When Ahmadis Were Declared Non-Muslim; The 1974 Assembly Chronicle
1974, Qomi Assembly Pakistan Main kya Hua: Andar ki Kahani Ani Shahid ki Zubani. (Urdu)
(1974, the Inside Story of What Happened in the National Assembly of Pakistan: the Testimony of Eyewitness) – Reviewed by Dr. Busharat Elahi Jamil, the book makes a point that the decision made by the parliament to declare Ahmadis Non-Muslim was not on the basis of arguments but the internal and external pressure; that the decision had already been made well before the debate. The following review is aimed at revisiting the history to understand the rhetoric of the time.
This worthwhile book is comprised on 185 stimulating topics, enormous references and appendixes. In fact this is the compilation of the interviews and memories of Mr. Dost Muhammad Shahid (late), a member of Ahmadiyya delegation in the Parliament of Pakistan under the leadership of Mr. Mirza Nasir Ahmad, the Head of Ahmadiyya Jamaat in 1974. In due course, this compilation is an effort to produce a comparative analysis between Ahmadiyya version and the official version of the Pakistani Parliament’s verdict declaring Ahmadis non-Muslim on September 7, 1974.
The book is based on Ahmadiyya version, and converses the facts as Mr. Dost Muhammad Shahid presented innumerable proofs, references to unveil the definite incidents befallen in 1974. Particularly, the religious extremist assemblages planned violent event staged on Rabwah railway Station, in which the students of Nishtar Medical College, Multan, were used as tool. Historically this is proven that it was a minor incident and clashed between said students and Ahmadi youngsters on Rabwah railway station. Even no student received serious injury. In fact, it was to establish an intention to assert Ahmadis non-Muslims. But the answer is still unrevealed that how can one be declared non-Muslim based on a minor dispute. Furthermore, with references the detailed historical background is discussed of the activities of anti-Ahmadiyya accumulations from British India to 1974.
After the “Rabwah Incident”, a judicial commission was set under Justice Samdani to enquire the incidence. Mr. Dost Muhammad Shahid was also the part of Ahmadiyya delegation in said Commission. In the proceedings, Ahmadiyya delegation with documents and press reports proved that the Rabwah Incident was a planned event under certain anti-Ahmadiyya conspiracy theory as it was the revenge of 1953’s movement. Moreover, the Islamic Summit Conference of February 1974 in Lahore was also its sequence. After the Rabwah incident, Ahmadiyya opponents and extremist Mullahs took on various false stances to instigate the common and illiterate masses in the name of religion i.e. Ahmadis amended the Holy Quran, changed the Kalima, they are Israeli agents, etc.
In the National Assembly of Pakistan, Ahmadis submitted excerpt/memorandum in Parliament of Pakistan to proceed under the leadership of Ahmadi ‘Khalifa’. Regarding discussion and proceedings, Ahmadis submitted comprehensive written record and documents contained on more than 23 bundles of books, journals, magazines and record files. Ahmadis later presented more books, written records and ‘fatwas’ collections by non-Ahmadi scholars and intellectuals. Submitted record in Parliament was sufficient for the comparative analysis of Ahmadi and non-Ahmadis’ versions of arguments.
The submitted excerpt also focused on universal truth that faith is the only acknowledgment that man express himself, and no second person can determine the belief or faith of others, which is also established with reference to UN Human Rights Charter and Constitutions of Pakistan. Moreover, the interview of Mr. Dost Muhammad Shahid revealed that excerpts’ citation entirely focused on the teachings and beliefs of Ahmadiyya Jamaat, which was the pivotal point of the Ahmadiyya delegation. According to its contextual framework, Ahmadis took stances by conferring the true Islamic principles to defend themselves. The references from the Holy Quran, Hadith and the rich annotations by renowned scholars like Muhammad Bin Abdul Wahab and Alama Ali-al-Qari were the part of the record. Furthermore, the critical debates on “Nari” and “Naji” factions, Khatm-i-Nabuwat, Jihad and ‘Fatwas’ disbelief strengthened the Ahmadi view point. Ahmadiyya discussion covered every aspect of their faith and its critical analysis with other sects and beliefs.
On the other hand, Ahmadiyya opponents submitted two excerpts in the Parliament of Pakistan. One from Molvi Ghulam Ghous Hazarvi as “Mahzar Nama” (The Memorandum) and second under Yousaf Banuri written by Taqi Usmani from Khatm-i-Nabuwat Movement and Molvi Sami-ul-Haq under the title of “Milat-i-Islamiyah ka Moqaf” (The View of Muslim Ummah). But the book had objection on the title “Milat-i-Islamiyah ka Moaqaf”, that who appointed both Devbandi Sami-ul-Haq and Taqi Usmani the representatives of Muslim Ummah. They were mere self-made representatives or ambassadors of Muslim Ummah.
The text of the Book is providing enough and solid proofs for Ahmadis to be true followers of the ‘Khatm-i-Nabuwat’ and were not planted by the foreign forces. The Book in detail providing the concrete evidences that how the various non-Ahmadi (Brelvi, Ahl-i-Hadith, Devbandi etc.) Ulemas were conflicting with the actual teachings of the Islam. The discussions and tussle on such contrary issues among the non-Ahmadi Ulemas particularly Ata Ullah Shah Bukhari and Molana Modudi were dissimilar enough to jeopardize their own dogmas rather question the believes or faith of others.
In the National Assembly, Ahmadiyya delegation introduced Jamayat Ahmadiyya and its beliefs. The supreme leader of the community at that time Mirza Nasir Ahmad gave well-grounded and argumentative answers of every allegation, question or inequity in Parliament. Particularly an interesting question was raised, that what would be your reaction if you were to be declared as non-Muslim? In reply, Mirza Nasir Ahmad said that “this is question beyond my comprehension”, “that how can a person be considered a Sunni if he is a Shia…”, he concluded that, if the whole Islamic world or UNO declare us non-Muslim, I would declare this decision wrong and leave my decision to God.
Furthermore, Mirza Nasir Ahmad comprehensively explained the Ahmadiyya point of view regarding every raised question and terms like the ‘Real Muslim’, ‘Umati Nabi’, ‘Dairah Islam’, ‘Murtad’, ‘Kalima’, ‘Prophecy of Muhammadi Begum’, ‘Lahori Ahmadi Group’ and Definition of the Terms of ‘Kafirs, Kharij az Islam, etc. with reference to the teachings and the writings of the founder of Ahmadiyya community Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian adding other valuable resources. He firmly opposed the allegations on Ahmadiyya beliefs and the personality of the founder Mirza Ghulam Ahmad like he did contempt against Hazrat Imam Husain, Hazrat Fatima, Jesus Christ and Mirza Ghulam Ahmad claimed to be a God.
The Book reveals that Ahmadiyya delegation presented the references from the book of Shah Ismail Shaheed of Balakot to endorse Ahmadiyya version of Khatm-i-Nabuwat. Contrarily, Umah has been waiting the Massiah for thirteen hundred years to which Holy Prophet (SAW) titled a Prophet four times counter to the common misconception about the Holy Prophet as to be the last person with the title of prophet. The concept of Umati Nabi was also explained as Mirza Nasir Ahmad claimed that spiritual blessings and feast cannot be achieved without following the Holy Prophet (SAW), even an ordinary person cannot become a good man unless he does not follow the Holy Prophet (SAW).
During the discussion, Mirza Nasir Ahmad corrected many misapprehensions about Ahmadiyya faith in the Parliament. For example “…that 1952 will not pass so that the enemy does not embrace Ahmadiyyat”, in fact this statement incorrectly attributed to Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the second successor and the eldest son of the founder. In response to another question that, when obedience to the British Govt. was part of the Ahmadiyya faith, why did they participate in the freedom movement (1857)? The delegation responded that its permission was granted to the people of the country at the time. In another, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad entitled himself ‘Badar’ (the full moon on the 14th of the lunar month) and entitled the Holy Prophet (SAW) ‘Halaal’ (crescent on the first night of the lunar month), which is insolence. In reply, Mirza Nasir Ahmad said that the moon is in the beginning called ‘Halal’ and when it turns full called ‘Badar’ but the moon remains same, thus both Halal and Badar are Holy Prophet (SAW).
After thirteen days of discussion in Parliament, at the end of the session Attorney General Yahya Bakhtiryar asked Mirza Nasir Ahmad for the closing statement.
Mirza Nasir Ahmad swore to God by holding Quran in his hands that “if anyone can see my heart in these thirteen days, then by God, I could not find anything else except love of God and Muhammad (SAW).” Finally, on September 7, 1974, Parliament of Pakistan declared Ahmadis non-Muslim. On this decision, chairman of the session and speaker of the Assembly Mr. Sahibzada Farooq Ali said on November 12, 1974 that they did not make the decision on the basis of arguments, but because of pressure from the public and from other Muslim countries.
Mufti Mahmood viewed that, when they were questioning Mirza Nasir Ahmad, their own people in parliament and party workers were also surprised and said, “see the face of the person you are assembling to declare a non-Muslim has everything according to the Islam”. Hafeez Jallundari viewed courteously that this was not a Quaranic decision but a public decision. Mirza Nasir Ahmad during the sessions once revealed in front of his delegation members that decision had been made already; the Parliamentary procedure is just staged politically.
The book also highlights the contribution of Ahmadis in the Kashmir cause. Most importantly the role of Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmood Ahmad as the President of All India Kashmir Committee during 1930s was remarkable, highlighting the issue in front of international community very effectively. Because of his efforts, the first Govt. of Azad Kashmir was announced in Rawalpindi. In that Govt. the first president Khwaja Ghulam Nabi Gulkar was an Ahmadi but on April 29, 1973, Azad Kashmir Assembly declared Ahmadis non-Muslims overlooking the services of Ahmadis for the Kashmir cause.
The book also criticized the Anti Ahmadiyya Ordinance 1984 and proved it against the teachings of Quran. Text provides evidences from the Holy Quran and Hadith that no one can declare others non-Muslims and stop Ahmadis to call their worship places ‘Masjid’. Book referred to a reference from Justice Javed Iqbal’s Auto Biography that Gen. Zia was as Muslim as Bhutto; the only difference is that one used Islam to protect the sinking boat of his power and the other to strengthen his rule.
The book solidly covers the entire proceedings in the Parliament of Pakistan to declare Ahmadis non-Muslim in the geographical boundary of Pakistan. The record presented in the book justifies that it was not a religious issue but only done to fulfill the wishes of Saudi Arabia and native Mullahs, because their antagonism and biasedness towards Ahmadis had immense historical context. The firm and resourceful answers, arguments and justification through proven resources were effectively presented by the Ahmadiyya delegation under Mirza Nasir Ahmad in the Parliament. But unfortunately, the decision to declare Ahmadis non-Muslims had already been made well before the parliamentary processions.
Editor’s note- Holy Prophet (SAW) is the last Prophet of Allah, as stated in the Constitution of Pakistan. The views expressed herein are personal. Naya Daur does not endorse any particular viewpoint.