The Ahmadiyya Community owes it inception to Mirza Guam Ahmed (1835-1907). This man started this sect by establishing his Head quarters at Qadian in the state of Punjab (Now in Pakistan), towards the end of the 19th century. Later he also set up a center in India at Gurdaspur. There are about 4 million Ahmadi’s in Pakistan.
Who are the Ahmadiyya?
The Ahmadiyya community is basically Muslim. Mirza Ahmad wanted to revitalize Islam in his own manner. Hence he started his sect in 1889. He was a Muslim and also believed in the Koran . But there is a subtle difference, which has brought about their ostracism. This concerns the claim by Mirza Ahmad that he was the Mahdi or messiah and consequently he was the successor to Mohammed. In addition there are 3 distinct differences between Ahmadiyya and Sunni Moslems. Firstly Ahmadiyya Muslims, believe that Allah reveals Himself and speaks to His created beings and will continue to do so till the end of time through a successor. Secondly they believe that Jesus was put on the cross, but did not die on it and lastly they believe that the promised messiah is Mirza Ahmed.
By making this claim Ahmed condemned his sect to a life of persecution particularly in Pakistan. Over the past 6 decades of their existence in Pakistan the Ahmadiyya have been at the receiving end of violence and discrimination. It started with an agitation by the Jamaat-e- Islami during the seventies. The then Pakistan Prime Minister ZA Bhutto had no option but to amend the constitution, so as to define a Muslim ‘as a person who believes in the finality of Prophet Mohammed’.
Ahmadiyya Sects and Pakistan
The result of this amendment was disastrous for the Ahmadiyya community as at one stroke they were recognized as non- Muslims and put outside the pale of Islam. In addition in 1984 General Zia Ul Haq issued an ordinance that prohibited Ahmadiyya from preaching or professing their beliefs as Muslims. They were also debarred from calling their places of worship as Mosques.
Islam is a fanatical religion and the claim of Mirza Ahmed as the Mahdi was bound to rouse passions. This has resulted in attacks on the Ahmadiyya community by hard liners. Hundreds of deaths have taken place in this sectarian violence. The attacks have continued to grow. There mosques and processions have been the target of terror groups as well. The effect is so bad that the community has not been able to hold a single procession after 1984 in Pakistan.
Pakistan was formed as a home land for the Muslims of the sub continent. But sectarian violence is the maximum in Pakistan and hundreds of Ahmadiyya have been killed. In fact right from 1953 when riots broke out against them and 2000 were killed, the cycle of violence has only escalated upwards. This is not a good sign for Pakistan. The recent attack on the two Mosques on 28 May 2010 in Lahore is a pointer to the state of affairs against the community. It shows that many religious groups in Pakistan endorse the killing of the Ahmadiyya community.
The violence against the community is on the rise and one wonders what will happen in the future.