True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement
by Maulana Muhammad Ali
Ahmadiyyat is a True Interpretation of Islam
Ahmadiyyat is not only an interpretation of the prophecies and visions of the Holy Prophet but it is also a true interpretation of Islam. It is neither a separate religion nor a separate sect. But as has been explained before, it is a great movement for the propagation of Islam. But as the propagation of Islam required that Islam should be presented in its true form and all the stains and blots from it should be removed to make it a source of attraction to the people, so Almighty Allah Who had given the insight to the Mujaddid of this age so that he was able to see the fulfilment of the visions of the Holy Prophet in the world events also favoured him with the spiritual insight to identify all the erroneous beliefs which stood in the way of the progress of Islam. Ahmadiyyat is thus a representation of Islam in the simple and pure form which attracted the world before and is doing so even now. In other words, Ahmadiyyat is a true interpretation of the teachings of Islam and the Quran. And the feature which distinguishes it from the other sects of Islam is only this that it removes the errors which had found place in Islamic teachings and it manifests the inherent beauties of Islam which had been forgotten by Muslims so that Islam may attract the world once again.
Islam is a living religion which presents a God Who is a living reality, Who spoke to His righteous servants before, and Who speaks with His righteous servants even now and will continue to do so forever. Like His attributes of hearing and seeing, His attribute of communication with human beings has never been suspended. Although prophethood has come to an end, God’s communication with His servants has not been stopped. But Muslims generally thought that God spoke before, but after the Holy Prophet, the doors of revelation were closed forever. Special stress has been laid by the Ahmadiyya Movement on this point of God speaking with man. A religion which cannot make its followers attain the stage of communication with God, is a dead religion. And as has been promised in the Quran and the Hadith, God will always continue to speak with the righteous servants of this ummah.
Islam is a natural religion which appeals to the nature of man, human nature being spontaneously attracted towards it. Unfortunately, some of the Muslim leaders fell under the impression that Islam could be propagated with physical force also. Such thoughts were given free expression in reports about the advent of Mahdi. The objections raised by non-Muslims with regard to the spread of Islam with sword were thus strengthened by Muslims themselves. This caused great hatred among non-Muslims against Islam which subsequently obstructed the way of the propagation of Islam. It was Ahmadiyyat which clarified the whole issue by emphasizing the point that there was
“no compulsion in religion”.1
Islam had been drawing people under its fold because of its beautiful teachings. It is the natural religion of mankind, a simple religion, devoid of all ethical and ritualistic intricacies. Even an illiterate person can understand its teachings. But Fiqh (jurisprudence) made the whole affair very complex. Simple beliefs and teachings of Islam gave place to hair-splitting logical discussions that did no good, except paralyse the practical life of Muslims. The Ahmadiyya Movement regained the lost original simplicity of Islam by placing the Quran, which is the real source of the teachings of Islam, above everything else. The Hadith, wherein the Holy Prophet has explained and interpreted the teachings of the Quran, comes next. Fiqh which is not the original source of the details of our life should not be given preference over the Quran or Hadith.
Islam is a rational religion. The Quran repeatedly enjoins its readers to apply their intellect, reason and understanding in matters of faith. But the ‘ulama’ in their narrow-mindedness reached the stage that anybody who tried to understand religious matters on an intellectual level was dubbed by them as a heretic. Ahmadiyyat again threw light on this aspect and proved the authenticity of the principles of the faith on a rational basis and showed that reason and faith did not stand apart. They both supplemented each other. Reason proved the necessity and veracity of religion which gave light and guidance to reason. But some ‘ulama’ of today regarded science and scientific knowledge against religion and forbade Muslims to have any secular education. The Ahmadiyya Movement helped in removing such misunderstandings from Muslim minds and made it clear that the material progress of the world would also, in the long run, lead mankind to higher spiritual progress beneficial to the cause of humanity. The denial of spiritual values was only due to lack of real knowledge of faith. With the progress of knowledge Islam would also progress, for it was a rational religion, a religion that encouraged a scientific outlook on life.
Islam is truly a liberal and tolerant religion. It regards the entire human race as one nation and declares that like physical and natural laws, there is only one spiritual law for the whole of humanity and that every nation had its spiritual leaders who called people to righteousness. But this prominent feature of Islam had been completely ignored. It was Ahmadiyyat which threw light on this point as well and laid emphasis on the fact that the prophets were sent to every nation and thus revived the liberal and universal outlook of Islam.
Islam is a progressive religion. Although the principles of Faith have been laid down in the Quran and their explanations have been given in Hadith to some extent according to the needs, but as Islam is universal in its concept and man is faced with a host of new problems with the advancement of civilization, the doors of ijtihad (exercise of judgement) in Islam have not been closed. That is, according to the needs of every age and every country, people have the right to work out their own laws best suited to their own requirements under the guidance of the Quran and Hadith.
Islam is no doubt a religion of unity and fraternity. According to the clear injunctions of the Quran nobody has any right to excommunicate a brother Muslim from Islam who declares his faith in the unity of God and Prophethood of Muhammad. But in this age different sects among Muslims thought that salvation was their exclusive privilege and each declared the other to be heretics and the inmates of hell. Ahmadiyyat revived the principle again that all those who profess the Kalimah were Muslims and nobody could dub a person kafir who declared that
“There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah”.
Before Islam, religion was considered to be a combination of outward rituals and ceremonies, a source of getting future reward or escaping from future punishment. Islam gave a new turn to the conception of religion and associated it with day to day activities of man, and made it a source of development of human faculties. Muslims again had forgotten this great fact about the teachings of Islam to which Ahmadiyyat drew their attention. The Ahmadiyya Movement has also thrown light on many other problems concerning Islam. Below I discuss in detail these distinguishing features of the Ahmadiyya Movement.
- The Holy Quran, 2:256. ↩