A non-Ahmadi commentator who is also a big fan of Sheikh Hamza Yusuf recently left the old chanda allegation - implying Ahmadi funding is unaccounted for. It occurred to us, the best way to answer this allegation would be to compare the way Ahmadiyya donations are spent to how his Sunni sheikh, Hamza Yusuf, spends the donations he receives.
Sheikh Hamza is the founder of an Islamic college called Zaytuna in the USA, which he has run since 1996. According to Zaytuna's website, the school charges $11,000 per year in tuition fees, an additional $7,450 every nine months in accommodation fees, as well as $900 for each student's books. There are further minor expenses. Anyhow, by adding these various fees we can estimate the annual charges for each student are close to $20,000 a year. It should be noted that Zaytuna offers some financial aid to poorer students.
Anyhow, as Zaytuna currently hosts a student body made up of 30 people, if they all paid the full $20,000 a year that would be $600,000. Even this figure would not cover the college's costs; in a recent interview Waheed Abdul Rasheed, Zaytuna's Chief Operating Officer, told the New York Times the college has an annual running cost of between $4-5 million.
This is not all. Zaytuna, which is neither accredited by US authorities nor any other Islamic institute, recently launched its 'brick by brick' donation scheme. This scheme - an advert for which is presented in the video below - is asking 19,000 donors to make a contribution of $1,000 each towards the running of the college. To put that into perspective, that's asking for a total donation of $19 million (19,000 donors x $1,000 each). The college claims $7million will be used towards buying a new campus while the other $12 million will be used towards 'academic programs'. The full advert is available in this video:
To reiterate, Sheikh Hamza's Zaytuna College requires $12 million to run its 'academic programmes' which will cater for 30 students divided across a four-year course (in other words an induction of seven and a half students per year).
In comparison, Jamia Ahmadiyya UK runs a seven-year course for close to 200 students who are taught Arabic, Urdu, Hanafi fiqh, Islamic history, Quran, hadith and Ahmadiyya-specific studies etc. These students are given free accommodation. They are not charged for tuition or in any other way. However, according to Zaytuna's tuition and accommodation fees, the teaching they receive is worth $140,000 ($20,000 in fees x seven years).
Further, adjusting Zaytuna's running costs (over $4 million a year) for its 30 students, to Jamia's 100-200 students would mean Jamia's running costs are over $16 million per year! The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the UK has 28,000 active members who raise perhaps a little less than $20 million a year in all donations. So, if the Ahmadi's college was run as carefully as the Sunni leaders run Zaytuna, almost the entire annual UK budget would be spent on this one institute.
Jamia's have also been opened by the Ahmadiyya Community in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Canada, Germany, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Indonesia, Malaysia, Tanzania, Sri Lanka, Sierra Leone and Madagascar. That's 15 Jamias in total. Assuming they are all the same size as the Jamia in the UK then the total running cost of all 15 Jamias would be US $240 million a year (adjusting the $4 million spent annually by Zaytuna on its 30 students to the number of students spread across the 15 Ahmadiyya institutes). Now I don't personally know how much the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community raises annually, but I suspect $240 million may be greater than our entire worldwide budget. In fact, the cost of running the 15 Jamias may even be far greater than $240 million - when applying the cost of Zaytuna - as we have estimated them all to be the same size as the UK's Jamia whereas some are far larger (Pakistan's Jamia has well over 1,000 students).
The point is, the allegations made against chanda by the jealous anti-Ahmadis are always absurd. If the Ahamdiyya community was misappropriating its funds, it would be impossible to run even the 15 Jamia institutes let alone a further 15,000 mosques which we have built/converted, hundreds of free schools and free hospitals as well as extensive charity efforts among the vulnerable people in some of the poorest parts of the world. One independent non-Ahmadi scholar visited Rabwah and studied the Ahmadiyya community there. He drew the following conclusions about our charity efforts in Pakistan:
The doctors of the Rabwah hospital give up their one free day a week to spend twelve hours in the neighbouring countryside treating poor villagers. Few of the villages, if any, are Ahmadi...
In 1993-1994 members ran 349 free medical camps in which 57,279 patients were seen. Over CDN $115,600 worth of free medicine was distributed. The medical camps are conducted by volunteer doctors...
These Ahmadi colleges were in some ways elite institutions, though they were not restricted to the upper and middle classes. Monsoor Khan took great pains to point out that they accepted students from all classes. Fees were waived in the case of poor students...(all quotations from Antonio Gaultieri, a Christian professor at Carleton University, writing in his 2004 book 'The Ahmadis: Community Gender and Politics in a Muslim Society. The book was based on research he conducted while staying at Rabwah and he studied Ahmadiyya academically from 1987-2004)
Another article by an Ahmadi brother we have often quoted summarised the annual charity efforts of a single Ahmadi mosque:
[Baitul Fatuh Mosque in Morden, London] has also been contributing to the wider non-Muslim community. The Ahmadiyya Youth Association, whose administrative centre is in the mosque, is holding its 27th annual charity challenge in Milton Keynes on April 28. Last year the same event raised £250,000 for a number of different charities. An additional £120,000 pounds were donated to Queen’s charity to mark the diamond jubilee. That’s not all. Every year the Ahmadiyya Youth Association send hundreds of volunteers to marshal Leukaemia and Lymphoma Research’s annual bikeathon, helping to raise millions of pounds. Members of the association also help in raising money for British veterans with an annual poppy appeal.
Then, almost every Friday evening, the mosque kitchen is used for cooking and packing food for London’s homeless. Last year 7,000 food packets were distributed to the homeless. Sometimes they also distribute blankets, clothes and toiletries along with food. The mosque is also used for packing relief material when natural disasters strike around the world. There were three blood donation sessions hosted at the mosque last year resulting in more than 300 units of blood collected.
As for environmental commitments, the attendees of the mosque have planted 8,000 trees during 2012. They also worked with other local faith groups to preserve the local park and save it from being sold on for commercial use. This was a fine example of multi-faith cooperation. In addition, the mosque arranged for at least 10 litter picking sessions in the Merton area. They also help to clear the snow off the pavements during the winter.
The mosque itself is open for public use. The local university uses the premises to hold exams. The mosque has hosted three external conferences, four borough council meetings and two council surgeries. An Armed Forces function was also hosted at the mosque. The mosque holds monthly liaison meetings with neighbours, churches, councillors, schools and police to discuss local issues. There were two well attended public job fairs in the mosque, organised by the mosque's administration and visited by many private and public employers.
Then when the local scouts in Merton recently found their hut roof badly damaged and decaying, Ahmadis took on the responsibility of repairing the roof as the scouts didn’t have the budget to do it. This news was not covered anywhere (until now) as it was not done to gain acclaim, but to contribute to the local community.
There is a huge car park in the mosque compound, behind the main building and adjacent to the London tube station. The car park is open to the public. Those who go to the nearby college or use public transport into central London, can park their cars on most days, regardless of the colour of their skin or their choice of faith. The service is absolutely free and available to all.
Around 33,000 guests visited the mosque last year. This includes student groups, teachers, representatives from different churches etc. Most of these are provided refreshments and many served with a meal....(Ibn Habeeb, article originally published at www.newreligion.eu 2012)Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad has previously addressed these allegations:
This is a promise of Allah that He made with the Promised Messiah that there would never be any financial straitened circumstances and things will continue inshAllah. If he was ever concerned it was that the monies should be spent properly. By the Grace of Allah, the Exalted, we try to ensure that expenditures are done in the most correct way possible. If in some places some carelessness is detected, people’s attention is drawn to such things and a system of auditing is in place for this very purpose. And this is the responsibility of the President of the Jamaat that he should keep a careful eye on the expenditures and not that any and all bills that come are automatically approved of necessity. Make the audit system effective and allow it to run with independence and authority so that the auditors can work with full authority and they should be afforded complete powers. (Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Friday Sermon, 16th August 2013)The fact is, to any reasonably honest and logical person, it is obviously impossible for the Ahmadiyya community to carry out its enormous activities as documented above, if it were misappropriating its meager funds from its comparatively small and poor members. Its simply impossible.
The suspicious-minded people who raise these questions should be honest and un-hypocritical enough to apply the same microscopic concern they apparently have for the spending of Ahmadi donations to their own Sunni imams: are these imams appropriately using their far-larger funding and is it achieving an equal amount to the lesser funding of the Ahmadis? We look forward to them emailing Sheikh Hamza (firstname.lastname@example.org) and questioning his use of funds in an equally suspicious and insulting manner. As Jesus said about judging others before judging yourself (or in this case your own community):
Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? (Jesus, Bible Matthew 7:1-3)We leave you with two documentaries about Jamia Ahmadiyya UK and its Ghanain equivelant:
References for figures above: