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As an outsider looking at Ahmadiyya, I never understood why many former Ahmadis so vehemently call Ahmadiyya a cult. Is Ahmadiyya a religion or is it a cult? When does a religion become a cult? Psychologist Philip G. Zimbardo identified four primary factors that distinguish a cult from a regular religion, upon which Mitch Horowitz appended two:

  • Behaviour control, such as monitoring of where you go and what you do.
  • Information control, such as discouraging members from reading criticism of the group.
  • Thought control, placing sharp limits on doctrinal questioning;
  • Emotional control, using humiliation or guilt.
  • Financial control, either through mandatory payments or full disclosure of financial information.
  • Extreme leadership, such as excessively revering the leader.

In this edition we briefly explore the above points with regard to Ahmadiyya. How many of the above factors would Ahmadiyya fall under if any at all? If any references are required for the information provided, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .