Ahmadiyya (Arabic: أحمدية‎;Urdu: احمدِیہ) is an Islamic religious revivalist movement founded in India near the end of the 19th century, originating with the life and teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908), who claimed to have fulfilled the prophecies about the world reformer of the end times, who was to herald the Eschaton as predicted in the traditions of various world religions and bring about the final triumph of Islam as per Islamic prophecy. He claimed that he was the Mujaddid (divine reformer) of the 14th Islamic century, the promised Messiah and Mahdi awaited by Muslims.[1][2][3] The adherents of the Ahmadiyya movement are referred to as Ahmadis or Ahmadi Muslims. Ahmadi emphasis lay in the belief that Islam is the final dispensation for humanity as revealed to Muhammad and the necessity of restoring to it its true essence and pristine form, which had been lost through the centuries. Thus, Ahmadis view themselves as leading the revival and peaceful propagation of Islam.[4] The Ahmadis were among the earliest Muslim communities to arrive in Britain and other Western countries.[4]

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad founded the movement on 23 March 1889 and termed it the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at (community), envisioning it to be a revitalisation of Islam. Ahmadis consider themselves Muslims and claim to practice Islam in its pristine form; however, Ahmadiyya views on certain beliefs in Islam have been controversial to orthodox Muslims since the movement’s birth. Orthodox Muslims do not consider Ahmadis to be Muslims, citing in particular the Ahmadiyya viewpoint on the death and return of Jesus (see Jesus in Islam), the Ahmadiyya concept of Jihad in a peaceful format and the community’s view of the finality of prophethood with particular reference to the interpretation of Quran 33:40. In several Islamic countries today Ahmadis have been marginalised by the majority religious community; severe persecution and often systematic oppression have led many Ahmadis to emigrate and settle elsewhere.[5]



Baitul Futuh Mosque of the “Ahmadiyya Community”, London. Largest in Western Europe.[6]

At the end of the 19th century, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian proclaimed himself to be the “Reformer of the age” (Mujaddid), Promised Messiah and the Mahdi awaited by the Muslims and obtained a considerable number of followers especially within the United Provinces, the Punjab and Sindh.[7] He and his followers claim that his advent was foretold by Muhammad, the Prophet of Islam, and also by many other religious scriptures of the world. In 1889, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad laid down the foundation of his community, which was later given the name of “Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at”. Ahmadiyya emerged in India as a movement within Islam, also in response to the Christian and Arya Samaj missionary activity that was widespread in the 19th century.

Soon after the death of the first successor of Ghulam Ahmad, the movement split into two groups over the nature of Ghulam Ahmad’s prophethood and his succession. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believed that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had indeed been a “non-law-bearing” prophet and that mainstream Muslims who categorically rejected his message were guilty of disbelief in Islamic prophecies. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, however, affirmed the modern-day orthodox Islamic interpretation that there could be no prophet after Muhammad and viewed itself as a reform movement within the broader Ummah.[8] The question of succession was also an issue in the split of the Ahmadiyya movement. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believed that an Anjuman (body of selected people) should be in charge of the community. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, however, maintained that Caliphs (successors of Ghulam Ahmad) should continue to take charge of the community and should be left with the overall authority.[9]

The larger body of Ahmadi Muslims belonging in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community however contend that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself received a revelation by God concerning a future split in his Community and that it would be concerning his Promised Son:

God has conveyed to me that there would be a great split in my Movement as well, and mischief makers and those who are the slaves of their own desires will depart... It will be the time of my Promised Son (Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad). God has decreed these events in connection with him... Be sure to recognize the Promised Son.

Tadhkirah pg. 1066-1067

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has established centers in 200 countries and states that its membership is in the tens of millions,[4] while the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement states it is established in 17 countries of the world.[10]

Overseas Ahmadiyya missionary activities started at an organised level as early as 1913 (the UK mission in Putney, London). For many modern nations of the world, the Ahmadiyya movement was their first contact with the proclaimants from the Muslim world.[11] The Ahmadiyya movement is considered by some historians[12] as one of the precursors to the African-American Civil Rights Movement in America. According to some experts,[13] Ahmadiyya were “arguably the most influential community in African-American Islam” until the 1950s.

The Ahmadiyya faith claims to represent the latter-day revival of the religion of Islam. Today, the Ahmadiyya community has a presence in 195 countries,[4][14] and in every country but Pakistan, they are legally identified as Muslims. In Pakistan they are prohibited by law from self-identifying as Muslims.[15]

Origin of the name

Mahmood Mosque, Zürich

The Ahmadiyya movement was founded in 1889, but the name Ahmadiyya was not adopted until about a decade later. In a manifesto dated November 4, 1900, Ghulam Ahmad explained that the name did not refer to himself but to Ahmad, the alternative name of the prophet Muhammad. According to him, ‘Muhammad’, which means ‘the most praised one’, refers to the glorious destiny, majesty and power of the prophet who adopted the name from about the time of the Hegira; but ‘Ahmad’, an Arabic elative form which means ‘highly praised’ and also ‘comforter’, stands for the beauty of his sermons, for the qualities of tenderness, gentleness, humility, love and mercy displayed by Muhammad, and for the peace that he was destined to establish in the world through his teachings. According to Ghulam Ahmad, these names thus refer to two aspects or phases of Islam and in later times it was the latter aspect that commanded greater attention.[16]

Accordingly, in Ghulam Ahmad's view, this was the reason that the Old Testament prophesied a Messenger ‘like unto Moses’ referred to as Mohammad, while according to the Qur'an, Jesus foretold of a messenger named Ahmad.[Quran 61:6]

In keeping with this, he believed, his object was to defend and propagate Islam globally through peaceful means, to revive the forgotten Islamic values of peace, forgiveness and sympathy for all mankind and to establish peace in the world through the spiritual teachings of Islam. He believed that his message had special relevance for the Western world, which, he believed, had descended into materialism.[17]



Ahmadiyya shares beliefs with Islam in general, including belief in the prophethood of Muhammad, reverence for historical prophets, belief in the oneness of God (tawhid). They accept the Qur'an as their holy text, face the Kaaba during prayer, accept the authority of Hadiths (reported sayings of and stories about Muhammad) and practice the Sunnah.[18]

Central to the Ahmadiyya is the belief in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. Ahmadis emphasize the implementation of the Kalima (the fundamental creed of Islam) as essentially linked with the Islamic principles of the rights of God (Arabic: Haqooq-Allah) and the rights of His creation (mankind) (Arabic: Haqooqul-Ibād).[19]

Ahmadis believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was divinely commissioned as a true reflection of Muhammad's prophethood to establish the unity of God, remind mankind of their duties towards God and God's creation, to emphasize both aspects of religion which Ahmadis believe is the need of the present age. As such Ahmadis hold that Ghulam Ahmad was the representative and spiritual readvent of all previous prophets.[20] From the Ahmadiyya perspective, the Christians have erred with regards to the rights of God in that they have attributed divine status to a mortal human[21], and it is on this account that in Islamic eschatology the promised reformer has been named the Mahdi (the "Guided One"—a title meaning one who is naturally guided and is an heir to all truths and in whom the attribute of "guide" of the Almighty is fully represented). Ahmadis also hold that the Muslims have erred with regard to the rights of creation for they, unjustly raising the sword and calling it Jihad, have misunderstood the concept and purpose of jihad in Islam; it is on this account that he has been called the Isa Messih ("Jesus the Messiah")—a term which relates to his function in re-establishing the rights of people by reforming their distorted, violent notion of "Jihad" just as Jesus Christ came principally to reform the hearts and attitudes of the Jewish nation.

Giving precedence to faith over worldly pursuits is also a fundamental principle in Ahmadiyya teachings with emphasised relevance to the present age of materialistic prevalence.[22]

Distinct Ahmadiyya beliefs

Although the central values of Islam (prayer, charity, fasting, etc.) and the six articles of belief are shared by Muslims and Ahmadis,[23] distinct Ahmadiyya beliefs include the following:

  • That the prophecies concerning the second coming of Jesus were metaphorical in nature and not literal, and that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad fulfilled in his person these prophecies and the second advent of Jesus, that he was the promised Mahdi and Messiah.
  • The continuation of divine revelation. Although the Qur'an is the final message of God for mankind, He continues to communicate with his chosen individuals in the same way he is believed to have done in the past. All of God's attributes are eternal.
  • That Jesus, contrary to mainstream Islamic belief, was crucified and survived the four hours on the cross. He was later revived from a swoon in the tomb.[24] Ahmadis believe that Jesus died in Kashmir of old age whilst seeking the Lost Tribes of Israel.[25] Jesus’ remains are believed to be entombed in Kashmir under the name Yuz Asaf. Ahmadis believe that Jesus foretold the coming of Muhammad after him, which Christians have misinterpreted.[26]
  • That Jesus Christ did not bring a new religion or law, i.e., that he was not a law-bearing prophet, but was last in the line of Israelite prophets who appeared within the dispensation of Moses akin to that of David, Solomon, Jeremiah, Isaiah, etc.
  • That the “Messiah” and the “Imam Mahdi” are the same person, and that it is through his teachings, influence, his prayers and those of his followers that Islam will defeat the Anti-Christ or Dajjal in a period similar to the period of time it took for nascent Christianity to rise (see also: Ahmadiyya relationship with Christianity) and that the Dajjal's power will slowly melt away like the melting of snow, heralding the final victory of Islam and the age of peace.
  • That the history of religion is cyclic and is renewed every seven millennia. The present cycle from the time of the Biblical Adam is split into seven epochs or ages, parallel to the seven days of the week, with periods for light and darkness. That Mirza Ghulam Ahmad appeared as the Promised Messiah at the sixth epoch heralding the seventh and final age of mankind,[27] as a day in the estimation of God is like a thousand years of man's reckoning.[Quran 22:47] According to Ghulam Ahmad, just as the sixth day of the week is reserved for Jumu'ah (congregational prayers), likewise his age is destined for a global assembling of mankind in which the world is to unite under one universal religion: Islam.
  • The two Ahmadiyya groups have varying beliefs regarding the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that Muhammad brought prophethood to perfection and was the last law-bearing prophet and the apex of man’s spiritual evolution. New prophets can come but they must be subordinate to Muhammad and cannot exceed him in excellence nor alter his teaching or bring any new law or religion.[28] The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believes that Muhammad is the last of the prophets and no prophet, new or old, can come after him.[29]


Article of faith Orthodox Islam Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
Return of Jesus Only few with different belief (mainly in 20th Century),[30][31] but most believe that at the “end of days” Jesus himself will descend from heaven in the flesh.[32] References to the second coming of Jesus among the Muslims are allegorical in that one was to be born and rise as a prophet within the dispensation of Muhammad who by virtue of his similarity, and affinity with Jesus and the similarity between the Jews of Jesus’ time and the Muslims of the time of the promised one (The Mahdi) is called by the same name. The prophecy of the second coming was fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.[33] References to the second coming of Jesus among the Muslims are allegorical in that one was to be born and rise as a prophet within the dispensation of Muhammad who by virtue of his similarity, and affinity with Jesus and the similarity between the Jews of Jesus' time and the Muslims of the time of the promised one (The Mahdi) is called by the same name. The physical coming of Jesus (an old Israelite prophet) would disqualify Muhammad as the final prophet. The prophecy of the second coming was fulfilled in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.[34]
Status of
Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
Mainstream Muslims consider him an apostate and believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was one of the 30 false claimants to prophethood[35] about whom the prophet Muhammad had warned Muslims 1400 years ago. Ahmad was a Mujaddid (Islamic Reformer) of the 14th Islamic century (19th Century Gregorian), the promised Mahdi and the second coming of Jesus. He is referred to as a prophet in the metaphorical sense only (as other recognized Islamic saints and sufis are similarly referred to), not a prophet in the technical meaning of the word.[36] Ahmad was a prophet ("Rasul" as mentioned in 2:285 [We make no distinction between any of His Messengers]) but subordinate and deputy to the Prophet Muhammad. The Messiah, Imam Mahdi and Mujaddid of the 14th Islamic century, and the second coming of Jesus.[37]
Who is a Muslim? Professing the Kalima is required to become a Muslim with a belief that in the finality of Prophets came at Prophet Muhammad. The amended Pakistani constitution (Article 260, clause 3) defines a "Muslim" as a person who believes in the oneness of God, in the finality of the prophethood of Muhammad, and does not believe in any person who claims to be a prophet after the prophet Muhammad.[38]

Most Muslim sects that believe in the concepts of Masih ad-Dajjal (Antichrist), Mahdi, and return of Jesus also believe that it will be required for believers to accept the promised Mahdi as their leader.[39] One exception to this is the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement which considers that it is not required for a believer to accept the promised Mahdi.

Anyone professing the Kalima is a Muslim and cannot be declared a non-Muslim by anyone else.[40] Anyone professing the Kalima is a Muslim and cannot be declared a disbeliever of Islam by anyone else. However, a distinction is made if someone explicitly claims to be against Ahmadiyyat. Yet this distinction does not put anybody outside the fold of Islam.</ref> However, a person who knowingly rejects Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claim is a kafir (non-believer) in the sense of forming a rebellion against God's revelation.[41][42]
Finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad The meaning of “Seal of the prophets” is that Muhammad is the last of the prophets.[43] The meaning of “Seal of the prophets” is that Muhammad is the last of the prophets. No prophet, either new or old can come after him.[29] Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was the Mujaddid (reformer) of the 14th century Hijra and not a true prophet.[44] Muhammad brought prophethood to perfection, he sealed prophethood and religious law, thus being the last law-bearing prophet. New prophets can come but they must be subordinate to Muhammad and cannot exceed him in excellence, alter his teaching, nor bring any new law or religion. They shall be sent for the revival of the true spirit of Islam.[28]
Jesus, Son of Mary Born of a miraculous birth[45] from the virgin, Mary, but not the son of God. Did not die on the cross but was transported to heaven,[46] where he lives to return in the flesh to this world shortly before Doomsday.[47] Since Jesus (considered a prophet) came before Muhammad, his return to Earth would not disqualify Muhammad as the “last” prophet. Jesus will come to earth not as a prophet but as a follower of Muhammad and preach the teachings of Muhammad.[48] Similar to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community belief except that the question of Jesus's virgin birth is not an essential requirement of faith and is left to the individual's personal conviction.[49] Believes in virgin birth of Jesus but not that he is son of God.[50] He survived the crucifixion and did not die an accursed death. Everything with Jesus was natural like other human beings regarding his birth and his death and that is the Lord's rule.[51] Instead he travelled east to India in search of the Lost Tribes of Israel.[52] Jesus lived a full life and died on earth, specifically Jesus's (Yuz Asaf's) tomb lies in Srinigar, Kashmir in the Roza Bal.
Armed jihad Jihad literally means "to strive or exert to the fullest", referring to striving against the devil, one's low desires (self) and the peaceful propagation of Islam with special emphasis on spreading the true message of Islam by example. In all four schools of Sunni Islamic jurisprudence, and the equivalent in Shi'ite law, defensive jihad is the only legal form of warfare permissible under Islamc law. This obligates Muslims to join in defense of their lands and people. Jihad primarily means "to strive or exert to the fullest". On an ongoing basis this refers to striving against the devil, one's low desires (self) and the peaceful propagation of Islam with special emphasis on spreading the true message of Islam by the pen. In special circumstances jihad could be an armed struggle, but only as a defensive war against extreme persecution.[53] The word jihad is interchanged with the meaning of "Ijtihad" and primarily means to strive or exert to the fullest. This refers to striving against the evil of one's low desires and the peaceful propagation of Islam, with special emphasis on spreading the true message of Islam by the pen. As per prophecy, the Messiah rendered the concept of violent jihad unnecessary in modern times. They believe that the answer of hate should be given by love. Their khalifas said that "if anyone attacks us we must not attack him and should treat them with love and kindness"; this is called “Jihaad-e-Akbar” (The Greater Jihad).

Current status

Ahmadis have been subject to various forms of persecution since the movement's inception in 1889. The Ahmadiyya faith emerged from the Sunni tradition of Islam and its adherents believe in all the five pillars and articles of faith required of Muslims.[4] The Ahmadis are active translators of the Qur'an and proselytizers for the faith; converts to Islam in many parts of the world first discover Islam through the Ahmadis. However, in many Islamic countries the Ahmadis have been defined as heretics and non-Muslim and subjected to persecution and often systematic oppression.[54]


India has a significant Ahmadiyya population.[55] Most of them live in Kerala, Rajasthan, Orissa, Haryana, Bihar, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, and a few in Punjab in the area of Qadian.

Ahmadis are held to be Muslims by law in India. Their legal status as Muslims is supported by a landmark ruling by the Kerala High Court on 8 December 1970 in the case of Shihabuddin Imbichi Koya Thangal vs K.P. Ahammed Koya, citation A.I.R. 1971 Ker 206.[56] In this case, the court ruled that Ahmadis are Muslims and that they cannot be declared apostates by other Muslim sects because they hold true to the two fundamental beliefs of Islam: that there is no god but Allah and that Muhammad was a servant and messenger of god.[57]

There are hence no legal restrictions on the religious activities of Ahmadis in India and Ahmadis are free to practice their religion and call themselves Muslims.[56] However, there is some discrimination against Ahmadis in India from fellow Muslims of other sects. Specifically, the Islamic University of India and Darul Uloom Deoband have declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims.[58] Ahmadis are also not permitted by Muslim leaders of the other sects to sit on the All India Muslim Personal Law Board, an independent body of Islamic religious leaders that the Indian government recognises as representatives of Indian Muslims.[59]


Pakistan has roughly 4 million Ahmadis[60] and is the only state to have officially declared the Ahmadis to be non-Muslims;[56] here their freedom of religion has been curtailed by a series of ordinances, acts and constitutional amendments. In 1974 Pakistan's parliament adopted a law declaring Ahmadis to be non-Muslims;[61] the country's constitution was amended to define a Muslim “as a person who believes in the finality of the Prophet Muhammad”.[38] In 1984 General Zia-ul-Haq, the then military ruler of Pakistan, issued Ordinance XX.[62][63] The ordinance, which was supposed to prevent "anti-Islamic activities", forbids Ahmadis to call themselves Muslim or to "pose as Muslims". This means that they are not allowed to profess the Islamic creed publicly or call their places of worship mosques.[64] Ahmadis in Pakistan are also barred by law from worshipping in non-Ahmadi mosques or public prayer rooms, performing the Muslim call to prayer, using the traditional Islamic greeting in public, publicly quoting from the Quran, preaching in public, seeking converts, or producing, publishing, and disseminating their religious materials. These acts are punishable by imprisonment of up to three years.[15] In applying for a passport or a national ID card, all Pakistanis are required to sign an oath declaring Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be an impostor prophet and all Ahmadis to be non-Muslims.[50] Because he was an Ahmadi, the word "Muslim" was erased from the gravestone of the Nobel prize winning theoretical physicist Abdus Salam.[50]

As a result of the cultural implications of the laws and constitutional amendments regarding Ahmadis in Pakistan, persecution and hate-related incidents are constantly reported from different parts of the country. Ahmadis have been the target of many attacks led by various religious groups.[65] All religious seminaries and madrasahs in Pakistan, belonging to different sects of Islam, have prescribed essential reading materials specifically targeted at refuting Ahmadiyya beliefs.[66]

In a 2005 survey in Pakistan, pupils in private schools of Pakistan expressed their opinions on religious tolerance in the country. The figures assembled in the study reflect that even in the educated classes of Pakistan, Ahmadis are considered to be the least deserving minority in terms of equal opportunities and civil rights. In the same study, the teachers in these elite schools showed an even lower amount of tolerance towards Ahmadis than their pupils.[67] Ahmadis are harassed by certain schools, universities and teachers in Pakistan's Punjab province. The harassment includes social boycott, expulsions, threats and violence against Ahmadi students by extremist students, teachers and principals of the majority sect.[68]

28 May 2010 saw the worst single incident of violence against Ahmadis to date (see: May 2010 Lahore attacks), when several members of an extremist religious group (allegedly Tehrik-e-Taliban Punjab) entered two Ahmadi mosques in Lahore, opened fire, and three of them later detonated themselves. In total, the attacks claimed the lives of 95 people and injured well over 100. The members were gathered in the mosques attending Friday services.[69] In response to the attacks, Pakistan minister for minorities Shahbaz Bhatti visited the Ahmadi community.[citation needed]


In Bangladesh, fundamentalist Islamic groups have demanded that Ahmadiyyas be “officially” declared to be kafirs (infidels). Ahmadiyyas have become a persecuted group, targeted via protests and acts of violence.[70] According to Amnesty International, followers have been subject to “house arrest”, and several have been killed. In late 2003, several large violent marches, led by Moulana Moahmud Hossain Mumtazi, were directed to occupy an Ahmadiyya mosque. In 2004, all Ahmadiyya publications were banned.[71]


Ahmadiyya had existed before Proclamation of Indonesian Independence.[citation needed] However, Ahmadiyya as a controversial religious minority in Indonesia has only risen sharply in the 2000s with a rise of Islamic fundamentalism. In 2008, many Muslims in Indonesia protested against the Ahmadiyya movement. With large demonstrations, these religious conservatives put pressure on the government to monitor, and harass the Ahmadiyya community in Indonesia. Public opinion in Indonesia is split in two major views on how Ahmadiyya should be treated: (a) majority of Muslim over Indonesia hold that it should be banned outright on the basis that Ahmadiyah had misleaded the central tenet of Islam that Muhammad is the last messenger of God, and pretend Ahmadis to not using Islam as their banner and should made their own recognized religion in order to ensure their freedom of religion in Indonesia; (b) some minorities including Ahmadis and numbers of Non-Governmental Organization hold that it should be free to do and say as it pleases under the banner of Islam to fulfill the Constitutional right of freedom of religion. In June 2008, a law was passed to curtail “proselytizing” by Ahmadiyya members.[72] An Ahmadiyya mosque was burned.[73] Human rights groups objected to the restrictions on religious freedom. On February 6, 2011 some Ahmadiyya members were killed at Pandeglang, Banten province.[74] In the few past years there has been an increase in attacks on religious freedom, including incidents of physical abuse, preventing groups from performing prayers and burning their mosques. Data from the Setara Institute for Democracy and Peace show 17 incidents, 18 and 64 for the years 2008, 2009 and 2010 respectively.[75] Although the data cover persecution of all religions, the recent persecution of Ahmadis is significant and hard, followed by persecution of Christians and persecution of other Islamic sects who claim 'genuine/pure/fundamentalist Muslims'.

As of 2011, the sect faces widespread calls for a total "ban" in Indonesia.[76] On February 6 2011, hundreds of orthodox Muslims surrounded an Ahmadiyya household and beat three people to death. Footage of the bludgeoning of their naked bodies - while policeman looked on - was posted on the internet and subsequently broadcast on international media.[77]

Even so, majority of Muslims in Indonesia see that the widespreading attack on Ahmadiyya is a counter-action to Ahmadis' stubbornness to fulfill the Indonesian Three-Minister Collective Decree on Ahmadiyya that ask Ahmadis to leave the Islamic banner and create their own religion, in order to maintain situation and ensure their freedom of religion and safety.

Views by Orthodox Muslims

Orthodox Muslims consider both Ahmadi movements to be heretical and non-Muslim for a number of reasons, chief among them being the question of finality of prophethood,[78] since they believe members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community do not regard the Islamic prophet Muhammad as the last prophet.[79] The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement does not subscribe to this belief; its members, in fact, do not see Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet in the conventional sense .[33] Ahmadis claim that this is a result of misinterpreting Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's statements referring to his coming “in the spirit of Muhammed”,[80] (similar to John the Baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah).[81] Ahmadi Muslims believe Ghulam Ahmad to be the Mahdi and promised Messiah. Orthodox Muslims reject this and cite that Ghulam Ahmad did not fulfill the prophecies of Imam Mahdi and the title of Messiah was given only to Jesus and no one else. He is considered to be a false prophet.

The Muslim World League held its annual conference at Mecca, Saudi Arabia from 14th to 18th of Rabiul Awwal 1394 H (April 1974) in which 140 delegations of Muslim countries and organizations from all over the world participated. At the conference, the League issued the following declaration:

"Qadianism or Ahmadiyyat: It is a subversive movement against Islam and the Muslim world, which falsely and decietfully claims to be an Islamic sect; who under the guise of Islam and for the sake of mundane interests contrives and plans to damage the very foundations of Islam."[82]

Both Ahmadi movements are considered non-Muslims by the Pakistan government, and have this fact recorded on their travel documents. By contrast, Ahmadi citizens from Western countries and some Muslim states perform Hajj and Umra, as the Saudi government is not made aware that they are Ahmadis when they apply for a visa. A court decision has upheld the right of Ahmadiyyas to identify themselves as Muslims in India.[83]

As the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement’s view regarding Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s status as a Prophet is closer to current Orthodox Islamic thought, the literature published by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement has found greater acceptance among the Muslim intelligentsia.[84][85]

Some Muslims group both Ahmadi movements together and refer to them as “Qadianis”, and their beliefs as “Qadianism”[86] (after the small town of Qadian in the Gurdaspur District of Punjab in India, where the movement's founder was born). However most, if not all, Ahmadis of both sects dislike this term as it has acquired derogatory connotations over the years and furthermore they prefer to differentiate their two separate movements. Most Muslims will not use the term “Muslim” when referring to Ahmadis, even though both sects refer to themselves as such, citing the fatwas given by the Islamic scholars. However, as members of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement deny the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, some orthodox Islamic Scholars consider the Lahore Ahmadiyya to be Muslims.[87] In earlier times in Pakistan and India, there was widespread persecution of Ahmadis by certain Muslim groups. Sporadic violence as well as persecution of a more subtle nature against Ahmadis continues even today.[88]

Relationship with other faiths


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was actively engaged in debates, prayer duels and written arguments with the Christian missionaries. The Ahmadiyya view of Jesus' survival from the crucifixion, his subsequent travels to the east in search of the 'Lost Sheep of Israel' and his natural death, as propounded by Ghulam Ahmad, have been a source of ongoing friction with the Christian church. Western historians have acknowledged this fact as one of the features of Ghulam Ahmad's legacy.[89] Francis Robinson states:

At their most extreme religious strategies for dealing with the Christian presence might involve attacking Christian revelation at its heart, as did the Punjabi Muslim, Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908), who founded the Ahmadiyya missionary sect.

The Ahmadiyya teachings also interpret the prophecies regarding the appearance of the Dajjal (Anti-Christ) and Gog and Magog in Islamic eschatology as foretelling the emergence of two branches or aspects of the same turmoil and trial that was to be faced by Islam in the latter days and that both emerged from Christianity or Christian nations. Its Dajjal aspect relates to deception and perversion of religious belief while its aspect to do with disturbance in the realm of politics and the shattering of world peace has been called Gog and Magog.[90] Thus Ahmadis consider the widespread Christian missionary activity that was 'aggressively' active in the 18th and 19th centuries as being part of the prophesied Dajjal (Antichrist) and Gog and Magog emerging in modern times. The emergence of the Soviet Union and the USA as superpowers and the conflict between the two nations (i.e., the rivalry between communism and capitalism) are seen as having occurred in accordance with certain prophecies.[91] This has also proven controversial with most Christians. Freeland Abbott observed in his book Islam and Pakistan:

The primary significance of the Ahmadiyya Movement lay in its missionary emphasis. Every Muslim believed that Islam was the only religion free from error. The Ahmadis made it part of their principles to show the errors of other religions to their adherents and to proselytize energetically for Islam. In a sense, the Ahmadis represent the Muslims emerging, religiously speaking, from the withdrawal that had begun with the arrival of the British, just as the Muslim League represents the political emergence from that same withdrawal … Although the sect most attacked by Muslims in India and Pakistan, it has also been the one which has worked hardest, in both its branches, to defend and extend Islam against the competition offered by other faiths.
—Freeland Abbot, Islam and Pakistan[92]


Ahmadis like other Muslims believe that the last and perfect message from God was brought to Muhammad. However, unlike mainstream Muslims, Ahmadis acknowledge many founders of various faiths to have brought messages from God, like Krishna and Buddha. However with respect to Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, Ahmadis recognize Guru Nanak to be a very holy Muslim. In particular, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was deeply convinced that Nanak was a holy man after he carried out a detailed study of Guru Nanak and history of Sikhism. Ahmadis believe that historically Sikhism was a sufi sect of Islam founded by Nanak. It was Nanak's spirtiual mission to reform his people and bring about unity. However over time Sikhism drifted away from Islam, simultaneously becoming aligned to a political entity. This view however is strongly opposed by Sikhs of today.[93]


Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was also actively involved in the debates with Arya Samaj and wrote several texts on the subject.[citation needed] He claimed that he was the Kalki Avatar, the last avatar of Vishnu whom Hindus were waiting for.[94]


In 1914, 25 years after its founding, the Ahmadiyya movement split into two separate movements with different leaders. One movement remained in Qadian, and became known as the Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam (Jamaat-i Ahmadiyya); the other was established in Lahore, and is known as the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam (Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam).

Only two leaders are recognized by both branches:

  • 23 March 1889 – 26 May 1908: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founding Messiah and Mahdi (b. 1835 – d. 1908)
  • 27 May 1908 – 13 March 1914: Maulana Hakeem Noor-ud-Din (b. 1841 – d. 1914)

Leaders recognized by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, referred to as Khulafa or Caliphs (Successors):

Leaders recognized by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam, referred to as Emirs:

Notable people

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community:

Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam:

See also


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  3. ^ Mirza Tahir Ahmad (1998). Revelation Rationality Knowledge and Truth, Future of Revelation. Islam International Publications. ISBN 1-853726400. http://www.alislam.org/library/books/revelation/part_7_section_1.html. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Ahmadi Muslim Community, Who are they?". Times Online. May 27, 2008. http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/comment/faith/article4009445.ece. 
  5. ^ "The Ahmadi Muslims and the problem of multi-sited ethnography". Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth. http://www.theasa.org/conferences/asa04/panels/panel21.htm. 
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  9. ^ Yohanan Friedmann: Prophecy Continuous. Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background. Oxford University Press, New Delhi 2003, S. 21
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  12. ^ Michael Angelo Gomez (2005). Black Crescent: the experience and legacy of African Muslims in the Americas. Cambridge University Press. pp. 254–256. http://books.google.com/books?vid=ISBN0521840953&id=Kzm4-D1-ODQC&pg=RA1-PA253&lpg=RA1-PA253&dq=Ahmadiyya&sig=MASRv579aOkQPr6X1XdzYbqllAk. 
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Further reading

  • Yohanan Friedmann, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background; Oxford University Press (2003). ISBN 965-264-014-X.
  • Simon Ross Valentine (2008). Islam and the Ahmadiyya jamaʻat: history, belief, practice. Columbia University Press. ISBN 978-0231700948. 
  • Antonio Gualtieri (2004). The Ahmadis: community, gender, and politics in a Muslim society. Canada: McGill-Queen's University Press. ISBN 0-7735-2738-9. 
  • Mirza Basheer-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad (1980). Invitation to Ahmadiyyat. Routledge & Kegan Ltd. ISBN 0-7100-0119-3. 
  • Muhammad Zafarullah Khan (1978). Ahmadiyyat: the renaissance of Islam. Tabshir Publications. ISBN 0-855250151. 
  • Antonio R. Gualtieri (1989). Conscience And Coercion. Canada: Guernica Editions. ISBN 0-920717411. 

External links

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam

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