Basil Raza Butt, Canada
Towards the latter part of the 19thCentury, a man from a remote part of India made an extraordinary claim that was significant not only in the Islamic world, but for the world at large. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas claimed to be the Messiah of the latter days, who came to unite humanity under one banner and also show through his example that God Almighty exists and speaks just as He did in in the past.
Starting from the small town of Qadian in India, the Ahmadiyya Community has spread to over 200 countries across the globe, proving the truthfulness of the Promised Messiahas.
Mirza Ghulam Ahmadaswas born in Qadian, a village in the Punjab, India in 1835. Belonging to a noble family, Mirza Ghulam Ahmadaschose to lead a modest life and remained devoted to the deeper study of Islam and the Holy Qur’an. Prior to receiving his mission, he was involved in debates and wrote in favour of the truthfulness of Islam. He first came in public view when he wrote his magnum opus, Barahin-e-Ahmadiyya. In this book Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas highlighted the beauties of Islam and the Holy Qur’an, and extended a challenge to all other faiths to express the beauties of their own faith in such a manner. Anyone who accepted the challenge and penned a successful rebuttal according to the conditions would be awarded a colossal 10,000 rupees – a challenge which has never been accepted to date. Mirza Ghulam Ahmadaswent on to write more than 90 books elucidating the deeper intricacies of the Holy Qur’an, removing myths that existed in Islam and also writing extensively about the true events of the crucifixion and how Jesusas had survived this great trial, then travelling to the east, he went to fulfil his mission in search of the lost tribes of Israel.
As these teachings became more prominent, his opposition grew, but so did his group of followers. In line with a promise of God, people began to flock to Qadian from far-off places. He stated that he had been divinely commissioned to establish a community of devout and sincere believers. Thus, in accordance to this divine decree, Mirza Ghulam Ahmadastook the first pledge of allegiance on 23rd March 1889, marking a truly historic moment. Explaining the need of pledging allegience, he stated: ‘This system of Bai‘at[pledging allegience] has been established solely to gather together a group of the righteous people in a Jama‘at so that a weighty group of the righteous people should make a holy impact on the world. The unity of these righteous people should be a source of blessings, grandeur, and positive results for Islam. The blessings of being united on one creed may enable them to perform noble and righteous services for the sake of Islam…’
As promised by God Almighty, the community grew with the passing of each day. In May 1908, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – the Promised Messiah & Imam Mahdi – departed this mortal world, but left the young growing community with yet another grand prophecy: that after his demise, the second manifestation of God – i.e. the institution of Khilafat [Caliphate] – would be established. Thus, this blessed institution has continued to further the mission of the Promised Messiahas.
His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, the fifth and current worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, has travelled across the globe in his efforts to spread the peaceful teachings of Islam and the message of Ahmadiyyat. He has met world leaders, heads of state, and delivered keynote addresses at various parliaments and religious conferences in which he has expounded on the aims and objectives of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. We have presented a very short summary for our readers to see a glimpse of how His Holiness is guiding the world through the community established by the Promised Messiahas.
Explaining how the community’s origins are intimately attached to prophecies found in the Islamic faith, His Holinessabastates:
‘Within Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is that sect which was established in accordance with the prophecy made by the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa over 1400 years ago.
In this respect, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is unique because, though the Holy Prophetsa prophesied that Muslims would split and divide, he did not mention any other sect directly. In his prophecy, the Holy Prophetsa foretold of a time when the majority of Muslims would have forgotten the true teachings of Islam and their acts would not be in accordance with their religion. Alongside this, the Holy Prophetsa also gave the glad tiding that, at a time of such spiritual decline, Allah the Almighty would send a person as the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (the Guided One). He who would enlighten the entire world with the true and peaceful teachings of Islam.’
‘We Ahmadi Muslims believe our Founder, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas of Qadian, to be the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi. We believe that he came as a beacon of truth to convey the true and resplendent teachings of Islam to the entire world.’
The essence of this community and its founder’s mission is to revive the true and pristine teachings of Islam and not to introduce anything new. Explaining this, His Holinessabastates:
‘Hence, the first point I wish to make clear is that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community should not be considered a “liberal” or “reformist” sect of Islam.
Rather, we are following the original teachings of Islam.’
On another occasion, expanding on the true objectives of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holinessabaexplained this in the words of the founder of the Community:
‘The Promised Messiahas himself explained the key objectives of his advent. He said: “The task with which God Almighty has appointed me is that I should remove the malaise that has formed between God and His Creation and restore the relationship of love and sincerity between them.”
“The second purpose is that for the sake of God’s people and out of compassion all persons should engage their strengths and capabilities in the service and well-wishing of God’s people. And they must treat gratefully and beneficially all people, from kings and emperors down to an ordinary person.”’
Outlining the approach that the Promised Messiahaswas to adopt in order to fulfil this grand task, His Holinessabastates:
‘The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, who we believe to be the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (Guided One), openly proclaimed that he was the Messiah of Muhammadsa and that he would follow in the peaceful footsteps of the Messiah who followed Mosesas.’
‘The Promised Messiahashimself proclaimed that he had come to bring an end to all forms of religious warfare. Furthermore, I have already mentioned how strongly he emphasised the fulfilment of the rights of one another. A society where religious wars have come to an end and where mankind’s attention is drawn towards serving humanity and fulfilling each other’s rights can only become a haven of peace.’
Furthermore, emphasising the ardent desire of the Holy Founderas, His Holinessaba says:
‘He implored the people of the world to live together in peace and inculcated within his followers human sympathy and compassion.’
The Promised Messiahas prophesied that the work of this grand task would continue long after his demise. Explaining the blessed means through which this was going to take place, His Holinessabastates:
‘Not only did the Promised Messiahas announce that he had been sent by God, but he also established a Community of his followers.’
‘Following his demise in 1908, the Promised Messiahas was succeeded by the institution of Khilafat (Caliphate), whose purpose was, and continues to be, to advance the Promised Messiah’sas mission of propagating Islam’s true teachings to all parts of the world.’
Through his regular sermons, lectures, books and personal meetings, His Holinessaba– the spiritual guide and leader of this blessed community – continues to remind the community of their fundamental purpose as adherents of the Promised Messiahas:
‘We must endeavour to personally fulfil the mission of the Promised Messiahas, which was to make the world recognise its Creator and to accept the Unity of God Almighty and to fulfil the rights of mankind.’
Today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is established in over two hundred countries of the world with a membership exceeding tens of millions and with hundreds of thousands joining each year. United under the leadership of the Khalifa [Caliph], the message of Islam and Ahmadiyyat continues to be spread across the world.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Conditions of Bai’at and Responsibilities of an Ahmadi, 10.