Simon Ross Valentine: religion, philosophy and Islamic Studies

Posts Tagged ‘Islam

Valentine.indd  Dr Simon Valentine, a teacher and writer based in Bradford, in a recently published book Islam & the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, [Hurst & Co, 2008, pp. 270, £25] describes the history, beliefs and practice of this Muslim reform group. Having lived amongst the Ahmadi in the Leeds Road area of Bradford for two years, regularly attending meetings at the Ahmadi mosque and enjoying hospitality in Ahmadi homes, and having spent time at their headquarters at Qadian in India and Rabwah in Pakistan Dr Valentine provides unique insights into Muslim culture, practice and faith.

          Following an account of the life, claims and teaching of Ghulam Mirza Ahmad (1835-1908) the founder of the Ahmadiyya jama’at, the book considers the history of the Ahmadi movement world-wide and in the city of Bradford; the structure and hierarchy of the Ahmadi community; the role of women in Islam; the problems faced by Muslims integrating into British society, and life in the Ahmadi mosque.

          What do the Ahmadi believe? In a lively and informed way the book explains how although Muslims generally believe that Muhammad is the greatest and the last of the prophets the Ahmadi, although accepting Muhammad as the greatest prophet, teach that there can be other, albeit lesser, prophets. Rejecting the rhetoric of violence declared by militant Islam the Ahmadi also teach that true jihad is “to struggle” for righteousness, to fight with the pen in rational debate, rather than fight with the sword or Kalashnikov. 

          Due mainly to the claims made by their founder, namely that he was a prophet, and their insistence of “prophecy after the Prophet”, the Ahmadi are a persecuted people. Drawing from his visits to Lahore, Faisalabad, Rabwah and other cities in Pakistan, from interviews with Ahmadi here in Britain, and from official Home Office reports, Valentine discuses specific cases of persecution and the problems faced by asylum seekers

         Personal anecdotes are given of travels abroad. For example Valentine describes his visit to the mountains of Kashmir [being held at gun-point by Kashmiri militia], to the capital city Srinigar, so as to visit the alleged tomb of Jesus and examine the claims made by the Ahmadi that Jesus, instead of dying on the cross as Christians believe, or being assumed into heaven as mainstream Muslims teach, escaped from the Romans, travelled to the East, finally settling and dying in Kashmir.

          The book, with a useful glossary of terms, a full bibliography and index, is the only book written by a non-Ahmadi describing the history, beliefs and practice of the Abhmadiyya jama’at.  Dr Valentine can be contacted on

For a brief appraisal of the Ahmadi teaching on Jesus: their belief that He did not die on the Cross but went to Srinigar in Kashmir, where he married, had children and died at a ripe old age, see





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  • archegos1: Hi, yes, contact me on
  • omar: Hi simon, do you have an email address I can contact you on? Wanted to speak to you about one of the books you have written...many thanks
  • archegos1: It was a pleasure meeting you and your family as well Taha. I'm presently back in the UK applying for iqaama and will contact you soon.