The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Friday, August 04, 2017

Are the Ahmadis Muslims?

The question of the Ahmadiya is a common one around Islamic circles, and around non-Islamic circles as well. The sect claims to be Islamic; many Muslims deny this, and several Islamic countries have accordingly banned it as a heresy.

I've been directed to the latest issue of Mizan. In it, this article discusses Islamic disputes over the prophet Jesus. In that, it turns out that the Ahmadiya has sects of its own. I did not know this!

The founder of the Ahmadiya seems much like the Bab in Iran, or Elijah Muhammad here: a reformer of Islam who had made some striking doctrinal declarations including near-prophetic claims of himself. One large difference is that the Bahai movement, descending from the Bab, has taken on a life of its own, and doesn't pretend to be an Islam anymore (although they remain both Muhammadans and Qur'anic fundamentalists). In Ahmadism, Mawlana Muhammad Ali from Lahore pulled his part of the community back to orthodoxy - I've read his commentaries, all the way back in 2003, and they were entirely unremarkable. This is more like what Elijah's son Waleed did for the Black Muslims. I take it that the Kadiyanilik reactionaries represent the same embarrassment to most Ahmadis as Louis Farrakhan does to normative Afro-American Islam.

Waleed eventually succeeded in presenting his flock to the worldwide Umma as Muslims, though. Mawlana Ali never lived to see the day for his own people.

I think what kept Mawlana Ali from the Promised Land - and, by the way, from the Hajj - is that he persisted on hailing Ahmad as the Messiah (masîh). Oh sure, he finessed some terms; he claimed that messiah meant renewer of religion or some such rot. The problem is, masîh doesn't mean any such thing. Messiah has meant the Divinely anointed king. Islam is intimately familiar with the messianic principle: he's the caliph. The Dome of the Rock, designed by the first self-proclaimed caliph, who was no fool by the way, was quite aware of the (lack of) nuance here. And Mawlana Ali didn't claim Ahmad as the caliph; he recognised the Ottoman Sultan as the caliph. Which means Mawlana Ali was - by contrast with 'Abd al-Malik - incoherent. Ever since the 1920s at least, observant Muslims have had no tolerance for incoherence. Honestly I don't blame them.

The best way to describe Ahmadis is as Muslims who are doing it wrong. Small wonder individual Ahmadis are often featured on JihadWatch failing to appease any side.

posted by Zimri on 17:18 | link | 0 comments

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