Desktop version

Home arrow Education

  • Increase font
  • Decrease font

<<   CONTENTS   >>


There is no neat end to the narration of the events and histories set out in the chapters of this book. My ethnographic work with the Ahmadiyya community members continues and each day brings news of fresh initiatives, new setbacks, welcome achievements. And these open up more complex ways of thinking about how such matters might be conceptualised in relation to the materials stored in archives, in print and in memories, set, as they must be, within the framework of the broader contemporary socio-political context of the South Asian diaspora in the UK.

Each chapter in the book considers Ahmadiyya Muslims in the places where they have made their homes, exploring how this was achieved and what it meant to them and to others in colonial India, in Pakistan, and in the UK. Aspects of Ahmadi identity are therefore considered throughout in relation to places and times which are themselves interlinked in complicated and occasionally fortuitous ways, and seen as far as possible from the perspective of the Ahmadis themselves as well as from a host of other positions, neutral, supportive and hostile to the Ahmadis. Identity, as it is now commonplace to state, is not, despite the protestations of many who hold to the belief in an identity position as true and unchanging, fixed. For over a century the Ahmadis have responded to the ever shifting social and politial world around them and developed institutionally in ways their founder, Ghulam Ahmad, could not have imagined, though, the Ahmadis believe, in ways he would have approved of. Ahmadis are in the UK today because the British were in India in the past. Decisions made by colonial rulers have played out and continue to play out in ways that no-one in nineteenth-century India could have imagined, and the ethnographer’s task is to begin to unravel some of the distant and not so distant decisions and actions which help to make sense of how people today understand themselves, how they make their home in the diaspora, what being Ahmadi means, and how this is lived in a global city such as London.


Achut untouchable

‘Alim (pl. ‘ulama) Muslim religious scholar

Amir leader, often of local Ahmadi group or community

Anjuman council, committee or administrative body

Arya Samaj Hindu revivalist movement founded in the late nineteenth century

Auqaf pl. of waqf see waqf

Bai‘at (bay‘a) pledge of allegiance to religious saint, leader; initiation ceremony

Barzakh the liminal space in which spirits of the deceased dwell until Judgement Day

Bid‘a improper innovation, acceptance of un-Islamic practice for which there is no precedent

Buruz manifestation, very close imitation of the original

Chanda charitable donation

Fatwa (pl. fatawa) ruling by a religious scholar on a matter relating to Islamic law

Hadith lit. speech, saying or act of the prophet as subsequently codified

Haj/hajj Pilgrimage to the holy sites in Mecca, Saudi Ar abia. One of the pillars of Islam.

Ishtihar written announcement

Istikhara form of divination usually following an istihkara prayer

Jalsa a gathering/convention

Jalsa salana annual convention

Jama‘at a congregation, community

Jihad literally ‘struggle’, with an inner spiritual dimension and outer dimension which may encompass struggles against injustice and holy war.

Kafir infidel, unbeliever

Kalima Muslim profession of faith

Khalifa Caliph. For the Ahmadis the caliph is the elected leader of the religious community and serves as deputy of the founder of Ahmadiyya Islam, Ghulam Ahmad.

Khatam-al-nabiyyin seal of the prophets, in reference to the Prophet Muhammad

Khilafat the caliphate

Lajna Imaillah Ahmadiyya women’s organization

Mahdi the savior who will come before the Day of Judgement, the rightly guided one, a prophet.

Majlis Ansarullah Ahmadiyya men’s organization (for men aged 40 and over)

Majlis Khuddam ul Ahmadiyya Ahmadiyya men’s organization (for men aged under 40)

Majlis-i shura advisory council

Majlis Tahaffuz Khatam-e-Nabuwat organization for the finality of prophethood

Masih the messiah

Maslh-i mauTid promised messiah

Muhaddath a person spoken to by Allah or angels

Mujaddid (pl. mujaddidun) renewer of the Muslim faith

Plr saint, sufl, founder of religious order

Parda veil, seclusion

Qadiani derogatory term for Ahmadis derived from the birth place of Ghulam

Ahmad in Qadian, India

Qu’ran Islamic sacred book

Tabarnik food that has been blessed - remnant of food or other gifts to wall and family, similar to relics

Tabllgh missionary work, preaching

Taj did renewal of Islam

Tarbiyyat spiritual and moral training

‘Ulama (pl. of ‘alim) religious scholars, particularly in matters of Islamic jurisprudence

Umma the global community of Muslims united beyond national, ethnic and sectarian divides

‘Umrah non-mandatory lesser pilgrimage made by Muslims to Mecca

Waqifat-e-nau lit. new endowment, when children are given in service to the jama'at either pre-birth or in infancy

Waqf (pl. Auqaf) pious endowment

Wall (pl. awliya) saint

Zilll shadowy, reflective

<<   CONTENTS   >>

Related topics