How do you prove that you're Muslim?
This is not a question that most believers ever have to ask themselves, and yet for members of India's Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, it poses an existential challenge. The Ahmadis are the minority of a minority-people for whom simply being Muslim is a challenge. They must constantly ask the question: What evidence could ever be sufficient to prove that I belong to the faith?
In Far from the Caliph's Gaze Nicholas H. A. Evans explores how a need to respond to this question shapes the lives of Ahmadis in Qadian in northern India. Qadian was the birthplace of the Ahmadiyya community's founder, and it remains a location of huge spiritual importance for members of the community around the world. Nonetheless, it has been physically separated from the Ahmadis' spiritual leader-the caliph-since partition, and the believers who live there now and act as its guardians must confront daily the reality of this separation even while attempting to make their Muslimness verifiable.
By exploring the centrality of this separation to the ethics of everyday life in Qadian, Far from the Caliph's Gaze presents a new model for the academic study of religious doubt, one that is not premised on a concept of belief but instead captures the richness with which people might experience problematic relationships to truth.
Nicholas H. A. Evans
Introduction: A Troubled Relationship with Truth
1. The History of the Ahmadi-Caliph Relationship
2. An Enchanting Bureaucracy
3. A Failure to Doubt? Polemics and Sectarianism in Qadian
4. Prayer Duels to the Death: The Mubahala
5. Televising Islam: The Aesthetics of Caliphate
Conclusion: The Problem with Proof