Written and collected by Zia H Shah MD
In a Machiavellian maneuvering in 1974, the then Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulifqar Ali Bhutto, possibly in cahoots with the King of Saudi Arabia, King Faisal bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, had the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community declared non-Muslim, by the National Assembly of Pakistan, after a sham hearing of two weeks.
The ill advised decision to declare fellow Muslims, who believe in the creed of Islam, ‘There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet,’ has continued to haunt Pakistan for decades. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has over the years exposed the un-Islamic nature of this decision repeatedly. The notorious decision is illegitimate and irrational and is the result of political short sightedness. It is not only, by definition, against the spirit of Separation of Mosque-Church and State, but, has introduced a clear irrationality and contradiction in the psyche of generations born and raised in Pakistan.
This article shows the illegitimacy of decision and its un-Islamic nature, based the Amman Message, which is a consensus definition of ‘Muslims,’ by 200 leading Muslim scholars, from 50 different countries, as the Ahmadiyya community believes in the creed of Islam and practices Hanafi-Islamic jurisprudence.
There is no god but Allah and Muhammad is His Prophet.
So, now a few words about the Amman Message from its official website:
In July 2005 CE, H.M. King Abdullah II convened an international Islamic conference of 200 of the world’s leading Islamic scholars ‘Ulama) from 50 countries. In Amman, the scholars unanimously issued a ruling on three fundamental issues (which became known as the ‘Three Points of the Amman Message’):
- They specifically recognized the validity of all 8 Mathhabs (legal schools) of Sunni, Shi’a and Ibadhi Islam; of traditional Islamic Theology (Ash’arism); of Islamic Mysticism (Sufism), and of true Salafi thought, and came to a precise definition of who is a Muslim.
- Based upon this definition they forbade takfir (declarations of apostasy) between Muslims.
- Based upon the Mathahib they set forth the subjective and objective preconditions for the issuing of fatwas, thereby exposing ignorant and illegitimate edicts in the name of Islam.
These Three Points were then unanimously adopted by the Islamic World’s political and temporal leaderships at the Organization of the Islamic Conference summit at Mecca in December 2005. And over a period of one year from July 2005 to July 2006, the Three Points were also unanimously adopted by six other international Islamic scholarly assemblies, culminating with the International Islamic Fiqh Academy of Jeddah, in July 2006. In total, over 500 leading Muslim scholars worldwide ”as can be seen on this website [click here to see the entire list]”unanimously endorsed the Amman Message and its Three Points.
This amounts to a historical, universal and unanimous religious and political consensus (ijma’) of the Ummah (nation) of Islam in our day, and a consolidation of traditional, orthodox Islam. The significance of this is: (1) that it is the first time in over a thousand years that the Ummah has formally and specifically come to such a pluralistic mutual inter-recognition; and (2) that such a recognition is religiously legally binding on Muslims since the Prophet (may peace and blessings be upon him) said: My Ummah will not agree upon an error (Ibn Majah, Sunan, Kitab al-Fitan, Hadith no.4085).
Why the Pakistan’s National Assembly decision of 1974, against the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is a religious folly and anti-Islamic can be judged from the Amman Message. To demonstrate this, I want to bank on a precise and articulate summary of the Amman Message in a recent publication from Saudi Arabia. Very recently the Muslim 500: ’500 Most Influential Muslims’ was published under the auspices of the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center in Saudi Arabia. It describes the Amman Message, which enunciates and defines a ‘Muslim.’ So, now I quote from page 32 of the Saudi publication:
Orthodoxy in Islam is based on verse 2:285 of the Holy Qur’an, and has been best defined by the historical 2005 international Islamic consensus on the ‘three points’ of the Amman Message, these points being: (a) Whosoever is an adherent to one of the four Sunni schools (mathahib) of Islamic jurisprudence (Hanafi, Maliki, Shafi‘i and Hanbali), the two Shi‘a schools of Islamic jurisprudence ( Ja‘fari and Zaydi), the Ibadi school of Islamic jurisprudence and the Thahiri school of Islamic jurisprudence, is a Muslim. Declaring that person an apostate is impossible and impermissible. Verily his (or her) blood, honour, and property are inviolable. Moreover, in accordance with the Sheikh Al-Azhar’s fatwa, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to the Ash’ari creed or whoever practices real Tasawwuf (Sufism) an apostate. Likewise, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare whosoever subscribes to true Salafi thought an apostate.
Equally, it is neither possible nor permissible to declare as apostates any group of Muslims who believes in God, Glorified and Exalted be He, and His Messenger (may peace and blessings be upon him) and the pillars of faith, and acknowledges the five pillars of Islam, and does not deny any necessarily self-evident tenet of religion.
(b) There exists more in common between the various schools of Islamic jurisprudence than there is difference between them. The adherents to the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are in agreement as regards the basic principles of Islam. All believe in Allah (God), Glorified and Exalted be He, the One and the Unique; that the Noble Qur’an is the Revealed Word of God; and that our master Muhammad, may blessings and peace be upon him, is a Prophet and Messenger unto all mankind. All are in agreement about the five pillars of Islam: the two testaments of faith (shahadatayn); the ritual prayer (salat); almsgiving (zakat); fasting the month of Ramadan (sawm), and the Hajj to the sacred house of God (in Mecca). All are also in agreement about the foundations of belief: belief in Allah (God), His angels, His scriptures, His messengers, and in the Day of Judgment, in Divine Providence in good and in evil. Disagreements between the ulema (scholars) of the eight schools of Islamic jurisprudence are only with respect to the ancillary branches of religion ( furu’) and not as regards the principles and fundamentals (usul) [of the religion of Islam]. Disagreement with respect to the ancillary branches of religion ( furu‘) is a mercy. Long ago it was said that variance in opinion among the ulema (scholars) ‘is a good affair’.
(c) Acknowledgement of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence (mathahib) within Islam means adhering to a fundamental methodology in the issuance of fatwas: no one may issue a fatwa without the requisite personal qualifications which each school of Islamic jurisprudence determines [for its own adherents]. No one may issue a fatwa without adhering to the methodology of the schools of Islamic jurisprudence. No one may claim to do unlimited Ijtihad and create a new school of Islamic jurisprudence or to issue unacceptable fatwas that take Muslims out of the principles and certainties of the sharia and what has been established in respect of its schools of jurisprudence.
According to these definitions the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, should be clearly considered to be Muslims, by the Sunni and Shiite Muslims in Pakistan also, as the Ahmadiyya Community follows the Hanafi-Islamic jurisprudence.
Click through to see the list of top 50 most influential Muslims in the world, as compiled by Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center.