Foundation stone Ceremony of the London Mosque

32 The Review of Religions – June 2005 With the Grace and Mercy of God. He Alone is the Helper. Sisters and brothers. We have assembled here today for a function which is unique in itself. It is to lay the foundation stone of a building erected to remember Him who is the Creator of all, and to give expression to our feelings of devotion and worship of Him Who is the centre of all. When we stand in His presence we forget all distinctions of age, rank, colour, east or west, for the nearer a man attains to Him the less he remembers the difference, and the more he realises the unity of mankind. So the house in which we have assembled here today, is a sign of the unity and brotherhood of man: it assures us of the fact that our source and our place of return is the same and that we should not fight with each other or create trouble merely owing to some apparent differences. Differences there have been in the world and they will continue to arise. Never was there a time, nor will it ever be, when these differences would disappear: for so long as there is in man the capacity to progress and advance, his needs must differ. Whatever advance we notice in the world is all the result of this fact. So difference, in this respect, as the Holy Prophet M u h a m m a d( s a ) has said, is the source of blessing and not a harmful thing. Evil creeps in only through over-zealousness in laying too much stress upon unity culminating in intolerance. As a matter of fact, the cause of human brotherhood has never suff e r e d more than at the hands of its own warmest advocates whose zeal outran their sense of proportion, and who, consequently, adopted means which defeated their own object. The cause of unity has Speech by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II(ra) at the Foundation Stone Ceremony of the Fazl Mosque, London on 19th October 1924 33The Review of Religions – June 2005 indeed suffered more at the hands of its friends than at the hands of its enemies. If difference is really as bad as it is painted, what is the function of toleration? Toleration and larg e – heartedness can only be exercised when there exist some differences. So what the world needs today is not so much the mitigation of differences as the inculcation of toleration at breadth of view, that is to say, people should learn to live on terms of mutual love and fellow-feeling, in spite of their differences of beliefs and opinions. There can be no doubt about the fact that there can be no real progress without the propagation of truth and that therefore everyone has a right to call people to the truth (as one understands it), but it does not mean that one has a right to enforce his views upon others and to impose his will upon the tongue and action of others before bringing about any change in their hearts. Nor should one begin to persecute others on the basis of mere differences of opinion. Sisters and brothers, mosques are built for fostering its spirit of love and mutual amity. In the terminology of Islam, a mosque is called ‘Baitullah’ (The House of God), that is such a place where no one has a right to disturb or evict another owing to differences of opinions, for it is the House of God and not the private property of any individual, and God is as much the Lord of His opponent as his. Says the Holy Qur’an: ‘Who can be a worse tyrant than him who prevents people from entering the mosques, wherein the name of God is remembered? (Ch.2:V.115) Once a deputation from a Christian tribe waited upon our Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). They were having a discussion with him on doctrinal points. The argument grew long and it was their time to pray. They asked his permission to go out and say their prayers. He said there was no need for them to go out for they could pray in the mosque where they were holding the discussion. So we know from the Holy Qur’an as well as from the life of the Holy P r o p h e t( s a ), that the doors of Muslim mosques are open to all those who want to worship God alone and that the Muslim mosques are the centres of unity. In the same spirit and with the FOUNDATION STONE CEREMONY OF THE FAZL MOSQUE, LONDON 34 The Review of Religions – June 2005 same motives as I have described above, the Ahmadiyya Community intends to lay the foundation stone of this mosque, and before I do it I want to proclaim it throughout the whole world through you who have kindly assembled on this occasion that this mosque is built to worship and serve God alone, so that His love may become fully and firmly manifest and people may be drawn towards religion, without which there can be no true progress. We shall not, God willing, prevent anyone from worshipping God here provided he does not infringe the rules which are necessary for the upkeep of this House of God and provided also that they do not interfere with the worship of those who are building it. I have faith and hope that the spirit of toleration and large-heartedness which the erection of the mosque will create will help to remove all friction and strife and establish peace and unity and goodwill among men, and the days are not far off when people will give up all war and the ideas of war, and they will learn to live in peace and harmony, and the whole world will realise that with God as our One Creator it is necessary to be as brothers and sisters, and instead of being hindrances in the way of progress of others, we will help and co-operate with each other. Just as a father does not like that his children should fight among themselves, so does not God like that His creatures should be busy fighting against each other. In fact, all quarrels and frictions are due to our straying away from God, so He out of His mercy sent the Promised Messiah, Ahmad(as), the founder of this movement, to draw people to God, so that their attention being drawn away from internal friction they be drawn towards mutual understanding and harmonious living. The Ahmadiyya Movement is willing, with the grace of God, to make all sorts of sacrifices and endure all sorts of hardships until the time when all racial and political wars are ended and love reigns supreme. We hope that good people of all nations, whatever their creeds and beliefs, will help the Ahmadiyya Community in their efforts to promote peace. The signs are already visible, as assemblage here of distinguished people of various races and creeds clearly shows. So with ample hopes and full FOUNDATION STONE CEREMONY OF THE FAZL MOSQUE, LONDON 35The Review of Religions – June 2005 expectation, I, Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih II, Head of the Ahmadiyya Community which has its head- quarters at Qadian, Punjab, India, lay the foundation stone of this mosque today the 20th Rabiul Awwal 1343 Hijri, to seek the pleasure of God so that His name be glorified in England and that the people of this country may also partake of the blessings which have been vouchsafed to us. I pray to God that He may accept this humble and sincere effort of all the members of the Ahmadiyya Community, both women and men, and that He may provide means for the growing prosperity of this mosque: and may He make it forever and ever a centre for promulgating the views of purity, piety, justice and love, and may this place prove a Sun of spiritual light radiating forth in this country and in all the countries around the blessed beams of the heavenly light of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa), the chosen one of God and the Seal of the Prophets and of Ahmad(as) the Promised Messiah, the Prophet of God, the vicegerent, and the reflection of Muhammad(sa). FOUNDATION STONE CEREMONY OF THE FAZL MOSQUE, LONDON The appeal for the collection of funds for the building of the London Mosque was launched on 6th January 1920 by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II. 95,000 rupees was raised for this purpose of which as much as 6000 Rupess was collected on the very day the appeal was launched. The major contribution of 83,000 Rupess was made by the ladies of the Jama’at. The one acre site for the mosque was purchased by Chaudhrey Fateh Muhammad Sayaal for £2,223 in August 1920. The foundation stone for the mosque was laid at a ceremony attended by 200 guests. The foundations were dug by more than 15 volunteers, including two ladies and were led by Maulana Abdul Rahim Dard. The construction work started on 28th September 1925 and took ten months to complete at a cost of £4,000. The mosque was named the Fazl Mosque by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II. It was formally opened at 3.00pm on 3rd October 1926 by Khan Bahadur Sheikh Abdul Qadir in the presence of 600 guests. Maulana Abdur Rahim Dard was the first Imam of the London Mosque. Asr prayers were the first prayers to be offered in the mosque. FACTS & FIGURES

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