In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Ever Merciful
One conflict at the present time is that different senior official representatives of the administration or nizam of the Jama’at have been making disparate claims about the number of members for over a decade, as evident from the links provided in the ‘Evidence’ section below.
Please keep in mind the following admonition of Hadhrat Masih al Ma’oud a.s. prior to studying the data below:
“When a doctrine becomes old, and a person has believed it for a long time, it becomes very difficult for him to desert it. He cannot tolerate hearing against it. Rather, on hearing the opposite, he becomes furious, and is even prepared to seek the blood of the opponent, because the old habit becomes part of his temperament.” [Malfoozat Vol 3, p. 538, 1 Aug 1904]
“The fact of the matter is this, that unless a person ponders over any subject, and does so with an open mind, and without prejudice, paying attention to all aspects, and does not listen/read attentively, he can’t desert the old belief. When a person hears something new to him, he should not immediately jump up to oppose it. Instead, it is his obligation to ponder over all it’s aspects, and think over it in solitude, judiciously, honestly, and above all, fearing the Almighty.” [Malfoozat, Vol. 2, p. 355, 31 August 1901]
Please note that this article was composed about 4 years ago, and does not include numbers data from 2018 onwards. The data presented was culled from a number of sources, and a couple or so of the links may be broken now, but the vast majority of them still work.
2004: khuddamul ahmadiyya UK released a magazine which states: “During his 21 year period of khilafat, the seed of Ahmadiyyat the true Islam had been sown in many new countries, making 175 countries in total and the jama’at expanded from 10 million to over 180 million . He passed away on 19th April 2003 aged 74.” (source: http://www.alislam.org/library/periodicals/tariq-uk/chapter1.pdf, Page 14)
2004: The jama’at released a book, it says: “hadrat mirza tahir ahmad (1928-2003) … was loved and devoutly followed by his approximately 10 million ahmadi muslim followers all over the world as their Imam…” (source: http://www.alislam.org/library/books/muslims/with-love-to-Muslims.pdf, Page 3)
2005: The jama’at released two books which says 10 million follower worldwide (source: http://www.alislam.org/library/books/WasAhmadiyyaJamaatPlantedByBritish.pdf, Page 3, and: http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Apostasy-in-Islam.pdf, Page 5)
2005: The jama’at released a press release, it says 200 million worldwide (source: http://www.alislam.org/London-Bombings-Resources/Press-Release-London-Bombings.pdf)
2006: The jama’at released a press release and said again 200 million worldwide (source: http://www.alislam.org/press-release/profanity-feb3-06.pdf)
2007: The ahmadiyya jama’at Canada released an article, it says 10 million worldwide (Source: http://www.ahmadiyya.ca/jalsa/topstories.php?StoryId=10)
2008: The ahmadiyya jama’at in Sri Lanka released a press release, it says 220 million worldwide (source: http://www.lankaweb.com/news/items08/230208-2.html)
2008: On 14th June 2008 the fifth khalifa said in an interview, that there are 70 million followers worldwide (source: http://alislam.org/khilafat/fifth/preaching%20peace.pdf)
2008: On 2nd December 2008 the fifth khalifa is reported to have said in another interview that there are 170 million followers worldwide (source: http://www.hindu.com/2008/12/02/stories/2008120253950400.htm)
2009: The jama’at released a press released, it says 80 million worldwide (source: http://www.alislam.org/egazette/press-release/muslim-leader-urges-peaceful-propagation-of-islam/)
2009: The ahmadiyya jama’at USA says in an article “tens of millions” worldwide (source: http://www.ahmadiyya.us/about-ahmadiyya-muslim-community)
2010: The ahmadiyya jama’at in New Zealand released a press release, it says “tens of millions” worldwide (source: http://www.ahmadiyya.org.nz/index.php?option=com_docman&task=doc_download&gid=18&Itemid=)
2011: The ahmadiyya jama’at in Germany released an article and says “several millions” worldwide (source: http://www.ahmadiyya-islam.org/de/news/artikel/date/2011/12/02/liebe-fuer-alle-hass-fuer-keinen-islamische-reformgemeinde-startet-plakataktion/)
2011: The ahmadiyya jama’at UK Website “LoveForAllHatredForNone.org” and a press release of ahmadiyya jama’at UK says 160 millions worldwide (source: http://www.loveforallhatredfornone.org/portfolio-item/community-relations-not-harmed-by-77/ and: http://www.prnewswire.co.uk/news-releases/consumer-technology-latest-news/muslims-launch-new-peace-campaign-in-britain-153738465.html)
2012: The ahmadiyya jama’at USA released a press release, it says “tens of millions” worldwide (source: http://www.ahmadiyya.us/documents/doc_download/915-20120208-release-sikh-temple-vandalism)
2012: http://www.alislam.org/library/books/Apostasy-in-Islam.pdf, Page 5: Approximately 10 Million
2013: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJamgVlvnOc (May 24, 2013: at least 150, 160 million – CBC Canada interview. The statement ‘hundreds of millions’ was made in the interview at 16:35-39 minutes into the interview, and then 18:45-55, he claims many millions; and at 19:00-19:05, he says ‘at least 150, 160 milion’: )
Going forward, sincere believing Ahmadi Muslims ought to rectify and learn from this mistake, so that the same sort of error is not repeated at the beginning of the 3rd century of the Movement. What is noteworthy, is that 3 books officially published by the Jama’at (2004/05) and an article by the Canadian Jama’at (2007) declared the figure of about 10 million soon after the demise of caliph iv, seemingly unaffected by the exaggerations.
This guide on how to sort truth from falsehood might help the others to acquire some beneficial knowledge in this regard:
“… we are defining “fake news” as those news stories that are false: the story itself is fabricated, with no verifiable facts, sources or quotes.”
Hadrat Khalifa-tul-Masih II r.a. stated: “I have been asked to state why I believe in Islam. When I put the question to myself, the reply I received was, for the same reason for which I believe in anything else, that is to say, because it is the truth.”
The decade of increasingly questionable claims about new baia’at numbers:
1st International Ba’iat 1992/93 204,308
2nd International Ba’iat 1993/94 418,206
3rd International Ba’iat 1994/95 845,294
4th International Ba’iat 1995/96 1,602,721
5th International Ba’iat 1996/97 3,004,584
6th International Ba’iat 1997/98 5,004,591
7th International Ba’iat 1998/99 10,820,226
8th International Ba’iat 1999/00 41,308,376
9th International Ba’iat 2000/01 81,006,731
10th International Ba’iat 2001/02 20,654,000
In 2001, caliph iv had claimed that there were over 40 million new Ahmadis in India alone:
One question that arises is why the numbers dropped from over 20 million in 2002 to under 1 million from 2003 onwards. Was there a drop in ‘spiritual magnetism’ or ‘superficial magnetism’ from caliph iv to caliph v, or is there another explanation for this?
Some ahmadis claim that these numbers were based on false reports forged by missionaries and presidents (umaraa) and other officials in high positions (who were appointed by the caliph himself). Whilst this excuse might also be considered, why wasn’t caliph iv able to discern truth from manifest falsehood, and why wasn’t he guided aright by Allah if he was indeed appointed by Allah as Khalifa according to the prevailing dogma; with some even imagining that God guides him in what he utters during personal mulaqaat etc. It also doesn’t explain why such incredible claims were not made by his successor caliph v, with the previously proclaimed numbers of ‘tens of millions’ dropping drastically to less than 1 million from 2003 onwards, as evident from this link:
The annual converts figures have subsequently been removed from wikipedia. However, they are still visible in the history of the wikipedia page. They were taken from the Daily AlFazl Rabwah, and are as follows:
The official figures for 2016 and 2017 were 584,000 and 609,000, giving us a total figure of around 7.6 million converts from 2003-2017. A lower estimate of 16 million by caliph v in October 2017 would mean that there were around 8.4 million Ahmadis in the world when he became caliph, or around 12.4 million if we take his upper estimate of 20 million. In other words, according to caliph v, the figures of caliph iv were false. Moreover, 3 books officially published over this time period and still available on alislam.org stated the 1980’s estimate of approximately 10 million – upon which ahmadis had been united – as evident from the list of links given above.
The commentary on verse [8:32] is worth reading:
As it states, true righteous believers are granted an ability to discern truth from falsehood, and ‘… they do not blindly believe in the truth of their religion’.
Inculcating blind faith and unconditional obedience to religious personalities or organisations leads to ignorance, falsehood, wrongdoing, and also encourages abuse of power, and eventually, mullah-ism.
Khalifatul-Masih II r.a. publicly admonished ahmadis in a sermon of 1950:
“… some people in the Jama’at have now reached the stage in their exaggeration that, when saying how many they are, they give a figure of up to two and a half million. … The falsehood which is now uttered, that we number two and a half million, has no advantage but instead leads to two drawbacks. One is that the man who says this, gives up propagation work because he thinks that there are two and a half million people doing this work, and so it makes no difference if he does not do it. The second drawback is that such a man is slow to pay his contributions because he thinks that there are two and a half million people contributing, and so it makes no difference if he does not pay his contributions.” (Friday sermon 18th August 1950, Al-Fazl, 5th September 1950).
The original Urdu sermon can be read here – pages 4-7 are particularly relevant:
A hadith worth pondering over:
Abdullah ibn Mas’ud r.a. relates that the Holy Prophet s.a. said: Truth guides to virtue and virtue guides to Paradise. A person persists in telling the truth till in the sight of Allah he is named Truthful. Lying leads to vice and vice leads to the Fire; and a person goes on lying till in the sight of Allah he is named a liar (Bukhari and Muslim).
A relevant verse of the Holy Qur’an:
[33:24] “That God may reward the truthful for their truthfulness, and punish the hypocrites if He wills, or turn mercifully towards them…”
Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad a.s. had advised the Community:
“It is not necessary for me to admonish you not to commit murder for no one except a wholly wicked person advances towards murder. But I do admonish you that you should not insist upon injustice and thus slay the truth. Accept the truth even if it should proceed from a child. If you find your opponent uttering the truth then immediately give up your dry logic. Adhere to the truth and bear true witness.
God the Glorious, says:
i.e. “Shun the abomination of idols and shun all words of falsehood” [Al-Hajj, 22:30] because falsehood is no less than an idol. That which turns you away from the Qiblah of truth is an idol in your path.” [Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 3, pp. 546-550, Essence of Islam Vol 4, p. 248, 249]
Unfortunately, both the first (shirrk) and second (falsehood) of the ten conditions of bai’at to the Promised Messiah a.s. have been violated. Due to this, one may propose a new slogan/goal for the nizam, something it ought to dispassionately strive towards:
“Truth for All, Lies For None.”
But this should not merely be something to be used as a hollow marketing slogan, with apparent truth displayed on the surface, but lies behind it and within; though that would be a superficial improvement from the situation at the moment, i.e. that of lies within, and lies on the surface (re: the numbers fiasco).
If this newly prescribed slogan is adhered to, then we might be able to hope for witnessing what we are told happened in the case of:
[3:103] And hold fast, all together, to the rope of Allah and be not divided; and remember the favour of Allah which He bestowed upon you when you were enemies and He united your hearts in love, so that by His grace you became as brothers; and you were on the brink of a pit of fire and He saved you from it. Thus does Allah explain to you His commandments that you may be guided.
The rope of Allah is principally the Noble Qur’an, and then it may secondarily apply to someone who adheres to the Rope of Allah, just as the Holy Prophet Muhammad s.a. became like a rope for his Companions r.a., and Abubakr Siddiq r.a. likewise, due to their faith and truthfulness, for Allah is Al-Haqq, and so also is His Word.
Those who insist on upholding the disparate numbers which are so manifestly false, instead of just being speculative, can neither themselves be united, nor can they be inviting others towards the truth. So, once again, I highly recommend becoming dispassionate and practically adopting the slogan of:
“Truth for All, Lies For None.”
From my study of the Qur’an, it appears to go an even longer way than:
“Love for All, Hatred For None.”
Both need to be taught and emphasised, as both were noticeably being violated from 1989 onwards; tokenism does not change the reality of the officially promoted attitudes.
I went and asked caliph v himself about the numbers fiasco in October 2017 during a mulaqaat (meeting) in his office. When I mentioned the contradiction between official announcements, some saying ‘tens of millions’, others saying ‘over 200 million’, he said ‘I don’t say 150 million’, which he had said in his CBC interview:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DJamgVlvnOc (May 24, 2013: at least 150, 160 million – CBC Canada interview. The statement ‘hundreds of millions’ was made in the interview at 16:35-39 minutes into the interview, and then 18:45-55, he claims many millions; and at 19:00-19:05, he says ‘at least 150, 160 milion’.)
I asked him what the numbers actually were, and he replied ’16-20 million’. I said ‘but ‘tens of millions’ starts from 20 million, upon which he replied ‘millions’!
[19:76] Allah increases in guidance those who follow the guidance.
[20:47] Peace be upon those who follow the guidance.