In the wake of the recently held Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies Conference held in Abu Dhabi, a controversy has been initiated by a delegation of Ahmadis that were, according to themselves, invited to partake in the event as Muslims. The Ahmadi delegation consisted of, among others, no other than the famous Ahmadi apologist Kashif Chaudhary.
There were people from other religions present in the event as well. A Christian priest is very well visible on the picture to the left. A multi-religious event that seek to promote love and mercy across all faiths is of course commendable and also the need of the hours. This article is not written to criticize the Ahmadi participation on this event, but rather to draw the readers attention to another serious matter.
Hamza Yusuf has written a very famous article regarding the Ahmadis titled “Sticks and Drones May Break Our Bones, but Fitna Really Hurts Us”. The fitna he is referring to is the Ahmadiyya religion. The Sheikh clearly writes that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a false Prophet and that both him and his followers are outside the fold of Islam. This article led to fierce criticism by Kashif Chaudhary, who called Sheikh Hamza Yusuf an extremist on his own blog.
So it happened on the recent event held in Dubai that Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Kashif Chaudhary stood face to face. Chaudhary recalls the meeting on his facebook-page:
Had the honor of having a conversation with renowned Islamic scholar Shaikh Hamza Yusuf. He is clear in his stance against Takfir and invited the Ahmadi Muslims with open arms. It was heart-warming. This is the tolerance, peace and pluralism that the Forum for Promotion of Peace in Muslim Societies is trying to spread around the Muslim world. The simple and basic idea that we can disagree and yet break bread and work for the common good of our societies and wider communities.
I have always considered Shaikh Hamza Yusuf a great scholar. My disagreement with him was based on a statement he had made in the past. But I am glad I had the opportunity to clarify that small misunderstanding. I admire the Shaikh’s knowledge and humility and look forward to more partnerships with his good initiatives.
May all of us Muslims continue to work together, despite our theological differences, for the common good of ALL mankind. For this is the purpose of Islam. inshAllah! #PeaceMS2016
One of the past statements from the Sheikh that drew fierce criticism from Chaudhary was when he in one sentence in the article referred to Ahmadiyya as a fitna. Chaudhary was asked on his facebook-wall whether the Sheikh still hold the view that the Ahmadiyya is a fitna. To this, Chaudhary responded: “No. He considers us a Muslim Community. He has deleted that article from his website too”. He was right in one thing, the article was in fact unaccessible. This led many to believe that the Sheikh had deleted the article and changed his stance on the Ahmadiyya.
So I sent an e-mail to Sheikh Hamza Yusuf asking for a clarification. I just received an answer. I’m sharing the whole correspondence with you below:
Me: As salamu aleykum wa rahmatAllah
My name is ………., from ………… I’ve been listening to you for many years and by the grace of Allah swt I hope to have benefitted a lot from listening to you. I write to you with outmost respect and humbleness, as a student and a seeker.
I hope you can help me sort this out, inshaAllah.
My reason for writing is that for some years now I have been involved in very friendly inter-faith dialogue with the Ahmadiyya Community in ……, as well as with some Ahmadiyya acquaintances on the internet.
One Ahmadiyya who is very active online is Kashif N. Chaudhary. It has come to my attention that you recently met him during the recent Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies Conference held in Abu Dhabi. Kashif N. Chaudhary is a dedicated Ahmadiyya-rights activist who works against oppression of the Ahmadiyya community (a dedication which is commendable) but he is also an apologist who is often seen on sosial media campaigning for the Ahmadiyya religion at the expense of traditional Islamic creed and making hateful remarks about those who dare to disagree with him on mere theological matters.
Dear Shaykh, you have previously written an article about your view on the Ahmadis. The article called “Sticks and Stones May Break Our Bones, but Fitna Really Hurts Us” was an excellent article that many benefitted from. In this article, you clearly stated your opinion that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is a false Prophet who is outside the fold of Islam and so are his followers. Kashif N. Chaudhary reacted to your article by defaming you and calling you extremist on his blog.
According to his facebook-page, he met you at the conference and you cleared a misunderstanding that was between you. I know that you know have deleted the article from you website, and Kashif has also deleted the pages from his blog in which he openly defames you. He now claims that you don’t consider Ahmadis to be outside the fold of Islam anymore. He told me that you have retracted a previous statement of yours in which you called the Ahmadiyya faith a fitna. I’ve attached two screenshots that will illustrate this further.
As a seeker of knowledge with great respect for our esteemed Scholars, I’m seeking your advice to how I should view this. Is it such that Ahmadis are now Muslims again? Or is Kashif Chaudhary lying about you? Perhaps you two again have a misunderstanding to clear up? Or have I misunderstood everything here?
Kashif Chaudhary also claims that the Ahmadiyya delegation was invited to the conference as Muslim participants. Is it any truth in this?
I apologize for the length of this mail. I hope you can take out som of your busy time to respond to this.
Sanadla.com Team (Sheikhs Official Website):
Salam, We are looking into this matter, I pressed send too soon. Hopefully we can respond with a better response soon. The blog has not been deleted from the website, for some reason it is inaccessible on mobile browsers. Thank you for your patience!
The article is now is now accessible again. There is no need to believe that Sheikh Hamza Yusuf has changed his stance. However, it remains a mystery why the article was taken down (if that was the case) because one article written by Kashif Chaudhary in his criticism of Sheikh, titled “Shaykh Hamza Yusuf, Zaytuna College and the Takfir of Ahmadi Muslims” was also taken down and is still unaccessible as I write (20.12.16). See screenshot below:
The article on Sandala.com is back online. However, a question remains, was this a coordinated step taken by Sheikh Hamza Yusuf and Kashif Chaudhary? Did they agree to take down these pages? What is the misunderstanding they clarified between each other according during the meeting, according to the statement of Kashif Chaudhary? Before we reach a final conclusion, let us wait for a further clarification as promised by the Sandala.com team.
Kashif Chaudary also claims that they were invited to this event as Muslims. A closer look at the event website reveals that close to anyone can register to participate in the event and that an invitation is not necessarily needed. Did the Ahmadis invite themselves? Or were they invited? And if they were invited, were they invited as Muslims? This will be the topic of my next article as I dig deeper.