Religious Persecution of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
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The Heavenly Decree is the English translation of Asmani Faisala by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (as) and the Founder of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at. It is addressed to his contemporary ulema, specially Miyan Nadhir Husain Dehlawi and Maulawi Muhammad Husain of Batala who had issued a fatwa of heresy against the Promised Messiahas and declared him a non-Muslim, because he (the Promised Messiahas) had claimed that Jesus Christ had died a natural death and the second coming of Masih ibni Mariam (Jesus Christ) is fulfilled by the advent of Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. Because (by the time the book was written) the ulema had refused to debate this issue with the Promised Messiah, he invited them, in this book, to a spiritual contest in which the question whether someone is a Muslim or not would be settled by Allah himself on the basis of four criteria of a true believer as laid down by Him in the Holy Quran. He also spelled out the modus operandi of this contest and fixed the period of time frame within which this contest would be decreed by Allah. He declared that God would not desert him and would help him and would grant him victory.
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In this book, the author deals with an issue that has lamentably marked humankind's religious history. Relying on a wide range of interviews he conducted throughtout Pakistan, Antonio R. Gualtieri relates the tragic experience of members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community. Their right to define themselves as Muslims has been denied by the Govt. of Pakistan acting in collusion with orthodox Islamic teachers. Ahmadis have been beaten and murdered. They have been jailed, hounded from jobs and schools, their mosques sealed or vandalized, for professing to be Muslims and following Islamic practices. This book records their testimony of Harassment and persecution resulting from their loyalty to their understanding of God and HIS revelation.
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A revised edition of this excellent thesis which, on the basis of detailed research proves beyond a shadow of doubt that Jesus survived crucifixion and later died in India. US$5.99 [Order]

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Enforced Apostasy: Zaheeruddin v. State and the Official Persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan

I. The Ahmadiyya Community in Islam

Ahmadis are a religious people who view themselves as members of a Muslim Community within the pale of Islam. *12 Ahmadi Muslims are members of the Ahmadiyya Community. *13 Approximately 3.5 million Ahmadis live in Pakistan. *14

The fundamental difference between Ahmadis and the Sunni Muslim majority in Pakistan concerns the identity of the Promised Messiah. *15 The different beliefs in who the Promised Messiah, foretold by the Prophet Muhammad *16 to appear in the Latter Days, will turn out to be come from varying interpretations of the “finality” of the Prophet Muhammad's prophethood and Jesus Christ's “ascension to heaven”. *17 This difference in belief forms the basis for Sunni persecution of the Ahmadiyya Community in Pakistan. *18  Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's (the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community) claim to prophethood, albeit a prophethood subordinate to Prophet Muhammad, is deemed blasphemous by the Sunni Muslim ummah (clergy). *19 This claim to prophethood by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the primary basis for anti-Ahmadi sentiment in Pakistan. *20

See infra note 92 and accompanying text.

According to Muslims:

Islam is the last of the great religions and contains in itself the essential principles of all earlier religions. Islam is a strongly monotheistic religion with the worship of One God as its central theme. Islam was founded by the Prophet [Hazrat (Respected)] Muhammad [570-632] … and establishes the continuity of God's revelation which had descended upon earlier prophets … and Scriptures. According to Islam all the great religions that preceded it were revealed by God to His chosen messengers….

… The word Islam in the Arabic language is derived from the word SLM and means “peace” and “obedience”. The religion is called Islam because it offers peace and requires complete submission to the will of God. According to the Quran [the holy book of Islam], there is only one religion acceptable to God and that is complete submission to His Will. In the broader sense of the word Islam was also the religion of the earlier prophets like Abraham, Moses and Jesus, because they also submitted themselves to the will and obedience of God. This element of universality is unique to Islam and goes beyond the traditional barriers set up between religions. Islam … endorses the bonafide status of all earlier prophets and revealed books…. Thus Islam is not a religion of an ethnic group or a nation, but the religion of [humankind].

Waheed Ahmad, A Book of Religious Knowledge 14 (1988).
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The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad [1835-1908] of Qadian, India in 1889. The followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad believe that he is the same Messiah and Mahdi whose coming was foretold by Prophet Muhammad and was eagerly awaited by all Muslims. His followers call themselves Ahmadi Muslims. As far as the fundamental beliefs or acts of worship are concerned, the Ahmadi Muslims have neither taken anything out nor added anything new to the religion of Islam. The Ahmadi Muslims make their declaration of faith by reciting the same kalima which was recited by the Prophet Muhammad himself [There is no God but Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger/Prophet of Allah]; they say their Prayers and Fast in the same manner as the Holy Prophet of Islam [Muhammad] did; and their Qiblah [where they face when they say their prayers], their Ka'aba [holy building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia], their Azan [call to prayer] and their Quran are all exactly the same as that of the other [Sunni] Muslims.

Ahmad, supra note 12, at 169.

Ahmadiyyat is a sect of Islam and not a new religion. Ahmadiyyat is a movement, entirely within the fold of Islam, meant to revive its true spirit and philosophy, to cleanse Islam of all superstitions and unnecessary beliefs and customs which … crept in over the past fourteen centuries, and, finally, to preach the religion of Islam to non-Muslims with the enthusiasm and zeal of the early Muslims. Id.

See also Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Ahmadiyyat: The Renaissance of Islam (1978) (providing more information on the Ahmadiyya Community); Louis J. Hammann,

Ahmadiyyat: An Introduction (1985) (providing a short introduction to the Ahmadiyya Community and their beliefs).
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See H. R. Con. Res. 370, 99th Cong., 2d Sess. (1986) (see infra Appendix V for complete text of resolution); Implementation of the Declaration on the Elimination of All Forms of Intolerance Based On Religion and Belief, U.N. ESCOR, 49th Sess., Agenda Item 22 at 81, U.N.Doc.E/CN.4/62 (1993) [hereinafter Implementation of the Declaration].
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Ahmad, supra note 12, at 169.
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To follow the mention of the Prophet Muhammad's name by the benediction “may peace be upon him” is a cherished custom among Muslims. This practice was adopted in writing but not strictly adhered to until two centuries after the Prophet's death. See Jeffrey Lang, Struggling to Surrender ix (1994). Prophets' names, the names of their family members, companions and other religious personalities also are preceded by the benediction. For convenience, the author did not include the benediction but requests the reader to imply it whenever the Prophet Muhammad's name or the names of other religious personalities appear.
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Ahmad, supra note 12, at 169; Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Deliverance From the Cross (1978) (illustrating the Ahmadi belief that Jesus Christ survived crucifixion and travelled to Kashmir, India, where he lies buried in Srinagar. Ahmadis believe the second coming or advent of Jesus was fulfilled by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who came in Jesus' “spirit and power,” as John the Baptist did in fulfilling the Prophet Elijah's second advent. See Luke 1:17). The Prophet Muhammad's “finality” is derived from the following verse of the Holy Quran: “Muhammad is not the father of any of your men, but he is the Messenger of Allah, and the Seal of the Prophets. And Allah has full knowledge of all things.” Holy Quran 33:40 (Abdullah Yusuf Ali trans., n.d.) [hereinafter Holy Quran (Ali)] (emphasis added) (some capitalization omitted).

The Prophet Muhammad is the “Seal of the Prophets or Khatam-an-Nabiyyeen” (in Arabic). Sunnis believe that the word “Seal” signifies that the Prophet Muhammad was the last prophet of God chronologically. Yvonne Y. Haddad & Jane I. Smith, Mission to America: Five Islamic Sectarian Communities in North America 52 (1993). Ahmadis believe “there will be no prophet after Muhammad who will bring a new law or who will not be completely obedient to [Muhammad].” Id. According to Ahmadis, other prophets can appear, but only “through allegiance to [Muhammad], by receiving light from [Muhammad's] light and as his shadow and reflection.” Id. (quoting Alhaj Ataullah Khallam, Holy Prophet as Khataman Nabiyeen, Muslim Sunrise 56, no.4:36 (1990)).

The Ahmadi explanation of their interpretation of the word “Seal” is as follows:

Khatam is [a word] derived from Khatama which means, he sealed, stamped, impressed or imprinted the thing. This is the primary signification of this word. The secondary meaning is he reached the end of the thing; or covered the thing; or protected what is in writing by marking or stamping a piece of clay upon it, or by means of a seal of any kind. Khatam means, a signet-ring; a seal or stamp and a mark; the end of the last part or portion and result or issue of a thing. The word also signifies embellishment or ornament; the best and most perfect. The words Khatim and Khatm and Khatam are almost synonymous…. So the expression Khatamal-Nabiyyin would mean, the Seal of the Prophets; the best and most perfect of the Prophets; the embellishment and ornament of all the Prophets. Secondarily it means, the last [chronologically] of the Prophets.

Holy Quran 911, n.2359 (M. G. Farid ed., 1981) (1969) [hereinafter Holy Quran (Farid)] (emphasis added) (some capitalization omitted) (quoting commentary written by Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, the Ahmadiyya Community's Second Caliph and son of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad).

According to Ahmadis, the belief that Prophet Muhammad is the last prophet chronologically does not exalt his spiritual status as much as does him being the most perfect prophet and the "last word" on prophets. Ahmadis believe “lastness” chronologically is a worldly concept, whereby “lastness” in a metaphoric sense carries much more spiritual significance. Id.

Khatamal-Nabiyyin can have four possible meanings: (1) The Holy Prophet [Muhammad] was the Seal of the Prophets, … no Prophet can be regarded as true unless his Prophethood bears the seal of the Holy Prophet. The Prophethood of every past Prophet must be confirmed and testified to by the Holy Prophet, and also nobody can attain to Prophethood after him except by being his follower. (2) The Holy Prophet was the best, the noblest and the most perfect of all the Prophets and he was also a source of embellishment for them…. (3) The Holy Prophet was the last of the law-bearing Prophets…. (4) The Holy Prophet was the last of the Prophets only in this sense that all the qualities and attributes of Prophethood found their most perfect and complete consummation and expression in him; Khatam in the sense of being the last word in excellence and perfection is of common use. Id.

Ahmadis believe in all four of the aforementioned interpretations. See id. Ahmadis find support for their belief in the "spiritual' lastness of Muhammad as opposed to his chronological lastness in the Holy Quran where it states, “O ye Children of Adam! Whenever there come to you Messengers 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.” Holy Quran (Ali), at 7:35. The preceding verses of the Holy Quran are addressing the people of Muhammad's time and the further generations, and not all people since the Prophet Adam. Holy Quran (Farid), at 7:36 n.970. “From amongst you” therefore indicates the Holy Quran is speaking of prophets that supercede Muhammad and that a later prophet must be from among the Muslim community - the Prophet must be a Muslim, and thus bearing Muhammad's “seal”. Id.

The Ahmadi interpretation of “Khatam” finds support in some recorded traditions of Muhammad and a tradition of his wife, Hazrat Aisha, the “Ummul Momineen” (“Mother of the Faithful”). See Naeem Osman Memon, Ahmadiyyat or Qadianism: Islam or Apostasy? 301-05 (1989) (citing the traditions and providing explanations for their authenticity). Ahmadis also find support from the writings of various eminent Islamic scholars. See id. at 289-301 (citing renowned sages and scholars, Abul Hasan Sharif, Abu Abdullah Muhammad Ali Hussain al Hakim of Tirmidhi, Maulana Muhammad Qasim of Nanauta (founder of the Deoband Seminary), Abu Saeed Mubarak (revered preceptor of Sayyed Abdul Qadir Jilani, founder of the Qaadriyya school of Islamic mysticism), Imam Muhammad bin Abdul Baqee, Ibni'Asakar, Sayyed Abdul Karim Jilani, Qari Abdul Tayyab, Shah Wali Ullah (patron saint of Delhi, India and revered as “Mujaddid” or Reformer of the twelfth century of the Muslim lunar calendar), Sheikh Ahmad Farooqi of Sarhind, Maulana Faranghi Mahal, Maulana Abul Hasanat Abul Hayee, Imam Ja'far Sadiq (sixth Imam of the Shia sect), Mullah Ali bin Muhammad Sultan al Qari, Abdul Wahab Sherani, Sheikh Nausha Ganj, Hafiz Barkhurdar and Nawab Siddique Hasan Khan of Bhopal (leader of the Ahle Hadith in India)). Most importantly, Imam Mohiyyiud Din Ibni Arabi (1165-1240), “the Greatest Shaykh,” also believed that nonlaw-bearing prophets could appear after Muhammad when he stated:

From the study and contemplation of the Darud [prayer asking for the blessings and bounties that were granted to Abraham and his people to be bestowed on Muhammad and his people as well] we have arrived at the definite conclusion that there shall, from among the Muslims, certainly be persons whose status, in the matter of prophethood, shall advance to the level of prophets, if Allah pleases. But they shall not be given any book of law.

Id. at 293 (quoting Mohiyyiud Din Ibini Arabi, Fatuhati Makiyyah Vol.1, 545 (year omitted)). See also Ian R. Netton, A Popular Dictionary of Islam 110 (1992) (referring to “Ibn al-'Arabi” as the “The Greatest Shaykh” and providing the years of his birth and death); see infra note 206 (quoting Mirza Ghulam Ahmad regarding his status as a prophet).
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A second reason for persecution of Ahmadis is the allegation of collaboration with British rule. This allegation is unfounded. When Indian Muslims lived under Sikh rule, the Sikhs denied Muslims the right to call the azan (call to prayer) and confiscated their mosques. Memon, supra note 17, at 41-48. The British annexation of the Province of Punjab relieved the Muslims of this tyranny. Id. The British restored the Muslims' right to practice, profess and propagate their faith. Id. British tolerance was praised by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Id. Because Mirza Ghulam Ahmad expressed his gratitude to the British Raj in his writings, Ahmad's opponents quickly accused him of British collaboration and sponsorship. Id. The Ahmadiyya Community is therefore said to owe its existence and great success to the British Government. Id. Charges of British collaboration, however, are wholly unsubstantiated. Id. For example, opponents charge that the British granted Ahmadis high public offices. Id. However, from the time of the inception of the Ahmadiyya Community in 1889 until the Dominion of India received independence in 1947, only one Ahmadi reached an office of any public concern. Id. Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan was a member of the Governor-General's Legislative Council and a Justice of the Supreme Court of India. Sir Zafrulla Khan later became President of the International Court of Justice. See Muhammad Zafrulla Khan, Servant of God: A Personal Narrative (1983). Sir Zafrulla Khan's career, however, was launched by a renowned Muslim leader, Sir Mian Fazli-Husain of the Punjab Unionist Party, and not by anyone from the British Government. Memon, supra note 17, at 47-48. See also id. at 48-58 (answering more unfounded allegations of British collaboration with Ahmadis); Imam B.A. Rafiq, Truth About Ahmadiyyat 12-20 (1978) (providing further explanation regarding Mirza Ahulam Ahmad's views on the British).
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Antonio R. Gualtieri, Conscience and Coercion: Ahmadi Muslims and Orthodoxy in Pakistan 19-20 (1989).
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Ahmadis and Sunnis have differing interpretations of some Islamic doctrines, but the only real difference between Ahmadis and Sunnis is the identity of the Promised Messiah. Id. at 19. Once the difference between Ahmadis and Sunnis is seen as one based on this identity, the difference between the two becomes one of differing interpretations of the same doctrines. The beliefs of Ahmadis no longer seem like fundamental abrogations from Islamic teachings, but rather, perfectly valid interpretations of them.
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