Contemplating a Caliphate

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I read with interest the article "Caliph Wanted" [January 14].

No doubt it is all a political rhetoric to grab power by misleading Muslim masses in the name of religion. The first caliphate was started after the demise of a Prophet (Muhammad) in 632. It again has started after the demise of a Prophet (Ahmad) in 1908 in India. This non-political movement is known as "Ahmadiyya Jamaat" and is established in 180 countries. The present fifth caliph (Mirza Masroor Ahmad) is living in exile in London. His Friday sermons are telecast all over the world in about seven languages and repeated all week. Hence, there is no need to establish a new caliphate. They should just accept him and obey him for the spiritual guidance without any political ambition.

Rashid Ahmad Bhatti


As a Shia Muslim, reading "Caliph Wanted" was frustrating for me. I am tired of never hearing the Shia side of the story when Islam is covered in the media. The "Five Pillars" do not apply to us, nor do the "Six Articles of Faith." The question of reviving the caliphate is irrelevant to us. We Shia Muslims have a leader—Imam Mahdi. We believe that he is alive, but in occultation. We follow scholars such as Ayatullah Sistani in the faith that they represent Imam Mahdi. Therefore, we do not have any need to revive a caliphate. I am also tired of the inaccuracies that are disseminated about Shia Islam in the media. Our line of Imams descends from Prophet Muhammad as pure coincidence. We believe that they were divinely appointed and the best men for the job of leading the Muslims. These are our criteria, not genetics or bloodlines.

Shirley Wilson