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June 23rd, 2013

To Be or Not To Be

Submitted by Ikram.

Like any vibrant organization, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha’at Islam (AAIIL) has frequent discussions about its name, “Ahmadiyya”, which unfortunately has been maligned because of Qadianis and their beliefs who also call themselves by the same name. Though named similar, both of these organizations stand poles apart in their beliefs, organizational structure and the core concept of Finality of the Prophethood. Even the mundane issue of the headship of the two organizations is in stark contrast.  The head of AAIIL is a volunteer position, a personal burden for a common citizen who accepts the office without any perks or promised privileges and has no ancestral claims or conflicts of interest. Whereas, a Qadiani Khalifa is a fought for position by various maneuverings of the candidates, where the promises of privileges and conflict of interest including ancestral lineage abound, among other things.

There are arguments for and against giving up the name “Ahmadiyya” because the misunderstandings around it are killing the very message that AAIIL stands for. While trying to clarify its position about the issues that are omnipresent and newer ones that frequently emanate because of Qadianis, AAIIL ends up defending Qadianis by proxy, e.g. every reciter of Kalima is Muslim etc. Many a times AAIIL (aka LAM) ends up between a rock and hard place, i.e. damned if they do and damned if they don’t only to save the Qadianis from themselves. This extra burden is exhausting for each and every AAIIL member in his or her private conversations, speeches and writings. Since time is a precious commodity, a lot of it is lost to wash the indelible stains of Qadianis that incessantly seeps into AAIIL fabric for no fault of latter.

The points of view of those who want to keep the name “Ahmadiyya” is summed up by Late F. K. Durrani of German mission in the foreword of his book – The Ahmadiyya Movement (pub. 1927, link):

“Suggestions are sometimes made that the Ahmadis of the Lahore section ought to give up calling themselves Ahmadis, and then other Muslims will be coming forward to cooperate with them. If the choice were offered to me personally, I would unhesitatingly refuse it. For people who can be held back by a word from a cause with which they otherwise agree are not worth it, and their objection is very often an excuse for not doing anything. When names like Chishti, Naqshbandi, Qadri, Hanbali and heaven knows how many besides are all tolerated, it is not clear why there should be any particular objection to the name Ahmadi, which after all is after the name of the Holy Prophet and defines the characteristics of the movement so well. Besides, the name has a historic significance and possesses a psychological value, and if the name and the character of the organisation are changed in order to please these objectors where is the guarantee that we shall even then obtain the cooperation and that they shall not have some more excuses? For there is no end of excuses for those who do not want to do anything.”

Maybe, the above argument held its weight at the time of its writing when AAIIL was only 13 years old then. Now, it is almost 99 years since its founding and AAIIL has suffered a lot because of the same name that needs no elaboration.

If we look into Quran, a specific name does not even matter to Allah Himself:

17:110. Say: Call on Allah or call on the Beneficent. By whatever (name) you call on Him, He has the best names…

Same we find in the personal example of Seal and Last of the Prophets when he contented to sign the peace treaty of Hudaybiyyah as Muhammad bin Abdullah while striking out with his own pen the signature line mentioning him as the Messenger of Allah, which Ali (RA) earlier refused to do so. He not only compromised on a few words about himself, but for the sake of peace even accepted the apparently humiliating terms. Rest is history when Islam singularly succeeded from the peace that followed and was assured in the Surah Al-Fath that was reveled thereafter:

48:1-3. Surely We have granted you a clear victory, that Allah may cover for you your (alleged)  shortcomings in the past and those to come,  and complete His favour to you and guide you on a right path, and that Allah may help you with a mighty help.

The apparent humiliating feelings of Hudaybiyyah treaty were assuredly rectified by Allah in the peace not only in the land where people could hear the message without any prejudices, but the peace that came to minds of the participants of Hudaybiyyah. How will renaming Ahmadiyya be any different for its adherents, they will have to judge and foretell for themselves:

48:4-5. He it is Who sent down tranquillity into the hearts of the believers that they might add faith to their faith. And Allah’s are the forces of the heavens and the earth, and Allah is ever Knowing, Wise —  that He may make the believers, men and women, enter Gardens in which rivers flow, to abide in them, and remove from them their evil. And that is a mighty achievement with Allah,…

These examples from God and the Prophet tell us that the Divine Himself and Divinely ordained do not miss the forest for the trees which us mortals many a times tend to do so. Prophet Muhammad preferred peace, not only because this is what Islam means and stands for, but also the state of conflict was in itself injurious to his mission.

We are closing in to the Centenary celebrations of our founding. The question of ‘To Be or Not to Be” an Ahmadiyya by name and ‘What’s in the Name’ does not wax me personally, but will be always a question that might not leave us as a Jamaat.

In the meanwhile, the middle path that Rashid Jahangiri and others have suggested is quite pragmatic (Banning of Our Websites in Pakistan – link), which is to differentiate ourselves at every moment and every forum from Qadianis, in the same manner as this site mentions – ‘This is Not a Qadiani Website’ (link). Again, this middle path is what Quran also tells us in the same earlier verse:

17:110. …And do not be loud in your prayer nor be silent in it, and seek a way between these.

While we continue to discuss the issue, not necessarily to decide, we as a Jamaat must not forget the Divine command:

3:103. And hold fast by the covenant of Allah [– the Quran] all together and do not be disunited.

42:13. He has made plain to you the religion which He enjoined upon Noah and which We have revealed to you, and which We enjoined on Abraham and Moses and Jesus — to establish religion and not to be divided in (regard to) it…

Ref: Holy Quran – Translation and Commentary by Maulana Muhammad Ali, edited by Dr. Zahid Aziz.

14 Responses to “To Be or Not To Be”

  1. June 23rd, 2013 at 6:27 am
    From Zahid Aziz:

    The following points should be considered:

    1. Do our critics object only to our name Ahmadiyya, and not to the message of the Movement? There are groups and individuals, and always have been, who accept the key points of our message, but belong to mainstream Muslims. They nonetheless suffer the fate of being stigmatised as 'Ahmadis' or Ahmadi supporters, despite all their denials.

    2. The Woking Muslim Mission, despite repeatedly announcing that it was a non-sectarian mission, and not an Ahmadiyya mission, faced the accusation all the time that it was an Ahmadi mission and should be taken into orthodox Muslim hands.

    3. Our critics don't regard it as sufficient that we cease calling ourselves Ahmadiyya because they don't believe we would be doing it genuinely. This is why we are next required by them to break other connections with our ideology, and even to curse and abuse Hazrat Mirza sahib, as happens in Pakistan.

    4. Muslims in the West today, vis-a-vis the critics of Islam, are in a similar position to us. Because of the association of Islam with extremism, they are under attack for being known as Muslims.

    To drop the name Ahmadiyya, just at the say-so of the critics, would be just like Z.A. Bhutto thought he could appease the ulama by declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslims. I am sure he thought that he was only conducting a paper exercise, which would be soon forgotten after the furore had died down, and not have any further consequences. We too would be faced with further demands in order to demonstrate that we had really dropped this name!

  2. June 23rd, 2013 at 2:46 pm
    From Muhammad Ali:

    My personal feeling is that at the core of heart the people do not have problem with the name which we have. It is just one of the many arguments which is brought in a discussion. People have mainly problem with the personlaity of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Here I will give two examples where the muslims are in both cases not happy with us:

    1. If we write ourselves in the pakistani documents as Muslims, then some muslims say we are telling lie. But if we write Ahmadi, then some muslims say that we prefer HMGA over Prophet Muhammad saw. The reason they cite is that as we do not sign the decalartion of believing Prophet Muhammad saw as the last prophet, so we are doing a contempt of Prophet. In their opinion, it would have been better that we would have signed the declaration in pakistani forms and would have done the contempt to HMGA. So in both ways the people are not happy with us.

    2. If we do not go to Hajj from Pakistan because we are Ahmadis and according to law of the land we can not perform it. Then some muslims once again say that we are preffering our love for HMGA over the love for Allah. And if we perofrm Hajj, then some muslims say that we go to perform Hajj by telling a lie.

    So we are in a Catch/22 situation. In any case some of the people will not be happy with us at the end. 

    The decision needs to be made by us, that what we think is right. And it should be independent of any gain we might get or lose.

    About the name I think we should decide it according to teachings of Hazrat Sahib, why he chose this name, what was the logic. And only after reading from his writings we can make a decision about that. It is not a question which is to be decided by me or anyother individual. We have accepted HMGA as Imam of the time and only his ruling which are to be found in his books are the last verdict for this issue. As far as my understanding from reading of HMGA is concerned, I think we can not drop this name.

  3. June 23rd, 2013 at 4:30 pm
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    Suggestion to webmaster of

    Please consider writing under the title on AAIIL home page:

    1-This is NOT website of  Qadiani (Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam), previously based in Rabwah (Chanab Nagar), Pakistan, and currently based in London, UK.

    2-AAIIL believes in absolute and unquestionable  end of prophet-hood on Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS.

    3-AAIIL believes for a Muslim it is must to believe in end of prophet-hood on Holy Prophet Muhammad SAWS, to remain a Muslim.

    Prominent section on home page highligting the core differences between AAIIL and Qadianis, as i did in original post in this thread. I am sure this will educate Muslims and even Qadianis about Qadianis beliefs.

  4. Dr. Zahid Aziz has outlined the gist of realities to be considered for the question about renaming of the Jamaat. Maybe renaming would have been a strategic option at the inception of the Jamaat in 1914, but by now lots of water has flowed under the bridge to do the same. Renaming will not have any impact; rather turn into a slippery slope the example of which we find in the ‘Camel and Bedouin’ story (link) and outlined by Dr. Aziz.

    Still the ever pervading question remains. What do we do now that at least puts a visible distance between Lahori’s and Qadiani’s when the name Ahmadiyya is mentioned? Or put it differently, when the word ‘Ahmadiyya’ is mentioned, it should automatically invoke a bifurcating thought in the audience of which Ahmadis? Lahori or Qadiani? If we can achieve such a point in the mass understanding, it is the audience who would be rejecting one over another without any explaining on our part.

    The difference between the two organizations is fundamentally the finality of the prophethood. Therefore in order to be differentiated in the minds of the mainstream, it is imperative that we emphasize and re-emphasize the finality as much as we can, wherever and whenever. This must be implemented as a policy on every forum. This emphasis does not necessarily need a ‘political’ statement or explanation, but mere words of Quran recited after the opening ‘Bismillah…” for every speech, or every text published, whether online or in print – 33:40. Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the Seal of the prophets. And Allah is ever Knower of all things. The relevant hadith – "la Nabiya Badi" (There is no Prophet after me), may be also be narrated.

    The above may be supplemented at the end of any presentation with some quote from HMGA e.g. – After the declaration in the Holy Quran "Khatam-al-Nabiyyin", the coming of another Prophet, whether a new one or the coming of an earlier one, is completely forbidden" (Izala Auham, p. 761). Various other similar quotes are outlined in this link.

    The finality of prophethood is not only the difference between the Lahoris and Qadianis, rather is the commonality between Lahoris and mainstream Muslims. This finality is the core issue which needs to precipitate in the mind of the audience. This will have the added boon for the mission, which is to make the audience think, without asking, of how valid is coming of Jesus in person again. Such statements from Quran, Hadith and HMGA, mentioned no matter casually are in congruence with Islam and our mission in that regards. A win-win situation for Islam, Jamaat and the audience. Overtime, everyone can thus be on the same page and somewhat ‘merged’ in the ideology.

    Fact is that we as a Jamaat to a certain degree have to ‘merge’ with mainstream Muslims, or vice versa, to revive Islam. Else, the way Islam in general is headed from the pulpits is creating disgust for those sitting on the benches in the West, who by proxy will reject our Jamaat along with general Muslims as well. If not taken care of, this creates an additional burden for the Jamaat. Before it was the baggage of Qadianis that we try to rectify, added to that is now the apologies for the Muslims at large.

  5. June 24th, 2013 at 2:18 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    Ikram writes: "Fact is that we as a Jamaat to a certain degree have to ‘merge’ with mainstream Muslims, or vice versa, to revive Islam."

    We are a part of mainstream Muslims. Hazrat Mirza sahib named his community: Muslims of the Ahmadiyya Section. Even the term "Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam" indicates that it is a part of the Islamic community, doing a specific service for Islam, akin to the soldiers of the army of a nation. We are not anything on our own and can only succeed as a part of the territory of Islam.

    We invite non-Muslims to the fundamentals that are accepted by "mainstream" Islam, but we also show them how our interpretations provide a better and finer understanding of those fundamentals, an understanding which can withstand the faith-destroying criticism of modern knowledge and other religions against Islam.

  6. June 24th, 2013 at 6:12 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    The following are my comments on the points presented by Muhammad Ali above.

    In pre-1974 Pakistan, our members called themselves Muslims on any form and went from Pakistan to perform the hajj. Today, we continue to call ourselves Muslims in the rest of world outside Pakistan, and to perform the hajj. It is the others in Pakistan who prevent us from doing this after 1974.

    The authorities in Pakistan who introduced the form which requires a Kalima-professing person to declare something extra in order to be recognised as a Muslim, and their blind supporters in the public, they have "preferred" the government of Pakistan over the Holy Prophet Muhammad because the teaching of the Holy Prophet Muhammad is that professing and declaring the Kalima is sufficient. They preferred an irreligious man like Z.A. Bhutto over the Holy Prophet!

    Such people are in no position to accuse us of preferring someone else over the Holy Prophet.

    Then they should tell us, what trial have they passed through for the sake of the Holy Prophet, in which they succeeded? We can consider the signing of that form as a trial for Ahmadis, and let us suppose for the sake of argument that we have failed that trial by describing ourselves as Ahmadis instead of Muslims. Have our critics passed through any trial? What would they do if the extremists in Pakistan came to power and required that all those call themselves Muslims must sign that they will not educate their daughters? Would they say that calling ourselves Muslims is more important than educating our daughters, so we will let our daughters remain illiterate for the love of the Holy Prophet?

    If Shiahs made a law that those call themselves Muslims must sign that they believe Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar and other sahaba to be munafiqeen, what would they do? After all, the Holy Prophet is dearer to us than anyone else, so what hestitation is there in denouncing most sahaba as munafiqeen?

    There are Muslims in Pakistan who hold all hadith to be fabrications. They could ask Muslims to sign that the authors of Sahih Bukhari, etc. were all forgers. If you don't sign this, you are not a Muslim!

    There are others, like Ghulam Ahmad Pervaiz, who regard all auliya in the history of Islam to be imposters and liars, just like what they call Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib. If they came to power, every Muslim may have to sign that he regards all auliya as imposters.

    Our armchair critics, who have never sacrificed one penny of their money or one minute of their time to serve the Holy Prophet, should answer: what would they do when confronted by such trials?

    As to not being able to go for the Hajj, Islam allows under certain unavoidable circumstances that a person may send a representative to perform the obligatory hajj on his/her behalf. Perhaps an Ahmadi living in Pakistan could appoint someone outside Pakistan to perform the hajj on his behalf.

    An interesting point is that there are some examples where before 1974 an Ahmadi elder of our Jamaat had performed the hajj. After 1974, due to opposition, some of his progeny declared themselves as "Muslims". Yet these "Muslims" never performed the hajj all their lives, whereas the Ahmadis had done it!

  7. I fully agree with and endorse the clarification of my statement about ‘merge’ by Dr. Aziz, as that is also my existing understanding. My using such a word was to address the general perceptions that pervade from outside in, not from inside out of our Jamaat, and how to remove this misperception from outside. It is this misunderstanding from general Muslims about our belief that like Qadianis we too believe in HMGA as a prophet and our Jamaat is separate from them because of power struggles at its inception, which we fully know is a Qadiani propaganda. Distancing ourselves ‘loud and clear’ from Qadianis will naturally help in removing these misperceptions which in turn will help a natural ‘merge’ thereafter from within the minds of general body of Muslims for us.

    Refocusing the purpose of this discussion thread, I believe that as a matter of administrative policy, we must actively emphasize our core belief of Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) on everything that is published and spoken from the forum of our Jamaat, starting from our websites and our blogs. Doing so, might seem rhetoric, but factually an essential rhetoric that is direly needed. Anyone who opens any book of ours or visits our websites, this Finality must jump to them as the first information. Islam of today needs HMGA, the Mujaddid for its revival. It is incumbent on this Jamaat to remove any and all barriers, real or perceived, because “We are not anything on our own and can only succeed as a part of the territory of Islam” both in the minds of Muslims at large and those waiting to be one.

  8. June 25th, 2013 at 11:46 am
    From Mohammed Iqbal:

    Dear LAM elders,

    The best course for you people will be to wait. Pakistan is in the process of destroying itself with its bigotry. Keep a low profile till the process is complete.

  9. June 25th, 2013 at 9:33 pm
    From Zahid Aziz:

    I am not going to publish the "pac" of lies submitted by 4pac. He can try writing a booklet with full references to prove his case rather than throw unsubstantiated allegations.

    He alleges that Lahoris have lowered the status of Hazrat Mirza sahib and gave up belief in him as a prophet in order to build relationships with Muslims, just as "the Mormons gave up polygamy" in order to compromise with the laws of USA.

    Only Mormons gave up belief in polygamy? What about Muslims? Many Muslim countries have legislation since over fifty years ago to restrict polygamy, against the traditional beliefs of the ulama. Was that to please the modern West? And Muslims in the West don't practice polygamy either, perhaps to "build relationships" with non-Muslims.

    More importantly, 4pac's "Muslims" in general in the West gave up their belief in a war-like jihad "to build relationships". Those who didn't are being hunted by the police.

    4pac's "Muslims" gave up belief in slavery after the West abolished it, not before. Nor does any Muslim man in the West have a number of concubines (whose legitimacy is believed in by Maulana Maudoodi).

  10. The allegation of 4pac – that Lahoris have lowered the status of Hazrat Mirza sahib and gave up belief in him as a prophet in order to build relationships with Muslims, speaks volumes.

    These are the assertions used both by the Qadianis and people like 4pac against Lahoris to keep them at bay from themselves. For Qadianis Khilafas it serves their concoction that since Maulana Muhammad Ali could not get the successor-ship after Maulana Nooruddin, hence rejection of (alleged) prophethood of HMGA by him was only an excuse to separate and establish AAIIL with him as it head. Whereas, 4pac & co. are nervous that once the finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the central doctrine of AAIIL becomes fully known to the general public, then there is no stopping the works and literature of AAIIL to take general Muslims by storm. This is especially so in the light of the exhausting turmoil that the Umma is in grips of for the past century and has no solution in sight. Every next doctrine that emerges in it is even more destructive than the previous one, be it a religious, secular, democratic or dictatorial effort or any combination thereof. It is a clear admittance by 4pac that AAIIL is a hot potato which his likes cannot handle on merit; hence he resorts to preemptive smear tactics.

    The comment by 4pac refocuses the very purpose of this discussion thread that AAIIL has to double the efforts to imprint on the general public its central doctrine of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) as the absolute last prophet, the finality without any ifs, ands or buts, and on every conceivable forum.

    The more this finality is emphasized; not only the Qadianiat crumbles but so do the Mullah’s and their dogmas fizzle away in every reasonable Muslim mind out there. Naturally then the Mujaddid-ship of HMGA gets established, because it is he who is the main proponent of a pristine Finality of Prophethood of Muhammad (PBUH) in our times.

  11. June 26th, 2013 at 5:06 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    4pac in practice is follower of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib.

    HMGA sahib believed in peaceful propagation and defense of Islam. 4pac AS A PRACTICAL FOLLOWER OF HMGA also does not believe in 'armed and militant jihad to spread Islam in Europe'; he is faithful citizen of the land of Queen of UK.

    4pac, i CHALLENGE you to deny what i wrote about you above.

  12. June 26th, 2013 at 6:27 am
    From Rashid Jahangiri:

    I sent an email to LAM General Secretary brother Amir Aziz sahib to give us his opinion, at least in his individual capacity as member of LAM, to points raised by me and others on his recently released press release after AAIIL website was banned in Pakistan. I hope brother Amir Aziz sahib finds time (and has electricity at that time) to post his opinion.

    I am sure Qadianis who are reading our discussion must be learning a new thing that people can disagree in LAM.


  13. July 4th, 2013 at 6:03 am
    From Dil Sooz:

    Recently a well known Pakistani journalist and writer of novel " A case of exploding mangoes" Muhammad Hanif spoke eloquently on this issue titled " KAFIR FACTORY" .

    It is worth listening – here is the YouTube link:

  14. July 12th, 2013 at 11:44 am
    From Omar Ahmad:

    While I am in favor of retaining the name Ahmadiyya in our writings it is clear the world view is that we are Non Muslims because of the association of the Qadiani sect with that name.

    As I was not present when the name was chosen for our group, it is clear the circumstances have changed and we must come to terms with the reality of our situation.

    If Islam is to prevail in the world, the name we use must be ameriolated with the fact that our understanding of Islam is different from the other group that uses our name in the pretext it represents our leader's viewpoint.

    While they have the understanding they are the representatives of our jamaat which is the original ideology of the Ahmadiyya viewpoint we should be conversant with them as they are our bretheren in faith.

    While we represent the original teachings of our teacher we should allow them peace as they carry forward his name in tthe world while we are relegated to the role of observing his teachings as he intended. While we are at loggerheads with them in this regard we should however submit to their claim they represent his name worldwide as we are a small group with few members.

    As our standing in politics alone is negligible,  I propose a different view from what was intended originally. I suggest we use the word Ahmadiyya in our forum discussions but remove the word from our teachings until the matter is clarified in the world who really represent the Ahmadiyya jamaat.

    While I am aware this view is aversive to you,  I am also aware how difficult it is to clarify our groups position in the Muslim world as simply using our name publicly damns us to hellfire in their view.

    Since it is our literature that is ascendant in the world we should distribute it without the label of Ahmadiyyat while the ongoing debate clarifies who represents our leader's view.

    As this is my opinion you can take it for what it is since I am an Ahmadi in mind and spirit but use the word sparingly in my discourses with the public. As they are considerate to call me a Muslim, they are aversive to me leading them in public since they would be considered Ahmadi if they allowed that. While it is in their purview to accept or decline my services to the community here in Jackson, I am willing to negotiate the matter by indicating I am a member of Ahle Sunnah wal jamaat with Ahmadi precepts since this has been our aqueedah all along.