|Ahmadiyya Muslim Community|
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Flag
|Transcription:||The Arabic transcription above the image of the sun is a verse from the Qur'an 3:123. “And Allah had [already] helped you at Badr when you were weak”|
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Arabic: الجماعة الأحمدية; transliterated: al-Jamā'a al-Ahmadīya) (Urdu: احمدیہ جماعت) is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (1835–1908). The original movement split into two factions soon after the death of the founder. (The other branch is the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam.)
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, declared that he was the “Promised One” of all religions, fulfilling the eschatological prophecies found in world religions. He stated that his claims to being several prophets (religious personages) converging into one person were the symbolic, rather than literal, fulfillment of the messianic and eschatological prophecies found in the literature of the major religions. The motto of the Ahmadiyya Community is “Love for All, Hatred for None”.
The first article of faith is to firmly believe in the absolute Oneness of God. Acknowledgment of the Oneness of God is the most important and the cardinal principle of the Ahmadiyya Community. The belief in the Unity of God influences man's life in all its aspects. All other Ahmadiyya beliefs spring from this belief. The denying of God’s Oneness, and the associating of any other with Him (i.e., Shirk), is the gravest sin in Ahmadiyyat's religion.
According to Ahmadiyya Islam, the second article relates to the belief in angels. They are spiritual beings created by God to obey him and implement his commandments. Unlike human beings, angels have no free will and cannot act independently. Under God's command, they bring revelations to the Prophets, bring punishment on the Prophet's enemies, glorify God with his praise, and keep records of human beings' deeds. Angels are not visible to the physical eye. Yet, according to the Ahmadiyya Community, they do sometimes appear to man in one form or another. This appearance, however, is not physical but a spiritual manifestation.
Ahmadiyyat regards angels as celestial beings who have their own entity as persons. The major role they play is the transmission of messages from God to human beings. According to the Qur’an, the entire material universe as well as the religious universe is governed by some spiritual powers, which are referred to as angels. Whatever they do is in complete submission to the Will of God and the design that he created for things. According to Ahmadiyyat, they cannot deviate from the set course or functions allocated to them, or from the overall plan of things made by God.
According to Ahmadiyyat, there are many angels in the universe but there are 4 main archangels.
Gabriel – the Angel of Revelation, Michael, Raphael – the Angel of Weather, and Azrael – the Angel of Death.
The third article relates to the belief in all Divine Scriptures given to their respective Prophets. These include the Books believed in by Orthodox Muslims as well, namely:
The Torah of Moses comprises the first five books of the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament, known as the Pentateuch, which are: Genesis, Exodus, Leveticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.
The Gospels of Jesus are the first four books of the New Testament of the Bible which are: Matthew, Luke, Mark and John.
Asides from these Books, the Ahmadiyya Community views books outside the Abrahamic traditions such as the Avesta of Zoroastrianism and the Vedas and Bhagavad Gita of Hinduism as having divine origin but having been corrupted by humans with the passage of time.
The fourth article of faith is the belief in all Divine Prophets sent by God. According to Ahmadiyya belief, the Islamic technical terms "warner" (natheer), “prophet” (nabi), “messenger” (rasul) and “envoy” (mursal) are synonymous in meaning. The belief in prophets of the Ahmadiyya Community is different from that of the Orthodox Islamic, Jewish, Zoroastrian or Christian belief of Prophets. There are two kinds of prophethood in Ahmadiyya Islam , law-bearing prophets, who bring a new law and dispensation such as Moses and Muhammad; and non-law-bearing who appear within a given dispensation such as Jeremiah, Jesus and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Adam is regarded as the first human with whom God spoke with and revealed to him His Divine Will and thus the first Prophet but is not regarded as the first human on earth by the Ahmadiyya Community, contrary to Orthodox Islamic, Jewish and Christian beliefs. Asides from the belief in all Prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible, in Jesus, John the Baptist and in Muhammad, the Ahmadiyya Community also regards Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius and Ghulam Ahmad as prophets. Ahmadis believe in Muhammad to be the final law-bearing prophet but teach the continuity of prophethood.
The fifth article of faith relates to the Day of Judgment. According the Ahmadis, after belief in one god, belief in the Day of Judgement is the most emphasized doctrine mentioned in the Qur’an. According to Ahmadiyya Islam, the entire universe will come to an end on the Day of Judgment. The dead will be resurrected and accounts will be taken of their deeds. People with good records will enter into Heaven while those with bad records will be thrown into Hell. Contrary to Orthodox Islam and most sects of Christianity, Hell is a temporary abode in Ahmadiyya Islam and not everlasting, much like in mainstream Judaism. It is like a hospital, where souls are cleansed of their sins.
The Ahmadiyya Community believes that divine decree controls the eventual outcome of all actions in this universe. Within the boundaries of divine decree, man is given free will to choose the course. It is likened to the Hindu concept of Karma, though different. Ahmadis believe that they will be judged on the basis of their intentions and deeds on the Day of Judgment. Ahmadis believe that science is the study of the acts of God and religion is the study of the word of God and the two cannot possibly contradict each other. They do not believe in Adam as the first human on earth, and they do believe in the theory of programmed evolution.
Ahmadi teachings state that the founders of all the major world religions were as it were, working for the establishment of Islam, being part of the divine scheme of the development of religion and had foretold of its completion and perfection. The completion and consummation of the development of religion came about with the coming of Muhammad; and that the perfection of the ‘manifestation’ of Muhammad’s prophethood and of the conveyance of his message was destined to occur with the coming of the Mahdi. Thus, the Ahmadiyya Community regard Ghulam Ahmad as the “Promised One” of all religions fulfilling eschatological prophecies found in the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions, as well as Zoroastrianism, the Indian religions, and others.
Ahmadis believe that many verses of the Old Testament and New Testament were prophecies regarding the ‘promised Messiah’ of the end times and that they were fulfilled through the appearance of Ghulam Ahmad such as those found in the Book of Revelation and those about the Second Coming of Christ mentioned by Jesus in the 24th chapter of Matthew. Ahmadis also cite the passage found in Chapter 12 of the Book of Daniel using the day-year principle.
And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.— Daniel, 12:11
The time of the abolishing of the daily sacrifice is interpreted by Ahmadis as meaning the supersession of the Judaic law by another i.e. that of Islam and the ‘abomination that maketh desolate’ as referring to the banning of idol worship brought about with the foundation of Islam. Thus 1,290 days are interpreted as 1,290 years of the Islamic Hijri calendar, corresponding to the year 1875 in which, as per Ahmadiyya belief, Ghulam Ahmad began to receive divine revelation with continuity. Ahmadis maintain that as per Judeo-Christian prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah and Second Coming of Christ Ghulam Ahmad appeared at the end of the 6000th year from the time of the Biblical Adam and that with his advent the final 7000th age has begun.
Ahmadis cite numerous passages from the Qur'an, works of exegesis and hadith in support of their views. Ahmadis believe that Coming of the Messiah, Isa (Jesus, Son of Mary) and the Mahdi prophecised in Islam were, in fact, two titles or roles for one and the same person. As Jesus of Nazareth, the prophet had died. Ghulam Ahmad is believed to have appeared in accordance with the prophecies of Muhammad. He is regarded as the Mujaddid of the 14th Islamic century and the spiritual readvent of Muhammad. Ahmadi thought holds that the promised reformer has been called Isa and Masih (Messiah) in Islamic eschatology by virtue of his task to refute what they perceive as the erroneous doctrines of Christianity and has been called the Mahdi by virtue of his task to reform and guide the Muslims, but consider his advent to be the continuation of the prophethood of Muhammad.
It may be noted that the Ahmadiyya Community regards Krishna as a prophet of God. Also, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad stated that the terms ‘avatar’ and ‘prophet’ were synonymous and that the Avatar is the equivalent of the Qur’anic Messenger.
Members of the Ahmadiyya Community believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the fulfilment of the prophecy of appearance of the Maitreya Buddha, who is a future Buddha who will eventually appear on earth and usher an age of peace and security.
It may be noted that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself wrote in his famous book, “Jesus in India” that the Maitreya Buddha was in fact Jesus Christ, who according to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, travelled to India, Kashmir and Tibet (predominantly Buddhist regions at the time) to preach to the local Jews who had migrated there and converted to religions other than that of Judaism (Buddhism, Hinduism etc.).
Ghulam Ahmad stated that he was the ‘Reflection of All Prophets’ and he regarded Siddharta Gautama Buddha as a Prophet. Also, quite similar to the Ahmadi belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Jewish Messiah (stated above), it seems that Jesus acts as a ‘door’ through which Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the Jewish Messiah and also the Maitreya. This is because as Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and also the Maitreya according to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad stated explicitly that he had fulfilled the Second Coming of Jesus and in turn, thus, he had also fulfilled the Second Comings of the Jewish Messiah and the Maitreya.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad stated that he had been bestowed the attributes of all Biblical and non-Biblical Prophets, in accordance with a verse of the Qur’an which states that all prophets will converge into one person in the future. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad stated that this was due to his receiving revelation from God in which God called him:
The Biblical Prophets include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has also likened his advent to that of Adam as the initiator of a new age. In various writings Ghulam Ahmad has stated that both himself and Adam were born twins on a Friday. and that as Adam was born in the final hours of the sixth day of the week, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born in the final years of the sixth millennium as per Qur’anic and Biblical prophecy, a day in the estimation of God is a thousand years. Ghulam Ahmad is also believed by the Ahmadiyya Community to be the Second Coming of Noah due to the prophecy made by Jesus in Matthew 24:37-38.
Estimates of the worldwide population of the Ahmadiyya Community vary widely. Some Ahmadiyya sources estimate the worldwide population to be as high as 200 million. According to some estimates, the country with the largest percentage of Ahmadis is the African republic of Ghana. The country with the most Ahmadis is Pakistan, where they number approximately 4 million. Ahmadiyya has 2,011,000 adherents in the African Republic of Benin, one million adherents in India, 200,000 in Indonesia, 18,000 in Britain, 30,000 in Germany and 30,000 in Canada.
According to non-Ahmadi estimates, there are 50,000 Ahmadi converts from Orthodox Islam in Mali, 24,000 in the Ivory Coast, 100,000 as Bosnian refugees, and 45,000 Albanians. Most Ahmadis are from Asia, mainly the Indo-Pak subcontinent, Bangladesh and Indonesia and a considerable number (in the tens or hundreds of millions) are from the continent of Africa. In the year 1957, there were 100,000 Ahmadis from the African Republic of Ghana. As of 1994, there were 150,000 converts to the Ahmadiyya Community from French-speaking countries.
The Ahmadiyya Community claims that it is established in over 190 countries of the world in all six continents and is the only community of Islam to have translated the Qur’an into over 118 languages. These include translations in German, Spanish, Swahili, French, Russian, Norwegian, Italian, Dutch, Gurmukhi, Persian, Pashto, Japanese, Tamil and Chinese. The most famous translations of the Qur’an done by an Ahmadi author are the Tafseer-e-Sagheer and Tafseer-e-Kabeer, which are Urdu translations of the Qur’an with commentary by the Second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Community, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad. Tafseer-e-Sagheer is the smaller commentary while Tafseer-e-Kabeer is the larger ten-volume commentary; an English rendering of the Tafseer-e-Kabeer consists of five volumes. The first author of an English translation of the Qur’an was an Ahmadi (though not a member of the Ahmadiyya Community, belonging to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement), Maulana Muhammad Ali. In the year 1980, the Ahmadiyya Community living in the city of Calgary, in Canada, distributed copies of the Qur’an to Inuit communities in the Arctic Circle near the North Pole.
Humanity First is an international non-profit, non-sectarian humanitarian organization which, though entirely independent, is in collaboration occasionally with other organizations such as the Red Cross Foundation, the United Nations and Amnesty International. It is run entirely by volunteers who do not get paid. 93% of donations go to the need at hand and administration costs are very low. Thus, when aid is given, occasionally, more than 100 times the money donated is exhumed. It gives aid to all in need regardless of sex, race, culture, nationality, religion or political allegiance. It has helped in the past with Hurricane Katrina, the Pakistan earthquake, Cyclone Sidr and other disasters. It also creates schools, IT centres, gives food aid and creates water pumps/sanitization facilities in developing countries. This organization was created by the Ahmadiyya Community’s Fourth Khalifa, and is run by the Community, though it is not affiliated with it directly as is a secular organization.
The Ahmadiyya Community was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1889. After the death of his first successor Hakeem Noor-ud-Din in 1914, there was a split upon the election of the second successor Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, which gradually led to certain doctrinal differences between those who accepted the Caliphate (namely those who accepted Mahmood Ahmad as their leader) and those who preferred the central Ahmadiyya council.
The split in 1914 resulted in the formation of the Ahmadiyya Community and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, also known as Anjuman Isha`at-e-Islam. The primary reason for the split was ideological differences on key theological issues as well as differences over the suitability of the elected Khalifa (2nd successor) Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad (the son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad). The Lahori Group claimed that a family member of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad could not be a Khalifa. Every Khalifa after the first one, however, has been related to him. The third and fourth Khalifa were his grandsons and the current Khalifa is the great-grandson of the founder.
The key ideological differences leading to the split pertained to the status of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and the status of Muslims not accepting Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claims.
The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believes Muhammad to be the last of the prophets, and that after him no prophet can appear—neither a past one like Jesus, nor a new one. They believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is referred to as a Prophet in the metaphorical sense only (as other saints have been referred to as well), and not in the real and technical meaning of the word as used in Islamic terminology. In contrast, the Ahmadiyya Community hold that Muhammad was the last law-bearing prophet and new non-law bearing prophets can come after him. They hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a Prophet (with all the qualities of a prophet like Jesus) but subordinate and deputy to Muhammad.
Another key difference that led to the split was regarding the status of Muslims who have not accepted Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claims. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believes that any person who professes the Kalima Shahadah is a Muslim, and cannot be called a kafir (non-Muslim) by anyone, regardless of whether he/she believes in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claims. In contrast, the Ahmadiyya Community believes that any Muslim who has not accepted Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claim is a kafir, even if the person has not even heard the name of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The cited article addresses some particular issues. One is the general principle related to any time when a person claims he is appointed by God. Consequently, from this point of view, in a broad sense there are believers and there are non-believers. The cited article explains this point with an example that after the advent of Hadhrat Muhammad, the people who could not believe in him are termed as non-believers but if they never heard about his advent, they shall not be punished. Secondly, the article answers back to those who try to undermine the distinction between those who believe in Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and those who do not accept him. In general, the terms "Ahmadi Muslims" and "non-Ahmadi Muslims" are found in Community’s official website.
Selective martial law was declared in Lahore on March 6, 1953, by the Pakistan Armed Forces, in response to civil unrest following anti-Ahmadiyya agitations. The civil administration failed to contain the anti-Ahmadi violence, instigated by certain religious leaders. This was the first time in the short history of the state that the military has been required to take over the administration of an entire city under Lietenant-General Azam Khan. Then-captain Rahimuddin Khan was part of the military deployment heading the army takeover of Lahore, culminating in the arrest of Maulana Maududi, who was considered the principal agitator behind the riots.
Confident of state support, the Jamaat-e-Islami contested the 1970 elections in Pakistan, only to suffer big reversals. Thereafter, Jamaat started a widespread anti-Ahmadiyya movement in Pakistan. In 1973, Maududi condemned them as heretics in his book, Qadiani Problem. (Qadiani is a term used by mainstream Muslims for Ahmadiyya.)
Their agitation against Ahmadis resulted in widespread anti-Ahmadiyya sentiment throughout Pakistan. This anti-Ahmadiyya movement led Pakistani prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to declare Ahmadis as constitutionally "non-Muslims".
In 1984, the Government of Pakistan, under General Zia-ul-Haq, passed Ordinance XX, which banned proselytizing by Ahmadis and also banned Ahmadis from identifying themselves as Muslims. According to this ordinance, any Ahmadi who refers to himself as a Muslim by either spoken or written word, or by visible representation, directly or indirectly, or makes the call to prayer as other Muslims do, is punishable by imprisonment of up to 3 years. Because of these difficulties, Mirza Tahir Ahmad moved the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's headquarters to London, UK.
The history of the Ahmadi Khilafat has spanned an entire century, is still continuing, and has seen 5 Caliphs lead the community thus far.
|Khalifatul Masih I.||1841–1914||1908–1914||Renowned physician of India, close companion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, he sent the first Ahmadiyya Muslim missionaries to the UK, and successfully dealt with internal dissensions within the community.|
|Khalifatul Masih II.||1889–1965||1914–1965||Son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was elected as Khalifa at the young age of 25, considered to be the 'promised son'. He established the entire organisational structure of the community, and is known for extensive missionary activity outside the subcontinent of India.|
|Khalifatul Masih III.||1909–1982||1965–1982||Spoke himself for the Ahmadiyya community at the National Assembly of Pakistan, laid the foundation of the first mosque in Spain after 750 years. He oversaw the compilation of the dreams, visions, and revelations and the dialogues of the founder, Ghulam Ahmad.|
|Khalifatul Masih IV.||1928–2003||1982–2003||Led the community through periods of severe persecution, provisionally changed the Ahmadiyya headquarters from Rabwah to London and launched the first Muslim satellite TV channel by the name of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya.|
|Khalifatul Masih V.||1950–present||2003–present||Presently guiding the community through a period of global skepticism towards Islam, regularly holds peace conferences.|