“Prophethood would remain among you so long as Allah wills. Then Allah the Exalted would raise it up. Then Caliphate on the precepts of Prophethood would be established and remain among you for as long as Allah wills. Then Allah the Exalted would raise it up. Then despotic rule
would remain among you for as long as Allah wills. Then Allah the Exalted would raise it up. Then a tyrranous rule would remain among you for as
long as Allah wills. Then Allah the Exalted would raise it up. Then Caliphate on the precepts of Prophethood would be established again.
Then, the Holy Prophet (sa) remained silent.” (Mishkat)
This hadith is extremely beautiful. The Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) has firstly prophesied about caliphate after him and has stated that it would remain as long as Allah wills. After that Allah would raise it up and false and violent rulers would appear. After that Allah would exalt it back up and then it would be established again on the precepts of prophethood, meaning a prophet would come who would leave khilafat behind him. Now which prophet are all the Muslims waiting? The latter day messiah. So it is indeed clear that this refers to that same messiah who Muslims sadly await, although he has already come.
The interesting part is that where this hadith is recorded, it is stated:
“It is obvious that the second era of this caliphate refers to the time of the Messiah and Mahdi”
Some have said that this hadith does not refer to prophethood but anyone who has the ability to read Arabic can see that the Holy Prophet(saw) has said khilafatun ala minhajin-nabuwwah meaning caliphate on the precepts of prophethood. This clearly shows us that the caliphate would be established with the coming of the prophet and would begin after his death, just like it did after the death of our master Muhammad(saw).
This Qur’an has also given us glad tidings of a religious caliphate. Allah states:
Allah has promised to those among you who believe and do good works that He will surely make them Successors in the earth, as He made Successors from among those who were before them; and that He will surely establish for them their religion which He has chosen for them; and that He will surely give them in exchange security and peace after their fear: They will worship Me, and they will not associate anything with Me. Then whoso is ungrateful after that, they will be the rebellious.(Chapter 24 Verse 56)
Allah has promised us that those who do good works would be given successors. I now ask the non Ahmadi Muslims that if they are really doing good works than where is this caliphate? It is indeed clear that there is only one khalifa of Islam today, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(atba)