A Primer on Leaving the Ahmadiyya
Quite a few emails have made it to our in-box that are basically asking ‘how do I quit the Ahmadiyya’. Shahid Kamal has put together an excellent FAQ that he will update and post soon. In the meantime, allow me to approach it from a different angle:
1. Are you ready for the independence? Control of your own destiny, control of your alms and charity, and control of your own beliefs. It sounds easy, but it can be quite confusing: there will be no one to interpret history and current events for you through a deceptive prism; though there will be many who will offer their beliefs and ideas, very few will tell you that theirs is the only path to truth and salvation. You will have to read, and think, and manage your own beliefs, and chart out your own course in life.
2. You do not need to be perfect. We are all human and follow religion to various degrees. The Ahmadiyya have a certain hypocrisy about them: a quest for perfection, while not delivering on even a fraction. This dichotomy is just an Ahmadiyya ploy to keep you continually ashamed, and thus, chained. Your good deeds and your sins will be yours only, and you will learn to live like a normal human – neither an angel, nor Satan.
3. Muslims are great people! Tolerant, helping and accommodating. I’ve observed that people begging for a dollar or a pound at a bus stop will usually approach a Muslim-looking person: less chance of refusal. There are opportunists in all groups and all areas, and you will have to guard against them with your own social skills, but the vast majority are just great people. In the Ahmadiyya, things go wrong more often than not when people make business deals or arrange marriages with just a reference from the local president of the other party. Among Muslims, you can approach the mosque that the person goes to.
4. Sects in Islam: My personal belief is that there are no sects in Islam. The minor differences that exist can be called persuasions. Orthodox Christians and Catholics have a different Christmas, different beliefs, and different prayers. On the other hand, Shia and Sunni Muslims have same kalima, 5 prayers, one month of fasting, similar rates of alms, and one hajj where they pray side by side. The differences are mostly historical and tribal. You will feel lost not having a particular ‘sect’ to belong to. You may follow a certain group, or a certain imam, or absorb the good out of many – it is up to you.
Do not fall into the trap of ‘they are all the same’. Yes, many religions and groups (sects) have strange practices, and some are even superstitious; but whenever I compare them to what the Ahmadiyya *really* were, and not what they claimed to be, even the most superstitious Muslims are way more rational than your average Ahmadi who has never read the books of MGA, follows any Mirza family member like a servant, and fight over the leftovers from the khalifa’s plate as ‘tabarruk’. So, be broad-minded and rational: not narrow and critical like the Ahmadiyya, and you will find happiness and acceptance.
5. More opportunities: Yes, being a Muslim gives you a broader view of the world, and you can be a sociologist, economist, newspaper columnist, newscaster. Your world-view does not need to be filtered through the economic lens of the Mirza Family, so a whole lot of knowledge and opportunities may open up for you.
6. Get involved, and be part of something: You will definitely miss the social gatherings of the Ahmadiyya, and it is best to be involved in something good, preferably being a volunteer with some social or religious group. You will find that you will learn new social skills that you could not have learnt while in the Ahmadiyya.
7. Your family: this is the toughest part. Remember that your success in life, and your comfort with your decision to leave the Ahmadiyya, will not be apparent for some years to come. So, it is vital that a portion of your family, especially your spouse and children, follow you out. If that is not possible, and your spouse divorces you as happens often in cults, it may be for the better, as it will give you opportunities for success. Regardless of scenario, there will be social problems, and yes you will think twice. But again, if you are the person who can chalk out his/her own destiny, and be a leader and not a follower, then you will relegate everything else than your rationality to a second tier. At the top tier are you, and your rationality and your obligations to God and the life he gave you. If you are successful in being who you are, you will be a good husband, father, son, etc. And believe me, spouses like a strong-willed confident husband or wife, and children look up to their parents and follow their values and their clarity of mind. From my experience, friends are harder to keep than family, so make as many new friends as possible – Muslims, Christians, Jews and Hindus. Did I miss atheists? Them too!
See here: http://thecult.info/blog/author/ahmed/
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