CHINO, CA: Southern California area Muslims of the Ahmadiyya Community gathered on Sunday, May 22 at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino to celebrate 103 years of continuous, non-political and purely spiritual leadership by Khalifas (Caliphs) in their Islamic sect. About 350 men, women and children from the Community’s three So-Cal area chapters attended the afternoon meeting, which featured recitation of the Quran, an Urdu poem, and several speeches detailing the history, significance and necessity of Khilafat (Caliphate) in Islam for the unity and success of Muslims, both spiritually and worldly. The closing address was delivered by Imam Shamshad A. Nasir.
In recognition of this non-violent and unifying spiritual leadership in Islam (an exclusive feature of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community) in May Ahmadi Muslims in more than 190 countries celebrate the 103rd year of their Islamic Community’s successive, divinely-appointed spiritual leadership known as Khilafat (Caliphate). The current and 5th Khalifa (successor), Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, was elected in April 2003 following the passing of the 4th Khalifa, Hadhrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who headed the Community from 1982-2003.
Nowadays, the word “Caliphate” is used by some to instill fear in people – the fear of a radical and oppressive Islamic political tidal wave sweeping over their country, imposing Islamic Shariah law on all, Muslim or not. The truth is that Islam cannot be forcibly imposed on anyone, not even Muslims, and its shariah is entirely self-imposed by Muslims on themselves, much as devout Christians are expected to follow the New Testament as their shariah law.
Hadhrat Ahmad claimed to be the long-awaited Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi for the Muslims. Upon his death, Hadhrat Maulvi Hakeem Nooruddin was elected the first Khalifa of the Community. Since that time, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, based originally in Qadian, northern India, has seen its influence and membership expand from 40 people at the birth of the Community in 1889, to tens of millions of members from virtually ever race and nationality across 198 countries of the world.
And, as Imam Shamshad A. Nasir from the Ahmadiyya Community’s Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino explains, “It is this divinely-promised and protected institution of spiritually-guided leadership in Islam called Khilafat that is the foundation and source of strength that keeps the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community going and growing, stronger and stronger, even despite terrible acts of murder and persecution from other Muslims because of some of our beliefs – none of which go against any actual teaching of Islam or the Holy Prophet Muhammad,” he said.
The Imam’s reference to murder and persecution hits home with his fellow Ahmadis because while they are celebrating the blessing of spiritual leadership that distinguishes Ahmadi Muslims from all other Muslims, it is this very distinction (and some differing interpretations of Quranic verses) which raises the ire of many radicalized, extremist Muslims, who then take our their anger on members of the non-violent Ahmadiyya Community through verbal, written and often physical attacks. In fact, Saturday, May 28, the one-year anniversary of deadly attacks on two of their mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, when Taliban militants armed with AK-47s, suicide vests and explosives simultaneously attacked worshippers attending Friday Prayer services, killing 86 and wounding hundreds more.
India Post News Service