By Ali Hassnain
One has to research endlessly as this is the kind of topic where one is lost in the content. After much deliberation I have decided to focus on the historical, political and socioeconomic side of Qadiyani Cult. I avoid discussions where one has great chance of being misunderstood. However breaking point came the other day when a close friend of mine whom I know to be a reasonable person broke the news to me that “Allama Iqbal was a Mirzai (Qadiyani) once, and then he changed his belief back to Islam.” I was shocked. When I tried to correct him, he kept on insisting on his dis-info. I realized instantly what had happened; the “Aalim Faazil” friend of mine had probably seen it on Wikipedia and a few blogs. End of story, stamp, Fate Accomplis, a reasonable man misguided.
The reason I have to add this to the article reflects a fact that due to sheer propaganda, Muslims of Pakistan have been forced to take a defensive position. Those who can reply with reason have either decided to give up (at least pending sanity), pushed to sidelines, deliberately discredited and/or destroyed, misquoted or zoned out of public perception. I hope and pray the right people are made mentors of the nation, not some driven semi-literate sociopaths with hidden motives. Two of Allama Iqbal’s mentors were his teachers Syed Mir Hassan and Professor Arnold. I hope and pray that one day we look up to our teachers for guidance again instead of paid TV anchors. The question that Qadiyanis (including Lahori party) are Non-Muslims is considered settled for Muslims of Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and other GCC countries, Iran and Indonesia among others share the view. However, they continue to enjoy all the rights any non-Muslim community would enjoy. As non-Muslims they should have rights, well yes. But whether they are being persecuted, well, it does not have a simple yes, no answer.
Let’s look at history. Let’s try to understand how it all started. Muslims had ruled over India for nearly a thousand years and overnight the education judicial and economic system had been changed. Turned around its head. People with extensive knowledge of geometry, astronomy, philosophy, eastern medicine, and other fields had been declared “illiterates”. The British had assumed the “white man’s burden” and had decided to “civilize” the Indians. Especially after 1857 the Muslims were persecuted and looked at with suspicion. Even the centuries old judicial system had been changed from Persian to English and Anglo-Saxon laws were introduced. The system of Policing had been changed to military style which was designed to keep the local population subject to colonial rulers. Majority of Muslims of subcontinent were Sunnis and the concept of Khilafat and Muslim brotherhood (in all schools of thought) had deep roots. The concept of Khilafat and expectation from Ameer were exceptional threats to the British Empire. Much like the Europe it was common belief that the rightful ruler had divine right to rule and like the church in Europe, the clergy had a policy of reforming the ruler and government instead of waging war.
The concept of Jihad was a serious threat to the colonial masters. Attitude of firing rulers was derogatory and caused resentment in the local population. Just a hundred years before British rule, when the Muslims of sub-continent felt there was an existential threat to the community from Manhattan expansion under Bajirao (these days glorified by Bollywood as “Bajirao Mastana”) they called for Jihad. After hundreds of years of Muslim rule tyranny had started to engulf the horizon. Many saw it as Marhatta version of Spanish Inquisition. Muslim intellectual elite considered the situation and calculated Mughals were too weak to put a stop to that. Shah Waliullah wrote to Ahmad Shah Abdali asking to declare Jihad on the Marhattas. Ahmad Shah Abdali promptly complied and enlisting local Muslims eventually defeated Marhatta Empire which was superior in numbers decisively at the third battle of Panipatt. Defeat is perhaps a graceful term, it was utter desolation for them and they could never challenge the Muslim government again.
Ottomans ruled almost all of the Middle East and a large part of Africa despite weakness in administration towards the late 19th century. It was the time when the British Empire was at its peak. They decided to destroy the Muslim unity from inside and challenge their concepts. Threat of Jihad was real, during 1930s (half a decade later) Omar Mukhtar, a religious teacher(called Maulvi generically in Pakistan) led the first modern guerilla warfare in Eyalet of Tripolitania or modern day Libya with success with limited resources.
At first Catholic missionaries were dispatched to sub-continent and lies were spread about Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). Missionaries openly challenged Muslim clerics and mocked their religion and attacked their beliefs. British calculated, like Hindus had during Shudhi Tehreek and Deen-e-Elahi phase, that if you somehow put doubts in the minds of Muslims about Risalat (prophet-hood) in essence they would cease to be Muslims. Many Hindus had tried to convince Muslims to incorporate the belief of one God in a common new religious ideology. By that they would have effectively eradicated Muslims as Quran itself was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) alone. Needless to say such efforts failed time and again (and continue to fail).
British developed their new tactics; nationalism was order of the day in Europe. Loyalty to state was order of the day. They decided to export the concept. Edward Lawrence for example was dispatched to Arabian Peninsula to plant seeds of rebellion and develop a nationalist narrative. Way before First World War, Caliph had an almost ceremonial role.
There was a clerk in Gurdaspur, born in a town called Qadiayan in district Gurdaspur in British India. He claimed God had sent revelations to him. One of his most famous verdicts or “fatwas” was that Jihad is to be done by pen not sword. He also claimed that Prophet Esa or Jesus Christ (PBUH) had actually survived the attempted crucifixion and eventually settled and died in Kashmir. He claimed he is the promised Messiah from Muslim religious text who is supposed to lead Muslims near the end of times against Dajjal or Anti-Christ, and help Prophet Esa (PBUH). He also claimed that he was a prophet of the Lord and all those who did not believe in him were heathens. I am not discussing the religious aspects of the movement so it’s needless to research how he fit the clear prophecies in his narrative. He also declared those who did not believe in him (that would be almost all Muslims) as Kafirs, heathens or non-Muslims. His cult/group/Jamaat continues to believe so. His subsequent Caliphs have held the title Mirza.
I find it necessary to debunk the outright lie that Iqbal was once a Qadiyani, but I don’t have to, Allama Iqbal has written a poem on him where he addresses him as “Sheikh e Kaleesa Nawaz” (A leader who serves the Church) in compilation of his poetry called Zarb-e-Kaleem. Here is the translation of his poem titled “Jihad”
This is an age, our canonist’s new dictum assures us, of the pen:
In our world now the sword has no more virtue.—
Has it not reached our pious oracle’s ear,
That in the Mosque such sermonizing nowadays has grown rhymeless and reasonless?
Where, in a Muslim’s hand, Will he find dagger or rifle?
And if there were, Our hearts have lost all memory of delight
In death. to one whose nerves falter at even an infidel cut down,
Who would exclaim ‘Die like a Muslim!’
Preach relinquishment of such crusades to him
Whose bloody fist menaces earth!
Europe, swathed cap‐a‐pie in mail,
Mounts guard over her glittering reign of falsehood;
We enquire of our divine, So tender of Christendom:
If for the East war is unhallowed, Is not war unhallowed for Western arms?
And if your goal be truth, Is this the right road—
Europe’s faults all glossed, and all Islam’s held to so strict an audit?
Now, take a moment. It is easy to sit here and laugh at people who fell prey to the idea. But we must understand it was an era when most people had never seen a city or a train or electricity. There was a lot of disinformation and the cult he created deliberately created confusion and recruited people every way they could. The system was created by British to deliberately humiliate their subjects (especially Muslims) and except if you knew someone who was loyal to the British (like Lambardar, Zaildaar, Khan Bahadur, Rai Bahadur, Nawab) you couldn’t simply do anything. Knowing a Peon in the system was even a big deal (even at times still is). It was the era when red tape was invented. If you don’t believe it, and you live in either India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal or Sri Lanka, try going to the traffic police, follow the procedure and get a license without using connections or money and without losing your self-respect. As a citizen go and try to meet the Police Chief, tell him about the law and order and get a license to carry fire arm. Hell, go to Patwari and get a fard (certificate of ownership of land) without bribes, losing your mind or self-respect. To compare it to British-run Gora sab dominated system of 19th century is multiplying the difficulty to a hundred times. A few years back, before the privatization of PTCL even a PHD couldn’t write an application to get telephone installed, u had to pay the arzi navees (application writer) outside the office.
In 19th century, there is a man claiming to be Muslim, with his sweet talk and honey trap; now imagine a villager who is coming to the city for the first time, has never seen even a train or knows how it works, say for his court hearing, what if this guy smiles at him, takes him to an office, offers him soft drinks, sweets etc. and helps him with his problem, because the Qadiyani Cult being a British Colonial Government-backed group, it’s easy for him. Red tape would lose its significance and the person would be eternally grateful to the kind-looking bearded man who claims to be whatever whenever it suits him. Wali, perhaps incarnation of Christ (PBUH), Mujaddid or a Prophet (at the end of doctrinarian).
The confusion on their beliefs was such that the movement itself broke into two groups after their first Caliph (who due to some reason was not Mirza’s blood) split into two groups. Lahori Party and Jamaat lead by Mirza’s son.
The new converts were in most cases married to already indoctrinated families. It is unfortunate that no one talks about the forced marriages in Qadiyani community. Mirza decided all the marriages in the religion and continues to play a great role in matchmaking in his jamaat. Leader has command on his cult; for instance, a new recruit joins him who has little knowledge and he has only passed primary school. Mirza marries him off to a post graduate of a family which enjoys higher social status and is highly indoctrinated. Eventually the person would not be able to leave the cult except facing extreme persecution and nobody to turn back to as most of his support system had vanished when he joined the cult.
To cut a very long story short, it did spread; many rich people joined the cult. A cult by definition is closely knit and Qadiyanism fits in the definition of a classic cult. Zafrullah Sahi (later knighted) was a prominent Jagirdaar in Sialkot. Same story, since he was born in a Qadiyani family that’s all he knew. He was a competent man. Many of the families joined the cult due to his social standing and lack of information. Even today the disinformation spread by them is enormous, unimaginable at times. He was a capable man, and appointed as foreign minister. It had nothing to do with him being Qadiyani, it was due to his experience, lack of professionals available and it was a decision by working committee. He held prominent positions before partition and had great experience in his field.
Qadiyanis had been patronized by the British and they had a strong lobby at the time of partition. The circles continue to date with support from their sympathizers who use them to destabilize Pakistan.
One family was of Chaudhry Shahnawaz (Owner of Shezan, one of the first sugar mills among other properties), and they have enormous financial resources. In 1962, they decided to contest the elections, probably the only election which Qadiyanis contested with full force, they threw everything they got. Their opponent was an ex MLA Chaudhry Sarfraz Goraya of Daska who had limited means compared to his opponent. They threw money; they did throw money as much as they could. They even offered “sabeels” of Shezan in a rather comical move to buy the voters. In an era of pork barrel spending they believed they could win. As people recall it, and as the legend goes Chaudhry Sarfraz carried out his campaign on horseback. The result: a landslide victory in favor of Chaudhry Sarfraz. We can criticize maulvis all we like but they campaigned for Mr.Goraya who wasn’t a religious scholar or cleric. Only the better candidate with little agenda beyond his own constituency. Qadiyanis have not been able to bounce back from the defeat and reformulated their policy. They have infiltrated the highest corridors of power in Pakistan through backdoors instead of democracy. That is even before 1974.
Because of American friendship and a hostile communist Soviet government, there was unprecedented goodwill for US. In the 1950s and first part of 1960s it wasn’t considered treachery to work for CIA, on the contrary it was quite a status symbol at the time. Ayub’s foreign minister, Shoaib was widely believed to be a CIA asset which has been lately confirmed by CIA declassified documents. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s grandson M.M Ahmad (Mirza Muzaffar Ahmad) who had joined Indian Civil Service was one of the most powerful people in Ayub Government. It is to be noted that during the East Punjab riots, Qadiyanis had been thrown towards Pakistan. It is to be noted that this unelected person held positions like finance secretary (provincial, then federal), Chairman Planning and had Ayub’s ear alongwith enormous de facto powers.
After Ayub, interestingly he aligned himself with General Yahya, and was appointed an advisor and given the rank of federal minister.
Then there is the curious case of Dr.Abdus Salaam, he was appointed head of science and technology at the age of 34 in 1960 by Ayub Khan, he continued to serve until 1974. During his tenure he had a free hand and also headed atomic energy commission. He was made Science advisor by Ayub Khan, in 1961 he was also made head of SUPARCO (Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission). He worked with full power until 1974, even bringing his friend Dr.Ashfaq in Atomic Energy Commission. The state of Atomic Energy Commission can be verified by Dr.A Q Khan who developed a functioning bomb in some 8-9 years almost from scratch. I fail to understand how an elected person who was appointed on the highest relevant positions for 14 years is considered to be a persecuted man.
Then came the 80s and assassination of General Zia; then PPP came to power which had all the sympathies with Qadiyanis. After that, came Nawaz Sharif who openly stands for Qadiyani rights. Even now PPP stands for Qadiyani rights now as it stood then. Then came the Musharraf era. Tariq Aziz, a retired bureaucrat who was ready to pack his bags and elope to US joined General Musharraf. Tariq Aziz too was a Qadiyani (Lahori Party), and he was door to Musharraf and enjoyed enormous power from 1999-2007.
Does this sound persecution?
The anti-Qadiyani riots of 1950s is another topic of discussion. Why did they happen? After the Independence of Pakistan in 1947, Qadiyanis prospered and reached many high ranking Government and Military positions in Pakistan. Due to Qadiyani patronization by the British they had powerful people in the right places.
We now would look at how they operate. The truth is that they had no loyalty to Pakistan but to their leader. They operated with the sole purpose of serving their Caliph of the time. Say if there is a principal in an engineering university, quotas would be used and Qadiyani students would get preference and you can forget merit. If there is a DIG who is a Qadiyani, in the system at the time, you can forget any Qadiyani would have a problem. Muslims were treated as second class citizen by Qadiyanis in their own country. A country they had made unprecedented sacrifices to create.
Qadiyani group operated on “parchi” system; it wasn’t an unusual sight to see a person kissing the parchi (note) from their caliph and burst into tears. Legal or illegal, ethical or unethical, the order would be carried out. Anger was growing. Mirza married off doctors, engineers and Ph.Ds with primary pass people with one chit. Forced marriages in Qadiyani community is a topic that needs to be addressed by the government and civil society.
In the 1050s, they had a state within state, especially Rabwah was a no go area. They even had a uniformed police on Rabwa railway station; there was an incident where some students were beaten up by Qadiyani police, an informal uniformed sort of razakars. Some students of Nishtar Medical College were going on a trip, they were curious to look around when the train stopped at Rabwa . Qadiyani police took offence, argument turned into a brawl and then a mini riot. Regardless of the details, it eventually blew up into all-out anti Qadiyani riots. Soon Martial Law was imposed in the city of Lahore and riots were contained. Police all over the country (especially in Punjab) controlled the anti-Qadiyani riots. It is interesting to note those stern actions were taken by a Governor General who was suffering from partial paralysis and had little interest in affairs of the state and the only person who could understand him was a European girl named Ruth (probably CIA). To date it is a mystery how Mr.Ghulam Muhammad managed to cling to power for so long. During the riots, excesses were committed by anti-Qadiyanis but all things considered order was restored. Even scholars with strong following were handed sentences after summary trials, for example Maulana Modudi was sentenced to death (later pardoned). Grip of Qadiyanis on the economy however remained unchanged.
The loyalty of Qadiyanis to the state can be judged by the fact that an Air Chief of PAF ordered a fly-past by fighter aircraft at a meeting in Rabwah. To further glorify his deed he led the fly-past in a Mirage fighter aircraft. This unprecedented show of stupidity, insubordination and treason he was removed from the job. He also served as the chief of PIA. All this happened in Pakistan; let’s not forget, not a single ISI agent has defected to enemy to date.
It is interesting that Qadiyanis brag about Brig. Iftikhar Janjua and General Akhtar Malik despite their anti-Jihad ideology. Their propaganda team portrays it like they were working directly on the orders of Mirza. Let’s debunk the lie. Mirza discourages Jihad, Brig. Iftikhar’s mother was an Iranian and he had nominal links with his family (if any). He was either a borderline atheist or a complete atheist, whereas General Malik was a secular liberal. In Chenab Nagar (former Rabwa), there are two distinct portions of graveyards. It’s called Bahisthi Graveyard, or perhaps a part of it is, I would leave it at that. One portion is for the commoners and other is for special people. It is alleged that people who as per teachings of the cult pay 10% of their earning to Jamaat e Ahmeddiya are buried in the better maintained part. General Malik unlike his wife was buried in the “commoners” part of graveyard.
And then there are interesting invisible benefactors. I don’t believe that a Qadiyani has ever been refused a visa to the west. This practice goes to the extent that some people started posing as Qadiyanis for economic migration. Now they have some sort of a system where their Jamaat or Mirza gives a “chit” or a “certificate” of the person being a Qadiyani.
More than a hundred thousand people have died since 2001 in War on Terror. Countless targets have been hit by terrorists including the most secure places. Even the Military headquarters were hit. There has been a terrorist attack on Medina as I write. Except for two attacks, Qadiyanis have been over all safe. And even in the attacks where Qadiyanis lost their lives, the security forces put their full force against terrorists and saved countless lives. Qadiyanis are easy targets but terrorists either don’t hit them for some reason or Pakistani security forces have been able to provide them security. There has not been a single terrorist attack in the town of Rabwah which is mainly (almost entirely) inhabited by Qadiyanis.
They enjoy all the facilities provided by Pakistan Government, usurped the resources by the pre-independence privileges they have used; flirt with west to gain favors and possible funding and visible favors. For example, their headquarter was once in London and now Germany.
There is an interesting thing to note here too. There is misconception that Bhutto declared them non-Muslims. The fact is that Shah Faisal of Saudi Arabia personally pressurized Bhutto government to declare them non-Muslims. There was a comprehensive debate in a closed (in camera) session of parliament where their caliph was given full opportunity to give his point of view and there was a question and answer session. It is interesting to note they believe all Muslims (except their group) to be non-Muslims (much like ISIS though different ideology). After the debate, the topic was closed, law was passed and Lahore High Court in their decision declared them non-Muslims in a decision after this law. It is a little known fact that all the Qadiyanis voted for Bhutto in the rigged elections of 1974 on the orders of Mirza.
Before 1974 any Qadiyani family, no matter how integrated with the community would vote on the orders of Mirza. It was a norm for power hungry politicians to plead to Mirza for votes.
So here are the issues with Qadiyani Cult or as they like to be called, the Ahmadiyya community.
- They lie about their beliefs to recruit people.
- They intentionally selectively use their views and mix them up to pose as Muslims.
- They have usurped and plundered the resources of Pakistan since their inception (try finding a poor Qadiyani).
- Using the vicious circle of rich getting richer they manage to infiltrate the Pakistani Government posing as Muslims while putting loyalty to Mirza (whichever one is chosen caliph) before state. Interests of Mirza and state are often contradictory.
- They are involved in extreme nepotism and favourtism of fellow Qadiyanis. For example, a principle of College would favor Qadiyani teachers and students showing outrageous bias; if a DIG is Qadiyani he would favor recruitment and promotions of Qadiyanis. A note of Sifarish or request of favor from their cult leader would be carried out at any cost.
- They consider all Muslims who don’t follow Mirza as non-Muslims.
- There are forced marriages in the community. They don’t marry with Muslims (which is fine but relevant).
- It is impossible to leave the cult without facing extreme persecution.
- Their propagandists hurt the sentiments of Muslims. Despite claiming indifference to them being considered non-Muslims, they are running an aggressive campaign to change the law in Pakistan.
Now, while considering them non-Muslims: no innocent human being should be killed for his beliefs; no Qadiyani should be harmed and should enjoy equal rights as other citizens of Pakistan.
However facts should not be distorted to further personal agendas and Qadiyanis have no right to consider themselves having some divine right to rule (what they believe to be) the second class citizens of Pakistan (Muslims).
Their propagandists (on social media and elsewhere) have gone overboard for many years and it is dangerous for the community itself. They should respect the law; they are free to practice their religion. But they should tell the truth. If they want to reason with Muslim they can do it in proper academic settings instead of making inflammatory statements in an already polarized country fighting terror.