On the evening of 26th September 2014, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) delivered the keynote address at a special reception held to mark the inauguration of the Maryam Mosque (Mosque of Mary) in Galway, Ireland. The Mosque, which is the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community’s first Mosque in the Republic of Ireland, was officially opened earlier in the day when His Holiness delivered his weekly Friday Sermon. 170 dignitaries and guests, including Deputy Éamon Ó Cuív, TD, Deputy Joanna Tuffy, TD and Councillor Donal Lyons, the Mayor of Galway, attended the evening reception.
After reciting Tashhahud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community said:
“All distinguished guests Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
First of all I would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our guests who have joined us today, as we celebrate the inauguration of the first mosque of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community here in Galway. Given that this is a mosque opening hosted by a Muslim sect, your attendance is clear proof of your open hearts and broad minds and so I am extremely grateful to all of you.
My sentiments of gratitude are also necessary to express because the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa), taught his followers to show gratitude to one another. In fact, he went as far as saying that a person who is not grateful to other people cannot be deemed as grateful to God, and he who is not grateful to God, cannot be deemed a true believer or Muslim. Thus, these feelings of gratitude I hold are actually a religious duty taught by my faith.
My appreciation to you increases further given that in today’s world we find that many non-Muslims harbour fears or reservations about Islam or about Muslims. And so the fact that you have come in spite of such fears means that I naturally have an even greater respect in my heart for all of you.
If you do hold any reservations in your hearts about Islam, then I for one, consider that you are justified in such fears, because, very regrettably, there is a great deal of turmoil and conflict in the Muslim world today. Indeed, in the Muslim world we see on a daily basis that Muslims are usurping the rights of others. We observe Muslim governments that are not fulfilling their duties towards their citizens, whilst on the other hand members of the public are seeking to remove their governments through unjustified and undemocratic means. Furthermore, we observe how terrorist groups are spreading disorder and causing the utmost fear all over the world through their evil acts and ideologies.
In light of this, I say without any hesitation, that there are many so-called Muslims who are perpetrating the very greatest evils in the name of Islam. However, I should also make it clear that such reprehensible conduct by Muslim groups or governments do not in any shape or form reflect Islam’s true teachings. On the contrary, Islam is that religion which has taught Muslims to live their lives by treating one another with love, compassion and mercy. Indeed, Muslims have not only been instructed to treat each other in this sympathetic way, but in fact the Qur’an has stipulated that a person should never treat even their enemies in a way that is opposed to the principles of justice or in a way that usurps their due rights. Islam teaches that anyone who acts in such an unlawful manner is not deserving of being called a believer and in the sight of God can never be viewed as a good or righteous person.
When we study the teachings of the Qur’an further, we find that Allah the Almighty has given the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) a truly unique status and title. He has been deemed by God to be a ‘mercy for all of mankind’ – a ‘mercy for the entire world.’ As the ‘mercy for mankind’ his love was universal and he harboured feelings of sympathy and compassion for every single person in the world, irrespective of their faith or background.
Indeed, the standard of the Holy Prophet’s(sa) love and compassion for mankind was such that rather than sleep, he would spend night after night bowing down in grief-stricken prayer before His Lord, weeping that:
“O my Lord, the world has forsaken you and is moving towards its destruction and so guide them to the right path so that they can be saved.”
The despondency and sorrow felt by the Holy Prophet(sa) is recorded in the Holy Qur’an. At two different places, the desperate anguish he felt because mankind was moving away from God and consequently moving towards its ruin and destruction is stated. Upon observing his desperation and grief, Allah asked the Holy Prophet(sa) if he would grieve himself to death because of those who failed to heed his call. And so this was the unparalleled standard of mercy of that person who grieved for the sake of mankind and whose every fibre was filled with love and compassion.
Could it ever be alleged or even contemplated, that a person who was so desperate to save mankind from God’s wrath, could ever teach cruelty or injustice? Certainly never!
Another reason the Holy Prophet(sa) was consumed by a state of anguish and concern for mankind was because he was a true Prophet of God.
In the Holy Qur’an, Allah has called mankind towards peace and security again and again, and so as Allah’s true Messenger, the Holy Prophet(sa) felt utter desperation and anxiety that mankind was not heeding God’s call. Of course, where Allah invites mankind towards peace, it is because He desires peace for every person in the world. And so, it is because of His desire for peace that God sends His Messengers to guide mankind. The Holy Prophet(sa) was God’s beloved and according to our belief, was sent as the Final Law-Bearing Prophet, upon whom the Divine Law was perfected.
When that very law states that Allah the Almighty desires for His Creation to live in peace and with prosperity, how could it ever be possible for the Holy Prophet(sa) to call Allah’s creation to anything other than peace, security and all forms of success? Most certainly he fulfilled his every duty and invited the world towards peace in the most magnificent fashion. And never did he, God forbid, provoke or instil any form of disorder or discord. Indeed, he forever condemned and rejected all forms of disorder, extremism and hatred in the strongest possible terms.
For example, at the time when the Holy Prophet(sa) ruled in Madinah and had established a running government, there were some non-Muslims who wished to poison the environment and create disorder in the society. Yet despite their ill intent, the Holy Prophet(sa) treated them with the utmost kindness and compassion. Whoever studies the early Islamic history in a fair manner will find that in every possible way, and at all times, the Holy Prophet(sa) sought to spread universal peace and security to all people and to eliminate all forms of disorder, discrimination and injustice.
One further point I would like to make is that Islam’s God is He Who is “Lord of All the Worlds”and this is stated in the very first Chapter of the Qur’an. This means that God is He who nourishes and sustains all of the worlds and who fulfils every physical and spiritual requirement of mankind. Islam’s God is He Who is the Creator of all Creation and is He Who has enjoined true Muslims to seek His nearness by adopting and embodying Allah’s attributes as best they can.
And amongst Allah’s attributes are ‘Salaam’ and ‘Aman,’ meaning that He is the One Who bestows security and peace to all. As I just said He is also the “Lord of all the Worlds”, which too is an attribute of God. Thus, when God instructs His followers to embody His attributes, how could it be that a true believer, who believes in God, and strives to adopt His attributes, could ever be cruel or unjust?
Therefore, the Islam that I follow and believe in, is neither cruel nor vengeful and nor does it advocate any form of violence, oppression or injustice. And nor was the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) sent to spread cruelty or hatred; rather, he was sent only as a fountain of mercy, flowing with everlasting and universal compassion for mankind.
The absolute truth of the Holy Prophet(sa) becomes even more crystal clear when one looks at how his prophecy regarding the latter days has been fulfilled to the letter. He prophesied that a time would come when the Muslim world would enter a period of spiritual decline and darkness, whereby Islam’s teachings would become corrupted and the vast majority of Muslims would be entirely misguided. He foretold that a time would come when Muslims would become utterly immoral and so be completely devoid of peace, security and mercy. He said that whilst the Qur’an would remain preserved in its original form, Muslims would not act upon its teachings. The Muslim scholars – the Ulema (clerics)- would be scholars in name only and their acts would be completely contrary to Islam’s true teachings. Having foretold all of this, the Holy Prophet(sa) said that at such a time Allah the Almighty would send His representative as the Promised Messiah in order to rejuvenate Islam and to reverse the prevailing spiritual decline. He would be sent to re-establish Islam’s true teachings in the world, in light of the Qur’an and the practice of the Holy Prophet of Islam(sa).
According to my belief, that Promised Messiah who was foretold, has come. And so I, and all Ahmadi Muslims, believe the Founder of our Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, to be the Promised Messiahand the Guided One, sent to spread Islam’s true teachings of peace and compassion to every part of the world.
He came to enlighten the world about the true beauty of Islam. He came to do aJihad against every single form of cruelty, oppression and compulsion. He came to teach mankind the need to fulfil each other’s due rights. He came to spread love and compassion and to transform the world into a haven of peace, unity and mutual brotherhood. This was his mission and this was his message. And so today it is this very message that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is spreading to every corner and every region of the world.
Thus it is the duty of every Ahmadi Muslim, wherever in the world they may be, to proclaim and preach this peaceful message loud and clear. It is this very message that emanates from every Ahmadi mosque throughout the world. All of our mosques are centres of peace and harmony, where those who seek to unite mankind through love, join together to promote mutual harmony, to worship, and to pray for the peace, safety and well-being of all mankind.
Our mosques are filled with those people who do not only speak of peace, but who make every possible practical effort to guarantee the peace and security of every single person in the world. Certainly, our past history bears witness to our humanitarian endeavours and to our efforts to foster peace and true justice at all levels of society.
This mosque here in Ireland has also been built for the same purpose. It has been named ‘Masjid Maryam.’ Maryam, or Mary as known to you, is as greatly revered by Muslims as she is by Christians. In fact, in the Holy Qur’an, Allah has mentioned Mary at many instances and highlighted her esteemed status. Marywas the name of that pure and pious woman who is honoured by Islam so much that the Qur’an has said that all true believers are like Mary. This is because Mary established a very special relationship with God and she upheld her virtue and chastity at all times. She developed a special bond of love with God, whereby Allah conversed directly with Mary and He Himself attested to her truth. Mary believed in the Books of God, she was righteous and attained a special rank in terms of her obedience to God. She was most certainly an example for all true believers. Her elevated status is reflected by the fact that the Qur’an says that true Muslims should develop the qualities of Mary and if they do so then they will be those who never cause harm or suffering to anyone. Every Ahmadi Muslim therefore seeks to instil within themselves the purity, nobility and piety of Mary herself.
Therefore, see what a beautiful example the Qur’an has given for believers. If Muslims follow this standard then they can never be involved in any form of disorder and can never cause pain or suffering to others. Now this Mosque has been built, you will witness for yourselves how these very luminous teachings that I have described will shine forth from this mosque in every direction. Indeed, these very teachings are spread from all of the thousands Ahmadi mosques across the world.
Recently, an Ahmadi mosque was opened in an African city and a local Christian Chief, who was previously unacquainted with our Community, also attended the inauguration ceremony. When he came, he said that he was not attending due to an existing relationship with any Ahmadi Muslim or due to any affection for our Community; rather, he said that when he received the invitation he was left stunned as to why a Muslim community would invite a Christian to a mosque opening. Thus, he felt compelled by his curiosity to see for himself what type of Islam this was and which Muslim group had invited a Christian to the inauguration of a mosque. He said that when he came his shock was compounded beyond all limits when he saw the people of all different religions and backgrounds in attendance.
In his speech, the Chief said that having witnessed this spirit of inclusiveness he had learned that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had not just given the area a new mosque, but it had also given it a new lease of life and had taught the local people new ways of living together harmoniously with mutual love and affection.
And so today, this mosque, which as I said earlier, is the first Ahmadiyya Muslim mosque in the Republic of Ireland, is being opened as a symbol of the same values and same objectives as all of our mosques. It will be a means of highlighting what true Islam actually represents. Whilst on the one hand, we Ahmadi Muslims proclaim the name of Allah in our mosques throughout the world and peacefully invite others to submit before Him and pray for them, we also seek to serve humanity however and wherever we can.
You will therefore, God Willing, witness these same values being displayed here in this mosque as well. You will personally experience that the members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community have a heartfelt and fervent desire for all people to live peacefully and happily, irrespective of their beliefs or even if they are not at all religious. You will see that all Ahmadi Muslims hold sincere sentiments of love, sympathy and peace towards every member of society.
With these words I would like to take leave by once again thanking all of you for attending this event and listening to what I have said. May Allah bless you. Thank you very much.”