Estranged, but Ahmadiah in M’sia observe Ramadan, Syawal

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KUALA LUMPUR: Many perceive Ahmadiah followers as strange and separate from Muslims, as they have different rituals and teachings.

However despite being categorised as having strayed from Islam by the Islamic religious authorities here, Ahmadiah followers in Malaysia still observe Ramadan and Hari Raya, just like Muslims do.

“It is the same with other Muslims,” Malaysian Ahmadiah community leader Ainul Yaqeen Sahib said.

FMT recently met Ainul in Darussalam, a three-story building in Kampung Nakhoda, Batu Caves.

The area has served as the Ahmadiah community’s centre since the 1950s.

According to Ainul, every Ramadan, they host a breaking-fast event once a week (usually on Saturdays), attended by Ahmadiah followers living nearby.

“We have many of us here. Those in Shah Alam, Klang and Ampang will also join us.

“We eat together, observe the Maghrib, Isya’ and tarawih together, and after that we will have a talk or a sharing session,” Ainul told FMT.

Apart from that, they also visit one another and others in the community during Hari Raya.

“Previously, the people here found it hard to accept us. Now, they are more understanding since we have been here for a long time.

“However, for Hari Raya prayers, we will rent our own venue. We will also provide food to to followers who come from far, and also those outside our congregation who wish to observe how we celebrate Raya,” Ainul added.

The Ahmadiah group was founded by Mirza Ghulan Ahmad in 1889 in Qadian, India. This led the group to be known as Qadiani.

The Ahmadiah believe Mirza Ghulam was Imam Mahdi and the messiah.

In 1975, the National Fatwa Committee in Malaysia deemed Ahmadiah followers as having strayed from true Islam. The 101st Rulers’ Council the same year endorsed the edict.

Ainul reiterated however that the Ahmadiah was just one of the various schools of thought in Islam.

“The al-Quran we are reading was not printed by Ahmadiah. The authorities accused us of changing the verses in the Quran. I asked them to check our copies. They became silent and failed to prove (their claim).

“And you yourself saw us perform congregational prayer just now, didn’t you?”

Displayed on the book rack in the living room of Darussalam are various reference books and Quran translations in different languages.

Among them are those from At-Tirmidzi, Abu Daud, Bukhari and Muslim – who are trusted hadith collectors referred to by Muslims around the world.

What is different, according to Ainul, is the translation of religious texts because Ahmadiah has its own source of reference.

While they are pessimistic towards the Islamic religious authorities here, Ainul still hopes the Ahmadiah will be accepted as one of the sects in Islam.

“What we are facing is similar to what is being faced by the Wahabis and Syiah. The government only recognises one sect, when there are many,” Ainul said, basing his statement on a hadith attributed to Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), which was that his people (ummah) would be broken into 73 sects.

There is however an ongoing debate on the translation of the hadith, as the prediction of the 73 sects is only one part of it.

The second part talks about salvation in which only one sect is saved, and the rest are not.