Shadows of Endless Nights – by Ayesha N. Rashid


List of Ahmedi muslim students recently expelled


Dedicated to the students
Those who arrived at the gates of the officials
Petitioning with open arms for pen and paper.
But never came back.
Those innocents who, in their idealism,
took the fire of dedicated learning in their young hearts
and reached where
Were being promiscuously distributed the shadows of endless nights.
(Faiz translated by Raza Rumi)

“No they are Kafirs” was my Islamiat teacher’s abrupt response to my classmate’s inquiry about Ahmadis. Until that moment, I was 14 and Pakistani, no different than the rest of them. My teacher continued to fulfill her God-given duty and shared her deep misunderstandings of Ahmadiyya beliefs; “Ahmadis dishonor the Quran, blaspheme the Prophet Muhammad (as), and worship their Khalifas.” All this was graphically explained. These lies made my cheeks burn, and a shiver ran down my spine. I felt helpless and vulnerable as the lecture hall buzzed with sounds of astonishment from my closest friends. My mind oscillated between declaring my faith and being hated or staying silent and letting them be brainwashed with falsehood.

As my teacher continued her propaganda, I heard myself speak in a trembling yet confident voice, “Ma’am, I am an Ahmadi and we do not commit such things.”  The session ended after a heated discussion on different sects in Islam, and I became different in everyone’s eyes. While I felt terrible at the time, today I feel grateful for not being kicked out of my college. Thank you Mrs. Rabia Shah, you were much too kind to not expel me, instead only agitating my friends against me. In today’s Pakistan, Mrs. Shah’s act is arguably moderate. Not moderate when compared to a civilized society, but moderate compared to the expulsion of 13 Ahmadi children from 2 schools of Hafizabad a few days ago.

The plight of Ahmadi students is not a new a phenomenon in Pakistan. Ever since 1974, Ahmadi students have been victimized through boycott, expulsion, discrimination, denial of due credit, and torture. Across Pakistan, Ahmadi students and teachers both face faith-based persecution.

For example, during the ghastly summer of 1974, a number of Ahmadi students and teachers faced severe torture and persecution. In Multan, five Ahmadi students were ruthlessly beaten. A few days later, Professor Abbas bin Abdul Qadir was killed in Hyderabad. On September 7th 1974, the day when Ahmadi Muslims were declared Non-Muslim, five Ahmadi students were expelled from a Faisalabad university. Two students were forced to ride a donkey through city streets with their faces painted black. Later that month, Master Ziauddin Arshad, a teacher in Sargodha, was murdered for the crime of being an Ahmadi.

In March 1989, an Ahmadi student of Mansehra was fined and sentenced to one-year imprisonment. A few months later, an Ahmadi female teacher was arrested in Gujrat. In the early 1990’s, Lahore became popular for persecution of the Ahmadi students. In February 1994, 14 Ahmadi students were arrested in Rabwah. On Oct 9, 1994, Professor Naseem Babar of Department of Physics at Quadi Azam University was killed for being an Ahmadi. A few days ago, Rana Dilawar, an Ahmadi teacher, was killed at his school in Sheikhupura while teaching his students.
Until the dawn of the 21st century, the persecution of Ahmadi students and teachers stemmed mainly from extremist groups. With exceptions noted, educational institutions generally abstained from discrimination. This, however, has changed in recent years.
In 2008, 23 Ahmadi students of Punjab Medical College, Faisalabad were expelled to appease the demands of Islami‐Jamiat‐e‐Tulaba, a nationwide student organization in Pakistan. In 2009, 4 Ahmadi children under the age of 16 were arrested for alleged blasphemy shortly before they appeared for their Matriculation exams. National Textile University Faisalabad is also emerging as a hub of anti-Ahmadiyya activities in the region, forcing various enrolled Ahmadi female students to terminate their education for their own safety. Similarly reports of severe intolerance emerge regularly from the University of Engineering and Technology, Lahore, the Punjab University, and various Medical schools in Punjab.
As is, Pakistan’s Education system is abysmal. According to UNESCO, overall literacy in Pakistan is 49% and for girls it is only 36%. Despite this persecution, however, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is proud to maintain a 99% literacy rate. If Pakakistani leadership has lost its civility, let it at least maintain some sanity. Why persecute the demographic that is leading the way in education?

Despite this persecution, Pakistani Ahmadis are still becoming doctors and serving all people, regardless of race or religion. They are becoming teachers, lawyers, and engineers. That they are all too often murdered is beside the point. Despite this persecution, Ahmadi students in Pakistan still have their tiny lamps of hope lit up in a place where “shadows of endless nights” are being given out.

About the author: Ayesha, an economics graduate, has worked in various Muslim communities in three different countries. Her expertise include Islam, women’s rights, and religious minorities.

10 responses to “Shadows of Endless Nights – by Ayesha N. Rashid”

  1. Fantastic post….100% agreed….There is no doubt that Ahmedies are very loyal Pakistani and they are law abiding citizen..they are not Jamat Islami terrorist….

  2. Excellent post. Thanks Ayesha.
    IN my opinion, the Ahmedis have been targeted over the years for their high level of education and their control of various key posts in the country. Their faith was used as an excuse to marginalize them. Marginalization has unfortunately become target

  3. @Waqar:

    “Ahemdis themselves never follow the “law of Pakistan”.. and complain other to follow the law:p”

    What law of Pakistan? The Apartheid laws that are in violation of human rights? Is apartheid right in your opinion? There is no difference between good laws and apartheid laws?

  4. Our Imam Hazrat Khalifatul Messiah Fifth ordered To all the international jammat Ahamdiyya that they:
    “fast once a week and pray especially for the prosperity of Pakistan”.
    and Alhamdolilah we are following his instructions and we do not care what our country fellows are doing with us.

  5. Well,It`s a very good effort about the sects in Pakistan.I really admire the work.We have to say what is right and what is wrong.If some one doing good works we have to Appreciate.

  6. According Ahmadi belief any body who does not accept Mirza Ghalm Mohd as a prophet he is not a Muslim .This is the main reason for hatred for Ahmadi religion which makes 99.9 % of muslim popultion of whole world kafer.You can ask this question to any learned Ahmadi and he will never deny it then what is the the meaning of KHATUM NABIYAN MENTIONED IN QURAN REGARDING PROPHET MUHAMMAD (pbuh ). Accoirding to Ahmadi belief it means to release like a postal stamp on an envelop .Khatum means STAMP on an envelop and not the end of prohpet hood . Can any Ahmadi explain this .

  7. @Dr Niaz Ahmad Khan:

    “According Ahmadi belief any body who does not accept Mirza Ghalm Mohd as a prophet he is not a Muslim ”

    This is absolutely false. Ahmadis never call anyone who call himself a Muslim, non-Muslim. So the hatred towards Ahmadis is based on false allegations as is proven numerous times.

    As for calling anyone kafir (which is different from non-Muslim and is a relative term ie one denies what other believes and the other denies what first one believes), ALLL sects call each other kafir and some are even killing others too (or supporting extremists) like wahabis/salafis, deobandis and jamaat islami etc. Ahmadis do not kill anyone so how can Ahmadis be attacked merely for having a difference of opinion?

    “You can ask this question to any learned Ahmadi and he will never deny it then what is the the meaning of KHATUM NABIYAN MENTIONED IN QURAN REGARDING PROPHET MUHAMMAD (pbuh ).”

    Please see this video of founder of Darul Aloom Deoband and explain what are the Deobandi ancestor’s beliefs on the Khatm Nabiyen;