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Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement
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Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908) had created the Ahmadiyya Movement not as just another sect of Islam which, like other sects and factions, would engage in sectarian bickering and denounce fellow-Muslims of other persuasions as being kafir and ‘expelled from Islam’, but he had created it as a force for the presentation of true Islamic ideals.

Hazrat Mirza, upto even the last few days of his life in May 1908, in his reported conversations with distinguished Muslim visitors while staying in Lahore, spoke of himself as one of the mujaddids of Islam (see the statement on 25 May 1908, Malfuzat, vol. 10, pp. 451 - 452, under title ‘Need for a Mujaddid’.) Hazrat Mirza also assured them that he did not regard Muslims outside his Movement as kafir; far from it, it was the other ulama who were denouncing him and his followers as being outside the fold of Islam (see the statement on 15 May 1908, Malfuzat, vol. 10, pp. 376 - 378.)

It was thus clear from his statements right up to his death (on 26 May 1908), as published in the Ahmadiyya newspapers of the time, that his claim was that of being a mujaddid, and not a prophet.

After Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s death in May 1908, his right-hand man and a highly-learned Islamic scholar, Maulvi Nur-ud-Din, who was greatly respected by Muslims outside the Ahmadiyya Movement as well, was unanimously chosen as the Head of the Movement. However, certain members of the family of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad wanted to establish a hereditary succession remaining within the family, but they were not in a position to fulfill their ambitions as yet, especially since Hazrat Mirza’s eldest son, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, who would be the contender, was too young at this time.

Some 3 years later Mirza Mahmud Ahmad and his supporters, in order to create a platform for a leadership campaign, began to promote the view that a person could not remain a Muslim by belief in the Kalima Shahada and the prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad only, but had in addition to acknowledge that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet of God.

The position taken by Mirza Mahmud Ahmad was that, just as when the Holy Prophet Muhammad arose, the followers of earlier prophets were required to believe in him in order to become Muslims, similarly with the appearance now of the prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad belief in him must be acknowledged in order for anyone to be a Muslim. And belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, it was further asserted, is acknowledged by taking the pledge of entry (bai‘at) with the Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement who is the real and true khalifa of all the Muslims. In a book published a little later, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad expressed this doctrine in the following exact words (in English):

“…all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his bai‘at 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.”

(The Truth about the Split, first published 1924; 3rd edition, Rabwah, Pakistan, 1965, pp. 55–56.)

“I wrote that as we believed the Promised Messiah to be one of the prophets of God, we could not possibly regard his deniers as Muslims.” (ibid., page 135.)

(For details, select this link.)

Maulana Muhammad Ali and other senior and prominent members of the Ahmadiyya Movement repudiated these notions as being both contrary to basic Islamic teachings as well as against the expressed beliefs of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The Maulana explains these events in an English tract published shortly afterwards in 1918 as follows:

“M. Mahmud, a son of the founder of the movement, who is the present head of the Qadian section of the community, began to drift away from the basic principles of the Islamic faith about three years after the death of the Promised Messiah, going so far as to declare plainly that the hundreds of millions of Muslims, living in the world, should be no more treated as Muslims. . . . A large number of the educated members of the community, who had the moral courage to dissent openly from the erroneous doctrines taught by him, perceived the great danger to the whole community, when after the death of the late Maulvi Nur-ud-Din a particular clique in the community succeeded in raising M. Mahmud to headship at Qadian without any general consultation. They at once rallied round the true doctrines of the Promised Messiah, and after in vain trying for over a month and a half to keep up the unity of the movement, formed themselves into a separate Society, known as the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at-i-Islam, on 2nd May 1914, which is now earnestly working for the propagation of Islam.”

(The Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement, Preface.)

Thus came into being the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, with the following characteristic beliefs:

  1. The Holy Prophet Muhammad is the Last Prophet after whom no prophet whatsoever can appear.
  2. Believers in the Holy Prophet Muhammad form a brotherhood, and so long as a person claims membership of the brotherhood of Islam by declaring the words ‘There is no god but Allah, and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’, he cannot be expelled from Islam or branded as a kafir by any power on earth.
  3. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad never claimed to be a prophet, but was a Mujaddid in Islam, like mujaddids that arose in Islam before him, and he was that particular Mujaddid who was the Promised Messiah.
  4. Those Muslims who do not believe in Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad still remain Muslims.

Qadiani leadership creates despotic khilafat

Another related belief promoted by the Qadiani leader, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, was that every Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement, after Hazrat Mirza, is actually appointed by God, he acts by Divine authority, he should possess absolute power, and he must be obeyed unquestioningly like an autocrat. In fact, he is supposed to be the real ruler and khalifa of all the Muslims of the time, whom it is obligatory on every Muslim to accept and obey.

Quite contrary to this, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had revived the true Islamic principle of ‘rule by consultation’ in the governing of the Ahmadiyya Movement. Some 2 to 3 years before his death, he had published his ‘Will’ by which he created a body of men, fourteen in number, as the supreme executive of the Movement. This body he described as his “successor”, and he stipulated that its majority decisions would be final and binding after his death. No individual head was to wield absolute, autocratic power. It was, in fact, such systems of absolute religious authority that had brought previous Muslim spiritual movements to corruption and ruin. The executive body created by Hazrat Mirza was set into operation by him immediately, two years before his death.

(For details, select this link.)

After the Split in 1914, the Qadiani Movement under Mirza Mahmud Ahmad’s leadership discarded the system established by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement and replaced it by an autocratic system of absolute rule by the khalifa. As time went on, the office of the khalifa appropriated more and more power, reducing the followers to a position of the utmost servility and total blind obedience.

Sadly, the Qadianis became merely brain-washed, closed-minded and slavish followers of their Khalifa (Head), and this has been their condition ever since then, till today. Anything which the Khalifa says or commands, no matter how absurd it may be, no matter how much opposed to Islam and how much against the teachings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad it may be, the average Qadianis will follow and act upon it zealously, without thinking.