Chanda: An Introduction to Financial Sacrifice

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:

اتَّبِعُوا مَن لَّا يَسْأَلُكُمْ أَجْرًا وَهُم مُّهْتَدُونَ
Follow those who do not ask of you [any] payment, and they are [rightly] guided.
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.

Name Amount
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
The booklet “An Introduction To Financial Sacrifice” is available here.

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:

  1. Refuse to disclose your financial information. Tell them it is not their business;
  2. Stress Zakah and Sadaqa to the poor and needy;
  3. Slowly reduce the amount you pay every month without explanation;
  4. Correct the misunderstandings Chanda collectors have about its obligatory status;
  5. 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;
  6. 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:

و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله و صحبه و سلم

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9 thoughts on “Chanda: An Introduction to Financial Sacrifice

  1. Also one important point u should add is that Their Khalifah said those who dont pay will have to pay in HELL

    • I have recently read Fisher’s work on Ahmadiyyat in Africa. Fisher describes in detail the financial structure of Africa in the late 1950’s. There was even a “Ahmadi-Splinter-Group” (the irony), that refused to send their chanda money to Qadian. They eventually started their own Ahmadiyya movement and used the funds on their ownself.

      It is also written that Mahmud Ahmad personally managed all jamaats in Africa, Europe and the USA. This proved that Mahmud only tried to spread Ahmadiyyat in terms of financial investments. Furthermore, it is reported in Fisher that the Ahmadiyya Movement was getting money from the Govt. in Nigeria and other places when they opened schools and what not.

  2. This very issue came up just this morning after Fajr.

    Every morning we do a short tafsir of the ayaat that were read after fajr. In the conversation, the topic of Thanksgiving came up. Someone asked if Thanksgiving is an activity that Muslims should not partake in, amongst many reasons, because it is a Bid’ah.

    The Shaykh said we have to take it back to the ‘Usool al-Fiqh (Principles of Fiqh). If we consider Thanksgiving an act of worship, something part of Islam, something that if we do not do we are sinful, then we prohibit it. It becomes a bid’ah. However, if it is simply a tradition or custom of the land and it is not understood as an act of worship, then there is nothing wrong with that.

    This parallels the topic of Chanda. But Chanda is understood as a part of Islam and mandatory. Therefore, it is prohibited.

    • For the UK folks, Thanksgiving is an American tradition celebrating the European pilgrim’s themselves celebrating a year of living in the “New World”. Its said that the Native Americans (Indians) provided them with food to survive the winter. Its a completely false narrative, but its what we’re taught.

      Every Thanksgiving, Americans eat Turkey and “give thanks” for their many blessings throughout the year. Its not religious, its cultural.

      • I play tackle-football on Thanksgiving and may have a meal with my family. But thats about it!!! I cant bring myself to celebrate the beginning of the extermination of the native.

        Ironically, Ahmadiyyat believes the British to be a blessing. I bet the Natives of the Americas would disagree. Ahmadiyyat believes that the destruction of the native lands was some type of blessing from their God. Boy do they have it wrong.

  3. Thanks for mentioning “Ways you can push back” – that was very much needed at the end. In fact, all these steps will work. I advised my friend to follow these (before this article) She wrote to local leader (not sure it is addressed for Hudoor for his final approval) that she has a loss in the business and no more in a position to pay any Chanda. That was like a “Good-Bye” – “Don’t bother me again” note. She does not care if they expel her as she and her husband has converted to Islam but not publicly announced in fear of losing parents and other dear ones. But they are practicing Muslims and not attending any Ahmadiyya activity and their close ones have started noticing the change but don’t bother much as they belong to that elite class of society where religion is the least priority and rarely discussed. The old generation was die-hard Ahmadis but the new generation is above this affiliation and even baffles the elders by questions which they have no answer – even the one they have are MTA’s Rae Huda stale answers which satisfies none and confuse the issue more.

  4. I agree with you. Paying chanda does not exist in islam.This is just made up with different taweelat. jamaate Ahmadiyya is expert to give a taweel for any action they do.
    I am born ahmady in pakistan. Since one Year i have stopped paying chanda to them simply.President and secretary Mal visited my house and asked why i am not paying chanda,I replied simply its not compulsory. Its voluntarily to pay.There is no compulsion in islam. Please don’t force me about this. Since then there is peace.
    They should be challenged.Spending wealth in the way of allah is optional. Paying zakat is faraz if you meet the criteria.Most of the time their ullema don’t differentiate
    between zakat and chanda. Even Hudoor in his Friday sermon recited one aya from Quran ” Oh believer perform salat and pay zakat” and after a while saying
    pay chanda. Ahmadies please check your self these are two different things. How misleading is this, reference is given from Quran about paying ZAKAT and saying us to pay chanda jat to jamaat.Please Think yourself. Every one is responsible for his deeds. Open the brain, and think your self about your action. Blindly trust in islam is not allowed. Check before you do something.

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