Navida Sayed, London
Religious persecution in Pakistan against Ahmadis has existed since they were declared non-Muslims in the amendment introduced in Pakistan’s Constitution in 1974. Since then, many hard line Muslims refuse to have anything to do with Ahmadis considering them as social outcasts; many Ahmadis have faced bitter persecution and some have been murdered for their beliefs.
Religious extremists and radical sectarian clerics use Pakistani blasphemy laws as their means to gain mutual support and justify targeted attacks against Ahmadi Muslims. In 1986, the Pakistani blasphemy law, PPC 295-C, was promulgated. It calls for the death penalty to perpetrators of “blasphemy”. The Supreme Court remarked in a written judgment in 1993 that an Ahmadi who shows any commitment to the Kalima (Islamic declaration of faith) defiles the name of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings upon him).’[i] Tragically the main victims of this blasphemy law have been Ahmadi Muslims who wouldn’t even contemplate the thought of defiling the Holy Prophet’s (peace and blessings upon him) name.
Hate campaigns against the Ahmadis in the UK have been brewing over the last few years, but alarmingly the Pakistani blasphemy laws have paved their way onto the streets of UK, leading to the brutal murder of an Ahmadi, Asad Shah, who was killed outside his shop in Glasgow on 24 March 2016, by Tanveer Ahmed, in a religiously prejudiced attack. ‘His death was celebrated by some anti-Ahmadi Muslims on the Internet, who believe that the sect is heretical and therefore worthy of persecution.’[ii] Such an atrocious attack and loss of an innocent life shakes one to the core, and brings into question security of Ahmadi Muslims in the UK. Certainly, extreme, narrow-minded, bigoted clerics with obscure views must be stopped from radicalising people in the UK.
As Ahmadi Muslims, we believe the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian was a non-law bearing Prophet, who came in servitude of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him). Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad vigorously upheld the finality of the prophethood of Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) demonstrating in word and practice that he strongly believed the Holy Prophet as Khātam-an-Nabiyyīn, Seal of all the Prophets and the last law-bearing Prophet.
In a statement on 6th of April 2016, the Muslim Council of Britain, MCB presented a mealy-mouthed response, as to where it stands about the Ahmadiyya Community. Stating, ‘Muslims should not be forced to class Ahmadis as Muslims if they do not wish to do so.’[iii]
MCB further stated that ‘Ahmadi Muslims do not believe in the finality of the Prophethood of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him).’ [iv]
I would like to remind the MCB and all those who take it upon themselves to decide who is or is not a Muslim, that this is a matter between a true believing Muslim and Allah alone.
Most Muslims must be familiar with Hadith or Traditions that Usama bin Zaid was an appointed commander of a division, by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings upon him). On one occasion Usama confronted an unbeliever whom he was about to kill, the unbeliever recited the Kalima, affirming his faith in the truth of Islam. Usama killed him nevertheless. Usama protested that the man’s reciting of confession of faith was due to his fear of death and was not an indication of repentance. Thereupon the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) said:
“Did you peep into his heart to see whether he was telling the truth or not?” and went on repeating: “How will you answer on the Day of Judgement when his confession of faith will be cited in evidence against you?” Usama says: “On hearing the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) repeat this so often I wished that I had become a convert to Islam only that moment and had not been guilty of what was charged against me”
(Muslim, Kitabul Iman).[v]
Likewise, only Allah knows what is in our hearts as Ahmadi Muslims. We declare ourselves Muslims, nobody has the right to say that, God forbid, our Islam is a pretence, that we deny Islam, or deny the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings upon him).
Every person who enters the fold of Islam becomes the equal of everyone else, regardless of which society he belongs to. I would like to remind affiliates of the MCB of our beloved Prophet Muhammad’s (peace and blessings upon him), a most prominent message for mankind.
‘Returning from Muzdalifa, the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) stopped at Mina. It was the eleventh day of the month of Dhu’l-Hijja. The Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) stood before a large gathering of Muslims and delivered an address, famed in history as the farewell address of the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him). In the course of the very detailed address he also said:
‘O men, what I say to you, you must hear and remember. All Muslims are as brethren to one another. All of you are equal. All men, whatever nation or tribe they may belong to, and whatever station in life they may hold, are equal’. While he was saying this the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) raised his hands and joined the fingers of the one hand with the fingers of the other and then said: ‘Even as the fingers of the two hands are equal, so are human beings equal to one another. No one has any right, any superiority to claim over another. You are as brothers.’
Then the Prophet (peace and blessings upon him) further said:
‘Even as this month is sacred, this land inviolate, and this day holy, so has God made the lives, property and honour of every man sacred. To take any man’s life or his property, or attack his honour, is as unjust and wrong as to violate the sacredness of this day, this month, and this territory. What I command you today is not meant only for today. It is meant for all time. You are expected to remember it and to act upon it until you leave this world and go to the next to meet your Maker.’ [vi]
We call upon all the Muslims of the world to bear in mind the words of our beloved Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings upon him) and become united as one under the banner of true Islam.
[ii] “Muslim Brotherhood Umbrella Group: ‘We Won’T Kill Them, But Ahmadis Aren’T Muslims’”. Breitbart. N.p., 2016.
[iii] “Position Statement: The Muslim Council Of Britain And Ahmadis | Muslim Council Of Britain (MCB)”. Mcb.org.uk. N.p., 2016.
[iv] “Position Statement: The Muslim Council Of Britain And Ahmadis | Muslim Council Of Britain (MCB)”. Mcb.org.uk. N.p., 2016.
[v] Aḥmad, Bashīruddīn Maḥmūd, and Bashīruddīn Maḥmūd Aḥmad. Life Of Muhammad. Surrey: Islam International, 1990. Print. pg.239-240
[vi] Aḥmad, Bashīruddīn Maḥmūd, and Bashīruddīn Maḥmūd Aḥmad. Life Of Muhammad. Surrey: Islam International, 1990. Print. pg. 182-186