Ahmadiyya and the Era of Sectarianism

 بسم الله الحمد لله و صلاة و سلام على رسول الله و على آله و سلم

One of the most amazing aspects of Islamic history are the stages that the Muslim community passed through. It seems that in every generation a new issue arose that needed to be dealt with, and through Allah’s Lutf (subtle care) different personages and figures came to help stabilize the Ummah.

Such stages of Fitnah include:

  • The shock and instability after the death of the Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم;
  • The four false prophets who arose in Arabia and subsequent wars with Abu Bakr رضي الله عنه;
  • The crusaders versus the numerous Muslims generals;
  • The Tatar invasion of Ghengis Khan when ‘Izz al-Din ibn ‘Abd al-Salam unified the Muslims;
  • You see this pattern repeated…

But what about the fitnah of Sectarianism?

If you read ahadith about the 73-sects, you might get this impression that you need to ask yourself which of the 73-sects you are upon? Which is true? Which am I? How do I know which is correct? Lets have a debate and find out! But then ask yourself, is sectarianism really the main problem in our times?

Sectarianism is a fitnah that the Muslim world primarily experienced 100-300 years after the departure of the noble Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم. During this period is when the Muslims divided into literally hundreds of small theological, political and social groups, each claiming to be the “True Islam”. Compounding the problem, many of those new ideologies held extremely compelling arguments in their favor – don’t think they were flimsy!

It was during that time that the masses were engaged in debate over the technicalities and subtleties of the Deen. Confusion was wide-spread, father and son, student and teacher, governor and subject, even two highly ranked scholars all would vehemently argue. Many were influenced by outside ideologies without even realizing it. Others embraced invented ideas wholeheartedly. Some new groups gained prominence, one even took control of the Khilafah!

But as Allah says in the Qur’an, “Travel through the land; then observe how was the end of the deniers.” If we reflect on this ayah, Allah is not calling on us to see how a splinter-sect thrived during its glory days, but how it ended. The vast majority of those sects and groups are no longer in existence today. Some burned out, most fell into obscurity with only a few thousand scattered followers nowadays. Alhumdu lillah, our generation was largely saved from that Fitnah.

At this moment, the vast majority of the Muslims follow “regular Islam”, version 1.0, and are at little risk of joining the remnants of a break-away group. What does this tell us? This is not the era of sectarianism or schisms. ‘Aqidah problems are rarely the immediate issue with contemporary Muslims. The debates are over, that fitnah has come and gone. And just as we do not need to excessively concern ourselves with past issues, we do not need to re-engage ourselves in questions of dogmatic belief that have already been answered. Islam does not need to be re-invented. Newly created arguments are exactly how break-away sects are formed in the first place! Instead we stand on the shoulders of giants to face the current issues that that plague our modern community.

But the Ahmadiyya religion seeks to re-open questions that, not only were answered centuries ago, are not subjects of contemporary debate and have no relevance to our modern times. They went as far as to publish this ludicrous lists of the “72 sects”, many of whom have not even existed in hundreds of years, but somehow allegedly came back into existence, managed to unify, all condemn Ahmadiyya, and then went back into non-existence. Convenient.

You tell me:

  • What is telling a woman who was raped by Qadaffi’s forces that, “by the way, the Mahdi came about 100 years ago, looks like everyone missed him”, going to do for her shattered self-esteem and self-respect?
  • What is a Somali man who watched all of his children die from starvation in the droughts going to do if you tell him, “Jesus is dead”.
  • What is a Chechen mother whose son “disappeared” going to do with your attempts to convince her that half of the Qur’an is a bunch of confusing metaphors whose correct understanding no one understood for 1300 years?

Clearly ‘Aqidah is not the primary issue of our times. But the “problems” Ahmadiyya attempts to solve are not on the minds of Muslims, nor are they even our concerns. No one is looking at a calendar thinking, “Man, so when is ‘Esa bin Maryam عليه السلام going to return?” My friends, you are dwelling on non-issues to a people who have more immediate concerns on their minds.

Just like every other break-away group that preceded it, Ahmadiyya has come, will run its course, and will eventually fade away.I am glad that our pious predecessors protected the religion from corruption during the era of sectarianism, and I pray for the forgiveness of those who were sincere but slipped into misguidance. May Allah guide us all to the Truth and keep us firm upon it.

و صلى الله على سيدنا محمد و على آله و سلم

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9 thoughts on “Ahmadiyya and the Era of Sectarianism

  1. Brother Farhan,

    Another great piece. Succinct and to the point. As a revert to Islam from Ahmadiyya one can get themselves caught up with these non-issues. But from my own experience, engaging with Muslims such as yourself, going to circles of study, attending masjids and reading Islamic publications really does open your eyes to the struggle that is facing us. It is no wonder that our world-renowned da’ees spend little to no time dealing with the question of Ahmadiyya fitnah when we have more grave issues such as atheism!

    Your piece is a reminder to me and all those striving in this Deen to remember our ultimate objective in this life: to live a life that is pleasing in the sight of Allah (swt) and that incorporates striving on the straight and right path.

  2. Awesome explanation BRO BRO.

    As one of those whose family was led astray into believing that the world revolved around the question of the death of Esa (as), I must say that am I refreshed to see that there are other versions of Islam. As an Ahmadi I was trained to believe that there was only one version of Islam. i.e. the machinations of the Mirza family.

    Nowadays, I have learned that Islam is what someone makes it. If a person wants a peace of mind, he should focus on praying 5 times a day and thus be honest with each and every person they meet. This is the goal of the islamic script. It is not the duty of Muslims to argue the technicalities of the word mutawafeeka or Tawaffatiani. As we have observed this fanaticism has led Ahmadis to believe the proposterous claim that Esa (as) was buried in Kashmir, which is a total fallacy.

  3. I am looking for the truth and I have some questions.

    1. How do you define a true Muslim and how is it different from that of an Ahmadi?
    2. On what should we base ourselves to determine the best sect? On Problem solving capacity? Non-muslims seems to be better in that.

    3. Is the birth place of Islam controlled by “the vast majority of the Muslims” who follow “regular Islam”, version 1.0″ or a sect(Wahhabi) ?

    4 What is telling desperate non-muslims that Islam is the best religion or there’s only one God or Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم is a prophet, going to do?

    5. How far has the “problems” on Muslims’mind been successfully solved by ignoring Aqeedah? Are they being solved or are they being worsened? e.g Muslim countries.

    6. The reasoning that you use to discredit Ahmadiyya can be used for True Islam. How do you invite people to Islam then?

    Please come forward with wiser reasoning and show us the most successful Islamic community because the vast majority of Muslims is backward and full of problems and miseries.

    • Thanks for your questions. If you want Truth, rather than asking me on this blog, do three things:
      A) Increase your worship a LOT. I recently asked my Imam how do I gain yaqeen and he said ‘Pray Tahajjud’.
      B) Reflect on the attributes of Allah as they manifest in his creation – Think about Allah’s mercy when you see a mother holding a child.
      C) Strictly follow the Shari’ah, the inward of it and the outward of it – In order to do this, you’ll have to first know the Shari’ah.

      But to answers your questions
      1) If you look at a lot of early books of ‘Aqidah, you’ll see that they were written in the format of “We are not XYZ”. They negated the beliefs of the sectarians, rather than affirming their own beliefs. Islam’s affirmations are few. When someone creates a new belief, even if he backs it up with nice clever arguments, he has created a new sect.
      In specific, Ahmadiyya separated from Islam when they created a new prophet and thus branched out into a new religion. Everything else is details. Interestingly, early ‘aqidah books say “We do not believe in new prophets after Muhammad صلى الله عليه و سلم”.

      2) I object to the phrasing of this question. The whole point is NOT to join sects, not to see Islam as “73 sects, which one are you?”

      Read “Deliverance from Error” (http://www.ghazali.org/books/md/IIA-02main.htm), Imam Ghazali talks about going through all the sects of his time and concluding that most of them consisted of just clever arguments, word-games, and sophistry. In the end, he abandoned all that nonsense, made his ‘aqidah VERY VERY simple, and focused on knowing Allah through worship. Don’t join a sect, that’s the whole point. There’s no need for it. If the core of your faith cannot be explained in 5 minutes, there is something wrong with it.

      3) I am going to openly side-step this question. Not because its not a valid question, purely for personal reasons. Sorry. You can ask me privately if you want by clicking that “Contact us” link above.

      4) Read this ayah and its related tafasir: http://www.quran.com/17/66-67
      In short, a lot of times pain wakes a person up from his sleep in Dunya, or gives him focus, or causes him to deeply reflect on his life and what he’s doing. This leads to the search for God.

      5) “Theology is a reaction, a creative response to tension in the mind of a believer who is confronted with propositions that challenge not his experiential faith, but his intellectual understanding of it” Therefore, if a particular tension does not exist in the mind of a believer, why focus on it?
      I used to be a teacher for 11th-12th grade boys for a masjid saturday school. One day, our Imam told that we need to teach “Functional ‘Aqidah”. Very few students questioned how God’s attributes can manifest in time if he’s outside of time – but they were asking questions about Evolution. Teaching God’s relationship to Time/Space would be completely a waste of time.
      I’m not saying we ignore ‘Aqidah, I’m saying there is no point in opening debates that are not in modern times.

      Saying “The Muslim World” is too general, there has almost never been one single unified “Muslim World”. To this day there are huge difference between the Pakistan, Turkey and Morocco. So let me just speak at a general human level.
      A friend of mine went to Yemen to study Islam for a few years. She said that over there, a lot of men (not all) are like dogs in how they holler/heckle women on the streets. In such a situation, the only ‘aqidah people need is “Allah sees what you do”. Many times there are pointless distractions in useless issues of ‘aqidah and that wastes time and resources. To answer your question, it goes both ways, you can’t say one way or the other.

      6) What reason is that? And how so? Please explain.

      I don’t deny the fact that there are problems upon problems amongst Muslims. This one post doesn’t pretend to solve them. (That’s through the work we do off this blog!) Instead, what I’m saying is that just repeating “Jesus is dead” does nothing, solves no problem, is irrelevant and ultimately incorrect. However, this is the main pillar of the Ahmadiyya religion and the one they focus on the most.

      May Allah guide us all…

  4. Assalamu Aleikum bro!

    Very nice piece. As an EX-Ahmadi I can definietely say that Ahmadis have serious aqidah problems. Aside from that, Ahmadis do NOT study the abundant works of past scholars of this beautiful deen which would rather quickly reveal to Ahmadis that they are frighteningly on the wrong path. May Allah give them guidance before it is too late. Ameen.


  5. Assalāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāhi wa barakātuhu.

    Brother Farhan may Allah reward you immensely for all of your efforts in trying to correct the beliefs of the followers of the Ahmadiyya cult.

    May Allah SWT guide them and us to the correct path.

    That having been said brother I have to take issue with your statement,

    ‘At this moment, the vast majority of the Muslims follow “regular Islam”, version 1.0, and are at little risk of joining the remnants of a break-away group. What does this tell us? This is not the era of sectarianism or schisms. ‘Aqidah problems are rarely the immediate issue with contemporary Muslims. The debates are over, that fitnah has come and gone.’

    What is your basis for such statement?

    Is it not dangerous to make such sweeping generalisations?

    What is ‘regular islam version 1′ ?

    ‘Aqidah problems are rarely the immediate issue with contemporary Muslims.’ Really brother Farhan. Who says this? If you really believe this then do you not think that this may be the reason why the Muslim Ummah is in the state that it is in?

    I understand that we have to refute and show the Ahmadi’s the error of their ways but this has to be done in accordance with sound and correct Islamic teachings and statements such as yours in the above post are objectionable on many levels.

    If we seek to guide someone away from falsehood then surely it has to be to truth, and as difficult as this may seem to a lot of of us, there is only one truth. It is therefore upon us to guide ourselves, the Ahmadi’s and all others to this one truth.

    In order for us to do this we must be convinced we know the truth ourselves and if we make statements such as ‘Clearly ‘Aqidah is not the primary issue of our times’ then this projects a sense of not entirely being sure ourselves.

    The correctness of aqeedah is the most fundamental principle in Islam. This is because bearing witness that Laa Ilaaha Illa Allaah Wa Anna Muhammaddan Rasool Allaah (there is no deity worthy of worship except Allaah and that Muhammad is His Messenger), is the first pillar of Islaam. And the Messengers called firstly, to the correction of the aqeedah because all acts of worship and behavior depends on it and without the correct aqeedah, there is no benefit from these deeds.

    The evidence for my statement above is that Allah The Most High said:

    “But if they had joined in worship others with Allaah, all that they used to do would have been of no benefit to them.” – Al-An’am (6):88

    “Verily, whosoever sets up partners in worship with Allaah, then Allaah has forbidden Paradise for him, and the Fire will be his abode. And for the Dhaalimoon (polytheists and wrong-doers) there are no helpers.” – Al-Maa’idah (5):72

    “And indeed it has been revealed to you (O Muhammad, as it was to those (Allaah’s Messengers) before you: ‘If you join others in worship with Allaah, (then) surely (all) your deeds will be in vain, and you will certainly be among the losers.’” – Az-Zumar (39):65

    From these texts and many others than them, it is clear that the correction of the aqeedah is from the most important affairs and at the forefront of the religion and the first affair to establish for the religion is the correction of aqeedah.

    Even the Prophet remained in Makkah for thirteen years after his mission began, calling the people to the correction of the aqeedah and to at-Tawheed. And the faraa’id (obligatory acts of worship) were not revealed to him except in Madeenah. This further emphaises the importance of Aqeedah and this was not just for back then, on the contrary it’s just as relevant now.

    I pray you and all others will see from the above texts that to make statements such as ‘Clearly ‘Aqidah is not the primary issue of our times’ is not something that can be backed up with evidences and should be avoided, no matter the deemed benefit from making such a statement.

    Forgive me brother for I do not want to make this a rambling rant but I am sure you understand where I am coming from, may Allah reward you for your efforts.

    Anything good I have said is from Allah and anything bad is from myself and shaytan.

    Was-salāmu ‘alaykum wa rahmatullāh.

    • Assalamu Aleikum brother,

      After reading over your post I will respectfully say that I do believe you are not understanding the point that brother Farhan is getting across when he says,

      ‘At this moment, the vast majority of the Muslims follow “regular Islam”, version 1.0, and are at little risk of joining the remnants of a break-away group. What does this tell us? This is not the era of sectarianism or schisms. ‘Aqidah problems are rarely the immediate issue with contemporary Muslims. The debates are over, that fitnah has come and gone.’

      The rock-bottm fundamental belief (aqeeda) of Muslims is that Allah is One and Muhammad (may peace and blessings always be upon him) is the last prophet and noooo other new prophet is to come afther him (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). This is, from my understand of his writing, what Farhan is refering to as “Regular Islam Version 1.0”.

      One would be hard pressed to find an abundance of Muslims who believe that other prophets will come after Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). MOST Muslims, I would argue, believe that Muhammd (peace and blessings be upon him) is the LAST prophet that Allah has sent to humanity. This is the aqeeda of the majority of Muslims worldwide and this cannot be argued. The belief or “aqeeda” of the finality of prophethood is not something that is a primary debate in 2012. This is what Allah taught in Quran, it is what Muhammad (peace be upon him) taught the sahaba and it is what the sahaba believed and taught after the passing away of Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him). This is what we can call, “Regular Islam Version 1.0”

      Also, the MAJORITY of Muslims worldwide believe that Isa, son of Mary (may peace be upon him) will not return to the earth as the Madhi and Isa and Krishna all rolled up into one. This is not the aqeeda of mainstream Islam. Most Muslims believe that Isa (peace be upon him) was taken by Allah into the heavens and he will return via the heavens. Most Muslims believe that the Mahdi and Isa (peace be upon him) are two separate people. This is what was taught by Muhammad (peace and blessing be upon him) and the sahaba. This, again, is what we can call “Regular Islam Version 1.0”

      Ahmadis do NOT believe this. They do not believe these basic aqeeda principles that have been in place since Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) was on this earth. It is as if Ghulam Ahmad came along 1400 years later and said, “you know what, Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) and the sahaba (may Allah be please with them) got it all wrong! Let me show you correct aqeeda.” Istagfurlah!

      So dear brother, when Farhan says that aqeeda is not the PRIMARY issue of the ummah at this time, he is, in fact correct. Now the ummah may differ on matters of fiqh (law), but, by and large, as brother Farhan stated, most Muslims follow “Regular Islam Version 1.0”. There really is no MAJOR disagreement in aqeeda in this day and age. Of course you will always have the little fringe group on the side who will differ, but again, our beloved prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) knew this and this is why he (peace and blessings be upon him) taught us, “stick to the majority.” He (peace and blessings be upon him) knew that the MAJORITY will not differ on the primary foundation of aqeeda. He (peace and blessings be upon him) knew break away groups would arrive on the seen, but again, he (peace and blessings be upon him) knew that the MAJORITY of Muslims would hold onto “Regular Islam Version 1.0”

      The umma has its issues and we have our problems yes, but problems in aqeeda is not at the forefront of the ummah’s problems. Again, we have many problems true, but honestly, basic aqeeda is not the main problem we face.

      Brother Farhan was not saying that aqeeda is irrelevant and not important; on the contrary, he poses the opposite. He was simply saying that mainstream Muslims really don’t have aqeeda issues and Ahmadis definitely do and it is very very important that they correct it before they return to Allah.

      May Allah forgive us our sins and guide us all and please let us all die as Muslims on the straight path. Ameen.

      Anything that I have said incorrect, then I ask Allah to forgive me and if I said anything that is true, then Allah is al-Haqq and it is from Him and Allah always knows best.

  6. as-salaamu `alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakaatuh Farhan,

    This is one of the best pieces on Ahmadiyya I’ve ever read. It completely shatters it’s raison d’être, even though it’s just a cult anyway.

    I sincerely hope Qadianis and Lahoris reflect on the points you’ve raised and return to Islam, insha’Allah

  7. Here’s what bothers me about the Ahmadiyya fitna…

    Whats the point in having a bait form? Did Muhammad (saw) make people sign a form? Not that I remember…all you had to say was “La illah ha ilallah, Muhammad dur rasulula”. Being able to read or write werent prerequisites in Islam. This proves that the Mirza was catering his product towards the educated circles of India, and that was exactly who he reeled in. He wanted educated people because they were rich and would donate to Pirs. This was a common-practice in the area. It was a common business venture. It’s basically like how the Mormon church is now a multi-billion dollar firm. MGA had a close friend named Pir Mehr Ali Shah, in 1886, when MGA went for him famous 40 days of seclusion, he stayed at a house owned by the Pir. They were in cahootz. Later on, they hated each other, Mirza had gone too far in 1891 and continued to make a mockery a religion.

    The truth is….Mirza didnt want the laymen, they were poor, whats the purpose of having poor people give a Pir money, they didnt have much anyways. ….these people couldnt read, let alone write, what about someone who was “un-par” (cant read)?? How would they accept Ahmadiyyat? These are questions that prove the illegitmacy of the “A”. Furthermore, Pir Mehr Ali Shah wrote that Mirza had 15k followers by the 1891 era. This proves that Mirza was lying about his numbers frequently….it seems that in the Punjaab most people thought it normal to give money to Pirs. Mirza was getting biiig money by 1889. Arab money…lol.

    Finally, everyone knows that the wife of Mirza didnt sign bait. How could she sign anything when she couldnt read or write? In those days…almost 90% of women were un-par. This is the answer to this question. Many Ahmadi women didnt sign bait. My grandmother was un-par and she was born in 1930.

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