Rehan Alavi of SBS Radio Australia Interviews His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba1 Comment | February 2014
Translated from the Urdu by Amer Safir
I: Dear audience. We are fortunate to have His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Sahib, with us, who is the spiritual and administrative Head of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at (Community) and the Fifth Khalifah. First of all I would like to say “Assalamo Alaikum” (peace be upon you) to him and welcome him to SBS radio’s Urdu programme.
H: Wa Alaikum Salaam Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu (and may the peace and blessings of Allah be upon you). Jazakallah (may Allah reward you) and thank you.
I: Your Holiness, I would like to begin by speaking about the history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community so that our listeners can acquire some understanding of its background. For the benefit of our listeners, could you please inform us when and how the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Community was laid and how this Movement began?
H: To learn about the history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community you would have to go back 1400 years. The Holy Prophetsa made a prophecy that there would be a time when Muslims would practically forget their teachings. The Qur’an would be present among them but they would not act upon it and it would be an era of darkness. So in short, in the 14th century (of the Islamic calendar) a person would come who would be among his followers and the Muslim Ummah. He would spread his teachings and the true teachings of the Holy Qur’an. He would be the Messiah and Mahdi.
We believe and have faith that the person destined has come with all the signs prophesied by the Holy Prophetsa. In 1889 he announced this and laid the foundation of the Jama’at and took the first Bai’at (initiation into the Community). Among the many signs prophesied by the Holy Prophetsa, one includes a heavenly sign. The Holy Prophetsa had prophesied that in the month Ramadan on specific dates, a lunar and solar eclipse would occur. Within the specific dates, by the Grace of the Almighty Allah, the eclipses occurred in 1894 in the Eastern Hemisphere, and in 1895 in the Western Hemisphere. This was a Divine sign. And this claim had been made before it even came to pass.
So we believe the Messiah and Mahdi who was prophesied to come by the Holy Prophetsa, is Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian. His signs are continuously being fulfilled. There are also numerous other signs, which have been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. We witness all of these signs fulfilled in this era. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian said that he was that awaited Messiah and Mahdi about whom Allah the Almighty had given the glad tidings of through the Holy Prophetsa and all the corresponding signs are being fulfilled. He said that he was establishing a Community whose purpose is to make mankind recognise its Creator, because man has forgotten God. Secondly, he said that as people are not fulfilling each other’s rights he had come to make all peoples recognise and understand the due rights of every other person. And so a major purpose of his advent was to draw attention towards the establishment of the rights due to Allah and the rights due to His Creation. In order to fulfil these objectives he established the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at.
I: I think you have given an excellent brief overview for our listeners as to how the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was established. Now I would like to ask the following. In 1889 Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad laid the foundation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and announced himself as the Promised Messiah. Can you please explain what the system was after his demise? He claimed to be the Messiah and after him the system of Khilafat commenced. So what is the process for choosing a Khalifah?
H: Nothing in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is separate from the Holy Prophetsa or his teachings. There is a well-known Hadith [sayings] of the Holy Prophetsa that there would first be a period in which Khilafat [spiritual successorship after the Prophet Muhammad] would be established. Thereafter a form of monarchy would follow. Then there would emerge an even more tyrannical monarchy. A period of darkness would then ensue for one thousand years. Then when the Promised Messiah would come, he would be the Khatamul Khulafah. At that point would commence Khilafat Ala Minhaajin- Nubuwwat; that is, Khilafat on the precepts of Prophethood. We believe that just as the Khilafat-e-Rashideen [the four rightly guided successors] was established after the Holy Prophetsa, this continued through the Promised Messiahas. After his demise in 1908, the institution of Khilafat began. The people at the time elected Hazrat Maulana Nur-Ud-Din Sahibra as the Khalifah who was a very well-established scholar and physician of the time. After he passed away in 1914, the Second Khalifah was elected. There was a rift that occurred in the Community at the time but the majority took the Bai’at (initiation) of Hazrat Mirza Bashir-Ud-Din Mahmud Ahmadra. Many of those who had defected later returned to the fold.
In any case the Jama’at continued to progress. Upon the demise of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, there were 400,000 or more members of his Community. This continued to progress and advance where today the Community is now established in 204 countries of the world and there are tens of millions of members.
Gradually formal guidelines were formed for the election of the Khalifah. There is an Electoral College who elects the Khalifah. The Electoral College includes in addition to the central directors and office bearers, a number of missionaries from across the world. There are also many ‘Umara (National Presidents) of the Ahmadiyya Community in countries across the world who are part of this as well as other elders of the Community. They meet together at a suitable location where they can easily convene, and elect the Khalifah.
When in 1982, Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmadra, the Third Khalifah passed away, our Fourth Khalifah was elected in Rabwah, Punjab (Pakistan). However after the laws of 1984 which were made more severe by Zia Ul Haq, we were not allowed to say “Assalamo Alaikum” (the standard Muslim greeting meaning “peace be upon you”). We were not permitted to offer the Muslim Prayer. We were forbidden to practice anything deemed to be Islamic. So as the Khalifah and Leader, the Fourth Khalifah had to migrate from Pakistan to London so that he could lead the Community properly. He lived there from 1984 until his demise in 2003. Since the circumstances in Pakistan did not change, the Fifth Khalifah was elected in London in the Fazl Mosque, which is the oldest mosque in London. There I was elected as the Khalifah through the Khilafat Electoral College.
I: What date did this occur?
H: 22 April 2003.
I: MashaAllah, you are both the administrative and spiritual Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. Could you now please clarify for our listeners the either right or wrong concept among the Muslims that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may Allah be pleased with him, claimed to be a new Prophet. According to my knowledge this is a misconception. He did not bring a new Law but in fact came as a follower of the Law of the Holy Prophetsa. Could you please shed light upon this?
H: These prophecies were made by the Holy Prophetsa. As I said he (the Promised Messiahas) was the Khatamul Khulafah. It is the common belief and was at the time (of the Promised Messiahas) amongst Muslims, that Jesusas is currently alive in the heavens and will descend to the earth. There is a narration which is a common narration known by Muslims that the Mahdi would come. Mainstream Muslims believe that the Messiah and the Mahdi will be two separate individuals. The Messiah would descend from the heavens and the Mahdi would rise from among the Muslim people, they would unite to reform mankind, spread Islam and would wield the sword. Misconceptions are rife that they would use the force of the sword, would literally break crosses, kill swine and so on and so forth.
The question is that the mainstream Muslims say that Jesusas will descend from the heavens, but Allah sent Jesusas as a Prophet of the Children of Israel. If Jesusas returns then it will be with the same title. It is not conceivable that Allah could confer someone with a high status, yet later He should deprive him of it. The Holy Prophetsa said that the Messiah and Mahdi would appear from amongst his Ummah.
There is a famous Hadith in which the Holy Prophetsa was sitting amongst his Companions. When the verse of the Holy Qur’an (Surah Al Jumu‘ah: Ch.62:V.4) was revealed, the Companions asked which people were being referred to. The Holy Prophetsa remained silent, and then he stayed silent a second time; and finally a third time he placed his hands on the shoulder of Hazrat Salman the Persianra, who was sitting to his side, and said the he would be amongst these people.
Two points are established from this. Firstly that he would be a non-Arab and secondly, that he would be from the Muslim Ummah. And the Holy Prophetsa said that his coming would be as if the Holy Prophetsa himself had come. This meant he would follow the Prophet’ssa way. He would come with the authority that the Prophet had given him since he would be the Holy Prophet’ssa follower.
We believe that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian came in accordance with this prophecy, made by the Holy Prophetsa and also the Holy Qur’an in Surah Al Jumu’ah, as I said. He brought no new law with him; in fact as I mentioned previously, he came to explain clearly the true teachings and Law of the Holy Qur’an in an excellent manner. He came to re-establish the true and correct Sunnah (practice) of the Holy Prophetsa. Therefore, we say that a Nabi (Prophet) can come, but only if he is a non-law bearing Prophet. No new law can now be established, because the Holy Prophetsa is the Khatamun Nabiyyin (Seal of all the Prophets). No new law can be established because the Holy Qur’an is the last Law-bearing Book.
Therefore we believe the Holy Prophetsa to be the last Prophet. However a Prophet may come who is a follower and devotee of the Holy Prophetsa and who does not bring with him a new law. This is exactly what Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas said that whatever he has obtained is purely as a result of being a true follower and an ardent devotee of the Holy Prophetsa. He said that one night he recited Darud (sending salutations and blessings upon the Holy Prophetsa) to such a degree and so profusely that subsequently he saw a vision; that there was a commotion among the angels in the heavens who were conversing amongst each other and proclaimed that it is this person (Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas) who holds true love of the Holy Prophetsa. Thus he said that he attained his status solely by virtue of the love and devotion he had for Holy Prophetsa rather than due to any personal merit or quality.
I: So according to Ahmadiyya belief, did Mirza Ghulam Ahmad enjoy constant revelation and communication with God Almighty?
H: We believe all of God’s Attributes remain the same today as they were since the beginning of the Creation of man. None of God’s Attributes can be terminated. Nobody can say that God previously gave revelation and spoke to man and yet today He has ceased communication. He communicated in the past, and He continues to speak to his pious and righteous ones today. Some people experience true dreams, which is also a means of God apprising them about something. It is not Satan who informs such people of how events will unfold. Or if you pray for somebody to be cured and through the prayers that person is cured; all of this means that God listens to man.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian has said that God Almighty not only listens, but also speaks. Even now He communicates with whomsoever He pleases. We cannot limit any Attribute of God nor terminate it.
I: Thank you very much Your Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad Sahib. Finally, you have come here on a tour of Australia. Here in Sydney a very large convention of the Ahmadiyya Jama’at was held, MashaAllah. What message would you like to give to those living in Australia?
H: I would like to say that the prevailing circumstances in the world are a cause of great concern. The major reason for this is that man has forgotten his Creator. So thus they should give heed to their Creator, recognise Him and end all forms of Shirk (associating partners with God). They should repent and seek forgiveness of the rejection and denial of God that is rife in the world today. The second main purpose of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, as I said earlier, is so that man establishes a bond of love, affection, compassion and sincerity with his fellow human beings so that the world can become a haven of peace, love and brotherhood.
I: You mentioned in the beginning that the Ahmadiyya Jama’at consists of hundreds of thousands of members around the world…
H: Tens of millions…
I: Yes tens of millions MashaAllah.1 However in Pakistan what do you see the future of Ahmadiyya is in the current plight of minorities including Ahmadis and others.
H: The point in fact is despite all the persecution, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community remains established in Pakistan. And in fact there is a very large Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan who bear all the cruelties and oppression. We do not take the law into our own hands. When we are persecuted, we do raise our issues and concerns with the law-makers. If they help us, then Alhamdulillah (All praise belongs to Allah) and if they do not, we remain silent and submit ourselves in earnest prayers before God Almighty. Those who have no future at all and are being targeted try to move abroad and this is why Ahmadis came to Australia and other countries and were granted refuge. They now live freely. Many well-educated non-Ahmadi Muslims say that it is their misfortune that a denomination of highly intelligent people with fertile minds – because Ahmadis, with the Grace of Allah, have a very high literacy rate and are well-educated including scientists, doctors and engineers –should have been utilised to help Pakistan progress and advance, is being drained out of Pakistan. So it is Pakistan that is losing out.
We Ahmadis played a role in the creation of Pakistan and it was a very prominent and important part. This is why we had excellent relations with Qaid-e-Azam (the founder of Pakistan, Muhammad Ali Jinnah) and he made an Ahmadi, Sir Chaudhry Zafrulla Khan, the first foreign minister. How sad it is that today Sir Zafrullah’s name has wiped out of school text books in Pakistan to show that he was not the first foreign minister. Dr Abdus Salaam, who was the first Pakistani and Muslim Nobel Prize Winner in Science, also had his name removed. So what bigger misfortunate can there be than this. However, despite this, Ahmadis continue to live in Pakistan and they will do so, because we had a hand in the creation of the country. Our blood is part of the fabric of Pakistan and its formation. And InshaAllah we will remain there until the end. We will continue to pray to Allah the Almighty that He may grant wisdom to the government and the public, that they may desist from their cruelty and persecution so that they can receive the blessings of Allah the Almighty. In any case we will continue to live in Pakistan for all times to come InshaAllah.
I: Thank you very much and Jazakallah (may Allah reward you) your excellency, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, for having taken time out from your very busy schedule for our listeners. Thank you very much for addressing our audience.
H: JazakaAllah (may Allah reward you) and thank you.
1. Literally means ‘God Willed it’. It is often used a an expression of appreciation, praise and gratitude for something mentioned.