I was referred to you by an Islamic studies Ph. D student. I've read your bio extensively and I'm so happy that you do the kind of work that you do; May Allah reward you for it!
I know you are probably very busy but I wanted to ask your opinion on this because I believe you have much more knowledge than me on this matter. Any and all advice on this difficult matter would be most welcomed!
To be very blunt: I am in love with an Ahmadi Muslim. The majority of the Muslim world do not even consider them Muslim and Pakistani scholars treat them as sub-human. But I've learned to love this man. He does so much community service work, he is kind, he has a great reputation in our community (to some extent) and in his own community. His character reminds me so much of the prophet.
So my question is what would you recommend I do? I want to go forward with this but two things scare me: my akhirah: the potential that maybe I am wrong in considering him as Muslim as the rest of us (if not a better one in some regards), and the community back lash I will face. Additionally, what is your opinion on Ahmadiyya Islam in general?
Any and all advice would be appreciated. JazakAllah Khair in advance for taking the time out to read/respond.
[Name Withheld for Privacy]
Thank you for your correspondence. I understand that you must be confronting a difficult and challenging situation. Unfortunately, I cannot help you with the issue as to how to confront the inevitable social pressures that are and will be placed on you. In my experience, if your love and commitment is strong enough, it will withstand any such pressures. The more pressing question is whether a marriage to an Ahmadi is haram or not. I am well aware that many in the Muslim community, especially in Pakistan, consider Ahmadis to be outside the fold of the faith. As you know, it is a basic tenet in Islam that the Prophet Muhammad is the final prophet in a long line of Abrahamic prophets who was charged with conveying God’s last reminder of the message of tawhid to humanity. Nevertheless, it is my understanding, and I might be wrong, but it is my understanding that the Ahmadis believe that Ghulam Ahmad was the mahdi. Otherwise, they utter the shahada, they believe in the same Qur’an, they perform the same five pillars including salat, siyam, zakat, and hajj if they were permitted to do so. Moreover, I must bear witness that Ahmadis such as Muhammad Ali (the author of a number of works including The Religion of Islam) and Ahmed Ali (the translator of the Qur’an) have performed distinguished and discernible services to the Islamic faith.
While they have been persecuted in Pakistan, the Ahmadis seem to insist on nothing more than they are Muslims who have received revisions of particular laws by the awaited mahdi. In my opinion, and Allah knows best, the whole issue of the mahdi is a subject of legitimate disagreement (ikhtilaf) among Muslims. The Ahmadis are not the only, nor the first, Muslim group to believe that the awaited mahdi has in fact transpired. Some Muslims believe that the mahdi is al-Imam al-Gha’ib (the Occulted Imam) while others believe that he is the awaited messiah to appear at the end of times, while others don’t believe in the awaited mahdi or the appearance of a mahdi. In my opinion, and Allah knows best, what contributed to the persecution of the Ahmadis is the mistaken belief, espoused especially by Wahhabi Muslims, that believing in the mahdi as an awaited messiah to appear at the end of times is an article of faith; meaning, something that Muslims may not legitimately and respectively disagree upon. This is a view that I do not share. There is no reliable evidence that the eschatological issue of the mahdi is a matter that can differentiate between a true Muslim and someone outside the fold of Islam.
Sister, in summary, from a theological point of view, I cannot bring myself to the most precarious and auspiciously burdensome position of declaring a people who utter the shahada and follow the five pillars, including believing that Muhammad is the final prophet of God, to be outside the fold of Islam. In my humble view, and Allah knows best, you would be marrying someone within the fold of Islam. May Allah forgive us all and overlook our faults and our ignorances, for Allah is the most knowing and the most wise. Ramadan Mubarak to you and your family, and may your days be blessed and full of peace.
Shaykh Abou El Fadl