Ahmadiya a religious sect, founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani in 1889. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad was born in a small village called Qadian in Amritsar, East Punjab. The followers of Ghulam Ahmad are known both as Ahmadis and Qadianis. The movement first came to Bengal in 1912 through one Mir Syed Abdul Wahed, who hailed from brahmanbaria. Following his conversion, a few hundred people also joined the sect.
In 1889, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad announced that he had received a divine revelation authorizing him to receive the allegiance of the faithful. He later also declared himself the Mehdi and the Messiah. After his death, his followers elected Maulana Nuruddin as his successor. Following the death of Nuruddin in 1914, the community split, with the majority remaining in Qadian and recognising Ghulam Ahmad as prophet. Since 1947, this branch, the Jamaat-i-ahmadiya, has operated out of Rabwah, a town which they founded in Pakistan. The other branch recognised Ghulam Ahmad as a reformer and established what came to be known as the Ahmadiyya Anjuman Ishaat-i-Islam.
There are followers of Ahmadiya in many countries. A large number of them also live in Bangladesh. In Pakistan, Ahmadiyas have been declared 'Non-Muslims'.
Many tenets of the Ahmadiyas are similar to those of orthodox Islam. They believe in Allah and recognise muhammad (Sm) as the Prophet. They believe that what has been said by Allah in the quran and what has been collected as the sayings of the Prophet of islam are all true. They also believe that anybody who deviates from the Islamic shariah is a disbeliever and is against Islam. They have faith in all the prophets and in the scriptures specified in the Quran. Ahmadiyas say their namaz (prayers), five times a day, observe the month-long fasting in ramadan, and pay zakat. But they do not follow many elements of Islamic aqida (faith) and amal (action). The issues in which Ahmadiyas differ with Muslims include (a) the death of jesus Christ, (b) the recognition of Hazrat Muhammad's (Sm) as the last prophet, and (c) the advent of Imam Mehdi and the Messiah.
Ahmadis believe that Prophet Muhammad (Sm) is not khatimun nabiyin, the final prophet, but khatamun nabiyin, the perfect and complete prophet. He is so great that, according to them, following him, one can even reach the stage of subsidiary prophethood. They believe that the founder of the community, Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani, is the recipient of this spiritual status.
The fundamental difference in opinion of Ahmadiyas with Muslims is on the crucifixion of Jesus. Unlike Christians and Muslims, Ahmadiyas believe that Jesus did not die on the cross, he only fainted on the cross and was brought down. Later, he revived and travelled to India to preach to the ten tribes of Israel who had been driven out by Nebuchadnezzar. Ahmadiyas believe that Jesus died a natural death in ripe old age.
Ahmadiyas also differ from orthodox Muslims about the coming of Imam Mehdi. Orthodox Muslims believe that before the world comes to an end, Islam will be at its worst and that and there will be no true religion. At this time, Jesus will descend from heaven as the Messiah and will break all crosses, the symbol of christianity, and kill all pigs, the symbol of evil. Imam Mehdi will appear at this time, to kill Dajjal and rejuvenate Islam. Ahmadiyas believe that the Messiah and Imam Mehdi are one and that he cannot descend from heaven because Jesus died a natural death. They believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Qadiani is both Imam Mehdi and the Messiah. He will destroy Dajjal and Christianity, not by physical weapons but by argument and rationality. [Editorial committee]