|Major Prophets||Amad, Arik (Ariel), Elyas (Eliyahu), Ahmad|
|Holy City||Helem , Yishelem|
|Scripture||Book of Amad, Katub, Annunciation, Book of Bliss|
|Liturgical language||Classical Brmek, Classical Majatran|
Ahmadism (Classical Brmek: احمديه âħmadiya, Majatran: أحمدية aḥmadiyyah) is a monotheistic and Qedarite religion founded by Prophet Ahmad in 1186 C.E., the beliefs of which are articulated in the Book of Bliss, and worshiping Akim (God) as the sole divinity. An adherent of Ahmadism is called an Ahmadi or (archaically and slightly more offensively) an Ahmadite.
Most Ahmadis belong to two denominations, Israism and Abadism, while smaller numbers adhere to Halawism, Zahirism, and several other denominations. The vast majority of Ahmadis resides in Majatra, while the religion also has a large presence in Dovani (particularly in Talmoria and Medina).
The central Ahmadi belief is pure and uncompromising monotheism, believing Akim to be the sole, eternal, and absolute creator and ruler of the Universe. Monotheism (ʾisraliq, tawḥīd - lit. oneness) is Ahmadism's central article of faith; God is seen as a unique, independent and indivisible being, who is independent of the entire creation. Ahmadis reject the Hosian worship of Eliyahu as the Spirit of God, which they liken to polytheism. God's uniqueness is emphasized in the Ahmadi creed, which goes as follows: Densted ʾAkîm ħererwa ʾAkîm ayûzûre, Âħmad ʾAkîmîk şlîħe, "There is no god but Akim, Ahmad is the apostle (messenger, prophet) of God".
The Holy Spirits are a number of celestial beings that serve Akim and follow his will. They were created by God from his Light/Illumination (Nūr), and as such they reflect the names and attributes of God. The two main sects disagree on whether the Light of God was created or not. Abadis believe that the Light is the Names, Attributes, Word and Primal Mind of God, manifested into a realm lower than the one where God's essence, which is inaccessible, dwells, but higher than the angelic and physical realms. The Light is therefore uncreated and co-eternal with God. As the Holy Spirits were fashioned out of the Light of God, they faithfully embody the divine names and attributes. Israis on the other hand believe that to consider the Light of God to be uncreated and co-eternal with God is dangerously close to shirk (polytheism); the Light is, instead, the first thing that God created and out of which the entire universe was brought into existence. The Devil (Brmek: Sâtânaʾîl, Majatran: Shayṭāna'il) is believed to have been a Holy Spirit before his revolt against God and subsequent fall from His grace.
Ahmadis believe that God sent humans known as Prophets to bring the "will of God" to the peoples of the nations. Prophets are believed to be human and not divine, although some are able to perform miracles to prove their claim. Prophets are referred to as nabî (Majatran: nabī, pl. anbiyāʾ), meaning "prophet", and as şlîħe (Majatran: rasūl, pl. rusul), meaning "apostle" or "messenger".
Âħmad Hamudtsamekû Qamîk (Ahmad ibn Hammud al-Qammat in Majatran) is considered the last and most important messenger and prophet of Akim, the last law-bearer in a series of prophets, and the last prophet of Akim as taught by the Book of Bliss. Ahmadis thus consider him the restorer of an uncorrupted original monotheistic faith of Akim. He was also active as a teacher, merchant, philosopher, orator, legislator, reformer and, according to Abadi belief, an agent of divine action.
Afterlife and Eschatology
Ahmadis believe that all mankind will be judged based on their deeds and be sent either to Paradise or to Hell. At the end of the world all humans shall be resurrected, after which they will face eternal life in Paradise or Hell, depending on their actions. Charity, compassion, faithfulness, and kindness towards animals are believed to assure one's place in Paradise, while disbelief, polytheism, and dishonesty will condemn one to Hell, although Akim is believed to be merciful and forgiving, so that repentance can lead to the forgiveness of any sin.
Ahmadism does not have an organized clergy, although Imams and Muftis exist, having the responsibility of leading prayer. Ahmadis are expected to participate in communal worship and prayer at a Mosque at least one day a week, and in private they are expected to pray three times a day, at pre-determined times. Almsgiving is also a central practice in Ahmadism; faithful Ahmadis have to offer some of their income to those in need. One month in the Ahmadi calendar is dedicated to fasting, whereby able-bodied adult Ahmadis are not to eat anything during the day. Jihad, or "Struggle", is another central Ahmadi practice. The term refers primarily to the personal struggle against temptation and sin, but it can also mean the collective effort of the community in fighting against injustice; in the latter understanding, Jihad is sometimes considered a form of Holy War.
The core of Ahmadi belief is represented by the Ahmadi creed (şehadyûgad, šahādah). The creed is the Ahmadi declaration of belief in the oneness of Akim and acceptance of Ahmad as Akim's prophet. The Ahmadi declaration reads: There is no god but Akim, and Ahmad is His messenger. Also, it is said that when dying one should recite this declaration of faith. The creed is recited during the call to prayer (ezân, adhān), and reciting it is also a requirement from any person that wishes to become an Ahmadi.
Ahmadis are required to pray daily, and Ahmadi prayer (janṯe, ṣalāh) is divided into three, namely ʾAmsa, Pasemat, and Bayfe. ʾAmsa is performed at dawn, Pasemat is a noon prayer and Bayfe is the evening prayer. Each prayer consists of a certain amount of prescribed movements and words during prayer. A prayer either consists of two, three, or four movements. All of these prayers are recited while facing the Holy City of Helem in Kafuristan. Ahmadis must wash themselves before prayer. The prayer is accompanied by a series of set positions including; bowing with hands on knees, standing, prostrating and sitting in a special position (not on the heels, nor on the buttocks, with the toes pointing away from Helem), usually with one foot tucked under the body.
During the month of July, Ahmadis must fast from dawn to sunset. This is meant to feel how the poor people are without food or water. In addition, Ahmadis close their bodies off from earthly demands by denying themselves food and drink. This in turn allows for the nourishment of the soul. Fasting is more than just the mere denial of food and drink. Ahmadis must also abstain from smoking and sexual contact. In addition, there are culture-specific beliefs regarding the watching of television, listening to music, and the perusal of any secular vice that does not in some way enhance spirituality. Fasting during this month is often thought figuratively to burn away all sins.
Ahmadis believe that the Book of Bliss was sent down to the lowest heaven during this month, thus being prepared for gradual revelation by the Holy Spirit Rasul al-Haqq to the Holy Prophet Ahmad. Furthermore, Ahmad told his followers that the gates of Heaven would be open all the month and the gates of Hell would be closed. The first day of the next month, August, is spent in celebrations and is observed as the "Festival of Breaking Fast".
Alms-giving (erwâne, zakāt) is the practice of charitable giving by Ahmadis based on accumulated wealth, and is obligatory for all who are able to do so. It is considered to be a personal responsibility for Ahmadis to ease economic hardship for others and eliminate inequality. The two main sects (Israism and Abadism) calculate the amount of alms-giving differently. In Israism the individual must pay 19% of any wealth in excess of what is necessary to live comfortably, after the remittance of any outstanding debt; the alms-giving is paid every time the individual exceeds the wealth necessary to live comfortably. In Abadism the individual must pay 2.5% of their income as alms-giving. In both sects the money is donated for the benefit of the poor or needy, including slaves, debtors and travelers. Other sects either have different methods for calculating the zakāt or reject the obligation altogether.
There are four principles that should be followed when giving the zakāt:
- The giver must declare to Akim his intention to give the zakāt.
- The zakat must be paid on the day that it is due.
- Payment must be in kind. This means if one is wealthy then he or she needs to provide part of their wealth. If a person does not have much money, then they should compensate for it in different ways, such as good deeds and good behavior toward others.
- The zakāt must be distributed in the community from which it was taken.
Pilgrimage to Helem (ħaj, ḥajj) is a mandatory religious duty for Ahmadis that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by all adult Ahmadis who are physically and financially capable of undertaking the journey, and can support their family during their absence. A person who has undertaken the pilgrimage is called a ħajqai or ḥajjī.
Ahmadism was founded by Prophet Ahmad in the aftermath of the collapse of the Sacred Monarchy of Beiteynu. Barmenia was at the time a multi-ethnic and multi-religious region, with Hosianism, Yeudism, and Oseanism competing for dominance in the area, and it is believed that this religious divide was the catalyst for Ahmad's founding of a new monotheistic religion. The Sacred Monarchy of Beiteynu was a Yeudi theocratic monarchy that governed most of Beiteynu and Barmenia, and when it collapsed it disintegrated into a number of tribes and petty kingdoms. Ahmad's emergence in 1186 led to the reunification of most of Barmenia, and during his lifetime the Prophet led a campaign in the Eastern parts of the continent, bringing the Majatran world into the fold of Ahmadism. After Ahmad's death, his brother was proclaimed his Caliph (Successor), establishing the Ahmadi Caliphate, although a succession dispute immediately after the Prophet's death led to the Israi-Abadi split.
The Caliphate would slowly unite the entire continent of Majatra, ruling it for almost three hundred years. The Ahmadi-Augustan Wars brought the Augustan Empire, the largest empire at the time, under Ahmadi rule, spreading the religion throughout Majatra. The Caliphate was however never a centralized unitary state, but a collection of loosely-linked quasi-independent feudal states, all owing their allegiance to the Caliph, as the successor and representative of Ahmad. After the death of the last Caliph in 1486, the loosely linked Caliphate break apart into separate states.
Most polities in Majatra would nonetheless continue to follow Ahmadism as their main religion, and in the early modern age the religion would spread by trade to the continent of Dovani, becoming the state religion of the Asli Sultanate and the Sultanate of Medina.
In the colonial era many of the Ahmadi regions were brought under the indirect or direct rule of Artanian nations, leading to a backlash against the Hosian world and the politicization of Ahmadism. The Caliphate would be resurrected numerous times in the modern era, most famously under the Razamid Caliphate.
Summary of differences
|God||God is unique and has no form, body, or attributes; knowledge of God is impossible||God is unique and his essence is absolutely unknowable; a subordinate form of knowledge is available by way of mediation by the Light of God (Nūr)||God is unique and he is both immanent and trancedental; God's attributes are neither God nor other than God||Panentheism; God is the "soul" of the universe, which is contained within and is a part of God; there is nothing in existence except God||God is unique, as are his names, attributes, and actions; essentially there is one Reality which is one and indivisible|
|Holy Spirits||The Holy Spirits were created by God from the Light of God (Nūr); the Light is the first creation of God, and all other things and beings were gradually created from it; to view the Spirits or the Light as uncreated is shirk (polytheism)||The Holy Spirits were created by God from the Light of God; Nūr is the manifestation of the names and attributes of God, which pervades all created things; as such the Light is uncreated and co-eternal with God, and the Spirits are the embodiment of his divine attributes||The Holy Spirits were created by God from the Light of God; the question as to the Light's createdness is artificial and wrongly framed; God neither is nor is not the Light||God and the Holy Spirits are one and the same, as all Reality is a part of God||The Holy Spirits are a part of God and the Manifestation of the Light of God into the physical realm|
|Messengers and Prophets||Distinction between Messengers/Apostles, who bring divine revelation via the Holy Spirits, and Prophets, lawbringers who were sent by God to every people; Ahmad was both a Messenger and a Prophet, and the last of both||Distinction between Manifestations of God (also known as Messengers or Great Prophets), who act as intermediaries between God and man and are recipients of divine revelation, and Prophets, who speak on behalf of the Manifestations of God and receive divine inspiration as opposed to revelation; the Manifestations of God perfectly reflect the attributes and names of God as a perfect mirror reflects the rays of the sun; Ahmad was the last Manifestation of God, and his Companions were his minor Prophets||Distinction between Messengers/Apostles, who bring divine revelation via the Holy Spirits, and Prophets, lawbringers who were sent by God to every people; the world is a manifestation of the Light of God, which was incarnated in the Messengers of God||All Prophets are the same Being, who are the reincarnation and manifestation of the Holy Spirits into a human body||Distinction between a Natiq (Speaker), who is commissioned to establish a new religious covenant concerned with the rites and outward shape of religion, and a Wasi (Representative), who is commissioned to reveal the esoteric/secret meaning of all rites and rules to a small circle of initiates; Ahmad was both a Natiq and a Wasi, and his final successor shall supersede all previous religions, abrogate the law and introduce the original religion practiced by Amad and the angels in paradise before the fall, which will be without ritual or law but consist merely in all creatures praising the creator and recognizing his unity|
|Caliph||The Caliph is primarily a political ruler, the head of the Ahmadi community and the successor of Prophet Ahmad, while interpretation and implementation of Ahmadi law is left to the Ahmadi jurists and scholars; the Caliph should be elected by the consensus of Ahmadis expressed in a kurultai/shura; most Israis consider that the Caliph should belong to the Prophet's Kamék (Qamîk/al-Qammat) Clan or be a descendant of the Sahabas (friends/companions) of the Prophet.||The Caliph is both a political and religious leader, tasked with protecting and defending the Ahmadi community as well as serving as an authorized interpreter of scripture; the Caliph should come from the prophetic family (Afnan, literally "branches") and should be elected by the consensus of Ahmadis expressed in a kurultai/shura||The Caliph is both a political and religious leader, serving as the leader of the Ahmadi community and successor of the Prophet; moreover the Caliph has the authority to reveal the hidden/esoteric meaning of the Book of Bliss and is infallible||The Caliphate and many other practices of the other Ahmadi denominations were religious innovations that go against the original message of the Prophet; instead Halawis have an initiatic hierarchy at the top of which is a baba, a living saint who can reveal the hidden meaning of the Book of Bliss||Zahiris place greater emphasis on the concept of Imamate as successorship to Ahmad; the Imam is the divinely chosen, infallible, and sinless ruler of the Ahmadi community and must come from the Afnan, irrespective of confirmation by kurultai/shura; the Abadi line of succession is accepted until Caliph Khalid I, who is considered an apocalyptic False Caliph; instead Zahir al-Muntadhir is the rightful and Last Imam, who will return at the end of the world to bring about the final religion of God|
|Book of Bliss||The Book of Bliss is an inerrant and inspired text containing the divine revelation received by Prophet Ahmad; there is both an exoteric or apparent meaning as well as an underlying esoteric meaning; the text is interpreted through the prism of prophetic tradition (sunnah), binding consensus, and reason; preference given to the clear or apparent meaning of the text||The Book of Bliss is an inerrant and inspired text containing the divine revelation received by Prophet Ahmad; there is both an exoteric or apparent meaning as well as an underlying esoteric meaning; while the exoteric meaning can be interpreted through the prism of prophetic tradition (sunnah), binding consensus, and reason, the hidden/esoteric meaning can only be interpreted by the divinely appointed Caliph||The Book of Bliss is an inerrant and inspired text containing the divine revelation received by Prophet Ahmad; while accepting the external/clear meaning of the text is fundamental, the hidden meaning is superior and most of the Book is to be interpreted allegorically; the esoteric meaning of the Book of Bliss can only be fully understood and interpreted by a figure with esoteric knowledge, either the Caliph or the leader of one of the Sahabi orders; the hidden meaning is necessary so that Ahmadism does not become a cold and formal doctrine excessively focused on the externals of the faith||The Book of Bliss has three layers of meaning, the obvious or exoteric, accessible to anyone, the hidden or esoteric, accessible to those of intellect through exegesis, and the hidden of the hidden, inaccessible to all but a select few enlightened individuals; the esoteric interpretation supersedes the obvious meaning of the text; some tenets of the faith are secret and hidden even from most Halawis||The Book of Bliss is an inerrant and inspired text containing the divine revelation received by Prophet Ahmad; the Imam, while ontologically on the same level as Prophets, does not receive divine revelation, but is granted the esoteric knowledge of the Book of Bliss; the Book of Bliss has both an apparent and a hidden meaning, and the latter can only be known by the Imam; the Imam is also guided by secret texts in his possession|
|Practices||Fasting, alms-giving, pilgrimage, and the three daily prayers are a religious obligation for all capable Ahmadis; asceticism is discouraged if not forbidden; charity consists of a prescribed amount of 19% of excess wealth||Fasting, alms-giving, pilgrimage, and the three daily prayers are a religious obligation for all capable Ahmadis; asceticism is discouraged if not forbidden; charity consists of 2.5% of all income||Religious practices are essential, but they should be interpreted symbolically; the spiritual aspect of religious practices is more important than the outward ritual; venerating at the tombs of saints is a central Sahabi practice; asceticism is widely practiced and encouraged; praying to prophets and saints as intercessors to God is a common practice||Halawis reject most orthodox Ahmadi religious practices, which they consider to be illegitimate innovations; there is no prescribed amount for charity and Halawis only need to give their excess; pilgrimage to Helem is rejected by most Halawis, while many visit the tombs of deceased babas; mosque attendance is rejected and instead Halawi communal worship takes place in tekkes; Halawism also integrates many folk practices and some derived from other religions, such as ceremonial use of wine, dancing, swirling, and singing; asceticism is mandatory only for the initiates||Zahiris do not differ significantly in their practices form orthodox Abadis; a greater emphasis is placed on the role of the Imam as the infallible interpreter of scripture, and the return of Zahir al-Muntadhir will bring about the abolition of all rites and external forms of worship|