Thousands of people apply for a passport in Pakistan each day. However, what is not quite normal is that every applicant is additionally required to declare his or her faith on the application form in order to obtain this document to travel. An applicant who declares faith in Islam has to sign a disclaimer included in this form. The wording of this declaration is as follows:
“16. DECLARATION IN CASE OF MUSLIM
I,…………………s/d/w/of……………..aged adult Muslim, resident of…………….…………….. hereby solemnly declare that:
a. I am a Muslim and believe in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) the last of the prophets.
b. I do not recognize any person who claims to be prophet in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever after Muhammad (peace be upon him) or recognize such a claimant as prophet or a religious reformer as a Muslim.
c. I consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Quadiani to be an impostor nabi and also consider his followers whether belonging to the Lahori or Quadiani group, to be Non-Muslim.
Signature & Thumb impression”
As a Pakistani by origin, I find this document quite shameful and resonant of ages long gone. According to Pakistani Law, one does not have to recite the Kalima (the Muslim creed – an affirmation that there is no God but Allah, Muhammad(saw) is a Messenger of Allah) or believe in the articles of the Islamic faith to be a Muslim. Instead, one is required to take an oath before the passport issuing authorities. This would mean that to be a Muslim, you do not have to say what you are; instead you have to state what you are not. You do not mention what you believe; you mention what you do not believe. In order to be certified as a Muslim, you have to declare another sect as being non-Muslim. It is ridiculous, and, above all, un-Islamic.1
With all the propaganda against Islam, one would have imagined that Muslims would defend their faith with rational arguments but the only method they have found is to denounce someone else as a non-Muslim and outside the pale of Islam. By putting everyone outside this pale is going to leave nothing inside it and would spell the death of their faith.2
One should be careful about the consequence of such acts. In the Holy Qur’an, Allah makes it very clear:
…We never punish until We have sent a Messenger (Ch.17:V.16)
Herein lies a warning for the past, the present and the future. So, in every age and time, mankind has to identify a reformer who not only gives glad tidings to the believers, but warns the other of the wrath of God, the Almighty. This fact is accepted by all Muslims sects.
The Holy Prophet of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), prophesied the advent of a divine reformer. Therefore, all sects of Islam expected a divine reformer. The need of such a reformer was felt acutely as Islam was in a state of turmoil in every respect: spiritual, political, ethical, social and intellectual.
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian claimed to be that long awaited reformer. He claimed to be the Mahdi, Messiah, Avatar and any other title associated to the reformer of the latter days. While many accepted him, a vast majority of Muslims opposed him bitterly, and continue to do so today.
His teachings, spread over 80 books, can be broadly divided into three main areas: proofs of the truth of Islam, glad tidings and warnings. As his advent marked the fulfilment of a grand prophecy of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw), not believing in his promised reformer would mean disobedience to the Prophet of Islam(saw). So Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) invited all to believe in him and come under the divine shelter of true Islam. Those who rejected him and increased in their cruelty against him and his followers were warned of the worst disaster – including political turmoil, war, tyranny, social and individual unrest, and earthquakes and other natural disasters – ever witnessed on the face of earth.
“Death will cause such havoc that streams of blood will flow. Calamities of a terrible nature from earth as well as heaven will come upon men.
“Many shall be saved and many shall be destroyed. The days are near, nay, they are at the door, when the world shall see an unparalleled scene of devastation. Not only will great earthquakes come, but other calamities from heaven and earth will also visit the earth, as this will be brought about because men have forsaken God, and with all their heart and all their soul they are bent low upon the world.
“Had I not come, these calamities would also have been put off for a while, but with my appearance the secret designs of the wrath of God have been made manifest, for He says that ‘punishment is not sent upon a people until a warner is raised.’ Those who repent shall be saved, and those who show fear before the calamity shall be shown mercy.
“Do you think that you can be saved by your own plans? That cannot be. Do not think that severe earthquakes have come in distant places in America and your country will be safe for I see that greater distress is in store for you. Thou, O Europe! Art not safe, nor thou, O Asia! And ye that dwell in islands! No self-made deity will assist you on that day. I see cities falling down and I find inhabited places in ruin.
“I say to you truly that the turn of this country is drawing near. The days of Noah will you again witness and the scene of Lot’s land will see with your own eyes. But God is slow in sending his wrath. Repent, that mercy may be shown to you. He who forsakes God is a worm, not a man and he who does not fear him is dead, not living.” (Haqiqatul Wahi (Urdu), Ruhani Khazain, London, 1984, vol. 22, pp.267-269)
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) issued this warning to the whole world. Although there are many in the world who have not yet embraced his message Pakistan chooses to be the one and only nation where the message of a Divine reformer is rejected by law. Whenever a Pakistani ‘Muslim’ applies for a passport and signs the infamous, ignoble declaration, he declares this Divine reformer, and messenger to be an imposter. The clergy has driven the masses into such frenzy that Ahmadi Muslims are denied equal rights, refused any justice and killed mercilessly in the presence of both State and non-State actors.
A calamity is a natural phenomenon but of extraordinary magnitude and severity. Volcanic activity is a natural phenomenon and so is rain. But, in certain circumstances, both can result in calamities of the worst kind. Over the past few years, Pakistan has witnessed a series of calamities of a severe nature. Heavy floods, leaving thousands dead and millions without food and shelter, are a recent example. Is this only heavy rainfall randomly resulting in floods, or is it a sign or a fulfilment of a prophecy? Two points decide this matter.
Bearing in mind the Qur’anic law of God, has this nation been warned by a Divine reformer?
The answer to this question is definitely YES. Almost every single individual in Pakistan has come across the infamous disclaimer on the passport application at least once in his or her lifetime and is required to confirm that the “Warner” is an imposter.
The second point too is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an. Describing the wrath of God on a people who were warned but did not believe, Allah says:
And We rained upon them a rain; and evil is the rain for those who were warned. (Ch.27:V.59)
This is a fact and has been described in the manner set out in this verse. Nevertheless, as believers of the Promised Messiah(as) we still pray for the relief of humanity. I conclude by quoting the enlightening words of the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V:
“May Allah bestow upon the world the sense and guidance to recognise His Messenger and be saved from the Wrath of Allah. May He also enable us to propagate the true message of Islam. May every hindrance in this cause strengthen our faith instead of being deterred by fear. May Allah enable us to do so.” (Friday Sermon, 5th March 2010, Al-Fazl International, London, 26th March 2010)
1 One may wonder as to what purpose such a declaration could serve, for the state of Pakistan, for those signing this declaration and for those who believe otherwise and do not sign the declaration. Viewed in the six decades history of bitter persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan, the extremist, ultra-right wing of religio-political activists has taken every single measure to ensure that Ahmadis are not treated as Muslims and has deprived them the right to perform Hajj (pilgrimage of Makkah), one of the five pillars of faith in Islam.
2 Mr M A Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan used Islam to provide a basis for The Two Nation Theory. In the time of Mr Liaqat Ali Khan, the term Islam was used as a social law to provide a basis for the constitution of the “Islamic Republic of” Pakistan. Mr Z A Bhutto used it as a ventilator for his dying regime. Zia ul Haq used it to build his legacy of extremism, violence and sectarianism in Pakistan. So Pakistan has, unfortunately, ridden with Islam but the scholars have never been able to agree a definition of who is a Muslim. On the other hand, on one occasion of voting in Madinah, the Holy Prophet of Islam(saw), was asked as to who should be classed as Muslim for polling purposes. He replied that whosoever just says he/she is a Muslim, should be written down as a Muslim.