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- The Ahmadi movement was founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, a native of India who said he was the messiah foretold by the prophet Muhammad.
- The movement’s London headquarters claims more than 10 million followers across 190 countries.
- Ahmadis are a small minority of the estimated 1.57 billion Muslims in the world. About 87 percent of Muslims are Sunnis, and 10 percent are Shiites, according to a 2009 study released by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life.
- Ahmadis differ from mainstream Muslims on the issue of prophethood. Most Muslims believe that Muhammad was God’s final prophet, but Ahmadis believe that their founder was also a prophet.
- That said, soon after the death of the first successor of Ghulam Ahmad, the movement split into two groups over the nature of Ghulam Ahmad’s supposed prophethood and his succession. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believed that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad had been a “non-law-bearing” prophet and that mainstream Muslims who categorically rejected his message were guilty of disbelief in Islamic prophecies. The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, however, affirmed the traditional Islamic interpretation that there could be no prophet after Muhammad and viewed itself as a reform movement within the broader Muslim community of believers. 
- Otherwise, Ahmadis observe almost all Muslim practices, including reciting the Koran, praying five times a day and fasting during the month of Ramadan.
- In 1974, Pakistan amended its constitution to declare that Ahmadis are not Muslims; Ahmadis are not allowed to greet each other as Muslims or refer to their houses of worship as mosques. Extremist Muslims, who see Ahmadis as heretics, have carried out a campaign against them in Pakistan ever since.
– Source: Nancy Haught, Ahmadi Muslims in U.S. eager to spread message of nonviolence, Religion News Service via the Washington Post, July 24, 2010
The reason for this is primarily, but not solely, that Ahmadis reject the Islamic teaching that Muhammad is the last prophet. This teaching is one of the central, key doctrines of Islam.
The Ahmaddiyya Sect of Islam was founded in 1882 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of India.
At first, Ahmad had no intention of starting a new religious sect, but focused instead on refuting Christianity and Christian Missionaries throughout India. From there, he wrote a book in 1879/80 titled Baraheen Ahmadiyya. In this two-volume work, Ahmad promoted the Orthodox Islamic conception of Christ, Muhammad, Prophets, revelation, etc. while attempting to present a case against Christianity.
By the time his third volume was published in 1882, he claimed to have received revelations from God, eventually proclaiming himself to be God’s reformer and chosen Messiah for this age. This caused an uproar amongst the Orthodox Muslims since it is an article of faith for all Muslims to believe that Muhammad was the last messenger of God and the seal of revelation. (S. 33:40).
Thus, for Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (MGA) to make such claims was apostasy. MGA eventually died in 1908, leaving behind a group of dedicated followers who have since that time increased dramatically.
– Source: Sam Shamoun, Ahmaddiyya in the Balance, Answering Islam
Note that soon after the death of Ahmad the movement split into two factions:
• Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, al-Jamā’a al-Ahmadīya (the larger of the two movements)
• Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam, Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam Lahore.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
The following description is quoted from “The Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community”:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a dynamic, fast growing international revival movement within Islam. Founded in 1889, it spans over 195 countries with membership exceeding tens of millions. Its current headquarters are in the United Kingdom.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the only Islamic organization to believe that the long-awaited Messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) (1835-1908) of Qadian. Ahmad(as) claimed to be the metaphorical second coming of Jesus(as) of Nazareth and the divine guide, whose advent was foretold by the Prophet of Islam, Muhammad(sa). Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes that God sent Ahmad(as), like Jesus(as), to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace. Ahmad’s(as) advent has brought about an unprecedented era of Islamic revival. He divested Islam of fanatical beliefs and practices by vigorously championing Islam’s true and essential teachings. He also recognized the noble teachings of the great religious founders and saints, including Zoroaster(as), Abraham(as), Moses(as), Jesus(as), Krishna(as), Buddha(as), Confucius(as), Lao Tzu and Guru Nanak, and explained how such teachings converged into the one true Islam.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the leading Islamic organization to categorically reject terrorism in any form. Over a century ago, Ahmad(as) emphatically declared that an aggressive “jihad by the sword” has no place in Islam. In its place, he taught his followers to wage a bloodless, intellectual “jihad of the pen” to defend Islam. To this end, Ahmad(as) penned over 80 books and tens of thousands of letters, delivered hundreds of lectures, and engaged in scores of public debates. His rigorous and rational defenses of Islam unsettled conventional Muslim thinking. As part of its effort to revive Islam, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continues to spread Ahmad’s(as) teachings of moderation and restraint in the face of bitter opposition from parts of the Muslim world.
Similarly, it is the only Islamic organization to endorse a separation of mosque and state. Over a century ago, Ahmad(as) taught his followers to protect the sanctity of both religion and government by becoming righteous souls as well as loyal citizens. He cautioned against irrational interpretations of Quranic pronouncements and misapplications of Islamic law. He continually voiced his concerns over protecting the rights of God’s creatures. Today, it continues to be an advocate for universal human rights and protections for religious and other minorities. It champions the empowerment and education of women. Its members are among the most law-abiding, educated, and engaged Muslims in the world.
Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the foremost Islamic organization with a central spiritual leader. Over a century ago, Ahmad(as) reminded his followers of God’s promise to safeguard the message of Islam through khilafat (the spiritual institution of successorship to prophethood). It believes that only spiritual successorship can uphold the true values of Islam and unite humanity. Five spiritual leaders have succeeded Ahmad(as) since his demise in 1908. It’s fifth and current spiritual head, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, resides in the United Kingdom. Under the leadership of its spiritual successors, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has now built over 15,000 mosques, over 500 schools, and over 30 hospitals. It has translated the Holy Quran into over 60 languages. It propagates the true teachings of Islam and the message of peace and tolerance through a twenty-four hour satellite television channel (MTA), the Internet (alislam.org) and print (Islam International Publications). It has been at the forefront of worldwide disaster relief through an independent charitable organization, Humanity First.– Source: Overview, “The Official Website of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.” Last accessed Monday, May 31, 2010 – 10:33 AM CET. Check the original version for links to articles explaining names and terminology.
After a recent attack by Islamic terrorists on two Ahmadi mosques in Pakistan, a Toronto-based writer explained:
In 1991, I left Pakistan with my family and moved to Canada. We feared attacks by Muslim extremists and packed our bags in the middle of the night and managed to leave. Hiding our religion from non-Ahmadis had become part of our daily lives.
Our sect was founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmed, who wanted to reform Islam and remind Muslims of the beliefs and laws laid out by the Prophet Muhammad. He emphasized non-violence and stressed increased tolerance of other faiths. Ahmadis saw Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as the Promised Messiah, while mainstream Muslims refused to accept this belief and forbade us to call ourselves Muslims. We became the most discriminated-against community in Pakistan.
Ahmadis have had a long history of being treated poorly, especially at the hands of the Pakistani government. In 1974, the Pakistan Peoples Party promised Ahmadis that if they supported the party, the bloc would work to end discrimination against the sect. My grandfather, father and uncles worked tirelessly campaigning and volunteering for the PPP in the hopes that they, along with millions of Ahmadis, would be able to live freely. But when the party won and came into power, the Ahmadis were declared “non-Muslim” after the new leader, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, faced pressure from mullahs. This further escalated the violence and injustice that the sect had been facing for decades.
– Source: Samra Habib, A Tragic Day for a Faith Under Siege, The New York Times, May 30, 2010
The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement
The Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement formed as a result of ideological differences within the Ahmadiyya movement.
Many Muslims do not consider members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement to be Muslims and some group them together with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and refer to them by the term “Qadiani” and refer to their belief as “Qadianism”, a term rejected by Ahmadi-Muslims as derogatory. Members of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement however like to refer to themselves as Lahori Ahmadi Muslims and consider themselves completely separate from Qadiani Ahmadis.
As the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement’s view regarding Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s status and the concept of finality of prophethood of Muhammad is closer to traditional Islamic thought, the Literature published by the Movement has found greater acceptability among the Muslim Intelligentsia and some orthodox Islamic Scholars consider the Lahore Ahmadiyya as Muslims.
– Source: Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement for the Propagation of Islam Last accessed Monday, May 31, 2010 – 12:58 PM CET
- Cited from the Wikipedia entry on Ahmadiyya, last accessed Wednesday, November 10, 2010 – 10:09 AM CET