The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be on him) claimed to be the awaited Messiah and the Imam Mahdi. He was born in 1835 in a remote village named Qadian, in the Punjab, India. The small village of Qadian was then without any link with the rest of India – there was no railway station, no post office, no police station, no school, and no printing press. His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was divinely inspired to revive Islam.
His mission was to unify mankind through love and peaceful means by preaching the benevolent message of Islam in its pristine purity. He wrote books and articles, distributed leaflets, and entered in debates with his opponents in defence of Islam. The opponents of Islam were stunned seeing the powerful arguments presented by him. However, he made it very clear that victory of Islam would be through cogent and logical arguments, prayers, by showing heavenly signs and manifesting high moral standards by its followers as spiritual models for others. He repeatedly emphasised that Islam will triumph not by the use of force; but through the ‘Jihad’ of the pen.
In January 1889, under Divine direction, he published a notice calling upon those who would join him by making a solemn pledge at his hand (the pledge is known as the Bai’at) to have firm faith in God and to live a life in full accordance with the teachings of Islam. The pledge contained ten undertakings on oath. Those are known as the ten conditions of the initiation to enter in the fold of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. They encompass the very essence of Islam.
On 23 March in 1889, a formal ceremony for the pledge of initiation took place at the hand of His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahmad by 40 persons. Many more joined him in days to follow, and in this way the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community came into existence 130 years ago.
As for the mission of the Ahmadiyya Islam, the Promised Messiah said:
“The task for which God has appointed me is that by removing the obstacles which have been set up between man and his Maker, I should re-establish in the hearts of men love and devotion to God, and by making manifest the truth, should put an end to all religious wars and strife, and thus lay the foundation of abiding peace, and should acquaint mankind with the spiritual truths which it had forgotten, and should demonstrate to the world the true spiritual life which has been displaced by materialistic desires, and should in my own life manifest those Divine powers with which man has been endowed, and those can be manifested only through prayer and devotion; and above all that I should permanently re-establish that bright and pure Unity of God purified from all polytheistic ideas, which are entirely disappeared from the hearts of men.” [i]
At his passing away, the Community elected a leader from his devoted followers to continue his mission. In this way, a non-political Khilafat or caliphate was establishment. It was the beginning of a Spiritual Khilafat through Ahmadiyya Muslim Community – which continues till this day. Presently, the Ahmadiyya Muslims have fifth Khalifa whose name is His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
Administratively, the Khalifa heads all departments or ministries of the organization, such as religious education, moral training, preaching, finances, social services and public relations.
The Ahmadiyya Khalifa instructs the members to remain loyal to their specific countries, and to obey the laws of the land where they live. Ahmadiyya Khilafat conforms to the separation of Church and State.
The Ahmadiyya Muslims Communities are now established in over 200 countries of the world, and wherever possible, the Community builds mosques, mission houses, hospitals and schools.
The present head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad leads a global campaign to promote the peaceful message of Islam through all forms of print and digital media. He has travelled globally to promote peace and facilitate service to humanity. Over the past several years he has been alerting world leaders to take concrete steps to avert the danger of World War III. He has written letters to the political leaders of Israel, Iran, Saudi Arabia, UK, France, Germany, USA and China to try their utmost to avert the destruction the world appears to be heading towards. Those letters are all compiled in a small book “World Crisis and Pathway to Peace.”