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South Africa court case (1982-1985)

Contents of the Evidence

19. Attitude towards other Muslims
5. Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad
6. Non-English material

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The Evidence
Section 19:
Attitude towards other Muslims

Translator’s Note:
It is alleged that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad has separated his community from the rest of the Muslims by forbidding his followers from saying funeral prayers for deceased non-Ahmadi Muslims, and from joining any prayer service if the imam is not an Ahmadi. This issue did arise in the context of the court case, but only to a minor extent. Therefore, the short note given below was submitted in evidence.

19.1: Funeral Prayers for other Muslims

As regards those people who do not call Hazrat Mirza as kafir, nor abuse and curse him, he did not instruct his followers to refrain from holding funeral prayers for them. He said:
  1. “It is permissible to say funeral prayers for an opponent if he did not abuse us.”

    (Letter dated 12 May 1907 to one Mian Ghulam Qadir of Jeonjal, district Gujrat; facsimile of original available.)

  2. “If the deceased did not call us kafir and liar, his funeral prayers may be said. There is nothing wrong with that, for only God knows hidden matters.”

    (Statement made on 18 April 1902. Newspaper Al-Hakam, 30 April 1902; see also Fatawa Ahmadiyya, vol. i, p. 118)

19.2: Saying prayers behind other Muslims

We do not pray behind any person who calls those reciting the Kalima as kafir, whoever that person might be. Our separation of prayers is not due to our being Ahmadis, but because of being called kafir by others. If a person dissociates himself from those who call us kafir, we are prepared to pray behind him, to whatever sect he may belong.

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad never instructed his followers to refrain from praying behind those Muslims who do not accept his claims. He wrote:

“As the maulavis of this country, due to their bigotry, have generally declared us kafir, and have written fatwas, and the rest of the people are their followers, so if there are any persons who, to clear their own position, make an announcement that they do not follow these maulavis who make others kafir, then it would be allowable [for Ahmadis] to say prayers with them. Otherwise, the man who calls a Muslim as kafir, becomes a kafir himself. So how can we pray behind him? The Shari‘ah does not permit it.”

(Letter printed in newspaper Badr, 24 – 31 December 1908, p. 5)

Other Muslim groups have issued fatwas against each other, declaring prayers behind the others to be prohibited. For instance:

  1. Non-conformists (ghair muqallid) say about conformists (muqallid):

    “Undoubtedly, prayers behind such conformists are not permissible because their beliefs and practices are opposed to those who follow the Sunna.

  2. Regarding the Deobandis, a fatwa says:

    “To say nothing of praying behind them, you should not even allow them to pray behind you, or allow them to enter mosques.”

See supplementary material on the Evidence of Section 19
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