This is one of the most touchy topics between Muslims and Ahmadis, inspiring the most enmity and ill-feelings between the two religions. But, I think that this important topic that should be discussed in a civil, respectful yet firm manor.
First, a definition. Roughly speaking, Takfīr (تكفير) means to declare someone not a Muslim. This dangerous task is only done to save the Muslims from falling into deviant or otherwise corrupted interpretations of Islam which would render them non-Muslims.
I do not call individual Ahmadis kāfir. I never have and, in sha Allah, I never will. The reason I do not is because I personally know Ahmadis who are only Ahmadi by-name, but in reality they are Muslims. They only bear the title “Ahmadi” because they were born into the faith. I do not claim to know what is in the hearts of Ahmadis. Instead, I declare the religion itself to be Kufr. Meaning, the religion Ahmadiyya is not Islam. I judge the religion, not the individual adherent of the religion. This is why we call Ahmadis from Ahmadiyya and to Islam.
Lets compare this to the writings of Mirza Bashir-ud-Deen Mahmood Ahmad, the second “khalifah” of Ahmadiyya. In his book The Truth about the Split, he wrote about the issue of Takfīr. The following are three quotes, starting from his highly questionable quote moving to his most extreme declaration.
On page 74 of the book, he wrote:
Now, as we hold that the revelation which came to the Promised Messiah are such that their acceptance is obligatory on mankind in general, to us, the man who rejects the Promised Messiah is a kafir agreeably to the teachings of the Holy Quran, although he may well be a believer in all the other truths of religion because the presence even of one of the necessary conditions of Kufr is sufficient to make a man kafir.
In this quote, Mahmood Ahmad declares Muslims who do not believe Mirza Ghulam is the Maseeh as kaafirs. Now consider the following quote. On page 162, he wrote:
Then in my own words. I summarised the purport of the quotations as follows: “Thus, according to these quotations, not only are those deemed to be kuffar, who openly style the Promised Messiah as kafir, and those who although they do not style him thus, decline still to accept his claim, but even those who, in their hearts, believe the Promised Messiahas to be true, and do not even deny him with their tongues, but hesitate to enter into his Bai‘at, have here been adjudged to be kuffar.“
In this quote, Mahmood Ahmad re-declares Muslims to be kufār, but then takes the additional step to even declare those Ahmadis who have not formally given him the Bay’ah (pledge) are not Muslims. This quote is more aggressive. Lets now look at the most extreme quote. On page 70, he wrote:
These changes, according to Maulawi Muhammad Ali, relate to three matters; … (3) the belief that all those so-called Muslims who have not entered into his Bai‘at formally, wherever they may be, are kuffar and outside the pale of Islam, even though they may not have heard the name of the Promised Messiah.
In this most extreme statement, Mahmood Ahmad declares 1.2 billion Muslims to be kufār, even if they have not heard the name Mirza Ghulam. Ironically, most Ahmadis become upset that the religion itself has been declared a separate religion, distinct and unique from Islam.
(There are other statements of this nature by Mirza Ghulam himself, but I’ll save those for another post)
To my Ahmadi readers, do not accept this aggressive declaration of Kufr from those whom you invest your faith in. Instead, leave this false prophet and his misguidance and embrace the traditional path of Islam. Islam is in your blood, take back what Mirza Ghulam stole from you. I would be honored to call you my brother- not in Ahmadiyya- but in Islam.