Ataul Fatir Tahir, UK
Last night, during Iain Dale’s LBC show, Zara Mohammed, Secretary General of the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) inferred Ahmadis were not Muslims, stressing it was a “theological” debate.
Her premise was that two tenets were the fundamentals of Islam: belief in one God and the “finality of prophethood”. Zara said Ahmadis did not believe the latter, hence were outside the pale of Islam. This, of course, was her description of the Islamic credo (kalima):
لَا اِلٰہَ اِلَّا اللّٰہ مُحَمَّدٌ رَّسُوْلُ اللّٰہ
“There is none worthy of worship except Allah, and Muhammad is the messenger of Allah.”
To anyone who does not know the Arabic of the kalima, this answer may suffice. A non-Muslim like Iain Dale might even understand. But Zara misrepresented a few things and here’s a breakdown.
Recently, especially in Pakistan, Muslim groups have started a ploy (aimed to vilify Ahmadis) where they add “the last prophet” to the Islamic credo. Nowhere in the Arabic of the kalima or in the history of Islam has the “last prophet” been added to the kalima, a creed even children know.
Zara concluded her answer by telling Iain that believing in another prophet after Muhammadsa was like believing in “two gods”. Her analogy was a gross misrepresentation of what Ahmadis believe and she compared apples to oranges.
Ahmadi Muslims do believe Prophet Muhammadsa is the last law-bearing prophet. Ahmadis also believe in the second coming of Jesus, who would be “a prophet of Allah” when he would return, according to authentic traditions of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa. Essentially, she also believes a prophet will come after the Prophet Muhammadsa.
The issue then lies in the identity of “Jesus” when he would return.
Ahmadis believe the prophecy to be metaphorical; a man would come in the Muslim ummah in the same disposition and character as Jesusas. We believe this man to be Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas – founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – and a non-law bearing prophet according to the above hadith.
Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas brought no new law and was a subordinate prophet to Prophet Muhammadsa. He unequivocally said Prophet Muhammadsa was the greatest Prophet and the last law-bearing prophet in the world.
So, Zara created two problems – first, she completely misrepresented the credo (kalima) of Islam and second, shot herself in the foot because she too, believes Jesus would be a prophet when he returns. That, of course, is if she believes the predominant Sunni theology.
If this wasn’t enough, then consider the fact that Muslim scholars cannot agree on a definition of a Muslim.
Justice Muhammad Munir and Justice MR Kiani commissioned the report and after its findings, said:
“Keeping in view the several definitions given by the ulama, need we make any comment except that no two learned divines agree on this fundamental. If we attempt our own definition as each learned divine has done and that definition differs from that given by all others, we unanimously go out of the fold of Islam. And if we adopt the definition given by any one of the ulema, we remain Muslims according to the view of that alim but kafirs according to the definition of everyone else.” (Munir Inquiry Report, p. 218)
Muslim scholars cannot agree on one definitive definition of “a Muslim” and ignore the classification Prophet Muhammadsa gave himself, recorded in Sahih al-Bukhari:
مَنْ صَلَّى صَلاَتَنَا، وَاسْتَقْبَلَ قِبْلَتَنَا، وَأَكَلَ ذَبِيحَتَنَا، فَذَلِكَ الْمُسْلِمُ الَّذِي لَهُ ذِمَّةُ اللَّهِ وَذِمَّةُ رَسُولِهِ، فَلاَ تُخْفِرُوا اللَّهَ فِي ذِمَّتِهِ
“Whoever prays like us and faces our Qibla and eats our slaughtered animals is a Muslim and is under Allah’s and His Apostle’s protection. So do not betray Allah by betraying those who are in His protection.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Book of Prayers)
Zara may have “tactfully” (as one twitter user put it) succeeded in misrepresenting both Islamic fundamentals and what Ahmadis believe to non-Muslims, but those aware know exactly what she did.
To her credit, she did add that the MCB is against “any intolerance or discrimination” and doesn’t support the vilification of Ahmadi Muslims. Ironically, the stance the MCB takes against Ahmadis itself breeds abuse and hate.
As for her claim of Ahmadis being outside Islam, we don’t need any verification or attestation from a Muslim scholar, or head of the MCB for that matter. The verification of Prophet Muhammadsa and Allah is enough.