Notes: The Khilafat

The Light (Pakistan), 16th January 1923 Issue (Vol. 2, No. 2, pp. 1–2)

In this issue we insert an article from the pen of Maulvi Muhammad Ali, M.A., on the question of Khilafat, which is, unfortunately, often misunderstood not by non-Muslims only, but by many Muslims, as well.

It has been proved in this article that the Khilafat institution is a national institution, and the Turkish Khilafat “is held by the Turkish nation” and not by an individual of the royal family. The Sultan is a Khalifa simply in the sense that he, being the head of the State, is the emblem of the national Khilafat.

We hope that both Muslims and non-Muslims will realise this true significance of the Khilafat, and the well-known objection of the Christian missionaries, which has also been put forth in the following lines of the Church Missionary Review, will no longer be repeated:

“By the arbitrament of war and through the dissensions of his opponents, the Turk at this stage stands forth independent and demands complete equality in the comity of nations. But this is done not by the Commander of the Faithful at Constan­tinople, whose temporal dignity and authority the Mussulmans [Muslims] of India have made the soul of the Khilafat agitation; it is the work of a Turkish parliament sitting at Angora in Asia Minor. This body has decreed the deposition of the Caliph from his sultanate, leaving him merely a spiritual author­ity of a very shadowy kind. They have added the threat to try the Caliph as a traitor, and he is a fugitive from his country.

Is the Turkish Caliphate itself, or only the combination of temporal and spiritual powers in the office, coming to an end? We can but chronicle events as they develop.”