Most people know that nine Ahmadis were shot in cold blood in a tiny village in Burkina Faso after they refused to give up on their beliefs.

This post will examine the inevitable questions which arise out of these horrific incidents of brutality in the name of religion. Some of these questions are:

  • Did this really have to happen?

  • Would it have been acceptable to denounce or hide their faith and to prevent an avoidable death?

  • Is hiding one’s faith in times of adversity something Allah would have a problem with?

  • Is the jamaat trying at all, to shield its members from such violence or are they pushing their membership actively and knowingly to give up their lives and uphold belief at all costs?

I will start by examining the stance of the jamaat about hiding one’s faith in conditions of potential danger and then I will present the position of the Quran in this regard.

In the end my desire is that even if I can save a single life by this discussion it is well worth the effort I have put into it.

The Position of Ahmadiyya Jamaat

u/CellEfficient9618 has just shared a reference from the 1974 assembly proceedings in this context. I will reproduce it here with my sincere thanks to the original contributor.

Mr. Yahya Bakhtiar: No, but there, Sir, if a person has to save his life, it is permissible to tell a lie to save his life, I think?

Mirza Nasir Ahmad: No, I don’t think.

This reply by the third khalifa is representative of what the position of the jamaat is, regarding the question of concealing one’s faith for fear of life. Now let us review the stance of the promised Messiah in this regard. He has discussed this topic in detail in the book NurulQuran #2, which is part of Ruhani Khazain vol 9, and is available on alislam. He says in response to a christian padre’s objections.

Page 403

The Companions of the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam) continued to be martyred simply because of their truthfulness and they did never hide the divine testimony even if the earth turned red with their blood

Page 404

And then you write that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) has allowed lying in three places, but you got it wrong because of your ignorance, and the real thing is that lying is not allowed in any hadith, but in the hadith there are these words that “do not leave the truth even if you are killed and burned”. Then the Qur’an says that you should not leave justice and truth, even if your lives are lost because of it, and the Hadith says that even if you are burned and killed, speak only the truth

Page 405

As in some hadiths, in order to reconcile two Muslims, or to protect one’s wife from any trial and family resentment and quarrel, or to protect one’s interests from the enemy in war, and to sway the enemy to another side, the implementation of “toriya” (misleading statement which is technically not a lie., OP) is found to be justified, but there are many other hadiths that show that toriya is contrary to the highest level of piety, and in any case, open truth is better, even if because of it one is killed and burned.

Page 411

And your claim that the Quran commands to hide one’s religion is just slander and slander which has no basis. The Quran curses them, those who deliberately hide the testimony of religion and those who lie about it

The fifth khalifa has spent a large part of the last few years preaching the exact same message, through stories of the companions of prophet Muhammad in such a way that it has resulted in inculcating a non-negotiable stance against hiding one’s faith in zealot ahmadis. I record below the testimony of two twitter using believing ahmadis in the aftermath of the Burkina Faso incident which squarely credits the current khalifa for the ‘steadfastness’ shown by the victims as these twitter accounts claim that they were motivated by the Friday sermons.

bilalmahmooduk writes on twitter

With this ultimate sacrifice, these pious #ahmadiyya muslim souls of #BurkinaFaso have demonstrated the most profound understanding of the sacrifice exemplified by the #badariSahaba as narrated by our beloved Huzur(aba) in his Friday sermons.

AbdullahDibba writes on twitter

One by one, these Ahmadi muslims of #BurkinaFaso were asked to give up on the #PromisedMessiah. They were killed as they refused. Not a single one chose life over martyrdom. Present day examples of the #khalifa’s sermons about the companions of the Holy Prophet. Lesson learned!

Going through the above, it is crystal clear that jamaat has a clear mandate for its membership to not back down in case of any brutality, or to hide their faith to save theirs or their family’s or someone else’s lives. Not only that historically this stance has been ingrained in the psychology of the jamaat to not hide their belief no matter what the level of adversity is.

Now the obvious question that we have to deal with is; Is the stance of the jamaat according to the Quran that it claims to follow or does the Quran provide some relief in this context? As we will see below, the Quran seems very much more lenient and forgiving when it comes to the plight of the believers in the face of adversity

The Position of The Quran

There are many verses of the Quran which demonstrate the permissibility of hiding one’s faith when one is cornered. The key verse in this regard is 16:107. I quote the Urdu translation from the 4th khalifa which I have translated into English. These are all the words of the khalifa including the parenthesis. If I have made an addition in parentheses for clarity, I have added OP to that parentnesis.

“Whoso disbelieves in Allah after he has believed, except the one who is forced thereto while his heart is content in the faith (That person is absolved), but those who are satisfied with a full conviction to disbelief, on them is Allah’s wrath; and for them is (destined) a severe punishment.”

Verse 16:111 continues to talk about this particular group which was forced to renounce their faith while they believed in their hearts:

“Then, your Lord, surely, to those people who fled after they had been put in trial and then struggled and remained patient, your Lord, after that is very Forgiving (and) repeatedly Merciful.”

Note what the Quran is telling us. The people who under duress claim disbelief, are absolved and they are told to migrate after they have been in such situations where they had to hide their faith. And Allah claims to know their plight and is very sympathetic to them.

Now let us look at the explanation of these two verses given by the promised Messiah

“The non-believers will be punished, but such a person who is forced to do so, i.e. is prevented from expressing the proclamations of faith due to some unbearable punishment, and his heart is satisfied with faith, he is excusable in the sight of Allah. The meaning of this verse is that If an oppressor injures a Muslim with severe and painful wounds and in this severe punishment he utters words that are words of disbelief in the eyes of the nonbeliever, but he does not intend to utter words of disbelief, rather his heart should be filled with faith and the only intention is that he hides his religion because of this unbearable severity, but not intentionally, but at the time when he loses his sensibility and becomes like a deranged person because of the punishment, then He will forgive his sin if he observes the conditions mentioned in the following verse, because He is Forgiving and Merciful and these are the conditions…..Such people who hide their Islam in a state of extreme suffering will be forgiven on the condition that after suffering, they migrate again, i.e. leave such a habit or a country where the religion is enforced. Then try very hard in the way of God and be patient in suffering. After all these things, God will forgive their sins because He is Forgiving and Merciful. (Noor Al-Quran No. 2, Ruhani Khazain, Volume 9, Page 412)

Note that while in context of this verse, the promised Messiah has no choice but to fully acknowledge that under duress a person is excused if he utters words of disbelief, he, on his own, is adding the condition that this utterance of disbelief is only excusable if active, severe and completely unbearable physical torture is happening and a person utters something which he does not mean, in a state of derangement because of the pain of the torture. Where exactly does the quran support this additional requirement is beyond me. The only reason I can see for adding this statement is to take away from the lenient and forgiving tone of the Quran and to introduce self-derived limitations on a permission provided by the Quran.

We will see that the Quran provides a number of other scenarios in which people hid their beliefs and there were no existing suffering but rather just the threat of possible suffering. Let us examine verse 48:26, translated in urdu by the 4th khalifa.

“These are the people who disbelieved and prevented you from the sacred mosque and the sacrifice while it was prevented from reaching its altar. And if there had not been believing men and believing women whom you would have crushed under your feet because of your not being able to identify them; you would have been harmed from their side in ignorance. This happened so that Allah may enter into His mercy whomever He wills. If they (the hidden believers; OP) had been clearly segregated, We would certainly have inflicted a painful punishment on the disbelievers among them.”

Note that this verse is clearly talking about the believing men and women who are not openly identified among the bigger group of people who have been labeled as non-believers. These are people who go about their business amidst the non-believers but do not go out telling anyone about the faith in their heart. Also of interest is the fact that these people are called believers, not hypocrites. Also to be noted that these people are not concealing their thoughts after they have been exposed to hardship but only in fear of possible hardship. In fact these believers are so intermingled with the non-believers that Allah claims to not punish the whole group because these people cannot be separately identified.

Let us now take another example. This is verse 40:29 of the Quran.

“And a believing man from the nation of Pharaoh, who was hiding his faith, said, “Would you kill a person just because he says, ‘My Lord is Allah’ and he comes to you from your Lord with open and clear signs?”. If he turns out to be a liar, his lie will surely fall on him, and if he is truthful, then some of the things he threatens you with will surely catch you. Verily, Allah does not guide him who is a liar.”

The verse is very clear in telling us about this individual who was hiding his faith while being in the nation of Pharaoh. He had no reason to hide his faith other than the fear of persecution from his nation. But obviously he was not being actively persecuted as he was free to move around and was even able to inject his belief loaded statements when needed. Note again that the person is considered a believer and nowhere does it say that the person was doing a really bad thing hiding his faith. One cannot help notice the respect and leniency that the Quran offers to those people who hide their faith because of the possibility of persecution.

Now let us move on to another set of rather remarkable verses in this context. These are verses 3:30-31 of the Quran. Again the translation in urdu is by the 4th khalifa and the english translation of the urdu is done by me.

Believers should not take non-believers as friends leaving out the believers. And whoever does that, then he has absolutely nothing to do with Allah. Except that you be very careful of them. And Allah makes you aware of Himself. And to Allah is to return. So say, whether you hide what is in your breasts or reveal it, Allah will know it. And He knows what is in the heavens and in the earth. And Allah has eternal power over whatever He wills.”

Note that in this verse, the exception is allowing the believers to make friends with non-believers exclusively, to become one with them on a social level so one can know what they are upto and become careful about their plans against the believers. And as far as one’s internal state of faith is concerned, Allah is reassuring the believers that He knows what is in their hearts. The Quran is not only supporting the possibility of hiding one’s faith but also their actively posing as a non-believer to gain insight into their plans so they cannot inflict trouble on the believers. On top of all this, Allah doesn’t seem to have any issue with the concealment of faith because he claims that he knows full well what is hidden in the hearts and could not be concerned in the slightest way with what one utters from their mouth as long as the heart is full of faith.

My Conclusion

It is obvious from a comparison of the statements of the promised Messiah and his successors that their stance about hiding faith in face of adversity is extremely hardlined and is not supported by the leniency, the respect and the benevolence that the Quran seems to offer to those people who hide their faith in life threatening situations.

It is also obvious that the current khalifa continues to propagate the same hardlined stance that the promised Messiah advocated in contrast to the leniency of the Quran on this topic.

Why is it like this? What is the purpose of the jamaat in creating hardlined zealots who will end up giving their lives for the cause of the jamaat? Why are the members not provided relief from persecution by giving them options?

Is there not a clear and conscious pattern here, and an effort to produce ‘martyrs’ which can be displayed as trophies? I don’t know but it sure seems like that.

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