Can Ahmadis pray behind a non-Ahmadi imam?

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Last Updated on 16th July 2021

Huzooraa was asked for guidance on the following question submitted by some members: “Keeping in mind the environment of Ghana where there are non-Ahmadi imams who consider the Promised Messiahas and Ahmadiyyat to be the true and most excellent representation of Islam and who do not oppose it, but also do not succeed in accepting Ahmadiyyat due to some compelling reason, would it be permissible to offer prayers behind such individuals or imams?”

In a letter dated 22 July 2019, Huzooraa gave the following reply:

“The Promised Messiahas has discussed the issue of not praying behind a non-Ahmadi imam at length. Where he has clearly explained various aspects of this issue to us, he has also shed light on the aspect that you have mentioned. Hence, on one occasion, such people were mentioned, who did not declare the Promised Messiahas a liar or a disbeliever and someone asked whether one could pray behind such people. The Promised Messiahas said:

‘If they do not act in a hypocritical manner as some people do (who follow the mantra of invoking Allah when among Muslims, and invoking Ram when among Hindus), then they should publicise that they neither consider me a liar nor a disbeliever, (and that they rather consider me a pious saint and a waliullah) and that they consider those who declare me a disbeliever to be disbelievers for they attribute disbelief to a believer. Thus, we would know that they are telling the truth. Otherwise, how can we trust them and instruct people to pray behind them?

گر‭ ‬حفظ‭ ‬مراتب‭ ‬نكنی ‬زنديقی

‘[If you are not considerate of rank, you shall lose your faith.]

‘Gentleness should be adopted where appropriate and firmness where it is appropriate. There was a kind of right-mindedness in Pharaoh and the result of that right-mindedness was that a phrase came out of his mouth, which did not come out of the mouths of hundreds of drowning disbelievers. That is: 

اٰمَنۡتُ اَنَّهٗ لَاۤ اِلٰهَ اِلَّا [الَّذِيۡۤ اٰمَنَتۡ بِهٖ بَنُوۡۤا اِسۡرَآءِيۡلَ]

‘[I believe that there is no God but He in Whom the children of Israel believe.]

‘The following commandment came with regard to being gentle with him: 

قُولَالَهُ‭ ‬قَوْلًا‭ ‬لَيِّنًا

‘[“(…) address him both of you, with gentle words”.]

‘On the other hand, the Holy Prophetsa was commanded وَاغْلُظْ‭ ‬عَلَيْهِمْ [“and be severe to them”]. It seems that those people did not have any right-mindedness at all. Therefore, it is necessary to speak candidly to people who raise these kinds of allegations so that whatever filth and malice is in their hearts may manifest itself and they may not bring any reproach upon the Community.’ (Badr, No. 16, Vol. 7, dated 23 April 1908, p. 4)” 

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