Friday Sermon: First Ahmadiyya mosque in Ireland

September 17th, 2010

Hudhur delivered today’s Friday Sermon from Galway in the Republic of Ireland. He recited verses of Surah Al Baqarah at the start of the sermon. The translation reads: ‘And remember the time when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House, praying, ‘Our Lord, accept this from us; for Thou art All-Hearing, All-Knowing. ‘Our Lord, make us submissive to Thee and make of our offspring a people submissive to Thee. And show us our ways of worship, and turn to us with mercy; for Thou art Oft-Returning with compassion and Merciful.’ (2:128 – 129)

Hudhur said this was his first visit to Ireland and he was there to lay the foundation of the first Ahmadiyya mosque in Ireland. He said that he advised the Irish Jama’at to build the first mosque in Galway and not Dublin, as some had hoped, and everyone happily accepted this. Hudhur said in a way Galway is an ‘end of the earth’. It is on the coast of the Atlantic ocean and if a straight line is drawn from its coast, there is no further European island. So, here, at an ‘end of the earth’, the followers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) are being enabled to build a mosque to send out the message of the Unity of God. While the objective of building a mosque is to purify and make one a better worshipper, to gather at the mosque five times a day and turn to God, it is also a source of taking the message of Unity of God to the world. To raise the sound of: ‘There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is His Messenger’, so that when this sound reaches the heavens we too are included among those with whom God is pleased.

This is the reason God sent the Messiah of Muhammad (peace be on him) whose coming was predicted by earlier Prophets and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). His task was to raise the slogan of Allaho Akbar and to take the message of the Kalima (Muslim declaration of faith) to the world and make it turn to God and to bring it in subservience of the beloved Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) did not bring any other message apart from this.

When God revealed to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) ‘I shall carry thy message to the ends of the earth’ [Tadhkirah p. 381] it signified this very message that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had brought, which had perfected Shariah and had granted beneficence of the ultimate blessing to the world that was seeking blessing. Following in the footsteps of his master, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) too, made assiduous endeavours to take this message to the world. God had promised to the Messiah of Muhammad that he had been raised as a source for the triumph of this religion and it was God’s promise that the ultimate triumph would be of Islam, so he was not to be perturbed by the impediments along the way. He was told by God that it was not only his mission, it was also the decree of God and that is why God’s help and succour was always with him. This was also the reason why, in spite of lack of resources and human frailties, the mission of the Promised Messiah, which aims to bring the world under the banner of One God and the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) will be accomplished by God. Hudhur added, the history of the Jama’at is witness to all this. Take the resource of MTA, for instance, and the way it is transmitting the message of Ahmadiyyat, true Islam. Wherever the Khalifa of the time visits, his sound is relayed from there. Hudhur said he has mentioned Fiji and some other places in the past with reference that the message of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) had reached through his Khulafa from these ends of the earth via MTA. It is a tremendous proof of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) if only there was someone with insight to perceive this. Hudhur said today’s Friday Sermon was also a link in the same series, as according to Hudhur Galway was also one of the ‘ends of the world’.

Hudhur said we should be mindful that whatever task was entrusted to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is now also the task of his followers. In spite of the Divine promise of triumph, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) remained ever concerned. In spite of regular assurances from God, neither did he lessen his efforts, nor did he lessen his prayers and concern lest the Divine promises were averted due to the lessening. All this was learnt from his master, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Hudhur related the instance of Battle of Badr, where in spite of repeated Divine assurances the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) remained restlessly engaged in prayers, so much so that with the pathos of his prayers, his body shook so much that his mantle kept falling off. Hadhrat Abu Bakr (may Allah be pleased with him) constantly consoled him, reminding him of God’s promises of triumph in the battle in spite of a weak and unarmed army. Who could know more than the Prophet of God (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) that God was certainly with them? Yet, he continued with his pathos-laden prayers and intensified his prayers, lest any lessening averted Divine promises. God’s beloved, (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) was aware that God is beyond need and want. Hudhur said this is the view that true followers adhere to, indeed, they should adhere to. They adopt humility at all times and seek God’s blessings and do not ever entertain the thought that any blessing is a result of their efforts.

Hudhur explained that the aforementioned verses give this very same lesson by citing the incident of father of all Prophets, Ibrahim and his son Ishmael, (peace be on them both) while re-building the Ka’ba. They made the prayer with remarkable humility for God to accept the sacrifice that they were making with His commandment. God had informed them that this was the most ancient house which was to become a sign for the Unity of God for the rest of time. Yet, they prayed that may their sacrifice be associated with what they were building. They prayed that by comparison to the beneficence of which they would be recipients, their sacrifice was insignificant and indeed it was also dependant on God to accept their sacrifice. They prayed to the All-Hearing God with utmost humility to accept whatever they submitted in the building of the house, which was with God’s commandment. They prayed for acceptance of the sacrifice to manifest with their name associated with the house. They beseeched God of His attribute of All-Knowing, that He knew what was in their hearts and how sincerely they had turned to Him. They implored for their prayer to be thus accepted and for them to be made heirs of the building, for as long as the Unity of God was to be proclaimed from it, their name remained associated with it and those who came to this house also remembered them in their prayers. Hudhur said indeed the name of the blessed father is remembered to this day. Every time Muslims say the Durud and invoke blessings and salutations on the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) they also invoke blessings on Hadhrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace) and his people. This honour was granted to him because of his perfect obedience, as God states: ‘And of Abraham who fulfilled the commandments?’ (53:38).

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained that unless man becomes God’s servant with complete truth and sincerity it is difficult to attain spiritual status. With reference to Hadhrat Ibrahim (on whom peace) the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that God declared him as one who fulfilled the commandments. He said to purify one’s heart from all else and to fill it with love of God, to practice in accordance with what God wills and to be compliant to God just as shadow is compliant to actual, and for God’s and a person’s will to become the same, all this is attained through prayer. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said one’s worth and status is attained through one’s sincerity as in the case of Hadhrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace). The Holy Qur’an declares: ‘And of Abraham who fulfilled the commandments?’ He was put in fire yet he did not accept to worship the idols.

Hudhur said we usually recite these verses at the inaugurations of our mosques, such is the essence of the spirit therein that we must keep in view. Even if we are making a sacrifice, we do not know whether we are making it for pretentious reasons or sincerely. God knows best, may He always include us among those who make sincere sacrifice. Hudhur said our mosques are built by the members of the Community as will this mosque in Ireland. We will have to pray that may our sacrifice for this mosque become a source of attaining God’s pleasure and not let entertain the notion that we are making a big sacrifice. Hudhur said there were many good-earners in the Ireland Jama’at, unlike Pakistan, some African and other under-developed countries where people forgo food to build mosques and still wish to give more. Hudhur said he knew many African Ahmadis whose practice is thus. The financial situation of some of them has improved and it has also increased their level of sacrifice and they have given tremendously. There are also individuals who have given for the building of an entire mosque. God has granted the Community of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) with people who have amazing sense of sacrifice, yet they do not think they make any sacrifice.

Hudhur said as he mentioned before, the majority of the Ireland Jama’at happily accepted Hudhur’s advice to build the first mosque in Galway. However, there may be some who wished it had been in Dublin. One or two even wrote to Hudhur regarding this. As the number of Jama’at in Dublin is more, their wish is warrantable. However, there are a few other reasons due to which it has been decided to first build in Galway. Therefore, even those against whose wish this building is go ahead should participate whole-heartedly and should not think that as they live in Dublin they will participate when a mosque is built there. Hudhur said this was a central project and everyone should take part in it. When a mosque is InshaAllah built in Dublin, again, everyone will take part. This is paving of the way, building of mosques is not going to stop here. This is what signifies sincerity. Sincerity also signifies fulfilling one’s pledge. Every Ahmadi has pledged to be always ready to sacrifice his life, property time and honour; therefore, each Ahmadi will selflessly participate in this to the best of his ability. This is what the demand of the time is. At other times, there are other demands. What could be more worthy of financial giving than a building that is to be constructed for the worship of God? Whatever God’s chosen people had, they gave for the building of the house of God [the Ka’ba]. God accepted their sacrifice and sent His most beloved Prophet from among their progeny as well as associated both their names till the end of time with His beloved. This sacrifice gained immense acceptance in God’s sight and we are commanded to build mosques keeping this sacrifice in view. So that we are ever reminded of this sacrifice and we analyse our own level of sincerity keeping this great sincere act in view. This is the spirit to maintain for one who builds a mosque. To this end, the next Quranic verse (2:129) states some practices that must be kept in view that the two beloveds of God prayed for: ‘…make us submissive to Thee…’.

The first condition for one who builds a house of worship is that he is perfectly obedient and submissive to God for this alone can attain sincerity. When man prays to God for perfect obedience and submissiveness and pledges it, he will try his utmost to display an excellent model of compliance. This will entail discharging of the dues of God as well as dues of mankind; to also raise the standard of worship and to completely obey the administrative system of the community. When man makes such efforts he wonders lest these good acts are lost after him. For this, God taught the prayer, along with the prayer for building His house, for one’s offspring to be pious as well, to remain connected to the administration of the community and to pay the dues of others while presenting high morals.

Hudhur said many people who took bai’at at the time of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), there were quite a few in the northern areas [of Pakistan], but could not spiritually train their families. As a result, gradually, their descendants got separated from the Community. Therefore, when praying for oneself, one also prays for one’s next generation, for this alone brings about success.

God thus accepted the prayer of Hadhrat Ibrahim and Ishmael (peace be on them both) and the place became the axis of all the mosques of the world and a great Prophet was born from among their progeny who established new and tremendous levels of obedience; submissiveness and sacrifice, levels much greater than those of Hadhrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace). God then commanded us: ‘Verily you have in the Prophet of Allah an excellent model…’ (33:22). This blessed model established new and greater levels of worship. After arriving at Medina, the first thing he did was to build a mosque so that people could gather in one place and worship God. The world witnessed how the Prophet’s Mosque became a hub for worshippers of God day and night and this continues to this day. Thus, along with building houses of God, prayers and effort should be made for one’s progeny to stay connected with God, then alone can the objective to build mosques be fulfilled. It should not be deemed that by making financial sacrifice one’s responsibility is over. From the laying of the first brick to the last brick of the roof, it is the obligation of each one of us to pray for the mosque to be populated as well.

There are mosques of which is said that their very foundation is laid on disorder but we are going to raise mosques the foundations of which are raised on taqwa (righteousness). The real happiness of a mosque is when it makes one turn to God more than ever. The verse [2:129] makes a prayer to be taught those ways of sacrifice which are accepted in God’s sight.

Hudhur said the mosque in Galway will place a huge responsibility on the Ahmadis of Ireland. If they comprehended this reality, with God’s grace, they will gain acceptance. The prayer [of 2:129] concludes on an entreaty that may our human failings, idleness or any weakness not avert the task that has been entrusted to us. We pray that with Your grace, keep us drawn to it and forgive our idleness or any weakness for You are Oft-Returning with compassion and Merciful. Hudhur said repentance gains acceptance when one does not knowingly get embroiled in errors. If this sequence of avoiding ills is maintained God also blesses and is Merciful and with reference to building of mosques, He enables us to be drawn to the task of our growing responsibility. Hudhur said the attention of the media will be drawn to the foundation-laying of the mosque today. This will become the source of an introduction of our Community. From the experience from different countries we know that attention is drawn and with this each Ahmadi who lives here will have enhanced significance. The locals will notice them, avenues of Tabligh will open and they will have to make greater efforts than ever.

The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that if you wish to introduce Islam somewhere, build a mosque there. Hudhur said he hoped that Ahmadis of Ireland will be forced to widen their Tabligh scope. Each Ahmadi that lived there, man, woman, young and old will need to present good models, engage in Istaghfar so that God may grant strength. Hudhur said Hadhrat Ibrahim and Ishmael (peace be on them both) were only two at the time of re-building of Ka’ba. However, when they started the building, they were resolute on the belief that God was enabling them to do a significant task and will extend their future generations. Therefore, they also prayed for their progeny at the time. We are the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and are also associated with his true and ardent devotee and are experiencing the expanding of the ‘progeny’. God called the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Ibrahim in revelations. In one revelation it is said: ‘I shall comfort you and shall not wipe out your name and shall raise a people from you.’ [Tadhkirah p. 797]. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that he understood from this that God made Hadhrat Ibrahim a nation/body of people. Hudhur said the body of people that is forming through the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) is forming through His special help and support. He is also enabling them to build mosques for the worship of God. However, in order to avail real benefit we need to engage in repentance and Istaghfar and form a strong bond with God so that we, as well as our next generation, can seek the benefits and our sacrifices continue to be accepted. May the standards of our worship of God be enhanced and may we continue to foster the spirit of a strong connection with Ahmadiyyat, true Islam in our next generation. May God enable us all to do so.