A chronicle and a critique of the legislative and the judicial events leading to a gradual denial and erosion of religious freedom to Ahmadis in Pakistan. This work is intended to provide an insight into the background of the Supreme Court judgment in the Ahmadis' case.
Report of The Court of Inquiry
DOCTRINAL DIFFERENCES BETWEEN
MUSALMANS AND AHMADIS
Earlier in. Part I of the Report we have given a short account of the birth of the Ahmadiya movement and the peculiar beliefs and tenets of its followers. We will now examine these beliefs more fully with a view to being better able to understand the religious differences between the Musalmans and the Ahmadis.
The first difference relates to the status of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of the Ahmadiya community. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to Be a prophet (nabi) and this claim according to Musalmans put him completely outside the pale of Islam. A generally accepted hadith states that the number of prophets sent by God for the guidance of humanity is one lac and twenty-four thousand, and the Holy Prophet of Islam is believed by the Musalmans to have been the last of this series of prophets of whom some have been specifically mentioned in the Qur’an and the Bible. The doctrine of khatm-i-nubuwwat in the sense that prophethood (nubuwwat) ceased with the death of the Holy Prophet and that no new prophet (nabi) shall appear hereafter is said to be deducible from the following verses of the Qur’an :—
Sura XXXIII, verse 40 :
“Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but (he is) the Apostle of God, and the Seal of the Prophets : and God has full knowledge of all things.”
Sura III, verse 81 :
“Behold ! God took the Covenant of the Prophets, saying : ‘I give you a Book and Wisdom ; then comes to you an Apostle, confirming what is with you ; do ye believe in him and render him help.’ God said : ‘Do ye agree, and take this My Covenant as binding on you ?’ They said: ‘We agree.’ He said: ‘Then bear witness, and I am with you among the witnesses.’ ”
Sura V, verse 4 :
“This day have those who reject Faith given up all hope of your religion ; Yet fear them not but fear Me. This day have I perfected your religion for you, completed My favour upon you, and have chosen for you Islam as your religion.”
Reliance is also placed on several ahadith and standard commentaries on the verses cited above beginning from the earliest times which are to the effect that no fresh prophet shall appear after our Holy Prophet. Some verses by celebrated poets in Arabic, Persian and Urdu, and treatises and tracts on the subject have also been referred to. Mr. Abdur Rahman Khadim, learned counsel for the Ahmadiya community, on the other hand, relies on Sura IV, verse 69, Sura LVII, verse 19, Sura VII, verse 35 and Sura XXIII, verse 51, which are as follows :—
Sura IV, verse 69 :
“All who obey God and the Apostle are in. the company of those on whom is the Grace of God,—of the prophets (who teach), the Sincere (lovers of Truth), the witnesses (who testify), and the Righteous (who do good): Ah! what a beautiful Fellow-ship.”
Sura LVII, verse 19 :
“And those who believe in God and His apostles—they are the sincere (lovers of Truth), and the witnesses (who testify), in the eyes of their Lord : They shall have their Reward and their Light. But those who reject God and deny Our Signs,— they are the Companions of Hell-Fire.”
Sura VII, verse 35 :
“O ye Children of Adam ! Whenever there come to you apostles from amongst you, rehearsing My Signs unto you,—those who are righteous and mend (their lives),—on them shall be no fear nor shall they grieve.”
Sura XXIII, verse 51 :
“O ye apostles I enjoy (all) things good and pure, and work righteousness : For I am well-acquainted with (all) that ye do.”
By a process of reasoning, which we need not explain here because we are neither required nor supposed to give a finding on the question whether any particular interpretation is correct, it is sought to prove from these verses of the Qur’an that there will in future, i.e., after our Holy Prophet, be persons to whom the word ‘nabi’ or ‘rasul’ may be applicable, and to reinforce this argument reference has also been made to some ahadith and to the works of some commentators and persons whose high spiritual status is generally acknowledged. Though it is not denied that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad used the word ‘nabi’ in respect of himself, it is contended that he used the word in a special sense and that he was not a ‘nabi’ in the technical sense, namely, in the sense of a person who brings a fresh message from God in abrogation, modification or supplementation of a similar earlier message and that his claim to prophethood (nubuwwat) was not to a tashri’i but only to a zilli or buruzi nubuwvwat. From the other side, it is urged that the idea of buruz or zill, which may be translated as ‘incarnation’, is foreign to the Islamic dogma and that any person, who claims to be the recipient of what may be called wahi-i-nubwwwat, creates a new ummat and automatically leaves the fold of Islam, and by reference to several writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, of the present head of the Ahmadiya community and representative authors of that community, it is sought to establish that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad did claim to be the recipient of ilham or wahi of the kind which God had hitherto reserved exclusively for prophets. The question, therefore, is reduced to this whether Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ever claimed to be the receiver of such wahi as amounted to wahi-i-nubuwwat. In the past whenever a nabi has appeared he has always imposed on the people among whom he appears an obligation—our Holy Prophet imposed such obligation on entire humanity—to examine his claim and to believe in him and any disbelief or doubt in his nubuwwat exposes them to certain ultramundane liabilities. The people, therefore, find themselves called upon either to accept or to reject the claim. The acceptance of the claim brings into existence a new religious community which is considered by the earlier community to be an outcaste, while the new community considers those who do not believe in the new prophet to be outside their own community. Though Mirza Ghulam Ahmad started offering his hand with a direction to the people to accept it, the question still remains whether he claimed for his wahi the status of wahi-i-nubuwwat, omission to believe in which involves certain spiritual and ultramundane consequences. Before us the Ahmadis and their present head have, after careful consideration, taken the stand that he did not, but the other side vehemently contends that he did. There are some indications in the Ahmadiya literature, including some writings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself and the present head of the Ahmadiya community to support the contending party’s assertion, but the position adopted before us now is clear that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad called himself a nabi merely because in one of his ilhams he was described as such by God, that he brought no new code, that he neither repealed nor supplemented the original code and that an omission to believe in Mirza Sahib’s wahi does not take a person outside the pale of Islam. We have said before that it is not our business to give a finding whether the Ahmadis are or are not within the pale of Islam and we have referred to this point merely with a view to explaining the differences that are alleged to exist between them and the non-Ahmadis, leaving it to the latter to judge whether they should or should not consider the former to be Muslims.