these God-fearing men, whom Hazrat sahib
chose for his khilafat, have by their righteous opinion,
by their unanimous opinion, appointed one man as their Khalifa
and Amir. And then not only themselves, but they made thousands
upon thousands of people to embark in the same boat in which
they had themselves embarked."
(Newspaper Badr, Qadian, 21 October 1909, p. 11, col. 1.)
The following points emerge very plainly from this speech:
- The Promised Messiah made no mention of any individual to hold
the office of khalifa in the Ahmadiyya movement in a personal
- He appointed the Anjuman, a body of fourteen men, as a collective
khalifa, whose decisions he declared as absolute, final and binding.
- In the eyes of the law of the land too, the decisions of the
Anjuman were final and binding in the affairs of the Ahmadiyya
movement; in other words, the Anjuman was a legally registered
association with the power of governing the movement.
- It was the Anjuman which, by its unanimous agreement, had decided
to accept one man, Maulana Nur-ud-Din, as the head or khalifa.
The Maulana did not become khalifa because there existed any office
or position of a personal khalifa in the Ahmadiyya movement who
would have supreme, absolute power over the movement.
M. Mahmud Ahmad usurps Anjuman's authority
The establishment of the Anjuman on these principles by the Promised
Messiah prevented anyone from becoming an autocratic head or creating
an inherited spiritual seat (gaddi) in the Ahmadiyya Movement,
as had been the fate of previous Muslim spiritual orders. Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad, having exactly these ambitions of wielding absolute
power, resented the formation and the powers of the Anjuman, and
from the very time of the creation of the Anjuman he did all that
he could to have it rendered powerless.
In March 1914, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was successful in his long-standing
plans to gain the headship of the movement upon the death of Hazrat
Maulana Nur-ud-Din. Immediately thereafter, having first ensured
that no opposition could be voiced against him in Qadian, he had
the following resolution of the Anjuman passed by his supporters:
"By Resolution 198 of the Majlis-i Mu'timidin (Council
of Trustees) held in April 1914 it was resolved that in Rule no.
18 of the rules of the Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya Qadian, in place of
the words 'Promised Messiah' the words 'Hazrat Khalifat-ul-Masih
Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad the second Khalifa' shall be entered.
Therefore, Rule no. 18 shall now be as follows: In every matter,
for the Majlis-i Mu'timidin and its subordinate branches if any,
and for the Sadr Anjuman and all its branches, the order of Hazrat
Khalifat-ul-Masih Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad the second Khalifa
shall be absolute and final."
(Review of Religions, Urdu edition, the issues for April 1914
and May 1914, inside of the front cover.)
By this resolution, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad removed from the Anjuman
its position of supreme authority given to it by the Promised Messiah,
and raised himself to the Divinely-appointed status of the Promised
Messiah by writing his own name in Rule no. 18, giving his orders
supremacy over the Anjuman's decisions. He thus destroyed the system
created by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and replaced it by personal,
autocratic rule by a khalifa, the concept of which is in complete
violation of the principles of Islam as well as the teachings of
the Promised Messiah.
It will be seen that when Maulana Nur-ud-Din became head, he did
not substitute his name for that of the Promised Messiah in this
Rule. On the contrary, he followed the regulations laid down by
the Promised Messiah regarding the powers of the Anjuman.
Therefore, the sense in which M. Mahmud
Ahmad made himself khalifa was entirely different from, and quite
opposed to, the sense in which Maulana Nur-ud-Din was khalifa.
This is one of the main reasons why those, like Maulana Muhammad
Ali, who accepted Maulana Nur-ud-Din as khalifa could not accept
M. Mahmud Ahmad as khalifa.
M. Mahmud Ahmad makes Anjuman entirely subservient
By means of the change in the rules referred to above, Mirza Mahmud
Ahmad arrogated himself to the position of an absolute leader whose
orders had to be obeyed unquestioningly by everyone in the movement.
Despite this amendment and despite the fact that the Anjuman now
consisted entirely of his own supporters, he still felt insecure
that the Anjuman might seek to regain its authority some time in
In a speech in October 1925, therefore, he laid down a new system
of administration, reducing the Council of Trustees to an entirely
subservient body. In this speech, published under the title Jama'at
Ahmadiyya ka jadid nizam 'amal ("A new system of working
for the Ahmadiyya Movement"), at the very outset he attacked
the principles upon which the Anjuman was founded, and declared:
"As I have said again and again, the name Sadr Anjuman
Ahmadiyya and its method of working were devised by others and not
by the Promised Messiah. But since the approval of the Promised
Messiah had been given in respect of it, I have decided that all
those names which were established during the time of the Promised
Messiah should be retained."
(Al-Fazl, 31 October 1925, p. 3, col. 1.)
He then announced his decision that the names Sadr Anjuman
Ahmadiyya and Majlis-i Mu'timidin (Council of Trustees)
would be transferred to certain other bodies, so that their names
would be retained but the institutions themselves would cease to
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad's statement given above is self-contradictory
and indeed plainly absurd. Firstly, he admits that the Promised
Messiah had given his approval of the name and the rules of the
Anjuman, but he says that these were "devised by others"
and then attacks the rules. This amounts to alleging that the Promised
Messiah approved these rules merely at the behest of "others",
without himself knowing or caring that these would be harmful to
the Movement, and now Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was going to rectify the
Promised Messiah's error!
Secondly, since in his view the names as well as the rules were
"devised by others" and merely approved by the Promised
Messiah, it is entirely illogical for him to retain the names because
of their association with the Promised Messiah's time but destroy
the rules. The rules were also from the Promised Messiah's time.
Therefore, the names and the rules should both be eliminated or
both be retained!
M. Mahmud Ahmad's admissions in his speech
There are several very interesting and revealing admissions made
by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad in this speech. He said:
"The founding principle of the Council of Trustees
(Majlis-i Mu'timidin) did not include the existence of the khalifa
of the time, which is the very fundamental issue in Islam. A resolution
has been passed during the second khilafat to the effect that the
Council must accept whatever the khalifa says. But this is not a
matter of principle. What it means is that a body of members says
that it would do so. However, the body which is entitled to say
this, can also say that it shall not do so. For, the Anjuman which
can pass the resolution that it shall obey the khalifa in everything,
if ten years later it says that it shall not obey him, it is entitled
to do so according to the rules of the Anjuman. Or if the Anjuman
says that it will obey this khalifa in everything but will not obey
another one, it has the right to do so according to its rules."
(Al-Fazl, 3 November 1925, p. 3, col. 1.)
Here Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made the following two admissions:
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad then goes on to say:
- There is no mention of the concept or the institution of a personal
khilafat in the basic principles of the Anjuman, upon which it
was created by the Promised Messiah.
- It is within the Anjuman's powers to revoke at any time its
resolution, which he got it to pass in 1914, to follow the khalifa's
orders. This shows that the Anjuman was not originally created
to be subservient to any individual leader, but was the supreme
and sovereign executive of the Movement. He is, in fact, expressing
his fear that the Anjuman may at some time in future decide to
re-assert its original authority and cease to be subservient to
an individual khalifa.
"For the sake of the khilafat we had to make an
unparalleled sacrifice. And that was that we sacrificed for its
sake the old followers of the Promised Messiah, those who were called
his friends, those who had a very close relationship with him. If
this religious difference had not arisen between them and ourselves,
they would be dearer to us than our own children because they included
those who knew the Promised Messiah and those who were his companions.
..... But because a difference arose regarding a teaching which
was from God, and which had to be accepted for the sake of our faith
and the Jama'at, we sacrificed those who were dearer to us than
our children. So, over this question, we have made such a magnificent
sacrifice that no other sacrifice can equal it. This is far greater
than sacrificing one's life because in that case a man sacrifices
only himself. But here we had to sacrifice a part of our Movement.
"If even after so much sacrifice the movement still
remains insecure, that is, it is at the mercy of a few men who can,
if they so wish, allow the system of khilafat to continue in existence,
and if they do not so wish, it cannot remain in existence, this
cannot be tolerated under any circumstances. Because the institution
of khilafat was not included in the basic principles of the Jama'at,
the movement lives in the constant danger which can turn the loyalists
into non-loyalists, and by the stroke of the pen of ten or eleven
men Qadian can at once become Lahore.
"Therefore, the works of the Jama'at relating to
propagation and training cannot be entrusted to such an Anjuman,
even though that Anjuman may consist of loyalists, and even though
they may be men of the highest sincerity."
(Al-Fazl, 3 November 1925, p. 3, cols. 1- 2.)
(Translator's Note: The word translated as "loyalists"
is mubaeen, referring to "those who have taken the bai'at"
of the Qadiani khalifa.)
Here Mirza Mahmud Ahmad has made the following interesting admissions:
- He and his supporters forced the "old followers, friends
and companions of the Promised Messiah" out of the Ahmadiyya
Movement, which he describes as "an unparalleled sacrifice"
made by the Qadianis, in order to establish an autocratic khilafat.
This clearly disproves the allegation made commonly by the present-day
Qadianis that the separation in the Movement in 1914 came about
because Maulana Muhammad Ali was trying to become the head, and
having failed in that attempt he left and formed his own separate
group. Mirza Mahmud Ahmad says here, on the contrary, that "we
had to sacrifice a part of our Movement" for the sake of
the system of khilafat. In other words, Maulana Muhammad Ali and
his associates were opposing the system of khilafat which Mirza
Mahmud Ahmad was striving to introduce, and this opposition was
thus purged, or "sacrificed", out of the Movement.
- Mirza Mahmud Ahmad's words that "by the stroke of the pen
of ten or eleven men Qadian can at once become Lahore" are
highly note-worthy. He is admitting that what makes Lahore different
from Qadian is that the Lahore Ahmadis hold the Anjuman to be
supreme, and if this supremacy was again accepted in Qadian then
Qadian would become Lahore. Since that is the difference, as admitted
here, then it is false to allege that the Lahore Ahmadis separated
from Qadian because Maulana Muhammad Ali failed to become the
khalifa there. If that had been the reason for the split, then
the only way Qadian could become Lahore would be by accepting
the Maulana as their leader!
M. Mahmud Ahmad makes Anjuman totally powerless
Mirza Mahmud Ahmad then went on to announce in this speech that
in his new system the term Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya would refer to
"the khalifa and his advisors", the advisors would advise
and the khalifa would decide, and this would be known as the decision
of the Sadr Anjuman. The Majlis-i Mu'timidin (Council of
Trustees) would merely carry out the decision without question.
It can be seen that these institutions, which had been created
by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, were demolished by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad
in order to create a system of absolute, autocratic, personal rule,
and establish a family succession.