13. Every Wind of Doctrine
The Ahmadiyya movement claims to believe in the Qur’an and in the sayings and practices of Muhammad, but it often interprets them differently from traditional Muslims. Consequently Ahmadi adherents have compiled their own translations and commentaries of the Qur’an. The main point of controversy with orthodox Islam is obviously their belief about Jesus and the claim of Mirza being the second coming of Christ. There are other issues, that so far we have not considered. Some of these differences are outlined here.
Revelation from God
It is not for any mortal that Allah should speak to him except by revelation, or from behind a veil, or by sending an apostle (Surah 42:50).
In line with other Muslims, the founder and his movement believe that revelation from God descends in words. "The recipient provides neither the meaning nor the words of revelation. Both come from Him."1 They hold the view that the door to divine revelation is still open, whilst orthodox Muslims believe that it is now closed forever, the Qur’an being Allah’s final revelation - wahi.
Mirza claimed to be the recipient of direct revelation. He said, "I believe in the truth of the Divine Message, revealed to me, in the same measure as I believe in the Torah, the Bible and the Holy Qur’an."2 Some orthodox Muslim propaganda against the Ahmadiyya is that the movement has a so-called inspired book, "Kitabul Mobin". Though, such a claim is not true, Ahmadis are reluctant to give a clear answer whether or not Ahmad’s "revelations" are as the founder claimed them to be of the same standard as the Qur’an.
Many of Mirza’s revelations are either true or distorted copies of passages from the Qur’an and the Bible. The following are just a few examples of the revelations he took from the Bible and claimed to have received from God.
1. "Heaven and earth can move away but it is not possible that his promise may not be fulfilled."3 Compare with Matthew 5:17, 18.
2. "I am the water that has descended from heaven at its due time. I am the Divine Light that has illuminated the day."4 Compare with Matthew 5:14; John 1:4; 3:19; 4:10-15; 7:38; 8:12.
3. "He who does not accept me, does not disobey me, but disobeys Him who has prophesied my coming."5 Compare with John 12:48-50.
4. "I created a new heaven and a new earth and I said, 'Let us now create man'." 6 Compare with Revelation 21:1,5; Genesis 1:26.
5. "Is this the one who was to come or shall we wait for another?"7 Compare with Matthew 11:3.
6. "We gave thee glad tiding of a gentle son, a manifestation of the True and High as if Allah had descended from heaven. His name is Emmanuel. A son will be born to thee and grace will come close to thee."8 Compare with Matthew 1:23; Luke 1:35.
7. "A warner [some places a prophet] came into the world and the world did not accept him ..."9 Compare with John 1:10.
Following this route, other Ahmadiyya writers do the same. They include biblical materials in their essays, without any reference to the source, as if they were Islamic.
The Genesis story
The Ahmadiyya, like all other Muslims, believe God is the ultimate cause of all creation, but as they go deeper into their explanation, they break away from mainstream Islamic theology and ethics. They bring in the idea of evolution to make room for "modern minds".
The Qur’an says that God created the heavens and the earth in six days (Surah 7:55). According to the Ahmadiyya interpretation, God created the heavens and the earth not in six days but in six "periods". Since it is impossible to define the length of these periods, they argue, "All that we can say is that creation of the heavens and the earth took six long cycles, to become perfect and complete."10
The Ahmadiyya have embraced the Big Bang theory. In support they quote surah 21:31 as a proof text from their translation of the Qur’an:
Do not the disbelievers see that the heavens and the earth were a closed-up mass, then We opened them out? And we made of water every living thing. Will they not then believe?11
Bashir-ud-din states: "God, in accordance with the laws which He had set in motion, split the mass of matter, and its scattered bits became the units of the solar system."12
The first man
The Bible reminds us that it is God who created us all and that all humanity sprang forth from the first man and his wife (I Corinthians 15:45). Regardless of race or nationality, we all have a common blood line (Acts 17:26).
Muslims also believe that Adam was the first human being created by God. They claim that Adam was the first prophet sent by him. The Ahmadiyya movement accepts Adam as the first prophet, but denies that he was the first man on earth.
The World has passed through different cycles of creation and civilization, and Adam the progenitor of the present race is only the first link in the present cycle, and not the very first man in God’s creation. ... Other Adams may have gone before our Adam; other races may have lived and perished and other cycles of civilization may have appeared and disappeared.13
The movement very much supports evolutionist theories. God did not create the first man at once, but through a gradual process, "stage after stage and condition after condition".14 According to Bashiruddin there was a civilisation on this earth before the arrival of Adam. They were human but called "Jinn" and their leader was "Iblis".15
Angels and demons
According to the Qur’an the angels - mala’ikah were created from light - nur and the demons - Jinn from fire - nar. The Qur’an acknowledges the existence of Satan (often called Shaitan or Iblis) who is from the Jinn. Like the Jinns, he was created from fire (Surah 18:50; 7:12). God ordered him to worship Adam, but he refused and so he was rejected and cast down (Surah 7:11).
The Bible however teaches that Satan because of his pride and covetousness fell. It reveals that Satan is the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4), "The prince of the power of the air, the spirit who now works in the sons of disobedience" (Ephesians 2:2). The Bible tells us that Satan’s powerful influence can be overcome. "Resist the devil and he will flee from you" (James 4:7). Additionally, Jesus taught his disciples to pray, "Deliver us from the evil one" (Matthew 6:13).
Muslim writers disagree with each other that Iblis ever was an angel. Yet it is strange to find that it was the angels who were asked to worship Adam and Iblis is mentioned as the one who refused and was cast down. Muslims do agree with Christians that Satan masquerades as the benefactor, friend and servant of mankind, but they add that because God has allowed him to do this, they believe that all good or bad things come from God. The last part of the creed, ‘Iman Muffasel’ says, "Wal qadri khairihee wa sharrihee minallahi ta’ala" - and any thing good or bad that occurs is caused by Allah.
According to the Ahmadiyya belief, Shaitan (Satan) does not mean a devil. Satan and Iblis are two different persons. Iblis is the one who refused to submit to Adam and it was Satan who tempted Adam and caused him to slip. Iblis belonged to the Jinn and therefore became the leader and representative of the forces of evil in the universe. Satan was not "an invisible evil spirit but a wicked man of flesh and blood".16
The life hereafter
The fifth article of faith in Islam is the belief in the Hereafter, heaven and hell. Following the Qur’an, Muslims believe in life beyond. Like the Bible, the Qur’an teaches about the judgement day, also called "Yawmal-Qiyamah", the day of resurrection, and "Yawmal-Akhir", the last day. There will be everlasting life for the righteous and everlasting destruction for the wicked.
Those who will have everlasting life will live in a place called Paradise, a big garden watered by rivers. The sensuous joys of Paradise are described in great detail in many popular Islamic books. However hell is a place of fire, which has seven gates and is divided from Paradise by a wall. Those who are in hell suffer everlasting punishment.
The Ahmadiyya reject the idea of Paradise being a place of physical delights. However neither is it regarded as a mere metaphor. In their view life after death takes two forms, a life in Paradise and a life in hell. The body in the after life is different from the physical. "Paradise and Hell are not two distinct and separate places but two conditions or states of mind."17
Ahmadiyya does not believe in the eternity of hell but regard it as a sort of hospital where sinners will live for a limited time for their spiritual treatment and cure.18
In his teaching about eternal life and eternal punishment, Jesus taught that there was no movement from hell to heaven. He did not leave any room for purgatory. The Qur’an also leaves no room for the possibility of hell being a temporary place. The righteous and the wicked will remain in their places of destiny forever (Surah 2:81-82).
The Ahmadiyya are trying their best to introduce their doctrines in ways which will be accepted by modern people. They have brought the idea of evolution into Islam. Their message is of eventual salvation for all, in direct contradiction of the teaching of all the prophets.
Notes on Chapter 13:
- Bashir-ud-din, Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, p.7.
- Ahmad, Arb’ain, No.4, p.25.
- Zafrullah, Ahmadiyyat, p.38.
- Ahmad, Baraheen Ahmadiyya, Vol. 5, p.115.
- Ahmad, Haqeeqatul-Wahi, p.178.
- Ahmad, Fountain of Christianity, p.63 (footnote).
- Majmua Ishtiharat, Vol.. I, p.117.
- Ahmad, Anjam Athem, p. 62.
- Ahmad, Baraheen Ahmadiyya, Vol.. IV, p.557 (footnote).
- Farid, The Holy Qur’an, p.336.
- ibid., p.695.
- Bashir-ud-din, Introduction to the Study of the Qur’an, p.422.
- Farid, The Holy Qur’an, p. 23.
- Bashir-ud-din, Introduction to the Studyof the Qur’an, p.423.
- ibid., p.424.
- Farid, The Holy Qur’an, p.328.
- ibid., p.1180.
- Zafrullah, Islam: Its meaning for modern man, p.193.