By Usha Sanyal
Introduces the mythical chief of the good 20th-century Sunni move.
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Additional info for Ahmad Riza Khan (Makers of the Muslim World)
His education was traditional (study of the Qur’an, Arabic, and other subjects), but acquired at home, not at a madrasa. Unlike most of the other Muslim movements discussed in this book, the Ahmadis can date the beginning of their movement precisely, for in March 1889 Ghulam Ahmad held a ceremony of sufi initiation (bay‘a) at which he accepted his first disciples in the city of Ludhiana, Panjab. From 1891 onward, the group held annual meetings each December “to enable every Ahmadi to increase his religious knowledge by listening to speeches, ...
For him the suspension of religious law in lands under British control meant that the normal rules of conduct in other spheres of life no longer applied either. They also boycotted the British courts, settling their differences themselves. The movement was highly successful in forging a sense of unity and self-help among poor Bengali Muslims for a while. However, British reprisals, and the lack of strong leadership after Dudhu Miyan’s death in the 1860s led to the movement’s decline (Metcalf, 1982: 68–70;Ahmad Khan, 1965).
Muhammad Qasim’s family had a long-standing relationship with the ‘ulama of Delhi, as did Rashid Ahmad’s. They were also ambivalent about rituals associated with the death anniversaries (‘urs) of sufi saints, discouraging but not completely condemning them. On the other hand, they were punctilious about observing the ritual obligations of prayer, fasting, and performance of the pilgrimage. They also sought to encourage widow remarriage. “The follower was expected to abandon suspect customs, to fulfill all religious obligations, and to submit himself to guidance in all aspects of life” (Metcalf, 1982: 76–79, 151).
Ahmad Riza Khan (Makers of the Muslim World) by Usha Sanyal