In today’s world where many people are biased about Islam and Muslims, I want to introduce you to the sect of Islam that I belong to: the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was founded by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be on him) of Qadian, India in 1889. It was foretold by the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be on him) that in the latter days when moral and spiritual values would be in decline among the Muslims, the Messiah and Mahdi would appear and revive Islam. While the larger Sunni and Shia denominations await the coming of the Messiah, Ahmadi Muslims believe he has arrived in the person of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be on him).
Due to the difference in belief, in some countries around the world Ahmadi Muslims face bitter persecution. There is social boycott against Ahmadis. They are fired from their jobs without just cause, and some are even martyred and this all continues to this day. Being born in Pakistan and growing up there, I had to face many hardships because of my religion. I had no right to call myself Muslim or to participate freely in any religious activity. The Parliament of Pakistan passed an amendment to the Constitution (1974) declaring the adherents of Ahmadiyya Muslim “non-Muslims.” This was indeed a gross injustice done to our Community.
Despite facing bitter faith-based persecution in numerous Muslim-majority nations, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to advocate for universal human rights for all religious and other persecuted minorities. We Ahmadi Muslims believe that the true purpose of a human being’s life is the worship of God, the attainment of His understanding, complete devotion to Him and service to mankind. We believe that one can show his love for his Creator by expressing love and compassion for all His creation. Our community invests heavily in women’s equality, education and empowerment programs.
Its members are among the most law-abiding, educated, and engaged Muslims in the world. Today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the world’s largest Islamic community under one divinely appointed leader, His Holiness, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, the fifth Caliph. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community spans over 200 nations with membership exceeding tens of millions.
We emphatically declare that the “Jihad by the Sword” has no place in Islam. What I wish to discuss is something that has caused Islamophobia in the Western and non-Muslim world. There can be no doubt that this state of fear and anxiety has been fueled by the acts of certain so-called Muslims or so-called Muslim groups. However, there is also no doubt that the acts of terrorism or extremism they perpetrate have nothing whatsoever to do with the true teachings of Islam. The very meaning of ‘Islam’ is peace, security and giving a guarantee of protection against all forms of harm and evil. Indeed, the Holy Quran declares that this is the teaching that every single Prophet of God taught.
Being in the United States of America, my wish to freely profess that I am an Ahmadi Muslim finally came true. I am granted religious freedom and I am allowed to live, speak and act according to my religion and its teachings. I am proud to be a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The life, freedom, and respect that I am given through my religion, Islam, is all that a woman could wish for. I’m living a peaceful, happy and satisfied life through the rights and honor my religion grants me.
Asifa Kainat is a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community whose motto is “Love for all Hatred for None.” She’s pursuing an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts.