Facts From Fiction

As a ‘Point of Theology’ the Muslim Council of Britain Doesn’t Understand the Definition of a Muslim

The Kalima – Islamic creed
‘There is no god but Allah; Muhammad (sa) is the Messenger of Allah’

Sarmad Naveed, Canada

When asked why the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) hold anti-Ahmadi sentiments, the Secretary-General of the Council, Zara Mohammed referred to it as a ‘theological’ matter and replied,

‘The definition to be a Muslim is,  number one, belief in one God, and number two, the finality of prophethood. So obviously with the Ahmadiyya Community there is a difference in that belief.’ 

As an organisation which is meant to represent the wider Muslim community, you would think that it’s leader would have a firm understanding on the basic definition of a Muslim. What’s sad is that the definition she has given starkly contradicts the teachings of the very founder of Islam, in whose name she justifies the shunning of Ahmadi’s. 

According to the Holy Prophet (sa) the definition of a Muslim is as follows:

Whoever prays like us and faces our Qibla and eats our slaughtered animals is a Muslim and is under Allah’s and His Apostle’s protection. So do not betray Allah by betraying those who are in His protection [1]

When the Holy Prophet (sa) learned that a Muslim had killed a man in battle, after he had professed his faith in God, he asked, ‘Did he profess, “There is no god but Allah” and even then you killed him?’ The companion replied saying that he had only professed this because he feared the weapon he was brandishing. To this, the Holy Prophet (sa) replied, ‘Did you tear his heart to find out whether it had professed or not?’ [2]

In fact, on another occasion when a census of Muslims was being taken, the Holy Prophet (sa) said: List the names of those people who have announced that they are Muslims’. [3] In other words, anyone who declared to be a Muslim, was considered to be a Muslim.

Therefore, according to the Holy Prophet (sa), the founder of the religion of Islam, if one professes to be a Muslim, then they must be considered a Muslim. 

It is universally known that there is a simple declaration of faith for Muslims, known as the Kalima or Islamic creed. That is:

لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ الله

There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

Anyone with basic knowledge of Arabic can attest that in this declaration, there is no mention of the finality of prophethood. 

However, the Secretary-General of the MCB stipulated that belief in the finality of prophethood is at the core of the Islamic belief system and integral to being regarded as a Muslim. Yet neither the Holy Prophet (sa), nor the Islamic creed supports her claim. This begs the question then; who are the MCB really representing?

This does not mean that Ahmadi Muslims do not accept the finality of prophethood. The Ahmadiyya belief most certainly accepts the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) as the Seal of Prophets and the final law-bearing prophet. 

How then can Ahmadis believe in another prophet after him? The Promised Messiah, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) explains:

‘If it is asked that the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be on him, being Khataman Nabiyyeen (the seal of prophets), how can any other prophet arise after him… All windows of prophethood are now closed except the window of complete obedience to the Holy Prophet. Therefore, he who approaches God through this window is reflectively clothed with the same cloak of prophethood which is the cloak of the Muhammadan prophethood. The prophethood of such a one is not apart and distinct from the prophethood of the Holy Prophet (sa), inasmuch as he does not claim it in his own right but receives everything from the fountain of the Holy Prophet (sa), not for himself but for his glory.’ [4]

On another occasion he states:

My prophethood is a reflection of the prophethood of the Holy Prophet (sa) and is not a prophethood in its own right. That is why, both in the hadith and in my revelation, as I have been called a prophet, I have also been called a follower of the Holy Prophet (sa) so that it should be clear that every excellence that has been bestowed upon me has been bestowed through my following the Holy Prophet (sa) and through my obedience to him. [5]

When this is the case, where does the confusion lie? While the Secretary-General of the MCB said that she is against the hatred, abuse and vilification of Ahmadis, she has gravely propagated misconceptions about Ahmadis, venturing so far as to liken the beliefs of ‘saying believe in two gods, not one.’ It is abhorrently misrepresentative and false statements like these which vilify Ahmadi Muslims and lead to misunderstandings. 

One needs only to observe the oath of allegiance taken by every single Ahmadi Muslim, which begins by declaring that there is no god but Allah.

Of course Ahmadis do not require validation from any person or organisation with regards to their status as Muslims, instead, Ahmadis seek only the validation of God Almighty Himself, because that is what truly matters. However, as a matter of principle, it is important to address such misconceptions and misrepresentations as have been created by the MCB.

The Secretary-General said that their exclusion of Ahmadis as Muslim is definitively based in scripture. Yet this statement is proven to be false. She, or any one of her clerics are invited to present any scriptural evidence which declares belief in the finality of prophethood to be a matter of faith, whereby it can be judged who is, and isn’t a Muslim. If that is not the case, then what scriptural evidence can they provide which deems Ahmadis to be outside the pale of Islam? In reality, there is none. As the Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) states:

‘The Ahmadiyya Community, according to the instructions of Allah and His Messenger (sa) believes everyone who recites the Kalimah [Islamic creed] is a Muslim. For someone to be a Muslim, it is enough for them to simply declare:

لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّااللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ الله

And this is exactly what is proven from the ahadith’ [6]

Not only should the MCB and its leadership educate themselves about the true teachings of Ahmadiyyat, but they should in fact acquaint themselves with the most basic teachings of Islam, before claiming to represent Muslims.

About the Author: Sarmad Naveed is an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community who graduated from the Ahmadiyya Institute for Languages and Theology in Canada. He serves on the Editorial Board of The Review of Religions and coordinates the Facts from Fiction section. He has also appeared as a panelist and host of programmes on Muslim Television Ahmadiyya (MTA) such as ‘Ahmadiyyat: Roots to Branches.’ 


[1] Sahih al-Bukhari, Hadith no. 391

[2] Sahih Muslim, Hadith no. 96

[3] Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith no. 3060

[4] AIk Ghalti ka Izala (A Misconception Removed)Ruhani Khaza’in Vol 18 pp. 207-208

[5] Haqeeqatul Wahi, p. 150

[6] Friday Sermon 2 December 2011