“We believe in the five fundamentals upon which Islam is based, and we abide by the word of God, i.e. the Holy Quran, which it is incumbent upon us to follow. … We believe that there is none to be worshipped but Allah, and our leader Muhammad Mustafa, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, is His Messenger and the Last Prophet (Khatam-ul-anbiya). … We believe that whatever Allah has said in the Holy Quran, and whatever the Holy Prophet Muhammad has said, is true, as stated above. And we hold that any person who removes even one jot from the Shari‘ah of Islam, or adds even an iota to it … is without faith and excluded from Islam.
I enjoin upon my followers that they should have whole‑hearted faith in the Kalima Tayyiba: La ilaha ill‑Allahu, Muhammad‑ur rasul‑ullah (There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah), and should die in that faith. They must believe in all the prophets and all revealed books, whose truth is proved from the Holy Quran. And they must adhere to Islam, properly and correctly, by considering obligatory upon themselves: Salat (prayer), Saum (fasting), Zakat (charity) and Hajj (pilgrimage to Makka), and all duties laid down by Allah and His Messenger; and by considering as unlawful all that is prohibited. To conclude, it is obligatory to believe in all those matters, relating to faith and practice, on which the past righteous religious elders of Islam were agreed, and which, by consensus of opinion of the Ahl as‑Sunna, are held to constitute Islam. And we call heaven and earth to bear witness that this is our religion.” — Book Ayyam-us‑Sulh, pages 86–87.
Thus Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believe in all the doctrines and practices of Islam as laid down in the Holy Quran and the Books of Hadith, and as recognised throughout history by the religious leaders of the Ahl as‑Sunna.
“Allah has promised to those of you who believe, and do good, that He will surely make them khalifas in the earth as He made those before them to be khalifas …” (24:55)
By “those before them” are meant the Israelites. The Holy Prophet Muhammad said in explanation:
“The Israelites used to be led by prophets; whenever a prophet died, another came after him. After me there is no prophet, but there will be khalifas and there will be many.” — Bukhari, 60:50.
The khalifas of the Holy Prophet include not only his successors who possessed worldly rule, such as Hazrat Abu Bakr and Umar, but also his spiritual successors who came to revive the true teachings of Islam in every age. The spiritual khalifas are also mentioned in another hadith of the Holy Prophet in the following words:
“Surely Allah will raise up for the Muslims, at the head of every century, one who will revive their religion.” — Abu Dawud.
Such a person is known as a mujaddid (reviver or reformer). In accordance with all these prophecies, several renowned figures in the history of Islam have been recognised by the Muslims generally as being mujaddids of their centuries and spiritual khalifas of the Holy Prophet. Among them were: Umar ibn Abdul Aziz (1st century Hijra), Imam Ghazali (5th century), and Shah Wali-ullah of India (12th century). In fact, Shaikh Ahmad of Sirhind (India), the mujaddid of the 11th century Hijra, is commonly known as Mujaddid Alif Sani (the mujaddid appearing at the start of the second millennium).
In accordance with this tradition, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be the Mujaddid of the 14th century Hijra (1883–1979) and a spiritual khalifa of the Holy Prophet Muhammad. By believing him to be Mujaddid, we are not adding any new belief to Islam, but only following Islamic practice as recognised by the Ahl as-Sunna.
Having raised Hazrat Mirza to the position of Mujaddid, with the mission of defending Islam, Allah informed him of the answer. It was disclosed to him that the Holy Quran actually teaches that, like every other prophet, Jesus too had died (though not on the cross), and had not ascended to heaven alive. Hazrat Mirza then discovered verse after verse in the Quran proving exactly this. And when he put forward all these quotations, no one could refute his arguments.
This, however, left the question of the prophecies about the coming of Jesus. Allah gave Hazrat Mirza the knowledge that by the coming Messiah in the prophecies was meant, not Jesus, but a Muslim Mujaddid whose circumstances, mission and work would be similar to those of Jesus. In fact, the verse and hadith quoted earlier tell us that khalifas, while not being prophets, will be raised among Muslims just like prophets were raised among the Israelites. This clearly indicates that the prophecies speaking of the coming of the Messiah among the Muslims must refer to the raising up of such a khalifa.
Hazrat Mirza then showed the many similarities between the circumstances in which he had come, and those in which Jesus had come among the Israelites. And he laid claim to be the Promised Messiah — the Messiah promised by the Holy Prophet Muhammad.
In believing Hazrat Mirza to be the Promised Messiah, Ahmadis are not adding any new belief to Islam. They are only accepting the Quran’s verdict that Jesus is dead, and not alive in heaven, and then interpreting the Hadith prophecy about his future coming, on the basis of that clear ruling. Moreover, by showing that the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s prophecies about the coming of the Messiah, and other related events, have been fulfilled in this age, this Movement has proved the truth of Islam and the words of its Holy Prophet.
If the Ahmadiyya interpretation is rejected, then every Muslim should consider the alternatives. Either he must accept the belief, damaging to Islam and contrary to the Quran, that Jesus is still alive in heaven and will return to this world after the Last of the Prophets, the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Or, if it is admitted that Jesus is dead and cannot return, then all the Holy Prophet’s prophecies connected with this matter, which are contained in the most authentic books of Hadith, will have to be rejected as fabricated.
Hazrat Mirza believed that no prophet, whether Jesus or a new prophet, can come after the Holy Prophet Muhammad: