The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – A Brief Study in Contemporary Islam – Part 3

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By: Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo

Reviewing Literatures: What They Say About Ahmadiyya; What Ahmadiyya Says About Itself

There have been various literary works on the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat written by different authors. Broadly, those literatures may be grouped into two types: [1] Insider descriptive and analytical study of Ahmadiyya; [2] outsider accounts and analyses of Ahmadiyya. The latter may be further divided into two: first, those written by non-Ahmadi Muslims, and second, those authored by non-Muslim writers.

Non-Muslims’ Literature on Ahmadiyya

Prominent among the works  by the non-Muslim writers include Professor Louis J. Hammann’s Ahmadiyya – An Introduction; Simon Ross Valentine’s Islam and the Ahmadiyya Jamaʻat: History, Belief, Practice; Iain Adamson’s Ahmad – The Guided One; Yohanan Friedmann’s Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and Its Medieval Background; Antonio Gualtieri’s The Ahmadis: community, gender, and politics in a Muslim society; and Humphrey J Fisher’s Ahmadiyya: a study in contemporary Islam on the West African coast, and a host of others.

In his foreword to Professor L. J. Hammann’s work, Sheikh Mubarak Ahmad views it as ‘the most impressive work ever written by an impartial observer of Ahmadiyyat’ [Louis Hammann, 1985]. Louis does not only view ‘Ahmadiyyat as what we might call a messianic sect of Islam’, but also that ‘Ahmadiyyat is…..worthy of scrutiny. [Louis Hammann, 1985] Rationalizing further, he observed that ‘Through it we may come closer to Islam as an historic phenomenon and as a contemporary reality. Ahmadiyyat has the advantage of being well-documented. Its followers are also willing and able to present the Movement as a personal experience and as an historic cause. They are also persuaded by the Quranic injunction   “that there is no compulsion in religion.” In Ahmadiyyat we can appreciate Muslim piety and sense the viability of Islam as a powerful force in the modern world. [Louis Hammann, 1985]

Iain Adamson identified “revival of Islam, the conversion of the world and the unification of all religions” as the acclaimed basic mission of Ahmadiyya. [Iain Adamson, 2009:1]

Again, commenting on the acclaimed Mahdi and Messianic status and mission by the founder of Ahmadiyya, Professor Hammann further noted that, “He insisted many times that the Seal of Prophethood was fully safeguarded. He was to Muhammad (the law-bearing prophet who brought a Book) as Jesus was to Moses (whose ancient law the messiah had come not to abrogate but only to fulfill). It is important, then, in order to appreciate the integrity of Ahmadiyyat, to note what Ahmad was not claiming. His enemies, however, were usually not willing to be so discriminating. In their views, his claims compromised the established views concerning the finality of the Prophet Mohammad. It may seem too fine a line, but Ahmad claimed only to be the inspired interpreter of the Quranic message and the conveyor of the message of rebirth and renewal of the one true religion.” [Louis Hammann, 1985]

Hammann contends that “what Hazrat Ahmad thought of himself and what his followers thought of him is quite clear. ……   Whatever the appearance from outside the Movement, inside the Ahmadiyya Jamaat the adherents can claim clear consciences both their own and that of their founder.” [Louis Hammann, 1985]

Professor Y. Friedmann finds the significance of Ahmadiyya “in the nature of its thought rather than in its concrete influence” [Yohanan Friedmann, 1989:24]. He appeared to have based his conclusion against the backdrop of his review of the global demographical strength of Ahmadiyya which, in his view, are based on “uncertain membership statistics”. Comparatively, within the comity of modern Islamic religious movements, Friedmann finds Ahmadiyya as “unrivalled in its dedication to the propagation of Islam”, and that it “has become a permanent, if not crucial, element in the spiritual life of Islam.” [Yohanan Friedmann, 1989:6]

We should not fail to note Professor Hammann’s final thought-provoking analysis that, “It is ironical indeed that a Movement that advocates peace among religious persons and that, of course, is the meaning of the name of the religion of Islam should have been deprived of its freedom of worship and belief and sense of mission in the country of origin as well as elsewhere in the world of Islam. It is also a further irony of history that this other religion of peace should be so divided against itself.” [Louis Hammann, 1985]

Observably, most of the works of the non-Muslims often relatively exhibit academic detachment and scholastic objectivity, with very minimal bias presentations, subjective judgments and antagonistic criticism.

………………to be continued, in shaa Allah!

 

About the Writer:

Al-Hafiz Yunus Omotayo is a Hafizul Quran, an Islamic Missionary and the National Secretary of the Muslim Writers Guild of Nigeria {Majlis Ansar Sultanil Qalam Nigeria}. Email: yunus.omotayo@gmail.com; Whatsapp: +234 8057437643

Bibliography

  1. Hammann, Louis J, Ahmadiyya – An Introduction, [1985], The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam Inc. Washington, USA
  2. Adamson, Iain, Ahmad – The Guided One, [2009], Nazarat Nashro Ishaat, India
  3. Friedmann, Yohanan, Prophecy Continuous: Aspects of Ahmadi Religious Thought and its Medieval Background, (Comparative Studies on Muslims Societies, 8) [1989] Berkeley, Los Angel and London, University of Carlifornia Press,
  4. Fisher, J. Humphrey, Ahmadiyya: A Study in Contemporary Islam on the West African Coast, [1963], (Published for the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research [by] Oxford University Press, UK)
  5. Valentine, Simon (2008). Islam and the Ahmadiyya jamaʻat: history, belief, practice. Columbia University Press.
  6. Antonio Gualtieri (2004). The Ahmadis: community, gender, and politics in a Muslim society. Canada: McGill-Queen’s University Press

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