Beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Movement in the words of Maulana Nur-ud-Din

Friday Khutba by Dr Zahid Aziz, for Lahore Ahmadiyya UK, 5 July 2024

“Say: O mankind, surely I am the Messenger of Allah to you all, of Him Whose is the kingdom of the heavens and the earth. There is no god but He; He gives life and causes death. So believe in Allah and His Messenger, the Ummī Prophet who believes in Allah and His words, and follow him so that you may be guided aright.” — ch. 7, Al-A‘rāf, v. 158.

قُلۡ یٰۤاَیُّہَا النَّاسُ اِنِّیۡ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ اِلَیۡکُمۡ جَمِیۡعَۨا الَّذِیۡ لَہٗ مُلۡکُ السَّمٰوٰتِ وَ الۡاَرۡضِ ۚ لَاۤ اِلٰہَ اِلَّا ہُوَ یُحۡیٖ وَ یُمِیۡتُ ۪ فَاٰمِنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہِ النَّبِیِّ الۡاُمِّیِّ الَّذِیۡ یُؤۡمِنُ بِاللّٰہِ وَ کَلِمٰتِہٖ وَ اتَّبِعُوۡہُ لَعَلَّکُمۡ تَہۡتَدُوۡنَ ﴿۱۵۸

“So believe in Allah and His Messenger and the Light which We have revealed. And Allah is Aware of what you do.” — ch. 64, At-Taghābun, v. 8.

فَاٰمِنُوۡا بِاللّٰہِ وَ رَسُوۡلِہٖ وَ النُّوۡرِ الَّذِیۡۤ اَنۡزَلۡنَا ؕ وَ اللّٰہُ بِمَا تَعۡمَلُوۡنَ خَبِیۡرٌ ﴿۸

I have read these verses because they require Muslims, as the basis of their faith, to believe in God and the Holy Prophet Muhammad and the Quran. As you will know, the first Head of the Ahmadiyya Movement, after the death of the Founder of the Movement Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, was Maulana Nur-ud-Din. He was an acknowledged scholar of Islam, recognised and respected even by the general Muslims outside the Ahmadiyya Movement for his knowledge, devotion to Islam and righteous character. He led the Movement from May 1908 and March 1914.

About a year before his death, a Muslim from outside the Ahmadiyya Movement sent him five questions to answer about his fundamental beliefs. The questions and his answers were published in an Ahmadiyya community newspaper of the time (Badr, 17 April 1913, p. 7). Of course, his answers not only show his personal beliefs but the beliefs of the members of the Movement since he was their head and guide. The ques­tions and his answers indicate that the person asking the questions is not sure, and is in doubt, whether Ahmadis hold the same fundamental beliefs as other Muslims.

The first question was: “What is your belief about God, about the Messenger of Islam, and about the Holy Quran?” Just like the three parts of this question, Maulana Nur-ud-Din replied to it in three parts. Regarding God, he said:

“I believe Allah to be Rabb-ul-‘ālamīn, ar-Raḥmān, ar-Raḥīm, Mālik-i yaum-id-dīn, and the Creator and Owner of all the world.”

The four Arabic terms he has mentioned, I am sure you know, are the attributes of God given in Sūrah Fātiḥa, the first chapter of the Quran, which every Muslim recites in every section of every prayer, and as you know these mean: Lords of the worlds, the Beneficent, the Merciful, and Master of the Day of Judgment. The Maulana then added:

“I have no hesitation, doubt or wavering in holding this belief. He is the Creator and everything is His creation.”

Regarding the Quran, the Maulana wrote:

“My belief about the Holy Quran is that it is the word of Allah, and it is preserved, without change or alteration, in a compilation that we possess.”

Regarding the Holy Prophet Muhammad, he wrote:

“Muhammad, the Messenger of Allah, may peace and the blessings of Allah be upon him, is the Khātam-un-nabiyyīn and the Messenger of the Lord of the worlds. He is the man by following whom a person can become the beloved of Allah.”

In this answer, by des­cribing the Holy Prophet as Khātam-un-nabiyyīn, the Maulana means that he was the final Prophet of all.

The second question asked was: “What is your opinion about the ranks and status of the Companions of the Holy Prophet?” Maulana Nur-ud-Din replied:

“The ranks of the Companions, may Allah be pleased with all of them, depend on the love they had for Allah. Only Allah can know this, not anyone else. Ponder over this.”

What the Maulana is referring to in this reply is the disagreement between the Sunnis and Shias over the status of the Companions. The Shias consider Hazrat Ali as the greatest Companion and venerate him extremely highly, while they look down upon Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Umar with disrespect. According to Maulana Nur-ud-Din, it is useless to discuss which Companion was superior, as only Allah can know this.

He continues his reply as follows:

“As regards the outward organisation of Islam, Abu Bakr appears to hold the highest rank, followed by Umar, followed by Uthman, and then Ali, may Allah be pleased with them. However, hidden behind the outward organisation of Islam, are those holy relations which these persons had with Allah, and those relations are above and beyond human knowledge. On the one hand, Hazrat Abu Bakr put down the rebellion against Islam [that arose after the death of the Holy Prophet] and established peace. He married his young daughter to the Holy Prophet to ease the circumstances of the Holy Prophet. On the other hand, Hazrat Ali was the one who was followed by many saints in Islam, and the work they did for Islam by following him is not small, and is acknowledged by all.”

Here what the Maulana means is that Muslims must recognise the services to Islam by both Hazrat Abu Bakr and Hazrat Ali, and not make one superior to the other.

The third question was in two parts: “What were the fundamental beliefs particularly associated with Mirza Ghulam Ahmad? And in what sense did he claim to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi?” Maulana Nur-ud-Din gives the following reply to the first part:

“The fundamental beliefs of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad sahib, particularly associated with him, are the same as those mentioned in the Holy Quran and authentic Hadith. The Quran, which has been safeguarded, was the one which Mirza sahib possessed. As regards Hadith books, he gave preference to Bukhari over other works [of Hadith]. The fundamentals of Islam are set out in these two books [i.e., the Quran and Bukhari].”

This reply shows that whatever was the claim of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, it was entirely based on the Quran and authentic Hadith. His claim neither contradicted the Quran and Hadith, nor did it add anything to the Quran and Hadith. Answering the second part of the question, namely, “In what sense did he claim to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi?”, Maulana Nur-ud-Din writes:

“It is surprising that, while Mirza sahib wrote 85 books, you have not read them; otherwise, you would know in what sense Mirza sahib claimed to be the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. In brief, Mirza sahib has himself stated…”

Here Maulana Nur-ud-Din quotes a verse of poetry by Hazrat Mirza sahib which translates as follows:

“Because I have been given light for the Christians, this was the reason why Allah gave me the title of son of Mary (i.e. Jesus)”.

And the Maulana adds that he was called Messiah because his work was to combat the external troubles and he was called Mahdi because of his work in resolving the disagreements among the Muslims themselves. When he says “external troubles”, he means the wrong Christian beliefs which were dominant all over the world at that time. As you know, all Muslims believe that Christians have deviated from the original teachings of Jesus or prophet Isa. All Muslims believe that Jesus taught that God is One and that Jesus himself is a mortal prophet like all prophets before him. All Muslims also believe that Jesus told his followers that a prophet will come after him, whom they must accept, and that prophet was our Holy Prophet Muhammad. Since Christians don’t accept these two teachings given by Jesus, it was Hazrat Mirza sahib’s mission especially to correct them and convince them of these teachings. This is what Hazrat Mirza sahib means in this verse of poetry, “Because I have been given light for the Christians…” This is the reason he was called the Messiah because he was repeating to Christians, the followers of Jesus, the original teachings of Jesus, namely, that there is only One God, and Jesus was a mortal prophet of God in every way, and that his teachings have been completed by the Holy Prophet Muhammad.

The fourth question was: “What is the difference between your beliefs and the beliefs of other Muslims, especially the Ahl-i Sunna Muslims?” Maulana Nur-ud-Din replied:

“We consider ourselves to be the Ahl-i Sunna wal-Jama‘at. The strongest evidence we have of this is that we have accepted the Quran and the Sunnah as our Imam and guide. Ours is a Jama‘at under one Imam. Others are not under one Imam, nor do they follow the Sunnah, nor do they have a Jama‘at. How can they be Ahl-i Sunna wal-Jama‘at?

He is saying, in other words, that ours is a community which follows the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet, so it is this community, most of all, which is truly Ahl-i Sunna wal-Jama‘at, rather than those claiming to be so.

The last question asked was: “Under the present circumstances, what should the Muslims do?” Maulana Nur-ud-Din replied:

“They should give up their mutual disputes, or reduce them. They should look carefully at the tactics of the preachers and the Mullas who cause disputes between Muslims in order to earn their livelihood. One should not indulge in differences on small points. One should give up those differences which lead to squabbles and quarrels. For example, Shias should stop hurling abuse (at Companions of the Holy Prophet) and refrain from practices which amount to shirk. Their opponents should not abuse the family members of the Holy Prophet. Those who give priority to Hadith should follow only the authentic hadith. Those who give priority to the Imams of Fiqh (like Hanafis) should not place the statements of their Imams above authentic Hadith. Everyone should refrain from calling others as kafir. All should accept the clear teachings of the Quran and of the authentic Hadith. When there is a difference in understanding them, there should be no quarrel over it, or at least the quarrelling should be kept to a minimum. Let everyone follow their own understanding.”

It is absolutely clear from the replies given by Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din in 1913, as Head of the whole Ahmadiyya Movement, that Ahmadis hold the Quran and the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad as their supreme authorities. Anyone else whom Ahmadis accept as their religious leader, however high he might be, is obeyed within the limits set by the Quran and the Holy Prophet Muhammad, and is not followed like the ultimate, final and infallible authority. The Maulana’s replies contain no mention of accepting Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet or taking his successors as khalifas. The Maulana advises Muslims to tolerate differences of interpretation that arise between them, and that no Muslim should call another Muslim a kafir. This applies whether it is other Muslims or Ahmadis: neither side should abuse and quarrel with the other side, nor call the other side kafir.

May Allah enable all Muslims, including all Ahmadis, to ponder over and act upon the wise, moderate and inspiring advice of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din marhūmAmeen.

(Note: The image of the original page from newspaper Badr, 17 April, p. 7, where these questions and answers appeared, is at this link: