A Haven of Peace and Love
Darul Amaan Mosque opens in Manchester,United Kingdom
Keynote Address by
Hazrat Khalifaul Masih Vaba,
Head of the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
On 27th April 2012, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, inaugurated the Darul Amaan mosque in the City of Manchester, United Kingdom. This was the sixth new mosque inaugurated by His Holiness in the United Kingdom in 2012. An official reception to mark the opening of the mosque was held at the mosque premises, which was attended by dignitaries and guests from various backgrounds.
Councillor Harry Lyons, the Lord Mayor of Manchester, said he was delighted that the mosque had been built at a site which was only a few hundred metres from where he had been born and brought up. He said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at had the “full support of the Manchester City Council.”
Tony Lloyd, MP for Manchester Central, said he had a longstanding relationship with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at. He said that under the leadership of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Ahmadi Muslims constantly displayed values of love and peace.
Kate Green, MP for Stretford and Urmston, said the new mosque was a “beautiful” addition to Manchester, and she congratulated the Ahmadiyya Community on the inauguration of Darul Amaan.
John Leech, MP for Manchester Withington, said the new mosque stood as a “beacon” amongst all the other buildings in the area and was a wonderful addition to the landscape. He congratulated the Community for having raised the funds for the mosque independently and in such a short time. Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, delivered the keynote address, the transcript of which is presented here:
After reciting Tashhahud, T’aawwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said:
“All the distinguished guests – Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
I would like to first of all thank all of our guests who have taken the time and effort to join us this evening and enlighten the opening of our new mosque here in Manchester, which is called the ‘Darul Amaan mosque.’ Your attendance demonstrates the strong ties of friendship that exist between you and the local Ahmadi Muslims. It is a result of these ties that you are attending, and indeed, your participation is also an example of how you care for the feelings of others. Certainly, your attendance is a true reflection of your high moral standards and it is exactly such elevated values, which the entire world stands in great need of, because, unfortunately, in today’s world selfishness and a sense of superiority have become widely prevalent.
It is often said that humans are ‘social animals’ and thus living together and forming a society is a natural inclination. Yet, in reality, humans tend to group together according to their personal backgrounds, religions or temperaments. Therefore, we find that people normally form their own close circles and groups. However, high moral standards are proved and demonstrated when people of different nationalities, cultures, religions and social backgrounds are able to converse and interact freely with one another and come to form a strong relationship, irrespective of the differences that may exist between them.
It is a source of great pleasure to me that Ahmadi Muslims do not remain hidden away and isolated, but in fact, they endeavour to form relations with all segments of society and make efforts to integrate and interact with people from all walks of life. Certainly, such an attitude ought to be the hallmark of every true Ahmadi Muslim. However, I should also say that I am very grateful to all of you because you have not only accepted the hand of friendship that we have extended, but it is quite apparent that you value such relations very dearly and certainly this attitude of yours is worthy of recognition and admiration. There is no doubt that you are extremely deserving of the gratitude and appreciation that I feel towards all of you. Indeed, the high value of your kind gesture rises even further when considering that this function is a purely religious and spiritual event, in which a place of worship of the Ahmadiyya Community, which according to Islamic terminology is called a ‘masjid’—that is, a ‘mosque’—is being inaugurated.
With these words of thanks, I would like to speak briefly about the importance and the main objectives of a mosque in Islam. Unfortunately, we find that upon just hearing the word ‘mosque’ the hearts of many non-Muslims become instantly consumed with trepidation and fear. It is a common belief that all Muslims who are associated with any mosque must be religious extremists and that perhaps it is in their mosques that such teachings are taught and encouraged. However, this is a completely false portrayal of a mosque. In reality, if every Muslim and indeed even anyone were to act upon Allah’s instructions to those who enter mosques, then we would find the world would become a haven of peace, love and compassion.
In Chapter 7, Verse 30 of the Holy Qur’an—which Muslims believe to be the direct Word of God—Allah the Almighty has instructed that a believer should focus his attention at all times towards the mosque and should call upon God with sincerity. However, this teaching is prefaced by another instruction in which Allah the Almighty has commanded man to proclaim that: ‘My Lord has enjoined justice.’ This is because justice at all levels is a fundamental requirement of Islam, and so if a person does not act in a fair and just manner, then his supplications to God Almighty and the effort he takes in going to the mosque are rendered completely void and worthless. Indeed, God has commanded Muslims that if they pray to Him without keeping in view His pleasure, then such worship will be completely rejected by Him and the prayers of such people will be a cause for their doom.
Having established that Islam requires justice, it is pertinent to ask that what exactly are the standards of justice that the Holy Qur’an demands? To help answer this question I shall refer to a couple of verses from the Qur’an itself. In Chapter 5, Verse 9, in relation to the establishment of justice, God Almighty directly addresses those who believe—meaning those who claim to be Muslims—that they must bear witness with equity and stand forth in the cause of Allah. In this verse, God Almighty further commands that the enmity of others should not lead a Muslim to acting unjustly, because to be fair and just, is closer to righteousness. Then, in Chapter 4, Verse 136, God Almighty has further commanded about the importance of bearing witness and giving testimony with justice and accuracy. In this verse justice has been advocated to such an extent that Allah has commanded Muslims that they must be ready to testify against even themselves, their parents, their close friends and relatives. There can be no higher standard of justice than this, whereby a person is required to testify even against himself and his loved ones, in order to uphold the truth.
These are just a few examples from the Holy Qur’an that I have given in order to illustrate the essential ingredients for establishing justice and equity in society. All Muslims who enter a mosque are commanded to act and abide by these very teachings, at all times. Thus, how can it be that a person whose life is governed by the teachings of the Holy Qur’an and whose sole aim is to acquire God’s pleasure, could ever cause any form of disorder or strife in society? Furthermore, how can it be that in a mosque a Muslim learns to usurp the rights of other people? This could never happen because it directly contravenes the teachings of Islam. In the Holy Qur’an, God Almighty has very categorically stated that when Muslims enter mosques, their only intention and motive should be to worship Him sincerely. The word ‘masjid’ literally means a place where a person bows down before God in a pure manner, with only the desire to attain His pleasure. If a person prays with an impure state of mind and does not have the fear of God in his heart, then, as I have already mentioned, his worship will be completely rejected by God Almighty. Bearing all of this in mind, there is absolutely no reason for anyone to become fearful when they hear the word ‘mosque.’ At one place, the Holy Qur’an commands that those people who enter mosques must enter with a spirit of sincerity and solely with the intention of worshipping God Almighty. Furthermore, to fulfil the requirements of worship it is necessary that a Muslim prays according to the method that God Almighty Himself has taught. Only then can he do true justice to God’s right of worship.
In relation to this it is necessary to ask who are the people who worship God Almighty sincerely and in the correct way? And indeed, what is the correct method of worship? To answer these questions we look once again at the Holy Qur’an. It has taught that people who worship God Almighty properly are those who have adopted humility as the cornerstone and underlying basis of their lives. This is because God Almighty greatly appreciates humility. True worshippers display humility in all aspects of their lives. For example, if an ignorant person confronts a sincere believer and tries to quarrel or start a fight, then the believer will not rise to the provocation, but instead to save himself from any wrongdoing, will quietly and respectfully take his leave and walk away from that situation, in a dignified manner. In other words, such a person responds to cruelty and harshness with kindness and gentleness, in an effort to create an atmosphere of peace and reconciliation. He is governed not by pride, but only a desire to please God and to help foster a peaceful society.
Likewise, a true believer can never take the life of another person without reason and neither can he ever wish to cause harm or suffering to anyone else. Where I have said that a person cannot take the life of another “without reason,” it should not be misunderstood that somehow this means that there is a right to take a person’s life if you feel you have a justified reason. This is entirely wrong, because a Muslim has been taught to never take the law into his own hands. What is actually meant here is that to sentence someone to death on the basis of fabrication or conspiracy is totally wrong and God Almighty is greatly displeased by such an act. True worshippers of God can never tolerate giving even the slightest false testimony. Moreover, true believers cannot bear to observe anything that is immodest, false or obscene and if by chance they ever come across such undesirable elements, then they remove themselves from the situation immediately, in a dignified manner.
All of these points have been mentioned in the Holy Qur’an as the hallmarks of true believers. Allah has deemed only those people who bear such qualities as true worshippers. These are the people whose acts and deeds are filled with piety and goodness and hence they are recipients of His rewards and pleasure. Keeping all of this in view, when an Ahmadi Muslim constructs a mosque he does so with two overarching and primary objectives. First, he tries to fulfil his obligation of worshipping God Almighty with even greater resolve than ever before. Secondly, he also endeavours to fulfil the rights of his fellow man and to serve humanity with an ever-increasing determination and passion. An Ahmadi Muslim will always try to distance himself from all types of disorder.
Thus, it is with complete conviction and confidence that I say to all of you that the only message that you will ever hear from an Ahmadi Mosque is a call urging people towards God Almighty, and a call to fulfil the rights of God’s Creation. Apart from these two noble objectives you will hear no other call or message conveyed from an Ahmadi mosque. Indeed, this particular mosque has been named ‘Darul Amaan’ and this literally means a place of complete peace and security. It is a place of sanctuary, where whoever enters will be liberated from all fears and distress.
And I would like to inform you that the status of the mosque as a place of refuge is not limited only to those who enter it, but in wider terms, it means that even those who live in the surrounding areas will always be safe and will never have any reason to fear the worshippers of the mosque. Not only will the local people be able to live safely and peacefully, but they will also find that every Ahmadi Muslim will stand shoulder to shoulder with them in an effort to establish a society filled with peace, love and compassion. Certainly, the local people of this area will find that all Ahmadis will always remain at the forefront of every effort that is made towards transforming hatred and enmity into love and peace.
Thus, I hope and very much expect that this mosque will become a symbol of peace and a beacon of light not just in the local area, but for the entire city and indeed the wider world. This is exactly what the world stands in need of today. There is an urgent need for the world to become filled with compassion and tolerance, so that true peace can develop and we must all work together towards achieving these truly crucial pursuits. If we fail, then it is highly likely that another war will break out. Because of the circumstances, it seems as if the war is drawing nearer and approaching fast. Such a war will not be limited to a particular country or even a region, but will almost certainly engulf the vast majority of the world and will leave behind such a trail of destruction and devastation, that we cannot even imagine. The effects of such a war will be tragic and will be felt not just by us, but also by many future generations. That would be a truly terrifying legacy to pass on to our coming generations.
Thus, it is my heartfelt request to all of you that within your own circles of influence, strive and endeavour towards developing peace and reconciliation, so that we can come to live in a society where all enmities and hatred are left behind. May all of us come to value and respect one another so that we, and those that follow us, are protected from all forms of destruction. It is my sincere prayer that we come to achieve this paramount objective.
At the end, I would like to once again thank all of our friends who have attended tonight’s function, and who by doing so, have displayed their good nature and piety. Thank you very much.”