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.