What is the difference between Ahmadi Muslims and other Muslims?
Ahmadi Muslims follow the same holy scriptures and teachings as other Muslims. The key difference is that Ahmadi Muslims believe that the Promised Messiah (also referred to as the Mahdi in some texts) of the latter days has arrived and he established the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1889. It is a revivalist movement that has no new religious laws or teachings as it seeks to rejuvenate the true Islam as taught by the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). Other Muslims are still waiting for a reformer to come.
As with all other Muslims, Ahmadi Muslims believe in the ‘Five Pillars of Islam’, and the ‘Six Articles of Faith’. They follow the same holy scripture (The Holy Qur’an), and accept that Islam is the final and perfect religion for mankind. They also believe in Prophet Muhammad(sa) as Khataman Nabiyyeen (the ‘Seal of the Prophets’) as he was the one who was the best model for mankind who brought God’s final and perfect message for mankind.
Ahmadi Muslims also follow the Islamic sources of guidance and jurisprudence – which is sourced from three main authorities:
- The Holy Qur’an;
- The Sunnah (practice of the Holy Prophet(sa)); and
- The Hadith (sayings of the Holy Prophet(sa)) as given in the authentic books of Hadith such as Sahih Al Bukhari, Sahih Al Muslim, Sunan Abu Daud,Tirmidhi, Ibne Maja and Nisai
Ahmadi Muslims also have regard for the interpretation of Islamic Laws (shariah) provided by the classical Islamic scholars. They generally follow the Hanafi school of thought, but all such matters are considered in light of the guidance provided by the Promised Messiah(as).
Despite this abundance of guidance Muslims, like followers of all religions before them, were destined to drift away from the true teachings of Islam. This decay was to be followed by the revival of Islam through the messiah of the latter days as prophesied by the Holy Prophet(sa). So whilst all Muslims expect a messiah to appear it is only the question of the identity and acceptance of the messiah that distinguishes Ahmadi Muslims from all other Muslims.
In some Hadith the messiah is referred to as ‘Jesus son of Mary’ and in others he is referred to as ‘Al-Mahdi’.
It is interesting to note that there are also similar such prophecies in other religions that tell of a messiah who was to appear in the ‘latter days’; for example, Christians are awaiting the second advent of Jesus(as).
Ahmadi Muslims believe that the messiah who was promised has come and that he was a single person who fulfilled all the prophecies relating to such a messiah not just in Islam but also in all religions. This was to be a unifying factor for all humanity and a means of uniting people under Islam, as it is the perfect religion for man.
Ahmadi Muslims believe that the Promised Messiah was Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) who was born in Qadian, India and under Divine guidance he established the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1889. The community seeks to revive the same spirit and understanding of Islam that existed at the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa).
Some other Muslims on the other hand believe that the Promised Messiah has not yet arrived and that when he does he will be the very same Jesus Son of Mary who was sent to the Jews over 2000 years earlier as the Messiah. They believe that he ascended bodily to heaven and that he will return to earth bodily as a sign signifying his second advent. They further believe that he will slaughter all the pigs on earth and break all crosses. According to them he will also force everyone to accept Islam.
Ahmadi Muslims believe that such prophecies are metaphorical in nature. So, for example, the Messiah was not to force people to accept Islam, but rather the force of his arguments, reasoning and spiritual insight would demonstrate the truth of Islam and attract people to Islam.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is now established globally with branches in over 200 countries and its membership is in tens of millions. It is a peace loving community that believes in and acts upon its principle of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’, a principle that reflects the essence of Islam.