True Conception of the Ahmadiyya Movement

by Maulana Muhammad Ali

The Seventh Distinction: Unity among Muslims

Islam which taught forbearance and tolerance to the extent that in spite of many vital differences it accepted the Divine origin of other religions, could not foster the feeling of intolerance and narrow-mindedness among its own followers towards one another. It could not teach them that for minor differences they should declare one another kafir. The Quran has, however, given a clear indication that anybody who accosts another brother Muslim with assalamu ‘alaikum (peace be with you) should not be declared an unbeliever:

“Say not to one who offers you (Islamic) salutation, Thou art not a believer.”1

This means that we have no right to suspect or investigate his behaviour or go into the details of his beliefs for the sake of laying a charge of heresy against him. A person who accosts us with assalamu ‘alaikum, in fact, considers himself to be a member of the Islamic brotherhood, and he who includes himself in this brotherhood cannot be turned out of it by anybody else. This is what has been the practice of the Holy Prophet. ‘Abd Allah ibn Ubayy, a great hypocrite and a bitter opponent of Islam who never helped Muslims in their campaigns against the unbelievers and always instigated the enemy against Islam, was accepted as a Muslim by the Holy Prophet for the simple reason that ‘Abd Allah outwardly declared himself to be a member of the Islamic brotherhood. The Holy Prophet said the funeral service for him after his death and prayed for him. In one of the reports, the Holy Prophet has said:

“Do not declare the people of your Qiblah as kafirs.”2

This means that as long as a person includes himself among the Ahl Qiblah (People of the Qiblah) nobody has any right to denounce him as a heretic. The object of this teaching and the repeated emphasis on this point was to maintain unity among Muslims, for unity is the basis of a nation’s strength. The nation which is torn within itself can neither make any progress nor face its opponents. The first condition of unity in Islam, therefore, is that its followers should consider one another as brethren. The Holy Prophet also gave various illustrations to make Muslims understand this point. Once he said that Muslims were like one organism; if any part of this organism was injured the whole system was affected.3 Thus if a group or sect of Muslims was suffering it would affect the whole nation. At another occasion, he said that a Muslim should refrain from attacking the life, property or honour of his brother Muslim.4 Again, once he compared Muslims to a strong wall every part of which contributed to its strength, and if a part was weakened it would bring the other parts to the ground.5

The object of all this advice was to keep the unity among Muslims intact. The only result of takfir (denouncing one another heretics) is destruction. By saying that

difference among my followers is a blessing, Muslims were actually taught to tolerate differences among themselves;

but they made every difference an excuse for takfir and thus struck at the very root of their unity and strength. It was truly said by the Holy Prophet that their enemies would not be able to destroy them unless they destroyed themselves. And that is what Muslims have done to themselves. For minor differences, they have declared one another kafir and thus shattered to pieces the unity of Islam. It was in 1891 C.E. that the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement raised his voice against this habit of takfir.

“Let this be evident that Jesus Christ came for this work and at such a time when Jews were divided into many sects like Muslims … So the Holy Prophet has informed this nation that in the latter ages the same would be their condition and many sects would spring up among them…. And like Jews, one group would consider the other one as kafir. And if there were ninety-nine reasons for Islam, just one reason for kufr would be considered sufficient to declare others kafir. So, due to mutual takfir, deep hatred, jealousy and enmity would come into play and due to difference of opinion, vindictiveness, rancour and beastly tendencies will prevail among Muslims. And Islamic character which requires a perfect unity as in a single body and is full of mutual love and sympathy would be completely taken away from them. The one would consider the other so strange as not to hesitate to declare the other as kafir.”6

The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement by following such exhortations of the Founder for unity lay particular emphasis on the point that all the followers of the Kalimah are Muslims and anybody who declares his faith in the unity of God and prophethood of Muhammad cannot be turned outside the pale of Islam. Such a doctrine is now having a wider influence among Mus­lims. But as opposed to this, unfortunately, the Qadianis have made the declaring of all the Muslims of the world kafirs a basis of their belief.7



  1. The Holy Quran, 4:94.
  2. Al-Nihaya of Ibn Athir, vol. iv, p. 187.
  3. Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Birr, H. No. 66, 67.
  4. Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Haram.
  5. Tirmidhi, Kitab Shafqat ‘ala-l-Muslim, p. 351.
  6. Izalah Auham (3rd September 1891 C.E.), pp. 589, 590.
  7. The Truth about the Split, pp. 55–56, 140, etc. The detailed references have been given earlier. — Editor.