The Lahore Ahmadiyya Islamic Movement
Showing Islam is Peaceful • Tolerant • Rational • Inspiring
www.ahmadiyya.orgA Research and Educational Website
1. Islam
2. Ahmadiyya Movement

South Africa court case (1982-1985)
3. Publications & Resources

Contact us
Search the website

 The South Africa Ahmadiyya Court Case (1982-1985)

Page entirely revised and updated 6 March 2021

In 1982, a member of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement in Cape Town filed a civil suit against certain bodies of the Muslim religious leaders (principally, the MJC or Muslim Judicial Council) claiming that he is a Muslim and entitled to all the rights of a Muslim, but that these bodies are defaming him by branding the Lahore Ahmadis as unbelievers and apostates, and are also preventing him from exercising his rights as a Muslim because he is a Lahore Ahmadi.

After three years of pre-trial submissions, and the final hearings of the case in November 1985, the Lahore Ahmadis won the case. The MJC had the assistance and support of the foremost anti-Ahmadiyya Muslim religious leaders of the world, as well as leading legal experts from Pakistan (including judges of the highest courts of Pakistan), who went to Cape Town to fight the case, but they were unable to defend their stand-point and eventually withdrew from the case.

View here a presentation (pdf format) about this Case

The Ahmadiyya Case Book

In 1987, a book of 358 pages, entitled The Ahmadiyya Case, was published containing full details of the court case.

Its second edition, revised and expanded, has been published in March 2021 as The Ahmadiyya Case of South Africa and is available as below:

Some scans from important original documents

Document: Content: See Ahmadiyya Case book at:
Defendants’ Special Plea, December 1985 The Defendants’ claim that “it is inappropriate for a Secular Court to attempt to resolve these questions”, and that the court must accept the decisions of so-called “International bodies of Islamic ecclesiastical opinion”. pp. 8–9
List of expert witnesses submitted by the Defendants, 1 October 1984 Six of these expert witnesses were religious and legal experts from Pakistan, holding high official positions, as stated in the document. pp. 11–12
Plaintiff’s expert witness Hafiz Sher Mohammad, submitted 18 October 1984 Qualifications of the witness Hafiz Sher Mohammad and the case he will present.  
Defendants’ notice , 1 November 1984 Asking the court to determine “whether or
not the Court should decline to hear the merits of the dispute as to whether Ahmadis are Muslims or not”.
pp. 13–14
First 28 pages of the transcript of the November 1985 hearings These begin at the start of the hearings on 5 November 1985 and include the Defendants’ withdrawal. The full transcript was 321 pages. pp. 14–16
Two pages from the typed November 1985 Judgment The first page and the second-last page from the original typed Judgmenet issued by the court. p. 17
News reports in Pakistani newspaper Daily Jang Statements by the Pakistani expert witnesses misrepresenting the Judgment in issues of the Daily Jang, December 1985, and correction by Zahid Aziz published by the Daily Jang (reluctantly) in February 1986. pp. 20–25