In subsequent ages, bay'āt were associated with sufi orders; spiritual masters would initiate their followers. This practice still exists in sufi orders around the world.
The concept of bay'ah is considered very important to Ahmadiyya muslims. Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, after claiming to be divinely appointed took the first bay'ah in 1889 at Ludhiana. After this, many of his converts traveled long distances to Qadian to be initiated in the community. The tradition was carried on during the Ahmadiyya caliphate.
The members of the community form five or seven lines in front of the caliph at the ceremony to represent the five/seven continents of the world. Officials of the community organisation and other people who have worked for the community or are otherwise selected for this ceremony are present in these lines. The lines proceed to some extent in an orderly manner after which other members are present. Members of the community all over the world join the ceremony live through TV coverage by the community's own satellite channel MTA the Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International. The members and those who want to become members place their hands on the back of the person in their front, as is known from the tradition of the early muslims at the time of Muhammad, and so form chains of physical contact with the caliph. This physical contact is seen necessary only for those present at the ceremony. The worldwide baiat ceremonies function without this physical contact.
The oath of alligence or Baiat is taken by the caliph in the following way: first he reads a sentence or a part of a sentence from the oath in english or in urdu language. After him the memebrs of the community repeat those words. Then the same sentence or part of the sentence is repeated by the translators in many languages of the world simultaneously.
After havig gone through the whole text of the oath of alligence in this manner, the caliph leads the members in silent prayers.
After completing the oath and the silent prayers a prosteration in congregation is performed by all members all over the world. This prosteration is not directed in any particular direction but it is lead by the caliph. Therefore, all members do the prosteration in whichever direction they find suitable. The tradition of this prosteration goes back to Mirza Tahir Ahmad who started it as an act of gratitude to Allah.
|Year||Number of Converts||Reference|
|2008||354,638||Daily Alfazl, Pakistan, 30. July 2008, http://www.alislam.org/alfazl/rabwah/A20080730.pdf|
|2007||261,969||Daily Alfazl, Pakistan, 1. Aug. 2007, http://www.alislam.org/alfazl/rabwah/A20070801.pdf|
|2006||293,881||Daily Alfazl, Pakistan, 2. Aug. 2006, http://www.alislam.org/alfazl/rabwah/A20060802.pdf|
|2005||209,799||Daily Alfazl, Pakistan, 3. Aug. 2005, http://www.alislam.org/alfazl/rabwah/A20050803.pdf same for all preceeding years|