Ahmadiyya muslim community

Ahmadiyya Community
Ahmadiyya Community Flag
Transcription: The Arabic transcription above the image of the sun is a verse from the Badr when you were weak”

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (Arabic: الجماعة الإسلامية الأحمدية ‎, transliterated: al-Jamā'ah al-Islāmīyyah al-Ahmadīyyah; Urdu: احمدیہ مسلم جماعت‎) is the larger of two communities that arose from the Ahmadiyya movement founded in 1889 in India 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 smaller Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-ahmadiat.)

The community is led by the Khalifatul Masih (“successor of the Messiah”), currently Khalifatul Masih V, who is the spiritual leader of the community and the successor to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

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.[1] 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.[1] The motto of the Ahmadiyya Community is “Love for All, Hatred for None”.[2]

Six articles of faith

Ahmadis subscribe to the same beliefs as most Muslims, but with a difference of opinion regarding Khatam al-Nabuwwah (finality of prophethood). The Six Articles of Faith are identical to those believed in by Sunni Muslims, and are based on traditions of Muhammad himself.

  1. Unity of God (Tawhīd)
  2. Angels (Malā’ikah)
  3. Books (Kutub)
  4. Prophets (Nabūwwah)
  5. The Day of Judgment (Yawm al-Qiyāmah)
  6. Divine Decree (Qadr)

Unity of God (Tawhīd)

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 Islam as interpreted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The belief in the Unity of God influences man's life in all its aspects. All other Islamic beliefs spring from this belief. The denying of God’s Oneness, and the associating of any other with Him (a doctrine termed Shirk, from an Arabic root for "sharing"), is the gravest sin in Islam.[3][4]

Angels (Malā’ikah)

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 Muslim Community, they do sometimes appear to man in one form or another. This appearance, however, is not physical but a spiritual manifestation.[5]

Ahmadiyya 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.[6]

According to Ahmadiyya, there are many angels in the universe but there are 4 main archangels.[7]

Books (Kutub)

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:[8]

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, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy.[8]

The Gospel of Jesus means the revelations revealed to Jesus which were never recorded in his lifetime and not the New Testament. Howewever, the first four books of the New Testament of the Bible which are: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are understood to be based on truth although written hundreds of years after Jesus and interpolated overtime, therefore unreliable.[8]

Yahya is also known as John the Baptist, and is revered by the Mandaeans and Sabians (who are mentioned in the Qur'an as people who 'shall have their reward with God' - just like Jews and Christians). Their Holy Books include the Ginza Rba and the Book of 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.[9]

Prophets (Nabūwwah)

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. There are two kinds of prophethood understood by Ahmadiyya, 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 Muslim Community, contrary to mainstream Islamic, Jewish and Christian beliefs. This view is based on the Qur'an itself, according to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.[10] Aside from the belief in all prophets in the Old Testament of the Bible, in Jesus, John the Baptist and in Muhammad, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also regards Zoroaster, Krishna, Buddha, Confucius and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as prophets. Ahmadis believe Muhammad to be the final law-bearing prophet but teach the continuity of prophethood.[11]

The Day of Judgment (Yawm al-Qiyāmah)

The fifth article of faith relates to the Day of Judgment.[12] According to the Ahmadis, after belief in one God, belief in the Day of Judgement is the most emphasized doctrine mentioned in the Qur’an.[12] According to Ahmadiyya, the entire universe will come to an end on the Day of Judgment, a position also taken by all other Islamic sects and schools of thought. 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.[12] Hell is understood by Ahmadiyya as a temporary abode lasting an extremely long time and not everlasting, much like in mainstream Judaism and the views taken by Islamic scholars of antiquity such as Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn Arabi.[13] It is thought to be like a hospital, where souls are cleansed of their sins, and this view based on the Qur'an and Hadith.[14]

Divine decree (Qadr)

The Ahmadiyya Muslim 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.[15] 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 believe that Adam, the prophet, was simply the first Prophet and not the first human on earth, as understood by them being in the Qur'an. Ahmadis do believe in the theory of biological evolution, albeit guided by God.

Fulfilment of prophecy

Ahmadi teachings state that the founders of all the major world religions were working towards the establishment of Islam in its broadest sense, being part of the divine scheme of the development of religion and had foretold of its completion and perfection.[16] 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.[17] Thus, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community regard Mirza 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, Native American traditions and others.[18]

Christianity

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 Mirza Ghulam Ahmad[19] 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.[20]

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.[21] 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 6,000th year from the time of the Biblical Adam and that with his advent the final 7,000th age has begun.[22]

Islam

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. This is because in their view, Jesus of Nazareth died 2,000 years ago and is not physically descending from the sky. Mirza 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.[23]

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.[24]

Hinduism

The spiritual reappearance of Krishna and the Kalki avatar, who in the classical Hindu Vaishnavas tradition is the tenth and final avatar awaited by the Hindus.[25]

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community regards Krishna as a prophet of God,[26] which is stated, according to Ahmadis, on the hadith and Qur'an.[27] 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.[28]

Buddhism

Members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the fulfilment of the prophecy of appearance of the Maitreya Buddha, a future Buddha who is believed to usher in an age of peace and security.[29]

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.).[30]

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 Messiah (stated above), it seems that Jesus acts as a 'door' through which Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the (metaphorical) Second Coming of Jesus also the Maitreya. This is because as Jesus was the Jewish Messiah and also the Maitreya according to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed that he had fulfilled the Second Coming of Jesus and in turn, thus, he had also fulfilled the Second Comings of the Maitreya.

Reflection of All Prophets

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 Champion of Allah in the mantle of Prophets.[31]

The Biblical Prophets include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus.Matthew 24:37-38.

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad also likened himself to the Qur’anic figure Dhul-Qarnayn, who is often equated with Cyrus the Great.[34]

Demographics

According to some estimates the total population of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community worldwide is over 10 million, of whom 8,202,000 live in south asia.[35]

Estimations put 4,910,000 in Pakistan, 1 million adherents in India, 200,000 in Indonesia, 100,000 in Bangladesh.[36]

The Ahmadi population among the western nations is relatively humble. There are 30,000 in Britain,[37] 30,000 in Germany, 25,000 in Canada and about 15,000 in the United States.

There are also a considerable number of Ahmadis from sub-Saharan Africa. In the year 1957, there were 100,000 Ahmadis from the African Republic of Ghana.[38] As of 1994, there were 150,000 converts to the Ahmadiyya Community from French-speaking countries.[39] Pew Research Center reports that among the Muslims, the country with the largest proportion of Ahmadis is Ghana (16%) followed by 15% in Tanzania, 12% in Cameroon and 10% in Liberia. Among the surveyed countries smallest proportions are found in Senegal (1%), 2% each in Mali and Guinea Bissau, 3% in Nigeria and 4% each in Uganda, Chad and Kenya. Pew also reports 6% each in DR Congo and Niger.[40] This ranges from a few thousand in DR Congo where the Muslim population is as little as 1.5%, to almost 2.5 million in Nigeria, the country with the highest Muslim population. Were these results extrapolated to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa, the Ahmadi adherents would by far exceed 10 million, potentially reaching in the low tens of millions worldwide.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is established in over 200 countries[41][42] of the world in all six continents and is the only community to have translated the Qur’an into over 118 languages.[43] These include translations in German, Spanish, Swahili, French, Russian, Norwegian, Italian, Dutch, Gurmukhi, Persian, Pashto, Japanese, Tamil, Chinese and even Yiddish.[43] 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 Muslim Community, belonging to the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement), Maulana Muhammad Ali. In 1936, Maulvi Sher Ali completed the English translation, currently used worldwide by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community namely The Holy Quran - Arabic Text and English translation. In the year 1980, the Ahmadiyya Muslim 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.[44]

History

Main articles: History of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and Timeline of Ahmadiyya history

The Ahmadiyya Muslim 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. For history timeline see Timeline of Ahmadiyya history

The split in 1914

The split in 1914 resulted in the formation of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, also known as Anjuman Isha`at-e-Islam. The primary reason for the split was differences over the suitability of the elected Khalifa (2nd successor) Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad (the son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad) and also ideological differences on key theological issues. There were few dozens people in beginning and now their name left in history. No one practically left alive as follower.

The key ideological differences leading to the split pertained to the status of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad being a prophet or simply a mujadid, 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.[45] 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.[46] In contrast, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community hold that Muhammad was the last law-bearing prophet and new non-law bearing prophets can come after him.[47] They hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a Prophet (with all the qualities of a prophet like Jesus) but subordinate and deputy to Muhammad.[48]

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has established centres in 200 countries and states that its membership is in the tens of millions,[49] while the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement states it is established in 17 countries of the world.[50]

The larger body of Ahmadi Muslims belonging in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community however contend that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself received a revelation by God concerning a future split in his Community and that it would be concerning his Promised Son:

God has conveyed to me that there would be a great split in my Movement as well, and mischief makers and those who are the slaves of their own desires will depart... It will be the time of my Promised Son (Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad). God has decreed these events in connection with him... Be sure to recognize the Promised Son.

— Tadhkirah pg. 1066–1067

1953 riots and selective martial law

Selective martial law was declared in Lahore on 6 March 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. Lieutenant-General Azam Khan oversaw the suppression of anti-Ahmadiyya violence following the 1953 riots. Then-captain Rahimuddin Khan was part of the military deployment heading the army takeover of Lahore.

Persecution

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.[51] (The word "Qadiani" is a derogatory term for Ahmadis used by opponents of the Ahmadiyya Community.)[52]

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".[51][53]

Persecution in 1984

In 1984, the Government of Pakistan, under General Zia-ul-Haq, passed Ordinance XX,[54] 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 Community's headquarters to London, UK.

Successors of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad

Main article: Khalifatul Masih

The history of the Ahmadi Khilafat has spanned an entire century, is still continuing, and has seen 5 Caliphs lead the community thus far.[55]

Name Picture Lifespan Caliphate Notes
Khalifatul Masih I.

Hakeem Noor-ud-Din

70px 1841–1914 1908–1914 Renowned physician of India, close companion of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, he sent the first Ahmadiyya missionaries to the UK, and successfully dealt with internal dissensions within the community.
Khalifatul Masih II.

Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad

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.

Mirza Nasir Ahmad

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.

Mirza Tahir Ahmad

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 Ahmadiya satellite TV channel by the name of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International.
Khalifatul Masih V.

Mirza Masroor Ahmad

1950–present 2003–present Presently guiding the community through a period of widespread skepticism towards Islam, regularly holds peace conferences. Launched sister channels MTA 2 and MTA3 Al Arabiyya.

Humanity First

Main article: Humanity First

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.[56] 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, the Haiti earthquake, Pakistan flood, and other disasters. It also creates schools, IT centers, gives food aid, and creates water pumps/sanitization facilities in developing countries.[56] 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.[57]

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community buildings and structures

Notable people

Main article: Notable people of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

See also

Ahmadiyya portal
Islam portal

Further reading

  • Yohanan Friedmann, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background; Oxford University Press (2003). ISBN 965-264-014-X.
  • The Ahmadis:community, gender, and politics in a Muslim society by Antonio R. Gualtieri
  • Glorious Quran..Summary of Friday Sermon. Delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, The fifth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community
  • Holy Quran: Various aspects
  • Read the Holy Quran by Selecting a Translation in various languages
  • Nur (Spiritual Light) of the blessed Holy Prophet; Friday Sermon at 01/22/2010. And The Borrowed Nur (Spiritual Light) of The blessed Founder of Ahmadiyya Community, Who claimed to receive spiritual light from his master, the blessed Holy Prophet; Friday Sermon at 01/29/2010. Sermons delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, The fifth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community
  • A Message of Peace
  • Welcome to Ahmadiyyat, the True Islam
  • The Philosophy and Teachings of Islam
  • Introduction to the Study of the Holy Quran
  • Invitation to Ahmadiyyat
  • Jesus in India
  • The Heavenly Signs
  • Murder in the Name of Allah
  • The Essence of Islam part 5
  • Our God
  • Islam's Response To Contemporary Issues

Periodicals

The Muslim Sunrise
The Review of Religions
Monthly magazine since January 1902
Islam International Publications Ltd., ISSN 0034 6721[58]
Al-Fazl International
Weekly newspaper since 7. January 1994
Islam International Publications Ltd., ISSN 1352 9587[59]

References

External links

  • Official website of Ahmadiyya Community
  • Ahmadiyya Persecution
  • Official website of Ahmadiyya Community - Arabic
  • Reply to Allegations against Ahmadiyya
  • Reply To Mullahs - English Urdu
  • Real Islam- English Urdu
  • Ahmadiyya Persecution Blogspot
  • ahmadiyyabangla.org

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