The Qadiani refusal to hold Islamic funeral prayers for other Muslims

[ BACK ] The Qadiani belief that all those Muslims who do not accept the Promised Messiah are rejecting a prophet of God, has led them to place other Muslims in the same category as followers of non-Islamic religions who reject the Holy Prophet Muhammad. Therefore, as regards all those special fraternal duties which Islam requires Muslims to perform only towards their fellow-Muslims, the Qadianis refuse to fulfil those obligations towards any Muslims except members of their own movement. So in practical terms too, they have restricted their religious relations with other Muslims to be on the same basis as with non-Muslim religious communities such as Hindus or Christians.

As the Islamic funeral prayers can only be held for a Muslim, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad forbade his followers from holding such prayers for any deceased not belonging to their movement. But curiously, while setting out to impose this prohibition, he admits that the Promised Messiah did not impose it In his book Anwar-i Khilafat, he begins a section entitled 'Funeral Prayers for a non-Ahmadi' with the following words:

"Then a question is asked about saying the funeral prayers for a non-Ahmadi. A difficulty pointed out in this respect is that the Promised Messiah has allowed the saying of such funeral prayers in some circumstances. There is no doubt that there exist some references showing this, and a letter has been discovered which will be brought under consideration. However, the Promised Messiah's practice is against this."

(Anwari Khilafai, published October 1916. p.91)

He thus admits that the Promised Messiah allowed his followers to hold funeral prayers for deceased non-Ahmadis, and that written references bearing this out can be found. Nonetheless, he alleges that the Promised Messiah's practice was opposed to this! In other words, according to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad, the Promised Messiah preached one thing and himself did the opposite of it! This allegation is grossly insulting to the Promised Messiah, and needless to say it is absolutely false to assert that while allowing his followers, under certain conditions, to hold funeral prayers for non-Ahmadis, he himself always refrained from doing so. This is shown later in this section.


M. Mahmud considers other Muslims as non-Muslims.

After the lines quoted above, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad goes on to prohibit his followers from saying the funeral prayers for other Muslims, and then at the end he raises and answers another question as follows:

"Now another question remains, that is, as non-Ahmadis are deniers of the Promised Messiah, this is why funeral prayers for them must not be offered, but if a young child of a non-Ahmadi dies, why should not his funeral prayers be offered? He did not call the Promised Messiah as kafir. I ask those who raise this question, that if this argument is correct, then why are not funeral prayers offered for the children of Hindus and Christians, and how many people say their funeral prayers? The fact is that, according to the Shari'ah, the religion of the child is the same as the religion of the parents. So a non-Ahmadi's child is also a non-Ahmadi, and his funeral prayers must not be said. Then I say that as the child cannot be a sinner he does not need the funeral prayers; the child's funeral is a prayer for his relatives, and they do not belong to us but are non-Ahmadis. This is why even the child's funeral prayers must not be said.

"This leaves the question that if a man who believes Hazrat Mirza sahib to be true but has not yet taken the bai 'at, or is still thinking about joining Ahmadiyyat, and he dies in this condition, it is possible that God may not punish him. But the decisions of the Shari'ah are based on what is outwardly visible. So we must do the same thing in his case, and not offer funeral prayers for him."

(Anwar-i Khilafat, pp.91-93)

From this statement it is absolutely clear that the Qadianis treat other Muslims as belonging to another religion, like the Hindu or the Christian religion. A non-Ahmadi Muslim infant, says M. Mahmud Ahmad, must not be included among the Muslims and given the Muslim funeral rites, any more than a Christian or Hindu infant could be accorded the Muslim funeral service. Again, according to M. Mahmud Ahmad, an adult non-Ahmadi Muslim who, far from being opposed to the Ahmadiyya Movement, actually believes the Promised Messiah to be true, but has not formally joined the movement, does not qualify to receive the Muslim funeral service any more than a Christian or Hindu does.

Promised Messiah allowed funeral prayers for other Muslims.

1. When Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was asked about funeral prayers for Muslims who were not his followers, he is recorded as giving the following reply:

"If the deceased was an opponent of this Movement and spoke ill of us and regarded us as bad, do not say funeral prayers for him. If he did not speak against us, and was neutral, it is permissible to say his funeral prayers, provided the imam is one of you; otherwise there is no need. 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 AI-Hakam, 30 April 1902. See also Ruhani Khaza 'in no.2, Malfuzat, vol.3. p.276. The condition that the imam must be "one of you" does not mean that other Muslims are being considered as kafir. See later in this section for the Promised Messiah's reasons for his instructions to his followers on the question of joining prayers led by other Muslims.)

2. About a year before his death, the Promised Messiah received a letter from an Ahmadi, Ghulam Qadir of Jeonjal, district Gujrat, seeking guidance on various questions, including the saying of funeral prayers. The Promised Messiah instructed one of his secretaries, Mufti Muhammad Sadiq, to write the following reply on this point:

"It is permissible to say funeral prayers for an opponent who did not abuse us. The imam must be an Ahmadi."

(Letter dated 12 May 1907. Facsimile of letter published in Maulana Muhammad Ali's Radd Takfir ahl-i Qibla, first published 1920, sixth ed., 1970, pp.46-47.)


Promised Messiah's practice.

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad's allegation, referred to earlier, that the Promised Messiah's own practice in this respect was against the teaching he gave to his followers, is proved absolutely false by well-known facts.

1. Khawaja Ghu lam Farid of Chachran was a famous saint who praised and defended Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, but did not take his bai 'at or become an Ahmadi. Writing after the Khawaja's death in 1904, the Promised Messiah paid him the following tribute:

"To sum up, God had granted Khawaja Ghulam Farid a spiritual light by which he could distinguish between a truthful one and an imposter at one glance. May God envelope him in mercy, and grant him a place near Him


(Haqiqat al- Wahy, published May 1907, p.209)

The prayer here, for the departed soul of the Khawaja to receive God's mercy and nearness, is only allowed by Islam in case of a Muslim deceased.

2. The sworn testimony of some eminent Ahmadis has been produced to show that the Promised Messiah had himself said, and even led, the funeral prayers of certain of their relatives while he was fully aware on those occasions that the deceased did not believe in his claims. (See Radd Takfir ahl-i Qibla by Maulana Muhammad Ali, published 1920, sixth edition 1970, pp.56-58)

Practice of the Ahmadiyya community.

During the life-time of the Promised Messiah and after him in the time of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, the Ahmadi communities in Qadian and other towns and cities used to hold funeral prayers for deceased Muslims not belonging to the Ahmadiyya Movement. Maulana Muhammad Ali challenged the Qadianis in this respect as follows:

"I address all the 'one million' Qadianis and issue the challenge to them that let even one man from among them announce the following:

'In the time of the Promised Messiah and the time of Hazrat Maulana Nur-ud-Din, that is before 1914, saying funeral prayers for non-Ahmadis was considered to be prohibited as it is now, and no Ahmadi community ever held the funeral prayers of a non-Ahmadi.'

"I had also appealed to Mirza Mahmud Ahmad to bring forth even one single sworn testimony from the whole of his community to the effect that before 1914, in Lahore, in Simla, in Sialkot, in other towns and cities, and in Qadian itself, funeral prayers for non-Ahmadis were not held. Among the 'one million' Qadianis, let even one man come forward and dare testify on oath, contrary to the facts, that before 1914 funeral prayers of non-Ahmadis were not said and were considered as prohibited.

"Mirza Mahmud Ahmad himself, standing right next to me, joined the funeral prayers of Maulana Nur-ud-Din's niece in Qadian who was not an Ahmadi. The Promised Messiah himself said such funeral prayers in Qadian."

(Maulana Muhammad Ali's Urdu pamphlet entitled Each and every Qadiani invited to arbitrate; Is not the Qadiani belief opposed to the Promised Messiah's belief, published 1940, pp. 12-13.)


Prayers after other Muslim imams.

The Promised Messiah never prohibited Ahmadis from praying behind other Muslims on the grounds that the latter do not believe in his claims. For several years after he laid claim to he the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad himself and other Ahmadis said prayers following other Muslim imams. However, the general Ulama continued to denounce Ahmadis as kafir and to subject them to severe maltreatment and humiliation in mosques, with ever-increasing hostility as time went on. Therefore, the Promised Messiah eventually instructed his followers to refrain from praying behind any such maulvis who called Ahmadis as kafir and those who were the followers of these maulvis.

The Promised Messiah made his position very clear shortly before his death. He received a letter from a non-Ahmadi in Baluchistan, dated 17th March 1908, saying that a good Ahmadi friend of his did not join the congregational prayers with non-Ahmadis friends, and asking the Promised Messiah to instruct him to pray with them. The Promised Messiah directed that the following reply be sent to this letter:

"As the maulvis of this country, due to their bigotry, have generally declared us as 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 maulvis 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 holy Shari'ah does not permit it."

(Ahmadiyya newspaper Badr, 24-31 December 1908, p 5.)

The reason given here by the Promised Messiah for not praying behind other Muslim imams is not that they do not believe in him, but that they call him and the Ahmadis as kafir, and one who calls any Muslim as kafir has the same epithet reflected back on him according to the Holy Prophet Muhammad. The Promised Messiah clearly allows Ahmadis to say their prayers behind such other Muslims who openly dissociate and separate themselves from those who call Ahmadis as kafir.

Compare the Promised Messiah's position to the instructions which Mirza Mahmud Ahmad gave to his followers:

"I say that no matter how many times you ask me, I will always give the same reply: it is not allowed to pray behind a non-Ahmadi. It is not allowed, it is not allowed."

(Anwar-i Khilafat, p.89.)

'It is our duty that we must not consider non-Ahmadis as Muslims, and we must not pray behind them, because we believe that they are denying a prophet of Almighty God."

(ibid., p.90.)

The Qadiani belief, as expressed here, is that it is unlawful to pray behind other Muslims because they do not acknowledge the Promised Messiah to be a prophet of God. This belief is entirely opposed to the teachings and the statements of the Promised Messiah.

Mirza Mahmud Ahmad's later speech admitting the facts.

In a speech delivered many years later in 1950, covering what he called "several aspects" of this issue, Mirza Mahmud Ahmad admitted the "historical" reason why the Promised Messiah stopped his followers from praying behind other Muslim imams. He said:

"This issue also has a historical aspect. For many years after being called a kafir by the Ulama, the Promised Messiah did not prohibit prayers behind them. In fact, he himself continued to pray behind them. However, the Ulama continued to increase the severity of their fatwas, so much so that they put up notices in their mosques saying that Ahmadi 'dogs' were not allowed to enter therein. The floor on which an Ahmadi stepped was declared polluted and had to be washed with water. In many mosques prayer mats were burnt because an Ahmadi had prayed on them. When they took their opposition to the utmost limit, then God too forbade praying behind them. ...

"For several years our Jama 'at prayed behind them, but these people kept on repeating that Ahmadis were so impure that if they even entered a mosque it had to be cleansed. Consequently, God ordered the prohibition of praying behind them. Therefore, as the Ulama have themselves issued fatwas against us, which even till now they have not retracted, how can any blame be put against Ahmadis?"

(AI-Fazl, 9 August 1950, quoted in Paigham SuIh, 13 September 1950.)

It is obvious that if, as Mirza Mahmud Ahmad admits above, "for many years after being called a kafir by the Ulama, the Promised Messiah did not prohibit prayers behind them" and in fact himself "continued to pray behind them", then his stopping Ahmadis from prayers behind other Muslims could not have been because of their rejection of his claim. Had that been the case, he would have stopped prayers behind other Muslims as soon as he claimed to be the Promised Messiah.

It therefore stands proved beyond the least doubt that the Promised Messiah never prohibited his followers from praying behind other Muslims on the basis that the latter do not accept his claims or acknowledge him as prophet. This course of action was forced upon him by the unrelenting hostility of the Ulama towards the Ahmadis, and was not a consequence of his own claims or the position which he claimed to hold.