First of all, it should be very clear from the beginning, we are Muslims. Our religion is Islam and everything that we believe is according to the Holy Qur’an and the Sunnah and Ahadith of our beloved Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. That being the case, then why do we call ourselves Ahmadi Muslims and why have we created a sect in Islam?
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi, was sent to revive Islam, remove the customs and innovations that over the years have crept into its teachings and to bring about unity and enable Islam to prevail over all religions. But the problem was that there were so many different sects in Islam. From the beginning of Islam, within twenty years of the Holy Prophet passing away, sects started to be formed as different groups of Muslims, out of regard for their special beliefs and outlook, adopting different names. Two main groups developed – Sunnis and Shi’ites and then from those groups came other groups, despite the Holy Qur’an clearly informs us:
As for those who split up their religion and became divided into sects, thou hast no concern at all with them. Surely their case will come before Allah, then shall He inform them of what they used to do.
Although Islam is based on Unity; there is One God and One Brotherhood/sisterhood. Sadly, from very early on in the time of Hadhrat Uthman, may Allah be pleased with him, that changed and now there are so many different sects in each major party. Our beloved Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, knew that Islam would be divided and described the state of Islam that it would become by saying:
"Verily, the Israelites were divided into 72 sects, but my people will be divided into 73 sects. All of them will be in the Fire except one.” The Companions asked, "Who are they, O Messenger of Allah?" The Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said: “They are the people who will follow my Sunnah (practice) and that of my companions”
So with so many sects in Islam, the question is how can we return to the unity promised by the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,?
We know that Allah will keep protecting His faith over time; it is understood from Hadith that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, said:
Verily God will continue for ever to raise for this Ummat in the beginning of every century one who will restore for it its faith
Abu Daud – Kitabul-Fitan
From this tradition which supports the verse of the Holy Qur’an:
...We Ourself have sent down the Exhortation, and most surely We will be its Guardian
we can see that Allah will not only protect His Qur’an but will also protect His faith by sending spiritual reformers at the beginning of every Century. Alhamdulillah, during those 1300 years we have had great reformers like Hadhrat Junaid of Baghdad, Syed Abdul Qadir Jilani, Shaikh Shahab-ud-Din Naqshbandi, Shaikh Ahmad Sirhindi, Kwaja Moin-ud-Din Chisty, Hadhrat Shah Wali Ullah of Dehli and others. These great scholars helped rejuvenate Islam, despite some of them being rejected and persecuted. But who was the reformer for the 1400 Century? There was only one claimant – Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad http://www.alislam.org/topics/messiah/index.php
We also see that the Holy Qur’an warns us, that despite these great men coming “O my Lord, my people indeed treated this Qur’an as a thing abandoned.” Al-Furqan, Ch 25, verse 31.
They were not able to bring back the unity of Islam or stop the slow decline, hence the warning of ‘the latter days’, a time that would be so immoral and ungodly that the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, has said:
A time will come when nothing will remain of Islam except its name and nothing will remain of the Qur’an except its script. Mosques will be full of worshippers, but as far as righteousness is concerned they will be empty and deserted. Their ‘Ulama’ (religious scholars) will be the worst of creatures under the canopy of the heavens. Evil plots will originate from them and to them will they return.
We know from such Hadith and from the Holy Qur’an, that when the Latter Days arrive, that is the time when the Promised Messiah & Mahdi will bring the Muslims back to the true teachings of Islam and Unity once again. There is a prophecy found throughout the Holy Qur’an concerning the Promised Messiah and Mahdi:
He it is Who sent His Messenger with guidance and the religion of truth, that He may make it prevail over every other religion, even though the idolaters may dislike it
Holy Qur'an, Chapter 9, verse 33 – see also 48:29, 61:10
This victory of Islam, when Islam will ‘prevail over all other religions’, will happen in the latter days. That can only happen if Islam is unified and becomes One, not 73. That unity can only happen if Allah chooses someone to unite the Muslims, thus the importance of the need of the Promised Messiah & Mahdi.
But if Muslims choose a leader to unite them, then there is no way a Sunni will accept a Shi’ite leader and vice versa, likewise there is no way a Wahabbi will accept an Ahle-Hadith as a leader etc. So the only answer has to be if Allah chooses that leader.
Now if Allah chooses, then all Muslims should look into that claim and then if it is true, accept that leader. That leader will be guided by Allah – thus he will be the Imam Mahdi – the Guided One. Through accepting this leader of the Muslims, then the Muslims can unite and the promised victory of Islam can be achieved, which is the role of the Promised Messiah.
Therefore our understanding is that these two titles – Mahdi and Promised Messiah will be actually the same person, having to two different roles, as supported by the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,:
The Mahdi is none other that the Messiah
Sunan Ibn-e-Majah. Kitabul FitanThis will not be achieved through the sword, but through the pen i.e. the beautiful teachings of Islam being practised and explained. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,has told us:
By Him in Whose hands is my life, the son of Mary will soon appear among you. He will administer justice. He will break the cross, kill the swine, abolish war (for the sake of religion, under Divine guidance) distribute wealth, but no one will accept it. In those days one prostration before Allah will be better than the world and what it contains.
Again the Holy Prophet has said:
Beware, there will be no prophet or messenger between Jesus, the son of Mary, and me. Remember, he shall be my Caliph after me to my people. Remember, he will kill Anti-Christ, break the Cross, abolish the taking of Jizia (tax collected from defeated people), as there would no longer be any war. Remember whoever meets him should convey my greetings to him.
TabraaniSo we understand by these Hadith that fighting, terrorism etc. will not bring about this victory. It will be through peaceful methods - spreading the beautiful message of Islam. Again the Holy Prophet has said:
What a (wretched) state you will be in when the son of Mary will descend among you while he will be your Imam (religious leader) from among you? Or ‘He will lead you from among you’
Finally, the importance of accepting him when he comes is related in this Hadith:
When you find the Mahdi, perform bai’ah (Pledge of allegiance) at his hands. You must go to him, even if you have to reach him across icebound mountains on your knees. He is the Mahdi and the Caliph of Allah.
Therefore to sum up, for Islam to achieve the ultimate victory of Islam, it can only happen by Unity - which can only be achieved through accepting the Promised Messiah & Mahdi and then by following the beautiful teachings of Islam. Thus by our example and word, mankind will see the true teachings of Islam being practiced and, Insha'Allah, accept that wonderful message.
The name Ahmadiyyat
First and foremost, if anyone claims to be a Muslim, no matter what sect or belief they have, then they are a Muslim! We cannot and must not, decide who is a Muslim or not. This is totally unIslamic. It is for Allah and Allah alone to judge whether or not a person is a Muslim.
Our beloved Prophet, the Holy Prophet Muhammad, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,made this very clear after the incident with Usama, when he killed a person after that person recited the Kalima. The Holy Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him,kept repeating, "did you see inside his heart?" In other words, how did Usama know what the person really believed? only Allah can see inside our hearts. Therefore it is not the right of anyone, whether it is a Muslim or Government or anyone else living on this earth to decide whether a person is a Muslim or not - no matter which sect they belong to. If the person himself declares that he is not a Muslim that is another thing.
We have mentioned the state of Islam when Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, was informed by Allah that he was the Promised Messiah & Mahdi. He was commissioned to guide the Muslims back to the right path, but there was a need to distinguish his followers from the other Muslim groups. Otherwise, how would anyone know what are his teachings from those of any other Muslim? If we just called ourselves Sunni Muslims, which we are, then unfortunately there are some Sunni Muslims who are committing terrorism, killing fellow Muslims etc. How will anyone know if this is what is taught by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him?
An opportunity presented itself in 1901, when India compiled a census of the whole country. Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, informed his followers that when putting down a religion, they should state ‘Ahmadi Muslims’ and he coined the name of Ahmadiyyat for the Jama’at. In this way they could distinguish themselves from other Muslims.
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, chose the name Ahmadiyya as Ahmad is the other name of the Holy Prophet, may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, and out of respect for the Holy Prophet and as he was appointed to continue the blessed work of our beloved Holy Prophet, therefore it seemed the most appropriate name for his community.
The Holy Qur’an relates in Chapter Al-Saff (Chapter 61, verses 7-10):
And call to mind when Jesus, son of Mary, said, ‘O Children of Israel, surely, I am Allah’s Messenger unto you, fulfilling that which is before me of the prophecies of the Torah, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger who will come after me, his name being Ahmad… He it is Who has sent His Messenger with the guidance and the Religion of truth, that it may cause it to prevail over all religions.
From these verses of the Holy Qur’an we see that Jesus prophesied the coming of Ahmad, who is referred to in the Holy Bible as ‘Paraclete’ or ‘the Comforter’ (John 14:15-26 & 16:7-14). This refers to the Holy Prophet Muhammad’s, may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, other name ‘Ahmad’ who came and brought the Religion of Truth – Islam - which will ‘prevail over all religions’. That will happen in the time of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, and so it is dual prophecy relating to the coming of the Holy Prophet – Ahmad and the fulfilment of the Holy Prophet’s message in the time of the Promised Messiah – Ahmad.
So the Ahmadiyya community has been named after the Holy Prophet’s name – Ahmad.
Many Muslims will address you as Qadiani or Mirzai. This is because they do not want to call us by the Holy Prophet’s other name Ahmad and so they refer to the place of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s may peace be upon him, birth – Qadian or his cast – Mirza. But we do not accept these names, why should we? We are named after our beloved Holy Prophet and are proud to be so. If you were born in Qadian, then perhaps you could call yourself a Qadiani, but if you are born in the UK, let’s say London, you don’t refer to yourself as a Londoner or a Londoni. That is a place name, not your faith. Likewise if you are called Mirza, then you may call yourself a Mirzai, but again that is not relating to your faith. So if someone wants to refer to your faith, then you are an Ahmadi Muslim!
Again it is important that we are Ahmadi Muslims, belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We are followers of our beloved Holy Prophet, may peace and blessing of Allah be upon him, as well as followers of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, and Allah gave us the name Muslims:
“…He has named you Muslims both before and in this book” Chapter 22:79
Allah also gave us the name of our religion:
“…and have chosen for you Islam as religion” Chapter 5:4
Therefore we are not like the Christians who openly declare they have nothing to do with Judaism. We are Muslims and our faith is Islam and no one can take that away from us, no matter what they want to call us or what laws they enact, this is our belief. The names Ahmadi, Ahmadiyyat, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are merely to distinguish Ahmadi Muslims from other Muslims and Ahmadi interpretation from other interpretations of Islam.
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, may peace be upon him, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi writes:
The name which is appropriate for the Movement and which we prefer for ourselves is Muslims of the Ahmadiyya sect. We have chosen this name because the Holy Prophet had two names, Muhammad and Ahmad; Muhammad was his name of glory, and Ahmad was his name of beauty. In the name of Muhammad was implicit a prophecy that the Holy Prophet, would punish with the sword such enemies as would attack Islam with the sword and slaughter hundreds of Muslims. His name Ahmad indicated that he would spread peace and security in the word. God so arranged the life of the Holy Prophet, that his Meccan life was a manifestation of his name Ahmad and Muslims were taught patience and endurance. In his life in Medina, his name Muhammad was manifested. But there was a prophecy that name Ahmad would be manifested again in the Latter Days that a person would appear through whom the qualities of beauty, which characterise Ahmad, would be manifested, and all fighting would come to an end. For this reason it has been considered appropriate that the name of this sect should be Ahmadiyya sect, so that everyone hearing this name should realise that this sect has come into being for the spread of peace and security and that it would have nothing to do with war and fighting.
Tabligh-i-Risalat Vol. IX, pp 90-91