Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam

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Shah Jahan Mosque in Woking, run by the "Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement" from 1913 until the mid-1960s
The Berlin Mosque in 2008
Mosque Keizerstraat in Suriname

The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat Islam Lahore (Urdu: احمدیہ انجمنِ اشاعتِ اسلام‎ [Aḥmadiyyah Anjuman-i Ishāʿat-i Islām, Lāhawr]) also known as the Lahori Ahmadis, formed as a result of ideological differences[1] within the Ahmadiyya movement, after the demise of Maulana Nur-ud-Din in 1914, the first Head of the Movement after its founder, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. (It is not to be confused with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, known also as the Qadianis.)

Introduction[edit]

In 1914, six years after the death of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, some of his prominent followers, whom he had himself appointed to manage the Movement after him, established the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha‘at Islam in Lahore. It was formed in order to preserve and advance Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s true mission, and to save the Movement from degenerating into just another squabbling sect of Islam.

It is an international Muslim movement which exists for the purpose of presenting the religion of Islam, in its pure and original form, to the whole world. This is Islam as taught in the Quran and as illustrated in practice by the Prophet Muhammad.

Leaders of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement have been recognised, by eminent Muslims outside the Movement, as the ablest Muslim scholars, authors and missionaries of modern times. Maulana Muhammad Ali (d. 1951), the first head of the Anjuman, wrote numerous books about Islam which have been acclaimed as making a true picture of Islam available to the world, and to the West for the first time. Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din (d. 1932) was the pioneer Muslim missionary to the West. He established the Woking Muslim Mission in England in 1913. The Anjuman also set up a mission in Berlin and completed a magnificent mosque there in 1926.

These missions were, for decades, the principal centres of Islam in Europe, and were supported by Muslims of all persuasions. The missions achieved considerable success in correcting the West’s misconceptions about Islam and brought many Europeans into the Muslim faith, including several intellectuals, writers, and members of the British nobility.

The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement also sent its missionaries and literature to many other parts of the world, from Fiji in the remotest east to Suriname in the farthest west, where Muslim communities were helpless in the face of attacks upon the religion of Islam by Christian missionaries and the Hindu Arya Samaj Movement. The threat to Islam was comprehensively repulsed by the Movement in all these places.

Beliefs[edit]

Lahore Ahmadiyya beliefs are the same as those held by other Muslims, namely, that the Quran is the word of God which is to guide mankind forever, and that the Prophet Muhammad was the perfect model of Islamic teachings whose example shall forever be binding on every Muslim to follow. The Lahore Ahmadiyya stresses that as the principles and teachings of religion reached perfection and completion in the Quran and the example displayed by the Prophet Muhammad, it follows that the Quran is the final Book of God, and Muhammad is his Last Prophet, after whom no prophet can appear, neither a new one, nor one from the past.

Each new age, however, brings fresh challenges. Also, with the passage of time, the original face of the religion becomes obscured, and faith in people’s hearts loses its strength and vitality. To remedy this, God has promised to raise among Muslims, from time to time, men known as Mujaddids (revivers of religion) whose mission from God is to: (i) Restore the original teachings of the religion in their true form and spirit; (ii) Uncover fresh truths from the Quran to answer the challenges and doubts of the new age; and (iii) Revive living faith in the hearts by showing their own personal example of the fruits of a close connection with God.

In the modern age, it was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad who was raised by God as the Mujaddid to accomplish these tasks. He highlighted certain features of the Islamic teaching which had been ignored over the course of time, but which were now crucial to the needs of the age. He also corrected several serious misconceptions about Islam prevalent among both Muslims and non-Muslims, and re-established the original teachings. All these points hold the key to the defence and propagation of Islam in today’s world, and may be called the distinguishing beliefs of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement.

Work[edit]

The work of the Lahore Ahmadiyya is carried out world-wide by the publication and distribution of literature, and the establishment of branches and centres of the Movement. The Anjuman has a vast range of high-quality, much acclaimed literature in several languages, covering all aspects of Islam. Major books written by Maulana Muhammad Ali in English include the following:

  • Translation of the Holy Quran with commentary, a comprehensive explanation of the meanings of the Quran (1300 pages);
  • The Religion of Islam, a full exposition of its sources, principles and practices (700 pages);
  • A Manual of Hadith, the guidance given by the Prophet Muhammad on the practical life of a Muslim (400 pages);
  • Muhammad The Prophet, biography of the Prophet Muhammad, removing many mistaken notions about his life (300 pages);
  • Living Thoughts of the Prophet Muhammad, brief life of the Prophet Muhammad and his teachings on various topics.

Reviewing Maulana Muhammad Ali's book The Religion of Islam, Marmaduke Pickthall, who was a famous British Muslim scholar and himself a translator of the Quran into English, wrote as follows:

Probably no man living has done longer or more valuable service for the cause of Islamic revival than Maulana Muhammad Ali of Lahore. His literary works, with those of the late Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, have given fame and distinction to the Ahmadiyya Movement. … Such a book is greatly needed at the present day when in many Muslim countries we see persons eager for the reformation and revival of Islam making mistakes through lack of just this knowledge. … We do not always agree with Maulana Muhammad Ali’s conclusions upon minor points — sometimes they appear to us eccentric — but his premises are always sound, we are always conscious of his deep sincerity; and his reverence for the Quran is sufficient in itself to guarantee his work in all essentials. There are some, no doubt, who will disagree with his general findings, but they will not be those from whom Al-Islam has anything to hope in the future.

Islamic Culture, quarterly review published from Hyderabad Deccan, India, October 1936, pp. 659 – 660. See full review scanned from original source

At the death of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, Marmaduke Pickthall wrote:

…looking back upon his life-work, I think that there is no one living who has done such splendid and enduring service to Islam. The work in England is the least part of it. Not until I came to India did I realise the immense good that his writings have done in spreading knowledge of religion and reviving the Islamic spirit in lethargic Muslims; not only here, but wherever there are Muslims in the world his writings penetrated, and have aroused new zeal and energy and hope. It is a wonderful record of work, which could have been planned and carried out only by a man of high intelligence inspired by faith and great sincerity of purpose. Allah will reward him!

The Islamic Review, May 1933, pp. 140-141. Read here the full tribute

History[edit]

The split[edit]

The reason for the split was summarised as follows by Maulana Muhammad Ali, the first Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, in his English booklet The Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement, published in 1918:

Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, 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.

The dispute involved the issue of whether:

  • a prophet can come after Muhammad, whose acceptance is essential for a person to be a Muslim —as believed by followers of Mirza Mahmood Ahmad,
  • or if Muhammad was the last prophet after whom no prophet is to arise, and anyone who believes in the Kalimah ("There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah") is a Muslim — as held by the Lahore Ahmadiyya.

Countries[edit]

•Australia •Canada •Fiji •Germany •Guyana •India •Indonesia •Netherlands •Pakistan •South Africa •Suriname •Trinidad •UK •USA

Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Viewpoint[edit]

The larger body of Ahmadi Muslims belonging in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community 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

Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, Second Khalifatul Masih of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and the Promised Son in question, also wrote many books regarding the split, including Truth about the Split.

In The Truth about the Split Mirza Mahmood Ahmad wrote:

"...all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his [i.e. Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's] Bai‘at formally, wherever they may be, are kuffar and outside the pale of Islam, even though they may not have heard the name of the Promised Messiah. That these beliefs have my full concurrence, I readily admit."

The Truth about the Split pp. 56-57

On pages 144-148 of this book Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad summarizes and re-affirms an article he had written earlier:

"Regarding the main subject of my article, 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." (p. 146)

"not only are those deemed to be kuffar, who openly style the Promised Messiah as kafir, and those who although they do not style him thus, decline still to accept his claim, but even those who, in their hearts, believe the Promised Messiah to be true, and do not even deny him with their tongues, but hesitate to enter into his Bai‘at, have here been adjudged to be kuffar." (p. 147-148)

"And lastly, it was argued from a verse of the Holy Quran that such people as had failed to recognise the Promised Messiah as a Rasul even if they called him a righteous person with their tongues, were yet veritable kuffar." (p. 148)

The Truth about the Split

These quotations support the beliefs attributed to Mirza Mahmood Ahmad by Maulana Muhammad Ali in his book The Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement (see above).

Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement's View on Islamic status[edit]

The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement believes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be the Mujaddid (reformer) of the 14th century Hijra and not a prophet. They assert that, as he himself wrote repeatedly, his use of the terms "Nabi" and "Rasool" was metaphorical, when referring to himself.[2] Members of the movement are often referred to colloquially as Lahori Ahmadis.

Many Muslims do not consider members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement to be Muslims and some group them together with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and refer to them by the term "Qadiani" and refer to their belief as "Qadianism", a term rejected by Ahmadi-Muslims as derogatory.[3] Members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement however like to refer to themselves as Lahori Ahmadi Muslims and consider themselves completely separate from the main body of Ahmadis.

As the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement’s view regarding Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s status and the concept of finality of prophethood of Muhammad is closer to traditional Islamic thought, the literature published by the Movement has found greater acceptability among the Muslim intelligentsia[4][5] and some orthodox Islamic scholars consider the Lahore Ahmadiyya as Muslims.[6]

Europe[edit]

Great Britain
In 1913 a mission station was established in Woking (near London) and the Shah Jahan Mosque was maintained by the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement until the 1960s.[7] The Qur'an was translated into English by Maulana Muhammad Ali.
Germany
The Berlin Mosque was built in 1924/27.
An Arabic-German edition of the Qur'an was prepared by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din
Netherlands
Small communities in the Netherlands are located in Amsterdam, The Hague, Rotterdam and Utrecht.[8]

The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement's position[edit]

The main differing belief that led to the formation of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement as a distinct and separate group from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is that the Lahore Ahmadiyya believe Muhammad to be the last of the prophets, and that after him no prophet can appear, neither a past one like Jesus, nor a new one.[9] They believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is referred to as a Prophet in the metaphorical sense only (as other Muslims saints have been referred to as well), and not in the real and technical meaning of the word as used in Islamic terminology.[10] In contrast, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community hold that Muhammad was the last law-bearing prophet but non-law bearing prophets can come after him.[11] They hold Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to be a prophet (with all the qualities of a prophet like Jesus) but subordinate and deputy to Muhammad.[12]

Demographics[edit]

Reliable statistics on the worldwide Lahore Ahmadiyya movement does not exist. However, sources do suggest that in comparison to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Lahore Ahmadiyya population is relatively very small. In particular, it is estimated that there may be between 5,000 and 10,000 Lahori Ahmadis in Pakistan[13] and possibly up to 30,000 worldwide,[14] thereby representing less than 0.1% of worldwide Ahmadiyya population.

Leaders of the Community[edit]

See also[edit]

External links[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Split in the Ahmadiyya Movement", by Maulana Muhammad Ali, 1918
  2. ^ "Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib of Qadian never claimed prophethood (in the light of his own writings)", Accusations Answered, The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
  3. ^ "Lies and the Liar who told them!", Inter-Islam
  4. ^ Al-Azhar endorses publications by Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement AAIIL, USA
  5. ^ Marmaduke Pickthall's (famous British Muslim and a translator of the Quran into English) comments on Lahore Ahmadiyya Literature AAIIL, USA
  6. ^ Tributes to Maulana Muhammad Ali and The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement AAIIL Website
  7. ^ http://www.wokingmuslim.org the website of the history of this mission
  8. ^ World Wide Branches of Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
  9. ^ "The Issue of Khatam-un-Nabiyyin", The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
  10. ^ "The Use of the Terms Nabi & Rasul For Non-prophets", The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
  11. ^ "The Question of Finality of Prophethood", The Promised Messiah and Mahdi by Dr. Aziz Ahmad Chaudhry, Islam International Publications Limited
  12. ^ "A World Reformer", The Promised Mehdi and Messiha, by Dr. Aziz Ahmad Chaudhry, Islam International Publications Limited, [1]
  13. ^ "Pakistan: Situation of members of the Lahori Ahmadiyya Movement". Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada. 1 March 2006. Retrieved 2010-12-28. 
  14. ^ Simon Ross Valentine (2008-10-06). Islam and the Ahmadiyya Jamaʻat: History, Belief, Practice. Columbia University Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-231-70094-8.