بسم الله الحمد لله و صلاة و سلام على رسول الله و على آله و سلم بسليما
Lets talk about Chanda! But first, a word from our sponsors:
Surah Yasin, Verse 21
The Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم directed us to pay 2.5% of one’s end of year savings. This is the absolute minimum Allah has commanded us to give, which is distributed directly to the poor, not even to the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم. While giving is good, and truly necessary in some circumstances, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم never made a general mandate to give money except to the poor.
However, the Ahmadiyya faith has created a new law: Chanda. Often described as a “financial sacrifice”, Chanda is a fee paid by all Ahmadis merely for being Ahmadi. This fee, a tithe, is given directly to the religious authorities. Tithes were not a practice of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم, and thus constitutes a new religious innovation – a new law created in the faith, despite the claim that Mirza Ghulam was a “non-law-bearing” prophet.
Some of the Ahmadiyya religious apologists attempt to defend Chanda by citing verses from the Qur’an which speak about giving for the sake of Allah. It is undeniable that giving from one’s wealth, intellect, time, strength or any other forms of capital is a blessed act and rewarded by Allah. Let me be clear, no Muslims condemns giving wealth. May Allah increase the reward of those who do so. But, the objection raised by Muslims and questioning Ahmadis is not about the act of giving itself, the objection is about mandating such an act as an obligatory part of Islam, thus constituting a new law which the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم never did.
Still confused why its wrong? Take for example Salah (Namaz). Salah is often praised in the Qur’an. If a person were to consistently pray a sixth time in addition to the first five, that would be virtuous Nafl prayer, just a personal practice he takes upon him. But the moment he declares his sixth prayer to be an obligatory part of Islamic practice, then it becomes a religious innovation – a bid’ah. Islam mandates five prayers, no more, no less.
To make matters worse, people who refuse to pay up or question Chanda’s validity are deemed arrogant, miserly, or a possibly munafiq. This is essentially religious blackmail. New money schemes are concocted, members are to be “constantly reminded“, meetings are held about increasing Chanda “goals”, even children are pressured!
Even the very philosophy behind Chanda is backwards. Islam praised the giving of wealth by speaking about its virtues and rewards. This is called positive re-enforcement. Mirza Ghulam and his successors condemned those who did not give them money as arrogant, misers, being secret hypocrites, etc. This is negative re-enforcement.
So without further ado, below is a list of the different types of Chanda in the Ahmadiyya faith.
|Chanda ‘Aam||“Chanda ‘Aam is the basic and compulsory Chanda which the Promised Messiah has made obligatory upon every earning Ahmadi, man and woman, and is still to be paid at the rate of 1/16th on the total income from all sources.” 1/16th is 6.25% of your income|
|Chanda Jalsa Salana||“Members paying Chanda Hissa Amad or Chanda ‘Aam are also required to pay 1/120th of their annual income or 1/10th of their monthly income as Chanda Jalsa Salana once a year.”|
|Chanda Ailan-e-Wasiyyat||“The Chanda which a Musi is obligated to pay on his real income is called Chanda Hissa Amad, whose minimum rate is 1/10th and can be enhanced up to 1/3…”|
|Chanda Tahrik-e-Jadid||“In 1934, Majlis-e-Ahrar started an agitation against the Jama’at and declared that they would not rest until they wiped the Jama’at off the face of the Earth. In response, Hadrat Muslih Ma’ud said: ‘I see the earth slipping from under the feet of Ahrar…'”|
|Chanda Waqf-e-Jadid||“Tahrik-e-Jadid was founded in 1934. At first it was a temporary scheme, but after ten years, having [a] vision of its nature and importance, Hadrat Musleh Ma’ud extended its farther…”|
|Amanat Tarbiyyat||“The Chanda paid under this head is called Amanat Tarbiyyat. As a gratitude for this spiritual gift [MTA] bestowed upon us by Allah Almighty. It is essential that we should make all members of the Jama’at, including ladies and children, a part of it, so that they can feel the pleasure of being participating in its personally…” Basically, this is to pay for MTA.|
|Ta’mir Buyutul Dhikr||“Each year Markaz allocates an amount for the construction of new mosques, but it is not nearly enough to serve the needs of the Jama’at. As the number of Ahmadis increase [they are not increasing], so does the need for more mosques, and obviously, construction costs a lot of money. Many Jama’ats are more than happy to meet this requirement locally and believe that if they can build their own houses themselves, they will also build the Houses of Allah. However, where members of Jama’at feel financial constraint and require assistance, Markaz tries to meet their requirement partially or wholly out of the amount set out for this purpose. But this requirement is bound to increase with the passage of time, so those people who are well to do, should, in addition to assisting their local Jama’ats also help Markaz in this regard, and pay their chanda under this head (for Markaz). Similarly, on happy occasions, like getting a new job, promotion, or building of a new house, etc, one should draw his attention to take part in construction of mosques. The amount collected under this head will be kept in Markazi Amanat and shall be transferred on specific instruction for Markaz.”|
|Maryam Shadi Fund||“This amounts received under this head are used to help deserving parents in marrying off their daughters.” The accompanying quote by Mirza Tahir says that this is a dowry fund to “send their daughters to their homes in a befitting manner”. In Islam, the Mahr (dowry) goes from the groom to the bride, not vice versa. I suppose Mirza Tahir had no problems with the social mandate that a bride must come into the marriage in a “befitting manner”.|
|Sayyidna Bilal Fund||“This fund was announced by Hadrat Khalifatul Masih IV, in his Friday Sermon on the 14th of Marcy 1982, for the welfare of families of Martyrs who have sacrificed their lives for the cause of Ahmadiyyat.” Note: For Ahmadiyyat, not for Islam.|
|Sacrifice of Animal Hide||No description provided in the text|
|Fund for Construction of Mission Houses in Europe||Wait, wasn’t Ta’mir Buyutul Dhikr established for this purpose?|
|Tahir Foundation||“Hadrat Khalifatul Masih V announced the establishment of Tahir Foundation for the purpose of continuing the projects started by Hadrat Khalifatul Masih IV and for the compilation and publication of his literary work.”|
|Guest House Qadian||No description provided in the text|
|Darwaish Fund||No description provided in the text|
|Al-Fadl International Fund||No description provided, but obvious|
|Review of Religions||No description provided, but obvious|
But Doesn’t Chanda Help Do Good Work?
One might argue that Chanda money is given to fund the myriad of Ahmadiyya institutions, such as MTA, flyer campaigns, bus campaigns, masjid building, and more!
As Muslims living in the west, our task is not merely to build tremendous houses of worship and marvel at their size. It is to create marvelous hearts that tremor when the name of Allah is mentioned. Are the Ahmadiyya institutions doing that? According to a recently leaked report, the UK Ahmadiyya population is a meek 22 thousand. This, in the country of residence of its supreme spiritual leader and who tells his followers they are growing at the speed of light. Just the number of Muslim converts, not born Muslims, in the UK alone exceed the entire UK Ahmadiyya population in 2010.
So what effect has all this money had, other than building massive and hollow centers?
But Doesn’t Chanda Help the Poor and Needy?
If your objective is to help the poor, then simply give Zakah or Sadaqa! Heck, even give to Humanity First, they seem to do great work. Why the need to pay the religious authorities, who take a cut off the top?
Ways you can push back
According to the famous Milgram Experiment, people who are commanded to do something against their conscience usually comply if they are ordered by an authority figure. Many rationalize their behavior after-the-fact. But, the number of objectors increases when an initial conscientious objector is introduced.
In order to stop Chanda, it takes a few initial brave Ahmadis or converted Muslims to take the first stand. The first to do so, al-Sabiqoon, may they be rewarded the highest.
So here are a few ways you can fight back:
- Refuse to disclose your financial information. Tell them it is not their business;
- Stress Zakah and Sadaqa to the poor and needy;
- Slowly reduce the amount you pay every month without explanation;
- Correct the misunderstandings Chanda collectors have about its obligatory status;
- Refuse to pay until they provide a detailed explanation of where the money goes. After all, if they are privy to your financial information, you should be privy to theirs;
- Just stop paying, cold turkey!
Finally, do not use this as an excuse to just withhold. There are needy causes all over the world, notably mass starvation in Somalia. And they need our help: http://www.islamic-relief.com/
و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله و صحبه و سلم