By Chelsea Davis – Bibb, M.Ed.
HOUSTON – Imam Abdulla Dibba is a minister of religion for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His duties consist of youth leadership, leading prayers and presenting just to name a few. As a full time, devotee of the community, he serves wherever and in whatever capacity he is needed.
This can range from public speaking, training, teaching scriptures and leading regular prayers. Both of his parents became members of this community. His father became a member when he was 16 and his mother joined after being married to his father. “I was born as a Muslim as someone who adopted my parents’ faith, and I grew up to learn it myself. I’ve been in it from birth,” expressed Imam.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community are Muslims who believe in the latter-day Messiah Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian. They believe him to be the fulfilment of the great prophecy of the second coming of the Messiah. There are three missions he must fulfill: to unite the whole of mankind under one banner of peace; revive Islam because Islam is going through a lot of challenges not only from today’s society, but for the past few centuries, Islam has been misrepresented.
According to Imam, “People who call themselves Muslim are committing heinous crimes and are doing things that are not really part of what Islam essentially stands for.”
The last mission is the reformation of Muslims. Muslims who are acting in ways they shouldn’t be acting by reforming them and making them better people.
There are many challenges that the Muslim community faces on a day-to-day basis. According to Iman, “Muslims in general do face a lot of challenges in terms of people being misinformed of what Islam is about. That is generally a struggle that Muslims are facing, which is to be seen as terrorists, to be seen as a threat to society, and to be seen as a race instead of a faith that anyone can accept and adopt.” Imam expressed that this mindset is ignorance because this is not what Islam is about in the first place.
Secondly, specifically regarding The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, they face challenges both internally and externally. Externally is the overall challenges as being labeled as bad people, killers and terrorist. Internally comes from other Muslims labeling them as infidels and disbelievers because of their faith in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian who came to reform Muslims and revive Islam.
According to Imam, one of the main differences is that many other Muslims believe in the concept of Jihad to be fighting and physical, but their belief is that true Jihad that Islam teaches is not necessarily fighting. Imam stated, “Striving is what Jihad stands for. Striving to stop yourself from what your instincts and your ego would put you towards. That struggle that you go through to stop yourself from doing anything bad or evil or anything discouraging. That is what the first step of Jihad is.”
He further stated, “It is an internal battle. Those true interpretations that they teach is what other Muslims do not like about us. The reason we are more acceptable is our belief in the Messiah who has come to bring back the true teachings of Islam.”
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believes they can resonate with everyone across the world, which makes them truly global. “We’ve become persecuted for that reason even amongst Muslims,” Imam said.
As a follower of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, Imam reflected on one of his missions, which is the unity of mankind. Imam stated, “The way he wants to do that is not by everyone becoming Muslim but recognizing the humanity that we have amongst ourselves. Regardless of you being Black, White, Asian or whatever faith you may be- long to or no faith at all. That is the central theme of that aspect of his mission.”
Even though the Muslim com- munity may face persecution, they still represent peace and unity. Imam illustrated “Whenever we become persecuted it is because of ignorance. If someone persecutes me…I know it is primarily because that person doesn’t know what my faith does to me. My faith teaches me love for all hatred to none. “When they are persecuted, what they do in return is to try and educate people. They turn around and show those people that, that is not what they deserve because their mission is to