The Ahmadiyya is a religious faction founded towards the end of the 19th century by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian, India. The movement arose after the founder purported that he had fulfilled the prophecies pertaining to the return of the Messiah, who would bring great triumph to all Muslim believers. Now headquartered in London, the movement has a mission of Muslim unity with spiritual guidance from a Khalifa.
As per data from 2016, the group had spread to 209 countries worldwide with higher numbers found in South Asia, Indonesia, East and West Africa, and the Caribbean Islands. However, the community is a minority since most mainstream Muslims do not agree with their claims. In fact, it is illegal to be an Ahmadi Muslim in some nations such as Pakistani. These challenges make it tough to estimate the exact population of the group in the world. However, credible estimates place their numbers at between 10 and 20 million in the world, just 1% of the global Muslim population. The official website of the movement says that their numbers are in the tens of millions.
Countries with the largest Ahmadiyya populations
The list of the top five countries with the most Ahmadiyya populations in the world is dominated by African countries. Nigeria has the highest number with an approximate 2,840,000 Ahmadi Muslims, followed by Tanzania with 2,540,000, then followed by India with approximate numbers of 1,000,000. The other two countries, Niger and Ghana, which come in fourth and fifth place respectively, have a population of less than one million. Niger has around 970,000 while Ghana has 635,000.
The remaining five countries are also mostly Africa with Pakistan sneaking into the list in the sixth place with 600,000 Ahmadi Muslims. The Democratic Republic of Congo is next with 540,000, followed by Sierra Leone (500,000), Cameroon (430,000), and lastly by Indonesia with 400,000 Ahmadi Muslims. Compared to Indonesia, Nigeria alone has at least seven times Ahmadi Muslims as Indonesia. The figures are even higher when the totals of the African countries are compared with the totals of the three remaining states.
Looking at the countries on the list, then it is clearly visible that Africa has the highest population of Ahmadi populations. Seven out of the ten nations are from Africa while the remaining three are in India and the Middle East. Unsurprisingly, India is close to the top of the list considering that the Ahmadiyya community was founded in India, Even more surprising is the fact that India is not at the top of the list. Another interesting fact is Pakistan. One would think that Pakistan would have few numbers considering that, after the Ordinance XX, Ahmadi Muslims were prohibited from identifying themselves as Muslims or even declare their mosques as places of worship.
Despite being a minority group, recent numbers show that the community is the fastest growing within the Muslim community. Furthermore, there is another Ahmadiyya Muslim movement called the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, which has a rich history but commands a smaller following. Their numbers represent less than 0.2% of Ahmadi Muslims worldwide.