Keynote address by worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the inauguration of the Darus Salaam Mosque in Southall, UK.
On 23rd February 2020, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) inaugurated the Darus Salaam Mosque (Abode of Peace) in Southall, London. Upon arrival, His Holiness officially inaugurated the mosque by unveiling a commemorative plaque before leading the Maghreb and Ishaa prayers at the new mosque. His Holiness also addressed local members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and urged them to manifest Islam’s peaceful and moral teachings in all aspects of their lives. Shortly afterwards, a special reception, attended by 150 dignitaries and guests, was held at the nearby Villiers High School, to mark the opening of the mosque. Before the keynote address, the Regional President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and two guest speakers also took to the stage to congratulate the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on the opening of the new mosque. The guest speakers were Member of Parliament for Feltham and Heston, Seema Malhotra and Member of Parliament for Ealing Southall, Virendra Sharma. The official transcript of the keynote address delivered on this occasion by His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), is presented below.
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuzand Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community (aba) said:
“All distinguished guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah Wa Barakatohu, peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all
With the Grace of Allah, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is today inaugurating its first mosque here in Southall.
Though our Community has been established in Southall for around sixty years, previously we did not have a proper mosque and so the local Ahmadi Muslims had to worship and hold their events in a converted house, which was used as our local centre for many years.
Consequently, today is a day of great happiness for us and our hearts are consumed by gratitude to Allah the Almighty for enabling us to build this mosque.
At the same time, we extend our heartfelt appreciation to the local council, officials and residents.
Whilst Southall has a large south-Asian population, the number of Muslims living in this area is around 25% of the local population and amongst the Muslim community, the local Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is very small.
Thus, we are extremely appreciative and grateful for the support and generosity of the local community.
If we look at Southall’s history, in decades past, there were periods of racial tensions and rioting yet, generally speaking, the Southall community has been a positive example of a multicultural society underpinned by mutual respect and courtesy.
It is a community in which people from a multitude of ethnicities, religions and beliefs are living harmoniously alongside one another.
Therefore, as I have said, after expressing gratitude to Allah the Almighty, it is incumbent upon us to thank the local people and communities – be they Sikh, Hindu, Christian or any other – for their grace and open-heartedness and for fostering an atmosphere of harmony and cooperation between the different groups living here.
Unquestionably, a fundamental teaching of Islam is that there should be mutual cooperation and respect between the people of all faiths and beliefs and the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings be upon him) set an unparalleled example in this regard.
After migrating to the city of Madinah, the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) formed a covenant of peace, known as the ‘Charter of Madinah’, with the other religious communities and tribes living there. According to the terms of the treaty, an administrative government was formed and the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) was elected as the head of state.
In this role, he spared no effort in ensuring that the rights of all peoples and communities, no matter whether they were Jews, Christians or tribal people, who followed their own customs, were upheld and protected.
The Founder of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) always abided by the terms of the covenant and instructed the Muslims to do the same.
Not once did he abuse his authority or violate the terms of the agreement in any way.
Nor did he ever manifest any form of injustice or discrimination towards the other communities or show any form of bias or favouritism towards the Muslims.
He treated non-Muslims with compassion and was sensitive to their needs and traditions.
Even when other parties violated the terms of the agreement, he showed impeccable restraint and forbearance.
Only, if an individual or group crossed all limits, did the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), in his capacity as head of state, permit some form of limited and proportionate sanction.
Such sanctions were implemented according to the terms of the treaty and applied only for the sake of ensuring the continued peace and well-being of society.
Thus, throughout his life, the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) set an everlasting and timeless example of tolerance and respect for the beliefs of others.
Moreover, the Holy Quran repeatedly instructs Muslims to show sympathy, compassion and kindness to others and to fulfil the needs of humanity.
In chapter 51, verse 57 of the Holy Quran, Allah the Almighty proclaims that the basic purpose of man’s creation is to worship Allah the Almighty, through complete submission and obedience to Him.
However, it should also be clear that Allah the Almighty does not require platitudes or praise; rather, the demands of His worship are only fulfilled when a person recognises and comprehends the Attributes of God so that they can strive to embody them and better themselves in this way.
Only then can a person fulfil the noble purpose of their creation. For example, the Holy Quran asserts that Allah the Almighty is the ‘Lord’ (Rabb), which means He is the Provider and Sustainer of all mankind, as well as all other forms of creation.
He is also the ‘Gracious’ and ‘Merciful’ and He is the ‘All-Forgiving’.
There are many other Attributes of Allah, which Muslims are duty-bound to not only recognise, but to inculcate within themselves to the best of their abilities. Accordingly, only if Muslims fulfil the rights of others, only if they are gracious, benevolent, kind and forgiving can they fulfil the rights of the worship of God Almighty.
Indeed, the Holy Quran has declared that the prayers of those who do not fulfil the rights of mankind will never be accepted by God Almighty and to the contrary, will prove the means of their destruction.
For example, Muslims who fail to show love and sympathy to orphans or other vulnerable people or who threaten the peace of their society will find that their prayers and supplications lead to ignominy and disgrace, rather than success and salvation.
In short, we believe that only a person who is caring, considerate and respectful to others will be considered a true worshipper of Allah the Almighty.
The prayers of those people who are selfish and do not desire to fulfil the needs of others will be rejected by God Almighty as hypocritical and deceitful gestures.
Therefore, let it be clear that it is the religious duty of every Muslim to fulfil the needs of humanity and to treat every person, irrespective of their caste, creed or colour, with grace, love and affection.
Certainly, serving humanity is the hallmark of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
We consider it our mission, because this is the command of Allah the Almighty.
Without question, bringing relief to others and alleviating the physical and mental suffering of mankind is an integral part of our faith.
Allah the Almighty has instructed us to cleanse our hearts of all forms of negativity and ill-will towards others and to be ever ready to serve mankind and to fulfil the needs of those who are suffering or deprived in any way.
This is why we consider it our great fortune to have been able to open and run many hospitals and schools in deprived countries in Africa and elsewhere that are providing essential healthcare and education services to the local people.
In addition, we are also undertaking an array of other charitable and humanitarian projects.
For example, we are providing food, clean water, sanitation and other necessities to people living in some of the most remote and under-privileged parts of the world, irrespective of who they are or what they believe.
Hence, wherever and whenever we build a mosque, serving humanity and striving to alleviate the suffering of other people goes hand in hand with our duties to worship God Almighty.
Indeed, the symbol of a true Muslim is that, by seeking to exemplify God’s Attributes, they remain ever engaged in serving their communities and fostering a spirit of love and tolerance in society.
True Muslims will never allow any form of ill-will or malice towards others to enter their hearts or to be projected within their mosques; rather, our hearts and our mosques will always be filled with love and compassion for our fellow beings.
Furthermore, it is not enough to merely refrain from hatred or antipathy towards others; rather, it is the duty of Muslims to proactively use their mosques to forge plans and schemes to serve the creation of God and to make every effort to fulfil the needs of other members of society.
Muslims must use their mosques to foster peace and to develop a spirit of love and sympathy within society and this is why Ahmadi Muslims across the world raise the slogan of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’.
These are not empty words or a statement designed to impress non-Muslims, but are a manifestation of Islamic teachings and a true reflection of the noble and blessed character of the Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him).
For instance, Muslims have been very clearly instructed to care for and fulfil the rights of their neighbours in the Holy Quran.
Therefore, now this mosque has opened, I am extremely confident that the Ahmadi Muslims living in this area, will not only seek to fulfil the rights of this mosque through the worship of God Almighty, but also by elevating their standards of love, sympathy and affection for the members of this community.
Certainly, I hope and expect that the members of this society will come to recognise and testify to the fact that our mosques do not only serve as a means for Ahmadi Muslims to improve their spiritual and moral state through the worship of Allah, but also inspire them towards serving humanity and being ready for every possible sacrifice in this regard.
I hope and pray that, God Willing, all of the Ahmadi Muslims living in this area will live up to these standards.
Furthermore, I am sure the local members of society will respond to our love with kindness and accept our hand of friendship, which will remain forever extended to you all.
In conclusion, I hope and pray that the people of this community will always focus upon upholding those common human values, which unite us all.
I pray that Southall will always be seen as a symbol of peace and harmony and an example of a diverse society in which all people live together with mutual respect and consideration for one another’s feelings.
May Allah the Almighty enable this area to always remain a place where everyone is free to practice their beliefs or religion and where each member of society seeks to fulfil the rights of their fellow citizens and strives for the peace and prosperity of society.
At the end, I pray with all my heart that this mosque proves to be a beacon of light for the entire community and serves as a symbol of unity, togetherness and peace – Ameen.
With these words, I wish to once again express my sincere appreciation to all of you for joining us this evening.
Thank you very much.”