Following the death of the fourth caliph, the Electoral College, for the first time in the history of the community, convened outside the Indian subcontinent and in the city of London, after which Mirza Masroor Ahmad was elected as the fifth caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. At the very commencement of his accession, he found himself forced into exile from Pakistan in response to pressure from the Pakistani government and has continued to lead the community from London. Since being elected, he has travelled extensively across the world to meet the members of the community and address their annual gatherings. In many of the countries he has visited it has been the first visit by an Ahmadiyya caliph. Under his leadership the community's satellite TV network MTA International, launched by his predecessor, has expanded into several further affiliated channels to provide transmission in different languages. Further campuses of the Jamia al-Ahmadiyya, the Ahmadiyya Islamic seminary and educational institute, have been established including one in Ghana and one in the United Kingdom, the latter of which has been the first in Europe. He has focused particularly on directing the community in systematically countering negative media coverage of Islam and engaging in grassroots efforts to propagate what the community believes is the true message of Islam.
In 2004, he launched – and regularly addresses – the annual National Peace Symposium (held twice in 2015) in which guests from all walks of life come together at the Baitul Futuh mosque in London to exchange ideas on the establishment of world peace. These symposia have attracted parliamentarians, religious leaders and other dignitaries. In 2009, He initiated the Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize; an international peace award for individuals or organisations that have demonstrated an extraordinary commitment and service to the cause of peace and humanitarianism. Masroor Ahmad has frequently met heads of state in different parts of the world as well as having addressed the United States Congress, the European Parliament, the United Kingdom Houses of parliament and the Dutch Parliament on the teachings of Islam regarding the establishment of peace, presenting Quranic solutions to world problems. He has consistently called for honesty and the observance of unconditional justice and fairness in international relations. and in response to ongoing conflicts, he has sent letters to world leaders warning of an imminent World War and urging them to make practical efforts towards lasting peace.
Mirza Masroor Ahmad was born on 15 September 1950 in Rabwah, Pakistan, the global headquarters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the time. Masroor Ahmad attended and graduated from Talim-ul-Islam High School and obtained his BA from Talim-ul-Islam College, both located in Rabwah. In 1976, Masroor earned his Master of Science degree in Agricultural Economics from the University of Agriculture, Faisalabad, Pakistan.
Having served the Ahmadiyya Muslim community in various capacities, Masroor Ahmad served in Ghana for over eight years. He established the Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Salaga, a school in the northern region of Ghana, where he served as principal for two years. His success with the school in Salaga made him an obvious choice as principal of the Ahmadiyya Secondary School in Essarkyir, located in the centreal region of Ghana. There he served as principal for four years.
After his tenure as principal, Masroor Ahmad was appointed as the manager of the Ahmadiyya Agricultural Farm in Depali located in the northern region of Ghana where he served for two years. He successfully planted and nurtured wheat for the first time in Ghana. The experiment of planting, growing and nurturing wheat as an economic crop in Ghana was exhibited at an international trade fair and the results were submitted to the Ministry of Agriculture of Ghana.
Shortly after serving in Ghana, Mirza Masroor Ahmad returned to Pakistan and was made responsible for finances on 17 March 1985. He also served as the Director of Education within the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan and on 10 December 1997 he was appointed as Nazir A'ala (Principle Director) and local Emir (president) until his election as caliph.
In 1999, a resolution was presented in the Provincial Assembly of the Punjab which demanded that the name of Rabwah be changed because that name appeared in the Qur'an. The resolution passed without much debate and the name of Rabwah was officially changed to Chenab Nagar. Signage was placed in prominent parts of Rabwah which bore the new name. A few days later, a First Information Report (criminal complaint) was filed accusing certain members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of erasing a sign which bore the new name. Though the complaint didn't mention any names, a case was registered, resulting in the arrest of Masroor Ahmad and a few other senior members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. They were imprisoned for 11 days without bail, but were released without charge on 10 May 1999.
Masroor Ahmad was elected as the fifth caliph on 22 April 2003, a few days after the demise of his predecessor Mirza Tahir Ahmad. Imam Ataul Mujeeb Rashed, Secretary Majlis Intikhab e Khilafat (the Electoral college) announced the results of the election that night as follows:
It is announced for the information of all members of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community that following the Maghrib and Isha prayers, the Majlis Intikhab Khilafat (the Electoral College) established by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, Musleh Maud (the Promised Reformer) convened at the Fazl Mosque London today, Tuesday 22nd April 2003, under the chairmanship of Respected Chaudhry Hameed Ullah Sahib. Pursuant to the rules and regulations, each member took an oath of allegiance to Khilafat-i-Ahmadiyya. After this, they elected the most respected Sahibzada Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad as Khalifatul Masih V. The members of the Majlis Intikhab Khilafat immediately had the honour of taking the pledge of allegiance at the blessed hand of Hazrat Amir al-Mu'minin Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah assist him with His Mighty help and Allah grant him a long life, and have also had the honour of meeting Hazrat Amir al-Mu'minin.
Alhamdulillah. May Allah the Exalted in approval make this election most blessed. Ameen. Our Merciful and Gracious God! O our Noble and Loving Lord, we are grateful to You that You have bestowed us with Your Grace and the Second Manifestation and have once again changed our state of fear to that of peace. O our Possessor of Power and Authority and Self-Subsisting and All-Sustaining God, we bear witness that once again Your Messiah and Mahdi’s prophecy as stated in the journal Al-Wasiyyat has materialised with full glory and magnificence.
Today he frequently tours around the world, visiting countries for the Community's Jalsa Salanas (annual gatherings). Masroor Ahmad also regularly leads prayers at the Al-Fazl Mosque in London, England, the current global headquarters for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community as well as Friday prayers from Baitul Futuh Mosque, in Morden, London.
On 27 May 2008, members of the Community celebrated the centenary anniversary of the establishment of Khilafat. Masroor Ahmad spoke at a large gathering of community members in the Excel Center in London, England and took a pledge from Ahmadis worldwide. This was relayed around the world via the Community's television channel, Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International with a live link up to Qadian, India, the birthplace of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and original global headquarters before the partition of India in 1947.
A Jalsa Salana celebrating the centenary anniversary of the Caliphate was planned in Qadian for December, 2008. This gathering was to mark the end of celebrations of the centenary. However, due to the Mumbai bomb-blasts and the resulting security situation, Masroor Ahmad cancelled his participation in the gathering at Qadian and returned to London. Similar gatherings were held around the world to mark the centenary of Caliphate among Ahmadi Muslims.
Masroor Ahmad gave an address on Islamic perspective on the global crises at the House of Commons of the United Kingdom on 22 October 2008. The reception was organised in honour of the completion of 100 years Ahmadiyya Khilafat. Among the guests, in attendance at the reception were Rt Hon Hazel Blears MP (Secretary of State for Communities), Gillian Merron MP (Foreign Office Minister) Alan Keen MP, Dominic Grieve QC MP, Simon Hughes MP and Lord Eric Avebury.
On 4 December 2012, Masroor Ahmad gave a keynote speech at the European Parliament in Brussels, Belgium, on "responding to the challenge of extremism."
In the same year, Masroor Ahmad delivered an address on Islam’s Teachings of Loyalty and Love for One’s Nation at the German headquearters in Koblenz.
Masroor Ahmad attended the Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in USA and Canada in late June and early July, 2012.
As part of his U.S. visit on 27 June 2012, he also delivered a keynote address at a special bi-partisan reception co-sponsored by the Tom Lantos Human Rights Commission and the United States Commission on International Religious Freedom at the Rayburn House Office Building in Capitol Hill, D.C., entitled "The Path to Peace: Just Relations Between Nations". The reception featured remarks by House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, U.S. Senator Robert Casey, U.S. Members of Congress Brad Sherman, Frank Wolf, Mike Honda, Keith Ellison, Zoe Lofgren, and U.S. Chairwoman for the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom Katrina Lantos Swett. Lofgren also presented Ahmad with a copy of a bipartisan U.S. House of Representative resolution (H. Res 709) welcoming him to Washington D.C. and honoring his contributions to peace. In total, more than 130 dignitaries, including 30 members of U.S. Congress, members of the diplomatic corps, members of uniform services, NGO leaders, professors, thought leaders and inter-faith and community leaders attended the event.
On his first trip to the West Coast of the United States on 11 May 2013, Masroor Ahmad delivered a keynote address entitled, "Islamic Solution to Achieve World Peace," at a "Global Peace Lunch" at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, CA. Over 300 dignitaries participated in the event. Special guests included: California Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom, California State Controller John Chiang, Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca, former California Governior Gray Davis, U.S. Congresswoman Karen Bass, U.S. Congresswoman Gloria Negrete McLeod, U.S. Congresswoman Judy Chu, U.S. Congresswoman Julia Brownley and U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher. Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti and Los Angeles City Councilman Dennis Zine presented Ahmad with a special golden key to the city.
On 17 October 2016, the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad was welcomed to Canada’s Houses of Parliament by Prime Minister, Rt Hon. Justin Trudeau Justin Trudeau, Cabinet Ministers and over 50 MPs and Senators.The event was also attended by a number of Government Ministers including Hon. Kirsty Duncan Kirsty Duncan, Minister of Science and the official representative of the Prime Minister and Hon. John McCallum John McCallum, Minister for Integration, Refugees and Citizenship.Also in attendance were Senators, Members of the Diplomatic Corps, including 11 Ambassadors of State, media representatives, academics, NGO leaders, religious leaders and prominent figures from various other sectors of society. During his keynote address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad addressed various issues of global importance, including the risk of a global war, religious freedom, increasing radicalisation and extremism and international relations. The Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was also officially recognised by the Speaker of Parliament during a session of Question Period, in which all present members of the House of Commons, including the Prime Minister, stood and gave Mirza Masroor Ahmad a standing ovation.
On 6 October 2015, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, delivered an historic address at a special session of the Standing Committee for Foreign Affairs at the Netherlands National Parliament in the country’s capital city of Den Haag (The Hague) in front of an audience of more than 100 dignitaries and guests.
Discussion about a possible third world war is a repeated subject in his Friday Sermons of late 2011 and 2012. In order to whip up a world coalition of global and religious leaders to discuss and combat this ever-present threat, Ahmad wrote letters to many political and religious leaders and exhorted them to do their utmost to save humanity from destruction.
On 5 March 2012, Masroor Ahmad wrote letters to Israeli Prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to avoid war between their countries and warning both the leaders that if this tension escalates, it may turn toward World War III and involve nuclear weapons.
On 14 May 2012, he sent a similar letter to the Grand Ayatollah of Iran, Sayyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, urging him to avoid World War III in his capacity as clerical leader of Iran as well.
He said in his epistle to Pope Benedict XVI on 6 December 2011 that:
Many small wars are going on in the world today and there is a need to stop them otherwise these could lead to a world war which could bring untold destruction. It is with regret that if we now observe the current circumstances of the world closely, we find that the foundation for another world war has already been laid. As a consequence of so many countries having nuclear weapons, grudges and enmities are increasing and the world sits on the precipice of destruction.
He later sent messages to President Barack Obama of the USA, Prime Minister Stephen Harper of Canada, and David Cameron Prime Minister of the United Kingdom warning them of the destruction and ramifications of nuclear warfare, on 25 March 2012.
On 13 July 2012, David Cameron, Prime Minister of the UK, replied to Caliph V, stating:
I would like to reassure you that the Government will continue to work towards creating a safe and stable world where Britain and others are able to relinquish their nuclear weapons.
On 15 April 2012, he sent a similar warning of World War III to Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany.
On 16 May 2012, he sent a similar warning of World War III to the President of France, François Hollande.
On 9 April 2012, he sent a letter to the Premier of China, Wen Jiabao warning him of the imminence of World War III and also sending an envoy to him (Muhammad Sharif Odeh, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Palestine).
On 28 March 2012, he sent a letter to King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Saud of Saudi Arabia, urging him to try to strive for peace in the gloom of the impending World War III.
In 2005, a Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten published some caricatures of Muhammad that infuriated Muslims around the world. Ahmad condemned the publishers of the cartoons saying that this was an abuse of free speech. But at the same time, he condemned the violent reaction showed by some Muslims around the world saying that this goes against the fabric of peaceful teachings of Islam. He guided his community to disseminate the character of Muhammad in Denmark as well as the rest of the world through writings and dialogue. He also advised Ahmadis to send durood on prophet Muhammad in this time of adversity. His sermons on this issue were later published as a book, The Blessed Model of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Caricatures.
On 12 September 2006, while Pope Benedict XVI was lecturing at the University of Regensburg, he quoted the opinion of Byzantine Emperor Manuel II Palaiologos, "Show me just what Muhammad brought that was new and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached". The quotation drew criticism from a number of individual governmental representatives and Muslim religious leaders including Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V.
As the leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Masroor Ahmad disapproved of the Pope's view on Islam, stating that the Pope had been irresponsible and lacked knowledge of Islam. He explicated the 'inherent peaceful teachings of Islam' and the Qur'an and sought to remove misconceptions regarding Jihad and the Islamic prophet Muhammad, in light of references made by European writers in his Friday Sermon on 15 September 2006.
The plan to burn the Qur'an by the Dove World Outreach Center on the 9th anniversary of 9/11 attacks was highly condemned by Masroor Ahmad at the Baitul Futuh mosque in London, England. He stated that "religious extremism, be it Christian extremism, Muslim extremism or any other kind, is never a true reflection of the religion". The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also held a "Faith Day" with representatives of other faiths as a response to the Qur'an burning.
In 2010, plans were being made to build a 13-story Muslim community center located two blocks from the World Trade Center site in Lower Manhattan, New York City. Although the Park51 building would not be visible from the World Trade Center site, opponents of the project have said that establishing a mosque so close to Ground Zero would be offensive since the hijackers in the 11 September 2001 attacks were Islamic terrorists.
Masroor Ahmad commented on the plan to build a mosque near Ground Zero where he stated:
If a mosque is built at the proposed site, then the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community would like to see churches, synagogues, Hindu places of worship and places of worship of all other religions also built near Ground Zero. That would be a good example of how from an act of evil and terror has emerged unity and peace.
Geert Wilders is a Dutch politician. Wilders is best known for his criticism of Islam, summing up his views by saying, "I don't hate Muslims, I hate Islam". Masroor Ahmad has, in his sermons, repeatedly refuted the allegations raised by Wilders against Islam. Addressing Wilders directly, he said:
Listen carefully – You, your party and every other person like you will ultimately be destroyed. But the religion of Islam and the message of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) will remain forever. No worldly power, no matter how powerful and no matter how much hatred they bear towards Islam, will ever succeed in erasing our religion.
In reply to the statement, Wilders asked Piet Hein Donner, Interior Minister of the Netherlands whether the government considered this a threat and whether they would take any action against Ahmad. Donner replied that he saw no threat as Ahmad threatened the destruction of Wilders through peaceful prayer only and not violence, and that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide are known to be peaceful.
On 8 April 2012, Mirza Masroor Ahmad condemned the fatwa (edict) of Abdul Aziz al-Shaikh, Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia calling for the destruction of all churches in Saudi Arabia and surrounding Arab states.
I was shocked and very saddened to learn that Saudi Arabia’s Grand Mufti has called for all Churches in the region to be destroyed. What he has said is completely against the teachings of Islam and must be condemned absolutely. We find that the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) spent his entire life preaching peace, tolerance and justice. Thus there can be no other conclusion than to say that what the Grand Mufti has said is completely wrong and displays a complete lack of understanding of Islam on his part.
He further quoted the Qur'an to justify his condemnation of the edict:
Those who have been driven out from their homes unjustly only because they said, ‘Our Lord is God’ — And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down monasteries and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of God is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty
In his Friday Sermons of 21 and 28 September 2012, the Caliph strongly condemned the anti-Islamic film Innocence of Muslims. He said that Muslim emotions against the film were justified to an extent; however he also condemned the reaction to the film by some Muslims with riots resulting in at least 75 deaths worldwide. The Friday Sermons were attended by many media outlets including the BBC and a news station from New Zealand. He said Muslims should react by invoking durood (praise) upon Muhammad. He also indicated that the creators and benefactors of the film would all suffer a great torment by God.
On 7 January 2015, gunmen forced their way into the offices of the French newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris. They killed 12 during the attack. The attack was linked to cartoons mocking the Islamic prophet Muhammad that Charlie Hebdo had published in recent years. The Caliph categorically condemned the terrorist attacks. He said that the attacks had nothing to do with the true teachings of Islam and that the perpetrators and anyone found to be involved should be punished in accordance with the law. He further added that such cartoons grieved and pained peace-loving Muslims throughout the world and were to be condemned, but any form of violent or illegal response could never be justified and was completely against the teachings of Islam. The caliph also stated that taking to the streets in protest was not an appropriate response but rather Muslims should respond by increasing in prayer and offering salutations to Muhammad.
On 28 May 2010, two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, Pakistan, came under attack from the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan Punjab wing. The attacks were carried out nearly simultaneously at Darul Al Zikr Mosque in Garhi Shahu and Bait Al Noor Mosque in Model Town, both 15 km apart. Ninety-four people were killed in the incident (including one attacker) with 108 injured. Another attacker was captured by the worshippers.
The Caliph issued two press releases urging members of the Community to exercise patience and prayers and that in response, 'no inappropriate action would be shown by any Ahmadi'. He subsequently delivered a Sermon giving details of the two attacks followed by a series of sermons in which he paid tribute to each of the victims, detailing their services to the Community.True Love for the Holy Prophet
The Blessed Model of the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Caricatures
World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace
Conditions of Bai'at and Responsibilities of an Ahmadi
A Response to the Pope's Remarks about Islam
Islam - A Peaceful Religion
Exemplary Compassion of Prophet Muhammad
Speeches and Articles in the Review of Religions
Masroor Ahmad is the son of Mirza Mansoor Ahmad and the grandson of Mirza Shareef Ahmad, the son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. His mother is Sahibzadi Nasira Begum (deceased), the eldest daughter of Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Masroor Ahmad has two brothers: Mirza Idrees Ahmad (deceased) and Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad and two sisters: Amatul Qudoos and Amatul Raoof.
He married Sahibzadi Amatul Sabooh Begum, the daughter of Syed Daud Muzaffar Shah and Amtul Hakeem Begum (daughter of Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad) on 21 January 1977. He has a daughter, Amtul Waris Fateh, and a son, Mirza Waqas Ahmad.