Who is Mirza Ahmad Qadiani

Qantara.de - Dialogue with the Islamic World

How can one imagine a "Caliph of the Promised Messiah", whom millions of followers of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (AMJ) worldwide regard as the spiritual leader? As a charismatic personality who proclaims the message to the believers with fiery words or rather as someone who, as a kind of distant saint, communicates primarily in writing with his followers?

Neither nor. Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who was elected as the fifth Caliphate ul-Masih ("Successor and Representative of the Promised Messiah") in London in 2003 - for life, like everyone else before him since 1908 - travels to Ahmadiyya events worldwide. He also came to the 35th annual meeting of German Ahmadis in Mannheim in June 2010 and soberly and unemotionally read his English-language speech about overcoming restlessness and achieving peace from the paper in front of around 30,000 participants.

By profession an agricultural economist, the 59-year-old, born in Punjab, "Caliph of the Promised Messiah" had only worked in development aid in Ghana for a few years. He is also a great-grandson of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder and "Promised Messiah" of the Ahmadiyya, who declared in Qadiyan, India in 1891 to be the returned Jesus as well as the Mahdi, an Islamic end-time figure who was brought before the final judgment by his caliphate To fill earth with righteousness.

Ahmadiyya leader as a prophet

For the majority of Muslims, Sunnis and Shiites, not only is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's claim to embody the Messiah and Mahdi unacceptable, but above all his position as a prophet. Since Muhammad is referred to as the "seal of the prophets" in the Koran, in their opinion there can be neither a prophet nor any further revelation after him. The AMJ's declaration that this Quranic designation means that Muhammad was the best and last legislative prophet, but does not exclude subsequent prophets, is blasphemous in their eyes.

Even more so, the AMJ's statement that every person can become a prophet through spiritual growth. Another big point of contention is that about Jesus: While most Muslims believe that Jesus did not die on the cross but ascended to heaven, followers of the AMJ see it as a contradiction to divine natural laws. They believe that Jesus wandered east and died of natural causes in Kashmir at the age of 120. For them, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was therefore not the returned Jesus in his physical body, but the fulfillment of his prophesied return through a person completely resembling him. Therefore, Ahmadis are not accepted as Muslims by many Muslims.

Spiritual jihad

They consider themselves to be the 'true' Muslims and the belief of the non-Ahmadis to be falsified. In doing so, they emphasize that violence is completely far removed from Islam, that jihad, like the caliphate, is not of a political and secular, but of a purely spiritual nature. Accordingly, a large banner at this year's annual meeting proclaimed the recurring motto: "Love for all - hate for none".

In their country of origin, Pakistan, Ahmadis have been legally excluded from the civil service and non-Muslims since 1974; similar in Malaysia, Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Since the Islamization of Pakistan by General Zia ul-Haq (1977-1988), they have been prosecuted for calling themselves Muslims or for behaving as such in public. Again and again there were attacks on Ahmadis, such as the most recent murder of 92 praying people in two mosques in Lahore on May 28, 2010.

Imam Abdul Basit Tariq from the Ahmadiyya Mosque in Berlin-Heinersdorf also stated that followers of this community in Europe and the USA can live out their faith and ritual more freely than in many Arab countries where they are persecuted: "The AMJ is being held Persecuted in Islamic countries, innocent Ahmadis including women were imprisoned in Egypt and Saudi Arabia. Ahmadis are also banned from pilgrimage because the Pakistani government declared Ahmadis a non-Muslim minority in 1974. In 1984 the military dictator Zia ul-Haq all Ahmadiyya events and publications are forbidden. " According to his statements, Ahmadis do not receive a pilgrimage visa from Saudi Arabia if they reveal their religious identity.

Distance from pride, vanity and lies

Ahmadis are strict with Islamic beliefs. In their Friday sermons, which are also broadcast in several languages ​​by their own TV station MTA, on their websites and in their writings, they repeatedly warn against polytheism and admonish the observance of prayer as well as the observance of Islamic dress codes and chaste behavior for both women and women Men. The members undertake in a vow (bay'a) to keep ten conditions or rules of conduct such as keeping prayers, giving up pride and vanity and refraining from lying.

In addition, the vow also implies that the believer should prefer the faith and the cause of Islam to his own life and children.

One of the participants Muhammad L. explains: "The bay'a primarily has the function of the vow for individual spiritual renewal, which can be seen in the mystical tradition of Islam, where renunciation of the world is the focus." This goes back to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad's intense preoccupation with mysticism. The press spokesman of the AMJ, Hadayatullah Hübsch, also declares this vow as a "spiritual act" in order to "place oneself in the service of humanity" and to achieve the "liberation of man from sin".

In this sense, one of the banners in the women's tent read: "The joy of life lies in not exceeding the limits of morality". Another promised: "Through hardship and exertion, a person's character traits can be improved."

Secret Islamization?

The project "100 Mosques", financed by donations from members for the construction of 100 mosques in Germany, caused an uproar in various German cities in the past. In Schlüchtern, for example, Hiltrud Schröter, lecturer in the educational sciences department at the University of Frankfurt / M., Was one of the fiercest critics whom the Ahmadiyya described as a "brainwashing sect". In her book "The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam" (2002) she also portrays the organization as anti-democratic and alleged that it was secretly Islamicized.

Especially on the Internet, in so-called "Islam-critical" forums, there are fears that the AMJ's statements on tolerance and the separation of religion and politics in the sense of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad are of a purely strategic nature. In reality, they would infiltrate German society. The press spokesman Hübsch countered that the Jamaat had no interest in the exercise of secular power. He emphasizes that the Koranic instructions rather result in a strict separation of politics and religion, as Ahmadiyya caliphs always pointed out.

Headgear for men

According to self-testimony, the three-day meeting will be a "festival of love for God and His Holy Prophet Muhammad, the turning away from worldly pleasures and the serious but joyful devotion to the beauty of the spiritual world". Imam Abdul Basit Tariq explains: "The annual meeting is a purely religious event, the foundation of which God laid with His own hand, and according to prophecy, different nations will take part in this event. These events are a mark of brotherhood and loving interaction. "

The various services at the annual meeting also included the profane: a bazaar with Pakistani food and clothing as well as pizza, kebab and cola, a free BMI measurement including advice in the women's area and - in both areas - a tent for marriage brokerage. Not only was the food Pakistani, but also the clothing of many of the participants.

Most women wore the colorful and richly decorated salwar kameez, the traditional Pakistani clothing consisting of a longer slit tunic over a pair of trousers. Many men also wore the salwar kameez with Pakistani headgear, because according to the Ahmadiyya doctrine, not only women should necessarily wear a headscarf. "The Holy Prophet Muhammad taught that men should also dress inconspicuously and cover their hair when they go outside. He always wore a turban himself," say religious leaders of the Ahmadiyya.

From the hippie movement to Ahmadiyya

Hadayatullah Hübsch and Abdullah Uwe Wagishauser spoke in the question-and-answer session for mainly German-speaking guests on the second day of the event. Both are German converts who were active members of the extra-parliamentary opposition during the 1968s and who were involved in Commune 1, among others.

After Wagishauser found the Ahmadiyya in India, he has been chairman of the AMJ in Germany since 1984. In addition to his political commitment in the 1960s, Hübsch published several volumes of poetry and articles in various newspapers, and worked as an editor for the Hessischer Rundfunk, among other things. After collapsing due to the consumption of LSD, he had a visionary experience with God only during a trip to Morocco, then joined the AMJ in 1970. Now he is not only press spokesman for AMJ Germany, but also a preacher in the Nuur Mosque in Frankfurt, which belongs to the Ahmadiyya. The two men, who are now over 60 years old, could no longer be seen of their eventful hippie past.

They explained in an eloquent and friendly manner what distinguishes the Ahmadiyya from other Muslims. Here, too, both emphasized the peaceful side of their religion, the rejection of all forms of violence and the demarcation from radical Islamist groups. The annual meeting was framed by the flag guard, which was established in 1939: a guard guarded both the black Ahmadiyya flag with the white minaret, full moon and crescent moon, and the German flag.

"It is a responsibility of every Muslim that he always lives as a loyal and completely law-abiding citizen of his country," said Mirza Masroor Ahmad at the opening of the Bait ul-Futuh Mosque in London in 2003. In this mosque, which is considered to be the largest in Western Europe, the "Caliph of the Promised Messiah" also regularly gives his Friday speeches. When he's not on one of his numerous trips.

S.abine Damir-Geilsdorf and Leslie Tramontini

© Qantara.de 2010

Editor: Nimet Seker / Qantara.de

Homepage of the Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaatHompage of the Khadija Ahmadiyya Mosque in Berlin