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.
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Chanda Salat

The recent blogs on chanda and many facebook discussions have prompted this entry as Ahmadis seem to have problems grasping the understanding of obligatory. Thus, before insha’Allah commencing with my example of “chanda salat” in light of the justification Ahmadis use for “chanda aam”, here is the dictionary definition of “obligatory”:

1. required as a matter of obligation; mandatory: A reply is desirable but not obligatory.
2. incumbent or compulsory (usually fol. by on  or upon ): duties obligatory on all.
3. imposing moral or legal obligation; binding: an obligatory promise.
4. creating or recording an obligation, as a document.

 —Synonyms
2.  necessary, imperative.

 —Antonyms
2.  voluntary.

The Arabic transliteration for obligatory is “fardh” or “farz” in Urdu, this is the bare minimum expected from every Muslim.  I am not going to write about all that is obligatory and all that is not obligatory in Islam; this is not the purpose of this entry.

Upon discussing “chanda aam” and its obligatory nature with Ahmadis, I was hit with ayahs from the Holy Qu’ran regarding charity as justification for “chanda aam”, for example:

[31:4] Those who establish regular Prayer, and give regular Charity, and have (in their hearts) the assurance of the Hereafter.

There are many other examples of charity in the Holy Qu’ran and we need not list them all. This is basically the Ahmadi argument; it says in the Holy Qu’ran to give charity thus we are not doing anything wrong. Are you suggesting that giving charity is a bad thing? Are you saying giving charity will not benefit me in the after-life? And other similar questions along those lines, whether rhetorical or not. Regardless of the answer to those questions; Ahmadis ignore the fundamental aspect which Muslims are arguing against.

This is where the example of “chanda salat” is being used, for the sake of making an Ahmadi understand. Now let’s all (please remember I am using an example of how Ahmadis use ayahs in the Holy Qu’ran referring to charity in order to justify “chanda aam”) start a prayer which should be prayed regularly at twelve midnight and we will call it “chanda salat”. Will you observe this prayer as an obligation? Why not? It says in the Holy Qu’ran:

[2:45] Nay, seek (Allah’s) help with patient perseverance and prayer: It is indeed hard, except to those who bring a lowly spirit,-

I can give you many more examples from the Holy Qu’ran. Is prayer a bad thing? Are you suggesting I should not pray to Allah (SWT)? Are you saying praying regularly at twelve midnight will not benefit me in the after-life? Maybe you should read the Holy Qu’ran:

[20:130] Therefore be patient with what they say, and celebrate (constantly) the praises of thy Lord, before the rising of the sun, and before its setting; yea, celebrate them for part of the hours of the night, and at the sides of the day: that thou mayest have (spiritual) joy.

[4:103] When ye pass (Congregational) prayers, celebrate Allah’s praises, standing, sitting down, or lying down on your sides; but when ye are free from danger, set up Regular Prayers: For such prayers are enjoined on believers at stated times.

Clearly the Holy Qu’ran says “celebrate them for part of the hours of the night” and that we should “set up regular prayers”, thus the twelve midnight “chanda salat” prayer is obligatory upon you. This would thus be the sixth prayer which is obligatory right? Now what would be the response of a Muslim regarding “chanda salat”?

This prayer is an innovation; Allah (SWT) and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) only enjoined five obligatory prayers upon us thus the sixth prayer, no matter how beneficial it may be, will be rejected outright without any consideration whatsoever. Would Ahmadis agree with my assessment? 

Sahih Bukhari
Volume 1, Book 2, Number 45:
Narrated Talha bin ‘Ubaidullah:
A man from Najd with unkempt hair came to Allah’s Apostle and we heard his loud voice but could not understand what he was saying, till he came near and then we came to know that he was asking about Islam. Allah’s Apostle said, “You have to offer prayers perfectly five times in a day and night (24 hours).” The man asked, “Is there any more (praying)?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, but if you want to offer the Nawafil prayers (you can).” Allah’s Apostle further said to him: “You have to observe fasts during the month of Ramadan.” The man asked, “Is there any more fasting?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, but if you want to observe the Nawafil fasts (you can.)” Then Allah’s Apostle further said to him, “You have to pay the Zakat (obligatory charity).” The man asked, “Is there any thing other than the Zakat for me to pay?” Allah’s Apostle replied, “No, unless you want to give alms of your own.” And then that man retreated saying, “By Allah! I will neither do less nor more than this.” Allah’s Apostle said, “If what he said is true, then he will be successful (i.e. he will be granted Paradise).”

  • The hadith in Sahih Bukhari (Volume 1, Book 2, Number 45) states five prayers are obligatory on us, thus why should we adopt a sixth? Of course any prayers performed outside these five are optional; some of course recommended. However they are not obligatory, the five prayers are the bare minimum and they are mandatory, unlike “chanda salat”. Would Ahmadis agree? 
     
  • The hadith in Sahih Bukhari (Volume 1, Book 2, Number 45) states one charity is obligatory on us, thus why should we adopt a second? Of course any charity set-up outside of this one charity is optional, even recommended. However it would not be obligatory, the one sole charity (zakat) is the bare minimum and it is mandatory, unlike “chanda aam”. Would Ahmadis agree?

Why is the acid test for “chanda salat” under the first bullet point not applied to “chanda aam” in the second bullet point? Seriously think about this Ahmadis, either both the bullet points are answered “yes” or they are answered “no”. It cannot be that one is “yes” and the other is “no”, this would be a logical flaw. The principle in both of them is identical. If one still claims that “chanda aam” is obligatory then s/he has not understood the concept of “chanda salaat” and I would ask you read the example again.

I and the other 1.5 billion Muslims around the world request you leave Ahmadiyya and return to Islam. This is your after-life we are talking about. You have put your faith in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, and we Muslims have put our faith in the Holy Prophet Muhammad (SAW) and his way, his life, his example. We are simply asking you to follow his (SAW) way.

Ahmadiyya Running Scared

The Ahmadiyya is running scared. Who are we at thecult.info? Just a group of Muslims, spread around the world, with differing views and a unity on one issue – a desire to evangelise the deen we love, to invite Ahmadis to Islam and to defend Islam from blatant attempts at corruption. And which attempted corruption is more blatant than Ahmadiyya?

Somebody just wrote to me telling me that the Ahmadiyya has responded to our article on Chanda last Sunday. That’s really funny. Their leadership spreads gossip about its former members to make their gullible followers feel safer in their belief, so why should they feel the need to respond to such people? Obviously, there has been no response here, but they take the threat posed by our revelation their underhand activities very seriously indeed. Whenever they “respond”, it makes me happy, because I realise we’ve hit a nerve. Often, their defences amount to nothing more than a pathetic half-demolition of a silly strawman argument. We don’t even need to look at their “defence”, because all we did was address the facts, and we are still in contact with many Ahmadis who know the score.

I wonder how the Ahmadiyya feels about many of its members talking to us ¬†about the perverse nature of the cult they purportedly belong to? Many of them refuse to pay chanda and have parents “covering” for them.

Let’s re-cap:

The Ahmadiyya makes it obligatory for its sick, poor and elderly members to pay 10% of their state benefits to them. How this money is used is not clear and never has been. This obscene tax on the most vulnerable members of its community is obligatory. That is un-Islamic.

Their website at the time of writing the chanda post has a chanda calculator, but not a zakah calculator.

The only way out is to write a begging letter to the Ahmadiyya leader, Mirza Masroor. This is humiliating.

Another interesting point to note is how heavily the Ahmadiyya pushes its officious office bearers to pursue Chanda. Here are some extracts from a public Ahmadiyya document called “Finance Workshop” on how to approach members for¬†Obligatory Chandas!

Obligatory Chandas

This makes for chilling reading. Anyone who has had somebody try to “hard sell” to them before will get a sense of deja vu. Particularly chilling is the section that advises financial secretaries to “Formulate plan of action to recover arrears”. Arrears? In an un-Islamic tax? How about recovery of arrears from the unemployed? These people should recall that I was once one of them before I woke up, so their excuses and distractions will be of no benefit to them. Many thinking Ahmadis will know that I speak the truth. One Ahmadi wrote to me about my original post and advised me to remove one sentence. I did. My adherence to the truth is why Ahmadis read what I write, and what the other wonderful Muslim brothers on this site write.

As for the sisters, one of the sisters who is Muslim, but moves within Ahmadiyya circles out of a need for her safety and for her family’s protection, shared with us this letter from Mirza Masroor to Rafiq Hayat:

 

Respected Amir Sahib,

Salaam. 


In the rules and regulations about obligatory chandas, there is a concession of 6 months for those in arrears. The rules have been presented in a generalised form. In fact this concession is mainly for the farmers and businessmen who prepare their financial accounts every 6 months.

The Promised Messiah (as) actually demanded an inspired standard by stating ‘My follower should impose upon himself some monthly monetary contributions; it may be the smallest unit of a penny or even a half penny. But if someone neither contributes anything financially nor physically serves the community is a hypocrite and cannot remain in the community after that. We will wait a period of 3 months for every new convert to respond to this call. Is he ready to fix up some monetary monthly payments for the Jama’at. If a reply is not received from the new convert within a 3 month period then his name will be removed from the bai’at register and this will be notified to the Jama’at. If anyone did not fulfil his promise of payment due to carelessness, his name will also be removed. After that any arrogant or careless person who is not a helper will not remain in the community’.

Therefore, in future all monthly earning members who are holding office in the Jama’at and are in arrears of chandas for more than 2 months, should be removed from their posts and new elections be held to replace them. The Promised Messiah (as) is talking about their removal from the Jama’at then why should we talk about giving them offices.

May Allah enable us to be pious with complete faithfulness and total sincerity to remain attached with Khilafat. 

Wassalam,

Khalifatual Masih V

8th May 2007.

 

So we hereby urge Mirza Masroor to remove all members from the bai`at register who do not pay chanda. I guarantee that your membership will not exceed one million if you do that. If you do not, you are not following the teachings of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad and you too will publicly remain a hypocrite. That is my challenge to you. Perhaps by way of example Mr. Masroor, you could share with us on this blog how much you contribute to the Ahmadiyya coffers? Perhaps you’d also like to declare to the Inland Revenue and the Charities Commission how much cash you receive in nazrana payments from members who get personal meetings with you.

Perhaps while you’re at it, you could set the record straight with your membership about the Mirza Sharif Ahmad Foundation. Here is an organisation that claims to be set up to “advance Islam worldwide” and does this through the purchase of properties, the funding of which came from the benefits payments of its poor, sick and elderly members, who are not exempt from the 10% tax that they have to pay on their state benefits. So, poor, sick and old people buy property for the Mirza family, from the benefits they received courtesy of the British taxpayer. Aren’t you angry yet?

The Ahmadiyya has no claim on the benefits that the British taxpayer has paid for. The Ahmadiyya has no claim to the money of its poor, sick and elderly members and it should immediately make an official exception on the un-Islamic “chanda” to all people on benefits.

 

The Ahmadiyya Chanda Fraud

Which word is mentioned with the same frequency as the word “salah” in the Noble Qur’an? No prizes for guessing “Zakah“, unless you’re Ahmadiyya top brass, in which case you’d really want it to be “chanda“. And what is chanda aam, other than a 6.25% tax on your income? Well, it’s bid`ah of course, an innovation, as according to the Ahmadiyya, it’s obligatory. It’s an alteration of the shari`a and is therefore totally unIslamic.

But it’s actually worse than that. Why? Well there’s an argument that if chanda was used for the benefit of the membership, that it’s not such a bad thing, but is it for the benefit of the membership? That remains to be seen. Let’s now have a look at how the Ahmadiyya defines its activities for the benefit of the Charities Commission:

Ahmadiyya - Charities Commision

Of particular interest to us is the bottom line. “Assistance to deserving and needy”. I’m fairly certain that in years past, they had a provision for helping the deserving and needy amongst its membership, and given that they have Humanity First as an outfit that takes care of those last two lines, the question of redundancy for the purposes of deception does arise.

In Britain, the needy have access to Job Seeker’s Allowance, Incapacity Benefit and Income Support. That is how the State looks after the needy. The State is of course funded by the taxpayer. That’s you and I. It’s by and large a very useful system, preventing the weakest members of society from total financial breakdown, without needlessly incentivising them to remain unemployed for long periods. It isn’t a massively dissimilar system to that of zakah in a truly Muslim society. As such, it should be praised.

Now I can tell you from personal experience that it’s very hard to live on Job Seeker’s Allowance. The way I managed in 2004 was to sell almost everything of value that I owned. I ate cheap, packet noodles for most meals and I just about got by. Alhamdulillah. If it hadn’t been for the odd bit of help from family and friends, it would have been impossible. I was in genuine need and the State stepped in and helped me. On a side note, I praise Allah for this period of my life. It was tough, but I learned a lot.

From previous experience, I didn’t expect the jama’at to assist. I was not in the least bitter about this, I just accepted it as the way things were. In the early 90s when I was previously in a tight spot, Mirza Tahir recommended that I buy some Premium Bonds when I asked him for a short-term, interest-free loan off the back of the thousands in chanda I had previously paid. Being the gullible cultee that I was, that’s exactly what I did. I bought an investment that is riba-based.

So in 2004, despite being by far the highest chanda contributor for years to the North London jama`at, at times happily paying £200 per month, I didn’t ask, and I didn’t expect. In fact, I never told the jama’at about my financial difficulties and just upped my involvement, doing more security duty and going to more meetings. I was in genuine need, but I relied on Allah (SWT). Thank God then, for the Welfare State.

Now, leaving aside the high number of Ahmadis who engage in paid cash work whilst claiming benefits (as my late father always lamented)there  is the bigger issue of the Ahmadiyya making chanda payments obligatory, whether you are employed or not. In fact, chanda is payable even if you are on benefits. That’s right. The Ahmadiyya taxes its poorest members. The Welfare State helps poor Ahmadis and the Ahmadiyya taxes them. Don’t believe me? The Khuddam web-site states clearly what “net income” means:

* In this context when we talk about net income it means the following:

1. Income from Employment and State Benefits

– This includes (i) Salaries and Wages, (ii) Pensions from former employer/s, (iii) State Pension, (iv) Child Benefit (v) Social Security Benefit including Unemployment Benefit, Income Support, Family Credit etc (vi) Any other regular income

 

I wonder how long before they close this site down? No worries. I have it archived and cached. I recommend that everybody else does the same.

They take money from the poor, the sick and the old. It’s so breathtakingly wrong, that you almost can’t believe your eyes. Other than the rank-and-file Ahmadi knowing about the reality of the situation, there is also a plainly visible chanda calculator. The gall of this is breathtaking. No Zakah calculator is available on any Ahmadiyya site that I am aware of, only a chanda calculator. Now, I don’t know how much JSA is nowadays, but in 2004 it was £55 per week. Based on that figure, The amounts payable are in the tables extracted from the site below:

ahmadiyya chanda calculations.png

(As a Khuddam (aged 15-40) you’d have to pay £277.58 per year. Note, the amount is obligatory and it’s about 10% of income! )

That is bread from the mouths of hungry children. If these poor people aren’t the ones who are supposed to be helped as “deserving and needy”, then who are?

One might ask how this collection is enforced? Most sincere Ahmadis know exactly how. They get an unbearable office-bearer (it used to be me!) calling them up demanding money. I don’t recall an office bearer ever calling up for anything other than “where’s your chanda?” or to advise of a meeting, where the question was asked. Direct debits are encouraged. Non-compliance can lead to the cruel practice of excommunication, which robs you of your community connections and is a pretty brutal effective boycott. In reality, this rarely happens, but the threat is usually sufficient to make people comply. This is not the issue though. The Ahmadiyya makes it very clear that chanda is obligatory on every earning and non-earning member. the British taxpayer is subsidising the expansion of the Ahmadiyya’s property base and poor Ahmadis are losing out.

Why are ordinary Ahmadis not allowed to say anything about this? Simply because dissent within the Ahmadiyya is ruthlessly suppressed. If you sound like you might be turned into a troublemaker, you’re excommunicated. People are so enmeshed in the cult that they daren’t say anything in public. That’s where I come in. I’m not saying anything more than what I know a lot of Ahmadis are thinking, and talking about privately, but are too frightened to complain about. Believe it or not, I am the voice of the downtrodden Ahmadi, who has my complete sympathies.

The operation of zakah is not always clear to the lay-person, but there are some easy to understand precepts. Zakah is collected from eligible Muslims and is then used to help the needy. In terms of utility, there is a lot of overlap between zakah and chanda, which rather begs the question of why the Ahmadiyya couldn’t function with just zakah. Obviously, with a Welfare State in Britain, Muslim organisations don’t give money to everyone on JSA, but neither do they ask for collections or donations! In fact, if you have debt, or even if you don’t and your income is low, you pay no zakah! That is Islam. Ahmadiyya is not Islam. It is a heretical movement that taxes the poor to promote itself. Why take money from the British taxpayer to fund your expansion? It is outright theft!

Ahmadiyya is not just a fringe movement with questionable theology, it is a de facto cult that keeps its victims mentally, spiritually and financially enslaved. It’s about time it got investigated.