Bay'ah (Ahmadiyya)

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
International Bay'ah, 2008.

Bai'at or Bay'ah (Arabic: بَيْعَة‎‎; literally a "sale" or a "transaction") is an Islamic practice of declaring on oath, one's allegiance to a particular leader. In an Islamic religious sense, this oath is the standard procedure of pledging allegiance to an Imam, a spiritual leader, or to sell oneself in exchange of the spiritual guidance given by an Imam. It is known to have been practiced by the Islamic prophet Muhammad and his successors (caliphs) after him and is a practice that also forms a notable feature within Ahmadiyya Islam. Following the death of a Caliph, the leader of the community, a pledge of allegiance is taken by the newly chosen Caliph from members of the community, based upon this prophetic model and the bay'ah is the standard procedure for entering the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Since 1993, a large Bay'ah ceremony of initiation for entering the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, is also held on an international scale every year during the annual gathering of the community. The ceremony is led by the caliph at whose hand new converts take the oath of initiation, and old members of the community can reaffirm their oaths.

Bay'ah (Ahmadiyya)

Khalifatul Masih V at the International Bay'ah Ceremony 2007 wearing the green coat of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.

The concept of bay'ah is considered very important to Ahmadi Muslims. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, after claiming to be divinely appointed as the renewer of Islam, took the first bay'ah in 1889 at Ludhiana. After this, many individuals travelled long distances to Qadian to be initiated in the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The practice was continued by his successors.

The tradition was originally started by the Islamic prophet Muhammad and continued by the 4 Caliphs after him.

International Bay'at

In 1993 Mirza Tahir Ahmad, the fourth Ahmadiyya Caliph, internationalised the Bay'ah through Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA) by which people from all over the world are now able to partake in this pledge which is simultaneously translated into 12 different languages. This international oath of allegiance takes place every year at the annual gatherings in UK, except for one year (2001) when it took place in Germany.

Distinctive features

Since the first International Bay'ah, some acts have become part of the tradition during the ceremony. Foremost, the Caliph wears a green coat of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad at the ceremony. This coat was lent to the fourth caliph for this ceremony by his sister. However, the coat was given to the caliphate at the request of the fifth caliph, Mirza Masroor Ahmad.

The members of the community form five or seven lines in front of the caliph at the ceremony to represent the five/seven continents of the world. Officials of the community organisation and other people who have worked for the community or are otherwise selected for this ceremony are present in these lines. The lines proceed to some extent in an orderly manner after which other members are present. Members of the community all over the world join the ceremony live through TV coverage by the community's own satellite channel MTA. The members and those who want to become members place their hands on the back of the person in their front, as is known from the tradition of the early Muslims at the time of Muhammad, and so form chains of physical contact with the caliph. This physical contact is seen necessary only for those present at the ceremony.

The oath of allegiance or Bay'ah is taken by the caliph in the following way: first he reads a sentence or a part of a sentence from the oath in Arabic and then in Urdu or English, which the members of the community repeat after him. The wording contains the shahadah, prayers of repentance and involves a promise to abide by the Ten Conditions of Bai'at as stipulated by Ghulam Ahmad. Then the same sentence or part of the sentence is repeated by translators in many languages of the world simultaneously and repeated by the members of the community.

After having gone through the whole text of the oath of allegiance in this manner, the caliph leads the members in silent prayers. At the end, all members of the congregation, which includes those participating around the world, prostrate themselves as an expression of gratitude towards God. This prostration is not directed in any particular direction and is performed in whichever direction one finds suitable but it is led by the caliph,. [1]

Number of converts

The year by year count of converts worldwide, in accordance with the reports announced by the Caliph at the occasion of the International Bai'at and printed officially by the community are as follows:

Year Number of Converts
2015[2] 567,330
2014[3] 555,235
2013[4] 540,782
2012[5] 522,352
2011[6] 480,822
2010[7] 458,760
2009[8] 416,010
2008[9] 354,638
2007[10] 261,969
2006[11] 293,881
2005[12] 209,799
2004[12] 304,910
2003[12] 892,403
2002[12] 20,654,000
2001[12] 81,006,721
2000[12] 41,308,975
1999[12] 11,820,226
1998[12] 5,004,591
1997[12] 3,004,585
1996[12] 1,602,721
1995[12] 847,725
1994[12] 421,753
1993[12] 204,308
Total 170,724,496

References

See also