Mosques and Peace

No Comments | October 2018

Many people worry when mosques are built in their neighbourhood. But true mosques bring peace to their communities.

The Review of Religions

And if Allah did not repel some men by means of others, there would surely have been pulled down cloisters and churches and synagogues and mosques, wherein the name of Allah is oft commemorated. And Allah will surely help one who helps Him. Allah is indeed Powerful, Mighty.’

—The Holy Qur’an, 22:41

Mosques, churches, synagogues and temples are potent reminders of how worship has been integral to people’s lives in all times. Throughout the ages people have gathered in holy places to engage in prayer and supplication. These sacred and holy abodes are not just places of worship; they also have long been recognised as safe havens for the destitute,  places of refuge for the afflicted; and sanctuaries for the needy. However, in the last few decades there has been an increasing sense of apprehension and trepidation, particularly in the West, whenever there is a mention of Muslims constructing a mosque. In some areas protests and demonstrations are carried out to strongly object to the opening of mosques; in others this opposition has led to outright bans on minarets. Unfortunately, many people harbour the misconception that mosques are breeding grounds for radicalisation and spreading hate and terror.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, under the leadership of the divine institution of a Caliphate, has opened over thousands of mosques around the world. The worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, has travelled across the world in his efforts to promote the true and pristine teachings of Islam and to restore its peaceful image. Moreover, he has personally inaugurated numerous mosques in order to explain the true sanctity and significance of mosques as an abode for providing peace and creating harmony for all.

Dispelling the misconception people have about mosques during the occasion of an inauguration of a mosque in Walsall, UK, His Holiness stated,

‘If any of you fear that this mosque will prove to be a centre of extremism filled with cruel and heartless people, let me reassure at the outset. Our religion seeks to bring people together through love and dialogue and never through force or fear. Islam completely rejects all forms of extremism and terrorism. There is no ambiguity or doubt in this matter. The God whom Muslims have been instructed to worship, and who is mentioned in the very first chapter of the Holy Qur’an, is He who is the  which means the Provider and Sustainer for the entire universe and for every person and creature.
Thus, when a Muslim bows before that Supreme Being, Who is the Provider and Sustainer of all mankind, and Who is the Source of all Creation, it is impossible for him to harm any other person, whether from amongst his own community or not. In other words, as the Provider and Sustainer for all people, we firmly believe that the One God Whom we worship – Allah the Almighty – provides, nourishes and sustains Christians, Jews, Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus and the people of all other faiths and beliefs. Indeed, it is our conviction, that He is the Provider and Sustainer for even those who deny His existence.’1

The mosque is not just a place of worship limited to the Muslims, in fact His Holiness has repeatedly reminded us that it is a fundamental Islamic principle that mosques are open to mankind and God Almighty has decreed that to prevent people from entering a mosque is a great cruelty and injustice. Relating a famous tradition of the holy founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammadsa, His Holiness stated,
‘On one occasion, a delegation of Christians from the Arab city of Najran came to meet the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa in Madinah where he lived. After some time, the Holy Prophetsa noticed that the Christian guests were becoming agitated and restless and so he enquired if something was wrong. In response, they informed [him] that it was the time for their prayers and they had nowhere to worship. Upon this, the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa set an everlasting example of religious tolerance for all Muslims to follow, as he offered the Christians his own mosque to worship in according to their customs and beliefs. In light of this, I reiterate that true mosques are open to all people for the worship of the One Omnipotent God and so the doors to every mosque built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, no matter where in the world, are open to the people of all faiths and beliefs.’2

Thus, irrespective of one’s faith, a mosque is a centre of worship for all people. True Islam not only defends the rights of Muslims to worship as they please, but the rights of all people, of all faiths, to worship as they like. Further elaborating on how a mosque serves as a safe sanctuary for all, His Holiness stated,

‘And I would like to inform you that the status of the mosque as a place of refuge is not limited only to those who enter it, but in wider terms it means that even those who live in the surrounding areas will always be safe and will never have any reason to fear the worshippers of the mosque. Not only will the local people be able to live safely and peacefully, but they will also find that every Ahmadi Muslim will stand shoulder to shoulder with them in an effort to establish a society filled with peace, love and compassion. Certainly, the local people of this area will find that all Ahmadis will always remain at the forefront of every effort that is made towards transforming hatred and enmity into love and peace.’3

The principal and foremost objective of any mosque is for people to gather and worship God Almighty. However, Islam also states that true worship also requires service to humanity. Explaining this vital aspect of worship, His Holiness stated,

‘Serving the creation of God is a duty of every person; it is the duty of every man to help his fellow brother, irrespective of his faith. As humans, we must try and learn to understand one another, to be of assistance to one another and also to fulfil the needs of one another. This is extremely important and if this does not happen then there is no benefit to one’s worship either. This is why the Holy Qur’an has clearly stated that those who come to the mosque and offer their prayers but then hurt people, do not help others, do not care for orphans, do not serve the elderly or help the poor and fail to serve others and do not spread peace, love, affection and harmony, their prayers will not be accepted. In fact, their prayers essentially become their sins. Thus, the Holy Qur’an goes to such lengths in regards to the injunction of serving others.’4

In view of this core teaching of Islam, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community continuously strives to excel in serving and helping others. Speaking about the humanitarian efforts of the Community, His Holiness stated,

‘It is because of these teachings that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community sends volunteers to aid and assist disaster relief efforts in countries where natural disasters have occurred…We take care of orphans without any distinction of religion or background. We are carrying out many such services to help those from poor and deprived backgrounds in Africa.’5

On another occasion, speaking about the importance of serving others as an integral part of worship, His Holiness stated,

‘A person’s prayers will not be accepted if they do not seek to help the poor and deprived. A person’s prayers will not be accepted if they are not fulfilling the rights of orphans. A person’s prayers will not be accepted if they are not striving to end all forms of slavery. And a person’s prayers will not be accepted if they do not show mercy to one another and indeed to all forms of God’s creation.’6

Thus, in light of the true objectives and significance of a mosque, one should have nothing to fear. Rather, the mosque plays an important and pivotal social role for the whole community, Muslims and non-Muslims alike. The Holy Prophetsa of Islam once said that of all the buildings, the most beautiful and attractive in God Almighty’s Sight is a mosque. Indeed, the mosques built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community not only add to the beauty of the area in architectural terms but also to its spiritual beauty. Whilst inaugurating a mosque in Germany, His Holiness stated,
‘The mayor of this area mentioned that they planted a tree here in the mosque. Trees are planted to beautify the surroundings, to grow fruit and also to make the environment greener and more pleasant. These days there is a lot of emphasis on climate change and pollution, therefore a lot of plantation is taking place. However, aside from physical trees, we endeavour to plant trees of love. We wish to plant trees that not only beautify the area, keep the atmosphere clean and bear fruit, but trees that will also bear fruits of love. From us, our neighbours should receive only love and affection and the fulfilment of their rights. Thus, a tree has a physical identity, but this tree also has a spiritual identity for which we keep in mind and which every Ahmadi should keep in mind.’7

Indeed, the mosques built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community across the world not only symbolise the unity of God, but also serve as a means of demonstrating pure and unconditional love for mankind. These two fundamental elements form the basis of the Islamic teachings. Thus, where Ahmadi Muslims join together to worship, they also gather together to spread peace and to serve their neighbouring communities and the wider society.

Endnotes

1. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, “Mosques – Spreading Peace In Society,” The Review of Religions, http://www.reviewofreligions.org/13817/inauguration-of-walsall-baitul-muqeet-mosque-keynote-address-by-worldwide-head-of-the-ahmadiyya-muslim-community.

2. Ibid.

3. Ahmadiyya Muslim Community International Press and Media Office, “Friedberg Mosque inaugurated by Khalifa,” Press Ahmadiyya, http://www.pressahmadiyya.com/2014/06/friedberg-mosque-inaugurated-by-khalifa.html.

4. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, “True Muslims Defend All Places of Worship,” The Review of Religions, http://www.reviewofreligions.org/13157/true-muslims-defend-all-places-of-worship.

5. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, “Dispelling the Misconceptions of a Mosque,” The Review of Religions, http://www.reviewofreligions.org/10450/dispelling-the-misconceptions-of-a-mosque.

6. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, “Worship Requires Service to Humanity,” The Review of Religions, http://www.reviewofreligions.org/10656/worship-requires-service-to-humanity.

7. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, “Planting Trees of Love,” The Review of Religions, http://www.reviewofreligions.org/13143/planting-trees-of-love.

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