After reciting Tashhahud, Taawwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said:
‘All the respected guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu (peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all). I had written notes for my address based on the portion of the Holy Qur’an that has just been recited and on some of the remarks of our guests.
However, I am grateful to the priest, Mr Stockburger, as he has made my task much simpler. He has discussed many aspects of religion and peace that I was going to mention, and for this I thank him.
In any case, it is a very positive thing that there are different religions—that is, it is a good thing if they live in mutual peace. This is why the Holy Qur’an gives a message through the Holy Prophetsa to the Christians and the Jews, the People of the Book, that they should work together and cooperate with one another on a creed that is common and equal to us all. That common creed is the existence of God the Almighty.
Here I will differ from one point [Mr Stockburger] made, where he said that Hindus do not believe in one God. In fact, Hindus also ultimately do reach to One God, despite having their other deities. We believe that all religions were made by God the Almighty and they appeared for different peoples and in different eras. And if they were all made by the same God, the God Who created this world and the God Who created man as the best of all creation, then surely the message of all these religions should be one and the same. Indeed, they did all bring a common message: to worship the One God, to not consider anyone His partner or equal and to live together in love and brotherhood. This is why we Muslims, true Muslims, believe in all the prophets. We believe that prophets appeared in all nations and religions, who Allah sent as chosen ones and righteous people who established religion. And so, since they came from Allah the Almighty, He says we do not have the right to wage war, fight one another and engage in conflict with each other.
In fact, if one reads the Holy Qur’an carefully, it reveals that when permission for war was granted to the Holy Prophetsa, it was given after a very long period of persecution of Muslims and of him personally, which is why permission was granted after he migrated to Madinah. The verse of the Holy Qur’an granting this permission mentions very clearly that if the Muslims and the Holy Prophetsa did not stop the actions of the oppressors at this point, the oppressors would intensify their cruelties and injustices. Thus it was necessary to stop them because if the oppressors were left unchecked – and the Holy Qur’an actually says this – no church would remain, no synagogue would remain, no temple would remain and nor would any mosque, where the name of God is remembered and where people gather for worship. Thus it is necessary for a true Muslim that just as he or she enters a mosque for worship and always wishes for it to remain safe, it is his or her duty to similarly also safeguard the churches and to safeguard the synagogues of the Jews, and display love and affection to them. And these are the very teachings, which, when acted upon, spread love, compassion and friendship.
A portion of the Holy Qur’an was recited before all of us earlier. The gist of this verse is that we should fulfil the rights of other people; the rights of the poor, the rights of the orphans and the rights of those who are travelling and that we should carry out service to humanity. The verse also mentions that we should pray and give zakat [a form of alms-giving]. The very meaning of zakat is to purify one’s wealth. And how is wealth purified? It is purified when it is spent in the way of God’s creation and towards serving mankind. True Muslims believe this and we Ahmadis claim that with the Grace of God, we do this. And this is why, wherever the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is established in the world and conveys the message of Islam, it also undertakes the work of service to humanity.
That is why our schools, colleges and hospitals are established in various parts of the world – and in some of the poorest countries of Africa and Asia – so that we can serve humanity. Moreover, we serve others without discrimination. Ninety percent of the patients in our hospitals are Christians, and similarly ninety percent of the students that study in our schools are either Christians, people of no faith or belonging to other faiths. We also award scholarships to those students among them who are very talented and again this is done without any sort of discrimination or bias. We do this because people have basic human rights and, if because of their situation or circumstances, some people have been deprived of certain necessities, then we must provide for them and alleviate their state of deprivation to the greatest extent possible – and this in fact is service to mankind.
We are discussing the subject of mosques – mosques are built for the worship of Allah the Almighty. Yet the Holy Qur’an also states that a person’s prayers can become a means of his or her ruin, but why is this? On the one hand, Allah the Almighty instructs man to worship Him and on the other hand He states, ‘Your prayers will be thrown back in your face, because you did not take care of the poor or the orphans and you created disorder on the earth, and that is why your prayers shall not be accepted.’ Thus, true Muslims cannot even imagine that any kind of unrest and disorder can be attributed to them nor can they even imagine committing such misdeeds.
Just now when I inaugurated the mosque, one of the reporters of a national TV channel asked why we wanted to build a mosque in such a small town. My response to the reporter was that there are Ahmadis that live here as well as Christians, Jews and people of other faiths – it is said that people from 120 different nations live here. Everyone has built their respective places of worship in order for them to pray according to their respective religious traditions. Thus, Ahmadis also needed to build their own place of worship, so that they could worship Allah the Almighty, and to better plan improvements to their service to humanity. This is our objective [for building mosques] and that is why we seek to build mosques all over the world, as well as to propogate the true message of Islam.
Previously, this area was a marketplace, and today it has been converted into a mosque. Similarly, elsewhere in a city in Germany, whose name I cannot recall at this time, there was also a marketplace which had been converted into a mosque, and there too I said to them that this was a marketplace wherein people used to come in order to purchase material goods. However, now it has been converted into a mosque, so that those who come will purchase spiritual goods instead; they will be worshipers of Allah the Almighty, listeners of His message and helpers who will make plans to serve God Almighty’s creation.
People might fear that now that a mosque has been built, perhaps Muslims will congregate to devise goodness-knows-what type of schemes to cause harm to the people of other religions in this town. But this misconception is false. In fact, wherever the Ahmadiyya Community constructs its mosques, it proclaims its slogan, ‘Love for All Hatred for None’ even more strongly than before. And it lets both the world and its neighbours know that this is the true purpose of a religious person. Religions were not made to create disorder and strife. As I mentioned earlier, all the prophets and the founders of all the religions came to spread love and affection. They all came from the God Who loves His creation. Thus, this is the message of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and this is the message which I deliver to you today.
Our neighbours will see that now that this marketplace has been converted into a mosque, its worshipers will not only derive spiritual benefits for themselves but they will also spread love and affection to their surroundings. Previously, you purchased items here by paying money; but now, without spending anything you will be able to find perfect examples and gifts of love and affection. Before, you used to purchase worldly items, spending from your pockets; but now it will be those who come to worship in this mosque who will spend out of their own pockets and will distribute love and affection to their neighbours. This in fact is the true model of the teachings of Islam and this is the model which the Ahmadis here should reflect. If they do not reflect this, then they will not be worthy of being called Ahmadi Muslims.
Now, with the construction of this mosque, the responsibilities of the local Ahmadis have increased more than before. They should look after their neighbours and assist them in their times of difficulty. Furthermore, you should not cause them any sort of inconvenience, physical or emotional. When such an atmosphere is created, only then will we be able to uphold the sanctity of this mosque’s name and become those who implement it. And that name is Aafiyat [to grant protection].
Aafiyat is also one of the attributes of God Almighty, and when man comes under this attribute, he is shielded from all evil. Thus, Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an that we should adopt His attributes according to our capacity. This attribute of God Almighty warrants that the Ahmadis who live in this area should grant the utmost protection and comfort to everyone who resides in this town, especially to their neighbours. They should never suffer any injustice from us. If we endeavour to do this, then God Willing, those residents who harbour any sort of reservations [will be at ease]. Although I have been informed that the local residents and neighbours cooperated fully with us, there are many residents of this town who are unaware of the Ahmadiyya Community, or as I have been told, are less familiar with the Ahmadiyya Community as compared with other towns [who are more familiar with the Ahmadiyya Community]. The creation of this mosque will provide more opportunities to become better acquainted.
I believe it was the respected Deputy Mayor who expressed her viewpoint that the example of a mosque is like that of a diamond. It is a diamond indeed, but only only if Ahmadi Muslims are successful in portraying the identity of this mosque will people be able to recognize this diamond. If we fail in our responsibilities towards our neighbours and create disorder in this area, then the people will say that the thing we assumed to be a diamond was in fact a forgery.
Thus, our responsibilities have now increased after the construction of this mosque. I would urge the guests not to harbour any sort of worry or fear, as they will never receive any harm from any Ahmadi Muslim. Instead the mosque will be a symbol of peace, harmony, love and affection.
At the same time I would urge the Ahmadis to act on the teachings of the Qur’an and always fulfil the rights of your neighbours. The rights owed to a neighbour are so extensive, that the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophetsa stated: “God Almighty stressed upon the rights of neighbours to such an extent, that at one point I thought that they would also receive a share in the inheritance.” This is the status Islam has given to neighbours. When such importance is granted to neighbours, how can it be possible for any of them to be troubled or hurt by us? God Willing, we will always alleviate the troubles and concerns of our neighbours. We will work together with people from other faiths. And residents should not fear or worry that we will cause any sort of disturbance or disorder or think that we are also like the other Muslims, since in the present climate, Muslims are often stigmatised.
One speaker gave the example of the atrocity committed in Belgium, the murder in Stockholm and the attack in London. Some Muslims are carrying out these attacks even in their own countries in the name of Islam. Muslims are killing other Muslims. So the matter is not that Muslims wish to kill non-Muslims; rather, these people are using the name of Islam to pursue their vested interests and so they kill anyone who stands in their way. Consequently, there are hundreds of Muslims being murdered by other Muslims also.
Thus, if the world is in need of something today, it is love, affection and brotherhood. It is in need of the slogan we affirm: ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’. If people understand this slogan, then Muslims will begin to fulfil the rights of other Muslims, as well as people of other faiths. This is the fundamental purpose of the advent of the Founder of the [Ahmadiyya Muslim] Community when he stated: “There are two reasons for why I am establishing this community. Firstly, it is to make mankind aware that there is one creator, and by accepting God Almighty you must fulfil his dues by worshiping Him, in whichever manner it may be. Secondly, it is so that mankind can recognise the rights of each other, irrespective of the fact that the other person may be a Jew, Christian or Hindu, or the follower of any other faith. Every individual has rights, and irrespective of the other individual’s religious orientation, they should be given their due rights. Whenever they are in any sort of need, they must be helped.
May Allah enable us Ahmadis to abide by this in this area and may we serve you in the correct manner. To those who have even the slightest reservations, may Allah remove those doubts and misgivings and may He enable them to understand that Ahmadis are in fact, the symbols of love, harmony and brotherhood.