A New Campaign Against Ahmadiyya Community Gains Ground in India

After Andhra Pradesh Wakf Board, Jamiat Ulema Hind Declares Ahmadis Kafirs

Main Points:

  1. Pakistan has already declared them a non-Muslim community.
  2. In 1953 and 1974, anti-Ahmadi riots resulted in the death of thousands of Ahmadis and destruction of more than fifty mosques.
  3. Maulana Arshad Madani defended Andhra Pradesh Wakf Board resolution against Ahmadis.
  4. Allama Iqbal was the first to demand that Ahmadis should be declared a non-Muslim community.
  5. Maulana Maududi followed by writing a booklet on the Qadiani issue.

The Ahmadi community which calls themselves Muslims has been one of the most persecuted religious communities in the sub-continent. They have been declared a non-Muslim minority community by the Pakistani constitution in 1974. In Pakistan, laws have further enacted that forbid them from calling themselves Muslims, their places of worship as mosques and their prayers as namaz. This is because their imam Ghulam Ahmad Qadyani claimed to be the promised messiah and a prophet. Since the Quran has declared that Muhammad pbuh is the seal of the prophet, Muslims believe that no prophet will be sent after him. Therefore, the belief by the Ahmadis that Ghulam Ahmad Qadyani was a prophet is considered heresy by the Muslims.

However, until 1935, the Ahmadis were not considered outside the fold of Islam. They were considered a sect within Islam like many other sects. The judgements of the Patna High, Madras High Court and Punjab High Court said that Ahmadis were a sect within Islam.

On 24 July 1926, a petition for annulling the nikah of Ghulam Ayesha Bibi with Abdur Razzaq Qadiyani was filed in Ahmadpur Sharqia court. Abdur Razzaq had converted to Qadyaniat before the Rukhsati of Ayesha Bibi. Therefore, her father refused to send her daughter to her in-laws. The court adjudged on the basis of the judgements of Patna, Punjab, Madras and Bahawalpur courts that Ahmadis were not out of the fold of Islam but were a sect within Islam.

However, after 9 long years of campaigning by some ulema, the district court of Bahawalpur gave the judgement that whoever accepts Qadiyaniyat goes out of the fold of Islam on the basis of Islamic shariah and therefore, his nikah stands null and void.

During this period, poet and philosopher Md Iqbal had started his campaign against the Ahmadis through his poetry and articles. In his article in the Statesman dated 14 May 1935, he wrote:

“The Muslims are more sensitive to movements which are a threat to their unity. Therefore, a religious organisation that is associated with Isla historically but lays its foundation on a new prophethood and considers Muslims not having faith in their self-proclaimed prophecy kafir will be considered by the Muslims a threat to the Islamic unity

because the Islamic unity is only strengthened by the belief in the finality of prophethood.”

On June 1936, he wrote to Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru:

“I do not find any doubt in my mind about the fact that the Ahmadis are traitors against the Muslims and India.”

In fact, Mr Iqbal succeeded in getting a resolution passed in the Muslim League Council in 1936 in which the Ahmadis were declared non-Muslims. He got written undertaking from the Muslim League candidates that after their election, they would run a campaign for declaring the Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority.

The campaign for declaring Ahmadis non-Muslims started by Iqbal gained momentum after Independence. In January1953, the movement for declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim and Kafir

spread in Pakistan. In February, Maulana Maududi published a booklet called Qadyani Masla in which he presented arguments against the Ahmadis. The booklet intensified the movement and 33 leading Muslim clerics presented the demand before the government with the threat that if the demand was not met, it will lead to a greater movement.

The demand was not met and in February 1953, anti-Ahmadiyya riots erupted in Lahore which spread in other parts of Pakistan. From 200 to 2000 Ahmadis were killed and Martial Law was imposed in Pakistan for three months.

In 1974, again anti-Ahmadiyya riots erupted and this time the Pakistan government succumbed to the pressure from the clerics and the Constitution was amended to declare Ahmadis non-Muslim Kafirs.

They were further barred from calling themselves Muslims and their places of worship mosques. This year, they were also barred from sacrificing animals on Eid al Adha. The minarets of their mosques are destroyed by the municipal authorities because they look like mosques.

However, in India and other non-Muslim countries, the Ahmadis are considered a sect within Muslims though religious organisations occasionally raise the issue. In February this year, the Andhra Pradesh Wakf Board passed a resolution which declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims and Kafirs. They knocked the High Court and the Andhra Pradesh High Court issued an order for interim suspension of operation of the resolution.

But India’s leading Muslim organisations, on came out in support of the Andhra Pradesh Waqf Board regarding the Qadianis, or Ahmadiyya Muslims, by passing a resolution that the community was non-Muslim. The Jamiat has issued a statement saying that the AP Waqf Board’s stance “reflects the unanimous position of the entire Muslims’’ and has taken a position in direct opposition to the Union Ministry of Minority Affairs that had recently intervened on the matter on behalf of the Ahmadiyyas.

On July 21st, the ministry had sent a strongly worded letter to the Andhra Pradesh government, calling the Waqf Board’s resolution a hate campaign which “could have ramifications across the country’’.

“A representation dated 20.7.2023 has been received from the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, vide which it has been stated that certain Waqf Boards have been opposing the Ahmadiyya community and passing illegal resolutions declaring the community to be outside the fold of Islam.

The ministry said that this constitutes hate campaign against the Ahmadiyya community at large and that the Waqf Board neither has the jurisdiction nor authority to determine religious identity of any community, including Ahmadiyyas.”

In 2012, the Andhra Pradesh State Waqf Board passed a resolution declaring the entire Ahmadiyya community as non-Muslims. This resolution was challenged in the Andhra Pradesh High Court.

Despite the HC’s orders, the Waqf Board issued a second proclamation in February this year stating that “In consequent to the Fatwa of Jamaat ul Ulema, Andhra Pradesh dated May 26th, 2009.

Therefore, the campaign against the Ahmadis started by poet Iqbal and given theological foundation by Maulana Maududi seems to be gaining ground now also in India where they have been living peacefully and enjoying their religious rights in the democratic set up of the country. The statement of Jamiat Ulema Hind President Maulana Arshad Madan will only give a shot in the arm of anti-Ahmadi groups in India.

Article first published in newageislam.com



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