Khilafat UK

COMMENT – Elected leader for the Muslims?

2 The Review of Religions – July 2007 Sarah Waseem – London, UK EDITORIAL In a recent poll conducted in the UK of Muslims, most said that there should be a single leader for their religion in Britain to act as their voice and help them to integrate. Muslims suggested a British Mufti who would represent them alongside other religious leaders such as the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Catholic Archbishop of Westminster and the Chief Rabbi, to ease tensions between Muslims and other groups. However the poll also indicated that while 57% of Sunnis and 53% of other Muslim groups are in favour of such a leader, the proportion falls to just 30% among Britain’s Shi’ite Muslims. There are about 1.8m Muslims in Britain and more than 80% are believed to be Sunni, which is also the dominant denomination world-wide. The results of the poll are unsurprising. For a long while Muslims in the UK have remained divided along religious and political lines. Today at an international level, Muslims present a sad sight to the world as they fight, brother against brother. Because of this lack of unity, they are easy prey for their opponents. Of course, Muslims need unity. As Hadhrat Khalifat Masih IV(ru) said in a Question and Answer session (Ahmadiyya Gazette, Canada. Khilafat Number, May 2001): When you go to the mosque for Namaz [prayer] five times a day, there must be an Imam. Standing behind an Imam is a demonstration of unity among people. …..if the Imam falters, the entire congre- gation must follow his mistake even if they know that a mistake has been committed. … If Imam is mandatory in a small mosque, then how can the whole of Muslims Ummah survive without an Imam. Therefore, it is incumbent that Muslims should unite on the hand of One Imam. There should be one Imam of the Muslims of the whole world. But without Khilafat, it is just impossible. Khilafat is the successor after the prophet in the form of a person who is representing the deceased prophet and Khalifa is the vicegerent and his subordinate. He is the central authority. This is the basic principle of Khilafat. However there is a problem as Hadhrat Khalifat Masih IV(ru) pointed out. ‘The issue is that once Khilafat is terminated, then it is not within the power of the people to introduce it again themselves…. Khilafat starts after the passing away of the prophet and if unfortunately once it is destroyed, it is impossible that it restarts without a prophet.’ And herein lies the tragedy of the majority of the Muslim community. ‘According to a large number of Muslims the chain of Khilafat ended with the Khilafat of Hadhrat Ali. After him, there was no Khilafat-e- Rashida (rightly guided). It was monarchy in the name of Khilafat and majority of Muslims agree that Khilafat- e-Rashida ended after Hadhrat Ali. So how can you start this Khilafat once again? Muslims believe that no prophet, of whatever cate- gory, can come now. This means that the single avenue to open the way of Khilafat has been barred. This is the big issue, which the Muslim Ummah is facing today.’ So while Muslims may yearn for a global leader to represent them, they first need to reflect on the meaning and significance of such a leadership. Non-Ahmadi Muslims also 3 EDITORIAL The Review of Religions – July 2007 believe in the coming of a prophet. But according to them this person will be Jesus Christ(as) who will descend with his old form and body. But fourteen hundred years have passed, and there is no trace of the second coming of that Jesus. And as they wait, the Muslim world falls deeper into chaos and despair. The fact is that no one will ever descend from skies; Khilafat was destroyed but it has returned in the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Now the non- Ahmadi Muslim world needs to reflect on the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and the Hadith carefully if they are to enjoy its benefits. 4 EDITORIAL The Review of Religions – July 2007 Verse references to the Holy Qur’an item count ‘Bismillah…’ (In the Name of Allah…) as the first verse of each Chapter. In some non-standard texts, this is not counted and should the reader refer to such texts, the verse quoted in The Review of Religions will be found at one verse earlier than the number quoted. In this journal, for the ease of non-Muslim readers, ‘(saw)’ or ‘saw’ after the words, ‘Holy Prophet’, or the name ‘Muhammad’, are used. They stand for ‘Sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam’ meaning ‘Peace and blessings of Allah be upon him’. Likewise, the letters ‘(as)’ or ‘as’ after the name of all other prophets is an abbreviation meaning ‘Peace be upon him’ derived from ‘Alaihis salatu wassalam’ which are words that a Muslim utters out of respect whenever he or she comes across that name. The abbreviation ‘ra’ or (ra) stands for ‘Radhiallahu Ta’ala anhu and is used for Companions of a Prophet, meaning Allah be pleased with him or her (when followed by the relevant Arabic pronoun). Finally, ‘ru’ or (ru) for Rahemahullahu Ta’ala means the Mercy of Allah the Exalted be upon him. In keeping with current universal practice, local transliterations of names of places are preferred to their anglicised versions, e.g. Makkah instead of Mecca, etc.