The Prophet, may the mercy and blessings of God be upon him, said: ‘I asked God for three things, He gave me two and didn’t give me one. I asked God to save my nation from being destroyed by natural calamities and He gave it to me. I asked God to protect my nation from defeat at the hands of a foreign enemy and He gave it to me. I asked God to save my nation from being destroyed from within, and He did not give it to me.’ (Ibn Khuzaimah)
‘Dominion over palm and pine’; that’s how the British Empire was described by the historians. By the late 17th century it had colonized many parts of the world, including vast regions of the Muslim world.
Colonization was not only about exploiting natural resources; but also to indoctrinate the conquered peoples to uphold British ideology and faith. Missionaries worked feverishly in different areas of the British Empire to spread the message of Christianity. Schools were set up and different tactics were employed to reach their goals.
As the Muslims began to realize the danger of what they were facing, they united, mobilized and launched ‘freedom’ assaults to free their lands from the clutches of the ruthless Empire. Hand to hand combat and armed confrontations were nothing new to the British, but as the Muslim attacks grew relentless and deadlier, they adopted a new tactic, ‘divide and dominate’. Instead of squaring off with the Muslims face to face, they incited individuals among the Muslims to form their own groups and to split away from Mainstream Sunni Islam. Ideological warfare was launched against the Muslims, as were the instructions of Louis IX, the so called “Lieutenant of God on Earth” who failed miserably in his Crusader attempts.
One of the groups that formed during that time were the Qadiyani group, also known as Ahmadis, which came into existence in the year 1889.
Of course, not just anyone can come up and announce himself to be a ‘Prophet’ of God. Mirza Ghulam Ahmed understood this and took his mission one step at a time. Initially he claimed to be a Revivalist of Islam. He said: “We are Muslims. We believe in the One God without a partner and in the Testimony of Faith. We believe in the Book of God, the Quran, in His Messenger Muhammad. We believe in angels, the resurrection, Hell and Paradise. We observe the prescribed prayers and the fast. We turn to the Qibla for prayers and forbid ourselves what is forbidden by God and His Prophet and permit ourselves what is permitted. We add not a thing to the Islamic Law, nor subtract any thing from it. Islamic law is above change.”
With claims such as this and possessing powerful articulate skills, he was able to gain considerable ground with many Muslims. In the year 1891 he claimed to be the ‘Promised Messiah’ and the Mahdi. Finally, in the year 1901 he took the plunge and announced that he was a Prophet of God.
In order for Mirza to gain favor with all people, he incorporated into his faith elements of every religion that was present in his area; thus, his doctrine incorporated Indian, Sufi, Islamic, and Western elements.
Mirza Ghluam Ahmed had claimed so many things that it is difficult to chronologically arrange them.
a. He claimed to be God and the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth. He has written, “I saw in my dreams that I AM ALLAH/God and I believed, no doubt I am The One Who created the Heavens.” [Aaina-e-Kamaalaat]
b. He claimed to be nine prophets. He said, “I am Adam. I am Noah. I am Abraham. I am Ishmael. I am Moses. I am Jesus and I am Muhammad.” [Roohaani Khazaaim]
c. He claimed to be the mother of Prophet Jesus and then he claimed to be Prophet Jesus himself. He said the ‘first God’ converted him into Mary. After two years, God made him pregnant for ten months, after which God converted him into Jesus. [Roohaani Khazaain]
d. He claimed that he was Muhammad, the Messenger of God. “Muhammad is the Messenger of God and those with him are hard against the disbelievers and merciful amongst themselves.”(Quran 48:29) He claimed that in this divine revelation, he himself was named Muhammad and also the Messenger. [Roohaani Khazaain, vol. 18, page 207]
e. He claimed to be the Mahdi and the Promised Messiah, though he did not fulfill any of the conditions laid by Prophet Muhammad regarding the Mahdi and the Promised Messiah.
f. In a lecture given in Sialkot in 1904, he declared that God had informed him that Krishna who had appeared among the Aryas thousands of years ago was indeed a prophet of God upon whom the Holy Spirit descended from God, but that later his teachings were corrupted and he began to be worshipped. Here he claimed that he was the avatar whom the Hindus were awaiting in the latter days, and that he had appeared in the likeness of Krishna invested with the same qualities.
The Ahmadiyah group split into two individual groups. This occurred after the death of Hakim Noor-ud-Din, the first successor of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed. The first group is known as ‘Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’ and the second, the smaller one, is known as ‘Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam’.
The differences between the two can be summarized in two points. The first point is their belief regarding the prophethood of Mirza Ghulam Ahmed. The Lahore Ahmadiyya group considers Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a Prophet in the metaphorical sense of the word; whereas, the Ahmadiyyah Muslim Community holds that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was a Prophet, holding all necessary qualities a Prophet should have.
The second difference is how they view mainstream Sunni Muslims. The Lahore Ahmadiyya group believes that any person who professes the Testimony of Faith to be a Muslim, and cannot be called a non-Muslim.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that any Muslim who has not accepted Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claim is a non-Muslim, even if the person has not even heard the name of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his life.
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