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Role of Ahrar Movement and Ahmadiya Movement in Muslim Reform

Last Updated : 01 Nov, 2022
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Muslim Socio-Religious Reform Movements first began to emerge in the nineteenth century. This was brought about by the impact of modern education, western ideas, and Christian missionaries. Also, the Muslim community was affected by the religious diktats and fatwas issued by the Muslim clerics. Elite and well-educated Muslims in India felt a loss of influence. This was primarily brought about by the transfer of authority from the Mughals to the British and the substitution of English for Persian as the language of employment and promotion in the new political system. As a result, they committed themselves to advancing Islamic principles and purifying and bolstering Islam. 

Muslim Reform Movement

In an effort to reform and revitalize Indian society, especially the Muslim religion, a number of people and movements worked to change social and religious norms. These initiatives formed a socio-intellectual revolution that occurred in the domain of social reform, known as the Renaissance. It’s vital to remember that this phenomenon took place when the British were in control of colonial India. The Ahrar and Ahmadiyya movements were significant movements to transform the Muslim sect socially and religiously.

Role of Ahrar Movement:

  • Ahrar Movement was established in 1910, under the leadership of Maulana Muhammad Ali and Hakim Ajmal Khan. Other founders were Hasan Imam, Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, and Mazhar-ul-Haq. 
  • The movement was started as an anti- Aligarh movement and Ahrar movement founders objected to the Aligarh movement’s loyalist policies. 
  • The Lucknow Pact, which favored the representation of religious minorities in provincial legislatures, was vehemently opposed by these leaders. 
  • The movement members encouraged active involvement in the nationalist movement and were inspired by the ongoing concept of self-government.
  • The Ahrar movement prepared the way for Majlis-e-Ahrar-e Islam (MAI), a traditional Sunni political party that took part in the Indian National Movement and was founded in 1929. 
  • An anti-imperialist, anti-feudal, and nationalist ideology propelled the party. 
  • After the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre in 1919 and the Khilafat Movement in 1922, this party—which was formerly a member of the unsuccessful Khilafat Movement—emerged as a religiopolitical party. 
  • In Punjab province, the party was very active and become an important political force by the early 1930s. Additionally, the party concentrated on Punjab’s social and religious issues. 
  • In addition to these activities, Ahrar took part in British India’s mainstream political growth from 1931 to 1947.

Role of the Ahmadiyya Movement:

  • The Ahmadiyya Movement is a modern Muslim messianic or Islamic revival movement and was founded by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian in 1889.
  • He commenced this movement as a protector of Islam against the rhetoric of the Arya Samaj and Christian missionaries.
  • A Muslim group with Indian roots is known as the Ahmadiyya and they follow liberal principles.
  • The movement rejected jihad (the holy war waged against non-Muslims) and like the Brahmo Samaj, was built on the tenets of a single, universal religion for all people.
  • Western liberalism, Theosophy, and Hindu religious reform movements all had a significant impact on Ghulam Ahmad and his movement.
  • He described himself as the leader of the Mohammedan Renaissance.
  • Although Ghulam Ahmad referred to himself as a minor prophet, he followed Muhammad as the true and great Prophet. 
  • Ahmadiyya Movement is the only Islamic movement that believes Mirza Ghulam Ahmad is the Messiah. Although Ghulam Ahmad referred to himself as a minor prophet, he followed Muhammad as the true and great Prophet. 
  • They also believe that Mirza Ghulam Ahmad came to put an end to religious strife and violence as well as to restore morality, peace, and justice and they supported human rights and tolerance, as well as maintaining the mosque’s autonomy from the government.
  • By creating a network of schools and universities, the movement promoted Western liberal education among Indian Muslims. Ghulam Ahmad wrote more than 75 books, among them was Faith-i Islam, to spread education and awareness.
  • The Ahmadiyya Movement in Islam was separated into two groups after the demise of the first Khalifa in 1914. These were the Ahmadis and the Lahore group.

Impact of these Movements on the Muslim Reform Movement:

Ahrar Movement and Ahmadiyya Movement played a crucial role in promoting education, tolerance, love, and harmony among people of different religions. These movements hold a very important role in Muslim reform movements, as these movements made reforms in Muslim society and also inspired other movements to do the same reforms. Ahrar Movement promotes political awareness among Muslims and Hindu-Muslim unity, while Ahmadiyya Movement focuses on humanitarian programmes, educational facilities, health services, and Islamic publications. These movements were also started in an effort to abolish social evils like polygamy and purdah. Consequently, this Movement promotes interreligious interaction and works to dispel misconceptions about Islam held by Westerners.


The entire population, including Hindus and Muslims, experienced a time of awakening during the 19th century. Many reformers stood up to combat wrongdoing committed in the name of religion while also promoting the greatness of Indian philosophy and culture. Self-reliance, respect for oneself, and pride in one’s country were promoted. Being one of the few informed and enlightened Muslims, movements like the Ahrar and Ahmadiyya were crucial in bringing about changes to the Muslim religion.

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