Pakistan: Swearing You Are Not an Ahmadi Mandatory for Marrying in Punjab


Spouses should take an oath that they believe there can be no prophets after Muhammad, according to instructions issued on July 30.

by Massimo Introvigne

A Muslim marriage in Pakistan.
A Muslim marriage in Pakistan. Credits.

If you want to marry as a Muslim in Punjab, the most populous province of Pakistan—there are separate marriage rules for Christians and members of other religious minorities—you should swear that you believe in Khatm-e-Nabuwwat (Finality of Prophethood) before tying the knot.

So wrote, shortly after his election, Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi to all marriage registrars on July 30, based on an ordinance of the previous Punjabi administration. Registrars who will allow persons who had not sworn the Finality of Prophethood affidavit to marry will go to jail, Elahi explained.

By swearing that they believe in the Finality of Prophethood, brides and grooms will swear that it is part of their faith that Muhammad is the last in a series of prophets that started with Adam, and that there can be no prophets after Muhammad. Those calling themselves prophets after Prophet of Islam can only be imposters and heretics.

Although they are not mentioned in the regulations, the oath is devised to target one specific religious minority, the Ahmadis. Their movement was founded within Islam by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835–1908). Conservative Muslims accuse Ahmad of having considered himself a “prophet,” and one who came after Muhammad. The Ahmadi formula for Ahmad, “at the same time a prophet and a follower of the Holy Prophet [ Muhammad],” is not enough to establish their orthodoxy in the eyes of Muslim clerics. For them, the Ahmadis deny the Finality of Prophethood.

Punjab new Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi. Source: National Assembly of Pakistan.
Punjab new Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi. Source: National Assembly of Pakistan.

The marriage oath is carved in a way that Ahmadis who would swear it would deny their faith in the mission of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. By swearing the oath, they should in fact swear that they are not Ahmadis.

The real purpose of the Punjab administration is to prevent Ahmadis from marrying non-Ahmadi Muslims, and further harass the persecuted minority. If Ahmadis will swear the oath, believing that in fact their theology does not really contradict the doctrine of Finality of Prophethood, they will be prosecuted for blasphemy, a crime that is punished in Pakistan with the death penalty. Punjab politicians clearly indicated that this will be the case.

That to be allowed to marry brides and grooms should pass tests of religious orthodoxy is further evidence of how far Pakistan still is from respecting international principles of freedom of religion or belief.


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