Ahmadiyya and other faiths

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The Ahmadiyya movement in Islam has relationships with a number of other religions. Ahmadiyya consider themselves to be Muslim, but are not regarded as Muslim by mainstream Islam.

Christianity[edit]

See also: Dajjal in Ahmadiyya Islam

Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiyya movement, engaged in debates, prayer duels and written arguments with Christian missionaries. The Ahmadi teaching that Jesus survived crucifixion, traveled east in order to preach to the Lost Tribes of Israel and died naturally, as promoted by Ghulam Ahmad, continues to be a source of friction with Christianity, in which vicarious atonement and the resurrection of Jesus are central tenets.[1] The historian 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.

Ahmadiyya teachings also identify the emergence of the Antichrist (Al-Masih ad-Dajjal) as foretold in Islamic eschatology with the missionary expansion and colonial dominance of European Christianity.[2][3][4][5] Ghulam Ahmad, who wrote extensively on this topic, identified the Antichrist principally with colonial missionaries who, according to him, were to be countered through argumentation rather than by physical warfare.[6][7] While the term Dajjāl is taken as a reference to the forces of falsehood in matters of ideology and religious belief, prophecies concerning Gog and Magog (or Yaʾjūj Maʾjūj) are taken as relating to the duplicity in the realm of politics and the shattering of world peace by the same forces – whose ancestors are thought to be the Slavic and Teutonic peoples – and are seen as embodied by the political (as opposed to religious) dominance of European powers.[8][9][10] The conflict between Russia and the United States as two superpowers, or the militant rivalry between the communist and capitalist systems and their impact over the nations of the world, are thus seen as having occurred in accordance with prophecies concerning Gog and Magog.[11][12] These views, too, have proven controversial with some Christians.

Sikhism[edit]

Ahmadis have recognised Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism, as a holy man since Ghulām Ahmad carried out a detailed study of him and the history of Sikhism. Ahmadis believe that historically, Sikhism was a Sufi sect of Islam, a view strongly opposed by modern Sikhs.[13]

Hinduism[edit]

Ghulām Ahmad was involved in debates with leaders of the Arya Samaj movement of Hinduism and wrote several texts on the subject.

Ahmadis, like other Muslims, believe that the last, perfect message from God was brought to Muhammad. However, unlike mainstream Muslims, Ahmadis believe that many founders or significant figures of various faiths, including Krishna and Buddha, have brought messages from God. Ghulām Ahmad claimed to be the Kalki Avatar, the last avatar of Vishnu, whom Hindus were waiting for. However, he did not agree with the Hindu concept of incarnations of God. He considered Krishna and Rama human prophets who preached to others about the One God, and he believed that Hindus had distorted this view into polytheism over many thousands of years.[14]

Judaism[edit]

Other Muslims[edit]

The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement does not see Ghulām Ahmad as a prophet. Ahmadis claim this is a result of misinterpreting his statements on his coming "in the spirit of Muhammad"[15] (similar to John the Baptist coming in the spirit and power of Elijah).[16] Ahmadi Muslims believe Ghulām Ahmad to be the Mahdi, Islam's prophesied messiah. Mainstream Muslims, however, say that he did not fulfill the prophecies of the Mahdi and that the title of Messiah was given only to Jesus. Thus, they consider him a false prophet. Because the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement’s view of Ghulām Ahmad is closer to current mainstream Islamic thought than the view held by Ahmadis, its literature has found greater acceptance among the Muslim intelligentsia,[17][18] and some mainstream Islamic scholars consider members of the movement Muslims.[19]

The government of Pakistan views members of both Ahmadi movements as non-Muslims, and this is recorded on their travel documents. But Ahmadi citizens from Western countries and some Muslim nations perform the Hajj and Umrah, as the Saudi government is not made aware that they are Ahmadis when they apply for a visa. A 1970[20] court decision in India upheld the right of Ahmadis to identify themselves as Muslims.[21]

Some Muslims group both Ahmadi movements together and refer to them as "Qadianis", and their beliefs as "Qadianism"[22] (after Qadian, the small town in the Gurdaspur district of India's Punjab region where Ghulām Ahmad was born). Most Ahmadis of both sects dislike this term, because it has derogatory connotations and because they prefer to differentiate their two movements.

In the past, there has been widespread persecution of Ahmadis by other Muslims in India and Pakistan. Sporadic violence, as well as subtler persecution, continues today.[23]

Fulfillment of prophecy[edit]

Mirzā Ghulām Ahmad, ca. 1897.

Ahmadis believe that the founders of all the major world religions were working towards the establishment of Islam in its broadest sense, as part of the divine scheme of the development of religion.[24] They say that the completion and consummation of this development occurred with the coming of Muhammad, and that the "manifestation" of Muhammad’s prophethood and message was destined to be perfected with the coming of the Mahdi.[25] Because they regard Ghulām Ahmad as the Mahdi, they believe he is the "Promised One" of all religions, fulfilling eschatological prophecies found in the scriptures of the Abrahamic religions, Zoroastrianism, Indian religions, Native American traditions and others.[26]

Christianity[edit]

Ahmadis believe that many verses of the Old Testament and New Testament—such as those in the Book of Revelation, and those about the Second Coming of Christ in the 24th chapter of Matthew—were prophecies regarding the Messiah of the end times, and that they were fulfilled through the appearance of Ghulām Ahmad.[27] Ahmadis also cite a passage in Chapter 12 of the Book of Daniel:[28]

And from the time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away, and the abomination that maketh desolate set up, there shall be a thousand two hundred and ninety days.

— Daniel, 12:11

"The time that the daily sacrifice shall be taken away" is interpreted by Ahmadis to mean the supersession of Judaic law by Islamic law, and "the abomination that maketh desolate" to mean the banning of idol worship brought about with the founding of Islam. Based on these interpretations and the day-year principle, Ahmadis believe that the "thousand two hundred and ninety days" are actually 1,290 years of the Islamic calendar, ending in 1875, when, according to Ahmadi belief, Ghulām Ahmad began to receive divine revelations with continuity.[29] Ahmadis maintain that, as per Judeo-Christian prophecy regarding the coming of the Messiah and the Second Coming of Christ, Ghulām Ahmad appeared at the end of the 6,000th year from the time of Adam, and that with him, the final, 7th epoch of 1000 years began.[30] It is also important to note that Ahmadis don't believe that the world is 6000 years old, but only the approximate time since the first prophet being 6000 years.

Islam[edit]

Ahmadis cite numerous passages from the Qur'an, tafsir and hadith in support of their views. They believe that the Messiah, Isa (i.e., Jesus), and the Mahdi whose comings are prophesied in Islam are, in fact, two titles or roles for the same person. According to Ahmadi thought, the promised redeemer is called "Isa" or "Masih" (Messiah) in relation to his task of refuting what they perceive as the erroneous doctrines of Christianity, and "Mahdi" in relation to his task of reforming and guiding Muslims. His advent is seen as a continuation of the prophethood of Muhammad.[31]

Hinduism[edit]

Ahmadis regard Krishna as a prophet of God,[32] citing the hadith and Qur'an.[33] Ghulām Ahmad stated that the terms "avatar" and "prophet" were synonymous, and that the Avatar was equivalent to the Qur'anic Messenger.[34]

Buddhism[edit]

Members of the Ahmadiyya community believe that Ghulām Ahmad was the fulfillment of the prophecy of the Maitreya, a future Buddha said to usher in an age of peace and security.[35] Ghulām Ahmad himself wrote in his book Jesus in India that the Maitreya was actually Jesus, and that Jesus travelled to India, Kashmir and Tibet (predominantly Buddhist regions at the time) to preach to Jews who had migrated there and converted to other religions.[36]

Ghulām Ahmad called himself the "reflection of all prophets", and regarded Gautama Buddha as a prophet. According to him, Jesus was both the Jewish Messiah and the Maitreya. Thus, Ghulām Ahmad claimed to have fulfilled the prophecy of the Second Coming of Jesus and, in turn, the prophecy of the Second Coming of the Maitreya as well.

"Reflection of All Prophets"[edit]

Ghulām Ahmad claimed that he had been bestowed with the attributes of all biblical and non-biblical prophets, in accordance with a verse of the Qur'an that says all prophets will converge into one person in the future. He said he had received a revelation in which God called him "the Champion of Allah in the mantle of Prophets".[37] The biblical prophets include Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Ishmael, Moses, David, Solomon and Jesus.[38]

He also likened his role to that of Adam, as the initiator of a new age. In various writings, he stated that he and Adam were born twins on a Friday and that, just as Adam was born in the final hours of the sixth day of the week, he was born in the final years of the sixth millennium: As per the Qur'an and the Bible, a day in the estimation of God is a thousand years.[39] Ahmadis also believe that Ghulām Ahmad was the Second Coming of Noah, citing the prophecy made by Jesus in Matthew 24:37-38.

Ghulām Ahmad further compared himself to the Qur'anic figure Dhul-Qarnayn, who is often equated with Cyrus the Great.[40]

References[edit]

  1. ^ The British Empire and the Muslim World Archived 2007-09-28 at the Wayback Machine., Francis Robinson, page 21.
  2. ^ Glassé, Cyril; Smith, Huston (2003). The New Encyclopedia of Islam. Altamira Press. p. 33. ISBN 0-7591-0190-6.
  3. ^ Jonker, Gerdien (2015). The Ahmadiyya Quest for Religious Progress: Missionizing Europe 1900-1965. Brill Publishers. p. 77. ISBN 978-90-04-30529-8.
  4. ^ Muhammad Ali. (1992) The Antichrist and Gog and Magog, Ohio: Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i Ishāʿat-i Islām
  5. ^ Malik Ghulam Farid, et al. (1988) Al-Kahf, The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary Vol. III, p.1479, Tilford: Islam International
  6. ^ Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, (2005), The Essence of Islam, Vol. III, Tilford: Islam International, p.279
  7. ^ Muhammad Ali. (1992) The Antichrist and Gog and Magog, Ohio: Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i Ishāʿat-i Islām
  8. ^ Wessels, Anton (2013). The Torah, the Gospel, and the Qur'an: Three Books, Two Cities, One Tale. Wm. B. Eerdmans. pp. 214–15. ISBN 978-0-8028-6908-1.
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  10. ^ Muhammad Ali. (1992) The Antichrist and Gog and Magog, Ohio: Ahmadiyya Anjuman-i Ishāʿat-i Islām
  11. ^ Malik Ghulam Farid, et al. (1988) Al-Anbiya, The Holy Quran with English Translation and Commentary Vol. IV, pp.1718–20, Tilford: Islam International
  12. ^ Islam and Communism
  13. ^ Ian Adamson. Ahmad the Guided One. Islam International Publications Ltd. pp. 207–208. ISBN 1-85372-597-8.
  14. ^ Modern religious movements in India, John Nicol Farquhar, Munshiram Manoharlal, 1967, p. 138
  15. ^ Chaudhry, Aziz Ahmad. The Question of Finality of Prophethood, The Promised Messiha and Mehdi, Islam International Publications Limited.
  16. ^ "In what way can we harmonize John the Baptist's claim that he was not Elijah with the statement of the Lord that he was?", Tony Capoccia, Bible Bulletin Board.
  17. ^ "Al-Azhar endorses publications by Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement". muslim.org.
  18. ^ "Marmaduke Pickthall's (famous British Muslim and a translator of the Quran into English) comments on Lahore Ahmadiyya Literature". muslim.org.
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  20. ^ Nabeel Qureshi (8 March 2016). Answering Jihad and Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus Collection. Zondervan. pp. 94–. ISBN 978-0-310-53169-2.
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  22. ^ "Lies and the Liar who told them!", inter-islam.org
  23. ^ "Pakistan: Killing of Ahmadis continues amid impunity" Archived 2007-10-14 at the Wayback Machine., Amnesty International, Public Statement, AI Index: ASA 33/028/2005 (Public), News Service No: 271, 11 October 2005.
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  25. ^ "The Holy Quran". Alislam.org. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
  26. ^ Invitation to Ahmadiyyat by Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad Part II, Argument 4, Chapter "Promised Messiah, Promised One of All Religions"
  27. ^ Essence of Islam Vol. V, pg. 82
  28. ^ "Daniel 12. The Holy Bible: King James Version". Bartleby.com. Archived from the original on 29 June 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
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  30. ^ "Microsoft Word - Chasma Masih Rev 071017.doc" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 2011-08-13.
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  32. ^ Essence of Islam Vol. IV, pg. 83
  33. ^ "Prophets". Alislam.org. Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  34. ^ Essence of Islam Vol. IV, pg. 84
  35. ^ Review of Religions March 2002, Vol. 97, No. 3, pg. 24
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  37. ^ "Tadhkirah" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-06-18.
  38. ^ Essence of Islam Vol. IV, pgs. 81-82
  39. ^ "Lecture Sialkot by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad" (PDF). Alislam.org. p. 9. Retrieved 2016-09-16.]
  40. ^ "Essence of Islam", vol. IV pgs. 81-82