Asian Tribune, 4th May, 2008
Based on the Holy Quran and the tradition of the Holy Prophet (PBUH), no Government or individual has any right to declare whether a person is Muslim or not. Only Allah can judge it, according to the Holy Quran. It is a universally agreed upon principle that before determining whether an individual or a group belongs to a particular species, an all-encompassing and exclusive definition of such a species is made, which acts as a touch-stone. As long as such a definition exists, it becomes quite easy to decide whether or not any particular individual or group may be counted as a member of that species. In this context, it will be necessary to keep the following observations in view:
1. Can any definition of a Muslim be found in the Holy Quran, or by the Holy Prophet (PBUH) which definition may have been applied without any exception during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)? If there does exist such a definition then what is it?
2. Can it be considered legitimate for anyone to propose any definition, in any era, which is in disregard of such a definition which is found in the Holy Quran or by the Holy Prophet (PBUH), a definition that can be shown to have been applied in the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)?
3. During the time of Hazrat Abu Bakr Sideeque (R.A.), when revolt against Islam was on, did he or the Companions of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) feel any need to modify the definition which had prevailed during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (PBUH)?
4. Was there any instance during the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) or during the period of the Rightly Guided Caliphate (Khilafat Rashida) of declaring any one to be a non-Muslim despite one’s affirmation of the kalima La Ilaha Illallahu Muhammadhur Rasoolullah, and further expressing one’s belief in the remaining Four Pillars of Islam i.e. daily prayer, Zakat, Fasting and Pilgrimage to Mecca, any such person was still declared to be non-Muslim?
5. If it were to be considered legitimate to declare someone to be outside the pale of Islam, notwithstanding one’s belief in the five Pillars of Islam, just because one’s interpretation of a few verses in the Holy Quran is unacceptable to some Muslim divines of certain sects; or if one is declared to be outside the pale of Islam for entertaining a belief which runs counter to Islam in the view of certain sects, then such explanations and identification of such beliefs will have to be made so as to incorporate these in the positive definition of a Muslim, i.e., the statement that if any sect believes in the five Pillars of Islam but, additionally, adheres to this set of identified beliefs, then he will be declared to be outside the pale of Islam.
The only acceptable and practical definition of a Muslim is one which may be definitively predicated upon the Holy Quran, one which is clearly established to have been narrated by the Holy Prophet (PBUH), and adherence to which definition is clearly established throughout the lifetime of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and the period of the Rightly Guided Caliphs. Any attempt to define a Muslim which bypasses this paradigm will not be free of pitfalls and lacunae. In particular, all the definitions which were formulated in the era subsequent to the aforementioned period (when the continued fragmentation of Islam eventually resulted in seventy-three sects) deserve to be rejected because these mutually contradictory and cannot be simultaneously reconciled. Accepting any one such definition of a Muslim is impracticable because such a “Muslim” will be found to be non-Muslim on the basis of the rest of the definitions. There in no way out of this quagmire.
We must adopt a Constitutional definition which was precisely formulated by the Khatamul Ambiya Hazrat Muhammad (PBUH) and which constitutes a glorious charter for an Islamic country. In this context, I quote below, two sayings of the Holy Prophet (PBUH):
1. Hazrat Abu Hurairah relates that the Holy Prophet (PBUH) said :’Ask me question”, but (his companions) were diffident to ask. Meanwhile, a man came in and sat in front of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) and asked: ‘What is Islam?” The Holy Prophet (PBUH) replied: ‘Do not associate partners with Allah, offer prayer, pay Zakat and fast in Ramadhan’. The man replied: ‘You have spoken the truth’. (Muslim – Kithab ul Iman.)
2. The Holy Prophet (PBUH) said: ‘One who observes the same prayer as we do, faces the same direction (in prayer) as we do, and partakes from the animal slaughtered by us, then such a one is a Muslim concerning whom there is a covenant of Allah and His Messenger; so you must not seek to hoodwink Allah in the matter of this Covenant’. (Bukhari – Kitabus Salat, Baab – Fazl Istiqbal Il Qibla)
Our Spiritual Master Holy Prophet (PBUH), has done us all a tremendous favor by spelling out this definition in such comprehensive and unambiguous terms, and thereby laying the foundation of the international unification of the Islamic World. It is incumbent upon every Muslim Government to accord explicit recognition to this cohesive foundation in its respective Constitution. Failure to do so would perpetuate disunity among the followers of Islam and their trials and tribulations would continue unabated.
We, the Ahmadi Muslims follow all the teachings of Islam, as contained in the Holy Quran, the Sunnah (practice) and Ahadith (sayings) of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH).
We believe in the six articles of Faith, which are described in the Holy Quran, and summed up in the sayings of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH):
We, as Ahmadi Muslims, believe in the absolute Unity of Allah, believe in the Angels, believe in all Divine Books, revealed to various Prophets by Allah. However, the Holy Quran is the only one free from human alteration. It is the final, and the eternal guidance. We believe in all the Prophets that Allah raised for the guidance of humanity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) is the Leader and the Seal of all of them. He brought the final Law and he was the perfect human being. We believe in the Day of Judgment to be an indubitable fact. We believe in the Decree of Allah. Allah is the All-powerful, and we have firm faith in all His determinations.
We practice five pillars of Islam. (1) Bearing witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah, and Muhammad is His Servant and His Messenger (Declaration of faith) (2) Observance of prayer (3) Paying Zakah (4) Fasting during Ramadhan (5) Pilgrimage of kabah, the house of Allah.
After describing our beliefs and our practice, let us see what distinguishes from the other Muslims. The Holy Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) had foretold the appearance of grand reformer (named Messiah and Imam Mahdi) in the latter days for the revival of Islam. We believe Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (peace be on him) to be this Promised Messiah and Mahdi. The Promised Messiah came according to the prophecies of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), who had also instructed every Muslim to recognize the Messiah and partake of his blessings. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835 – 1908) followed and taught the exact same religion that was practiced by the Holy Prophet Muhammad(PBUH).
If this is so, then- What is the basic difference that distinguishes his followers from other Muslims? Is the difference confined to the acceptance of the Promised Messiah only, or does it go beyond that? The answers are:
Ahmadi Muslims are those who accepted the Promised Messiah as commanded by the Holy Prophet (PBUH).
In the 1880s Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad declared himself to be the Promised Messiah and the Mahdi under Divine commandment. For all Muslims, it is very important to understand his mission, as foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH).
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad rendered an inestimable service not only to Islam but to humanity at large by his powerful refutations of incorrect doctrines. As a result of this, his followers have been and still are severely persecuted by ignorant Mullahs and their followers.
In March 23, 1889, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi founded the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat under Divine guidance. Its main objective is to re-establish the original purity and beauty of Islam. In the beginning he was all alone, lacking all worldly resources, and only a few responded to this call. His opponents who were strong and powerful raised an unprecedented storm of hostility.
In this moment of trial, Allah the Almighty stood by him with the Divine assurance: I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth. Today, there is an organized and dynamic community with a population of tens of millions of Ahmadi Muslims living in more than 190 countries of the world including Sri Lanka. They are now led by his fifth successor (Caliph) Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
It is certainly fortunate that through the Promised Messiah, peace be on him, the grand spiritual revolution of the latter days, as foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (PBUH) is gaining momentum throughout the nations of the world. This is a Divine mission which is bound to succeed and no power on earth will ever be able to block its onward march, Insha Allah (if Allah so wills).
LOVE FOR ALL; HATRED FOR NONE.