Baitul Aman Mosque Opens in Hayes, West London
On 4th March 2012, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, inaugurated the Baitul Aman Mosque in Hayes, a town in the West London Borough of Hillingdon. A formal reception was held in the evening, attended by numerous dignitaries, guests and local residents.
John McDonnell, MP for Hayes & Harlington, called the opening of the mosque a “truly historic occasion” and said that it was a privilege for him to attend. He also said that all parties should support the work of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at and strive to help them in parts of the world where they are persecuted. He also thanked the Community for making a donation to his nominated charity.
Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, congratulated the Community on the opening of the mosque and also its continued efforts to bring communities together. He also said that there was a “moral duty” to help all peaceful communities who suffer persecution. Keith Lunson, Chief Inspector of Uxbridge Police, Cllr Mohammad Aslam, Deputy Mayor of Ealing and Amitabh Mathur, Minister (Consular), Indian High Commission were all also in attendance at the function. The keynote address was delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The full transcript of this address is presented below.
After reciting Tashhahud, Ta’awwudh and Bismillah, Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V(aba) said:
“All the distinguished guests – Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
Before going on to speak about today’s event, I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of the distinguished guests who have joined us tonight for the opening of our new mosque. The fact that you are attending, despite belonging to different religions or holding different beliefs, shows that you are committed to upholding positive human values. Indeed, your attendance is undoubtedly a demonstration of the fact that you believe that all people who live in society together should think in a way through which they disregard differences of colour, nationality and religion. It proves that you desire for a peaceful, loving and harmonious environment to be fostered.
It is this very attitude that you are displaying that distinguishes man from other living beings and shows proof of being human. Such a loving attitude shows that human beings really are distinct from all other living creatures. They do not merely act upon their natural instincts, but rather, have been given the ability by God Almighty to think, reflect and consider. This indeed is a great favour bestowed by God Almighty on mankind. Thus, your participation is the result of your pure and sincere reflections. You have taken the effort and trouble to join us in our celebrations because you desire to display good human values, and also because you hold a positive impression, and indeed expectation, of our Community. For these reasons it is, therefore, incumbent upon me to hold all of you in high esteem and to thank you from the depths of my heart.
I, as an Ahmadi Muslim, have learnt from the Founder of Islam, our beloved Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). He taught that mutual gratitude and appreciation is something that pleases God Almighty, and so should always be practised. A true Muslim tries, and should try, to seek God’s Pleasure through his every act and every deed. Therefore, as a means to please God Almighty, I wish to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. Furthermore, I would like to take this opportunity to welcome all of you to the inauguration of this Mosque, which has been named the ‘Baitul Aman Mosque.’ This translates as the ‘House of Peace.’ With this in mind, I greet you all with a message of peace and security.
I would now like to briefly present an introduction to our Community, and also to our beliefs and practices. We, who call ourselves Ahmadi Muslims, firmly believe that it is the practice of God Almighty to send His prophets or His chosen people to guide mankind and to cater for their moral and spiritual reformation. Indeed, we believe that God Almighty instituted this system at a time when a social system was starting to be developed amongst human beings. The prophets and the reformers have always been tasked with distinguishing between right and wrong and guiding man towards God Almighty. In this era, we believe that God sent the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (peace be upon him), as the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi (the Guided One), who was sent with the task of bringing mankind closer to God and to highlight and spread the true and pure teachings of Islam.
The Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) was sent to teach love, affection, reconciliation and harmony, because prior to his advent, the majority of the Muslim world had lost their way and had forgotten the real and beautiful teachings of Islam. Further, apart from the Muslims, people of other religions had moved away from God Almighty. Thus, due to the needs of the time and in accordance with the Divine system, God Almighty commissioned the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) to establish a relationship between mankind and its Creator. He was sent to inform the world of what pleased and what displeased God Almighty. In essence, the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) was sent as a means of imparting true guidance to the people of the world.
We, Ahmadi Muslims, believe wholeheartedly in the teachings of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him) and therefore, it is incumbent upon us to follow all of his guidance. He constantly reminded us that our every word and our every deed should be for the sake of seeking the pleasure of God. There can be no doubt that a person who strives to ensure that his every word and deed is purely for the sake of God will always act with compassion and love towards God’s creation. We have been taught that, amongst all of God’s creation, humans are the very best and most honourable. Therefore, it is essential that for this very reason, we respect all of our fellow human beings. If God Himself has deemed mankind to be the best of creation, then it is surely our duty to care for and respect one another.
The best way to practically demonstrate this esteem is to consider the feelings and sentiments of each other, because that is the primary way to establish good human values. It is the only way to develop an environment filled with peace, justice, reconciliation and brotherhood. It should be our goal to establish such high values in every village, every town, every city, every country, every society and indeed, every part of the world. If we follow the principle, that we must honour and respect one another and must care for each other’s feelings at all times, then a desire to harm others, or bad intentions, can never creep into our hearts. It is, therefore, crucial for any peace-loving person who fears God to constantly remind himself of the need to think and act in such a compassionate manner. Thus, this is the very approach that the entire world needs to adopt and come to embrace.
In today’s world we find that the media and other forms of communication have developed at such a rapid rate, that the people of the world have been brought closer together than ever before. Information and news can be easily transmitted from one part of the world to another within just a few seconds. In many ways, the world has come to resemble a global village. Whilst on the one hand there are certain benefits to this, on the other, there are also certain disadvantages and drawbacks. How wonderful it would be if it were possible for all people to derive only the benefits of such advancement, whilst staying well-away from the harmful aspects. In terms of the benefits of such levels of mass communication, let me present one example. When we watch television or read a newspaper, apart from other news, we often learn of natural disasters in parts of the world or of countries that have been stricken by poverty and famine.
We are able to see the consequences of such horrific events before our own eyes, but to simply learn of such news is not in itself of any value. The true benefit occurs only when, upon hearing such news, we utilise all of our capabilities and resources to help those who are in need with our assistance. Without a doubt, we should look to provide immediate relief such as water, food, medical aid, clothes, shelter and other basic provisions; however, we should also make a long-term plan. Through our official representatives and through our governments, we should seek to find long-term solutions that will allow the deprived nations to ultimately stand upon their own feet.
We should devise plans whereby such countries are able to utilise their own resources and assets for the betterment of their people, so that they are able to become self-sufficient and truly independent. Here, I should say that it is very important that those who provide assistance and aid should be motivated only by humanitarian desires, rather than by self-interest or greed. The way to really help those in need is to be a sincere and selfless friend, because that is the only way that one can truly remove the anxiety and distress of such people. If those who are in a position to help do not display a selfless spirit, then after some time, the poor and deprived segments of the society will not just continue to lie back, but instead will stand up, seeking their rights.
Similarly, poor countries, which have been taken advantage of, will come to oppose the wealthy nations and become filled with a sense of enmity, bitterness and hostility. Therefore, at every level we have to be very careful, because it is such injustice which leads to protests, uprisings, insurgencies and extremism penetrating so many parts of the world. Such a state of affairs can only lead to the peace and security of the world being shattered. Thus, all our efforts should be sincere and we must be pure of heart. Only then can we claim to be true humanitarians. Whilst speaking about humanitarian services, I should also mention that our Community – the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at – has always sought to utilise its limited resources to serve the poor and deprived nations or those affected by natural disasters or famines. I say this not as a means to seek any praise or recognition. The truth is that we believe that serving mankind is obligatory upon us, and so our services are rendered without any desire for personal gain or vested interests. We are simply trying to fulfil our duty to please God Almighty, and we do so without any discrimination of caste, creed and religion.
In the same way, and with the same spirit, we have developed many long-term projects in the fields of health, education and other sectors, in an effort to serve mankind. It is not possible to go into detail at this time about all of our activities and schemes, but certainly, wherever and whenever there is a need, we always come running with great fervour to serve humanity. I also spoke earlier about how certain negative consequences have arisen as a result of today’s globalisation. In terms of the media, one unfortunate consequence has been its unjust portrayal of Islam. For a long time the media has particularly highlighted the problems faced in many Muslim countries; however, when giving such coverage, the media should also display a sense of perspective or context, and sadly, on many occasions, this has been lacking. For example, it is sadly often observed that certain Muslim leaders or governments have come to treat their own people in a very cruel and barbaric fashion. Due to the prevalent media coverage, the people of the West have come to believe that Islam itself has mandated such merciless behaviour.
Thus, they have come to view Islam as a religion that advocates tyranny and brutality. This picture that has been painted is entirely unjust, because such acts or policies bear no link or association whatsoever to the true teachings of Islam. Due to the vast influence of the media, we find that whenever Western journalists or innocent civilians are killed in Muslim countries, it leads to ever growing misconceptions being harboured in the Western world about Muslims themselves. This has led to certain segments of Western society openly expressing their contempt and hatred towards Islam. Whilst others may not speak as openly against Islam, in their hearts they too have developed certain reservations or fears towards the religion. This is all a direct product of the unbalanced media reporting, and thus in general, a completely inaccurate and distorted image of Islam is routinely presented to the world.
I say all of this, by keeping in view the real teachings of Islam. The truth is that Islam has strictly forbidden terrorism or extremism of any form. The Holy Qur’an very clearly states that the killing of any person unjustly is akin to killing all of mankind, whilst the saving of just one innocent life is equivalent to giving life to all of humanity. Thus, in reality, the teachings of Islam have no link whatsoever to terrorism, nor do they mandate the killing of innocent people. Islam’s teachings in this regard are absolute and without exception. Instead of calling for violence, Islamic teachings greatly stress that Muslims must render and fulfil the rights of all others, so much so, that for our prayers to be accepted, discharging the rights of mankind have been deemed an essential pre-requisite.
Thus, these are the real teachings of Islam. I hope and pray that having listened to my words, your suspicions and fears will have been removed.
I have already mentioned that this mosque has been called the ‘Baitul Aman Mosque’, that is, the ‘House of Peace’. It has been built for the worship of God and, as the name suggests, it has been built as a house of peace and security for all. Every person who enters this mosque to worship will always keep in mind that he is praying to that God Who is the ultimate provider of peace and security, and Who has commanded man that he too should provide peace and refuge to all of God’s creation.
Thus, an Ahmadi Muslim, who worships God with a pure and sincere heart, will not only speak of peace and brotherhood in his local environment or society, but in fact, his every word and deed will be used to practically demonstrate his commitment to developing a truly peaceful and safe society. I am confident that, God Willing, with the opening of this Mosque, any doubts or fears that may exist in the minds of certain people about Muslims or about this Mosque will soon be eliminated. I am also confident that the distorted image of Islam that currently exists in the minds of some people will soon be replaced by a truly beautiful picture, portraying the immaculate teachings of Islam.
Such a picture will shine forth ever more brightly, and so our Mosque will become a true beacon of light that illuminates its surroundings. This mosque will become a bridge connecting Ahmadi Muslims and the people of all other religions, and even those who do not subscribe to any particular faith, and thus will be a source of improving mutual relationships. This mosque will be a means of erasing all wrongfully held assumptions or reservations about true Muslims. Certainly, God Willing, I believe that our heartfelt message of love will come to win the hearts of those who oppose us. May Allah enable all of this to be achieved.
At the end, I would like to once again thank all of the guests who have gone to great efforts to attend this function. May Allah grant all of you the very best rewards. May all of you come to join and help us in our mission to establish peace in the world and to serve humanity, Amin. Thank you very much.”