Ahmadis too are Ahl-e-Sunnah
by Masud Akhtar Choudry, BA, LL.B.
The Islamic Review (UK), June/July 1983 Issue (Vol. 3, Nos. 8–9, p. 16)
Leaving aside the hypocritical Mukkafireen who per habit issue proclamations (fatwa) of Kufr [non-belief] against other Muslims, and such proclamations in abundance are traceable against all sects and sub-sects of Muslims including Ahmadis, an erroneous view as if Ahmadis are not Ahl-e-Sunnah is generally prevalent amongst most circles of both Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis. This for the most part is due to the position taken by the Qadiani, now Rabwah, section of the Ahmadis and partly due to lack of knowledge about the beliefs of the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Silsalah in Islam and the Lahore section of the Ahmadis commonly known as Lahore Ahmadis or the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam, Lahore.
As is well known, the two major sects or groups of Muslims are the Ahl-e-Sunnah (those claiming to follow the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him) commonly called the Sunni Muslims and Ahl-e-Tashaee commonly known as Shiat Muslims. There are many sub-sects of the Ahle-e-Sunnah as well as of the Shiats. There are four schools of Jurisprudence (Fiqah) in Ahl-e-Sunnah named after four Jurist Imams namely the Hanafis (those following the Fiqah of Imam Abu Hanifah), the Shafais (followers of the Fiqah of Imam Shafai), the Hanbalis (followers of the Fiqah of Imam Hanbal) and the Malikis (the followers of the Fiqah of Imam Malik). Shiats on the other hand follow the Fiqah of their own Imams, well known amongst them being the Fiqah Jafariah (following the Fiqah of Imam Jaffar).
In addition to the above schools of Jurisprudence (Fiqah), there are many Silsalahs (literally meaning a chain, a series or succession, i.e., those linked to) taking their names after the righteous spiritual Imams or Mujaddidin for example, the Qadariah (followers of Imam Abdul Qadir of Jilan), the Chishtiah (followers of Imam Moin-ud-din Chishti of Ajmer, India), the Ghausiah (followers of Imam Ghaus-e-Azam), the Wahabiyyah (followers of Imam Abdul Wahab), etc. Those belonging to these Silsalahs nevertheless are all Ahl-e Sunnah and believe in one of the four above-stated schools of Fiqah. Just like these, the Founder of the Ahmadiyyah Movement in Islam, who was the Mujaddid and Imam of the Fourteenth Century Hijrah, named his followers as the Sisalah Ahmadiyyah indicating their relationship with the beauteous name, Ahmad, of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him. The Founder was and always claimed to be a Hanafi Muslim, and in his writings we find in scores of places his claim that he believes in all the maters in which Ahl-e-Sunnah believe and he neither stands to add or detract even a dot from the beliefs of the Ahl-e-Sunnah. Following their Imam, all Ahmadis also follow the Hanafi Fiqah. Ahmadiyya, thus, are neither a new sect in Islam nor a new school of Jurisprudence (Fiqah). If claiming relationship with other Silsalahs, all named after their Imams, does not in any manner affect their being a part and parcel of Ahl-e-Sunnah, then how can ones claiming relationship with one of the beauteous names of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace be on him, disqualify him from being considered one of the Ahl-e-Sunnah?