From WikiAhmadiyya, the free encyclopedia on Islam and Ahmadiyyat
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is an Islamic sect founded in 1889 by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The highly organised movement has spread since its inception from India to over 200 countries and territories, is led by its global spiritual leader and Caliph, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad and holds the motto "Love for all, hatred for none".
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has built an estimated 15,000 mosques, funds vast humanitarian charitable programmes and runs numerous free-to-air international Islamic TV channels, radio stations and websites. Millions of Ahmadi Muslims around the globe strive to spread the message of the Quran and the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has translated Islam's holiest text into over 70 languages.
The present global head and Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, regularly meets with heads of state and is often invited to speak at national parliaments such as the US' Capital Hill, the European parliament, the UK parliament, the New Zealand parliament, the Dutch parliament and the Irish parliament. His speeches typically call for greater efforts towards world peace and economic justice. He also regularly hosts interfaith events and peace symposiums.
In his book, The World Crisis and the Pathway to Peace, he has published letters sent to numerous heads of state warning of the threats faced by the world. Moreover, the Caliph has expressed alarm at the economic exploitation of poorer countries by more powerful countries.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has built and runs over 40 world class hospitals in some of the poorest parts of Africa and Asia. These hospitals are often staffed by Ahmadi doctors on volunteer missions and provide free medical care to the poor. Annually, eye and dental camps run by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community treat over 40,000 people.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community sends food packages and other essential life-saving equipment to areas suffering from famine, war or natural disasters. Ahmadi Muslim mosques strive to feed the homeless. For example, the Baitul Futuh Mosque in London, UK, distributes over 7,000 food packets to the homeless each year. Similarly, over 7,000 people benefit each year from a food bank in the Greater Toronto area of Canada.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community builds 150 water wells and over 1,000 hand water pumps each year. It has also regenerated over 1,000 broken water wells in recent years, serving over a million people across various African countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Gambia, Mali, Nigeria, Ivory Coast, Tanzania and Uganda.
Ahmadi Muslim mosques organise regular blood donations to help treat victims of injuries, illness or accidents at local hospitals. In 2013, Ahmadi Muslims in the US held 261 blood drives at 66 locations across the country, collecting over 10,000 pints of blood potentially saving thousands of lives. Similar campaigns are held around the world.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association is highly active in charitable causes. In the UK, it typically raises approximately £400,000 per year for charities such as Marshal Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research and Macmillan Cancer Support.
Humanity First was registered as a charity in the UK by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in 1994. Since its inception, Humanity First has responded to several disasters and served hundreds of thousands of victims in various affected communities. Quickly, the organization's scope of operations expanded beyond disaster relief to several sustainable human development projects and initiatives around the world. Around 2000, Humanity First began to focus on longer term projects such as vocational training and orphans. At the same time, HF began to grow its organic operations across sub-Saharan Africa, northern Latin America, Europe and the Caribbean, South Asia and Australasia. Today, Humanity First is registered in 41 countries across 6 continents and actively working on projects in 46 countries.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has established over 650 schools offering both religious and secular educations in some of the poorest parts of the world including over 150 in Ghana and a similar number in Sierra Leone. These schools often offer free education to disadvantaged locals of both Ahmadi Muslim and non-Ahmadi backgrounds. Preaching to or converting non-Ahmadi children is forbidden at the schools, where instead the children are taught about various faiths. The community also funds close to 5,000 students a year in higher education through direct or indirect grants. These efforts have transformed communities which previously had no access to even primary education and have been recognised by heads of state:
The focus on education has allowed Ahmadi Muslims to excel, as exemplified by Dr Abdus Salam, a Pakistani Ahmadi who became the first Muslim to win the Nobel Prize in physics. Similarly, a school set up by the Ahmadiyya charity Humanity First in Yundum in The Gambia is already in the Top 5 in the country on the basis of exam results, and caters for 837 male and female students.
In countries where literacy levels are generally low, Ahmadi Muslims have been noted for maintaining a far higher rate. One Canadian Christian academic writes of his experiences in Rabwah:
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community also runs numerous charitable education programmes in less economically developed countries and even in refugee camps. For example, the Ahmadiyya charity Humanity First is now able to offer MCSE accredited training in Africa and has set up 17 IT Institutes providing diploma and certificate level training to students. These are operational in The Gambia, Sierra Leone, Indonesia, Guyana, Kosovo, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Ivory Coast, Mali, Nigeria, Uganda and Niger. To date, over 20,000 students have graduated, and in some regions, the local civil service has started mandating certificates from these institutes.
Humanity First also offers vocational training developing skills in disadvantaged areas. Sewing Skills centres in operational Burkina Faso, Mali, Sierra Leone and Benin. This is most popular with women who are taught basic sewing, advanced tailoring and embroidery. Students either go on to work in factories, or establish their own tailoring business from home.
The Ahmadiyya charity has started a programme to provide access to good quality libraries and science laboratories across Africa. Already, reference books in English across a range of subjects have been shipped out to schools in Sierra Leone and The Gambia covering a number of secondary schools.
Programmes of this kind are not limited to less economically developed countries. In the US, Humanity First have established the Our Kids, Our Future initiative to serve the poorest city areas through the provision of books and teaching aids, academic awards, schools supplies and even preventative health services in collaboration with the local communities.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community trains its imams in seven-year programmes run at institutes called 'Jamia Ahmadiyya'. Students are taught Arabic, Urdu, Islamic theology and comparative religions in intensive courses culminating in final exams and a 30,000 word thesis. The schools also run highly competitive sports programmes with cricket and football often being the most common sports. Jamia's are currently running in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, the UK, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and Madagascar.
A women's-only religious theology institute called the Aisha Academy which offers three-year degrees has its campus complete with study areas and dormitories next to Baitul Islam Mosque, Peace Village, Toronto, Canada. Over six semesters, students study seven compulsory subjects including the Quran, Hadith, fiqha [Islamic jurisprudence], Comparative Religions, History, Arabic, Urdu and the writings of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. There are also various optional courses available.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community runs Madrasatul Hifz institutions for the full memorisation of the Quran in Pakistan and in Ghana. The Aisha Academy in Canada, also runs a two-year Hifz programme exclusively for schoolgirls.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Youth Association has been running a campain with UK environmental organisations to plant over 60,000 trees per year.
Numerous public litter-picking sessions are held by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in European cities each year, with the campaign particularly effective in working with local authorities to clean German cities annually on the morning after New Year's celebrations.