Spreading Interfaith Harmony in Pfungstadt

English Translation of Keynote Address by Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the Inauguration of the Baitul Khabeer Mosque, Pfungstadt, Germany on 11th September 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 the TashahhudTa’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Fifth Successor the Promised Messiah (as), said: 

‘First of all I would like to offer my sincere gratitude to the mayor, the council and the people of this town who helped us in constructing a mosque here, in acquiring the land and in the completion of various other relevant tasks. We pray that may Allah the Almighty reward them for their efforts. I am thankful to you for this and so is the entire [Ahmadiyya] Community which resides here. Whilst giving an introduction to this town, the National President of the Ahmadiyya Community in Germany mentioned that this is a very old town with deep historical significance. We have to uphold the traditions of this historic town as well as its legacy, and so we shall continue to make whatever efforts that can be made to honour the local traditions of this town. 

I observed that this town is surrounded by agricultural land, in fact, as soon as one steps out of the mosque they see fields. Indeed, the cultivation of land is dependent upon water, and if there is no water or rainfall, then the land becomes barren and the crops are ruined. Recently, the heatwaves in Europe have caused numerous wildfires. The USA witnesses the outbreak of such fires every year and this time there was a huge wildfire in Canada and also in some parts of Europe. A slight change in the weather not only impacts the cultivation of the land but the wildfires also destroy the existing vegetation and crops. Thus, the farming of land is dependent upon water which descends from the skies. 

Similarly, we firmly believe that this is the same with one’s spiritual life; if water does not descend from the heavens, then the souls become spiritually dead. Hence, since the creation of the world, Allah the Almighty has ordained in His divine law that He sends His Prophets at intervals. This is what we learn from our known history since the time of Prophet Adam (as) that people have come from Allah the Almighty who provided us with spiritual water and thereby nations continued to be spiritually revived and the spiritual crops continued to be cultivated. Thus, we ought to ponder in light of this that our lives have an objective and we have to strive to remain spiritually alive. We have to establish a living bond with Allah the Almighty, Who is our Creator. Allah the Almighty, our Creator, has also drawn our attention towards the fact that if one wants to establish a bond with Him, then they must also establish a bond with His creation and fulfil their rights. 

Thus, whenever we build a mosque, we do so with the aim that whilst we worship God Almighty, fulfil His due rights and supplicate to Him in order to derive benefit from the spiritual water, we must also fulfil the due rights of His creation in parallel. The reason we must fulfil the rights of God Almighty’s creation is because the Holy Qur’an clearly states that if one fails to fulfil the rights of others, the rights of the orphans, the rights of the needy or if one usurps the rights of one’s freedom of religion or any kind of right, then such a person’s prayers shall be thrown back in their face. Prayers of this type will have no benefit and will not be granted acceptance in the sight of God Almighty. 

This mosque has been named the Bait-ul-Khabeer Mosque, which is one of the attributes of Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty has complete knowledge of our every action and is even aware of our intentions behind our prayers and deeds. He not only has complete knowledge of this, but He also knows the consequences of those actions as well. Thus, whatever we do is for the sake of attaining the pleasure of Allah the Almighty and in order to adhere to His commandments. However, this can only be possible when we also seek to fulfil the rights of His creation. 

Earlier, I gave the example of farming and cultivation and Allah the Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an that when one sows a seed, they are devoid of any knowledge as to whether or not it will sprout. Amongst housands of seeds planted only a fraction successfully sprout forth, and even on those the farmer is delighted. On the other hand, Allah the Almighty states that He has full knowledge of which of the seeds shall sprout, despite the fact that they lie deep beneath the earth in total darkness. He has absolute knowledge of everything and He knows the subsequent results. It for this reason that Allah the Almighty states that one should adhere to His teachings so that He too may bestow His fruits which enable one to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. As a religious community our primary objective is to attain the pleasure of Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty states that if one worships Him and also fulfil the rights of His creation, then He shall grant us such fruits which we desire and will benefit us and provide us with spiritual nourishment. 

Thus, this is our purpose of building mosques and if each and every one of us understands this then we shall not only worship Allah the Almighty but also fulfil the due rights of His creation more than ever before. 

The National President [of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Germany] mentioned that this street has been named “Peace Street”. I pray that not only this street, but every street of this town may lead towards peace through the message of Islam. May the attention of those residing in every house of this town become drawn towards peace, love and affection which the world is in need of. 

There is a need today to establish peace not in just a single street, but rather in every household, town, city and country. It is my prayer that may Allah the Almighty enable peace to remain forever established. 

The Vice President of the Provincial Parliament came and spoke about the need for dialogue between different religions. This is very important and we show respect to all faiths. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Community once delivered a lecture at a conference where people of different faiths were also present and the representatives of each faith delivered their lectures. The founder of the Ahmadiyya Community stipulated the condition that if they were to hold such this interreligious conference then each speaker should highlight the qualities of their own faith but should not criticise other faiths for it is only in this way that peace, harmony and love can be established in the world and without this it is not possible. 

Thus, while we have the right to mention the qualities of our faith and inform others of this, we do not have the right to speak ill of other faiths and cause disorder in the country. The mosques are a means to establish this [interfaith harmony]. It is mentioned in a tradition that during the time of the Founder of Islam, Prophet Muhammad (sa) a delegation of Christians came from to Najran to meet him. They were sat in Masjid-e-Nabwi [The Prophet’s Mosque] having a discussion and after a while they began to feel a little anxious. The Holy Prophet (sa) enquired from them the reason for their concern to which  they replied, “it is time for our prayer, yet we are sat inside your mosque and we do not know where we can offer our prayer.”  

The Holy Prophet (sa) replied that we all believe in the One God. The Holy Qur’an says to speak to the People of the Book and invite them towards a common ground, which is Allah the Almighty. It invites to come towards Allah and to leave aside the differences, and only then can one foster successful inter-religious dialogue. When people adopt this approach, it will eliminate hatred. Nevertheless, the Holy Prophet (sa) told them that they need not worry as they were already in the Prophet’s Mosque and they could worship there. Since they also worship the One God, they were permitted to worship in the mosque and this is what they did. So in this manner, the Holy Prophet (sa) permitted the Christians of Najran to worship in his mosque.

I believe it was the honourable mayor who mentioned that many decades ago, a church was inaugurated on this very day and that it is the same day, a Monday, on which a mosque is being inaugurated. This pleasant coincidence should also direct our attention to the fact that we should live together as one. Followers of one religion should not deride another religion and instead should live together in love and harmony. The mayor also spoke in reference to the former mayor and so through him, I would like to extend my gratitude to the former mayor also for his co-operation and for allowing us to build a mosque here. Similarly he mentioned the name “Peace Street,” which I have spoken about earlier. He spoke in relation to the sentiments of the Ahmadis in Pakistan. I am very grateful to him for allowing those Ahmadis who have had their religious freedom snatched away from them and who do not have permission to follow their religious teachings and customs to live in this country, and for giving them a place in his town. From this it is evident that the hearts [of the locals] are truly welcoming and they believe in religious freedom.

As far as respecting the laws of the land is concerned, we are those who respect and follow the laws of every country. We are those who spread the teachings of peace and harmony. We follow the saying the Holy Prophet (sa) that love for one’s country is a part of one’s faith. Serving and honouring ones faith and service to humanity are our responsibility. Therefore, it is my prayer that may this atmosphere of love, mentioned by the mayor, always continue and may we live in peace and harmony in this small town.

The town’s representative for integration, Halimah Sahiba, spoke earlier today. By the grace of Allah the Almighty, she is a Muslim. She spoke about people of different nationalities integrating. This is what can foster love and respect between members living together as one society. I have already explained how we should uphold this and it forms an important part of having love for one’s nation. This is not something I am referring to for the first time today, rather this is something I always mention. Every person has a particular mindset, the honourable Mayor also mentioned this point, as did the representative for integration. Everyone has different principles, customs and habits which they follow. As far as love for one’s country is concerned, we are unified in serving one’s nation. In my opinion – and I always highlight this point – that the meaning of integrating in one’s country is for one to work towards creating an atmosphere of peace and brotherhood in society. It means that if an enemy [country] launches an attacks, then to be the first to stand up for its defence. 

Thus, Ahmadis are at the forefront when it comes to defending ones nation and this is integration. Integration does not mean that one must go to clubs, or drink alcohol or to behave in such ways. Each person has their own set of values. If a person does not see any harm in these things, they are free to do them, but if we do not act on our teachings, then it means we are moving away from our religious teachings, and these religious teachings are extremely important. It is our religious teaching which instructs us to have love for our country and that we must work hard for our fellow citizens, to honour and respect them; that we must end all quarrels. The Holy Qur’an states that even the enmity of another nation should not allow one to act unjustly, and [it says] that one must always act justly as this is righteousness. Hence, this is the teaching we follow and wherever we go, we spread the message of peace and love. It is not a mere slogan we raise. If you go to Africa or any developing country, we have started many projects related to health, education, model villages and supplying water, and we are serving there without any discrimination of religion or nation. In fact, from our various projects across the world, I usually say that seventy or eighty percent of the people who are benefitting from them are non-Muslim.

Thus, wherever we go, we strive to work as much as possible to serve the people of the country. This is the thing through which we can form mutual respect among people and through which God, our Creator, will be pleased with us. In return He would reward us.

In connection to this, I would also like to mention that the representative for integration mentioned that she could not see any women here. I can see many women sitting here, and if she is referring to Ahmadi women, they are sitting in the adjacent hall, where they themselves feel more comfortable. You can go and ask them yourselves whether they feel more comfortable and liberated sitting there or sitting here amongst the men. Nonetheless, everyone has their own customs and teachings. If we are adhering to them, then nobody can raise any allegation against it. Indeed, our women have freedom, our women are educated, our women are doctors, engineers, lawyers, teachers and work in various sectors; they organise their gatherings independently and at times they organise them better than the men. 

Therefore as far as the freedom of our women is concerned, they are free in this respect. As for where Islam has mentioned about women who are housewives, it has explained in the same manner that one has to treat women kindly. Therefore, we show respect and honour to every woman. It is not the case that we have to place women far away as we consider them inferior, rather in this way they feel freer. From the majority of places I receive reports where they say that we follow our religion and for that reason we feel comfortable. As far as any job is concerned or any profession, whether it pertains to travelling the world, women working or the moral training of children, this aspect is of vital importance. In fact, Islam ordains – and the Holy Prophet (sa) has said – whosoever has three daughters and brings them up by giving them a good education, he will be admitted to paradise. Thus, this is the degree of emphasis Islam has put upon the education of women and this is the degree of emphasis we also place on education. Therefore, you can assess that in the Ahmadi society the literacy rate of our women is superior than our men. Our highly qualified women number more than the men. This is the main thing which is vital for the moral training of our next generation and I am hopeful that – God willing – this will be upheld and that this mosque will become a symbol of peace and love in this town; and God willing, we will serve the people of this town as much as possible. 

To the Ahmadis residing here, I say that their responsibility has increased more than before in that they must serve their town. In order to fulfil rights of this mosque, it is vital to fulfil the rights of the people here and live together in love and harmony. May Allah the Almighty enable us to do so. Thank you.’