Do Ahmadi Muslims identify non-Ahmadi Muslims as Muslims? Another YES!
Recently, I have come across some critics of Islam who allege that Ahmadi Muslims consider non-Ahmadi Muslims “non-Muslim.” To make this argument, they present a couple of quotes from the numerous books of the Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) and the second Khalifa of the community, Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmad (ra).
First of all, as stated above, it should be clear that Ahmadi Muslims consider everyone and anyone who considers themselves Muslim, a Muslim. Ahmadi Muslims identify every human being the way they chose to be identified – Sunni Muslims, Shia Muslims, Catholics, Atheists etc. etc.
1) Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) never declared anyone non-Muslim. Here is the line that is often quoted (misrepresented and misinterpreted) on this issue: “God has made it apparent to me that every single person who has heard my claim of prophethood and has not accepted me, that person is not a Muslim and in front of God, is subject to prosecution.”
But even after this revelation, he continued to use the word Muslim to identify other non-Ahmadi Muslims. He used phrases like “My dear Muslim brethren…” “O beloved Muslims..” etc. etc. in all his 86 books. If indeed he understood this revelation to mean a “declaration of heresy” for the non-Ahmadi Muslims, why did he not desist from using the word “Muslim?”
The words of the revelation were God’s, and did not give authority to the Promised Messiah to make such a declaration. He did not use this revelation to hold prejudice against non-Ahmadi Muslims and consider them outside the community of Muslims. If he did so, he would have asked his community to desist from using “Muslim” for non-Ahmadis. However, we do not find a single place in his writings where he refuses to identify Muslims as such.
“It is possible that he changed his view on Muslims after a few years, and stopped identifying them as Muslim at a later point,” I was asked.
Well, the last book he wrote is the “Message of Peace.” This book is about interfaith harmony in general and Hindu-Muslim unity in particular. It mentions the Muslims about 25 times. I present a few quotes from the book.
“The Hindus and the Muslims are two great nations inhabiting this country. It is hard to believe that either of the two, for instance the Hindus, would one day gain total domination over the Muslims, and turn them out of this country altogether. Likewise, it is not possible for Muslims to expel the Hindus from their homeland. It should always be borne in mind that Hindus and Muslims are indispensable to each other in this country. If one is beset with a calamity, the other will inescapably share it.”
“The Muslims made the blunder of not joining this campaign of Hindus out of fear that they were small in numbers. They were afraid that whatever benefit was to be had from such campaigns would be drawn by the majority Hindu community and not the Muslims.”
At every mention of the Muslims, the term used for identification is… thats right: “Muslims.” So, what did God’s revelation mean? Didn’t God say those who were not Ahmadis were not Muslims? Why did Mirza Ahmad (as) not preach that then?
It must be remembered that a person who joins a sect, faith, or philosophy does so because they believe it to be the truth. A Sunni Muslim is a Sunni Muslim because he consider Sunni Islam the closest to the truth. The same is true for all sects. An atheist choses to be one because they find their truth outside religion. Similarly, Ahmadi Muslims believe they follow the true interpretation of Islam. Ahmadis believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) is the Promised Reformer awaited by all world religions and a prophet of God. Since it is one of the six articles of faith to believe in all of God’s prophets, we believe a true Muslim must do so. All sects agree that when the Messiah and Mahdi come, belief in him is obligatory. It is on this account that Ahmadi Muslims believe that the other Muslims are denying themselves the spiritual excellences of Islam that were prophecized by the Holy Prophet (pbuh). In a spiritual sense, we do believe that other Muslims are lacking in one important aspect of faith – belief in the Promised Messiah.
It is in this sense of spirituality, – on account of not believing in one of Allah’s prophets – that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) was told by God that those who did not believe in him were not complete believers. However, Mirza Ahmad never declared anyone a heretic and in all his eighty six books, he addresses Muslims as “such, as shown above.
Sunni Muslims and Shia Muslims disagree with each other on similar spiritual and theological issues. Each believes themselves to be on the right path. This makes perfect sense and should not be reason for any objection. What is objectionable is if this difference in faith turns into prejudice and malice, when one refuses to identify the other as Muslim and when one socially boycotts the other or calls for their death. What is objectionable is when one is so prejudiced that this hatred is inscribed into law and used to persecuted the other! What is objectionable is when difference in theology is used to belittle and demonize others.
Ahmadi Muslims have never refused to identify another Muslim as one. We have never called for any social boycotts, we have preached love for all; hatred for none. We continue to pray for the Muslim Ummah, continue to speak against persecution of Muslims wherever it happens e.g. #ShiaGenocide, etc. etc.
2) The second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmad, was a very famous Islamic scholar in United India. He was the first President of the All India Kashmir Committee, elected in this capacity in 1931. The Ahrar group, a group of Mullahs vehemently opposed to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, insisted that he resign. In reply, he said in a speech:
“I admonish the Ahrari’s that if there is any among them present here, they should go and tell their friends! I care not in the least about these stones and for this reason am not angered with them. They should stop this hearsay for the sake of the oppressed brothers of Kashmir. Let them come; I am ready to leave presidency but they must promise that they will follow the decision of the majority of Muslims. Today we have seen their morals, let them come and see our morals too. I assure them that even after stepping down from presidency, me and my community shall help them (the people of Kashmir) more than their associates. Presidency is not a thing of respect for me. Respect is gained from service. The leader of a nation is one who serves it …”
Why did all Muslims elect him as their leader if he considered them non-Muslim in the first place? Why did he refer to them as Muslims in his speeches? Why do all his books (and he has written tons of them) refer to non-Ahmadi Muslims as such? The quote that non-Ahmadi Mullahs present to give the impression that Ahmadi Muslims consider other Muslims “heretics,” is this one:
“It is our obligation that we do not consider non-ahmadis as muslims and do not pray behind them, because for us they have rejected one prophet of God. This is a religious matter and no one has any right to do anything in it.” (Anwar-e-Khilafat, by Mirza Mahmood, Khalifa 2, p.90)
He clarifies that this is in a spiritual or theological sense, not a declaration of heresy. Those who accuse him of “declaring non-Ahmadi Muslims heretics,” are unable to refer to one place in the numerous books he wrote, including his last book, where he refuses to identify non-Ahmadis as Muslims. If indeed, he considered them non-Muslim, why did he not desist from identifying them as such? Why did he not ask his community to do so? Why did Ahmadi Muslim papers keep referring to Sunnis and Shias as Muslims till his last day, and till today?
Anti-Ahmadi Mullahs raised a whole lot of propaganda around this paragraph, telling non-Ahmadis that the Ahmadis had declared them non-Muslims and considered them evil, some going as far as claiming that Ahmadi Muslims considered the non-Ahmadis, worthy of death.
This question was, hence, brought up by the Mullahs in 1953 during the Munir inquiry. This government-conducted inquiry that followed the anti-Ahmadi riots of 1953 settled this issue forever. When asked if a person who does not believe in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad could still be considered a Muslim or not, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad (ra) replied: “Yes indeed, in common terms, he will still be considered a Muslim.”
Here he was, clarifying his written paragraph, in his own words. As he explained in detail, the matter was spiritual and related to theological differences. Every sect within Islam has the right to consider themselves the true representatives of Islam. As explained before, what is wrong is if these differences lead to prejudice and bigotry i.e. refusing to identify others the way they’d like to be identified. This, the Ahmadi Muslims, have never been guilty of, only victims of.
When this question was raised again before the 4th Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, he explained it in detail thus: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NXtEcPa8jIQ
Haven clarified this issue, I have a few questions for those who still insist that the “Ahmadis declare all non-Ahmadi Muslims heretics (Takfeer):”
1) Why did the Promised Messiah and all his Khalifas always refer to the Muslims as “Muslims” in their extensive writings and speeches? Why does no Ahamdi literature, to date, refuse to identify the Muslims as Muslims? Show me ONE instance from official Ahmadiyya website (www.alislam.org) of such refusal to identify as someone willed?
2) Please present ONE Ahmadi Muslim from the whole world (there are tens of millions) who REFUSES to identify non-Ahmadi Muslims as Muslims? It can be anyone. On the contrary, no anti-Ahmadi Sunni/Shia Muslim refers to Ahmadis as Muslims, not once. They’d rather die than commit this grave sin.
If you insist on the false claim that Ahmadi Muslims “declare,” or “refuse to identify,” non-Ahmadi Muslims as Muslims, answer the above two questions and let me know. Good luck!