“I do not regard the Ahmadiyyas as Muslims”, says a female medical student emphatically to me, emphasizing that they are kaffirs and should not be regarded as Muslims at all. What shocks me is that it is a female student at the medical faculty of Copenhagen University who says this in September 2014. Our conversation just happened to have got diverted, and when I got to know she was a Muslim, I told her in simple enthusiasm that I had just returned from London after having attended the second-largest convention of Muslims on the globe, arranged by Ahmadiyyas. When I asked her why she does not believe that Ahmediyyas are Muslims, she says, “It is simple, I am a follower of the Wahhab faith”.
Wherever you go, you are confronted with this ongoing war within Islam. Abu Bakr-al-Baghdadi is claiming to be Khalifa, steering one version of Islam, the so-called ISIS or daish. This is the Wahhabist version. Baghdadi is spreading the reign of fear in the Middle East after having conquered a vast region of Iraq and Syria. There is very little choice for the inhabitants of the Islamic State. Follow the Salafist, Wahhabist version of Islam or die. Baghdadi and his followers believe that other Muslims, like the Shia followers, or other streams of Islam that respect saints, or Sufism, or those who worship idols, are practicing “bida”. Bida is forbidden by God and hence they can be executed, beheaded or killed. The world now knows that two American journalists have been beheaded by followers of this particular version of Islam.
To the Salafists and Wahhabists the period in which the Prophet Mohammed lived in Medina is holy. And no deviation from what they consider the true faith is tolerated. On the contrary, it is sanctioned with death punishment and confiscation of property. Therefore it is legitimate to rob banks, etc.
There is another Khalifa, whose teachings were made public in 1889. He is the promised Messiah and founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, which has now spread to more than 200 countries in the world. This version of Islam was born in India, started by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. Therefore his followers are also sometimes known as Qadianis. They believe that Lord Krishna was also a prophet and that Jesus had been in India. They democratically elect a Khalifa, whom they now call their huzoor – the beloved. Huzoor or Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who is their present Khalifa, has millions of followers around the world, a community of highly educated doctors and engineers. While attending their annual international gathering in London, I was surprised by the educational titles of those serving food. One of them was an aeronautical engineer, but it is doing service – khidmad, as they say in Urdu, which is of primary importance. All are equal in the eyes of Allah, they believe.
It is a well-known fact that Ahmediyyas are one of the most persecuted groups, who are subject to violence and exclusion in many Islamic countries, despite the fact that the first Nobel prize in the world won by a Muslim went to an Ahmaidiyya follower, Abdus Salam. Ahmediyyas are constantly persecuted, they are subjected to discrimination and not even allowed to vote in Pakistan. The level of threat on their Khalifa is so immense that he is constantly surrounded by body guards. It was a privilege to meet Huzoor Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who speaks wonderful Urdu/Hindi, and who told me to come and visit him again when all those 33,000 guests had gone and there was less rush. It was amazing to dine with a Kalifa. The person who sat next to Huzoor was Prakash Ramdhar, a Hindu, the Minister of Legal Affairs in the government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tabago. This is tolerance and compassion. A unique experience for me to dine facing a Muslim Khalifa sitting and dining with a Hindu.
The Ahmadiyyas’ motto is: Love for all, hatred for none. This is another version of Islam. There is one Khalifa, Abu-Bakr Baghdadi, who has taught that people like me are kaffirs who should be killed and punished, and there is another Khalifa who says that I should come and meet him.
I offered my first Namaz-Muslim prayer in my life, with my heart, with thousands of others, where Huzoor was leading the prayer.
We now see this clash within Islam, where one version preaches love and acceptance of others, and another version preaches beheading and butchering of those who are different. The Muslims in the world will have to choose what kind of Khalifa deserves their honour and respect.
No, Samuel Hungtington was not entirely correct in his prediction. We are not witnessing the clash between civilizations. We are witnessing a clash within Islam, or call it a clash within civilizations. What is your take on it?