'Hatred for none, love for all' Islamic leader says a small minority trying to tarnish its reputation
OLD HARBOUR, St Catherine:
AHMADIYYA MUSLIM Jama'at has said the rise of so called Islamic fundamentalism has given credence to a misconception about what Islam truly represents.
According this Islamic religious group, Islam is portrayed today as a religion of violence; a contradiction in terms because Islam means peace.
The group considered a fast-growing international revival movement within Islam founded in 1889 by Hadrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian India, held its third annual national conference recently at their Mahdi Mosque, Old Harbour, St Catherine, under the theme 'Hatred for none, love for all'.
"We are the only Islamic organisation to believe that the long-awaited Messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad," Lal Khan Malik national president of the movement told Family & Religion.
He added that Ahmad, born in 1835, claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus of Nazareth and the divine guide whose advent was foretold by Islam's true prophet Muhammad.
"The Ahmadiyya Muslim community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and re-institute morality, justice, and peace," Lal Khan Malik stated.
He said Ahmad's advent has brought about an unprecedented era of Islamic revival, while recognising the noble teachings of the great religious founders and saints, including Abraham, Moses, Buddha, Confucius, Guru Nanak, among others and explained how such teachings converged into the one true Islam.
"As part of its effort to revive Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community continues to spread Ahmad's teachings of moderation and restraints in the face of bitter opposition from parts of the Muslim world," the Ahmadiyya Muslim national president said.
He revealed that over a century ago, Ahmad taught his followers to protect the sanctity of both religion and government by becoming righteous souls as well as loyal citizens. According to Lal Khan Malik, Ahmad cautioned against irrational interpretations of quranic pronouncements and misapplication of Islamic law, and continually voiced his concerns about protecting the rights of God?s creatures.
"Today, we continue to be an advocate for universal human rights and protections for religious and other minorities, we are champions for the empowerment and education of women, our members are law abiding, educated and engaged Muslims in the world," Malik disclosed.
Meanwhile, Mubarak Nazir, senior vice-president of the movement told Family & Religion that there are 73 known Muslim groups worldwide, but the Ahmadiyya community is the foremost Islamic organisation with a central spiritual leader.
"Over a century ago, Ahmad reminded his followers of God's promise to safeguard the message of Islam through the spiritual institution of successorship to prophethood; the only means of upholding the true values of Islam and unite humanity," the senior vice-president informed.
He revealed that since the death of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in 1908, five spiritual leaders have succeeded him. The fifth and current is Mirza Masroor Ahmad, who resides in the United Kingdom.
Nazir said there should be no mistake about Islam because it is the true religion from God that is final and complete for mankind, containing all the truths embodied in the teachings of the prophets.
On the issue of family values, the Muslim leader said the family is a precious institution that must be preserved.
"The father is the central figure in the family who has the responsibility to provide for his family and give spiritual guidance to the entire family," Nazir stated, adding that where there is a breakdown, the unit is impacted.
He said polygamy is allowed under certain conditions, like in the case where one wife cannot have children then that husband is allowed to get another wife and give all the wives equal treatment.
Water baptism, he claimed, is not necessary. "Muslims believe in dipping into the attributes of God and this is regarded as baptism," the senior Muslim leader acclaimed, suggesting that the idea of people getting into spirit is a gimmick.
The Ahmadiyya community he claimed has more than 15,000 mosques and had built more than 500 schools and 30 hospitals worldwide.
The recent two-day conference attracted personnel from other faiths, community-based organisations, former politicians and representatives of statutory bodies.
Local missionary in charge Umair Khan told Family & Religion that the conference was a tremendous success.
"The annual convention provided a unique spiritual experience for attendees through scholarly presentation and interactive dialogue, the contribution of non Muslim religious groups were welcomed as we seek to Foster religious tolerances," said Umair Khan.