Thursday, July 10, 2008

How does Ahmadiyah Differ from the Mainstream Islam and Other Sects?

On the surface it would be hard for other people – even for the Muslims themselves – to tell the differences between the Ahmadi (followers of Ahmadiyah) and other Muslims at large.

It’s not like their women wear certain motif, colour, or design for their headscarves to distinguish themselves nor do their men dressed differently from the guy next door. One of my friends is Ahmadi. And it took me years to finally figure it out.

One of the reasons why it’s hard to know whether someone is a member of Ahmadiyah or not is because unlike the followers of the two commonly perceived sects in Islam Sunni and Shia (Shiite) – which I don’t consider as Sects – the Ahmadi would not willingly announce to the public that they are from Ahmadiyah.

As in many Muslims countries including or to be precise particularly in India its birth place, Ahmadiyah is not only banned and denounced as heretical but it was also seen as a creation of the English spies and supporters to destroy Islam from within. It was aiming to break down the fierce resistance of the Muslims towards foreign invaders during British occupation in India.

It was certainly not an admirable beginning let alone a holy one. It strongly undermined Ahmadiyah’s claim as a true religion. It speaks volume about its self proclaimed prophet Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. All genuine prophets (Messengers of God) worked for the well-being and betterment of their people, and none of them worked for the oppressors let alone received money from those disbelievers to destroy their own people.

Another thing about Ahmadiyah is that despite its claim to be the right religion, none of them have the courage to stand up and fight for what they think is right. I think it has something to do with the fact that their own prophet was hiding behind the British Empire and didn’t go out and fight for his belief like other genuine prophets.

Unlike the Ahmadi who has to be cautious (secretive) about their identity, the Sunni and Shia (the mainstream Muslims) have no reservation in announcing who they are. They’re united in their infinite reverence and love for Prophet Muhammad.

Whatever their differences – due to political divide and the interpretation of Qur'an (Koran) as well as Hadists – both proclaim themselves as the followers of Prophet Muhammad. They would join forces whenever there is perceived threats to their beloved prophet, like one delivers by Ahmadiyah.

By declaring himself a prophet, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had committed a heinous act. He had betrayed and denounced Prophet Muhammad and Islam (those who hate Muhammad also hate Islam, those who denounced Prophet Muhammad surely had denounced Islam).

Despite being open to interpretation, Qur'an is conveyed in ways which help Muslims to clearly see which parts of it falls under black, white or grey areas. And it is being extremely clear about the status of Prophet Muhammad as the last Messenger of God.

In Al- Azab, 40, God says:

Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah and the last end of the Prophet. And Allah is Ever All Aware of everything.”

How much more simple do you want it to be to ensure that there is no misunderstanding? Surely, only the very ignorant ones who could take it differently and be guided into the wrong path. And only the very devious and evil ones who could invent a lie and mislead people after that very clear statement.

The Ahmadi although publicly acknowledging Prophet Muhammad (quite recently in Indonesia the high officials of Ahmadiyah even did some lip service and conceded that he was the last prophet as a way to deceive public and enable them to operate within Islam) consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad not only as a prophet but the Messiah (Jesus).

This outlandish claim was made despite the fact that his name had not even been mentioned in the Qur'an. But then again it should not come as a surprise because once he denounced the validity of Muhammad as the last Messenger of God, it’s only logical for him to denounce Qur'an which was given to him as well. And that’s precisely what Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did and what the Ahmadi have been doing.

They pick, twist, adjust, reduce, add and interpret Qur'an to their liking to justify their claims. And ignore the rest of it which contradict their claims.

Shaikh Muhammad Anwar Shah Kashmiri a savant of India noted that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had no qualm in spreading slender about Jesus (just like the average Jews). He said disparaging thing about this exalted Prophet like saying that he was the son of Yusuf Najjar (Joseph the Carpenter).

No genuine prophet would bad mouthed other prophets as they were brothers. Prophet Muhammad loved and respected Jesus who was his closest brother and had never said anything but praises about him.

He also revered Jesus’s mother Mary and extolled her virtues as GGod had explained to him of her circumstance in Al-Anbiya, 91:

And she who guarded her chastity (Mary), We breathed into (the sleeves of her shirt/garment) through Our Ruh (Gabriel) and We made her and her son (Jesus) a sign for man kind and jinn.”

Since Mirza Ghulam Ahmad the self proclaimed Prophet didn’t believe what God had told us about Mary and Jesus. It makes one wonder which God he was coming from. Certainly it’s not the God who had sent all other Prophets (e.g. Elisha, Job, David, Aaron, Abraham, Idris, Elias Jesus, Isaac, Ishmael, Lot, Moses, Noah, Solomon, Ezra, Jacob, John, Jonah, Joseph, Zachariya).

But somehow latter on he changed his tune and said that Jesus will descend to predict his coming (what about Muhammad, surely it was Muhammad that was mentioned by God in the Bible – but then again, it’s just another proof that he didn’t consider Muhammad as the Messenger of God), then changed it again into saying that he was actually Jesus the Messiah. After that he proceeded to claim himself as a prophet who brought new religion, the true one.

Nowadays his followers have been reduced to saying that he was sent to perfecting/complementing Islam in order to compromise with the mainstream Muslims (none of them dare to say to the public that he was a prophet, let alone the one who brought the true religion). Not that it works. They effort to deceive the Muslims is useless.

Muslims consider Islam already perfect as it is. God had told Prophet Muhammad that He had perfected Islam for his followers. There is no loop hole for anybody to claim himself as a new prophet assigned to guide the Muslims (followers of Muhammad) to the right path, as they are already in the right path. Anyone who comes after Prophet Muhammad and tries to change, add or reduce Qur'an and his Sunnah is clearly on the wrong path, and so is who ever follows him.

Beside his claim as a prophet, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and his minions taught that Jesus was not killed but died of natural causes, interred and then left his tomb and went to Kashmir to teach Bible. Who would buy this claim but ignorant fools?

If Jesus came to India to teach Bible, the logical thing to happen is that the rest of India would convert into Christianity, or at the very least Kashmir, and certainly Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself should have become a devout Christian.

I must admit that I’m extremely curious to know what other Catholics/Christians think about Ahmadiyah’s teaching. I find their fascination, insistence and perseverance in bringing Jesus (their own version) into the equation quite strange and suspicious. But not worth to be addressed. It’s like a wicked person insisting that the night has come when the sun is shining brightly right on top of our heads. There is no point in spending our energy talking or explaining the obvious to this person. His statement serves only to emphasise his deviousness and self service motives.

It also shades some lights into its history. It told us that during Ahmadiyah inception process its prophet were very likely had been fascinated with Jesus’ history which had probably been fueled by his encounters with his Christian British counterparts.

The way Ahmadiyah had been structured to control its followers is also rather similar with Christianity/Catholicism and very different with Islam which is very loose and does not have official chain of command (structure).
I’ve never had a liking for whoever claims to be a religious authority and than use its power to his own advantage (such as accumulating wealth), deceiving people to have a better after life buy buying it from them.

For those who are looking for a better life after you die, please use your brains. Why do you have to give your money to these people? If they truly have power to grand you paradise what are they doing here collecting money? Surely they would prefer to kill themselves and go straight to heaven where they don’t even have to work to get what they want.

The true servant of God would never ask for a reward from you! Look at our beloved Prophet Muhammad! Even after he became the “King of Arabia” he still lived very poorly at a very humble hut.

Back to Ahmadiyah…

The fact that despite its similarity with Christianity (particularly in its argument of the importance of Jesus) Ahmadiyah decision to make it moves within Islam has posed a huge question mark. Why do they insist on targeting Muslims which are the followers of Muhammad and not Jesus?

Should we look back at how it was conceived to understand its purposes? Does it still have the same agenda? And does Britain still maintain its connection with Ahmadiyah?

I don’t think the Ahmadi who are genuinely seeking for the right path have a knowledge and interest in its political agenda and perhaps are not even aware of how their true religion was originally conceived.

They probably don’t even realise how far away they have gone from Islam in their quest for a right path. That they have set themselves ocean (or should I say heaven and hell) apart from the rest of other Muslims (the followers of Prophet Muhammad).

To be a Muslim is probably one of the easiest things to do in this hierarchical and procedural world. You don’t have to have a certain educational background, passed a test, paid some money nor swore allegiance to some religious authorities.

Sometimes one has started a process of becoming a Muslim without even realizing it. Once your heart says that there is only One God (Allah) and that Muhammad is His Messenger, you have become a Muslim whether you like it or not. The next step is only for you to acknowledge what your heart says orally and than follow its teachings as part of your oral commitment. That’s it.

Unfortunately, it’s even easier to stop being a Muslim. You don’t even have to declare it to the world. Once your heart starts saying that perhaps there is more than one God exist in this world, once you start to worship other entities and deities you have quitted Islam. Once you start to doubt the status of Muhammad as His last Messenger, you have started taking a different path.

Why the status of Prophet Muhammad as the last Messenger of God is crucial in Islam? And why Ahmadiyah has considered as gone beyond Islam? Let’s have a look at how three of the world religions were formed.

Christianity came into existence after powerful people bring it into existence by giving it a name and decrying the validity of and ignored the messages carried by Prophet Moses (Torah). They anointed Jesus not only as the Messenger of God but also as God himself and accepted his messages (words of God) combined with opinions of others as Holly Book (Bible).

While the Jews themselves denounced Jesus and refused to accept his claim as a Messenger of God and hang on to Torah. Islam came into existence when the Muslims decried Bible and acknowledged Muhammad as the Messenger of God and accepted His messages compiled in the Qur'an as Holly Book.

The most logical way to see and make sense of all this was by acknowledging that all those three great men were indeed Messengers of God. They came with the same mission to bring light and showed us a right path. A path which is determined and chosen by God for us to follow.

If we were born during the time of Moses the right thing to do was to follow his lead and counsel until the next prophet came along. If we were born during the time of Jesus, the right thing to do was to follow his lead and counsel. If we happen to be Jews it doesn’t mean that we betray Prophet Moses by following his lead, because he and Jesus were coming from the same God, and bringing the same guidance. The same thing goes for Prophet Muhammad. The Christians should follow his lead and council.

However, this circle of following the new prophet had stopped when God informs us that Muhammad was His last Messenger, so that we would not be deceived by many deceivers that would surely come afterwards.

Another huge obstacle for the claim of Ahmadiyah lays in the most important ritual in Islam which is praying (shalat).When Muslims pray (at least five times a day) they confirm their acknowledgment of Allah and Prophet Muhammad. They renew their faith on daily basis. The faith which doesn’t have a place for and would never include Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the deceiver and disbeliever.

For all the Ahmadi who are genuinely love Allah and Prophet Muhammad and only seeking for the right path, true guidance and religion, please open you heart, and use your brains which had been given by God to really think about what you are doing.

Particularly on how much you have to pay for this true religion. God tells us that only 2.5% of our wealth belongs to the poor, and none of our money is designated for religious authorities (or who ever claims to be God’s representative on this earth). If someone tells you to give them more money in order to go to heaven you should be critical and cynical.

If you no longer believe in Prophet Muhammad and his messages (Koran and Hadist) there is nothing left for you to maintain your claim as a Muslim. You should denounce Islam right away.

And if you really have no intention of destroying Islam, then do the honorable thing and declare your belief to the world as the right religion, the true one which is given by God.

That is if you are truly believe in its rightness and want to spread it to the world. Don’t hide behind Islam. Don’t use Islam as your vehicle. Otherwise don’t blame us if we think that all you really want to achieve is destruction of Islam and do something about it.

But if you still have some doubts, please go back to Qur'an, and read it once again. And think deeply. God is the Most Merciful.

But people are not that benign nor understanding nor forgiving.

I felt sorry when I saw acts of violence directed toward the Ahmadi. I’m sure some of them (the genuine seekers of the right path) are baffled when they saw the hatred displayed by their neighbours toward them.

However, I do think that the Muslims should not just sit back and let Ahmadiyah has its way. We might ignore someone who upsets and annoys us. But you don’t ignore a person who puts a hole in your boat. Although, it doesn’t mean that you may go and destroy their house of worships and property to your liking. One needs to maintain a differentiation from wicked people. One certainly is not allowed to be wicked to defeat the wicked. We are good guys after all.

One part that I rather like when something went wrong is looking for the culprits. Who is to blame when people turn into violent to solve their grievances?

Part of the blame for the violence and destruction directed toward the Ahmadi lays at the government door steps. The Muslims have been filing their complains about Ahmadiyah for decades to no avail.

The government chose to ignore them and let Ahmadiyah to exist and grow until it’s too big to restraint. Even now, after the most recent bouts of violence the government still stopped short of declaring and banning it as an illegal organization.

Those acts of violence happened because the Muslims are frustrated when they see that Ahmadiyah is allowed to do what they saw as efforts to destroy their religion. It happened because they want to defend their religion from attacks launched by Ahmadiyah.

However, they forget one thing, those Ahmadi are still our brothers (maybe not in faith) but still our brothers. And that no matter how much we like for them to embrace our religion, we have no power what so ever to decide who will be guided to the right path and who would be deceived to swerve into the wrong path.

God says in Al-Mursalat, 29-31:

“Verily, this (verses of the Koran) is an admonition, so whosoever wills, let him take a path to his Lord (Allah)”
“But you cannot will, unless Allah wills. Verily, Allah is Ever All-Knowing, All-Wise.”
“He will admit to His Mercy whom He wills and as for the Zalimun (polytheists, wrongdoers), He has prepared a painful torment.”

God says in Al-Baqarah, 6-7:

“Verily, those who disbelieve, it is the same to them whether you (Muhammad) warn them or do not warn them, they will not believe.”
“Allah has set a seal on their hearts and on their hearing, (i.e. they are closed from accepting Allah’s guidance), and on their eyes there is a covering. Theirs will be a great torment.”

God says in Al-Fajr, 21-22:

“ So remind them (Muhammad) – you are only one who reminds.”
“You are not a dictator over them”

So what is the right approach to take with Ahmadiyah?

The government could take the lead by warning Ahmadiyah that their action is considered as an infringement of the rights of Islam. That it’s illegal to infringe on Religion (not only on copy right).

If a person could have a right to his/her originality surely religions are entitled to have it as well.

Then Ahmadiyah itself should also take an initiative. It should be honest with the world. It should be honest with its followers of its intentions. After its rejection to pray together with other Muslims (which could only mean that they consider us as disbelievers or that they do not consider themselves as Muslims), it should be brave enough to take the ultimate step. To proclaim themselves as the right religion. The true religion. A religion independent of Islam.

Hence they will be able to claim all the rights given to other religions. There will be no more harassment, attacks and acts of violence directed toward them.

The downside of this action is that some of their followers (the ones who really love God and Prophet Muhammad, the genuine seekers of the right path) might finally realised that they have been lead to the wrong path, and mend their ways.

What an irony....
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