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Conversion to Ahmadiyya in Indonesia: winning hearts through ethical and spiritual appeals.

When describing and treating Ahmadiyya in Indonesia, many scholars and policymakers overlook the differences between Qadiani and Lahore Ahmadiyya. They wrongly believe that only opposing stances on the issue of the status as a prophet of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, the founder of Ahmadiyya, divide these two branches of Ahmadiyya. The Qadiani believe that he is a prophet, whereas the Lahore believe that he is only a mujaddid (reformer). It is often assumed that, apart from this issue, the two branches have similar beliefs or only differ on trivial or superficial matters. Ignorance regarding the differences between the Qadiani and the Lahore seems to characterize perceptions of Ahmadiyya on the part of the Majelis Ulama Indonesia (MUI, Indonesian Council of Ulama) and the Indonesian government, as reflected in the MUI's 2005 fatwa on Ahmadiyya and subsequent decrees from the local and national governments. Although, particularly in the years following their 1914 split, the two factions of Ahmadiyya have often treated each other more as enemies than as brothers, the MUI directed its fatwa at both factions by stating that both the Qadiani and the Lahore were outside the pale of Islam. The rupture between Muhammadiyah and Ahmadiyyah that began in 1927, after a period of cordial relations, may also have been due to Muhammadiyah's ignorance of the differences between Qadiani and Lahore Ahmadiyya. (1)

The tendency to overlook the differences between Lahore and Qadiani Ahmadiyya stems from the fact that the two branches share the same origin and some of the same intellectual sources, particularly the works of Ghulam Ahmad. Some of the literature in the Ahmadiyya tradition aggravates the confusion in understanding the two branches of Ahmadiyya. This literature--Mirza Mubarak Ahmad's Ahmadiyyat in the Far East (Ahmad 1964), for example --often claims the successes of one group as that of the other. (2) The reality is that these two Ahmadiyya factions have often been in conflict and in competition with one another. Although this rivalry has ebbed, the two branches have checked one another since the time of their split. Their differences relate not only to their perception of Ghulam Ahmad, but also to almost every aspect of their teachings, except that concerning the death of Jesus Christ. As Wilfred Cantwell Smith (1969, p. 369) illustrated, the Lahore branch is more closely associated with "liberal Islam", (3) and its adherents have moved closer to mainstream Islam, even to the point of forgetting their differences from mainstream Muslims and minimizing their connections with Ghulam Ahmad. Smith explains that the Lahore branch has gradually come to look upon itself "as simply an energetic and worthy Muslim missionary society" (ibid.). In contrast to the Lahore branch, which has become a liberal intellectual movement, the Qadiani branch of Ahmadiyya has become more of a mystical and conservative movement.

[T]he movement strictly enforces pardah [screen or veil for women] and encourages polygamy, and has an ascetic morality that disapproves of cinemas.... Thus [Qadiani] Ahmadis come nearer to living the good life than do most of their neighbours, while their ideas on the subject are a century out of date. (Smith 1969, p. 370)

This article attempts to explain the differences between the two factions of Ahmadiyya regarding one of the fundamental elements of Ahmadiyya, namely tabligh and da 'wa (preaching and propagation), which have become "the life-blood and raison d'etre of the movement" (Valentine 2008, p. 211), particularly in its efforts to convert Indonesians. It addresses three basic questions relating to the place of Ahmadiyya in Indonesia. How have Qadiani Ahmadiyya propagated their beliefs and teachings to Indonesian Muslims? What factors have attracted Indonesians to Ahmaddiya and led them to convert? What are the social implications of conversion for those who join this movement?

The Introduction of Qadiani Ahmadiyya to Indonesia

Ahmadiyya ranks as the most influential and controversial sectarian group in contemporary Islam. Established by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in India in 1889, this group claims to have more than ten million members in more than 200 countries ("Ahmadiyya Muslim Community: An Overview" n.d.). The group has faced charges of heresy from various religious institutions, such as the Rabita al-'Alam al-Islaml (Muslim World League), the MUI, and the Council of the Islamic Fiqh Academy of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) (Burhani 2014a, pp. 290-96). The main reason for this charge is the distinctive beliefs of Ahmadiyya, such as their belief that Ghulam Ahmad was a prophet. Since 1914, Ahmadiyya has been divided into two groups, Qadiani and Lahore Ahmadiyya. The former, the focus of the discussion in this article, uses the name Ahmadiyya Muslim Community or Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat or just jemaat internationally. In Indonesia, its official name is Jemaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia (JAI, Indonesian Ahmadiyya Community). The official name of the latter is Ahmadiyyah Anjuman Isha'at Islam (AAII); its official name in Indonesia is Gerakan Ahmadiyah Indonesia (GAI, Indonesian Ahmadiyya Movement).

The official website of Qadiani Ahmadiyya ("75 Tahun Jemaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia" n.d.) suggests that the history of the introduction of Ahmadiyya into Indonesia differs markedly from its history in other countries in a number of respects. First, Indonesians initially became familiar with Qadiani Ahmadiyya through Lahore Ahmadiyya, its competitor and rival. In theological language of the jemaat--denoting in this context the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama'at (Ahmadiyya Muslim Community)--the introduction of this Qadiani group to Indonesia was by the will and design of God. (4) Second, initiative for the introduction of Qadiani Ahmadiyya did not come from the headquarters of Ahmadiyya in Qadian, now in the Indian Punjab, but rather from Indonesian students who requested in earnest that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II, Mirza Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad (1889-1965), send Ahmadiyya missionaries to Indonesia in 1924 ("75 Tahun Jemaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia" n.d.).

The history of Qadiani Ahmadiyya's arrival in what is today Indonesia has a connection with the Lahore branch's contacts with the country. The story begins with the arrival of Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, a well-known Muslim missionary and leader of Lahore Ahmadiyya, in Surabaya on 23 October 1920, during his tour of Southeast Asia (Kamal-ud-Din 1921, p. 122; Zulkarnain 2005, p. 171; N. Iskandar 2005). Although the commonly stated purpose of this trip to Southeast Asia was medical, in his preface to Kamal-ud-Din's The Gospel of Action, (5) Muhammad Yaqub Khan mentions that he also used that trip as an opportunity to observe first-hand the condition of Muslims in East India, today's Indonesia (Khan 1923, p. 9). Although Kamal-ud-Din only stayed in Indonesia for a few months, he successfully managed to make his presence felt, winning the confidence of many Indonesian Muslims. His speeches in Surabaya and Batavia resulted in headlines in several newspapers, such as Neratja, Tjahaya Sumatera, and Oetoesan Hindia, and they were read by educated people all over Indonesia, including Sumatra. The compilation of his speeches in the East Indies, published with the title The Gospel of Action, earned Soekamo's praise as a "brilliant book" (Soekamo 1964, p. 346).

Kamal-ud-Din not only impressed Indonesian Muslims with his speeches and information, but he also created a feeling among them that the epicentre of Islam's revival was to be found in India. (6) This claim revised the previous understanding that the centre of Islamic learning could only be found in the Middle East, particularly in Mecca and Egypt. It was thanks to the influence of Kamal-ud-Din's visit that Zainuddin Labai el-Yunusiyah, a teacher at the Sumatra Thawalib, and Ibrahim Musa Parabek, a well-known ulama from Bukittinggi, recommended that Abu Bakar Ayyub and Ahmad Nuruddin, two students at the Sumatra Thawalib, continue their studies in India instead of in one of those Middle Eastern centres. They reasoned that a number of students were already going from the Netherlands East Indies to Egypt to study Islam and that there was as a result a need to send students elsewhere. They believed India to have become a centre of modern Islamic thought that was neither inferior to nor less prestigious than Egypt ("75 Tahun Jemaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia" n.d.; Hamka 1982, p. 138; Murtolo 1976, p. 11).

Finally, in 1922 Abu Bakar Ayyub and Ahmad Nuruddin departed for India. After arriving there, they first studied in the Madrasah Nizhamiyya "Damn Nadwah" in Lucknow under the supervision of Abdul Bari al-Anshari. It was during their time in Lucknow that they met their countryman Zaini Dahlan, who followed in their footsteps to India in pursuit of Islamic knowledge. After staying for a few months at Damn Nadwah and feeling unsatisfied with its education system, they decided to move to Lahore, the city from which Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din came. They recalled that the Bukittinggi newspaper Tjahaja Sumatera had reported the arrival of Kamal-ud-Din to Java and his lecture on the superiority of Islam (Zainal Abidin 2007, pp. 6-7; Zulkamain 2005, pp. 172-73). Unfortunately, after arriving in Lahore they could not meet Kamal-ud-Din because he lived in London as the founder and imam of the Woking mission and mosque. Nevertheless, they remained in Lahore and studied under the supervision of Maulana Abdussattar, who introduced them to the Ahmadiyya and its distinctive teachings. These teachings included the belief that Jesus was not alive in heaven but had died a natural death. After a few months studying in Lahore, Abu Bakar Ayyub, Ahmad Nuruddin and Zaini Dahlan moved to Qadian and joined Qadiani Ahmadiyya.

There is disagreement among Zulkamain (2005, p. 173), Zainal Abidin (2007, pp. 9-10) and Nadri Saadudin (7) on the reason for which these three students moved from Lahore to Qadian. Zulkamain mentions that their dissatisfaction with Abdussattar's teachings was the reason for their move. They, he writes, wanted to know more about the original teachings of Ahmadiyya and about Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, two topics about which they believed they had not received instruction in Lahore. Zainal Abidin and Saadudin, however, mention that Abdussattar introduced these three Sumatran students to Qadiani Ahmadiyya and convinced them of its superiority to Lahore Ahmadiyya. He revealed, they write, that pragmatic considerations mainly motivated his participation in Lahore Ahmadiyya, whereas his spiritual allegiance was in fact to Qadiani Ahmadiyya. As the educational system and infrastructure in Qadian were at that time far superior to those in Lahore (Walter 1916, p. 71), the latter explanation appears more convincing. This factor certainly became the cmcial consideration for those Sumatran students, as their letters home make clear. In these letters, they noted that living costs in Qadian were low and that those students unable to meet their expenses received financial assistance from the Jam'iyah Ahmadiyya School endowment (Hamka 1982, p. 138). (8) Whatever the reason, Abu Bakar Ayyub, Ahmad Nuruddin and Zaini Dahlan finally moved to Qadian and studied at Jam'iyah Ahmadiyya, where they took bay'a, an oath of spiritual allegiance, to become members of Qadiani Ahmadiyya.

It was during a tea party held by Indonesian students in Qadian on 24 November 1924 that these students requested that the Khalifatul Masih II visit Indonesia. As a response to this request, the Khalifatul Masih II sent Maulana Rahmat Ali (1893-1958) as the first Qadiani missionary in Indonesia. Rahmat Ali left his home country in July 1925 and arrived in Tapaktuan, Aceh, on 2 October 1925. He spent twenty-five years, through May 1950, as a missionary in Indonesia.

Propagation and Conversion to Qadiani Ahmadiyya

Tabligh, da'wa, and tabshir (proselytizing) were among core teachings of the belief system of Qadiani Ahmadiyya. It is true that this movement abolishes the duty of conducting warfare of jihad. However, this abolition does not mean that Ahmadiyya neglect and completely reject this doctrine. In opposing entirely any connection between jihad and violent action, the Ahmadiyya have a substantially different interpretation of this doctrine. In its place, they introduce the idea of jihad by tongue and pen. This doctrine is a correction to, or an abrogation of, the doctrine of jihad in Islam brought by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in his role as a new prophet. (9) The movement does not merely pay lip service to this new brand of jihad. Instead, it devotes tremendous efforts to implementing this doctrine by sending missionaries all over the world and publishing numerous books. It was as part of this mission that the movement sent a number of missionaries to Indonesia. Rahmat Ali was the first, but by no means the only one. As Mirza Mubarak Ahmad (1964, p. 64) mentions, a number of Ahmadiyya missionaries were sent from Qadian and later Rabwah to Indonesia after Rahmat Ali. The list of Qadiani Ahmadiyya missionaries includes Muhammad Sadiq, Syed Shah Muhammad, Imad-ud-Din, Abdul Hai, Malik Aziz Ahmad, Muhammad Said Ansari, Muhammad Idrees, Muhammad Zuhdi, Hafiz Qudratulla, Mirza Rafi Ahmad and Saleh al Shahibi. Besides these missionaries from what is today Pakistan, a number of native Indonesian missionaries--such as Abdul Hamid, Zaini Dahlan, Abu Bakar Ayyub and Ahmad Nuruddin--were also active in spreading Qadian Ahmaddiya doctrine (Wahid 1995, p. 232; Zainal Abidin 2007, pp. 268-70).

Qadiani Ahmadiyya tend to propagate their teachings and win converts by means of three methods. The first is illustrating the ways in which Qadian Ahmadiyya doctrine differs from mainstream Islam, Second, they utilize the messianic beliefs--or millennialism--still alive in certain societies to convince prospective converts that the Messiah for whom they have been waiting for has come in the form of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. Finally, they challenge Muslims, particularly ulama and those interested in religion, to debates on religious doctrines.

As an example of the first method, Hamka (1982, p. 138) relates that Rahmat Ali and his students organized a public lecture immediately after arriving in Tapaktuan, Aceh. In this lecture, Rahmat Ali explained a doctrine distinct from the traditional teachings of Islam, relating to the death of Jesus. Traditionally, Muslims believe that Jesus did not die on the Cross. Moreover, Muslims also believe that it was not Jesus that was crucified, but that God made someone else appear like him (Q. 4.157). Jesus is still in heaven today because God saved him and raised him up. Contrary to this belief, Ahmadiyya missionaries assured people that Jesus had died just like other prophets. It is this doctrine that was introduced to the three Sumatran students when they arrived in India. Even during their studies with Maulana Abdussattar in Lahore, they were already being indoctrinated with this distinctive belief (Zainal Abidin 2007, p. 8). Hamka describes the method of propagation experienced by the three students as follows.

In all religious lectures, first of all the foundation must be established that the Prophet Jesus is dead.... If those who oppose have finally surrendered and accepted this belief, they [the missionaries] will continue arguing that the Prophet Jesus will descend [not physically, but spiritually] to earth again [as Messiah].... Again after those who oppose have accepted this belief, they will tell them that the Prophet Jesus [or the second Messiah] promised [by God] is no other than "Hazrat" Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. (Hamka 1982, pp. 139-40)

The introduction of the doctrine of Jesus's death therefore serves to clear the way for the doctrine that Ghulam Ahmad is the promised Messiah, and that Jesus--who was to come as the Messiah--has now come in the person of Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. (10)

Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad, the Khalifatul Masih II, emphasized that Ahmadiyya missionaries must use the distinctive features of the movement as the most important element of then-propagation to Muslims and non-Muslims alike. He wrote that the existence of Ahmadiyya as a distinct community must be maintained by mentioning this distinction at the outset, whenever a missionary met new people. Otherwise, the existence of the movement would be threatened (Mahmud Ahmad 2007a, pp. 277-90; 2001b, pp. 9-32). Mahmud Ahmad's emphasis on the distinctive features of Ahmadiyya was originally a response to Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din, who avoided any reference to Ahmadiyya and Ghulam Ahmad when spreading Islam, particularly to non-Muslims. In opposing Khwaja Kamal-ud-Din's methods, Mahmud Ahmad asserted that, "if members of the Jama'at had followed such a course, they would have come after a time to assume the same character as Khwaja Sahib and would ultimately have gone astray from the aims of the Ahmadiyya Movement" (Mahmud Ahmad 2007, p. 280). The difference in methods of propagating Islam finally became one of the points that differentiated Qadiani and Lahore Ahmadiyya. Summarizing these different methods, Wilfred Cantwell Smith states that the Lahore branch is "trying more to win converts to Islam than to itself', whereas the Qadiani tries to win converts to itself more than to Islam (Smith 1986, p. 302).

Debate represented another common method of propagation for Ahmadiyya. Again, as a number of sources (Zainal Abidin 2007, p. 281; Zulkamain 2005, p. 178) report, Tahar Sutan Marajo convened a public debate under the name "Komite Mencari Hak" (Committee for finding the truth) in Pasar Gadang in Padang not long after Ahmadiyya arrived in West Sumatra in 1926. He initially intended that this event would bring together Qadiani muballigh (missionary) Rahmat Ali and ulama from around the Minangkabau region to debate religious matters. However, this debate did not materialize as planned because the ulama did not come. Rather, they sent their students to deputize for them (Zulkamain 2005, pp. 178-79). According to the report from Ahmadiyya, the conversion of committee members such as Muhammad Tahar Sutan Marajo, Daud Gelar Bangso Dirajo and Bagindo Zakaria to Ahmadiyya followed this event. (11) The initial conversion to Ahmadiyya in Garut and Tasikmalaya, described by Zainal Abidin (2007, p. 284), came likewise through the medium of a debate on religious issues, particularly about the death of Jesus. (12)

The most famous debates at this time were those between Qadiani Ahmadiyya and Persatuan Islam (Persis, Muslim Union) held in Bandung and Batavia (Jakarta) in 1933 and 1934. The first debate took place at the Societeit Ons Genoegen (now the Yayasan Pusat Kebudayaan [Cultural Centre Foundation]) in JalanNaripan, Bandung. Rahmat Ali, Abu Bakar Ayyub and Muhammad Sadiq represented the Qadiani in this debate, whereas Ahmad Hassan (1887-1958) represented the Persis. About a thousand people attended this debate, which lasted three days, from 14 to 16 April 1933 and focused on the life and death of Jesus. Even more people attended the second debate, held at the at the Gedung Permufakatan Nasional (National Covenant House) in Gang Kenari, Batavia-Centrum--now, Kenari House or M.H. Thamrin Museum, Jakarta--during 28-30 September 1933. Some 2,000 people witnessed this debate between Rahmat Ali and Abu Bakar Ayyub from the Qadiani and Ahmad Hassan from the Persis. The subjects of the debate were the life and death of Jesus, Muhammad as the Seal of the Prophets, and the status of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad as a prophet (Jemaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia 1986; Zulkamain 2005, pp. 224-25). The third debate also took place at the Gedung Permufakatan Nasional in Batavia, during 3-5 November 1934 and with the same representatives from these two organizations.

As the vice amir of the JAI indicated, convincing people of the truth of Ahmadiyya beliefs required more than just sound arguments. The charisma, attitude and spiritual power of the missionaries also appealed to people. (13) Hamka (1982, p. 139) reached the same conclusion as the vice amir when he observed Ahmadiyya in West Sumatra; it was not the debate itself or the arguments during the debate that attracted people to conversion to Ahmadiyya. The patience of Ahmadiyya debaters and their endurance in the face of abusive treatment and humiliation attracted people to the movement. Not long after the debates in Batavia, its chairman Muhammad Muhyiddin took bay'a to become a member of Qadiani Ahmadiyya (Thaha 1981, p. 110; Murtolo 1976, p. 18).

Besides public meetings and open-air debates, Qadiani Ahmadiyya were also renowned for their zeal in debating through publications. When Haji Karim Amrullah of Padang wrote Al-qaul al-shahih (The truth), in which he exposed the "heresies" of Ahmadiyya, Rahmat Ali replied by publishing his own book, entitled Iqbal alhaq (The coming of the truth) (Pijper 1950, p. 249; Hamka 1982, p. 141). On Java, opposition to Ahmadiyya in the form of writing appeared mainly in two magazines, Pembela Islam (Defender of Islam) and Panji Masyarakat (Banner of the Community). Replies from Ahmadiyya appeared mainly in their own publication, Sinar Islam (Rays of Islam).

Qadiani Ahmadiyya also held mubahala (prayer duels), (14) in many cases to end public debates. The most noted mubahala held in Indonesia was that between Ahmad Hariadi, then an Ahmadiyya missionary, and a local cleric in West Nusa Tenggara in 1983. This mubahala became known outside West Nusa Tenggara mostly because Hariadi published an account of his experiences after his re-conversion to Islam (Hariadi 2008). Ahmad Hariadi's invitations to the mubahala were distributed to people in Lombok, particularly ulama, in the form of a pamphlet entitled Khabar Suka (Good news). After the distribution of thousands of pamphlets, a local cleric in Pancor, Haji Irfan, finally answered Hariadi's challenge to hold mubahala. However, after a three-month waiting period had elapsed following the event, nothing happened to either party. Neither faced the wrath of God (Hariadi 2008 p. 33).

Ghulam Ahmad also challenged a number of his opponents, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, to mubahala. Among the targets of Ghulam Ahmad's challenges were Pandit Lekh Rah from the Arya Samaj, Muhammad Husayn of Batala, the American John Alexander Dowie and Abd Allah Atham, a Muslim convert to Christianity (M. Masroor Ahmad 2009, pp. 420, 627, 1031, 1053).

The third common model of propagation of Qadiani Ahmadiyya was to make use of local millenarian beliefs, such as those in the coming of Imam Mahdi, the second coming of Jesus the Messiah and the arrival of a Ratu Adil or just king. The beliefs remained prevalent in a number of societies and cultures. Ahmad describes the unique case of conversion to Ahmadiyya in West Africa:

... thousands of people joined the Ahmadiyya Movement on the basis of what they had heard and preserved from the lips of their ancestors namely, that someday a disciple of the Imam Mehdi would come to preach among them, and they should hasten to join the fold: they did so in thousands, when Maulawi Abdul Rahim Nayyar, our first missionary in Africa, arrived on the scene, in the territory called Gold Coast in those days, and now which is known as Ghana. (Ahmad 1964, p. 32)

In a number of cases, similar processes of propagation and conversion to the Qadiani Ahmadiyya took place in Indonesia. For example, before Rahmat Ali arrived in Tapaktuan, (15) Aceh, in 1925, people in the area also had a millenarian belief in the coming of Imam Mahdi. Knowing this situation, many Acehnese students in Qadian sent letters to their homeland to tell them that when the time came for the first messenger of Imam Mahdi to arrive in Tapaktuan, it was advisable for the Acehnese to welcome him warmly. (16) The content of the letters was clearly intended to prepare the ground for the arrival of Rahmat Ali and the propagation of Ahmadiyya by employing the social belief in the coming of Imam Mahdi. The letters seem to have been effective because hundreds of people awaited the arrival of Rahmat Ali in the port of Tapaktuan (Hamka 1982, p. 138). (17) Although there were far fewer converted to Ahmadiyya in this area than in West Africa, the enthusiasm of people when welcoming the arrival of Imam Mahdi or his messenger was high, at least in the beginning.

Utilizing the belief in the coming of the Messiah as a method of propagating Ahmadiyya led to good results in Cisalada, Bogor, and Manis Lor, Kuningan. (18) Before the arrival of Ahmadiyya in Cisalada, villagers had known that a messenger of the Messiah would arrive at their village one day. One of the village elders, K.H. Abdurrahman, had said that they should do what this messenger said if he came, even if he was a snake charmer--a common practice or tradition in India. People in the village heeded this message, and when an Ahmadiyya muballigh, Rahmad Ali, came, people enthusiastically followed his teachings. The leader of this mass conversion to Ahmadiyya was K.H. Damini.

Similar events occurred in Manis Lor. Among Ahmadiyya in Indonesia, Manis Lor is the most oft-quoted success story because 70 per cent of its 5,000 inhabitants are followers of Ahmadiyya (Rosidin 2009). As Effendi (1990) explains, the story began in 1953 when the kuwu or the head of the village of Manis Lor, E. Bening met Sutardjo, an Ahmadi who served as a manteri polisi (police officer) in that village. Sutardjo told him of the coming of the Messiah in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. The belief in the coming of a Ratu Adil or of Imam Mahdi or of the Messiah was not new to the kuwu or for the people in that village. After receiving the information from Sutardjo, the kuwu thought about Sutardjo's story for a few days. It was through the medium of a dream that he became certain that Ghulam Ahmad was the Messiah, or Imam Mahdi, for whom he had been waiting. (19) His conversion and bay'a were led and witnessed by a muballigh from Garut, H. Basori. The conversion and bay 'a were followed by those of his family and of many people in his village who shared his beliefs regarding Ghulam Ahmad. (20)

Similar stories about conversion to Ahmadiyya abound. (21) The belief in the coming of the Messiah or Imam Mahdi or Ratu Adil, on Java, or Mas Panji Selapang, on Lombok, was present in many cultures, traditions, and ethnicities. In many cases, Qadiani Ahmadiyya made use of this belief in propagating their teachings.

The Appeal of Qadiani Ahmadiyya in Indonesia

"What is the benefit of joining the Ahmadiyya?" This was the question often posed by Syarif Ahmad Saitama Lubis, the amir of Indonesian Ahmadiyya during 1990-96, when he visited local branches of this movement. For instance, Syarif Lubis raised this question to Mubarik Ahmad, a member of Khuddam (youth organization of Ahmadiyya) from Tangerang, and to a senior member of Ahmadiyya in Banjamegara, Central Java, who had taken bay'a to become an Ahmadi long before and had ever since been the only Ahmadi in the city (Zainal Abidin 2007, pp. 188, 210). Syarif Lubis also recalled that Choudry Zafrullah Khan (1893-1985), a prominent Ahmadi who had been the first foreign minister of Pakistan (1947-54) and the president of the International Court of Justice (1970-73), had raised the same question when the two of them met in the early 1980s (Zainal Abidin, p. 188).

It is very important that leaders of Ahmadiyya raise this question because Ahmadiyya demands large contributions from its followers and enforces strict regulations on them (Blood 1974, p. 59). Besides zakah or alms giving, traditionally enforced in Islam, an Ahmadi has to pay chanda or monetary donations. In total, more than eleven types of donation are expected from Ahmadis (Lajna Imaillah 1996, pp. 104-7). Qadiani Ahmadiyya also tends to be exclusive, forbidding their followers from joining congregational prayers with imams who are ghair (a term used to refer to non-Ahmadis) and forbidding their women from marrying non-Ahmadis. Similarly, Ahmadiyya enforce sexual segregation and the use of the veil for women and emphasize that the main role of women is to educate children. Proponents of Ahmadiyya in Indonesia seem not to object to the idea that their movement makes many demands upon its followers. For instance, Idi Abdul Hadi, the leader of the Wanasigra branch of Ahmadiyya, recalled his experience when he decided to join the movement. When he disclosed his intention to join Ahmadiyya to a muballigh in his area, the muballigh questioned his seriousness by stating that, "it is not simple to join Ahmadiyya. There are many people hostile to it. Furthermore, Ahmadiyya demands sacrifices for the sake of this movement in the form of candah" (Muryadi 2005, p. 117). (22) Blood (1974, p. 59) even believes that the many demands that Ahmadiyya makes on its followers has been one of the reasons for its failure to attract large numbers of members in Indonesia.

As opposed to Lahore Ahmadiyya, the main appeal of Qadiani Ahmadiyya is certainly not in its modernism or rationalism because this aspect of the movement is "a century out of date" (Smith 1969, p. 370). Modernist elements seem to play only a minimal role in the organization. On many issues, such as rights of women and the election of the caliph, the Qadiani have resembled a neo-revivalist movement, in Fazlur Rahman's sense of the term (Rahman 1979, p. 322), more than a modernist movement. (23) In analysing the role of Qadiani Ahmadiyya in Indonesian society, one must therefore consider the three main features of the movement that have led people to join it and to benefit from it. First, it is a close-knit organization that offers solidarity and brotherhood among its members. Second, Ahmadiyya is a spiritual and mystical movement that offers religiousness and peace of mind to those who obediently follow it. Third, it is an ethical and moral movement that manages to create discipline and good behaviour among its members. In short, Ahmadiyya is like a community development organization that combines three different dimensions: the spiritual dimension, the social or ethical dimension, and the economic dimension.

A Close-knit Organization

The name Jemaat Ahmadiyah Indonesia indicates the togetherness of the group in achieving its objectives. (24) As second caliph Bashir-ud-Din Mahmud Ahmad explained, the term jemaat does not reflect the size of the group's membership but rather the quality of the group and its togetherness in achieving its goals (Muryadi 2005, p. 56). After his election as the second caliph of Ahmadiyya, Mahmud Ahmad had made serious efforts to strengthen the organization and to create strong bonds and cohesion among its members. Forming strong bonds with other Ahmadiyya members even became one of the ten conditions of bay'a, (25)

That he/she shall enter into a bond of brotherhood with this humble servant of God, pledging obedience to me in everything good, for the sake of Allah, and remain faithful to it till the day of his/her death; that he/she shall exert such a high devotion in the observance of this bond as is not to be found in any other worldly relationship and connections demanding devoted dutifulness. (Zirvi 2010, p. 347)

One of the results of this effort is that Ahmadiyya has been known as an organization with a high level of esprit de corps.

Members of Ahmadiyya have shown their high level of cohesion on many occasions. In fact, these bonds sometimes seem stronger than kinship relationships. A female member of Ahmadiyya in Ciparay, Cianjur, confessed that this community was more like a family than anything else for her, and that maintaining cohesion and strong bonds in that big family was more important than any other kind of family, including the traditional one based on blood relationships (Mudzakkir 2007, p. 220). Because of these efforts to maintain these bonds, Ahmadiyya have been perceived by outsiders as an exclusivist movement, especially because they do not allow their members to pray behind non-Ahmadi imams or their women to marry non-Ahmadis. However, from an internal perspective, this strong cohesion makes Ahmadis ready to sacrifice for their fellow Ahmadis and makes them feel that the chance to work for the movement is like a call from God. The building of Ahmadiyya houses in Manis Lor, Kuningan, exemplifies this religious-organizational bond. Before the coming of Ahmadiyya, Manis Lor was a poor village whose residents adhered to various superstitious practices (Effendi 1990, p. 98). After Ahmadiyya arrived in the 1950s, Manis Lor experienced significant changes. Spiritually, villagers abandoned traditional animistic and superstitious beliefs. Economically, they became much better off than before. Almost every person in the village now has a house made of permanent materials, the symbol of prosperity in Indonesian village life. During my field research, the kuwu told me that out of more than a thousand houses, there are only twelve non-permanent houses in the village. (26) Ahmadiyya have continuously helped people manage their lives by creating strong bonds among the people in the village, encouraging them to work hard and strengthening their social solidarity. Using the arisan (rotating credit association) system, the inhabitants of Manis Lor now help each other in building houses. When a member of the village wishes to build a house, for instance, other people will contribute by donating materials until the house is completely built. This person must then take a turn helping other people who want to build houses by providing something that he needs. Each member of the village will in the course of time eventually receive a hand from other members of the village.

One can perhaps compare the spirit of togetherness and hard work exhibited by the Ahmadis in Manis Lor to the attitude of Ahmadis on the Indian subcontinent during the development of Qadian in India and the establishment of the town of Rabwah in Pakistan. With great religious enthusiasm, to follow Wilfred Cantwell Smith's description, in the first quarter of the twentieth century Ahmadis transformed Qadian from a small village into "a thriving town undergoing a minor capitalist 'boom'" (Smith 1969, p. 370). This boom enticed people to move to Qadian while ensuring that its population lived in prosperity. After the partition of India, Ahmadis chose a barren and inhospitable site about ninety miles southwest of Lahore as the site of their new settlement (Brush 1955, p. 145). Just as when they successfully developed Qadian into a bustling town, the energetic, enthusiastic and organized members of Ahmadiyya also successfully transformed this new place into a thriving town and named it Rabwah, referring to a garden mentioned in the Qur'an (Q. 2.265). Albeit to a lesser degree, the Ahmadis in West Nusa Tenggara showed similar enthusiasm, discipline and Spartan loyalty. In 2004, they bought an abandoned eight-year-old housing complex in Gegerung, Lingsar, West Lombok, in which no one had dared to buy houses because people believed it was haunted (Zaenuri 2009, p. 119). The Ahmadis named it Bumi Asri Ketapang (beautiful earth in Ketapang), and transformed it into a living place. Looking at the corporate spirit of Ahmadiyya and the strong cohesion of its members, Wilfred Cantwell Smith affirms that Ahmadiyya no longer dream about the golden age of early Islam, but rather believe that they can create it once more. "In addition to admiring the first age of Islam, they can feel that they are in actual fact working to reproduce it" (Smith 1969, p. 371).

The most important factor contributing to the organizational strength of Ahmadiyya and the bond among its members is chanda (candah, in Indonesian), or financial contributions. In term of responsibilities, chanda is classified into two categories, compulsory and voluntary. Sometimes chanda has a fixed rate, whereas sometimes it has no limit. (27) Chanda is used by Ahmadiyya for the sake of its members because the money will eventually be returned to them. It is, as Syarif Lubis put it, "for the betterment of their life and their children" (Zainal Abidin 2007, p. 185). In Manis Lor, for instance, the funds from chanda were "used for the development and for the prosperity of the jemaat", such as for the establishment of schools and mosques (Muryadi 2005, p. 113). In Manis Lor, the fund was managed transparently and audited regularly. Syarif Lubis further explains that chanda must be understood as a means of showing social responsibility, readiness to sacrifice for society, and solidarity with the needy (Zainal Abidin 2007, p. 296). From an economic perspective, Syarif Lubis explained that the system of chanda also taught the members of Ahmadiyya to calculate their income and to try to improve it year by year (Zainal Abidin, p. 257). One of the effects of the chanda system might be a trend towards improvement in the worldly lives of Ahmadis. Because they could perceive the positive effect of this system, they no longer regarded the demand to pay chanda as a burden, even for poor people like Sutisna, an itinerant seller in Jakarta. He sincerely believes that the chanda is "for the benefit of umma" (Handayani et al. 2008).

Among the theological teachings that strengthen the bonds among Ahmadis are jalsa salanah (annual gatherings), the prohibition against praying behind non-Ahmadi imams and marrying non-Ahmadi men (Zirvi 2010, p. 584; Amin 2009, p. 13-14). The jalsa salana allows members of Ahmadiyya to know each other better, while the latter teachings work to limit their friendships to other members. These teachings certainly contribute to the strength and solidarity of the organization.

An Ethical and Moral Movement

"If half a village somewhere is Ahmadi, that half is apt to be cleaner than the other half' (Smith 1969, p. 370). This statement is perfectly relevant to the condition of Ahmadiyya, particularly in places in which the government still does not clearly regulate social systems or in places in which levels of social awareness and responsibility remain low, such as Indonesia, India, and Pakistan. In Pakistan, Antonio Gualtieri writes, people still "prefer to do business with Ahmadis because of their honesty", despite the fact that the mullahs incessantly ask people to boycott anything related to Ahmadis (Gualtieri 1989, p. 47). According to Gualtieri (1989, p. 38), even Zia-ul-Haq, the president of Pakistan who signed the Anti-Ahmadiyya Ordinance relied heavily on Ahmadi doctors to take care of his health, including his eye and heart problems. This choice is likely to have been due to the reputation of Ahmadi doctors for professionalism and good behaviour. As in Pakistan, some people convert to Ahmadiyya in England primarily because of the attitude and behaviour of its followers rather than its belief system. The most famous story within Ahmadiyya about this type of conversion is the story of Bashir Orchard. Having accepted Ahmadiyya Islam when he was serving in an army in British India in 1945, he recalled that the appeal of Islam to him centred on the ethics and morality of its people. "Generally 1 was much impressed by everyone I met. This is what attracted me towards Islam more than anything else.... I reasoned that if these persons were fruits of the faith then it certainly had something to offer" (Orchard 2002, p. 52). (28) Ahmadiyya emphasize that tabligh through individual examples is the most important method of appealing to people to come to this community (Valentine 2008, p. 215).

In Indonesia, Hamka (1982, p. 139) reached a quite similar conclusion from his assessment of Qadiani Ahmadiyya: ethics and morality have played an important role in convincing people to join the movement. Hamka describes the transformation of a number of his old friends, such as Zaini Dahlan, after they studied in Qadian and adopting Ahmadiyya beliefs. Zaini Dahlan was Hamka's classmate in the Sumatera Thawalib, a respected and influential school in West Sumatra. He recalled that Zaini Dahlan was not a good student, "a student who did not pay attention to the lesson in class and only liked to joke and exchanged pleasantries, and therefore he was given the epithet 'Si Komik' [the comic entertainer or clown]" (ibid.). However, "[a]fter his return from Qadian, he became a calm and pious person and [one] confident in holding his beliefs" (ibid.). In general, Hamka saw that his old friends experienced a great transformation after becoming Ahmadis. They became composed people who were very sensible, while also devoting their lives enthusiastically to the service of their new beliefs. "Their manners were most appealing, especially their endurance and patience when ridiculed and insulted [by other people]" (ibid.). Hamka concludes that the reason that people joined Ahmadiyya was not Ahmadiyya's logic and arguments during their debates with ulama in Indonesia, but rather the manners of its followers.

Manis Lor again serves as an example of Ahmadis' implementation of ethics and morality. As I witnessed during my field visit to this village in 2012, solidarity and social responsibility are among the factors that led this village to experience economic development and social transformation. Although it had the same economic conditions as neighbouring villages, the arrival of Ahmadiyya to this village changed the way that people saw work, along with their manners. Ahmadiyya encouraged them to be hard-working and pious. In effect, the village became more prosperous than its neighbours. One good habit nurtured by Ahmadis in Manis Lor, as well as other places in Indonesia, was being economical or thrifty. For instance, although smoking was not forbidden, the Ahmadis were discouraged from smoking because this habit only wasted money. After his visit to Indonesia in 1963, Mirza Mubarak Ahmad expressed his impression that even khuddam (young Ahmadis) had left behind the bad habit of many Indonesians, smoking tobacco. Among the khuddam who attended jalsa salanah in Bandung, he did not see a single one who smoked (Ahmad 1964, pp. 44-45). (29) Indonesian Ahmadis had absorbed the Ahmadiyya teaching of being economical and left behind the habit of wasting money by indulging in smoking.

At first glance, Ahmadiyya seem to have educated their followers to have good manners in a way similar to Aa Gym (Abdullah Gymnastiar) during his heyday, (30) when he successfully transformed his village into the cleanest village in the area and transformed the people around him into well-behaved people. Perhaps what Ahmadiyya does is similar to Aa Gym's project of Manajemen Qolbu (management of the heart) and Bengkel Akhlak (workshop for fixing morality), but--as a type of community development--on a far larger scale. Of course, only those who have joined Ahmaddiya can receive its benefits; non-Ahmadi neighbours are neglected.

A Spiritual and Mystical Movement

If the term "fundamentalist" should be applied to those who actively and consistently observe religious rituals such as fasting and praying, then Ahmadis are a good fit for this term. As an Ahmadi in Pakistan affirmed, "in fact, we are the fundamentalists, not our opponents, especially those from Jama'at-i-Islami" (Gualtieri 1989, p. 59). Ahmadis are known for their devoutness to religion and zeal. They regularly pray five times a day and even add tahajjud, the night-time supererogatory prayer. Observing these religious rituals has even become the third condition of bay 'a, or being an Ahmadi.

That he/she shall regularly offer the five daily prayers in accordance with the commandments of God and the Holy Prophet; and shall try his/her best to be regular in offering the Tahajjud [predawn supererogatory prayers] and invoking Darood [blessings] on the Holy Prophet; that he/she shall make it his/ her daily routine to ask forgiveness for his/her sins, to remember the bounties of God and to praise and glorify Him. (Zirvi 2010, p. 346)

The most immediate effect of the conversion of Manis Lor to Ahmadiyya was the change in the religiosity of its residents. Instead of remaining negligent and ignorant of Islamic religious practices, they became attentive and enthusiastic in observing them. The first change occurred with the kuwu, the first convert to Ahmadiyya. According to Effendi (1990, pp. 101-2), after pronouncing his bay'a the kuwu went home and observed shalat (prayer). This behaviour obviously surprised his wife because he had never prayed before. Just as with the kuwu, the most visible change in the village after a large number of residents had converted was a new-found preoccupation with learning how to conduct prayer, as most of the villagers were ignorant about religion prior to their conversion and did not know how to observe daily prayers. Women in the village also became excited about buying kerudung, an Indonesian style of clothing to observe purdah, and rukuh or mukena, prayer robes for women, in the nearby Cilimus market. These purchases surprised many people there.

When I was in Manis Lor, I witnessed the religiosity of the Ahmadis directly. There was a noise outside the guest house in which I stayed at around three o'clock in the morning. Wondering what was happening outside, I got up and opened the curtain, and to my surprise saw a large group of Ahmadis going to the mosque for tahajjud prayer.

It has been reported that one of the three victims of the Cikeusik attack in February 2011 (31) was experiencing a spiritual transformation after his conversion to Ahmadiyya. This victim, Roni Persani, was a murderer, robber and gambler. After his conversion in 2008, he became a devout person, regularly praying five times a day, even adding a supererogatory tahajjud prayer, paying chanda regularly and giving up all his past evils (Haryanto 2011; H.M. Masroor Ahmad 2011a). Such examples of new converts' religious transformation might not be particularly surprising for people within the movement, as Ahmadiyya strongly emphasizes and encourages the observance of religious rituals. In his Friday khutba (sermon) on 2 September 2011, entitled "Pious Change in New Converts to Islam Ahmadiyya", the current caliph of Ahmadiyya, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, illustrated a number of incidents of religious change among people from different countries who converted to Ahmadiyya (M. Masroor Ahmad 20116). Although this type of change is also common among new converts in many other religions, Ahmadiyya are unique because this religiosity becomes a habit that is maintained for the rest of one's life. (32) This persistent effect becomes one of the appeals of Ahmadiyya. For instance, Pipip Sumantri, the former secretary-general of Indonesian Ahmadiyya in the 1990s, converted mainly because he had heard that Ahmadis were very disciplined in observing prayers (Zainal Abidin 2007, p. 200).

As noted above, during his visit to Banjamegara, Syarif Lubis posed a question to a senior member of Ahmadiyya, about why he kept his beliefs even though no one else in his city had the same beliefs. "Sir, what is the benefit that you receive from joining this jemaatl People see that there are a lot of disadvantages [to being an Ahmadi]. Would not you have to observe prayer regularly and pay chandal And many people out there are hostile to you and even ostracize you from society?" he asked (Zainal Abidin 2007, p. 210). Expecting a certain type of answer from the old man, he was surprised when he heard the old man's reply, that the movement had given him the feeling of "adem" (peaceful mind).

The strong spiritual dimension of Qadiani Ahmadiyya can also be seen in the way that Ahmadiyya literature discusses the contributions of this movement to Indonesia, particularly during the time of the revolution. In addition to encouraging the leaders of Muslim countries to give their endorsement and acknowledgment to Indonesian independence from the Netherlands, Mirza Bashirud-Din Mahmood Ahmad, the second caliph of Ahmadiyya, also ordered all Ahmadis around the world to observe Monday-Thursday fasting for two entire months, September and October 1946, and to pray to Allah for the sake of the Indonesian people and Indonesian independence (Zainal Abidin 2007, pp. 273-75; Ahmad 1965, p. 69). These were of course not the Ahmadiyya's only contributions to Indonesia, but I want to emphasize that there is something about the Ahmadiyya movement that can rarely be found in any other movement: contributions through fasting and praying. This demonstrates that Ahmadiyya offered wholehearted support to Indonesia, both spiritually and materially, and these contributions strengthened the reputation of Ahmadiyya as a spiritual organization.

Ahmadiyya religiosity also includes mystical practices. This mystical type of religiosity has more appeal to rural Indonesians than logic. Ahmadiyya publications--such as Ahmadiyyat in the Far East (Ahmad 1964)--contain many mystical stories about conversions, God's involvements in the mundane affairs of Ahmadis, and His providential protection of the Ahmadiyya community. (33) The secretary of the JAI, for instance, told me that it was the dream of meeting with the caliph that made several people convert to Ahmadiyya. (34) Mubarak Ahmad also quotes the story of the chairman of the Ahmadiyya community of Surabaya who always engaged in prayer when facing difficulties. One day, another man in his village threatened the life of this man. He prayed to God, with immediate effect: The man who threatened him was "killed in an accident on the road, and no one knew which truck that crushed him to death" (1964, pp. 71-72). The Ahmadis in Ciparay told similar stories. During the rebellion of the Darul Islam in Indonesia in the 1950s, the troops of the Darul Islam, named Tentara Islam Indonesia (TII --Indonesian Muslim Military) intended to destroy an Ahmadiyya village and mosque in Ciparay, but they believe that God saved them by covering the area with very thick clouds so that the troops could not find the mountain village. Another day the troops hunted and trapped Pak Otong, a warrior from the village, but he was able to slip past them and return home alive (Mudzakkir 2007, pp. 218-19). As Margaret Blood (1974, p. 60) notes, this type of belief has its "appeal to some of the less rational and more emotional or irrational elements of the Islam of many Javanese and Sumatrans".


There is a fundamental difference between Lahore Ahmadiyya and Qadiani Ahmadiyya in propagating their beliefs. The missionaries from Lahore Ahmadiyya tend to hide or obscure their distinctive beliefs and prefer to ask people to join Islam, instead of their religious group. In contrast to the Lahore, the missionaries from Qadiani Ahmadiyya emphasize their movement's theological distinctiveness or its differences from Islam on such issues as the death of Jesus, the messianic claim of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, Ahmadiyya opposition to jihad in the form of warfare and the Ahmadiyya system of caliphate. Besides giving emphasis to theological distinctiveness from mainstream Sunni Muslims, the missionaries from Qadiani Ahmadiyya often utilized local beliefs on the coming of the Messiah or Ratu Adil to convert people. They showed that the Messiah who was to come and for whom people had been waiting had in fact come in the form of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of India. And they convinced Indonesians that the Ahmadiyya missionaries who came to Indonesia were the students of the Messiah. In addition to the above methods, the third most common method used by Ahmadiyya to proselytize was the medium of religious debate and also debate through publication.

The examples elaborated in this article suggest, however, people joined Ahmadiyya not exclusively as a result of its distinctive strategies in propagating its beliefs, but more often because of three other factors. First, the close-knit and strong bond of members of Ahmadiyya, such as in helping each other in economic development. Second, the spiritual and mystical beliefs of Ahmadiyya, such as their messianic beliefs and belief in the involvement of God in helping Ahmadis in mundane affairs. Third, the ethics and morality of Ahmadiyya followers, as reflected in the conduct of its sober and passionate missionaries, particularly when they were humiliated by their opponents. The appeal of Qadiani Ahmadiyya stands in strong contrast to that of Lahore Ahmadiyya, which attracted people--including members of the Indonesian intelligentsia in the first half of the twentieth century--because of its modernist and reformist stance.

DOI: 10.1355/sj29-3e


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(1.) This article draws on fieldwork conducted in Jakarta, West Java and West Nusa Tenggara from June until December 2012. It seems that the difference between the two branches of Ahmadiyya was still unclear when Haji Rasul explained Ahmadiyya to H. Fakhruddin, the vice president of Muhammadiyah, during his visit to Yogyakarta in 1925. The variant of Ahmadiyya that he found in Sumatra Barat was Qadiani Ahmadiyya, whereas the one that Rasul found in Yogyakarta is Lahore Ahmadiyya (Hamka 1982, p. 149).

(2.) This is mostly related to the influence of Ahmadiyya in the intellectual sphere in the first decades after its arrival in Indonesia. Mirza Mubarak Ahmad's book argues that Ahmadiyya had a significant influence on Muslim intelligentsia in the Netherlands East Indies in the early twentieth century. While it is true that some Muslim scholars were strongly influenced by literature from Ahmadiyya, that influence came mostly from Lahore Ahmadiyya and not Qadiani Ahmadiyya.

(3.) The term "liberal Islam" is used by Wilfred Cantwell Smith to refer to Muslims who think that Islam is compatible with the West and "in harmony with its science, its business method, and its humanitarianism" (Smith 1969, p. 4). For Smith, one of the outstanding liberal Muslims is Sir Sayyid Ahmad Khan. Smith categorizes Islamic movements into puritan forms of Islam such as Wahabism, liberal Islam, modernist Islam (with Amir Ali as one of its proponents), Salafi Islam and progressive Islam.

(4.) Interview with the amir (governor-general) and spokesperson of the JAI, Mubarak College, Bogor, 14 July 2012. For reasons of confidentiality, names of respondents are not given here.

(5.) A compilation of Kamal-ud-Din's speeches delivered in the East Indies.

(6.) It must be noted that Lahore Ahmadiyya on most occasions do not call people to join their movement. Their missionaries only speak about Islam. This is different from the Qadiani missionaries, who always try to win converts to their sect. Therefore, Kamal-ud-Din presumably did not say anything about Ahmadiyya during his visit and speeches in the Netherlands East Indies and other parts of Southeast Asia.

(7.) Email correspondence < 09/23/0069.html> (accessed 6 September 2011).

(8.) Ahmad Sarida of Yogyakarta, who was introduced to Ahmadiyya through Lahore Ahmadiyya in his native city, had a similar experience. He then went to Lahore to pursue more knowledge about Ahmadiyya, but finally moved to Qadian after becoming dissatisfied with what he learned in Lahore (Zainal Abidin 2007, pp. 287-88).

(9.) This doctrine has a strong relationship to the opposition between the concept of the bloody Mahdi of Islam and the peaceful Mahdi of the Ahmadiyya.

(10.) In Muhammad Iqbal's view, the doctrine of Jesus Christ's death and Ghulam Ahmad's claim to be the Messiah "are only preliminary steps towards the idea of full prophethood which alone can serve the purposes of the movement" (Iqbal 1974, p. 15).

(11.) Email correspondence < 09/23/0069.html> (accessed 6 September 2011).

(12.) An Ahmadiyya source also claims that the conversion of some forty households in Singapama was through the medium of a debate in which the opponent of the Ahmadiyya did not come to the arena of the debate (Isyaat Semarang 2009).

(13.) Interview with the naib amir (vice chairman) of the JAI in Ahmadiyya (Mubarak) College, Parung, Bogor, 24 July 2012.

(14.) The term literally means "to curse each other". It is derived from the Arabic root b-h-l which means "to curse". It is a contest of prayers between two parties that invokes the curse of God upon the party that is wrong. This usually, but not necessarily, occurs at the end of a debate on religious issues. Normally it occurs in debates between Muslims and non-Muslims, as stated in the Qur'an 3.61. Mubahala between two Muslims to settle theological differences is quite a new phenomenon.

(15.) Ahmad (1964, p. 30) mentions that the meaning of Tapaktuan, which he spells Tapaktawan, is "Blessed Feet" and he for that reason considers this place "a very good omen" for the development of Ahmadiyya in the country.

(16.) Email correspondence < 09/23/0069.html> (accessed 6 September 2011).

(17.) Ibid.

(18.) Interview with the naib amir and the secretary of the JAI, Mubarak College, Parung, Bogor, 24 July, 2012. A number of works on the Ahmadiyya in Manis Lor are currently available. Among them are Effendi (1990), Amin (2009), Rosyidin and Mursyid (2007), Tisnaprawira (2007) and Rosidin (2009).

(19.) In his dream, he saw two suns; one was very bright, whereas the other was as if clouded over. He also felt that his body had a nice smell (Effendi 1990, p. 101). Unfortunately, Djohan Effendi did not explore the meaning of the kuwu's dream during his interview.

(20.) Rosidin (2009, p. 11), however, has a different account of the conversion of people in Manis Lor to Ahmadiyya. He writes that Ahmadiyya was brought there by Haji Basyari (or Basori) of Garut during a time of political conflict between the kuwu and the ketib (originally from the Arabic khatib, a person who delivers Friday sermon in a mosque, and now referring to a person in a village who is responsible for Islamic affairs) of that village, Kiai Marjan. The conflict for social and political recognition in this village was quite similar to the contestation between santri (pious Muslims) and abangan (nominal Muslims) on Java discussed by Clifford Geertz in The Religion of Java (1960). In this case, the kuwu would represent the abangan, whereas the ketib represented the santri. However, it is hard to believe that religious conversion was merely the result of a political rivalry over winning the consent of the people in that village. Instead of winning support from people, the kuwu's new belief could have alienated him from his people. Finding an ally in the fight against santri by conversion to Ahmadiyya also hardly seems logical because Ahmadiyya was in a certain sense another form of santri culture that claims to be even more authentic and orthodox than other forms of Islam. Therefore, accepting Rosidin's conclusion would imply that the kuwu and the people of Manis Lor were making a leap from abangan tradition to a "super-orthodox" santri position in order to win a political contest.

(21.) Other examples are to be found in Muryadi (2005, pp. 117-18) and Zaenuri (2009, p. 146).

(22.) See also Mahmud Ahmad 1980, p. 326: "True, those who join a Divine Movement have to carry a heavy load of sacrifices and responsibilities, but not every load is a burden.... Service of a divine movement and effort on its behalf, therefore, is no burden for believers. Others may think it a burden, but for believers it is joy and hope. Do not be overawed, therefore, by the responsibilities you will incur by accepting the truth. Think, instead, of the gratitude you owe to God, of the mercy and grace mankind has received from Muhammad."

(23.) To quote a statement from Tempo (1974), Qadiani Ahmadiyya successfully created a bond among members that finally, instead of giving them the freedom to express their thoughts, confined them in a golden cage: "the Ahmadiyah is like a bond which, at the end, does not 'liberate' [its members]".

(24.) The term Jemaat refers to the saved or correct one, who will go to heaven, among seventy-three divisions in Islam, as mentioned in a well-known hadith.

(25.) The ten conditions of bay'a are in effect a summary of Ahmadiyya teachings.

(26.) Interview with the kuwu of Manis Lor, Kuningan, 1 July 2012.

(27.) Among the categories of chanda are Zakaat, Fitrana, Chanada Aam, Wassiyat, Jalsa Salana, Tahrike Jadid, Waqfe Jadid, Auxiliary Organization Membership, Sadqa, the Eid Fund and Publications (Lajna Imaillah 1996, pp. 105-7).

(28.) During my field research in Indonesia, I encountered a senior researcher from an Indonesian research centre who confessed to me that it once came to her mind to convert to Ahmadiyya because of the good behaviour and attitude of the Ahmadis in the area of her field research in West Nusa Tenggara. Personal conversation, June 2012.

(29.) A similar point was made by Damiri, the director-general of Bimas Islam (Guidance of Muslim Community), the representative from the Ministry of Religion during the Jalsah Salanah in Parung, Bogor, during 12-14 July 2004 (Anwar 2002, p. 34).

(30.) Abdullah Gymnastiar is a successful televangelist who became a kyai or ulama in the 1990s, when he established his Darut Tauhid pesantren in Bandung. After 2000, he became a megastar and reached audiences numbering in the millions through television and radio every week. His fame declined after he took a second wife in 2007. For a discussion of the phenomenon of Aa Gym, see Watson (2005) and Hoesterey (2008).

(31.) A discussion of the Cikeusik Tragedy can be found in Burhani (20146), "Hating the Ahmadiyya: The Place of 'Heretics' in Contemporary Indonesian Muslim society".

(32.) For an analysis of the change that usually occurs with new converts, see Roy (2004, p. 186).

(33.) The conversion stories of Gomar, a fighter from Tangerang, and R. Kartaatmaja, a Sufi practitioner, are examples of conversion to Ahmadiyya through dreams (Murtolo 1976, pp. 17-18).

(34.) Interview with the secretary of the JAI, Mubarak College, Parung, Bogor, 24 July 2012.

Ahmad Najib Burhani is a researcher in the Center for Society and Culture (Pusat Penelitian Kemasyarakatan dan Kebudayaan. PMB) of the Indonesian Institute of Sciences (LIPI), Jl. H. Juanda no. 22-24, Bogor, Indonesia, 16122; email:
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Author:Burhani, Ahmad Najib
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Date:Nov 1, 2014
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