On 17 March 2012, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), the Fifth Khalifa of the Promised Messiah(as) and Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (Community), inaugurated the Baitul Atta Mosque in Wolverhampton, a major city in the West Midlands, United Kingdom. A function was held in the evening to mark the occasion, which was attended by some Members of Parliament, Councillors, dignitaries and guests from all walks of life including local residents.
Councillor Bert Turner, Mayor of Wolverhampton, welcomed Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) to the city and said he had been particularly struck by the fact that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had opened the doors of its mosques to people from all backgrounds.
Pat McFadden, MP for Wolverhampton South East, said that he was not only the local Member of Parliament, but also a neighbour to the new Mosque as he lived very near to it. He also said that the Ahmadiyya Community’s motto of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ was a “lesson” for people.
Paul Uppal, MP for Wolverhampton South West, said that all people should focus on the many common beliefs and practices they shared, rather than the few differences that set them apart.
Also taking to the stage were Reverend John Bernard, who read a message from the Bishop of Wolverhampton and Councillor Elias Mattu; both of whom congratulated the Ahmadiyya Community on the opening of the Mosque. The keynote address was delivered by Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, the transcript of which is presented here:
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.
Today is a day of great joy and happiness for the Ahmadi Muslims who live in this area, because a longstanding and ardent desire of theirs has been fulfilled by the opening of this beautiful mosque. However, before I proceed, it would be very unjust of me if I did not take this opportunity to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you – all of our esteemed guests – for taking time from your busy schedules to enlighten this event with your attendance. This kind gesture demonstrates your high moral values and such principles particularly shine forth in light of the fact that this is not a worldly event where people have joined together for mere recreation or enjoyment. In fact, today’s function is a purely religious event in which the Ahmadiyya Community is inaugurating a place of worship, which according to Islamic terminology, is called a ‘mosque.’ Moreover, the vast majority, if not all of our guests, are either non-Muslims or are not part of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam.
Bearing all of this in mind why should not I clearly and openly speak about these qualities you have displayed? Whilst appreciating your high moral values, I should also hereby express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you. Indeed, by virtue of being grateful to all of you, I am also expressing my gratitude to God Almighty in an effort to seek and attain His pleasure. Certainly, seeking the pleasure of God Almighty is, and indeed should always be, the primary goal of every true believer. Here, I would also like to remove a common misconception. As I have just said, a true believer should always strive towards seeking the pleasure of God and this should be his primary objective. However, you should not think that when a Muslim says that he wants to please God so that he can attain a place in Paradise, it must mean that a Muslim will adopt extremism as a means to attain this objective.
Hopefully, the sentiments of gratitude that I have expressed ought to have removed any such misconceptions or fears, however if anyone continues to harbour such suspicions, then they should completely remove them from their hearts and minds. This is because all forms of extremism run completely contrary to the real teachings of Islam. A true Muslim can never even contemplate the thought that the use of force or extremism to compel others towards Islam could ever be a means of attaining God’s pleasure.
We, Ahmadi Muslims, believe that the Founder of our Community, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian(as), is the very Messiah, Reformer and Mahdi whose advent in the latter days was prophesised by Islam and all of the major religions. He, the Promised Messiah(as), taught that a person who adopts extremism and severity in religious matters does not understand God’s teachings, which were brought by all of the previous prophets and which were revealed in their most perfect form to the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw). Thus, such a person can never attain the pleasure of God Almighty by acting in such a cruel way.
The Promised Messiah(as) has guided us and given us a lesson of the utmost importance, which is that if you wish to attain God’s favour and pleasure and desire for your prayers to be accepted, then you must cleanse your heart of all malice and hatred, even towards your enemies. He taught us that if you bear grudges or hatred towards your opponents, then your prayers cannot be accepted. Furthermore, the Holy Qur’an itself has commanded that the enmity of a nation or its people should not prevent a believer from acting in a just and fair manner towards his opponents. The Qur’an expands upon this teaching by stating that to act with absolute justice is closer to righteousness and it is righteousness that is the underlying and fundamental principle for attaining God’s pleasure. What a beautiful teaching this is!
We have been taught that if you wish to be classed as a righteous person and want to be the recipient of God’s pleasure, it is not enough to only worship, and to offer prayers and to fast if it obligatory upon you. Instead, we have been commanded that it is against the principles of righteousness to act unjustly against other peoples or nations because of enmities and hatred. We are taught that such practices greatly displease God Almighty. Ultimately, we have been prevented not only from acting unjustly, but also it has also been made clear that we should not harbour or bear enmity at all towards anyone.
If we look in a fair and impartial way at the era of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) and thereafter at the era of the Rightly Guided Successors (Khulafa), then we observe that they never took part in offensive warfare. It is true, that when they were attacked they defended themselves, but they did so only to bring about reformation. All such defensive wars were conducted with a spirit of true justice and fairness. The Holy Qur’an, indeed, categorically states that once a war has ended and victory has been gained, then the victor must not transgress or display any form of cruelty towards the vanquished. Thus, where in the Holy Qur’an it says that your enmities should not lead you to act otherwise than with justice, the golden principle that Muslims have been taught is that you should not bear enmity in your heart towards any party or anyone. If others display enmity or hatred towards you, then still you should not deprive them of justice or their due rights. It is this beautiful teaching that inspires the Ahmadiyya Jama’at to constantly raise the slogan of: ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’
In our hearts we, Ahmadis, bear enmity towards no one. Where hatred does not exist, there can be no enmity and it naturally follows that upon the scales of justice, everybody will be treated equally. Thus, in light of these beautiful and pure teachings, is there room for any form of terrorism or extremism to remain? Based upon what I have just said, I am confident that if any person held even the slightest suspicion that Muslims are taught by Islam to adopt extremism in an effort to please God, then this misconception must surely now have been dispelled. Our non-Muslim friends should always remember and bear in mind that to consider all Muslims as extremists or terrorists is completely devoid of justice. The wrong and misguided acts of a handful of people, who are motivated by their vested interests, should not lead to all Muslims being portrayed or classed as extremists.
I would now like to say a few words about the importance of mosques themselves within the religion of Islam. First of all, it is essential to mention that the word ‘masjid,’ which is the Arabic word for ‘mosque,’ literally means a place where one prostrates. Thus, a mosque is a place where Muslims gather together to submit before the One God, to worship and to bow down before Him. In a mosque, the worshippers bow down before that very God Who has commanded Muslims that prior to every act, or before starting any task, they should recite the following words:
These words translated into English mean, ‘In the Name of Allah, the Gracious, Ever Merciful.’ Even in our formal prayers, after reciting a prayer seeking God’s protection from Satan, it is these very words that Muslims repeat. In other words, we start our prayers by stating that: Allah is He Who is the ‘Gracious,’ whereby He provides for us without us having made any request and Allah is also He who is the ‘Merciful,’ whereby He constantly provides for us in answer to our prayers and supplications.
Here, I would like to shed some light on these attributes of God. His Graciousness and Mercy are all encompassing and are granted to all Creation. In keeping with all of God’s other Attributes, it is human beings who derive the largest share and benefit of these attributes. God Almighty has commanded all people who claim to be true believers to adopt His attributes to the best of their abilities. We learn from a tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad(saw) that he taught that Allah the Almighty shows mercy only to those who are merciful towards others. Based on this fundamental teaching, it could never be imagined that a true Muslim, who worships God, could ever keep in his heart a desire for any of God’s Creation to be harmed. Particularly, he could never desire for his fellow human beings to suffer in any way. If anyone enters a mosque with such hateful intentions then he will be deprived of God’s blessings and His mercy.
A true mosque is, as I have already said, a place to bow down and to beseech God seeking His mercy; but a person who enters a mosque to implore God’s mercy will not be successful until he himself manifests a true spirit of generousness, mercy and compassion towards all of those who are around him. Thus, a true Muslim is compelled to show graciousness and mercy to others, because that is the only way in which he himself can be a recipient of God’s pleasure, His graciousness and His mercy.
I am confident that based on what I have explained it will have become clear who a true Muslim is and what the purpose of mosques really are. It is with such great objectives in mind that we are inaugurating this mosque today and so it is that every Ahmadi Muslim who enters this House of God will come with the intention that, where he submits to God seeking His Mercy, he himself must also display mercy towards all of God’s Creation and in particular, towards mankind. With these heartfelt feelings of compassion and mercy instilled, he will be ever ready to serve humanity.
I am sure you will agree with me that if what I have described is the purpose of a mosque and this is the true Islam, then it is a beautiful purpose aligned to a beautiful teaching. I am also confident that, God Willing, the true purposes for which this Mosque was built will be fulfilled by the Ahmadi Muslims and thus if the local people have any doubts or suspicions, then they will soon be removed. With a desire for mutual goodwill and harmony we will strive towards the advancement and progress of the nation.
These days we find that widespread conflict and hatred has permeated all parts of the world and so there is an urgent need for mutual love, affection and mercy to be spread so that the world can be saved from the horrific and terrifying destruction that is fast approaching in the shape of a world war. May Allah enable every person in every society to recognise and instil good human values, Amin.
At the end, I would like to take the opportunity to once again thank all of the distinguished guests, from the depths of my heart, for attending today’s function. May Allah reward all of you abundantly. Thank you very much.”