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3. False propaganda by our opponents
(Prof. Khurshid Ahmad’s news article translated)

The following is the translation of an Urdu article which appeared in the Pakistan magazine Tarjuman-ul-Quran, in its issue for January 1996 in the section Akhbar Ummat on pages 57 to 59. The chief author, Prof. Khurshid Ahmad, is a well-known Senator in Pakistan belonging to the Jamaat-i-Islami political party, and a writer and spokesman on Islam of long experience.

For the original Urdu article, please see further below.

For our response to this propaganda, please see this link.

South Africa:

Court judgment about Qadianism

by Prof. Khurshid Ahmad

and Dr Syed Habib-ul-Haq Nadawi

In 1974 the National Assembly and the Senate in Pakistan, by means of a historic constitutional amendment which was passed unanimously, declared all the followers of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, whether belonging to the Qadiani group or the Lahore group, as expelled from the fold of Islam and as a separate religion. As a result of this amendment, a clear and constitutional definition of ‘Muslim’ was established, according to which the Muslims and the Qadianis of the whole world were declared as two separate religious nations. This decision by consensus of the Muslim umma was accepted in the whole world. The Federal Shariah Court also stamped the seal of confirmation upon this. In this way, a mischief was given its true place, which for one century, under a scheme of British imperialism, had been dividing the Muslim umma and undermining its beliefs and practices. 

After this humiliation in Pakistan and the Islamic world, the Qadiani group stepped up its activities in America, Europe and those African countries where Christian or secular governments were providing them with security. In South Africa the Ahmadis challenged the Muslims, and went to the court in Cape Town to get their ‘right’ accepted that they are ‘Muslims’, and to get their ‘right’ of worship in Muslim mosques and of burial in Muslim cemeteries. This suit was filed in 1982 and its final judgment has now been given in August 1995. Praise be to God, that the full bench of the highest court of South Africa has given the verdict that it is the Muslims themselves and their highest religious and legal bodies who are authorised to determine who is a Muslim and who is not a Muslim, and that a secular government must accept what the Muslims themselves decide and not impose its own interpretation upon them.

In Cape Town there is a very small number of Ahmadis. Some members of this group first tried to force their way into mosques, which was intensely disliked by the Muslim community. Then they filed a court case in the High Court of Cape Town against the Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) which had declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims, and which includes within it the imams of all the mosques of Cape Town and other ulama. They demanded on the basis of human rights that the court grant them the rights of entry into mosques, of use of schools, and of burial in the Muslim cemeteries. The case acquired importance not only in South Africa but in the entire African continent. All the Muslim organizations of South Africa, ignoring any differences between them, united as one and with one voice presented the view-point of the Muslims in this case, and they also appealed to the Islamic world for assistance. Al-Azhar University issued a special fatwa, and from Pakistan a delegation was sent under the leadership of the late Maulana Zafar Ahmad Ansari to help the MJC. The famous advocate of South Africa, Ismail Mohammad, and attorney Ahmad Chohan, pursued the case most ably. Dr. Mahmud Ahmad Ghazi of the International Islamic University of Pakistan, as a witness and scholarly advisor, presented the Muslim view-point before the court for more than two weeks. Justice Muhammad Afzal Cheema, Justice Muhammad Taqi Usmani, Maulana Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianvi, Dr. Habib-ul-Haq Nadawi, and the ulama of the Finality of Prophethood Movement gave every possible assistance. I myself had the occasion to participate in court twice in connection with this case.

The hearings of the case in the Cape Town Supreme Court revolved around two points. Firstly, whether Ahmadis and Lahoris are Muslim or apostate. Secondly, whether a secular court has the jurisdiction to issue judgments about the beliefs of a religious community. Judge Berman gave the judgment very boldly that a secular court definitely has the power to issue judgments about matters relating to religious beliefs, and even that a secular court is more competent in these matters because its judgment would be entirely fair and impartial. The MJC refused to accept the verdict of the court and applied to have the case dismissed from the unbelieving (mushrik) court. The case was heard in November 1985. On 20th November 1985, Judge Williamson gave the ruling that since Lahore Ahmadis are Muslims their Muslim rights should be restored. They should be allowed to enter mosques and use the cemetery for burial.

The Muslims rejected the judgment of the court and announced that the Lahore Ahmadis too, like the Qadianis, are non-Muslims. A kafir judge cannot declare another kafir as a Muslim. The MJC issued the instruction to all the imams of the mosques and members of the committees not to allow any Qadiani, Ahmadi or Lahori or their sympathisers and supporters to enter mosques, and to oppose their burial in the Muslim cemetery. It was also announced that every Muslim was willing to bear the penalty and go to prison for breaching the order of the court. Due to the judgment of Judge Williamson, Qadianis and Lahori Ahmadis began to enter mosques boldly. This led to an increase in sectarian conflict, and the dangers of clashes escalated. Due to their intervention in the mosques and cemeteries, there was a risk of a riot in the city.

The MJC filed an appeal in the highest court of the land against the judgments of Berman and Williamson. This case, Case No. 201/1992, was put to five judges of the appeal court, and the hearing was held on 21, 22, 24, 25, 28 and 29 August 1995. On 26 September 1995 the judges issued their judgment consisting of 171 pages. On pages 154 and 155, rejecting the judgments of the previous judges, they declared in clear words that:

Matters relating to the religious beliefs of any community can only be decided by the ulama and theological experts of that community, who are the custodians, guardians and trustees of that creed. Only they have the right to give a decision as to whose beliefs are in accordance with the accepted beliefs of the faith and whose beliefs are opposed to them. This right cannot be taken away by any court or group. It is inappropriate for a secular or worldly court to give a decision on who is a Muslim and who is an apostate. The ulama also have the right to excommunicate any person from the religion.

This judgment of the highest court of South Africa is now an international precedent. The Qadiani sect, or the Ahmadis and Lahori sect, cannot now show their face in any court in the world. No secular court is competent to give them protection. The absolute decision about them can only be given by the ulama of the Muslim umma and its religious experts. If they have declared them as non-Muslim or apostate, no secular court can declare them as Muslim. The Qadianis, who used to try to get the support of secular courts to safeguard their rights, have now been deprived of this in the light of this decisive precedent. The Qadiani movement is now finished in South Africa. This judgment was the last nail in the coffin of the movement of apostasy.


Our Comment:

The sentence in Professor Khurshid Ahmad’s article above:

On 26 September 1995 the judges issued their judgment consisting of 171 pages.

indicates that he has seen a copy of the appeal judgment, and this proves that his misrepresentations and distortions of the facts in this article are deliberate and intentional.

Image of the original Urdu article from Tarjuman-ul-Quran

Shown below are images of the three pages from Tarjuman-ul-Quran on which this article appeared.