Circa 1835: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born in Qadian, India.
1889: The Ahmadiyya Muslim community (Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya) was founded.
1908: Mirza Ghulam Ahmad died in Lahore and was brought back to Qadian to be buried.
1914: A group of Ahmadi dissenters left Qadian for Lahore and subsequently came to be known as Lahoris, following the Lahori-Qadiani split.
1947: India was partitioned into the independent countries of India and Pakistan, which was later subdivided into Pakistan and Bangladesh.
1953: The Punjab Disturbances occurred in which widespread rioting in the Punjab region took place as a result of tensions stemming from the Ahmad controversy, which led to the implementation of martial law.
1974: Pakistan amended its constitution to change the classification of Ahmadis from being Muslim to being part of its non-Muslim minority.
1984: A religious ordinance was passed in Pakistan making many aspects of Ahmadi religious life in Pakistan illegal.
1984: Shortly after the passing of the anti-Ahmadi ordinance, the fourth successor and grandson of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Mirza Tahir Ahmad, fled Pakistan in exile for London as a refugee.
2003: The current head of the Ahmadiyya movement, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, was selected by an electoral college following his arrival in London from Pakistan upon receiving news of the death of his predecessor.
2010: A mass shooting at an Ahmadi mosque in Lahore took place, which resulted in the death of under 100 people and the injury of many more.
2012: The current Ahmadi khalīfa , Si Mirza Masroor Ahmad, ay nagtugon sa mga miyembro ng Kongreso sa Washington DC sa isang pagtatangka na itaas ang kamalayan tungkol sa pag-uusig sa Ahmadi.
FOUNDER / GROUP KASAYSAYAN
The Ahmadiyya Muslim community (or Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya) is a Muslim reform movement that was founded in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (c. 1835–1908). He descended from a prominent Muslim family that had originally helped the Mughal emperor Babar settle part of rural India’s Punjab region in the early sixteenth century. By the mid-nineteenth century, much of the Muslim aristocracy in the Punjab had steadily ceded power to the Sikhs and then ultimately the British, which contributed to an overall sense of Muslim decline (Friedmann 1989). During this period, Christian missionaries had been gaining leverage in the subcontinent under British rule, which added another dimension to religious debates taking place and to ongoing religious rivalries. This led to a number of different responses from Muslim thinkers, including from Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, who began his carrier by writing tracts that argued in favor of Islam’s superiority as a religion (Khan 2015).
As Mirza Ghulam Ahmad continued engaging in religious rivalries with Hindus, Sikhs, and Christians, he dedicated increasing time to his own religious devotions. This led to spiritual experiences that changed the course of his religious career (Lavan 1974). In the early 1880s, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad began describing his experiences with the terminology used in the Islamic tradition to characterize revelation from God, which was considered unusual by mainstream Muslims beyond a tight circle of elite mystics. This drew unusual attention to Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s mission and provoked a sense of caution from Muslims who might otherwise have appreciated his defense of Islam and his argumentation against non-Muslim rivals.
Sa 1891, dalawang taon matapos ang Jama'at-i Ahmadiyya ay itinatag, si Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ay naglathala ng isang trilohiya ng mga aklat, na nagpahayag ng kanyang tunay na espirituwal na istasyon at iginiit ang kanyang banal na hinirang na katayuan sa mundo (Khan 2015). Ipinaliwanag ni Ghulam Ahmad na siya ay isang muhaddath , na nangangahulugan na ang Diyos ay nagsasalita sa kanya. Ipinahayag din niya na nagtataglay siya ng pinagsamang katayuan bilang mahdī (guided one), isang figure na hinulaan na lumitaw sa mga huling araw, at bilang ang ipinangako mesiyas (masīh ) sa diwa ni Hesus (Khan 2015; Friedmann 1989). Ang claim na ito na ang ipinangako na mesiyas sa partikular ay humantong sa pinaka-kontrobersyal na aspeto ng teolohiya ng Ahmadi para sa mga Muslim at Kristiyano, na tatalakayin pa sa seksyon tungkol sa doktrina at paniniwala.
Sa pag-angkin na ang ipinangako na mesiyas, si Ghulam Ahmad ay nag-aangking ikalawang pagdating ni Jesus. Sa pamamagitan ng pag-angkin na si Hesus sa espiritu, si Ghulam Ahmad ay nagpapahiwatig na ang kanyang katayuan sa espirituwal ay nagsasama ng isang hibla ng prophethood, na itinuturing na lubhang kaduda-dudang sa karamihan ng mga pangunahing Muslim na nag-iisip na ito ay nakabatay sa maling pananampalataya. Nangangahulugan ito nang husto na ang paghahabol ni Ghulam Ahmad upang maging isa pang propeta pagkatapos ng Propeta Muhammad, na sa pangkalahatan ay itinuturing na huling propeta sa Islam (Friedmann 1989). Ginugol ni Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ang mga natitirang taon ng kanyang buhay na nakikibahagi sa isang mapait na kontrobersiya sa ibang mga Muslim na tumanggi sa kanyang mga pag-aangkin. Sinabi ni Ghulam Ahmad na sa pagsunod sa kanyang interpretasyon ng Islam, ang mga Muslim ay makakabalik sa kanilang dating kaluwalhatian bago ang nagbabantang Araw ng Paghuhukom. Ang messianic motif na ito ay responsable sa pagbibigay ng Jama'at-i Ahmadiyya sa kanyang apocalyptic orientation sa mas malawak na tradisyon ng Islam (Friedmann 1989).
Some of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s contemporaries declared that his views were blasphemous and deemed his disciples to be beyond the pale of Islam (Khan 2015). The debate about Ahmadis intensified in the decades after Ghulam Ahmad’s death in 1908 and eventually became politicized in the years leading up to India’s independence from Britain following partition in 1947 (Lavan 1974). The outcome of partition eventually resulted in a political divide based on religious orientation, which meant that Muslim majority areas in the East and West would form the country of Pakistan, whereas the majority of the subcontinent would remain as a secular state, resulting in the modern-day nation-state of India. This allowed the Ahmadi controversy, which was centered on the question of determining whether Ahmadis were in fact Muslim, to erupt into a national religious debate, since the grounds for partition had been based on religious affiliation. The fact that religious identity played a role in grounding national identity in Pakistan helped politicize the Ahmadi controversy in the subcontinent, since conversely the notion of being un-Islamic was linked directly to political consequences (Khan 2015). This led to the exacerbation of the Ahmadi controversy after partition in 1947 when questions of religious authenticity plagued the newly formed Islamic state by enabling mainstream political leaders to determine which interpretations were truly representative of Islam (Gualtieri 1989; Gualtieri 2004).
The Ahmadi community came to be associated with Muslim politics, elitism, and exclusivity, which was brought on to some extent by its political involvement in the Kashmir Crisis of the 1930s and the broader independence movement before India’s partition in 1947 (Lavan 1974). In fact, a prominent Ahmadi named Muhammad Zafrulla Khan (1893–1985) served as the first foreign minister of Pakistan before going on to become president of the United Nations General Assembly and president of the International Court of Justice.
Fear of Ahmadi exploitation in Pakistan and general distrust of Ahmadi religious views, led to an overwhelmingly negative perception of the community, which fueled a series of riots, known as the Punjab disturbances of 1953 (Qasmi 2014). The disturbances represented the first time that martial law was declared in Pakistan’s history. This only heightened the level of controversy surrounding Ahmadis in subsequent years. By the 1970s, the Ahmadi controversy had once again garnered national attention when opposition party members of Pakistan’s National Assembly staged a walkout and demanded that the president, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1928–1979), revisit the Ahmadi question. As a result, Ahmadis were declared non-Muslim in 1974 by the government of Pakistan whose constitution was amended to reflect the community’s new religious designation (Gualtieri 1989) . This facilitated maltreatment of Ahmadis across the country and led to increased hostility toward the community. In 1984, the military general, Zia-ul-Haq (1924–1988), who had taken over the government by coup, initiated a number of religious ordinances intended to Islamize the legal system. This included an ordinance that famously made most aspects of everyday life for Ahmadis in Pakistan illegal. Since then, Ahmadis have increasingly been known throughout the world as a persecuted Muslim minority in South Asia (Gualtieri 2004) .
Since the mid-1980s, members of the Ahmadi community have increasingly taken root in Western Europe and North America, especially since 1984 when the movement’s organizational headquarters was moved to London. There are now Ahmadi mosques in most urban centers throughout Britain, France, and Germany, as well as in Canada and the United States (Haddad 1993; Khan 2015).
DOCTRINES / BELIEFS
At its heart, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community shares most beliefs and doctrines with mainstream Sunni Islam. The differences between Ahmadis and mainstream Muslims stem from the way in which most Ahmadis have understood Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claims of prophethood (Friedmann 1989). The debate surrounding these interpretations led to a schism in the movement in 1914 between most Ahmadis whose organization was based in Qadian and a minority group who chose to relocate to Lahore and hence came to be known as Lahoris. The Lahoris interpreted Ghulam Ahmad’s claims of prophethood in a more metaphorical sense and pointed to aspects of Ghulam Ahmad’s texts where he appeared to limit or qualify notions of his prophetic status, whereas the Qadiani branch understood Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s prophethood more literally (Lavan 1974).
Ang paniniwala na si Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ay isang propeta ng Diyos ay ang pangunahing tampok na tangi sa pagitan ng Ahmadis at mainstream Muslims, and it is arguably the basis of the Ahmadi controversy today. The reason why this belief is considered to be so problematic by mainstream Muslims is because it appears to be a direct contradiction of the Qur’anic verse declaring Muhammad to be the “seal of the prophets ( khātam al-nabiyyīn )”, which has been understood by mainstream Muslims to indicate Muhammad’s status as the last prophet (Qur’an 33:40). Ahmadis, instead, have suggested that the verse should be understood to mean that Muhammad was the best of all previous prophets and that any subsequent prophet who might follow Muhammad would not establish new laws that contravened Islamic law in a way that would abrogate Islam and lead to the formation of a new religion (Friedmann 1989; Khan 2015). Ahmadis compare prophecy in Islam to the age of prophecy in ancient Judaism when numerous prophets were known to have appeared within the same religious tradition as a means of strengthening and revitalizing the tradition in anticipation of the Day of Judgment (Friedmann 1989).
The subtleties of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claims are difficult to explain, since they involve a number of assumptions about Islam and the prophetic tradition. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was convinced that Jesus could not possibly return to the world in the flesh, since human beings cannot survive indefinitely for thousands of years (Valentine 2008). Ghulam Ahmad’s prophetic status was thereby connected in part to his claim of being the promised messiah or the second coming of Jesus, since the original Jesus was a bona fide prophet (Khan 2015). In order for Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to advance this claim and demonstrate to mainstream Muslims and Christians that Jesus was not alive in heaven and would not return to the world in the latter days, Ghulam Ahmad proposed an alternative account of the crucifixion story (Ahmad 1994; Fisher 1963). According to Ahmadis, Jesus survived the crucifixion and travelled east to escape further persecution and ultimately set out to unite the lost tribes of Israel, which is based on their readings of the Biblical verses (John 10:16, Matthew 15:24). This enabled Jesus to continue his mission and ultimately die a natural death, which likewise made it impossible for him to be physically alive in heaven waiting to return. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad identified the final resting place of Jesus as a burial tomb in Srinagar, Kashmir that was attributed to an ancient saint (Ahmad 2003). This discovery enabled him to demonstrate that Jesus had died and to claim that he was the second coming of Jesus in spirit and hence the promised messiah.
One interesting outcome of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claim of being the messiah was his interpretation of jihad, considering the ang mga apocalyptic na inaasahan ng mesiyas upang talunin ang kasamaan sa mundo. Samantalang ang pananaw ng jihad ay palaging ginagamit sa Islam upang ipahiwatig ang iba't ibang mga paniniwala ng panloob at panlabas na mga pakikibaka, ipinagpipilit ni Ghulam Ahmad na ang kanyang misyon ay magtagumpay sa pamamagitan ng di-marahas na paraan (Hanson 2007). Ang konsepto ng jihad, na kumakatawan sa isang panloob na pakikibakang espirituwal, ay tiyak na hindi kakaiba sa Jama'at-i Ahmadiyya, ngunit ang paraan kung saan ito ay binigyang diin ni Ahmadis, lalo na sa mga unang taon ng kilusan sa ilalim ng kolonyal na panuntunan ng British, ay na binuo sa isa sa mga hallmarks ng Ahmadi Islam. Bukod sa konteksto ng kolonyal nang tumanggi si Ahmadis na kumuha ng armas laban sa mga British, ang paniwala ng di-marahas na jihad ay partikular na kapaki-pakinabang sa marketing Ahmadi Islam sa kanlurang madla sa isang post 9 / 11 na panahon (Khan 2015).
RITUAL / PRACTICES
Sa teorya, ang mga pangunahing ritwal at gawi ng mga Muslim ng Ahmadi ay magkapareho sa mga natagpuan sa pangunahing Islam, ngunit may mga banayad na pagkakaiba na unti-unti na binuo sa paglipas ng panahon. Halimbawa, sa kabila ng pagsunod sa Ahmadi ng limang pang-araw-araw na panalangin alinsunod sa mainstream Islam, tumanggi si Ahmadis na mag-alay ng mga panalangin sa likod ng mga di-Ahmadi na imams. Ito ay resulted in the creation of separate mosques and prayer facilities around the world and is somewhat unique in the Islamic tradition, where at least historically Muslims have largely avoided forming separate prayer congregations. There are of course some exceptions to this rule, especially in modernist South Asian Islam. Nonetheless, in the case of Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya, the separation in prayer is undeniable. This practice stems from the generalized assumption of Ahmadi congregants that a non-Ahmadi imam leading the prayer would likely consider Mirza Ghulam Ahmad an infidel, and so Ahmadis choose to perform the same prayer ritual behind an Ahmadi imam. To illustrate the subtlety of this distinction, one might find non-Ahmadi Muslims who reject Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s claims performing the prayer behind an Ahmadi imam, especially in western countries where Muslim communities are diverse and prayer spaces are limited.
Ang ganitong uri ng self-imposed na paghihiwalay ay humantong din sa mga paghihigpit sa kasal para sa karamihan sa mga Ahmadis. Karamihan sa mga Ahmadis ay inaasahan na magpakasal sa iba pang mga Ahmadis, na may opisyal na sanctioned na mga eksepsiyon sa pagsasanay na ito na hinarap sa isang kaso ayon sa kaso. Para sa kadahilanang ito, ang mga gawi sa pag-aasawa ng Ahmadi ay medyo mas mahigpit kaysa sa mga pangunahing Islam.
The annual pilgrimage to Mecca or hajj has been difficult to carry out for Ahmadis as Ahmadis due to the repercussions of persecution, especially when travelling from countries like Pakistan which stamps passports with one’s religious designation (Gualtieri 2004). Over time, a separate Ahmadi ritual has steadily gained prominence, not necessarily as a replacement for the hajj, but as an important gathering nonetheless. This annual gathering (jalsa sālāna) ay nangyayari sa karamihan ng mga bansa na may makabuluhang populasyon ng Ahmadi (Lavan 1974). Ang isa sa mga pinakamalaking pagtitipon sa ngayon ay nangyayari sa labas ng London, dahil ang London ay kung saan ang kasalukuyang pinuno ng kilusan ay namamalagi. Naglakbay si Ahmadis mula sa buong mundo upang dumalo sa taunang pagtitipon kung maaari at makibahagi sa mga relihiyosong kaganapan kabilang ang, sermonizing, pagbabasa ng tula, at pakikisalamuha sa iba (Khan 2015).
ORGANISATION / LEADERSHIP
Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya is an institutionalized religious movement with a clearly defined religious hierarchy. The head of the movement is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s successor or the khalīfat al-masīh (lit. kahalili ng mesiyas). Ang caliph (khalīfa ) namamahala ang mga katulong na organisasyon ng kilusan sa buong mundo at kumakatawan sa sentralisasyon ng parehong awtoridad sa relihiyon at pampulitika. Siya ay may kapangyarihan upang tukuyin o muling tukuyin ang parehong Ahmadi orthodoxy at Ahmadi orthopraxy (Khan 2015). Ang institusyon ng Ahmadi khilāfat kasalukuyan ay kumakatawan sa isang walang-estado na caliphate na may mga sangay ng kilusan sa iba't ibang mga bansa sa buong mundo na bumubuo sa sapin ng hierarchy ng organisasyon. Ang bawat bansa na may lokal na komunidad ng Ahmadi (jama'at) ay isang pambansang kinatawan na kilala bilang isang amīr (pinuno). Ang pambansa amīr namamahala sa mga lokal na sanga, na pinamumunuan ng isang pangulo. Mayroon ding mga organisasyon ng mga subsidiary para sa mga kalalakihan at kababaihan na nababahagi ayon sa pangkat ng edad na nasa loob ng hurisdiksyon ng pangulo sa lokal na antas, o ang amīr at the national level, as part of the hierarchical structure (Khan 2015). Ahmadi missionaries are responsible for spreading Ghulam Ahmad’s mission and will lead the prayer services at the local level while working with the president on local initiatives. Ahmadi missionaries often undergo basic religious training at various Ahmadi seminaries around the world before dedicating their lives to the movement.
Ang Ahmadi caliphate (khilāfat-i ahmadiyya) ay tinustusan ng isang komplikadong sistema ng mga donasyon ng miyembro na kilala bilang chanda. Dapat bayaran ng mga Ahmadis ang ilang bahagi ng kanilang kita upang suportahan ang hierarchy ng institutional at iba't ibang mga dahilan. Ito ay nagsisilbing pangunahing paraan ng pananatili sa loob ng mabuting kalagayan sa komunidad, na nagtataglay ng mga natatanging kalagayan kung saan ang mga miyembro ay hindi makapag-aambag sa pananalapi sa kilusan para sa mga lehitimong dahilan, na inaayos sa isang kaso ayon sa kaso. Ang sinumang miyembro na nananatili sa mabuting katayuan sa komunidad ay ipinagkaloob sa mga karapatan sa pagboto at maaaring maging karapat-dapat na lumahok sa iba't ibang proseso ng elektoral sa lokal na antas, na kadalasang tumutukoy kung sino ang may hawak na mga kaugnay na posisyon ng awtoridad sa lokal na komunidad ng Ahmadi. Muli, lahat ng ito ay itinuturo ng khalīfat al-masīh , na nananatiling tanging tao na may kapangyarihan upang mamagitan sa anumang proseso sa ibabaw ng hierarchy ng institutional.
As mentioned above, a dispute broke out in 1914 between two camps of the movement following the election of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s second khalīfat al-masīh. Ang pagtatalo na ito, na karaniwang tinutukoy sa pamamahagi ng Lahori-Qadiani, ay lumitaw sa bahagi dahil sa a hindi pagkakaunawaan tungkol sa likas na katangian ng institutional hierarchy. Tinanggihan ng sangay ng Lahori ang paniwala ng isang sentralisadong kataas-taasan khalīfa at pinapaboran ang pagbuo ng isang administratibong lupon na kilala bilang Ahmadiyya Anjuman Isha'at Islam Lahore (Komite ng Islam ng Lahore Ahmadiyya para sa pagpapalaganap ng Islam), na pinamumunuan ng isang amīr (Lavan 1974; Friedmann 1989). Ang amīr sa sangay ng Lahori ay hindi nagtataglay ng parehong makapangyarihan na kahulugan bilang ang khalīfat al-masīh sa mas malaking sangay ng Qadiani, bagaman siya ay mayroong malaking awtoridad sa mga tuntunin ng paggabay sa mga pang-administratibong gawain ng sangay gayunman.
ISSUE / CHALLENGES
The primary issue facing the Ahmadiyya movement today revolves around questions of identity. Are Ahmadis really Muslims or do they represent a new religious movement? As the movement has evolved since its formation in 1889, it has become increasingly politicized in a globalized context, which has changed the nature of this debate. Nonetheless, it is certainly conceivable that Ahmadis themselves may one day choose to take a definitive stance against the Islamic tradition and no longer identify as Muslims, but rather as Ahmadis. This could represent a similar path taken by members of the Baha’i Faith, who no longer choose to identify with Islam. Similarly, it is certainly possible for Ahmadis to attempt to reconcile their differences with mainstream Islam and regain acceptance as a legitimate expression of South Asian Islam, especially at a time far removed from the politicization of the Ahmadi controversy. In the meantime, however, Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya remains immersed in a highly politicized controversy about its status as a Muslim minority movement, where certain key issues have yet to have been formalized into anything beyond a rudimentary precursor of official dogma. Examples of these issues include the role of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s spiritual status in comparison to the status of the Prophet Muhammad, the formal relation of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad’s writings and teachings in relation to the foundational textual sources of the mainstream tradition, and the Ahmadi community’s attitude toward mainstream Muslims who refuse to pass judgment on its members or renounce ties to those who endorse continuing to pursue acts of hostility and persecution of Ahmadis. These are serious yet unresolved issues that represent major theological challenges for Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya.
Ang isa pang hamon na nakaharap sa kilusan ay ang hinaharap ng pamumuno nito. Ang Jama'at-i Ahmadiyya ay kailangang i-reconcile ang mga aspeto ng papel na ginagampanan ng khalīfat al-masīh in contemporary times in order to avoid allowing the position to be reduced to a mere figurehead role. This might mean developing, or at least bolstering, institutions for internal religious and political discourse. It may also mean further elaborating the doctrine of charisma and its relationship to the lineage of the movement’s founder, since four out of five Ang mga kahalili ng mesiyas ay sa ngayon ay naging direktang mga inapo ni Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Ang mga nagpapaliwanag na mga pagkakakilanlan ng charisma na may kaugnayan sa pagmamana, habang tinatanggap ang iba pang aspeto ng pamumuno at pag-unlad ng relihiyon o pampulitika, ay kailangang maunlad sa paglipas ng panahon.
One of the most immediate challenges facing the movement is its persecution and mistreatment in various parts of the world (Nijhawan 2010). The community’s expansion to parts of Western Europe and North America has certainly helped many Ahmadis avoid the dangers that exist in countries like Pakistan or Indonesia where there are legal sanctions against Ahmadi Muslims. However, changing attitudes in the Muslim World may help or hurt the community’s relationship with mainstream Muslims throughout the world, especially as conceptions of Jama‘at-i Ahmadiyya’s own self-identity continue to emerge.
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