Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam (or Ahmadiyya Muslim Association) is the name given to the vast worldwide community of Ahmadi Muslims. This chapter provides information on the establishment of the community, the conditions of initiation, the Khilafat, and the organization and activities of the Community. The chapter also contains information about the financial sacrifices made by the community members.
THE AHMADIYYA MOVEMENT
The International Ahmadiyya Movement or Jamaat (which means group or community) was founded by the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, in 1889. He was directed by Divine revelation to lay the foundation of a community of his followers by inviting them into a covenant of spiritual allegiance to him. Hazrat Ahmad disclosed this revelation in December 1888, and on January 12, 1889 he announced conditions of initiation (Bai’at) into the Movement (see next section).
In March 1889 Hazrat Ahmad issued a leaflet in which he stated:
“God desires to found a community of the faithful to manifest His Glory and Power. He will make the Community grow and prosper, to establish the love of God, righteousness, purity, piety, peace and goodwill among men. This shall be a group of persons devoted to God. He shall strengthen them with His own spirit, and bless them and purify them. He shall multiply them exceedingly as He has promised. Thousands of truthful people shall join His ranks. He shall Himself look after them and make the Community grow, so much so that its numbers and progress shall amaze the world. The Community shall be a lighthouse so high as to illumine the four corners of the world. The members thereof shall serve as models of Islamic blessings. My true followers shall excel every other people. There shall always rise among them, till the Judgement Day, personages who will be the chosen ones of God in every respect. So has the Almighty decreed. He does as He wills.”
The first formal initiation took place on March 23, 1889, and thus the Ahmadiyya Movement was begun.
The name Ahmadiyya was given to the Community by the Promised Messiah to commemorate the name of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), who has the two names, Ahmad and Muhammad. As the Promised Messiah’s mission was to carry on the work of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) under his second name Ahmad, his followers are called Ahmadi Muslims. Ahmadi Muslims are sometimes wrongly called Qadianis or Mirzais.
Today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is found in 148 countries of the world and is vigorously pursuing its goal to unite the world under one spiritual banner. The Jamaat’srapid rate of growth, in spite of constant and often severe persecution by its opponents, testifies to the fulfillment of the Divine Plan. With an international membership of more than 10 million, the Jamaatis active in propagation of true Islam and service to humanity. It has built more than 4,000 mosques and tablighi marakaz (missions) throughout the world, opened clinics and schools globally, and translated the Holy Qur’an into more than 50 languages. The original Headquarters of the Community are in Qadian, India, the birthplace of the Promised Messiah. After the division of the subcontinent into India and Pakistan, the Headquarters moved to Rabwah, Pakistan.
The Ahmadiyya Jamaatis a spiritual organization. With only a small staff of missionaries, theJamaat’sactivities and projects are carried out by volunteers who sacrifice their time, skills, wealth and property for the sake of Allah.
CONDITIONS OF BAI’AT (INITIATION)
For those who wish to join the fold of Islam and become an Ahmadi Muslim, the Promised Messiah established 10 conditions. To join the Community, one must agree to these conditions and sign a form of allegiance to the current Successor of the Promised Messiah. The conditions are:
- The initiate shall solemnly promise that he/she shall abstain from Shirk (association of a partner with God) right up to the day of his/her death.
- That he/she shall keep away from falsehood, fornication, adultery, trespasses of the eye, debauchery, dissipation, cruelty, dishonesty, mischief and rebellion; and will not permit himself/herself to be carried away by passions, however strong they may be.
- That he/she shall regularly offer the five daily prayers in accordance with the commandments of God and the Holy Prophet; and shall try his/her best to be regular in offering the Tahajjud (predawn supererogatory prayers) and invoking Darood(blessings) on the Holy Prophet; that he/she shall make it his/her daily routine to ask forgiveness for his/her sins, to remember the bounties of God and to praise and glorify Him.
- That under the impulse of any passions, he/she shall cause no harm whatsoever to the creatures of Allah in general, and Muslims in particular, neither by his/her tongue nor by his/her hands nor by any other means.
- That he/she shall remain faithful to God in all circumstances of life, in sorrow and happiness, adversity and prosperity, in felicity and trials; and shall in all conditions remain resigned to the decree of Allah and keep himself/herself ready to face all kinds of indignities and sufferings in His way and shall never turn away from it at the onslaught of any misfortune; on the contrary, he/she shall march forward.
- That he/she shall refrain from following un-Islamic customs and lustful inclinations, and shall completely submit himself/herself to the authority of the Holy Qur’an; and shall make the Word of God and the Sayings of the Holy Prophet the guiding principles in every walk of his/her life.
- That he/she shall entirely give up pride and vanity and shall pass all his/her life in lowliness, humbleness, cheerfulness, forbearance and meekness.
- That he/she shall hold faith, the honor of faith, and the cause of Islam dearer to him/her than his/her life, wealth, honor, children and all other dear ones.
- That he/she shall keep himself/herself occupied in the service of God’s creatures, for His sake only; and shall endeavor to benefit mankind to the best of his/her God-given abilities and powers.
- That he/she shall enter into a bond of brotherhood with this humble servant of God, pledging obedience to me in everything good, for the sake of Allah, and remain faithful to it till the day of his/her death; that he/she shall exert such a high devotion in the observance of this bond as is not to be found in any other worldly relationship and connections demanding devoted dutifulness.
Khalifa means “one who comes after,” as a deputy, to fulfill the mission of that Prophet assigned by God Almighty. The subject is explained in Chapter 1. The Khilafate Rashida (the Righteous Khilafat) was established by Almighty God after the demise of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him), when Allah appointed Hazrat Abu Bakr (peace be on him) to be the first successor. After many centuries, Muslims lost the blessings of Khilafat. Upon the death of the Promised Messiah, the institution of Khilafat was restored.
The Promised Messiah (peace and blessings be on him) said:
“Allah’s Divine Power is manifested twice. I appeared from God as a manifestation; and after me there shall come other persons who will be the second manifestation of Divine Power….
……And the coming of that manifestation would be better for you because it would be everlasting, of which the link shall not break until the end of the world. And the second manifestation cannot come except after I am gone. But when I go away, Allah shall send the second manifestation for you and it shall stay with you for ever……” (Al-Wasiyyat).
The Ahmadiyya Khilafatis that second manifestation and Allah has assured Ahmadi Muslims that this Khilafat will endure to the end of time. Khilafat provides unity, security and progress for the JamaateAhmadiyya. No other sect in Islam has such a strong leadership, nor enjoys such unity and devotion among its followers.
STATUS OF THE KHALIFA
The Khalifatul Masih(Successor to the Promised Messiah) is the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Community. He is elected to office by the Electoral College that was established for this purpose. However, Ahmadi Muslims firmly believe that it is Allah who selects the Khalifa, as He did in the Khilafate Rashida; for whenever an election of the Khalifa occurs, the hearts and minds of the electors are all turned towards the same person. This belief further increases the sense of peace and security that the Khalifa provides for the Jamaat. When a Khalifa has been elected, every man, woman and child of the Community must render complete and utter obedience to him, and reaffirm their Bai’at to him.
The presence of the Khalifais a great blessing from Allah for the Jamaat. He is the spiritual leader and the spiritual father of every Ahmadi, and the beacon of light towards which every member looks for guidance. Whenever a Khalifamakes a scheme or plan for the Community, he does so with Divine guidance and assistance. He is concerned for the welfare of every member of the community and he prays for every member of the community. When faced with illness or problems, Ahmadis often write to the Khalifa for prayers, and immediately it seems that their burden becomes lighter.
THE AHMADIYYA KHALIFAS
Since 1908, the year of the Promised Messiah’s death, there have been four Khalifas. Allah bestowed His special favors on each one, and the Jamaat has flourished and prospered during each Khilafat. A brief summary of their achievements is given below:
Hazrat Maulvi Nooruddeen Sahib was the first successor to the Promised Messiah (peace be on him). He was a most favorite companion of the Promised Messiah, and was the first to enter into Bai’at. Possessing vast religious knowledge, Hazrat Nooruddeen had a very deep understanding of the Holy Qur’an. He was an eminent physician and served in the court of the Rajah (prince) of Kashmir. As soon as he heard of Hazrat Ahmad’s claim, he traveled to Qadian to visit him. On seeing Hazrat Ahmad, he immediately offered to enter into a covenant with him.
During his Khilafatfrom 1908 to 1914, Hazrat Nooruddeen established various Jamaatinstitutions including the Treasury, schools and publications. He also vigorously upheld the institution of Khilafat against a small minority element which wanted to undermine the Khilafat.
One of the prophecies revealed to the Promised Messiah by God was that He would bestow on him a son who would be a sign of Allah’s Mercy, Power, Grace and Beneficence, and through whom the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat would be carried to the ends of the earth. This prophecy was fulfilled in the person of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad, his eldest son, who became the second Khalifa in 1914 at the age of 25. He was also known as Hazrat Musleh Mauood, the Promised Son.
His achievements as Khalifafor 52 years are too numerous to mention here, but one of his most important accomplishments was the organization and establishment of foreign missions around the world, including the United States in 1920. He established Tahrike Jadid and Waqfe Jadid Schemes to fund that missionary work, and the Jamia Ahmadiyya School to train missionaries.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II organized the administrative body, the Sadr Anjuman, of the Jamaat into various departments and created auxiliary organizations for men, women and children. Several publications were begun under his guidance and he himself wrote numerous books. Through Divine guidance, he wrote a 10-volume commentary on the Holy Qur’an in Urdu, known as Tafsir-e-Kabir, and also wrote a short commentary, the Tafsir-e-Saghir. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II was also a great orator, and many of his speeches would continue for hours.
Upon the death of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, Hazrat Mirza Nasir Ahmad was elected to be the third Khalifa in 1965. The eldest son of Hazrat KhalifatulMasih II, he was highly educated, having obtained his Master’s Degree at Oxford University. He was well versed in religious knowledge, having memorized the entire Holy Qur’an at the age of thirteen.
Hazrat KhalifatulMasih III launched two major schemes: the Fazle-Umar Foundation, which funded the continuation of projects begun by his father; and the Nusrat Jehan Scheme to organize long-term humanitarian efforts in West Africa such as schools and hospitals. Through this scheme, 17 medical centers and 15 schools were set up.
During his Khilafat, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih III encouraged students to pursue higher education, and established numerous educational institutes. Administrative buildings and mosques were built during his Khilafat, including Masjid Aqsa in Rabwah, and the Basharat Mosque in Spain. It was at the occasion of laying the foundation stone of Basharat Mosque that he announced the popular Ahmadiyya motto:
Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad became Khalifa upon the death of Hazrat Khalifatul MasihIII in June 1982 and is the present Supreme Head of the Jamaat. As was his predecessor, he is also a grandson of the Promised Messiah and a son of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II. However, such a relationship is not a requirement of Khilafat.
Hazrat KhalifatulMasih IV (Hazoor) is leading the Jamaat to new levels of unity, zeal and progress. More than 1500 new mosques and missions have been established in the last decade; the Holy Qur’an has been translated into more than 50 languages and the Jamaat is growing rapidly. One of the greatest achievements of his Khilafat is the development of Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA). In 1992 on the occasion of the inauguration of Baitul-Islam Mosque, Canada, the Khalifa’s Friday Sermon was broadcast to every continent of the world for the first time via live satellite transmission. In 1993, the first International Bai’at at Hazoor’s hand took place when 204,308 persons simultaneously accepted Ahmadiyyat via live satellite transmission. This number swelled to 418,206 the following year. This year (1995) the number was 840,000.
Today Hazoor has developed MTA to such an extent that it is broadcast daily and a growing number of Ahmadis are viewing it. In his broadcasts to the world, he emphasizes every Ahmadi Muslim’s duty to serve Allah and humanity by being devoted Dai-Ilallah(callers to God). May Allah strengthen the hands of Hazrat KhalifatulMasih IV and protect the Ahmadiyya Khilafat. Ameen.
ORGANIZATION OF THE JAMAAT
As the Supreme Head of the Jamaat, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih directs and guides the Jamaat’s activities and all institutions and associations within the Jamaat are under him.
Ahmadiyya Communities exist in 148 countries throughout the world, and each is organized in the same way. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih has appointed an Ameerfor each country, who is the Administrative Head of the Jamaat in that country. The Ameer heads the National Aamila or Executive Body, which consists of National Secretaries of various departments. These departments include: finance (Maal); education and religious training (Talim-o-tarbiyyat); preaching activities (Tabligh); social services (Khidmate-Khalq); properties (Jaidad); matrimonial affairs (Rishta-nata); public relations (Ta’allaqaate-aama); census (Tajneed); wills (Wasaya)and the department of General Secretary. The National Aamila directs the activities of the Jamaat at the local (muqaami) level of that country. A local Jamaat may be set up with the permission of the Ameer where three or more subscription paying members reside. Each Jamaat elects a local President and a local executive body.
Hazrat KhalifatulMasih II established auxiliary organizations within the Jamaat, which function at national and local levels. These are:
- Majlis Ansarullah: male members of the Jamaat above 40 years of age are its members. In each country it is headed by a president known as Sadr Majlis Ansarullahwho is answerable to Hazrat KhalifatulMasih.
- Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya: this is the organization of Ahmadiyya male youth from 15 to 40 years. In each country its president is known as Sadr Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya who is answerable to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. It has a sub-organization for boys age 7 to 15 called Majlis Atfalul Ahmadiyya.
- Lajna Imaillah: this is the organization of Ahmadi women 15 years and above, headed by a president in each country known as Sadr Lajna Imaillah who is answerable to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. Lajna has a sub-organization for girls of 7 to 15 years known as Nasiratul Ahmadiyya.
Other central Ahmadiyya Organizations include Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Tahrike Jadid Ahmadiyya and Waqfe Jadid Ahmadiyya. For more information on these and other institutions of the Jamaat, please see titles given at the end of the chapter.
Lajna Imaillah means “maidservants of Allah.” The organization was founded in 1922 by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II. He defined its primary objectives as:
- to educate Ahmadi women and reinforce the necessity of living their lives according to Islamic teachings.
- to prepare them to serve their fellow beings lovingly and to preach Islam in the best manner possible.
- to encourage them to instruct, guide and train their children in the precept and practices of Islam.
- to promote in Ahmadi women such a spirit of sacrifice as to keep them ever ready for offering their lives, properties and their children in the cause of Islam and for the preservation of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat. There are currently more than 700 branches of Lajna in various parts of the world. These branches, by promoting cooperation and teamwork among their members, are trying to realize Lajna’s objectives throughout the world. One ofLajna’s important achievements is its contribution towards building mosques. The Fazl Mosque in London, the Mubarak Mosque in Holland and the Nusrat Jehan Mosque in Denmark were built exclusively by donations by Lajna.
The United States Lajna Imaillah is one of the most active and presently consists of 40 local chapters. Its activities include preaching, social work, Islamic education of its members and the holding of jalsas and ijtemas for training women and girls. For more information on Lajna in your area, contact your local Jamaat.
THE AHMADIYYA DONATION SYSTEM
One of the surest ways for a Muslim to attain blessings from Allah is to spend in the way of Allah. The Holy Qur’an says:
“Never shall you attain to righteousness unless you spend out of that which you love; and whatever you spend, Allah surely knows it well.” (3:93).
To achieve righteousness, a believer must make sacrifices out of what he loves best, whether it is money, property or possessions. Allah has also promised believers that their sacrifices are rewarded in this life also, for He says in the Holy Qur’an:
“Say, Surely my Lord enlarges the provision for such of His Servants as He pleases and straitens it for such as He pleases. And whatever you spend, He will replace it, and He is the Best of Providers.” (34:40)
The Ahmadiyya Movement is a spiritual Organization which is not involved in any kind of worldly business. Its activities depend solely on the donations of its members. This concept of sacrifice was introduced by the Promised Messiah himself. Every program of the Jamaat, including Muslim Television Ahmadiyya, construction of mosques, publishing of Islamic literature, is funded by the financial sacrifices of Ahmadi Muslims. Each time the Khalifatul Masih has announced a new scheme, men, women, and children have rushed forward with donations of money, jewelry, and other possessions so that they may be blessed by Allah.
VARIOUS CATEGORIES OF DONATIONS
Contributions made to the Jamaat by its members are called chanda and fall into different categories. Some chandas are compulsory and some are voluntary. Some chandas have a fixed rate, and some have no limit; it is up to the donor to give what he can. The giving of voluntary chandais the source of great blessings, but there is no compulsion in giving. Those members who are facing financial hardship may give compulsory chandasat a reduced rate but only after obtaining the permission of Hazrat KhalifatulMasih.
The following lists the compulsory chandas of which the major voluntary ones are: Zakaat, Fitrana, Chanada Aam, Wassiyat, Jalsa Salana, Tahrike Jadid, Waqfe Jadid, Auxiliary Organization Membership, Sadqa, Eid Fund, and Publications. A brief explanation and significance of these donations is given below:
Zakaat is one of the five pillars of Islam. In the Holy Qur’an, God has repeatedly urged the believers to pay Zakaat for the purification of their souls. Those who have capital in the form of cash, jewelry, bullion not used for one full year are required to pay at the rate of one fortieth (1/40) of the value of the goods.
Fitrana is a compulsory donation made at the end of the Holy month of Ramadhanto be distributed to the poor. This donation is based on the sunnahof the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him. The suggested rate is $4.00 per person and should be paid before Eid.
3. Chanda Aam (Regular subscription)
This basic donation was established by the Promised Messiah himself and is compulsory for every earning member of the Ahmadiyya community. The payment ratio is 1/16 of one’s income from all sources after taxes and compulsory insurance. The Chanda Aamyear is from 1st July to June 30th.
Wassiyat is the making of a will in the favor of the Community, pledging 1/10 to 1/3 of one’s total assets to the Jamaat at the time of one’s death. A person who has pledged Wassiyat is known as a Moosiand must also donate 1/10 to 1/3 of his earnings yearly instead of chanda aam.This scheme was set up by the Promised Messiah under Divine Revelation. This is a voluntary pledge and carries other conditions with it.
This donation is also compulsory and is used exclusively for the expenses of the Annual Convention held at the national level. The prescribed rate is 1/120th of one’s annual income from all sources.
This scheme is responsible for the opening of new Missions and construction of mosques throughout the world. It was launched by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II in 1932, who urged members to lead a simple life, cut down even on their meals and donate as much as possible for the propagation of Islam in countries outside of India and Pakistan. A little as a cent may be donated but the donor must resolve not only to pay it regularly but to try and increase it even by a cent every year. The suggested rate is 1/5th of one’s monthly income once a year, which is from 1st November to October 31st.
This voluntary scheme was also initiated by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, and was primarily introduced to train and pay missionaries for the propagation of Islam and for the training of new converts in the Indian subcontinent. It has now been extended to cover Africa and Russia. The suggested rate is $2.00 minimum once a year from each member of the family. The Waqfe Jadid year is from January 1st to December 31st.
Membership in the Auxiliary Organizations (Ansar, Khuddam and Lajna) is compulsory and therefore their membership dues are also compulsory. Lajna dues are fixed at $30.00 annually, and Nasirat dues are $7.00 annually. Senior citizens and students may pay a lower rate. Lajna members must also pay National/Regional Ijtemafund at $15.00 annually. The Lajna year is from July 1st to June 30th of the next year.
Sadqa is voluntary donation given by believers for the poor and needy. God has commanded Muslims to ward off calamities and privations by helping those who are less fortunate and require assistance. It can be made at any time and in any amount.
This voluntary donation was started by the Promised Messiah and is to ensure that the poor and needy are able to have a joyful Eid.
Every chanda paying member of the Jamaat in the United States receives the Ahmadiyya Gazette which contains news of Jamaat activities, speeches, articles and other pertinent information. Members are urged to subscribe to the Review of Religions, an international English journal established by the Promised Messiah; the Muslim Sunrise, a US-based journal and the Ayesha magazine, a Lajna Imaillahpublication.
Other voluntary chandasinclude: the National Mosque Fund for construction of mosques; Satellite Fund which supports Muslim Television Ahmadiyya; Africa -India Fund; Darul-Yatama for the caring of orphans; Qadian Guest House, and other Funds that are initiated as the need arises.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION
Adamson, Iain. A Man of God. The Life of Khalifatul Masih IV. U. K., 1990.
Ahmad, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam. The Will. Washington, D.C.
—–Our Teachings. Pakistan, 1958.
Khan, Muhammad Zafrulla. Ahmadiyyat, the Renaissance of Islam. U. K., 1978.
Munir, Nooruddin. Ahmadi Muslims. Pakistan.
The Ahmadiyya Donation System. (Pamphlet)
Rules and Regulations of Tahrike Jadid Anjuman Ahmadiyya.
See appendix for additional references.