By Marion V. Ali
At their 49th annual world conference (Jalsa Salana) in London England, attended by 35,000 of their members, Ahmadiyya Muslims had an opportunity to reunite with one another and recommit to their beliefs. But those beliefs that hold them together are also the reason why Ahmadiyya Muslims have been subjected to various forms of religious persecution and discrimination since their movement’s inception in 1889.
Several thousands of their members have been tortured and killed, specifically because of their belief that the promised Messiah has already come.
The Ahmadiyya stream of Islam emerged from the Sunni tradition of Islam and its adherents believe in all the articles of faith required of Muslims. But because of their difference in belief from other Muslim sects, they are considered non-Muslims by mainstream Muslims who reject their claim.
Their spiritual leader, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad says that while the Ahmadiyya Muslims would like to hold peace talks with the leader of the Nation of Islam, Minister Louis Farrakhan and Sunni Muslims, that desire is not a mutual one because of their religious differences.
“We believe that that person foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam has come in the person of the founder of the Ahmadiyya religion, who said there would be some signs and one of those signs was the eclipse of moon and sun in the month of Ramadan. That has happened after his claim. And there are so many other signs as well. So we believe that that person has come; and they say no, the Messiah has to come from the heavens and He has not yet come, and this is causing all the trouble, and the main thing is clerics are creating all the mischief and havoc.”
Firmly grounded on the slogan, “Love for All; Hatred for None”, Ahmadiyya Muslims promote global peace and tolerance. They also carry out a number of charitable projects through their international, non-profit, disaster relief organisation, “Humanity First“.
They believe, however, that women have different roles from those of men and that women should never be permitted to hold positions of public authority or lead in prayer. This is one commonality that all Muslims have. Hence, the men do not make physical contact with the women in public settings, which means they do not shake hands or hug in public, including at formal events.