Sarmad Naveed, Canada
Over the course of many years, there have always been those who say that Ahmadis should be considered outside the pale of Islam because they do not accept the very basic tents of Islam. These sentiments were brought to light once again, based on recent comments made by the Secretary-General of the Muslim Council of Britain.
It should be clear, that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community does not seek validation, nor does it require recognition or representation from other Muslim organisations in order to maintain its credibility as Muslims. A Muslim understands that true validation can only come from God. As a community, Ahmadi Muslims are represented by their Caliph, the successor the Promised Messiah (as), whose advent was foretold by the Holy Prophet (sa).
However, it is necessary to dispel misinformation.
Firstly, it’s interesting to hear people say that Ahmadis should not fall under the banner of Islam, because this would have to mean that there is a united front, or representation of Muslims. But, where is there a united community of Muslims? One look at the Muslim world and it is clear to see that instead of unity, there is division and enmity amongst the various sects in Islam. In fact, Ahmadis are not the only ones to be labelled as ‘non-Muslim’, as various other Islamic sects declare each other to be non-Muslim as well.
Let’s take the Barelvi sect for example. Whilst describing who are considered disbelievers, the founder of the Barelvi sect, Ahmad Raza Khan states:
‘Murtad Munafiq [apostate and hypocrite] is one who professes belief in the Islamic declaration of faith, but then are guilty of blasphemy against Allah the Almighty, the Holy Prophet (sa) or any other prophet, or rejects one of the tenants of faith, these include Wahhabis, Rafidis [Shia’s], Qadianis, Naturi [Rationalists], Chakralvi [Ahl-e-Quran].’ 
On the other hand, Deobandis hold similar beliefs regarding the Barevlis. Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, a Deobandi scholar declared that the views held by Ahmad Raza Khan made him a Kafir (disbelievers).  Similarly, Maulvi Sayyid Muhammad Murtaza, another scholar from the Deobandi sect has declared Ahmad Raza Khan to be an apostate. 
Then there are the widely known discrepancies in the beliefs of Sunni and Shia sects, Simply put, Sunnis believe that the Holy Prophet (sa) was succeeded by four Rightly guided Caliphs, whereas Shias believe that the Holy Prophet (sa) was succeeded by 12 Imams, and that rejection of these Imams is essentially betrayal of the Holy Prophet (sa).
Thus, where some venture to cast Ahmadis outside the pale of Islam, they seemingly fail to realise that there is no united front within the Muslim world, and that each sect denounces the other. What justification can there be then, of targeting Ahmadis in particular?
The Fourth Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (rh) states:
‘They consider us (Ahmadis) to be non Muslims, while they have been considering each other non-Muslims for the last 1300 years – at least 100 years after, or even before the Holy Prophet (sa) – closer to him than 1300 years, there are sects in Islam who have been considering others non-Muslims. But as such, they continue to disagree with each other; never they imposed this compulsion on any sect, they considered non-Muslim, not to behave like a Muslim, not to act as a Muslim, not to call themselves as Muslims, and not to do anything by way of Muslim worship, which would make them appear like Muslims. This never happened in any religion in the world before,’ even in Islam.’
Thus there is division throughout the Muslim world. This division starkly resembles the turmoil described by the Holy Prophet (sa) which would come about within Muslims. And what did the Holy Prophet (sa) advise to do when such a state of affairs came about?
‘Attach yourselves to the Jama’ah [Community] of Muslims] and their leader’ 
Take another glance at the Muslim world, and it is clear to see that the only group of Muslims united under one leader in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, united under their leader, the Caliph, successor to the Promised Messiah (as).
So then what is the justification of declaring Ahmadis as non-Muslim?
The justification given by those who declare Ahmadis being non-Muslims is the claim that Ahmadis do not believe in the finality of prophethood, as it pertains to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). This is because Ahmadis believe the Promised Messiah (as), Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) to be a prophet as well.
It’s a shame however, that due to their lack of familiarising themselves with the true teachings of Islam and Ahmadiyyat, they are wrong on two fronts. As it has been proven in previous articles, nowhere is belief in the finality of prophethood deemed to be a matter of faith, whereby it can be determined who is, and isn’t a Muslim. The Islamic creed is simply:
لَآ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا اللهُ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُولُ الله
‘There is no god but Allah; Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah’
Furthermore, whilst defining who a Muslim is, the Holy Prophet (sa) said:
‘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’ 
As for belief in the finality of prophethood, every true Ahmadi accepts this, as Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) himself 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.’ 
Despite this, even if the various Muslim sects were adamant in declaring that Ahmadis should not fall under the banner of Islam, Ahmadis will remain undeterred, because this only proves the following statement made by the Holy Prophet (sa):
‘My people will be divided into 73 sections, all of them will be in the fire except one.’ The companions asked, ‘Who are they O Messenger of Allah,’ Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘They are those who will be like me and my companions.’ .
The reality is, there are no grounds to declare Ahmadis as non-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.’
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2. Rashid Ahmad Gangohi, Fatawa-e-Rashidiyyah (Karachi, Pakistan: Darul Ishaat) 206
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5. Sahih al-Bukhari Hadith no. 391
6. AIk Ghalti ka Izala (A Misconception Removed )Ruhani Khaza’in Vol 18 pp. 207-208
7. Tirmidhi Kitabul Iman