The House of Allah

32 The Review of Religions – January 2004 Call to mind when Abraham prayed: My Lord, make this city Inviolate, and keep me and my progeny away from the worship of idols. My Lord, they have indeed led astray large numbers of people. So whoever follows me, he is certainly of me; and whoever disobeys me, in his case also Thou art surely Most Forgiving, Ever Merciful. Our Lord, 1 have settled some of my progency in a barren valley near Thy sacre d House, that they may perform Salat with due observation, our Lord. So make people’s hearts incline towards them and provide them with fruits of all kinds that they may be grateful. Our Lord, Thou cert a i n l y knowest that which we conceal and that which we make known; nothing whatsover is hidden fro m Allah, whether in the earth or in the heaven. (Ch.14: Vs.36-39). Within a few days, we shall, if Allah so wills, start from Pakistan on our tour of the East and in the course of this tour, I have to perform the top most The House of Allah The following are extracts from a Sermon delivered by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih IV on Friday 2nd September 1983 in Pakistan. ( P i c t u re on right is a later photograph) 33The Review of Religions – January 2004 The House of Allah obligation of laying the foundation of the first Ahmadiyya Mosque in the continent of Australia. This will be a foundation of a Mosque and also of a Mission House. This means that along with the mosque, a Mission house will also be constructed where the M i s s i o n a r y – i n – C h a rge will be able to carry out all his responsibilities. This Mosque possesses a special significance in the history of the Ahmadiyya Movement inasmuch as we are being enabled to lay the foundation of this Mosque in a new continent. Hitherto, this continent had been empty. The Movement could claim that it had conveyed the message of Islam by the Grace of Allah in all the continents, but, so far as the continent of Australia was concerned, the message was conveyed through the efforts of individuals. The Movement had not hitherto established any regular Mission, nor had any Mosque been constructed. The Ahmadiyya Community Mosque in Sydney, Australia 34 The Review of Religions – January 2004 The House of Allah The site that has been acquired for this Mosque has, by Allah’s Grace, a large area which is well situated. It is within fifty miles of the well known Australian town of Sydney, which is not much of a distance. The area of the site on which the Mosque and the Mission House will, if Allah so desires, be constructed, is a little more than 27 acres, and it can provide accommodation of all aspects of the activities of the Movement. Our Annual Conference can also be held there. We have acquired such a large area in the hope that Allah would be pleased to fill it soon and within a short time make it too small for our growing needs and thus Divine Grace may outrun our expectations. The foundation stone of this Mosque will, Allah willing, be laid with these supplications. S u rely the first House established for the benefit of all mankind is the one at Becca. (Ch.3: v.97) Allah has here used the expression ‘all mankind’ which indicates that this House was constructed for neither the Muslims, nor Hindus, nor Christians, but for the whole of mankind for carrying out the worship of Allah. It was intended that here would, in due course, be born the Prophet( s a ) t h r o u g h whom the whole of mankind would be gathered together under the banner of one faith. The fact is that the whole world could be gathered together under one hand only twice, once in the beginning, and finally towards the end. Prophethood began with Adam( a s ) when mankind was not divided. A d a m( a s ) must have constructed a house for the worship of Allah, which indicates that Adam( a s ) l a i d the foundation of this House. As there was no division at that time, A d a m( a s ) was the whole of mankind. He was the seed which God selected for the propagation of His Word. A second time the whole of mankind could be addressed after the advent of the P r o p h e t( s a ) who would be 35The Review of Religions – January 2004 The House of Allah designated for calling the whole of mankind to one religion and that Prophet was Muhammad( s a ). It was said that it was constructed for the whole of mankind. When it was built, all mankind was related to it and in the end also, the whole of mankind will gather together in it for the worship of one God, which means that he who was to be a mercy for the universe (Ch.21:v.108) and was to be a bearer of glad tidings and a Warner would have appeared for the whole of mankind ( C h . 3 4 : v.29). That is why I have said that the principal purpose of the construction of the first House was the advent of Muhammad( s a ), the Chosen One, peace be on him. With his advent, the purpose of the construction of the House was a c c o m p l i s h e d . When was this glorious House constructed? The details con- nected therewith are not mentioned in the history of mankind. It is the Holy Qur’ a n alone which has mentioned that the first House constructed for the worship of Allah is the one which is close to Makkah. The Holy Q u r’an has, however, described its new construction in some detail and thus the principal events related to the reconstruction of the House by A b r a h a m( a s ) have been preserved for ever for the guidance of those who may desire to build a House of Allah. If a house is built without following the example of A b r a h a m( a s ) and without keeping in mind the spirit that had inspired Abraham( a s ), it has no meaning and no importance. People construct great houses for the sake of God and spend millions and millions upon their construction, yet they have no relationship to the House which was reconstructed by Abraham( a s ). No kingdom spent its treasures in its construction, no engineers gathered together to make its plans, no great architects assembled together, no workmen were pressed into service. Allah only mentions that when the Ka’aba was reconstructed, the father was the builder and the son was the labourer. The son was of an age when he could just run about. The Prophet of God, 36 The Review of Religions – January 2004 The House of Allah A b r a h a m( a s ), built this house with his own hands, he collected the stones that were needed, he dug afresh the foundations which had been covered up by sand. The Holy Prophet ( s a ) has said that when Abraham( a s ) had brought his wife, Hajirah and son Ishmael( a s ), he looked diligently for traces of the first House of Allah. At last, he noticed traces of a small wall showing through the sand which gave an indication of the ruined House that had been built in ages p a s t . A b r a h a m( a s ) placed his little son on the stone that was visible and then began to consider in what manner the House could be rebuilt. But for Ishmael’s participation in the reconstruction, it was postponed by God for a later time and A b r a h a m( a s ) was commanded to leave his wife and little son till the boy should be old enough to participate in the reconstruction of the House. There was great wisdom in the Divine plan for the postponement of the reconstruction of the House. One consideration was that Abraham’s son who was to be the progenitor of Muhammad( s a ), whereby the descendants of I s h m a e l( a s ) were to be distin- guished from the descendants of Isaac(as), was not yet old enough to participate in the construction of the House. Secondly, he was being left in a valley where there was neither provision for water nor for food and yet Allah had informed Abraham( a s ) that the latter was to reconstruct the House. This was a guarantee and a firm assurance from God that till Ishmael(as) grew up so as to join his father in the reconstruction of the House, he would be under God’s protection. This was a glorious mani- festation of God’s love, both for Abraham(as) and for Ishmael(as). It also indicates how great was the trust of Abraham(as) in his Lord, that he was leaving his wife and son entirely to His Gracious Mercy. The Holy Prophet(sa) has mentioned that when Abraham(as) was about to depart, he suddenly faced in a certain direction, leaving a small skinful of water 37The Review of Religions – January 2004 The House of Allah and some dates with his wife. She felt that he was leaving them and she asked him whether he intended to depart. But Abraham(as) returned no answer. She ran after him, but he was in no condition to answer her. His eyes were wet and he feared that if he tried to speak, he might break down. At last Hajirah entreated him to tell her whether he was leaving them under Divine direction. There was a special purpose in Hajirah’s question. She had been wedded by Abraham( a s ) when he was already married to Sarah and she knew that Sarah was jealous of her and had asked Abraham(as) several times to get rid of Hajirah. This was the purpose behind her question. She wanted to know whether Abraham(as) was acting under Divine direction, or out of a desire to please Sarah. In answer to her question, A b r a h a m( a s ) nodded and raised his finger in the direction of heaven. This gesture reassured Hajirah and she returned to Ishmael(as). The two great events of those years were the reconstruction of the House in which both father and son participated, and the readiness of both father and son to carry out what they conceived was the Divine command that Ishmael(as) should be sacrificed. The whole background is most moving and glorious. It reveals the depth of the love that surged between Allah and Abraham(as). The House that was recons- tructed was a very simple structure, but that simple structure has been the centre of God’s most loving looks. In his supplications made at the time of the reconstruction of the House, Abraham(as) had prayed for the advent of Muhammad(sa) through whom the House was to be redevoted to the worship of the One God. Abraham’s prayer was answered in the terms that he had himself employed and in due course the advent of Muhammad(sa), the Chosen One, took place.