الحمد لله رب العلمين
وأفضل الصلاة وأتم التسليم على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله الطيبين وصحبه الغر المحجلين ومن والاهم واتبع هداهم إلى يوم الدين
In 1974 Pakistan’s parliament amended its constitution, declaring the Ahmadiyya sect, also known as Qadiyanis, a non-Muslim community. In Article 260 of Pakistan’s constitution, the term ‘Muslim’ is defined: “a person who believes in the unity and oneness of Almighty Allah, in the absolute and unqualified finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), the last of the Prophets and does not believe in, or recognize as a prophet or religious reformer, any person who claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (peace be upon him)”
Now it is quite obvious that this constitutional definition of a Muslim was deliberately worded to exclude the Ahmadiyya/Qadiyanis, otherwise, this definition is extremely problematic. It is well known that the government of former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto declared the Ahmadiyya a non-Muslim community in 1974 as a political decision in order to appease the so-called ‘orthodox’ Ulama and Islamist political parties. Consider the fact that according to this constitutional definition, if someone believes in the oneness of Allah and the “unqualified” finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him), but does not believe in the Angels, or in the Quran, or in the other prophets like Noah, Abraham, Moses, David, Jesus, or in the resurrection, or in Heaven and Hell, such a person is still a Muslim “for the purposes of Constitution and law”. Consider also that for the vast majority of Muslims, both Sunni and Shi’a, the Messiah Jesus shall descend from Heaven before Judgment Day. Now the Messiah Jesus is a prophet, and when he descends certainly the believing Muslims at that time will acknowledge him as a true Prophet of God. Ironically, they are all non-Muslims because they “recognize as a prophet or religious reformer (someone) who claimed or claims to be a prophet, in any sense of the word or of any description whatsoever, after Muhammad (peace be upon him)”. Thus this political definition of a Muslim set out in Pakistan’s constitution must be rejected totally. The most basic requirement for someone to be a Muslim is to believe in the Oneness of Allah and the Apostleship of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him). The Quran and Sunna have set out the fundamental articles which define Islam and Faith, i.e., belief in Allah, His Angels, His Scriptures, His Apostles, the Resurrection, Afterlife, Paradise and Gehinnom, and the divine Decree. Incidentally, the doctrine of the finality of the Prophethood of Muhammad (peace be upon him) is not one of the Six Articles of Faith. As for the Five Pillars of Islam, they are to testify that none is worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Apostle of Allah, to pray the Salat five times a day, to fast during the month of Ramadan, to give the Zakat annually, and to offer the pilgrimage to the Sacred Mosque at least once a lifetime. An example of the inconsistency of Pakistan declaring the Ahmadiyya/Qadiyanis a non-Muslim sect for recognizing someone as a religious reformer who allegedly claimed to be a prophet is that it has not done the same for other communities which are guilty of greater heresies and outright rejection of the fundamental articles of faith and five pillars of Islam. For example, the so-called Zikri sect that is based in the province of Baluchistan and are close to a million in number, reject the religious obligation of offering the five daily Salat, the second pillar of Islam and its most salient feature. In fact the Zikris refer to other Muslims as “Namazis” which clearly demonstrates their rejection of Salat/Namaz. In Pakistan there are numerous sects and cults which identify as Muslim but hold on to such manifestly anti-Islamic doctrines and practices and even reject some or many of the established fundamental articles of faith in Islam, yet the constitution has not specified any of them, i.e., Aga Khanis, Perwezis, Chakralwis, Gohar Shahis, etc., as being non-Muslim. The Twelver Shi’a believe that 12 Imams after Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) are superior to all the Prophets with the exception of Prophet Muhammad, and control every particle in the universe. Some of them go further in their deification of sayyidina Ali bin Abi Talib (radi Allahu anhu) while others assert the holy Quran itself has been textually corrupted. The Barelwis and many pseudo-Sufi cults pray to the deceased and offer pilgrimages to shrines which are graves of saints and sages thus violating the most essential and basic article of Islam “there is none worthy of worship except Allah”. Again, Pakistan’s constitution has not declared any of these groups as non-Muslim. Although personally I am not a Qadiyani, I do not consider the Qadiyanis to be a non-Muslim community. Rather, they are one of many Muslim sects who acknowledge the fundamental articles of faith and practice the five pillars of Islam. If we declare the Qadiyanis non-Muslim and out of the circle of Islam, we will have to be consistent and say the same about other sects whose deviation from Islam is much more serious. Mawdudi, who spearheaded the political campaign in Pakistan to declare the Qadiyanis non-Muslim, wrote: “It is also a fact that besides the Qadianis, there are other sects too who differ from the majority of the Muslims in regard to some of the fundamentals of Islam, and that they have cut off religious and social relations with them and organised themselves into separate communities. But their case is altogether different from that of the Qadianis. They have merely isolated themselves from the general body of Muslims; they are like small rocks scattered on the borderline. Their existence, therefore, can be tolerated. But the Qadianis penetrate into Muslim Society posing as Muslims; they propagate their views in the name of Islam; start controversies everywhere, carry on proselytizing propaganda in an aggressive manner and continuously strive to swell their numbers at the expense of the Muslim Society. They have become a permanent disintegrating force among the Muslims. How can it, therefore, be possible to show the same kind of toleration towards them as is shown towards other passive sects? The problem of those sects is, after all, rather a theological problem, i.e., whether or not to include them in the pale of Islam in view of their specific creeds. Even if it is decided that they are outside the pale of Islam, their survival as a passive element of the Muslim Society cannot do any harm to the Muslim religiously, economically or politically.” (The Qadiani Problem, pp.17-18)
Now here Mawdudi inadvertently exposed the true reason to single out the Qadianis out of a whole range of other heterodox sects and declare them non-Muslim to the exclusion of the others. Essentially, it comes down to social, political and economic rivalry. As for the other sects, I repeat Mawdudi’s words “the problem of those sects is, after all, rather a theological problem”. In other words, a mere difference in some point of theology or creed between the Qadianis and so-called mainstream Muslims is not at all the issue.