Can the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community speak for Islam?

In early April 2015 a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association wrote an article titled Real Muslims don’t terrorize.  This article was an attempt to put Islam in the most favorable light and distance it from any association to terrorism. Since the article was written to non-Muslims, of which I am one, it is only prudent and thoughtful to fact check the material included in the article. If the words written in the article are true the authoritative texts of Islam will verify the claims made in the article.  Before we proceed further let’s first gain an understanding of Ahmadiyya Islam.

 Ahmadiyya Background & Beliefs: The Ahmadis are the third largest branch of Islam after Sunni and Shi’a Islam but not recognized as Muslims by the majority of other Muslims.  In Saudi Arabia they are persecuted and forbidden from entering Mecca. They are persecuted in the Palestinian territories; their rights are curtailed in Pakistan where they are not considered Muslims. Their religious rights in Indonesia are reduced through pressure from fundamentalists. The Ahmadis have full rights in India but are opposed by India’s large Muslim minority and Ahmadis are considered infidels in Bangladesh.  Why then all the opposition from other Muslims if they believe they are Muslims?

Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad, who lived from 13 February 1835 – 26 May 1908 was the founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born in Qadian, Punjab, to an affluent Mughal family.  Mirza Ghulam Ahmad proclaimed that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. He claimed to be the fulfillment of various prophecies found in world religions regarding the second coming of their founders. He believed he was the fulfillment of Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, Hinduism, Buddhism and Native American Eschatological beliefs. Ahmadis also regard Zoroaster, Krishna, the Buddha and Confucius as prophets though Muhammad is regarded as the greatest prophet.

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed Jesus was crucified and survived the four hours on the cross. He was later revived from a swoon in the tomb. Ahmadis believe that Jesus died in Kashmir of old age looking for the Lost Tribes of Israel.  Jesus’ remains are believed to be entombed in Kashmir under the name Yuz Asaf.

During the mid 19th century, Christianity was spreading through India at a fast rate due to aggressive missionary activity. Muslim leaders called for armed jihad and almost every Muslim group supported the call of jihad, apart from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He advocated a peaceful propagation of Islam and emphatically argued against the permissibility and necessity of Jihad in its military form in the present age. According to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the promised Mahdi was a symbolic reference to a spiritual leader and not a military leader in the person of Jesus Christ as is believed by many Muslims. With this proclamation, he also rejected the idea of armed Jihad and argued that the conditions for such Jihad are not present in this age, which requires defending Islam by the pen and tongue but not with the sword.

Ahmadis believe in a purgatory-like hell where people will escape after being cleansed. Their beliefs also include that no verse of the Qur’an abrogates or cancels another verse.  This view is problematic for Sunni and Shi’a Muslims for it either makes the Qur’an self-contradicting or means that the “clear meaning” of the original Arabic text is not the “true meaning.”  He also claimed that Islamic life was in decay and in dire need of a messiah. He argued that, just as Jesus had appeared in the 14th century after Moses, the promised messiah, i.e. the Mahdi, must also appear in the 14th century after Muhammad.

Ghulam Ahmad is regarded by many mainstream Muslims as either a heretic or an apostate.  Following his claim to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, one of his adversaries prepared a Fatwa (decree) of disbelief against him, declaring him a Kafir (disbeliever), a deceiver, and a liar. The decree permitted killing him and his followers. It was taken all around India and was signed by some two hundred religious scholars. Some years later, a prominent Muslim leader and scholar, Ahmed Raza Khan, travelled to the Hejaz to collect the opinions of the religious scholars of Mecca and Medina. Ghulam Ahmad was once again labeled an apostate. The unanimous consensus of about thirty-four religious scholars was that Ghulam Ahmad’s beliefs were blasphemous and tantamount to apostasy and that he must be punished by imprisonment and, if necessary, by execution.

On 26 May 1908, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, died as a result of weaknesses of the body and complications arising from dysentery. His body was subsequently taken to Qadian and buried there. A few years before his death, Ahmad claimed to have received several prophecies relating to his upcoming death.

I‘ll now address some key points from the article. Real Muslims don’t terrorize:  Once one understands where Ahmadis are coming from their words can be understood in context. The Ahmadiya are generally an insular sect that focuses on “inner jihad” — the inner struggle to submit to Allah and overcome temptation to sin — rather than “external jihad,” They have almost always been a persecuted minority within Islam. They reject salafi’ism (returning to 7th Century puritanical Islam), taqfiri’ism (declaring other Muslims renegades from Islam), and the mainstream Sunni and Shi’a interpretation of Qur’an, hadiths, and shari’a that requires the ulema or veleyat-e-faqih to impose shari’a on all Muslims and dhimmitude on non-believers. Ahmadis are better able to assimilate Western/modernist/secularist ideas and live peaceably in a secularized world. The Ahmadiya, like some Shi’a sects and Sufis, are quite heterodox in theology and especially eclectic in ritual and practice.

Real Muslims to the Ahmadi author means Ahmadi Muslims who claim not to believe in terrorism.  Does this mean that Islam is silent about terrorism? This is what the texts say:

Surah 3:151 “We Shall Cast TERROR Into The Hearts Of Those Who Disbelieve.

Surah 7:3 Our TERROR came to them; Our punishment overtook them.”

Surah 8:12 “I will cast TERROR into the hearts of those who disbelieve.

Surah 8:57 “If you gain mastery over them in battle, inflict such a defeat as would TERRORIZE them.

Surah 8:59-60 TERRORIZE the enemy of Allah, your enemy, and others besides them whom you know not.

Surah 33:26-27 “Allah Took Down The People Of The Book (Jews, Christians). He Cast TERROR Into Their Hearts.

Surah 59:2 He TERRORIZED them and their homes were destroyed. Listen to my warning.

Ishaq #322 “I Will Cast TERROR Into The Hearts Of Those Who Reject Me.

Ishaq # 326 Make a severe example of them by TERRORIZING Allah’s enemies.”

Ishaq # 395 We will TERRORIZE those who disbelieve. In that way I will help you against them.”

Ishaq# 461 When the siege became too severe for them, Allah TERRORIZED them.  

Bukhari V1B7N1331 Allah TERRORIZES my enemies;

Bukhari V4B52N220  Muhammad said, “I have been made victorious with TERROR.”

Bukhari V9B87N127 “The Prophet said I have been given the keys of eloquent speech and given victory by TERROR.”

Tabari VII: 97 Our Attack Against Allah’s Enemy Cast TERROR Among The Jews And There Was No Jew In Medina Who Did Not Fear For His Life.”

Tabari VIII 129 “Allah Cast TERROR Into The Hearts Of The Fadak Jews. Fadak Became The Property Of The Prophet.

Tabari IX 42 – “There is no escape for us. You have seen what Muhammad has done. Arabs have submitted to him and we do not have the strength to fight.  No herd is safe from him. No one goes outside from fear of being TERRORIZED.”

Perhaps the author was saying that Ahmadis do not believe in Terror, but to say Islamic Literalism does not condone Terror is a misnomer. The Ahmadiya are NOT Islamic Literalists.  They have a very different approach to the Qur’an and secondary sources viewed as authoritative by mainstream Muslims who ARE Literalists.

Islam teaches respect for all faiths. As Muslims, Islam commands us to show love and respect to people of all faiths – including Christians; If only they tried to study the life of Prophet Muhammad, they would know that he showed utmost respect for all religions:

Surah 1:5-7 – “Show us the straight path, the path of those whom you have favored; Not the (path) of those who earn Your anger (Jews) nor of those who go astray (Christians)”

Surah 2:61 – “Abasement and humiliation were stamped upon them (Jews) and they incurred Allah’s wrath.

Surah 2:89 – When there came to them (Jews) a Book (Qur’an) from Allah verifying what they have.but when there came to them that which they recognized (Islam Abrahams religion) they did not believe it. So Allah’s curse is on the infidel (Jews).

Surah 2:96 – You will certainly find them (Jews) the greediest of men even greedier than those who set up gods with Allah (Christians).  One of them (Christians) loves to be granted a life for 1000 years and being granted a long life will in no way remove him.from being punished. Allah sees what they do.

Surah 2:100-101 – Whenever they (Jews) make a covenant a group of them casts it aside. Most of them have no faith.

Surah 4:160-161 – For the wrong­doing of the Jews, we have prepared for these disbelievers a painful doom.

Surah 5:17 – “They indeed disbelieve who say surely Allah–He is the Messiah Son of Mary. Who could control Allah when he wished to destroy the Messiah, son of Mary, and his mother and all those on the earth.

Surah 5:72 – Certainly those who disbelieve say that Allah he is the Messiah son of Mary. Surely whoever associates partners with Allah, Allah has forbidden to him the garden and his abode is the hellfire.

Surah 6:24 – See how they (Christians and Jews) lie against their own souls, and that which they forged (Bible verses) shall fail them.

Surah 7:166 – So when they (Jews) took pride in that which was forbidden we said to them: “Be as apes despised and loathed.

Surah 19:88-92 They said, “The most Gracious has begotten a son.” You have uttered a gross blasphemy.

Ishaq #240 – “The Jews Are a Nation Of Liars, Treacherous And Evil.”

Bukhari V2B23N414 – Aisha said, “The Prophet in his fatal illness said, ‘Allah cursed the Jews and the Christians because they took the graves of their Prophets as places for praying.”‘ Aisha added, “Had it not been for that the grave of the Prophet would have been made prominent but I am afraid it might be taken (as a) place for praying.

Tabari VII: 97 – The Prophet declared, “Allah Akbar! Kill every Jew you come across.”

Surah 2:65 – “And you know of those of you who broke the Sabbath (Jews) how we said to them, “You are Apes despised and hated.”

Surah 5:51 – “Believers Do Not Take Christians And Jews For Your Friends. He Who Takes Them As a Friend Is One Of Them. Allah Does Not Guide Wrongdoers.”

Surah 5:73 – “Disbelievers Say Allah Is a Third Of The Trinity.” There Is No God Save Allah. If They Do Not Stop Saying This A Painful Doom Will Fall On These Disbelievers.”

Surah 98:6 – “The People Of the Book (Jews, Christians) And All Idolaters Who Disbelieve Our Revelation Will Abide In Hell Fire. They Are The Worst Of Created Beings.”

Respect and Love? These are excerpts from Muhammad’s Quran and his life as displayed in his traditions. Where in any of this can we find “utmost respect for all religions”? Ahmadiya may indeed respect and love those who follow other religions, and they may claim Muhammad did, but that has no bearing on what mainstream Muslims believe — which reflects the clear meaning of the Qur’an and mainstream exegesis of the Qur’anic texts, the hadiths, and shari’a.

Extremist groups, who claim to be working for Islam, fail to recognize the very meaning of being a Muslim. Not only is this an act of barbarity but a complete departure from the Islamic teachings.

Bukhari:V9B84N57: “Some Zanadiqa (atheists) were brought to Ali and he burnt them. The news of this event, reached Ibn Abbas who said, ‘If I had been in his place, I would not have burnt them, as Allah’s Apostle forbade it, saying, “Do not punish anybody with Allah’s punishment [fire].” I would have killed them according to the statement of Allah’s Apostle, “Whoever changed his Islamic religion, then kill him.”‘”

(Vol. 1, p. 765, Prescribed Punishments; cf. Maududi vol. 2, p. 52, note 68) he stated; Abu Bakr had a homosexual burned Ibn Abbas and Abu Huraira reported Allah’s messenger as saying, “Accursed is he who does what Lot’s people did.” In a version . . . on the authority of Ibn Abbas it says that Ali [Muhammad’s cousin and son-in-law] had two people burned and that Abu Bakr [Muhammad’s chief companion] had a wall thrown down on them.

Qur’an 4:56: “Those who disbelieve in Our messages, We shall make them enter Fire. As often as their skins are burned, We shall change them for other skins, that they may taste the chastisement. Surely Allah is every Mighty, Wise.”

Ishaq:481: “The Apostle slew them [Jews of Qurayza] in their own town. With our troops he surrounded their homes. We shouted out cries in the heat of battle. The Jews were given the Scripture and wasted it. Being blind, they strayed from the Torah. You Jews disbelieved the Qur’an and yet you have tasted the confirmation of what it said. May Allah make our raid on them immortal [never-ending]. May fire burn in their quarter. They will no longer ruin our lands. You [Jews] have no place here, so be off!”

Ishaq: 515 and Tabari VIII: 122: The Prophet gave orders concerning Kinanah to Zubayr, saying, ‘Torture him until you root out and extract what he has. So Zubayr kindled a fire on Kinanah’s chest, twirling it with his firestick until Kinanah was near death. Then the Messenger gave him to Maslamah, who beheaded him.

Sahih Bukhari V1B11N626 records these words from Abu Huraira: The Prophet said, The Prophet added, “Certainly I decided to order the Mu’adh-dhin (call-maker) to pronounce Iqama and order a man to lead the prayer and then take a fire flame to burn all those who had not left their houses so far for the prayer along with their houses.

Tabari X: 55-57 Abu Bakr’s letter to the apostates.… I have sent you someone at the head of an army of the Muhajirun and the Ansar and those who follow (them) in good works. I ordered him not to fight anyone or to kill anyone until he has called him to the cause of Allah; so that those who respond to him and acknowledge (Him) and renounce (unbelief) and do good works, (my envoy) shall accept him and help him to (do right), but I have ordered him to fight those who deny (Him) for that reason. So he will not spare any one of them he can gain mastery over, (but may) burn them with fire, slaughter them by any means, and take women and children captive; nor shall he accept from anyone anything except Islam.

The author claims that barbarity is a complete departure from Islamic teaching. First define the word barbarity then conclude if what is described above fulfills its definition. The Ahmadiya, however; consider mainstream Islam to be barbaric.  Perhaps if they could somehow convince the other 1.3 billion Muslims to accept their radical reinterpretation of Islam, the world would be a safer and more prosperous place, but that’s quite unlikely. Despite their claims, they are not accepted by the Muslim mainstream as Muslim, and their beliefs apply only to their small sect.

The Quran, refers to such people as “diseased” (chapter 2: verse 10).

According to the Ahmadiyya Qur’an by Maulana Muhammad Ali (Page 6) surah two deals with the Jews of Yathrib. Since these Jews NEVER participated in acts of Terror against Muhammad and his companions, the application of this verse to 21st century Islamic terrorists is an intentional or ignorant misapplication of this text.

The teachings of the Quran and the actions of the Prophet Muhammad are in direct contradiction to the actions of al-Shabab or ISIS. The Quran refers to extremists in the following words: “And when it is said to them, ‘Do not cause corruption on the Earth,’ they say, ‘We are but reformers,'” (2:11).

Tabari VIII 6-40; Ishaq 47-48, 450-480, Muslim B19N4370– Battle of the Ditch, The Meccans came to Medina to defeat the Muslims but were unable to breach a trench built by the Muslims so they withdrew. Allah, through the Angel Gabriel, then commanded Muhammad to march against the Qurayza Jews. After a 25 day siege Muhammad commanded the Jews to submit to Sa’d Mu’adhs judgment. They agreed in order to end the siege. After death was decreed, Muhammad ordered all males over puberty beheaded. According to Sahih Muslim 800, but according to Abu-Dawud 900 Jewish male captives were decapitated in the presence of Muhammad and the Jewish victim’s mothers, sisters, wives, aunts, and children. The Prophet then took Rayhana, who just witnessed the death of her Father & Brothers, for Himself. She became his concubine.

At this point one may wonder if the author is familiar with this material or simply regurgitating the party line. My reply to this piece is for the American people so they are not deceived since most will not take time to fact check the claims made in this article. As for the Ahmadiyya author she must know the mainstream Muslim/literalist interpretation of the Qur’an.  She’s calling for it to be rejected as false and despicable and ruining Islam, just as the Druze do, and as Egyptian President el-Sissi is doing.  She is not ignorant, but naively idealistic in thinking Islam as a whole can be saved by “just” following the wisdom of Ghulam Ahmad.  She would have about as much luck convincing them to become Orthodox Jews or Eastern Orthodox Christians.

This is why I urge Muslim communities around the world to speak up against these atrocities and to show the world through cohesive action that coexistence is possible.

Surah 3:85 – “He Who Seeks a Religion Other Than Islam Will Not Be Accepted By Allah And He Will Be a Loser In The Next Life.”

Surah 4:56 – Those who disbelieve in our messages, we shall make them enter fire. As often as their skins are burned, we shall change them for other skins that they may taste the chastisement. Surely Allah is every mighty, wise.

Surah 33:64 – “Allah Has Cursed The Disbelievers, (Those Who Don’t Accept Muhammad) And Has Prepared For Them a Flaming Hell.”

Ishaq #344 – “The Impious Met Death. They Became Fuel For Hell. All Who Are Not Muslims Must Go There.”

Bukhari V8B74N290 “If a person dies (associating partners with Allah) and never repents of it, he will be a permanent resident in hell-fire.”

Bukhari V9B92N384 – “The Prophet Said Whoever Obeys Me Will Enter Paradise And Whoever Disobeys Me Will Not.”

Conclusion: Can there ever be co-existence with people who believe in the literal application of these texts? The Ahmadis have made it clear that they reject the call for violent Jihad.  This is admirable and welcomed by westerners. Unfortunately because they are considered a heretical sect of Islam, they can NEVER represent the majority of Muslims who reject the claims of their messiah. The distortion presented in this article can perhaps be found in the persecution that this community has experienced at the hands of other Muslims. It appears that she is rejecting as corrupted, literalist Islam which Ahmadis claim is a false version of Islam that should be rejected by the rest of the Islamic world.

 Whatever they may claim, they do not speak for Islam since most of the world’s Muslims would consider them taqfir.  It is like saying that followers of “Christian Science” should be considered as believing the same things as evangelical Christians do, even though they only accept the Bible as viewed through the peculiar lens of Mary Baker Eddy’s writings, or that Mormons are Christians even though they’ve added a whole third testament to the Bible [the Book of Mormon] and say that Joseph Smith and Brigham Young received new revelations superseding even those of the New Testament.  We know that Christian Science adherents and members of the LDS church and the Reorganized LDS church are NOT Christians, whatever they may claim to be, because they hold heterodox beliefs not consistent with the clear reading of the Bible. Regardless of their claims, they are people who can live harmoniously in secular societies with other non-Muslim societies. They are no more accepted in Muslim societies than Jews, Christians, or Zoroastrians would be.

Jesus, the one who claimed to be the Son of Man, Son of God and one with the Father, who died on a Roman cross, and rose from the dead as described by eye witnesses in the New Covenant spoke about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Ahmadi messiah. Jesus warned us that “false Christs and false prophets” will come and will attempt to deceive even God’s elect (Matthew 24:23-27; see also 2 Peter 3:3 and Jude 17-18). Jesus said “a tree is recognized by its fruit” (Matthew 12:33). In Matthew 16:15-16, Jesus asks, “Who do you say I am?” Peter answers, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God,” and for this answer Peter is called “blessed.” Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s testimony concerning Jesus is in direct contradiction to the testimony in the Gospels. A severe scourging, carrying the patibulum through the streets of Jerusalem, suffering a nail driven crucifixion, and thrust through with a Roman spear. This was followed by a burial and an empty tomb 3 days later. For Ahmad’s claims to be true all the Apostles and St. Paul, who were eye witnesses and all died painful deaths for believing in the crucifixion and resurrection, would have to be delusional liars.  One must believe that Ahmad who lived 1900 years after the event somehow knew the truth in contradiction to those who would surely know.  Whether Ahmad or the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Jesus predicted, in various gospel accounts, they would come.  He warned us beforehand by telling us NOT to follow them because anyone who came after HIM and said., ‘I am He’  A prophet or a messiah, is a false prophet/messiah. Only Jesus died for our sins.  His death and resurrection was foretold by David, Isaiah and Zechariah.  No scripture known to man predicted that the messiah/mahdi would die of dysentery. There is one Messiah and he can be found in the writings of the Jewish prophets and in the words of his Apostles and Disciples. Only Jesus’Apostles and Disciples where in the position to know that He is the Savior, the Son of God.

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