In Pakistan myself and some of my Ahmadi Muslim friends often use to talk about the hadith mentioning the division of Muslim Ummah into 73 section out of which only one will be true. Of course being Ahmadi Muslims we always believed that Ahmadiyya Jama'at is the only saved Jama'at. The first encounter, on this hadith, I had with a non-Ahmadi was when Dr. Nadeem Malik (at that time in Switzerland) quoted this hadith during a debate on the internet and the non-Ahmadi, Nadeem was debating with, jumped and asked for the proof that there were in fact 73 sects. Fortunately, I remembered the mention of this being published in a Pakistani Newspaper so entered the debate to help Nadeem and quoted the reference saying that if we (as Ahmadi Muslims) tell you that in fact there had been 73 sects you would claim that we made them up so I give you a reference which might be more reliable to you. However, the debating non-Ahmadi came out of this by saying then what is the proof that Ahmadi Muslims are the ones who are saved.
After this first encounter, on a number of occasions, whenever this hadith was referred to or quoted by an Ahmadi Muslim on the internet the opponents raised a number of objections. Some claimed the hadith to be Dhaif (weak), some who accepted the authenticity of the hadith, demanded the names of all the sects, some claimed there are a lot more sects in Islam than 73. Such claiming the number to be a lot more than 73 were told that just like Jews after the appearance of the Messiah (AS) the number of sections or divisions was bound to be increased. However, all these debates on the internet prompted me to do some research and produce an article thorough enough that it addressed all the objections raised concerning this hadith during these debates. This study is by no means complete and does not address all the aspects of resemblance of Ahmadi Muslims with Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions (RA). However, I hope and pray that it provides sufficient material for the satisfaction of pious searching souls Amen.
Dr. Ijaz A. Rauf
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