Origin of the Name ‘Ahmadiyya’?

January 29, 2022

Share this article

Origin of the Name ‘Ahmadiyya’?

By Farhan Ahmed Khalid


Some raise the allegation that the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), named the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community after himself.

In this short article, it is demonstrated that this is incorrect, and that the Community was in fact named after the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa).

A great resource for understanding Islam Ahmadiyya is the book ‘Tabligh Guide‘. In this book, Imam Naseem Ahmad Bajwa explains the origin of the name Ahmadiyya. Let’s take a look at some of his points:

Explanation through the Holy Quran

The origin of the name ‘Ahmadiyya’ can be traced back to the Holy Quran. This becomes apparent from the following verse:

وَاِذۡ قَالَ عِیۡسَی ابۡنُ مَرۡیَمَ یٰبَنِیۡۤ اِسۡرَآءِیۡلَ اِنِّیۡ رَسُوۡلُ اللّٰہِ اِلَیۡکُمۡ مُّصَدِّقًا لِّمَا بَیۡنَ یَدَیَّ مِنَ التَّوۡرٰٮۃِ وَمُبَشِّرًۢا بِرَسُوۡلٍ یَّاۡتِیۡ مِنۡۢ بَعۡدِی اسۡمُہٗۤ اَحۡمَدُ ؕ فَلَمَّا جَآءَہُمۡ بِالۡبَیِّنٰتِ قَالُوۡا ہٰذَا سِحۡرٌ مُّبِیۡنٌ

And remember when Jesus, son of Mary, said, ‘O children of Israel, surely I am Allah’s Messenger unto you, fulfilling that which is before me of the Torah, and giving glad tidings of a Messenger who will come after me. His name will be Ahmad.’ And when he came to them with clear proofs, they said, ‘This is manifest sorcery.’

Holy Quran 61:7

The name “Ahmad” as mentioned in this verse, refers to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). Muhammad and Ahmad are the inverse of each other. While “Muhammad” means ‘the most praised / loved’, the name “Ahmad” means ‘the greatest at praising / loving’. These two names of the Prophet of Islam (sa) were prophecies of his immense status in the eyes of God and mankind.

This was the philosophy and wisdom behind using the name ‘Ahmadiyya’ – a community devoted to praising and loving Allah and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). This is how one can attain Allah’s love and it is the door to salvation. We find this instruction in the Holy Quran as follows:

“Say, ‘if you love Allah, follow me: then will Allah love you and forgive you your faults. And Allah is Most Forgiving, Merciful.’”

Holy Quran 3:32

It is clear that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was not named after the Promised Messiah (as), but as a matter of fact named after the Holy Prophet (sa).

Status of Prophet Muhammad (sa) and Promised Messiah (as) Explained

The Promised Messiah (as) annihilated himself due to his love for the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). His writings were bursting and replete with praise and love for the Holy Prophet (sa). By reading these writings, one would feel compelled to study the life of the Perfect Man, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa).

Regarding his status in comparison to the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa), the Promised Messiah (as) stated the following:

“He is Our Prophet, may peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, and the relationship between him and I, is similar to the relationship between the one who taught and the one who learned.”

Khutba Ilhamiyyah (The Revealed Sermon), April 11, 1900

The Promised Messiah (as) became the most perfect follower, servant and slave of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa). His name ‘Ghulam Ahmad’ was therefore a prophecy in itself, foretelling his future and status, as it translates to ‘slave of Ahmad’.

Explanation through the Ahadith

The following Hadith demonstrates a powerful prophecy from the Holy Prophet (sa) – that the Muslim Ummah (people) will become divided into 73 sects, and only one community would be true:

Hazrat Abdullah bin ‘Amr (ra) relates that the Holy Prophet (sa) said:

“Surely things will happen to my people as happened earlier to the Israelites. They will resemble each other like one shoe in a pair resembles the other to the extent that if among the Israelites someone had openly committed adultery with his mother, there will be some who would do this in my Ummah as well. The Israelites were divided into 72 sects, but my people will be divided into 73 sects. All of them will be in the fire except one.

The companions of the Holy Prophet (sa) asked, “who are they, O messenger of Allah?

The Holy Prophet (sa) said, ‘they are the people who will follow my practice and that of my companions.”

Jami’at-Tirmidhi 2641

Many Sunni Muslims claim that the community that is saved, is the community of Ahlus Sunnah. They ignore two important points:

Firstly, the Ahmadiyya Muslim community claims to be the true community of the Ahlus Sunnah, for the Imam Mahdi who has come, has revived the true sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad (sa). Indeed, there must be a representative of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) in that saved community, for the prophecy refers to a representative of both his holy self, and his companions. Only the Imam Mahdi could fulfil this role. This is the position Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) claimed.

Secondly, when the Pakistani constitution was amended to declare Ahmadi Muslims as non-Muslim, the newspaper boldly and proudly announced that the Muslim sects, numbering 72, had declared the 73rd sect of Ahmadiyyat, outside the pale of Islam. They thus identified for all mankind who the 72 sects in error were, and which was the 73rd community, upon the right path. While they rejoiced in their numerical superiority, the prophecy of the Prophet Muhammad (sa) moved against them.

Daily “The Guardian” (UK), 9th September 1974.

As if all this wasn’t enough, Imam Mulla Ali Qari (rh) (d. 1606 A.D.), a leading scholar of his time, often referred to as the “Grand Scholar”, renowned commentator of Mishkat and a very admired Muhaddith, has explained this Hadith as follows:

“All 72 sects will be in the fire and the one sect which will be saved from the fire, will be that which will follow the pure Sunnah of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (sa) and their pure dispensation will be called Al-Ahmadiyya.”

Mirqat, Commentary of Mishkat, Vol. 1, p. 204


To conlude, every Muslim should in fact feel honoured and compelled to refer to themselves as an ‘Ahmadi’.

In his book, ‘Invitation to Ahmadiyyat‘, the second Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra) states:

The names Ahmadi, Ahmadiyyat, etc., do not point to a new religion. Ahmadis are Muslims and their religion is Islam. The slightest deviation from it they consider wrong and degrading. True, Ahmadis have adopted the names Ahmadiyyat, Ahmadiyya Movement, Ahmadiyya Jama’at and so on. But the adoption of a name is not the adoption of a new religion. The name Ahmadiyyat is the name of a reinterpretation or a restatement of the Religion of the Holy Quran. It is a restatement presented under divine guidance by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Movement. The names Ahmadi and Ahmadiyyat are only meant to distinguish Ahmadi Muslims from other Muslims, and the Ahmadi interpretation from other interpretations of Islam.

Invitation to Ahmadiyyat, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmood Ahmad (ra), p. 3-4

Share this article