‘Say, ‘My Lord has enjoined justice. And fix your attention aright at every time and place of worship, and call upon Him, making yourself sincere towards Him in religion. As He brought you into being, so shall you return.’ (7:30)
‘O children of Adam! adorn yourself at every time and place of worship with garment of fear of Allah, and eat and drink but exceed not the bounds; surely, He does not love those who exceed the bounds.’ (7:32)
With His grace God has enabled the Ahmadis of Brisbane and the Ahmadis of Australia to build a mosque in Brisbane, Australia. We could not thank God enough for this favour. The site was purchased about fifteen years ago and a mission house and a Prayer hall was built. When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih visited Brisbane for the first time in 2006 he felt that in spite of these buildings the site did not have the vigour/liveliness that can now be felt with the building of the mosque. It is a favour of God that he has established a strong connection between the Jama’at and Khilafat, a connection which cannot be found anywhere else in the world. This is by virtue of the Bai’at and the teaching of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace), who mentioned a bond of love, brotherhood and obedience in his conditions of Bai’at and this bond is now also prevalent among the Jama’at and the system of Khilafat, which was established by him.
Mosques are also our need and will be built as and when the Jama’at requires them. Khilafat was just mentioned because these mosques are also built in response to the inspiration of the Khalifa of the time. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that he has been drawing attention in this regard that mosques are a source of Tabligh. During his visit of Brisbane in 2006 he had said that the Prayer centre was very well but a proper mosque should be built. The Jama’at responded dutifully and with the grace of God had the mosque built on site. The various impediments faced during the building of the mosque would have given the people here a measure of the vastly different view of mosque others have. Although some neighbours objected to the building of the mosque, after efforts over eight to nine months the local council gave permission for the building and thus construction started in December 2012 and now we have a beautiful mosque. The new construction as well as renovation of the earlier buildings cost 4.5 Australian dollars. Members of the Jama’at gave most generously for the project. One member contributed 125,000 dollars while another contributed 100,000 dollars. Everyone contributed what they could afford, perhaps more than they could afford. As is the tradition of Ahmadi ladies, here too they donated their jewellery for the building of the mosque. May God bless all those who made sacrifices!
It should be remembered that this spirit of sacrifice, love, sincerity and obedience should not be borne of any temporary sense of enthusiasm in an Ahmadi but should be lasting and enduring and should also be instilled in our next generation. Indeed, this spirit and fervour will only endure when attention is given to the commandments of God, when a true connection is made with one’s God, when the dues of mosque are paid, when the dues of coming in the Bai’at of the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) are paid. We will then also be able to fulfil the dues of this mosque.
Today’s sermon was based on a few commandments of God to encourage us and our next generations to continue to pay these dues. The verses recited at the start are verses 30 and 32 of Surah Al Ar’af and they are regarding mosques. They cite what is expected of believers as well as they advise them that those who are associated with mosques will attain God’s grace if they become true worshippers of God. First and foremost, justice is enjoined; establishment of justice which starts from the first building block of society, that is, a family, to international level. This is what is needed for peace on every level in the world and failure of this is what can create disorder and indeed it does. Justice is not only required in societal matters and among people, in fact justice also demands that the dues of commandments of God are paid and the dues of worship of God, as is befitting, are paid. The advantage of such worship is gained by the worshipper alone. Every true believer should pay attention to this matter and this is possible when the five daily Prayers are observed and a pure change is felt in oneself while trying to pay the dues of mankind.
Paying the dues of mankind can be fulfilling the commandments made to husbands to give the rights of their wives, to look after their needs, to be gentle with them and to be considerate of their familial ties (rehmi rishtay), to respect parents, siblings and other relatives of wives, not to set eyes upon the wealth and earning of wives and to be mindful of the education and training of children. To be role models for one’s children so that they remain connected to faith. It should be remembered that boys have respect for faith, especially at the age of 13 to 14 years, usually when see their fathers also respect faith, when the father is regular at Salat and recitation of the Holy Qur’an. It is generally seen that mothers are more concerned about their children in terms of faith or at least they express themselves about this to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. Similarly, every wife has the responsibility to do justice to her duties. Her first responsibility is her family; to respect the husband and his familial ties, to look after the children and their moral training. There should be particular concern about the upbringing of children in this environment and it is the task of both parents to do religious training of their children. Instil in the children that they are Ahmadi Muslim and for this the parents have to be role models and educate the children about the difference in them and the others. If the parents do not lead by example they will not be doing justice.
Every man and woman who wishes to be considered a true believer should try and pay the rights of each other as regards general societal ties, whether it is business dealing or another matter. It is important to be just and fair. God has made the community of believers as one entity. This standard will be upheld when each person is conscious of the pain of others, when justice and fairness is met. Pain in one part of the body is felt by the entire body and this is how we should be aware of others’ pain. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said one should feel the pain of others. We tell the world about our fraternal ties, we need to also demonstrate it in practice.
In the mosque inauguration reception held for Australian guests a couple of days ago, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’s discourse centred on the subject that if rights of mankind are not given, worship of God is pointless. When mankind’s rights are given every act becomes an act of worship and further enhances worship of God. Muslims who understand the significance of worship will always try to fulfil the requisites of rights of mankind and Ahmadis understand this concept very well because they have accepted the Imam of the age so that they may garner God’s grace, fulfil the dues of worship of God and recognise the objective of man’s creation.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘It is a great act of worship to be affectionate and sympathetic to humanity. It is a tremendous source to attain pleasure of Allah the Exalted.’ This beautiful teaching makes us fulfil the requisites of justice and fairness and gives us Divine nearness. When man goes to mosque with these thoughts, he comes in the embrace of God’s love. Effort by a believer to abide by: ‘…And fix your attention aright at every time and place of worship…’ will garner God’s grace. As we know, each effort of ours is covered by an act of God and we cannot attain any virtue merely through our own strength and we cannot attain virtue without an act of God. Our good wishes and efforts to do good which keep our attention directed at God and the help that we seek from Him will make us worthy of being counted among those who are: ‘…sincere towards Him in religion…’ and such people can see the luminous message of God: ‘…I answer the prayer of the supplicant when he prays to Me…’ (2:187)
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: It is also essential for acceptance of prayers that man instils a pure change in himself. If he cannot avoid bad deeds and breaks the limits of God Almighty, then there can be no effect in prayer.’ Limits of God can be understood from the commandments of the Holy Qur’an, these commandments are the limits by following which one gains nearness to God and also witnesses acceptance of prayer. The second verse states to children of Adam to adorn themselves when going to mosque and the adornment of every believer is the raiment/garment of Taqwa (righteousness).
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained: ‘The spiritual beauty of man is to walk along all the finer ways of righteousness. They are the attractive features of spiritual beauty. It is obvious that to be mindful of the trusts of God Almighty, and to fulfil all the covenants of faith, and to employ all faculties and limbs both overt, like eyes and ears and hands and feet and others like them, and those that are covert, like the mind and other faculties and qualities, on their proper occasions and to restrain them from coming into action on improper occasions, and to be warned against the subtle attacks of vice and to be mindful of the rights of one’s fellow beings, is the way of perfecting one’s spiritual beauty. God Almighty has in the Holy Qur’an designated righteousness as a raiment. Libas-ut-taqwais an expression of the Holy Qur’an. This is an indication that spiritual beauty and spiritual ornament are achieved through righteousness. Righteousness means that one must be mindful even of the smallest details of the Divine trusts and covenants and also of all the trusts and covenants of one’s fellow beings, as far as it may be possible. That is, one must try to fulfil, to the best of one’s ability, all the requirements in their minutest details.’ (Brahin-e-Ahmadiyya, Part V, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 21, pp. 209-210 – Essence of Islam, Vol. II. pp 347 – 348)
As mentioned earlier, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has further expounded in this extract that first one has to be mindful of one’s covenants and trusts. The trust given to Ahmadis which they are enjoined to practice is to give precedence to faith over worldly matters. If this is followed then our worship of God will be such that it will grant us nearness to God and we will see signs of acceptance of prayer and our every act will be to seek pleasure of God. We will come to mosque purely for the sake of God and we will pay the rights of people once a mosque is built.
God enjoins to go to mosque with the adornment which would enhance the beauty of Taqwa and as the extract of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained Taqwa is manifested when rights of God and mankind are paid, when efforts are made to elevate standards of worship of God, when one’s Salat is safeguarded and one is mindful of the sanctity of mosque. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said many people request prayers but some faces clearly show that they only mean it in a customary way or at least they are not drawn to prayer and Salat themselves. When Hazrat Khalifatul Masih asks them about offering five daily Prayers, they make excuses in response. It is an extremely erroneous concept to ask others for prayers but not pray oneself. The advent of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was for the revival of Islam, to create a new earth and a new heaven and it will not be fulfilled unless each one of us, man, woman, young and old, honours our trusts with Taqwa. If Hazrat Khalifatul Masih is requested for prayers then people should also pray themselves. Indeed, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said to one of his Companions who had requested his prayers to help him with prayer and his own actions. The objective of divine communities is for each individual to have a connection with God. As Hazrat Khalifatul Masih mentioned in an earlier sermon, we should become Wali (friend of God) and not followers of Wali and Pir (saint) and not followers of saints. Dues of worship of God as well as dues of mankind should be paid. It should also be remembered that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih’s reference to becoming Wali and Pir does not mean that individuals should give themselves a spiritual status [of a Wali or Pir], rather, it signifies connection with God and then connecting to Khilafat. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) foretold triumph for those who will be connected to Jama’at.
With the building of the mosque in Brisbane the responsibilities have increased because the mosque also needs to be populated with that adornment which is adornment in the sight of God. This is a responsibility of the local Jama’at as is pays each other’s dues and takes the message of Islam Ahmadiyyat to people of the region. If all this comes to pass then God will certainly accept the sacrifices made in building this mosque. A Hadith relates that those who come to the mosque with the fervour to worship God day and night will be given hospitality of God. The time between one Salat and the next should be spent as if one is guarding a border, guarding oneself against Satan, and one should go to the mosque with the raiment of Taqwa. It is the responsibility of each Ahmadi to establish this standard in this materialistic world. If we understand this reality, we will be the recipient of God’s grace more than ever.
The second verse recited at the beginning also states: ‘…eat and drink but exceed not the bounds; surely, He does not love those who exceed the bounds…’ One meaning of this is to be moderate in one’s diet and eat what is Halal and wholesome in moderation because diet effects one’s thoughts and feelings. Overeating makes one lazy and indolent and overindulgence at dinner time can result in not waking up for Fajr Salat. In another place the Holy Qur’an says that unbelievers only think of food and drink as animals do, while the objective of a believer is higher. Food and drink has been made for man but merely consuming it should not be the aim, rather pleasure of God should be sought. This is possible when one does not get too involved in worldly matters. God does not like extravagances where eating and drinking and such pleasures overtake one’s thoughts. Indeed, He has not forbidden from earning a living, in fact, He states do your work with full attention, but when earning a living becomes a source of forgetting faith, one is deprived of blessings. May God save each one of us from such extravagance which makes us distant from God!
It is God’s favour that majority of Ahmadis understand these responsibilities and as mentioned earlier, having understood the spirit of financial giving, make great contributions; they do not simply spend on themselves. However, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said he has many times expressed his concern for populating mosques. Similar fervour should be shown in populating mosques. The new mosque in Brisbane is very beautiful and with the grace of God its covered area is quite large. The old hall has been renovated beautifully and now 1000 worshippers can offer Salat in the mosque. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that perhaps 500 worshippers were present at Friday Prayer, so there is room to accommodate more. Many Ahmadis may have travelled from Sydney and other areas for the Friday Prayers and if only local Ahmadis came, the mosque may appear unfilled. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said it was his prayer that may the numbers of the local Jama’at grow. And real delight will be when this growth is not due to Pakistani Ahmadis but due to local Australians accepting Islam Ahmadiyyat. However, this wish cannot be fulfilled without Tabligh work. Increased efforts and prayers in this regard should be made. May God make it so that we outgrow the capacity of this mosque. This mosque is not the ultimate objective in the region, in fact it is the first step. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that mosques are a source of introduction of Islam. May God make the locals drawn to the mosque very soon, InshaAllah, it is hoped that they will be. Wherever in the world we have built new mosques, our profile has increased manifold. For this responsibilities should be appreciated. Those who have emigrated from Pakistan have mostly done so because they were not allowed to practice their faith with freedom, could not freely worship in mosques, could not freely call themselves Ahmadi Muslims. To try and attain this objective here, God’s love should be sought so that Islam’s beautiful teaching can be taken to people. Majority of Ahmadis are not in Australia due to any personal quality, rather they are there due to the antagonism against Ahmadis in Pakistan. This fact should also be related to the next generation so that they appreciate it. Gratefulness of this favour of God will be in paying attention towards populating this mosque and paying its dues as well as pay attention to Tabligh.
In Pakistan every day some mischief or the other is created against Ahmadis. A couple of days ago Hazrat Khalifatul Masih received something in the post that which that two men have registered a FIR (‘first incident report’ of a crime) in a village because they saw a minaret and a dome and then found out that the minaret and dome belonged to a ‘Qadiani’ mosque, so their sentiments were hurt. They looked for four days as to who had the mosque built and then found out that eight people worshipped there. The Ahmadis were asked to take the minaret and the dome down. When they did not agree, a FIR was registered! Such are the conditions under which Ahmadis are living in Pakistan and some Ahmadis in Australia have left such conditions. These conditions should not be forgotten and dues of mosques should be paid. May God enable all of us to do so!