On 14 May 2016, the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifah (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba) delivered the keynote address at a special reception held to mark the inauguration of the Mahmud Mosque (Mosque of the Praiseworthy) in Malmo, Sweden. Over 80 dignitaries and guests, including the Malmo’s City Council Chairman, attended the lunchtime reception. We present here the keynote address delivered by His Holiness on this occasion.
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V(aba), 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 extend my sincere appreciation to all of our guests who have accepted our invitation to the opening of our new mosque here in Malmo. The majority of you are not members of the Ahmadiyya Community, and so your attendance at an Islamic event proves that you are tolerant and open-hearted people and deserving of our gratitude.
Mosques are sacred places built for the purpose of creating social peace. A mosque that is built with evil intent can never promote goodness.
I am sure there will be some people, perhaps even amongst those present, who will hold certain reservations or fears about the opening of this mosque and may even harbour suspicions about the word ‘mosque’ itself. In particular, those people who have had little or no contact with Muslims may well believe that mosques should not be built in the Western world or in developed nations. They may consider mosques to be a means of destabilising their nations and increasing division and enmity. Sadly, such concerns are justified to an extent, given that certain so-called Muslims are using their mosques for nefarious purposes, such as spreading extremism and cultivating radicalisation.
Therefore, firstly let me reassure all of our guests and the people of this city and nation, that there is no need to fear this mosque. Instead of spreading hatred and malice, true Muslims and true mosques transmit only love, peace and brotherhood throughout society. Indeed, when a person meets a true Muslim, he or she should feel only peace from them. Similarly, when a person enters a mosque, he or she should feel only peace and contentment. If this is not the case, it means either those who enter the mosque are not true Muslims and do not understand the true teachings of Islam, or it means that the mosque itself was not built with pious intentions or to fulfil the real objectives of a mosque. Such mosques, from where evil is spread, do not have any place in Islam.
In an incident mentioned in the Holy Qur’an, once the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) ordered for a mosque to be demolished, because instead of being built as a house of peace, it had been built with the intention of inciting conflict and spreading mischief. The people who built that mosque were hypocrites who sought to provoke division in society, both internally within the Muslim community, and also between the Muslims and the non-Muslims of that era. And so the Qura’n is very clear that mosques built with such ill-intent should be knocked down.
Moving on, in terms of Ahmadi Muslims, we believe that the Founder of our Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad(as) of Qadian, was sent by Allah the Almighty in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa). We believe him to be the Reformer of the Age, who the Holy Prophet(sa) himself deemed to be the Messiah and the Mahdi (the Guided One) of the latter days. We believe that he was sent with two overarching objectives, which were to unite mankind in the worship of God Almighty, and to draw the attention of the human race towards fulfilling the rights of one another.
He was sent as a means of peace for the entire world and therefore his followers are the people who seek to build bridges of love and compassion within society. The 127-year history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community testifies to the fact that we practice what we preach and our message is of peace, love and tolerance. Rather than worldly or political ambitions, our objectives are entirely spiritual. We seek the pleasure of God Almighty and we seek to alleviate the suffering of mankind.
In today’s world, so much is said and written in opposition to Islam, whereby it has been branded as an extremist and violent religion. Though we consider this depiction to be entirely unjustified, the sad truth is that it is the horrific acts of certain so-called Muslims that have given the opponents of Islam the licence to level such false allegations. However, as an Ahmadi Muslim, when I observe the current state of affairs it does not lead me to despair but is actually a means of strengthening my faith in the truth of Islam.
For, over 1400 years ago, the Founder of Islam(sa) himself prophesied that over time Islam’s true teachings would become corrupted and its original teachings would be forgotten. He foretold that at such a time of spiritual darkness, Allah the Almighty would send the Promised Messiah(as) to revive the true teachings of Islam. As I have already explained, we Ahmadi Muslims believe our Founder to be the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi. Brandishing only a spiritual torch, he shined an eternal light upon Islam’s glorious and everlasting teachings. He explained the true purposes of mosques according to the teachings of Islam.
And so wherever and whenever the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community builds a mosque, it is constructed as a house of peace for people to gather in the worship of God Almighty, in accordance with the Qur’an’s noble teachings. Therefore, let it be clear that the doors to our mosques are open to all peaceful people who wish to worship God Almighty and are open to all people who desire to spread the values of peace, goodwill and unity.
Now that this mosque, which has been named the Mahmud Mosque (Mosque of the Praiseworthy), has been opened, it is the foremost duty of the local Ahmadi Muslims to reflect Islam’s true and peaceful teachings in all aspects of their lives. Where on the one hand, they should enter this mosque each day to worship God Almighty, they must also enter with a sincere determination and heartfelt desire to serve the community in which they live. Through their conduct they must radiate peace, mercy and benevolence, both in this neighbourhood and throughout the wider society.
Quite simply, Islam is a religion of peace and this is why in Chapter 10, Verse 26, of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty says:
“And Allah calls to the Abode of Peace.”
The current chaos in the Muslim world shows that the true teachings of Islam desperately need to be re-established. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is whole-heartedly taking on this task.
The Arabic word for ‘peace’ is ‘Salam’ and this single word has many different meanings and connotations. It means ‘safety’ and ‘security’ and to be saved from vice and evil. It also means ‘peace’ and ‘obedience’. Indeed ‘Salam’ is also an Attribute of Allah, meaning that He is the ‘Source of Peace’ and Muslims are instructed to adopt His attributes. Therefore, when Allah the Almighty is the fountainhead of peace and prosperity, it is incumbent on Muslims to also provide peace, security and refuge to the rest of society. Further, a basic purpose of a mosque is to serve as a place for Muslims to offer their prayers, and in Arabic the word for prayer is ‘As-Salat’, which in essence means ‘compassion, love and mercy’. Consequently, a Muslim who offers his prayers with sincerity is a person who is kind, caring and merciful and he or she is a person who strives to stay away from immorality, illegal activity and all forms of evil. A true worshipper is he who never wavers from the path of righteousness and who serves his society to the best of his ability. In short, a true Muslim is a person who emanates love and compassion throughout his surroundings and a true mosque is a centre of peace and security for all mankind.
Another golden principle of Islam is that Muslims are commanded to fulfil the rights of their neighbours and to serve and help them at their times of need. Indeed, the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad(sa) once said that Allah the Almighty had instructed him so vehemently about the rights of neighbours that it occurred to him that perhaps they would be included among the rightful inheritors of a Muslim. Furthermore, in Chapter 4, Verse 37 of the Holy Qur’an, Allah the Almighty has said:
“And worship Allah and associate naught with Him, and show kindness to parents, and to kindred, and orphans, and the needy, and to the neighbour that is a kinsman and the neighbour that is a stranger, and the companion by your side, and the wayfarer, and those whom your right hands possess. Surely, Allah loves not the arrogant and the boastful.”
When we read this verse and reflect upon it, we realise just how much emphasis Islam has placed on the rights of mankind, whereby Allah has correlated the rights owed to Him directly with the rights owed to humanity. This verse proves that a Muslim is duty-bound to serve all mankind, irrespective of colour, caste or creed, starting from one’s inner circle – comprising a person’s parents, family and friends – to much further afield, including the poor and needy, orphans and other vulnerable members of society.
As mentioned already, a Muslim is obligated to serve his neighbours and according to the teachings of Islam, the scope of one’s neighbours is extremely vast and far-reaching. They do not only include those who live nearby, but also include various other classes of people, including one’s work colleagues and travel companions. Thus, the sphere of love in Islam is seemingly limitless and so how could it be possible that a true Muslim would ever seek to harm others or be the cause of disorder in society? It is, in fact, impossible, because only when a person fulfils his duties and obligations to other people can he or she be deemed a true Muslim.
Of course, it is understandable in the current climate that some of you, particularly the local neighbours who are most directly affected, may hold reservations about this mosque. It is quite natural to fear the unknown and so the neighbours may well be concerned that the peace and security of their hometown may be disturbed now that this mosque has been opened. However, based on the Islam that I know and follow, let me reassure you that this mosque will prove itself to be a fountain of peace, from which only everlasting springs of love and compassion will gush forth. You will, God Willing, see that the Ahmadi Muslims living in this area will seek to spread peace and will seek to love, respect and serve their neighbours more than ever before, as this is what their religion demands of them.
These are the selfless and noble teachings that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community not only preaches, but more importantly practices, in all parts of the world. We have built thousands of mosques globally and we have always seen that the fears of the local people soon eradicate when they get to know us and they come to value, appreciate and welcome us as an integral part of the society. As I have said, any initial fears quickly dissipate and instead, our neighbours come to cherish our presence and the message of peace that reverberates in all directions from our mosques. The local people come to see that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is not only engaged in missionary efforts or building mosques, but also seeks to alleviate the pain of those who are suffering and gives hope to those who were previously hopeless. We seek to provide a better future to the most vulnerable and impoverished members of society.
Serving the community and one’s neighbours is at the forefront of the true teachings in Islam which is the key to creating peaceful and well-rounded communities.
As part of this effort, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has built hospitals and schools in extremely remote parts of the world that provide healthcare and education to some of the most deprived people in the world, irrespective of their beliefs or background. As part of our humanitarian efforts, we are also engaged in providing clean, running water to people living in extremely desolate and desperate condition by installing or rehabilitating water pumps. Living here in the West, where our water taps and showers are constantly flowing, it is incredibly difficult to comprehend the true value of water. It is only when you visit the most isolated parts of Africa and you see with your own eyes young children walking many kilometres each day in order to fill water basins, which they then balance on their heads and bring home, that you realise just what a precious commodity water really is. And even that water, for which so much effort is made, is rarely clean, but is normally contaminated and often a source of disease.
Thus, Ahmadi Muslims are seeking to help and comfort such people and to alleviate their suffering based on the teachings of our religion. We are providing these services to all those in need, irrespective of their religions or their beliefs or backgrounds. Wherever we build mosques we seek to positively contribute to the local society and we seek to help those around us. Thus, let me once again reassure the people of this city and indeed the wider Swedish community, that this mosque will, God Willing, prove to be a centre of love, compassion and kinship.
I would also like to hereby remind the Ahmadi Muslims living here of their increased responsibilities. Where on the one hand, their love for one another should forever increase, they must also each consider it their personal obligation to be true ambassadors of the beautiful teachings of Islam. It is the duty of every Ahmadi Muslim to remove the fears that people have of Islam through their good character and noble conduct. Certainly, I am confident the Ahmadi Muslims here will pay heed to my words and will show the local people what Islam truly represents.
We must all unite and stand against the dark forces who are trying to divide nations and destroy all forms of peace through their hateful acts. This is the only way we can secure the future generations from a corrupted world.
The world is passing through extremely challenging times, whereby disorder, conflict and injustice have taken root in much of the world. The only antidote and remedy is to set aside personal interests in favour of the greater good. A spirit of love and togetherness is required to bridge the bitter divide that has torn apart so many societies. The problems of today are not of a small scale, but in fact certain countries have been completely engulfed by warfare and violence. Most regrettably, the centre of instability and conflict are certain Muslim countries, where the governments have failed their people and in reaction extremist rebels or terrorist groups have responded in ways that have further fractured their broken societies.
In today’s inter-dependent and inter-connected world, no nation or region remains isolated and so the effects of conflicts in the Muslim world have already spread much further afield. As a consequence of the wars and violence in the Arab world we are seeing rising conflict, uncertainty and disorder here in the West as well. Indeed, some of the extremist Muslim groups have now also penetrated Europe and their members are living in these countries and posing a grave threat to the peace and well-being of this continent. What they are doing has nothing to do with the true teachings of Islam and so all of us who desire peace must stand up and unite against these dark forces that seek to divide mankind. We must make every effort to engender peace, so that we do not bequeath upon our children the ‘gift’ of a broken and tormented world; rather, we must ensure that we leave behind a legacy of a peaceful and prosperous world for our future generations to live in.
The only way that this will be possible is if mankind comes to recognise His Creator and seeks to fulfil His rights and the rights of one another. May Allah grant us the ability to do so – Ameen.
With these words, I would like to once again thank you for joining us today. May Allah bless you all. Thank you very much.”