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Ghulām Aḥmad, Mīrzā

(1,736 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
Mīrzā Ghulām Aḥmad (late 1830s–1908) was the founder and first leader of the Aḥmadiyya movement in Islam. He was born in the Panjābī village of Qādiyān. For his biography we depend mostly on his own accounts, supplemented by the extensive biographies written by some leading members of the movement. This material has a distinct hagiographical tinge and strives to depict Ghulām Aḥmad’s birth and childhood in a way compatible with his later spiritual claim. Much of it is therefore relevant to the ana…
Date: 2020-09-16

Dhimma

(3,148 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
The Arabic term dhimma means “treaty” or “obligation.” The Qurʾān uses the word in its denunciation of idolaters who do not fulfil their obligations to the believers (Q 9:8, 10). In prophetic tradition (ḥadīth) and in Islamic legal literature the term dhimma is used for the obligation of Muslims in general and of Muslim rulers in particular to grant protection to non-Muslims living under their rule. The religious communities granted this protection were designated “protected people” ( ahl al-dhimma, or dhimmīs). In most periods of Islamic history, dhimmīs were allowed to continue …
Date: 2020-09-16

Tolerance and Coercion

(2,413 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
Accepting attitude towards a plurality of viewpoints and the use of force to influence behavior or beliefs. Qurʾānic vocabulary lacks a specific term to express the idea of tolerance but several verses explicitly state that religious coercion ( ikrāh) is either unfeasible or forbidden; other verses may be interpreted as expressing the same notion. Pertinent qurʾānic attitudes underwent substantial development during Muḥammad's prophetic career. The earliest reference to religious tolerance seems to be included in q 109, a sūra that recognizes the unbridgeable gap betwe…

Dissension

(1,131 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
Partisan quarreling which, in the Qurʾān, denotes religious sectarianism. The qurʾānic concept of dissension is expressed by the Arabic terms ikhtilāf or tafarruq, both of which carry a pejorative sense. According to q 2:213 and 10:19, humankind ¶ started its existence on earth as a united religious community. The nature of this primordial religion is not specified in the Qurʾān; in exegetical literature it is described as “the religion of truth” ( dīn al-ḥaqq), sometimes explicitly equated with Islam. The dissension that set in later and resulted in the disruption o…

Aḥmadiyya

(941 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
The Aḥmadiyya Movement in Islam (Urdu Jamāʿat-i Aḥmadiyya) is a modern messianic movement. It was founded in 1889 in the Indian province of the Punjab by Mirzā Ghulām Aḥmad (1835-1908) and has become exceedingly controversial within contemporary Muslim circles. Claiming for its founder messianic and prophetic status of a certain kind, the Aḥmadī Movement aroused fierce opposition from the Muslim mainstream and ¶ was accused of rejecting the dogma that Muḥammad was the last prophet. Under British rule, the controversy was merely a doctrinal dispute between …

Aḥmadiyya

(5,078 words)

Author(s): Friedmann, Yohanan
Aḥmadiyya is a messianic Islamic movement founded by Ghulām Aḥmad in the Panjāb in the 1880s. 1. General Since its inception in 1889, the Aḥmadī movement has been one of the most active and controversial movements in modern Islam. The Aḥmadīs have conducted vigorous missionary activity in many countries of the world, establishing mosques and centres in European, North American, African, and Asian cities. The relationship between the Aḥmadī movement and mainstream Sunnī Islam has been dominated by the hotly contes…
Date: 2020-09-16