This looks big on the surface, and it’s a lot for the jamaat to give in on anything, but I question how much will actually change. The precondition is that you need the permission of the khalifa, which means that an Ahmadi woman, or her parents, would have to write to Mirza Masroor Ahmad and ask for permission for the woman to marry a Sunni, Christian, Jew or atheist. After having done this, probably by involving a bunch of people old men with goatees or well-trimmed beards in your neighbourhood, city, region or country, you have then won the privilege of formal ostracism from your community.

You have a nikah that can not be announced in a mosque or namaz centre (I love this corporate phrasing, like a Walmart Express), no Ahmadi imaam (sorry, office-bearer) can announce it, meaning that this is not in a nikah in the Ahmadi sense. You don’t have permission to marry this person in the Ahmadi sense, really.

And, of course, by doing so, you’re a sinful, disgusting person and no one should attend your wedding shameful orgy of an event.

Sidebar: I absolutely hate the way unmarried men and women are referred to as ‘boys’ and ‘girls’. I get that this is a distinct feature of the subcontinent, but it’s childish, condescending and very much in keeping with the creepy, authoritarian brand of English favoured in the jamaat.

On the authenticity or reliability of this message, it’s funny. One of the most vexing things about Ahmadiyya, which loves to compare itself to the Southern Clark County Birdwatching Club when it comes to arbitrarily kicking members out and collecting 6.25% of their salary, is that it doesn’t have the rules posted anywhere, never mind meeting times or anything like that.

At the same time, there are literally hundreds of Ahmadi organizations, and thousands of departments within those organizations, in countries like the UK, US or Canada, who can and do send out information that circulates on WhatsApp. For example, the South Bronx Lajna’s Department of Tarbiyyat might issue a message that circulates WhatsApp, as does the Croydon jamaat’s president, the regional Amir for Central Canada, and so forth. Anything is true and everything can be true; in fact, they might just gaslight you and say that it’s true and always has been true when in fact it’s not true and never has been.

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