Ahmadiyya (Urdu: احمدِیہ) is an Islamic religious movement founded towards the end of the 19th century and originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). Ghulam Ahmad was an important religious figure who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as predicted in the traditions of various world religions and bring about the final triumph of Islam as per Islamic prophecy. He claimed that he was the Mujaddid (divine reformer) of the 14th Islamic century, the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by Muslims. Ahmadi emphasis lay in the belief that Islam is the final law for humanity as revealed to Muhammad and the necessity of restoring to it its true essence and pristine form, which had been lost through the centuries. Thus, Ahmadis view themselves as leading the revival and peaceful propagation of Islam. The Ahmadis were among the earliest Muslim communities to arrive in Britain and other Western countries.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded the movement on 23 March 1889 and termed it the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at (community), envisioning it to be a revitalisation of Islam. Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and claim to practice Islam in its pristine form; however, Ahmadiyya views on certain beliefs in Islam have been controversial to mainstream Muslims since the movement’s birth. Many mainstream Muslims do not consider Ahmadis to be Muslims, citing in particular the Ahmadiyya viewpoint on the death and return of Jesus (see Jesus in Islam), the Ahmadiyya concept of Jihad as peaceful and the community’s view of the finality of prophethood with particular reference to the interpretation of Qur'an 33:40. In several Islamic countries today Ahmadis have been marginalised by the majority religious community; severe persecution and often systematic oppression have led many Ahmadis to emigrate and settle elsewhere.
At the end of the 19th century, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian proclaimed himself to be the “Reformer of the age” (Mujaddid), Promised Messiah and the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims and obtained a considerable number of followers especially within the United Provinces, the Punjab and Sind. He and his followers claim that his advent was foretold by Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and also by many other religious scriptures of the world. In 1889, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad laid down the foundation of his community, which was later given the name of “Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at”. Ahmadiyya emerged in India as a movement within Islam, also in response to the Christian and Arya Samaj missionary activity that was widespread in the 19th century.
Soon after the death of the first successor of Ghulam Ahmad, the movement split into two groups over the nature of Ghulam Ahmad’s prophethood and his succession. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believed that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had indeed been a “non-law-bearing” prophet and that mainstream Muslims who rejected his message were guilty of disbelief. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, however, affirmed the traditional Islamic interpretation that there could be no prophet after Muhammad and viewed itself as a reform movement within the broader Ummah. The question of succession was also an issue in the split of the Ahmadiyya movement. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believed that an Anjuman (body of selected people) should be in charge of the community. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, however, maintained that Caliphs (successors of Ghulam Ahmad) should continue to take charge of the community and should be left with the overall authority.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has established centers in 195 countries and claims to have a population exceeding tens of millions, while the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement is established in 17 countries of the world.
Overseas Ahmadiyya missionary activities started at an organised level as early as 1913 (the UK mission in Putney, London). For many modern nations of the world, the Ahmadiyya movement was their first contact with the proclaimants from the Muslim world. The Ahmadiyya movement is considered by some historians as one of the precursors to the African-American Civil Rights Movement in America. According to some experts, Ahmadiyya were “arguably the most influential community in African-American Islam” until the 1950s.
The Ahmadiyya faith claims to represent the latter-day revival of the religion of Islam. Today, the Ahmadiyya community has a presence in 195 countries , and in every country but Pakistan, they are legally identified as Muslims. In Pakistan they are prohibited by law from self-identifying as Muslims.
The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in 1889, but the name Ahmadiyya was not adopted until about a decade later. In a manifesto dated November 4, 1900, Ghulam Ahmad explained that the name did not refer to himself but to Ahmad, the alternative name of the prophet Muhammad. According to him, ‘Muhammad’, which means ‘the most praised one’, refers to the glorious destiny, majesty and power of the prophet who adopted the name from about the time of the Hegira; but ‘Ahmad’, an Arabic elative form which means ‘highly praised’ and also ‘comforter’, stands for the beauty of his sermons, for the qualities of tenderness, gentleness, humility, love and mercy displayed by Muhammad, and for the peace that he was destined to establish in the world through his teachings. According to Ghulam Ahmad, these names thus refer to two aspects or phases of Islam and in later times it was the latter aspect that commanded greater attention.
Accordingly, in Ghulam Ahmad's view, this was the reason that the Old Testament prophesied a Messenger ‘like unto Moses’ referred to as Mohammad, while according to the Qur'an, Jesus foretold of a messenger named Ahmad.[Qur'an 61:6]
In keeping with this, he believed, his object was to defend and propagate Islam globally through peaceful means, to revive the forgotten Islamic values of peace, forgiveness and sympathy for all mankind and to establish peace in the world through the spiritual teachings of Islam. He believed that his message had special relevance for the Western world, which, he believed, had descended into materialism.
Ahmadiyya shares beliefs with Islam in general, including belief in the prophethood of Muhammad, reverence for historical prophets, belief in the oneness of God (tawhid). They accept the Qur'an as their holy text, face the Kaaba during prayer, accept the authority of Hadiths (reported sayings of and stories about Muhammad) and practice the Sunnah.
Central to the Ahmadiyya is the belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Ahmadis emphasize the implementation of the Kalima (the fundamental creed of Islam) as essentially linked with the Islamic principles of the rights of God (Arabic: Haqooq-Allah) and the rights of His creation (mankind) (Arabic: Haqooqul-Ibād).
Ahmadis believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was divinely commissioned as a true reflection of Muhammad's prophethood to establish the unity of God, remind mankind of their duties towards God and God's creation, to emphasize both aspects of religion which Ahmadis believe is the need of the present age. As such Ahmadis hold that Ghulam Ahmad was the representative and spiritual readvent of all previous prophets. From the Ahmadiyya perspective, the Christians have erred with regards to the rights of God in that they have attributed divine status to a mortal human, and it is on this account that in Islamic eschatology the promised reformer has been named the Mahdi (the "Guided One"—a title meaning one who is naturally guided and is an heir to all truths and in whom the attribute of "guide" of the Almighty is fully represented). Ahmadis also hold that the Muslims have erred with regard to the rights of creation for they, unjustly raising the sword and calling it Jihad, have misunderstood the concept and purpose of jihad in Islam; it is on this account that he has been called the Isa Messih ("Jesus the Messiah")—a term which relates to his function in re-establishing the rights of people by reforming their distorted, violent notion of "Jihad" just as Jesus Christ came principally to reform the hearts and attitudes of the Jewish nation.
|Article of faith||Mainstream Islam||Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement||Ahmadiyya Muslim Community|
|Return of Jesus||Only few with different belief (mainly in 20th Century) , but most believe that at the “end of days” Jesus himself will descend from heaven in the flesh.||References to the second coming of Jesus among the Muslims are allegorical in that one was to be born and rise as a prophet within the dispensation of Muhammad who by virtue of his similarity, and affinity with Jesus and the similarity between the Jews of Jesus’ time and the Muslims of the time of the promised one (The Mahdi) is called by the same name. The prophecy of the second coming was fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.||References to the second coming of Jesus among the Muslims are allegorical in that one was to be born and rise as a prophet within the dispensation of Muhammad who by virtue of his similarity, and affinity with Jesus and the similarity between the Jews of Jesus' time and the Muslims of the time of the promised one (The Mahdi) is called by the same name. The physical coming of Jesus (an old Israelite prophet) would disqualify Muhammad as the final prophet. The prophecy of the second coming was fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.|
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
|Mainstream Muslims consider him an apostate and believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was one of the 30 false claimants to prophethood about whom the prophet Muhammad had warned Muslims 1400 years ago.||Ahmad was a Mujaddid (Islamic Reformer) of the 14th Islamic century (19th Century Gregorian), the promised Mahdi and the second coming of Jesus. He is referred to as a prophet in the metaphorical sense only (as other recognized Islamic saints and sufis are similarly referred to), not a prophet in the technical meaning of the word.||Ahmad was a prophet ("Rasul" as mentioned in 2:286 [We make no distinction between any of His Messengers]) but subordinate and deputy to the Prophet Muhammad. The Messiah, Imam Mehdi and Mujaddid of the 14th Islamic century, and the second coming of Jesus.|
|Who is a Muslim?||Professing the Kalima is required to become a Muslim with a belief that in the finality of Prophets came at Prophet Muhammad. The amended Pakistani constitution (Article 260, clause 3) defines a "Muslim" as a person who believes in the oneness of God, in the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad, and does not believe in any person who claims to be a prophet after the prophet Muhammad.
Most Muslim sects that believe in the concepts of Masih ad-Dajjal (Antichrist), Mahdi, and return of Jesus also believe that it will be required for believers to accept the promised Mahdi as their leader. One exception to this is the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement which considers that it is not required for a believer to accept the promised Mahdi
|Anyone professing the Kalima is a Muslim and cannot be declared a non-Muslim by anyone else.||Anyone professing the Kalima is a Muslim and cannot be declared a disbeliever of Islam by anyone else. However, a distinction is made if someone explicitly claims to be against Ahmadiyyat. Yet this distinction does not put anybody outside the fold of Islam. However, a person who knowingly rejects Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claim is a kafir (non-believer) in the sense of forming a rebellion against God's revelation.|
|Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad||The meaning of “Seal of the prophets” is that Muhammad is the last of the prophets.||The meaning of “Seal of the prophets” is that Muhammad is the last of the prophets. No prophet, either new or old can come after him. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Mujaddid (reformer) of the 14th century Hijra and not a true prophet.||Muhammad brought prophethood to perfection, he sealed prophethood and religious law, thus being the last law-bearing prophet. New prophets can come but they must be subordinate to Muhammad and cannot exceed him in excellence, alter his teaching, nor bring any new law or religion.|
|Jesus, Son of Mary||Born of a miraculous birth from the virgin, Mary. Did not die on the cross but was transported to heaven, where he lives to return in the flesh to this world shortly before Doomsday. Since Jesus (considered a prophet) came before Muhammad, his return to Earth would not disqualify Muhammad as the “last” prophet. Jesus will come to earth not as a prophet but as a follower of Muhammad and preach the teachings of Muhammad.||Similar to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community belief except that the question of Jesus's virgin birth is not an essential requirement of faith and is left to the individual's personal conviction.||Believes in virgin birth of Jesus but not that he is son of God. He survived the crucifixion and did not die an accursed death. Everything with Jesus was natural like other human beings regarding his birth and his death and that is the Lord's rule. Instead he travelled east to India in search of the Lost Tribes of Israel. Jesus lived a full life and died on earth, specifically Jesus's tomb lies in Kashmir under the name Yuz Asaf.|
|Armed jihad||Jihad literally means "to strive or exert to the fullest". On an ongoing basis this refers to striving against the devil, one's low desires (self) and the peaceful propagation of Islam with special emphasis on spreading the true message of Islam by the pen. However, in all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, and the equivalent in Shi'ite law, jihad has a legal meaning which supersedes any purely linguistic meaning. Defensive jihad is when Islam is attacked. This obligates all Muslims to join in defense of their lands and people.||Jihad primarily means "to strive or exert to the fullest". On an ongoing basis this refers to striving against the devil, one's low desires (self) and the peaceful propagation of Islam with special emphasis on spreading the true message of Islam by the pen. In special circumstances jihad could be an armed struggle, but only as a defensive war against extreme persecution.||The word jihad is interchanged with the meaning of "Ijtihad" and primarily means to strive or exert to the fullest. This refers to striving against the evil of one's low desires and the peaceful propagation of Islam, with special emphasis on spreading the true message of Islam by the pen. As per prophecy, the Messiah rendered the concept of violent jihad unnecessary in modern times. They believe that the answer of hate should be given by love. Their khalifas said that "if anyone attacks us we must not attack him and should treat them with love and kindness"; this is called “Jihaad-e-Akbar” (The Greater Jihad).|
Ahmadis have been subject to various forms of persecution since the movement's inception in 1889. The Ahmadiyya faith emerged from the Sunni tradition of Islam and its adherents believe in all the five pillars and articles of faith required of Muslims. The Ahmadis are active translators of the Qur'an and proselytizers for the faith; converts to Islam in many parts of the world first discover Islam through the Ahmadis. However, in many Islamic countries the Ahmadis have been defined as heretics and non-Muslim and subjected to persecution and often systematic oppression.
India has a significant Ahmadiyya population. Most of them live in Rajasthan, Orissa, Haryana, Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and a few in Punjab in the area of Qadian. In India, Ahmadis are considered to be Muslims. This belief is supported by a court verdict (Shihabuddin Koya vs. Ahammed Koya, A.I.R. 1971 Ker 206). There is no legislation that declares Ahmadis non-Muslims or limits their activities, but they are not allowed to sit on the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a body of religious leaders India's government recognises as representative of Indian Muslims.
Pakistan has 4 million Ahmadis and is the only state to have officially declared the Ahmadis to be non-Muslims; here their freedom of religion has been curtailed by a series of ordinances, acts and constitutional amendments. In 1974 Pakistan's parliament adopted a law declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims; the country's constitution was amended to define a Muslim “as a person who believes in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad”. In 1984 General Zia-ul-Haq, the then military ruler of Pakistan, issued Ordinance XX. The ordinance, which was supposed to prevent "anti-Islamic activities", forbids Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim or to "pose as Muslims". This means that they are not allowed to profess the Islamic creed publicly or call their places of worship mosques. Ahmadis in Pakistan are also barred by law from worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, performing the Muslim call to prayer, using the traditional Islamic greeting in public, publicly quoting from the Quran, preaching in public, seeking converts, or producing, publishing, and disseminating their religious materials. These acts are punishable by imprisonment of up to three years. In applying for a passport or a national ID card, all Pakistanis are required to sign an oath declaring Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be an impostor prophet and all Ahmadis to be non-Muslims. Because of being an Ahmadi, the word "Muslim" was erased from the gravestone of the Nobel prize winning theoretical physicist Abdus Salam.
As a result of the cultural implications of the laws and constitutional amendments regarding Ahmadis in Pakistan, persecution and hate-related incidents are constantly reported from different parts of the country. Ahmadis have been the target of many attacks led by various religious groups. All religious seminaries and madrasahs in Pakistan, belonging to different sects of Islam, have prescribed essential reading materials specifically targeted at refuting Ahmadiyya beliefs.
In a recent survey in Pakistan, pupils in private schools of Pakistan expressed their opinions on religious tolerance in the country. The figures assembled in the study reflect that even in the educated classes of Pakistan, Ahmadis are considered to be the least deserving minority in terms of equal opportunities and civil rights. In the same study, the teachers in these elite schools showed an even lower amount of tolerance towards Ahmadis than their pupils.
28 May 2010 saw the worst single incident of violence against Ahmadis to date (see: May 2010 Lahore attacks), when several members of an extremist religious group (allegedly Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab) entered two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, opened fire, and three of them later detonated themselves. In total, the attacks claimed the lives of 95 people and injured well over 100. The members were gathered in the mosques attending Friday services.
In Bangladesh, fundamentalist Islamic groups have demanded that Ahmadiyyas be “officially” declared to be kafirs (infidels). Ahmadiyyas have become a persecuted group, targeted via protests and acts of violence. According to Amnesty International, followers have been subject to “house arrest”, and several have been killed. In late 2003, several large violent marches, led by Moulana Moahmud Hossain Mumtazi, were directed to occupy an Ahmadiyya mosque. In 2004, all Ahmadiyya publications were banned.
In 2008, many Muslims in Indonesia protested against the Ahmadiyya movement. With violence and large demonstrations, these religious conservatives put pressure on the government to monitor, and harass the Ahmadiyya community in Indonesia. Public opinion in Indonesia is split in three ways on how Ahmadiyya should be treated: (a) some hold it should be banned outright on the basis that it is a heretical and deviant sect that is not listed as an officially recognised religion in Indonesia; (b) others hold that it should not be banned because of the freedom of religion article in the Constitution, but also should not be allowed to proselytise under the banner of "Islam" on the basis that this is misleading; (c) still others hold that it should be free to do and say as it pleases based on the Constitutional right to freedom of religion. In June 2008, a law was passed to curtail “proselytizing” by Ahmadiyya members. An Ahmadiyya mosque was burned. Human rights groups objected to the restrictions on religious freedom.
Orthodox Muslims consider both Ahmadi movements to be heretics and non-Muslims for a number of reasons, chief among them being the question of finality of prophethood, since they believe members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community do not regard the Islamic prophet Muhammad as the last prophet. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement does not subscribe to this belief; its members, in fact, deny the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ahmadis claim that this is a result of misinterpreting Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's statements referring to his coming “in the spirit of Muhammed”, (similar to John the Baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah). Ahmadi Muslims believe Ghulam Ahmad to be the Mahdi and promised Messiah.
Mainstream Muslims do not accept this claim, and do not believe Ghulam Ahmad to have fulfilled the prophecies about the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. According to mainstream Muslims, Ghulam Ahmad's failure to establish a perfect worldwide Muslim government invalidates his claim to be the promised Mahdi and Messiah and hence he is seen as a false prophet. The Muslim World League held its annual conference at Mecca, Saudi Arabia from 14th to 18th of Rabiul Awwal 1394 H (April 1974) in which 140 delegations of Muslim countries and organizations from all over the world participated. At the conference, the League issued a declaration that the Ahmadiyya movement is outside the fold of Islam.
Both Ahmadi movements are considered non-Muslims by the Pakistan government, and have this fact recorded on their travel documents. By contrast, Ahmadi citizens from Western countries and other moderate Muslim nations perform Hajj and Umra, as the Saudi government is not made aware that they are Ahmadis when they apply for a visa. A court decision has upheld the right of Ahmadiyyas to identify themselves as Muslims in India.
As the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement’s view regarding Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s status as a Prophet is closer to traditional Islamic thought, the literature published by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement has found greater acceptance among the Muslim intelligentsia.
Some mainstream Muslims group both Ahmadi movements together and refer to them as “Qadianis”, and their beliefs as “Qadianism” (after the small town of Qadian in the Gurdaspur District of Punjab in India, where the movement's founder was born). However most, if not all, Ahmadis of both sects dislike this term as it has acquired derogatory connotations over the years and furthermore they prefer to differentiate their two separate movements. Most mainstream Muslims will not use the term “Muslim” when referring to Ahmadis, even though both sects refer to themselves as such, citing the fatwas given by the Islamic scholars. However, as members of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement deny the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, some orthodox Islamic Scholars consider the Lahore Ahmadiyya to be Muslims. In earlier times in Pakistan and India, there was widespread persecution of Ahmadis by certain Muslim groups. Sporadic violence as well as persecution of a more subtle nature against Ahmadis continues even today.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was actively engaged in debates, prayer duels and written arguments with the Christian missionaries. The Ahmadiyya view of Jesus' survival from the crucifixion, his subsequent travels to the east in search of the 'Lost Sheep of Israel' and his natural death, as propounded by Ghulam Ahmad, have been a source of ongoing friction with the Christian church. Western historians have acknowledged this fact as one of the features of Ghulam Ahmad's legacy. Francis Robinson states:
At their most extreme religious strategies for dealing with the Christian presence might involve attacking Christian revelation at its heart, as did the Punjabi Muslim, Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908), who founded the Ahmadiyya missionary sect.
The Ahmadiyya teachings also interpret the prophecies regarding the appearance of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and Gog and Magog in Islamic eschatology as foretelling the emergence of two branches or aspects of the same turmoil and trial that was to be faced by Islam in the latter days and that both emerged from Christianity or Christian nations. Its Dajjal aspect relates to deception and perversion of religious belief while its aspect to do with disturbance in the realm of politics and the shattering of world peace has been called Gog and Magog. Thus Ahmadis consider the widespread Christian missionary activity that was 'aggressively' active in the 18th and 19th centuries as being part of the prophesied Dajjal (Antichrist) and Gog and Magog emerging in modern times. The emergence of the Soviet Union and the USA as superpowers and the conflict between the two nations (i.e., the rivalry between communism and capitalism) are seen as having occurred in accordance with certain prophecies. This has also proven controversial with most Christians. Freeland Abbott observed in his book Islam and Pakistan:
The primary significance of the Ahmadiyya Movement lay in its missionary emphasis. Every Muslim believed that Islam was the only religion free from error. The Ahmadis made it part of their principles to show the errors of other religions to their adherents and to proselytize energetically for Islam. In a sense, the Ahmadis represent the Muslims emerging, religiously speaking, from the withdrawal that had begun with the arrival of the British, just as the Muslim League represents the political emergence from that same withdrawal … Although the sect most attacked by Muslims in India and Pakistan, it has also been the one which has worked hardest, in both its branches, to defend and extend Islam against the competition offered by other faiths.—Freeland Abbot, Islam and Pakistan
In 1914, 25 years after its founding, the Ahmadiyya movement split into two separate movements with different leaders. One movement remained in Qadian, and became known as the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam (Jamaat-i Ahmadiyya); the other was established in Lahore, and is known as the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam).
Only two leaders are recognized by both branches:
Leaders recognized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, referred to as Khulafa or Caliphs (Successors):
Leaders recognized by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam, referred to as Emirs:
On 28 May 2010 in Pakistan, it was the first incident in nation's history in which Ahmadis were targeted with open violence and firearms ever since they were declared non Muslims in 1974 constitution. Motive of this target killing was to suppress religious practice of Ahmadis. Attackers took hostages in 2 Ahmadi mosques on gun point on Friday, which is considered to be the holy day and big Prayer (Namaz-e-Juma) is offered and mosques are on their peak rush. Law enforcement agencies, police and military was engaged in counter attack and 84 people were killed either during the cross fire or straight shooting by terrorists on Ahmadis. Terrorists were said to be armed with AK-47 rifles, grenades and explosive vests. During the course of cross fire, terrorists exploded themselves causing a carnage and major disaster. There was a very strong condemnation by Govt. of Pakistan and federal agencies.
It has been reported that 2 terrorists are in custody of Pakistan Police who could be great source to find their links with Jamat Islami, a terrorist organizations working behind curtain with other groups in front.