Islam, Religious Freedom and Harmony

English Translation of the Keynote Address by the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Mulsim Community at the Inauguration of the Sadiq Mosque in Karben, Germany on 30th August 2023

Translated from Urdu by The Review of Religions Translation Team. The Review of Religions takes full responsibility for any errors in translation

*Please note that this transcript may not be reproduced without express permission, either on other websites or in print format.

After reciting Tashhahud, Ta`awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Fifth Successor to the Promised Messiah (as), said: 

‘All distinguished guests – Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatuhu (may the peace, mercy and blessings of Allah be upon you all) 

We are grateful to Allah the Almighty that after a lengthy delay, finally the Ahmadiyya Community has been able to build a small mosque in this city. I thank the city’s mayor, councillors, and residents who helped us in making the construction of this mosque possible. This expression of gratitude is not merely verbal, rather it is a religious duty of ours to do so. It is a commandment of Islam, as the Founder of Islam said that if you are not grateful to others then you are not grateful to God Almighty either. Therefore, it is also a religious duty of ours to express our gratitude to you; those who have helped us in accomplishing this task. Today, by the grace of Allah the Almighty, our Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been bestowed a small, beautiful mosque in this city. 

Abdullah Sahib, the Amir Jama’at Germany said whilst mentioning the history of this city, that this mosque is located in the middle of the city. This is very good, because where various means for worldly and material things are made available in a city, there should also be a central place for those who adhere to religion, so that they may gather there and worship God. This could be a mosque, a church or places of worship belonging to other faiths. When they all come together, it will become apparent that religion teaches us to interact and live harmoniously with one another. 

There is no religion, nor has there been a founder of a religion, which taught extremism or to create disorder. According to our belief, all prophets were sent by Allah the Almighty. God sent them with the teachings of turning people’s attention towards worshipping God and fulfilling each other’s rights; and fostering peace, love, affection, and brotherhood. 

In this respect, it is a good thing that we have been granted a mosque at a location where we can remain in our centre while teaching others in the surrounding environment about the actual teachings of Islam. We will counter certain misconceptions about Islam that have developed due to some erroneous Muslims – and it is unfortunate that most Muslims operate according to these false perceptions. Through the Qur’an, the practice and example of the Holy Prophet (sa), we will show that the true teachings of Islam are of peace, love, affection and harmony. 

Initially, there were some people who opposed this mosque, as our Amir Sahib mentioned, and to some degree this opposition may have been warranted because, as I mentioned before, they had observed the actions of certain Muslims. They observed that there is extremism amongst Muslims; they observed that in most Muslim countries, the rights of others are not observed. So, perhaps they had reservations owing to this, however when they see our mosque, when they observe the conduct of our Ahmadis, and when they observe the true Islam, their doubts and reservations will only further be dispelled. As is already evident from the actions of others, those who once opposed us are now our friends and they ended their opposition. God-willing, this number [of those who oppose] will steadily continue to decrease as they will become better acquainted with the mosque and the teachings of Islam. Thus, it is our hope that this circle of friendship we have will continue to expand. 

A representative from the minority government is also present. She very rightly said that there should be religious freedom, and the German constitution affords complete religious freedom. We are thankful to the government for this, because it is this very religious freedom due to which many Pakistanis migrated here, as they did not have religious freedom in their own country. Upon coming here, they were able to easily reside under the government’s protection so that they could properly benefit from their right to religious freedom without any sort of hinderances. For this, we are grateful to the government, because the residents of countries in which religious freedom, or any freedoms for that matter are destroyed, they are welcomed to such countries and enabled to assimilate.

Another good point she made was that people of different religions live together with compassion and, as I mentioned in the beginning, the founder of every religion brought the teaching that along with worshipping your Creator, you must fulfil each other’s rights and treat each other with kindness. 

Fulfilling rights is a fundamental teaching of Islam. Islam does not teach that one should fight only for their own rights; Islam says that one should also strive to fulfil the rights of others. Striving to fulfil the rights of others will result in the establishment of peace and a society of love and affection. This is exactly what we need in the world today. 

The Member of Parliament also attended, whom I met two days ago, and listened to what he had to say in his speech. Today, he covered similar points but in a new manner and spoke about his connection to the Community. For this, I express my gratitude to him, and also for the fact that he mentioned that although in some places blood is being shed in the name of religions, religion would never permit this. Religion teaches to serve others. Wherever the Ahmadiyya Community is established, and wherever people enter the fold of our Community, particularly in African countries and South American countries, we serve not only Ahmadi Muslims, rather we serve people of all faiths. We have established schools and hospitals in Africa, we have built model villages, and we are providing means for water, and we are [doing so] in other second and third world countries as well. Eighty percent of those who benefit from these services are those who have nothing to do with the Ahmadiyya Community, they are those who are Christians or belong to other faiths. 

Thus, the Ahmadiyya Community does not promote religious freedom merely through words alone, but demonstrates this through actions in every country of the world. In poorer countries, regardless of their faith, those who are less fortunate are being provided education, healthcare and drinking water. Whilst living in these developed nations, we cannot fathom the importance of clean drinking water, despite the fact that the government continuously reminds us to use water cautiously. There are people who do not have clean drinking water, let alone any water available to them; they travel with their children for many miles and kilometers to acquire water. They lift a bucket over their heads and carry it to their homes to fulfil their daily needs. In such countries, our volunteers travel to small villages and remote areas to work, install water pumps and procure water for the people. 

When tap water is available to them in front of their home, where they are able to acquire clean drinking water, their happiness is a sight to behold. Perhaps a person here who wins a large sum in a lottery can relate to how much happiness they feel upon seeing clean water and realising that they do not have to endure the hardship of traveling long distances to bring water. That same water is dirty and spreads disease after being consumed. 

The Ahmadiyya Community is also providing such services around the world. Wherever our Community is established, mosques are built and these projects are also commenced. There is no stipulation that one must be an Ahmadi Muslim to benefit from these services. On the contrary, as I have said, eighty percent of people who benefit from our projects are non-Muslim. 

The example of Afghanistan was cited where women are not being afforded their rights. The teachings of Islam and the Holy Qur’an are that women should be treated with kindness and should be shown the highest level of courtesy. The commandment of the Holy Qur’an is that just as men have their sentiments, so too do women; just as men have desires, so too do women. You should regard women with honour and respect and strive to fulfil their aspirations. 

Indeed, within the boundaries of Islamic and religious teachings and under the guidelines given to us in the Holy Qur’an, [women] are also permitted to practice religion freely. Many of our Ahmadi Muslim women practice as doctors, engineers, agriculturists, economists and various other professions. Many of them also travel abroad to render services and dedicate their lives in this cause. In this respect, women are afforded all their rights. Similarly, women have the right to own property and have been given all sorts of rights in Islam. Nevertheless, it is essential to respect all religions. For all religions to coexist, for the establishment of peace in the world, for spreading love and affection in society, it is necessary that respect one another. And Islam commands that all religions should be respected. 

A few days prior at the occasion of our mosque inauguration [in Florstadt], I mentioned that Islam does not teach us to only protect our own mosques. On the contrary, Islam instructs that if a church is attacked, it must be protected; if a synagogue is attacked, it must be protected; if a temple is attacked, it must be protected. Thus, those who burn down churches or level attacks in the name of Islam are not acting according to the teachings of Islam. As I have already mentioned, the teachings of the Holy Qur’an are completely opposed to this. The Holy Qur’an teaches that all religions must be protected. 

The mayor also raised many excellent points. He spoke about political parties and how there is representation from various political parties in this gathering. This demonstrates that the Ahmadiyya Community is not only integrating into this society, but it is also gathering everyone onto a single platform. The reason for this is that we desire to establish mutual love, affection and brotherhood. We should respect one another on account of being fellow human beings. 

This will enable us to fulfil the rights of one another which is an injunction of Islam. Islam and the Holy Qur’an have given us two commandments: the first is that we must fulfil the rights of our Creator, and the second is that people must fulfil the rights of one another. Furthermore, we have also been taught in detail about how to fulfil these rights. If we can develop the practice of fulfilling these rights and strive not only to acquire our own rights but also the rights of others, as I have already stated, only then can we truly establish peace, love and affection. We are those who fulfil these rights and establish true peace. 

In relation to the rights of neighbours, I only wish to say that the Founder of Islam (sa) emphasised this to such an extent that his Companions thought that perhaps neighbours would be given a share from their inheritance. This is how vast the teachings of Islam are. 

Hence, these are the values that cause love, affection and peace to flourish and spread. These are the values for which we are working in the world, and it is owing to these teachings that we wish to connect with everyone, irrespective of their faith. 

This is the very teaching whereby peace and true brotherhood can be established in the world. I am hopeful that after the construction of this mosque, the people here and the presence of the mosque structure itself will continue to impart the true teachings of Islam. As a result, you will come to know that those who have wrongfully spread false perspectives of Islam have done so for their personal gain. Such people have their own vested interests which have nothing to do with Islam. The teachings of Islam are of love, affection and brotherhood. I pray that God Almighty enables the people of the world to live together with love, affection and brotherhood and, more than anything else, that they recognise God, their Creator, and worship Him.’