Huzur delivered today’s historic Friday Sermon from Berlin, Germany at the inauguration of Khadija Mosque.
Huzur cited verse 18 and verse 71 of Surah Taubah.
Huzur said all praise belongs to Allah that one drop of His shower of blessings has materialised in the form of Khadija Mosque, the first mosque in the eastern part of the country. Berlin has its own significance. The history of the Community in the country and in particular this city is eighty six years old. Ahmadi missionaries had come here in the era of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him). Their reports viewed the German nation as having a sense of compliance that paid attention to understand true Islam. Huzur said the endeavours of the early missionaries are associated with the construction of this mosque that the young and the newcomers should be told about so that they may pray for them and also for the early missionaries who went to different parts of the world. The early missionaries to Germany were most optimistic about this country and this city. In 1922 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) had Maulwi Mubarak Ali Bangali sahib transferred from the London mission to Berlin. In 1923 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) sent Malik Ghulam Farid sahib to Berlin to assist Maulwi Mubarak sahib. In his Friday Sermon of 2nd Feb 1923 Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) said that the reports from Berlin were extremely hopeful with suggestions that arrangements should be made to have a mosque and a house constructed. In fact he even suggested that Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) should go to Berlin himself. While the Khalifa of the time was not certain about the latter he did not overlook the former request. He promptly advised to purchase a plot of land. A plot of two acres was bought. In the same sermon Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) called on the Ahmadi ladies to collect a sum of 50,000 in three months for the purpose of building a mosque in Berlin. At the time of a united India, this was the first such programme entrusted to Lajna Ima’illah since their inception. The fervour, passion and devotion with which they responded to this call was exceptional and unique. They created a revolutionary situation of the sort that one notes in the early Muslims. There are indeed examples of such sense of sacrifice to be seen even today. Donating cash and jewellery Ahmadi women amassed 8,000 in cash and pledges in the first day and in two months pledges of up to 45,000 were received. When it appeared that the expenditure would be more than initially envisaged the target was increased to 70,000 and the duration increased. In the end the total amount collected was approximately 72,000. On 5th August 1923 the foundation stone of the mosque was laid and the ceremony was attended by the Interior Minister and many other high-ranking dignitaries and was covered by the press as well. The guests numbered in four hundred while the Ahmadis were only four; such were the endeavours of the missionaries of those times. The economic situation of the time became very bleak and recession ensued. The estimated cost to construct the mosque grew beyond the Community’s budget and Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) decided that it would be most difficult to run two centres (Berlin and London). Due to the worsening situation in Germany the mission in Berlin was closed and the funds were sent to London. Through the grace of Allah it is with these funds that the Fazl Mosque was constructed in 1924.
It was in 1948 that Sheikh Nasir sahib came to Berlin and the mission was revived. In those days people travelled by sea. It took Malik Ghulam Farid sahib twenty two days to reach Berlin. Indeed, he is the scholar who translated the Holy Qur’an in English with a short commentary. The set of Five Volume Commentary of the Qur’an is also done by him although there was a committee set up for the task but most of the work was undertaken by him. He was a scholar with expertise in the English language. He had also compiled a dictionary of the words of the Qur’an which was published for the first time last year. He was a companion of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Maulwi Mubarak Ali sahib did his bai’at on the hand of Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih I (may Allah be pleased with him). When Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih II (may Allah be pleased with him) made the Tehrik for ‘Waqfe Zindagi’ (life devotion) in 1917, Maulwi sahib was one of the 63 young people who offered their names for it. He passed away in 1969 in Bangladesh. Huzur said the Murrabis and missionaries of today should exercise self-examination and read about the early missionaries. These elders made diligent endeavours.
Huzur said it was due to the circumstances that a mosque could not be built in Berlin at the time but the sacrifice made by the Lajna of India did not go to waste and Fazl Mosque was constructed. Indeed the historical significance that Fazl Mosque has attained now is known to all. Huzur said he considers the sacrifice and the prayers of the Lajna of the time to be so true and sincere that a mosque was constructed with their efforts and today maybe their progeny has participated in donating to the construction of this mosque. The fervour and zeal they had can still be seen to some extent in Lajna. Lajna collected 1.7 million Euros for the Berlin Mosque of which 400,000 Euros were donated by Lajna UK. If this amount was to be converted in Pakistani currency it comes up to approximately 19 Karore (190 million). Huzur said the mosque is built on a plot of just over an acre of land. Despite restrictions etc. permission was given for a 13 metre high minaret. The mosque has two halls, a flat, a guest house, a library and a conference room. There are plans to make a park as well. Opposition to the mosque is gradually cooling off and InshaAllah will come to an end when the message of peace will start reaching people from here. Huzur said it is an amazing coincidence that today again the world is facing an economic crisis. The construction of a mosque in Berlin could not be carried out due to the 1923 recession. However, Allah had willed to bestow this blessing on the Community of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) and today its construction was completed before onset of the current economic crisis. Huzur said despite the recent ‘credit crunch’ the Ahmadis continue to make financial sacrifices with great fervour. It is hoped that Allah will bless the money of the Ahmadis. Huzur said someone told him that tax authorities could not fathom that some Ahmadi’s household expenses were less than their ‘chanda’ contribution. Such is the spirit, Huzur said, that attracts Allah’s grace. It is the obligation of each Ahmadi to maintain this spirit and be grateful for it. Certainly a true believer does not allow this spirit to falter and does not feel any pride over it. We should try and honour the construction of this mosque with this spirit ourselves and also inculcate it in our next generation.
Huzur said Ahmadi ladies should be mindful in particular that the sacrifice they have made will truly be of benefit when they will continue to try and derive beneficence from it and they will only be successful in their efforts when they will bring up their children in accordance with it. Huzur drew attention of men to the favour of ladies on them of building a mosque. Men would only be able to repay this favour if they honoured the dues of the mosque. By having this mosque built, ladies have given a message to their men folk that they wish them to worship Allah. If they could, Huzur said, women would build a mosque everywhere. He said he has received a similar request in Canada. Huzur said it is men who are enjoined to come to the mosque. A woman can, if she so chooses come for Jummah (Friday Prayers) or not come. The sacrifice for the construction of mosque by women is a testimony that they have built it purely and most sincerely for the pleasure of Allah. Huzur said he hoped this was not just his wishful thinking and that the sacrifices made by the women were based on these thoughts alone.
Referring to the verse cited at the start (9:17) Huzur said after the building of the mosque a most important obligation for both men and women was to inculcate a connection with the mosque in their children. This alone connotes believing in Allah and the Last Day (as the verse cites). It is awe-inspiring when we seriously reflect on the state of our belief. Is our belief worthy of being a true belief and do we come in the category of true believers? Indeed, we are most fortunate to have come into the bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who has provided guidance for us every step of the way. Huzur read out an extract from the writings of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) elucidating the definition of a true believer and then added that even if there is a tiny deficiency in our morals the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) wants us to pay attention to it for it can lead to weakening of our belief. If our word and deed is for the pleasure of Allah then we may hope that with His grace He will remove our weaknesses. Huzur said at times one is simply negligent and indolent and does not knowingly slacken in worship and negligently adopts disagreeable matters. If one continues to be careless and does not fulfil the requirements of faith it leads to weakening to belief and to shirk (associating partners with Allah).
Huzur explained an exquisite point made by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Referring to 2:5, the translation of which reads: ‘And who believe in that which has been revealed to thee, and that which was revealed before thee and they have firm faith in what is yet to come.’ The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said that he wondered if the revelation of the Qur’an have been cited then why are the revelations that he received not cited. Allah inspired him to the aforementioned verse and revealed to him that the reference in it of ‘which has been revealed to thee’ signifies the Quranic revelations and the reference of ‘which was revealed before thee’ signifies the revelations of the earlier scriptures where as the reference to ‘what is yet to come’ signifies the revelations of the Messiah. This refers to the Divine revelations which were to be made after the revelations of the Holy Qur’an. Indeed the Arabic word ‘Aakhira’ mentioned in the verse also means the Day of retribution; however, the elucidation of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has proven to be truthful.
While it is most heartening that it is the Community of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) that truly honours the dues of building and populating mosques, it also a matter of concern whether we also pay the dues of other obligations? The verse refers to observing Prayer (Salat). The beauty of a mosque is with it being populated and it is populated when five times Prayers are offered in it. The locals had complained that there were not a great number of Ahmadis living in the area, why build a mosque then? Huzur said this complaint can be removed if people came to offer Salat regularly to the mosque and populate it. Allah also refers to paying of Zakat in the verse. Huzur said these people are astonished that we build our mosques by making financial sacrifices. In making these sacrifices a believer’s complete trust is in Allah, unlike the prevalent financial system based on interest etc. A believer does everything out of love, fear and awe of Allah and is content that in accordance with His promise He endows any sacrifice that is made for His sake and indeed He does. Huzur said in many countries of the world when Ahmadis make such sacrifices they are truly in the spirit of their pledge of ‘sacrificing life, property and honour’. They are so enabled because they are guided after accepting the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace).
In the other verse cited by Huzur (9:71) Allah mentions friendship between believing men and women. Huzur said this does not entail friendship sans purdah and mutual modesty, rather this is a friendship that establishes relationships based on sanctity to make sacrifices for each other. These ties of affection grow when mutual grievances are shunned and each person decides to make an effort to do every small act of piety and to set a great example of the relationship of one Ahmadi with another. Each one of us should wage a Jihad against thinking ill of others and making negative suppositions about others. Much evil is based on negative suppositions. We should raise the standards of saying the truth and make it our distinction to always speak the truth. Our sense of gratefulness should be such that each moment should bring us tidings of Allah’s mercy and blessing. Forgiveness and forbearance should be our way. Our standards of justice should be so high that they traverse the benchmark of kindness and reach the touchstone of ‘like giving to kindred’. Honouring promises should be our characteristic and our identity so much so that the world would trust us with its eyes shut. Safeguarding others’ honour and sanctity should be our way, men and women both should observe restraining of eyes and make it their characteristic. Ahmadi women should observe Purdah and be conscious of their clothing and be modest. Rights of the neighbours should be paid attention to. Neighbour does not simply mean one who lives next door to one, but people one travels with, works with and indeed the members of the Community.
Huzur said if these social ills and weaknesses are removed we will be justified to call ourselves believers in the practical sense of the word. The verse then cites observance of Salat and paying of Zakat which Huzur already referred to. This verse speaks of strengthening a Community by honouring each others’ dues of friendship. It enjoins good and forbids evil and cites obeying Allah and His Messenger. Huzur said the benefit of coming into bai’at of the Imam of the age and building mosques will only be availed when all this is observed. For those who have been Ahmadis for generations it is through the sense of obedience of our forefathers that today we are so blessed. Each blessing of Allah should draw our attention to the piety of our ancestors that enables us to enjoy its fruits, may Allah elevate their status in Paradise. At the end of the verse it is cited that those who comply are the ones on whom Allah bestows His mercy. Indeed when Allah is Merciful He also endows. May Allah make all of us continue to have a share of His mercy. May we be able to honour the dues of this mosque. We should take maximum advantage of the media coverage that the mosque will receive. The advantage being that we are able to fulfil the expectations people will have of us. Always try to attain the blessings of this beneficence and that will only come to pass when we will worship Allah, set pious examples and inculcate the true spirit for Islam and Ahmadiyyat and love of God and His Messenger in our children. May Allah enable us all to do so.