Let’s Leave it To God: Why State Does Not Have the Right to Declare Ahmedis As Non Muslims

By Raza Habib Raja

First of all, let me make it clear that I am NOT an Ahmadi. This clarification is essential so that my motives are clear to everyone.

A few months ago I wrote an article on Huff post in which I criticized the infamous Second Amendment which had declared Ahmadis as Non-Muslims. I got a lot of heated responses on that with some saying that I am myself an Ahmadi (which I am not), and some claiming that I am anti-Islam or at least do not know about it.

Further I was told that Ahmadis also hate Muslims and consider all other sects as Non-Muslim and therefore it is “fair” to declare them as Non-Muslims. Of course I have been told a number of times that they are “against” Pakistan.

Some of my relatives (from my father’s side) are Ahmadis and hence I have had the unique opportunity of observing them closely. Despite the open hatred which is shown to them, I have never had the opportunity of hearing any of them expressing hatred towards Pakistan or Muslims of other sects. None of the Ahmadis I know have talked about resorting to violence against so called “real” Muslims of Pakistan despite the fact that they have been subject to violence themselves.

As I pointed in my article on Huff Post Ahmadis were declared as Non-Muslim in Pakistan through the Second Amendment. I have also been in arguments with several of its supporters. The supporters of the Second Amendment have often come up with various arguments ranging from perceived Ahmadi non-belief in the finality of the Prophethood (PBUH) to collective “wisdom” of the absolute majority (Second Amendment was passed through majority). The Second Amendment became the basis of introduction of more draconian laws in 1980s.

However, one of the most vocal arguments given to me is that Ahmadis too think of all others outside their faith as Non-Muslim and on these grounds it is only fair and square that they should also be declared as Non-Muslim and hated in return.

Although personally I have never heard it from any Ahmadi that I know but some Muslims from other sects stress that this is the case. A friend of mine pointed out to me that a certain Ahmadi relative of his had not offered Namaz-e-Janaza (Funeral prayer) of his mother owing to the grounds that he construed her as an apostle.

I replied back by asking him to return the favor. If he thinks that Ahmadis are of the opinion that all outside their sect are heretics then it is ok for him to think the same about them. I clarified to him that my point is not that he should assume them to be Muslims but rather that the state has no right to declare someone as Non Muslim and even more importantly not to resort to violence against them.

To put it simply , assuming if Ahmadis do indeed think of Sunnis or other sects as outside Islam, this does not still give you a right to actually legislate them as Non Muslim and be violent against them. All you can justifiably do in return is to just think the same of them. Once you make a law then you are actually giving material and tangible effect to your perception.

Pakistan is a unique country where actually State through a man-made law has decided something which in principle is the prerogative of the Almighty alone.

Let’s try to be a better human and understand that overwhelmingly we are just born into a faith. I come from a family where some of my father’s side is Ahmadi and majority of my mother’s side is Shiite. And yet I ended up being a Sunni because I was born into a Sunni household. Does this “fluke” make me a true Muslim?

For that matter does the fact that I was born into a Muslim household make me a good human?

The point which I am trying to raise is that more than 99% of the time our religion and sect are determined by chance. We do not select our religion by careful and dispassionate intellectual examination. All our so called convictions about the truth of our sect are determined by the fact that we are born into it and nothing else.

It is our self-righteousness and chauvinistic delusion that we think that our sect or religion is “correct”. Why can’t we leave all those who belong to a different faith or sect with in faith, alone? For that matter why can’t we leave those who are agnostics and atheists alone? Many of us get swayed by those clergy who promote religious hate and intolerance and forget that religion is often a tool for social control. Those who are preaching hate always have ulterior and cynical motives.

I do not consider Ahmadis as Non-Muslim because frankly it is for God to decide. Please stop lecturing about true Islam when true Islam happens to be that Islam in which you were born into. Education is supposed to liberate us from prejudices and hatred. World has suffered enough due to religious chauvinism. Let us rise above these prejudices.

So think whatever you want to about Ahmadis but do not try to assume the role of God here and make laws declaring them as Non Muslim just because your perception of a Muslim is different and because you think that they also construe you as out of Islamic faith. And above all, if you want to consider them as Non-Muslim, do so, but you have NO right to kill them or make life miserable for them.

What we have done is to simply use our majority to penalize a minority. And yes if tomorrow Ahmadis assume the majority, and legislate someone as Non-Muslim, I will oppose that also and on same grounds.

If you believe in God then let Him be the ultimate judge.

  • Ahmed Akram

    I have a few questions:
    1) Doesn’t God allow an Islamic State to decide this?
    Islam has laws for the rulers on how to rule the state. So Isn’t a part of it? Please leave the debate of how we need a secular state for this question.

    2) As a new student of PolSci I always wonder about the point of this blog or any other liberal article publishing site. It achieves and will achieve nothing( according to my limited understanding). So whats the point of writing here.

    3) Do the liberal in Pakistan imply that ‘Ahmadis are Muslims and should be allowed to call themselves one” Or “Ahmadis should be allowed to call themselves whatever they want even if they aren’t Muslims according to the Koran and Hadith”?

    4) I don’t think Pakistan is going to become a secular state in our lifetime. So whats the point of trying to make it one? It’s like the examiner has told you that you’re going to fail but you still will work hard for the exam. Correct me if Im wrong in my conclusion.

    5) According to secular/liberal people in Pakistan, why should there be a Pakistan? Lets say it’s 1930 right now. Why do you want a separate country.

  • mohanrr

    No religion is superior to humanity.

  • k_rash

    RHR,
    You are right. The state should not have the power to decide a person’s religion. It should just accept a person’s self-declaration.

    But what can be done when a democratic state uses democratic means to incorporate this power into its constitution?

    What is the practical solution?

  • Intabb

    1. Islam is highly secular; so one cant ignore it. “There is not no compulsion in faith” is the fundamental message and teaching of Quran.
    2. As a student of PolySci, you would agree with continuous dialogue rather than a dictatorially shutting down the debate.
    3. People should be able to call themselves what ever they please to call themselves.
    4. To give up is for losers, keep trying. Remember the little ant that kept falling short, but never gave up.
    5. The idea of Pakistan was Noble; it just got sidetracked. Qaid is probably turning over every hour in his grave for usurping his vision.

  • Ahmed Akram

    1. An Islamic republic and a secular state would have similarities. But Islam is not secular. A state has laws which absolutely have to be obeyed. Just like in all the countries of the world. Koran and Hadith have laws on how to run a state. So it can’t be called secular.
    2. Debate for the purpose of debate is useless. We have to achieve something. Go towards whats best. Sitting at the same spot of 10 years talking about the same thing has no value.
    3. But is it allowed under an Islamic rule?
    4. Then whats the point. Keeping writing , keeping shouting with no results? It’s a waste of time. The parable was to teach kids about resilience. But we have to practical as well.
    5. The idea of Pakistan was based on religion. A separate homeland for ‘Muslims’. This would’ve been a non-issue under a secular system.

  • mohanrr

    UAE lawyer tweets ‘serious’ job offer to Barack Obama

    Barry King | May 17, 2016
    Barack Obama might well be busy brushing up his CV, polishing his LinkedIn profile and preparing for a few rounds of golf when he steps down as US president in January.

    But it seems he already has one job offer to consider – working as a lawyer in a UAE law firm.

    A lawyer in the UAE has tweeted a job offer to Barack Obama
    High-profile Dubai lawyer Isa bin Haidar has tweeted Obama a lucrative offer to join his practice, Bin Haidar Advocated and Legal Consultants.

    He said he was aware of Obama’s legal background – the US president graduated from Harvard in 1991 – and that he would welcome the opportunity to work with him. He also offered to pay for a villa and flights.

    Bin Haidar wrote on Twitter: “President Obama… I offer you a job in my office…salary housing tickets and travel to Arab countries.”

    He also addressed Obama, adding: “I know my offer may sound weird but you have to live with the Muslims to know them closely and away from political plays… the US is always playing a key role in these plays.”

    Bin Haidar told 7DAYS that he was serious when he tweeted the job offer and hopes Obama will consider it. He also said that he wanted the politician, who has served as president for eight years, to see more of the Arab world, adding that some sections of the US population continue to harbour ill-conceived prejudices against Muslims.

    He said: “I understand that he will leave his work in the White House and I want him to get closely acquainted with the meaning of tolerance of Islam by accepting my offer. Muslims are not criminals and I want him to come and see Muslims and live between them here.”

    “I’m serious in my job offer to Obama, as I know that he graduated from law college. I want the understanding of Islam to be changed by making this offer to someone like him and also to let all Americans know that Muslims are not criminals or terrorists.”

    Bin Haidar has 31,000 followers on Twitter and many of them retweeted his tweets and started a debate about his offer. Past presidents have gone on to lucrative public speaking engagements, while Bill Clinton has made more than $6 million alone from companies in the UAE since 2011, through public speaking and chairing events.

    It is also customary for former presidents to found a presidential library, to further learning opportunities, with Obama’s earmarked to be on the southside of Chicago at a cost of more than $1 billion.

  • Nuree
  • mohanrr

    For millions, nay billions, somehow whichever religion/faith they are born in just happens to be the best by coincidence!

  • Kamath

    I am terribly disappointed by your notion of secularism. As an intelligent student , I think you should render to a common dictionary as in Wikipedia . It says,” https://en.wikipedia.org › wiki › Secularity
    Secularity is the state of being separate from religion, or of not being exclusively allied with or against any particular religion. “. Secular governments strive very hard to separate religion from the business of the state. Canada, USA are typical examples. Even neighbouring is included among long list of secular states. Pakistan is not. Where every law is starts with Quranic recitation. It is an Islamic state where all non-Muslims are secondary or third class citizens.

    Islamic states were never from the days of Prophet Muhammad. Remember that he was one rolled into one who was a mystic, lover, law giver, administrator, soldier who went on desert raids , slave owner. The very day, Muslim army returned to Mecca from Medina, the non-believers’ place of worship were destroyed . And they were given a choice of coughing up a back breaking head tax called Zizya or convert to Islam or face the sword. That was that was from the beginning till recent times.

    So that is the story . It may not be written that way in your Pakistan studies. So I suggest you study books written by eminent historians other than one available in Pakistan. WA Salaam.

  • Kamath

    Dear friend: you say or selectively quote the passage that there is no compulsion in faith! It is patently rediculous and false. The foundational texts of Islam such as Quran and Hadiths are littered with statements and observation filled with violence and they contradict your quote. So don’t take this business of tolerance. Islamic history is replete with cases of intolerance, violence and wars , my friend.

    Next time when you respond, let me give us some examples. Right now , it is time for my siesta. Hell with excessive religious nonsense!

  • Kamath

    You are a thinking man. Keep it up!

    I am not suggesting at any time religion is to rejected . I am all for faith of something or other where a person can draw inspiration to live oneself in an ethical and moral state. But please don’t impose on others in a direct or indirect manner by imposing taxes or making life miserable. Keep it private at home or place of worship. There will be peace for all!.

  • Kamath

    Care to respond to questions posed by others in the thread?

  • Wamique Rehman

    I ask why the thousands Pakistani people settled in England in Canada in US in other parts of the world when the purpose of creation of Pakistan was a separate homeland for sub continent Muslims.
    Atleast Pakistani ideologically can’t live outside Pakistan.
    Those people who died or I would say killed brutally in Punjab in India partition days. They died in vain