The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat (Community) is a religious organization, international in its composition, with established communities in 160 countries in all the five continents. At present, its total membership exceeds 30 million worldwide, and the numbers are increasing rapidly day by day. This is the most dynamic denomination of Islam in modern history.
The Ahmadiyya Jamaat (Community) was established in 1889 by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) in a small and remote village Qadian, in the Punjab, India. He claimed to be the expected Reformer of the Latter Days, the awaited one of the world community of religions. The Movement he started is an embodiment of the benevolent message of Islam-peace, universal brotherhood, and submission to the Will of God in its pristine purity. After the demise of Hadrat Ahmad, the Community elected its head, as the Khalifatul Masih, i.e. Successor of the Messiah. Now Hadrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad is the Supreme Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat as Khalifatui Masih IV.
Convinced of its divine mission of revival of moral and spiritual values in human society, the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, within a century, has reached far corners of the earth, Wherever the Jamaat is established, it endeavors to exert a constructive influence of Islam through moral rejuvenation, social projects, educational institutes, health services, Islamic publications and construction of mosques, despite being bitterly persecuted in some countries. Ahmadi Muslims have earned the distinction of being law-abiding, peaceful, persevering and loyal members of the communities and countries in which they reside. Some of them have earned international distinction for outstanding services. Among them are late Sir Mohammad Zafarulla Khan who was President of the 17th General Assembly of the UN and later the President and Judge of the International Court of Justice, at the Hague, and Dr Abdus Salam, the 1979 Nobel Laureate in Physics.
The Movement was created under Divine guidance with the object to rejuvenate Islamic moral and spiritual values. It encourages interfaith dialogue and diligently tries to correct misunderstandings about Islam. It advocates peace, tolerance and understanding among followers of different faiths. It firmly believes in and acts upon the Quranic teaching:
There is no compulsion in religion. It strongly rejects terrorism in any form and for any reason.
The members of the Ahmadiyya Community are required to illustrate in their daily lives all the social, moral and spiritual values inculcated by Islam. They are drawn from every walk of life and are practical men and women pursuing the whole range of beneficent activities according to the teachings of Islam. They do not reject the normal values of life and have set enviable examples of full, successful and highly beneficent lives. The distinguishing feature of their lives is co-existence of the moral and spiritual alongwith but above the material and physical, in personal, social and communal spheres.
In this, the Community has faced severe opposition from Muslim clerics who wield substantial political influence. The mulla has little representation in the parliament, but as keeper of the pulpit, he has extensive potential for mischief and disruption of law and order. Various governments, democratic as well as military, have succumbed to the temptation of appeasing the Mulla who has an insatiable appetite for persecution of Ahmadis. Consequently, Mr. Bhutto, the Prime Minister, amended the country's Constitution in 1974 to impose non-Muslim minority status upon Ahmadis. In 1984, General Zia, the dictator President, promulgated the notorious anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance XX, whereby Ahmadis were deprived of their religious freedom. It also gave an open cheque to the administration, the Mulla and anyone else who needed it, to legally persecute members of this docile and peace-loving community. Ahmadi-specific and other religious laws, like the Blasphemy Law, have taken their heavy toll. Ahmadis continue to be subjected to harassment, loot, arson, assault and murder ever since. They are perhaps the only community in the world who has decided not to respond violence with violence. They hope to create a better world through their suffering, forbearance and supplications.