True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Ahmadiyyat is not a Separate Religion
There are many misconceptions prevailing among people about the Ahmadiyya Movement. The greatest of all is that it is a religion quite separate from Islam like Babism or Bahaism. The basis of this false idea is that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement, has laid a claim to prophethood. This allegation has already been refuted in the foregoing pages1. But there are some who go to the extent of declaring that Ahmadis have a different kalimah (formula of Faith), a different form of prayer, a different Book besides the Quran and a different Qiblah.2 All these charges have no foundation at all.
It is apparent that had Ahmadiyyat been a separate religion, like the Babi or Bahai faith, its activities obviously would not have been confined to the spread of Islam. Whatever work has been done in this age about the propagation of Islam, in Europe, America and other countries of the world, the greater part of it is due to the efforts of the followers of the Ahmadiyya Movement. In this connection, the literature produced by Muslims is either the result of the activities of this Movement or has been done under its influence. Had Ahmadiyyat been something different from or hostile to Islam, it would not have laid so much emphasis on establishing Muslim missions and spreading Islamic literature all over the world. Babism was in existence fifty years before the inception of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Did it start any Islamic mission or publish any Islamic literature? If Ahmadis had a religion different from Islam, they would have directed their full efforts to the advancement of that ‘new’ faith, but as they are entirely engaged in the service of Islam, they cannot, and in fact do not, owe allegiance to any other religion except Islam.
It is, indeed, true that a group from among the followers of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, i.e., the followers of the Qadiani movement, have ascribed a claim of prophethood to him but they are still in an intermediary state. Although on account of their belief in such a prophethood they have declared all the Muslims of the world to be unbelievers (kafirs)3 they have not yet adopted a new formula of faith (kalimah) for themselves. And although according to their creed unless a person accepts Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet and formally takes an oath of allegiance to that effect, he does not enter the fold of Islam, they have, so far, refused to formulate a new kalimah for themselves and adhere only to the Islamic formula of faith:
La ilaha ill-Allah, Muhammad-ur rasul-ullah
“There is no God but Allah, Muhammad is Allah’s Messenger.”
But this is, as I have said, only an intermediary position or a state of indecision. They will either, at last, have to give up the belief in the Promised Messiah’s prophethood or formulate a separate kalimah and a separate religion for themselves.4 The logical conclusion of their creed — that anybody who does not accept Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet is a kafir and outside the pale of Islam5 — is that the kalimah is not valid any more.
Therefore, when the acceptance of the existing kalimah does not keep a person within the fold of Islam — and even the four hundred million Muslims of the world who declare their faith in it are declared to be kafirs and outside the pale of Islam — then this kalimah must necessarily be considered as abrogated, and the messengership and prophethood of a person whose acceptance has become essential for entering the fold of Islam must form a part and parcel of the new kalimah. If the belief in the prophethood of Hazrat Mirza is not renounced, a time will come when these people shall have to formulate a separate kalimah and a separate religion, and their relation with Islam would become like that of Babis or Bahais who consider Islam a genuine religion of the past, but with regard to the present time they consider their own faith alone as true — Islam and its kalimah having been abrogated by them.
The Qadianis have put themselves on the horns of a dilemma. They are trying to sail in two boats at a time. On the one hand, they declare four hundred million Muslims — believers in the kalimah — to be kafirs and on the other they include themselves among Muslims, refusing to adopt a new kalimah and a new faith. But this condition cannot exist for long. Either the repulsiveness of such a doctrine would at last create an aversion in the minds of the majority of these people and they would refrain from attributing a claim of prophethood to Hazrat Mirza or they would accept the ultimate result of their belief, which is that the old kalimah shall have to be discarded to give place to a new one. The Ahmadiyya Movement, at any rate, was neither a new religion in its original form, nor has it, so far, grown to be a new religion among the followers of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
- The reference is to the book of which this booklet formed one chapter. ↩
- Place towards which one faces in prayer. ↩
- Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, The Truth about the Split (Qadian, India, Second Edition, 1938 C.E.), pp. 55, 140, 185, etc. ↩
- Please see the Translator’s Note. ↩
- “That all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his baiat [pledge] formally, wherever they may be, are kafirs and outside the pale of Islam, even though they may not have heard the name of the Promised Messiah. That these beliefs have my full concurrence I readily admit.” — Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad in his book The Truth about the Split, Qadian, India, Second Edition, 1938 C.E. pp. 55–56. ↩