The Americas

The Fazl Mosque – A Mosque for All Time

An insight into the significance of this mosque over the last 50 years.

[Translator’s Note: All references to the verses of the Holy Qur’an are given in Arabic as they occur in the text. The English translation, presented in italics, is taken from the translation of the Holy Qur’an by Hadhrat Maulvi Sher Ali Sahib(ra). Where the Promised Messiah( a s ) h a s himself stated a certain interpretation of the Arabic verse, this is incorporated in the main body of the text]. The reason why I consider it important to address you today is that the time of death is unpredictable and no one can say with certainty that his life will be so long and that so many days of it remain. Hence, it is a matter of deep concern to me that those who are still unfamiliar with the reasons as to what God’s purpose is for establishing this Community, such people should become 40 Review of Religions – October 2002 Reformation Presented below, in translation, is an address delivered on 26 December 1903 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (may the peace be upon him). The Urdu text of the speech is taken from Malfoozat, Volume 6, pp.235-239. Malfoozat is the title of the ten volumes that contain the collection of discourses, speeches and addresses of Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. (Translated by Amatul Hadi Ahmad) The founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) In 1891, Hadhrat Mirza Ahmad claimed, on the basis of Divine revelation, that he was the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent had been foretold by the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) and by the scriptures of other faiths. His claim constitutes the basis of the beliefs of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. familiar with the reasons and should know what it is that is expected of our Community. It is also a mistake to consider that a customary declaration of Bai’at, [i.e. initiation into the Community] is by itself a sufficient means of salvation. [It is to remove such miscon- ceptions] that I have felt the need to put before you the true purpose [of the establishment of a new Community] and what it is that God really wants [from those who join this Community]. Everyone should remember that a formal declaration of initiation or merely believing me to be the Imam is certainly not sufficient for achieving salvation because God Almighty looks at the heart – He does not look at verbal utterances. Salvation requires all that God has repeatedly stated [in the Holy Qur’an] and that is, firstly, that one should truly believe God to be One without any partners and then to believe the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) to be a true Prophet of God. One should also believe the Holy Qur’an to be a divine book and one that will not be replaced as the Book of religious Law until the end of time. In other words, after the Holy Qur’an there is no need for another book or religious law. Remember this well that the Holy Pr o p h e t M u h a m m a d( s a ) is K h a a t a m – u l – A n b i y a, [i.e. the Seal of Prophets], meaning that after our Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) there will be no new religious law nor a new Book nor any different commandments. There will be only this Book [the Holy Qur’an] and its commandments. The term ‘Prophet’ or ‘Messenger’ that is found in my books in relation to myself [as the appointee of God] are not intended to imply that any new religious law, Sharia, or new commandments are being taught. The intention is only to convey the principle that when at the time of need God appoints a person [for a specific purpose], such a person is granted the elevated station where he hears God’s words and is given knowledge of unseen and future events. It is due to this that the term N a b i o r ‘Prophet’ is applied to such a person and such an appointed 41 Reformation Review of Religions – October 2002 one of God is given this title [by God]. It does not mean that he brings a new religious law, Sharia or, God forbid, that he negates the Sharia of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). On the contrary, whatever he attains, he attains through a sincere and total obedience of the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a ) [and complete adherence to the practice of the Holy Pr o p h e t( s a )], without which such a station cannot be attained. In an age when a multitude of sins are committed and the people of the world do not understand the true nature of faith – all that remains [of faith] is just the outer shell or bones without any inner kernel or true essence. The force of faith becomes very weak while the domination of satanic forces increases greatly. Moreover, there does not remain any interest or enjoyment in faith. At such times the perpetual rule of God manifests itself, namely, that God appoints a true and sincere servant of His, a servant who is completely immersed in the true obedience of God. Such a person is appointed and ennobled with the rare distinction of communication with God. In this age and at this time God has appointed me as the [Messenger of the time to rekindle in mankind the true love of God] because it is a time when the love of God had become totally cold. Even though it may be generally observed that people believe in [the declaration] La ilaha illalah, i.e. there is no God but Allah, and they verbally attest to the truth of the Holy Prophet M u h a m m a d( s a ) – they perform S a l a t and keep fasts but spirituality is lacking. On the other hand, the prevalence of acts and practises that go against the principles of righteousness bear witness to the fact that performance of the stipulated worship is customary and there is not to be found even a hint of true spirituality. Otherwise, what is the reason that their acts of worship are not accompanied by the blessing [in the form] of righteous deeds and by the light [of faith]. Remember this well, unless deeds are done with a true and sincere intention and are 42 Reformation Review of Religions – October 2002 accompanied by true spiri- t u a l i t y, they can be of no benefit and will be of no avail. Deeds can only be referred to as righteous when there is no corruption in them of any kind. The opposite of rectitude is disorder. The pious person is he who is completely free from all forms of disorder and dissension. Salat that is in a state of disorder and is tainted with ulterior motives, is certainly not for God – it does not ‘reach’ up above the ground by as much as even a hand because such people are devoid of sincerity and spirituality. There are many people who raise the objection, questioning the need for [the formation] of this Community when according to them they, too, offer Salat and keep fasts. In this way they deceive others and there is no doubt that some people who are unfamiliar with [our teachings and with our Community] may well be deceived and join the others in saying that we, too, offer our Salat and keep fasts and recite the various prayers, why then has this division been created? Remember that such talk is the result of ignorance and lack of recognition of God. [The creation of division] is not my doing – if there is division, it is God Who has created this division because it is God Who has established this Community. The reason for this is that the spiritual state has become so weakened that it has reached the point where the force of faith has completely disap- peared. However, God wishes to give new life to true faith and this He has done through the new Community. Given these circumstances the objections of the people who question the formation of this Community are absurd and without any basis. In short, remember this well that such doubts and suspicions should not enter one’s heart and if one were to consider this matter fully, such thoughts should not even arise. It is when careful consideration is not given to these matters that doubts and suspicions arise and some people who look only at the surface, make the objection that there are other people who are also Muslims. Such doubts and suspicions can very quickly lead a person to his destruction. 43 Reformation Review of Religions – October 2002 I have seen letters that have been written by people who apparently belong to our Community but say that they are asked by others as to what need there is for a new Community when they too offer Salat, declare the same Kalima, and keep fasts? Such people further write in their letters that those who question them appear to be good people, doing good works. Despite the fact that the writers of such letters belong to our Community, upon hearing objections and doubts, they write that they do not know the answer [to such objections]. I feel regret and pity for such people that they have failed to understand our true purpose and intention. They only see that other people customarily adhere to the practice of Islam and in this vein they deem to fulfil their duty to God but their practises lack the spirit of truth. Hence, such objections work like the suspicions created by acts of magic and [those influenced] do not care to think that our intention is to create a true faith that saves a person from the death of a sinful life. Such motives are not to be found in those who follow only the customs and traditions. Their sight is set only upon the apparent – it is not upon the reality. What they have is only the outer skin not the inner kernel. Remember and understand this point that at the time of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) had the Jews abandoned the Torah? Had they abandoned practising the Torah? Certainly not! The Jews even now believe in the Torah and their practice is according to this Book. Their sacrifices and other customs are still carried on today as they were at that time. They continue to face towards Bait- ul-Muqadis while performing their prayers. At the time of the Holy Prophet(sa) there were also present great Jewish scholars and Jewish priests, so what need was there for the Holy Prophet(sa) and for the new Book of God [namely, the Holy Qur’an]? There also existed at that time the Christian people. Among them, too, was a sect that believed in the Unity of God. What then was the reason for the appointment by God of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) 44 Reformation Review of Religions – October 2002 and for the Book of God? This is a question that should be carefully considered by our opponents and by those who raise such objections [against the formation of our Community]. This is a very subtle issue but those who ponder and consider matters carefully will be able to see that it is not such a difficult matter. Remember that God looks only upon the soul and upon spirituality. God does not look at the apparent actions – He looks only at the reality and the inner state as to whether the actions are tainted by an element of selfishness and personal desires or whether there is sincerity and true obedience to God. The apparent form of deeds, however, may deceive a person. He may be led to think highly of a person who is seen with a rosary in hand or if he observes a person to be offering voluntary prayers at night or mid-morning. Similarly, when he sees someone to be performing noble acts of virtue, he may believe him to be a saintly person but God does not like the show of ‘outer layer’ [of deeds]. God is never pleased with [acts that are only] an outer shell, an outer covering – God is not pleased until there is loyalty and true sincerity. A person who is without loyalty [to God] is like a dog – [just like a dog falls upon dead flesh], a disloyal person falls upon the rotten world. Such people may sometimes appear to be good but they will be found to hide their ill-deeds and disgraceful practices. What use is the Salat that is full of ostentation – what possible benefit can there be in such Salat? (To be continued) 45 Reformation Review of Religions – October 2002