Should the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community be considered (or consider themselves) as a ‘Sect’?

Should the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community be considered (or consider themselves) as a ‘Sect’?

First let us see how various dictionaries define the word ‘Sect’:

OXFORD DICTIONARY

Sect – Pronunciation: /sɛkt/noun

– a group of people with somewhat different religious beliefs (typically regarded as heretical) from those of a larger group to which they belong. often derogatory a group that has separated from an established Church; a nonconformist Church:

– two of the older sects—the Congregationalists and the Baptists—were able to increase their membership dramatically

– a philosophical or political group, especially one regarded as extreme or dangerous:

– the radical sect Friends of the Earth campaigned against aerosols containing CFC gases

AND another source:

DICTIONARY.COM

Sect – noun

1. a body of persons adhering to a particular religious faith; a religious denomination.

2. a group regarded as heretical or as deviating from a generally accepted religious tradition.

3. (in the sociology of religion) a Christian denomination characterized by insistence on strict qualifications for membership, as distinguished from the more inclusive groups called churches.

You will notice that first of all the definition ‘sect’ is really one within the Christian Community.

Furthermore I would like to emphasize the word ‘often derogatory’ from the explanation of the Oxford dictionary and ‘as deviating’ from the ‘dictionary.com’ explanation.

In other languages, such as German, the same word ‘Sekte’ also has a strongly ‘derogatory’ ring to it.

Now looking at the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat (Community) the word ‘deviating’ does not apply. The members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat feel that other Muslims are ‘deviating’ from true Islam. The Muslim Times and http://www.alislam.org is proving that with uncountable articles and contributions. Although the ‘others’ may be more in numbers (so far), still it is not the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat that is deviating from True Islam.

Consequently I would strongly suggest to all members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat never to use the word ‘Sect’ when describing that Jamaat (Community). ‘Jamaat’ seems the better option and if we do have to translate that word it could be ‘Community’. Or does anyone have a better translation (for the word ‘Jamaat’)?

5 replies

  1. I had pointed out the above to Hadhrat Khalifatul-Masih IV (ra) and he agreed with me and stopped using the word ‘sect’ after our discussion on the subject. He used the word ‘Jamaat’ thereafter.

  2. Yes you are correct…in stead of using the term “SECT”….for Ahmadiyyat, the word “JAMA’AT” is appropriate to be used. And I do the same. It is also mentioned in the Hadees that, the true followers of Islam in latter days will be a “JAMA’AT” under the leadership of a Truly Guided “Imam”…
    حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ مُوسَى، حَدَّثَنَا الْوَلِيدُ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي ابْنُ جَابِرٍ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي بُسْرُ بْنُ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ الْحَضْرَمِيُّ، قَالَ حَدَّثَنِي أَبُو إِدْرِيسَ الْخَوْلاَنِيُّ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ حُذَيْفَةَ بْنَ الْيَمَانِ، يَقُولُ كَانَ النَّاسُ يَسْأَلُونَ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنِ الْخَيْرِ، وَكُنْتُ أَسْأَلُهُ عَنِ الشَّرِّ مَخَافَةَ أَنْ يُدْرِكَنِي‏.‏ فَقُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ إِنَّا كُنَّا فِي جَاهِلِيَّةٍ وَشَرٍّ، فَجَاءَنَا اللَّهُ بِهَذَا الْخَيْرِ، فَهَلْ بَعْدَ هَذَا الْخَيْرِ مِنْ شَرٍّ قَالَ ‏”‏ نَعَمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ وَهَلْ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ الشَّرِّ مِنْ خَيْرٍ قَالَ ‏”‏ نَعَمْ، وَفِيهِ دَخَنٌ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ وَمَا دَخَنُهُ قَالَ ‏”‏ قَوْمٌ يَهْدُونَ بِغَيْرِ هَدْيِي تَعْرِفُ مِنْهُمْ وَتُنْكِرُ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ فَهَلْ بَعْدَ ذَلِكَ الْخَيْرِ مِنْ شَرٍّ قَالَ ‏”‏ نَعَمْ دُعَاةٌ إِلَى أَبْوَابِ جَهَنَّمَ، مَنْ أَجَابَهُمْ إِلَيْهَا قَذَفُوهُ فِيهَا ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ يَا رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صِفْهُمْ لَنَا فَقَالَ ‏”‏ هُمْ مِنْ جِلْدَتِنَا، وَيَتَكَلَّمُونَ بِأَلْسِنَتِنَا ‏”‏ قُلْتُ فَمَا تَأْمُرُنِي إِنْ أَدْرَكَنِي ذَلِكَ قَالَ ‏”‏ تَلْزَمُ جَمَاعَةَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ وَإِمَامَهُمْ ‏”‏‏.‏ قُلْتُ فَإِنْ لَمْ يَكُنْ لَهُمْ جَمَاعَةٌ وَلاَ إِمَامٌ قَالَ ‏”‏ فَاعْتَزِلْ تِلْكَ الْفِرَقَ كُلَّهَا، وَلَوْ أَنْ تَعَضَّ بِأَصْلِ شَجَرَةٍ حَتَّى يُدْرِكَكَ الْمَوْتُ وَأَنْتَ عَلَى ذَلِكَ ‏”‏‏۔ ( صحيح البخاري: كتاب المناقب : باب عَلاَمَاتِ النُّبُوَّةِ فِي الإِسْلاَمِ)
    Narrated Hudhaifa bin Al-Yaman: The people used to ask Allah’s Apostle about good, but I used to ask him about evil for fear that it might overtake me. Once I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! We were in ignorance and in evil and Allah has bestowed upon us the present good; will there by any evil after this good?” He said, “Yes.” I asked, “Will there be good after that evil?” He said, “Yes, but it would be tained with Dakhan (i.e. Little evil).” I asked, “What will its Dakhan be?” He said, “There will be some people who will lead (people) according to principles other than my tradition. You will see their actions and disapprove of them.” I said, “Will there by any evil after that good?” He said, “Yes, there will be some people who will invite others to the doors of Hell, and whoever accepts their invitation to it will be thrown in it (by them).” I said, “O Allah’s Apostle! Describe those people to us.” He said, “They will belong to us and speak our language” I asked, “What do you order me to do if such a thing should take place in my life?” He said, “Adhere to the Jama’at of Muslims and their Imam (Khalifa).” I asked, “If there is neither a group (of Muslims) nor a chief (what shall I do)?” He said, “Keep away from all those different sects, even if you had to bite (i.e. eat) the root of a tree, till you meet Allah while you are still in that state.”
    ……

  3. Very true, To my knowledge the founder hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad [as] has founded a jamaat as indicated in the holy Quran and hadees about the latter days. He always used the term Jamaat and if by comparison with other sects only he always meant a Jamaat traced to true teaching of Islam not deviating from or creating anything new in Islam rather concentrating on rejuvenating its teachings in its true, original and pristine status.

  4. A slightly different angle is that the word “Sect” is divisive in nature, while “Jama’at” implies cohesion, or bringing people under one banner.

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