Ideal Spirit of Building and Populating Mosques
Posted on April 30th, 2012

By A. Abdul Aziz, Press Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at, Sri Lanka.

ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚ (Given below is an excerpt the Friday Sermon of Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Supreme Head of the world-wide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam, delivered on 27th April 2012 at ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Bait ul AmaanƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, Manchester, U.K., gave a discourse on the ideal spirit of building and populating mosques.

Ahmadiyya Supreme Head inaugurated Bait ul Amaan, a new mosque in the city of Manchester, UK and gave a discourse on the ideal spirit of building and populating mosques. He began by citing the following Quranic verses:

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”And remember the time when Abraham and Ishmael raised the foundations of the House, praying, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Our Lord, accept this from us; for Thou art All-Hearing, All-Knowing.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”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.

ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”And, our Lord, raise up among them a Messenger from among themselves, who may recite to them Thy Signs and teach them the Book and Wisdom and may purify them; surely, Thou art the Mighty, the Wise.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (Surah Al Baqarah, verses 128 ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢¢”š¬…” 130)

These verses mention a great model which illustrates high standards of humility, meekness, sacrifice, prayer for oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s progeny to remain connected to God and prayer to become servant of God. The first verse depicts the great sacrifice of Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ishmael (peace be on them). Each stone with which that they constructed the House of God bore witness that the father and the son and their generation to follow was going to settle around it. They both had conviction of belief that one day the House would become the centre of faith but they had no idea when that would be. At the time, all they were aware of was to make their sacrifice. In spite of their great sacrifice they expressed the greatest of humility when they prayed to God and acknowledged that it was all due to His grace. There was no sense of importance in their expressions, they did not expect any reward, prompt or otherwise. Rather, they prayed to the All-Hearing, All-Knowing God to accept their prayers that they had made sacrifice and pledged to do so in the future. They submitted to God that He was aware that what they said and what they did was to seek the pleasure of God. They prayed for the place to become House of God and for it to be populated by virtue of being House of God. They realised for it to be truly populated was dependant on GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s grace, so they prayed for the insight and vision which takes one to God.

This is the spirit in which mosques of Muslims are built, indeed it is the spirit in which they should be built, otherwise a beautiful building in itself is nothing. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) said there should be no decoration or embellishment in mosques but monarchs and the wealthy have made ornate mosques, some of these mosques even have gold-plated embellishments. But the beauty of mosques is in how they are populated, that is populated purely to seek the pleasure of God.

Ahmadiyya Second KhalifaƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚  (may Allah be pleased with him) once related that on a visit to a Middle Eastern country he went to see a beautiful mosque where he observed that a handful of worshippers were offering Salat (daily prayer) in a corner. The Imam of the mosque explained that because people did not come for Salat, he was embarrassed to lead from the Mihrab, so they offered Salat in a corner of the mosque so that no one would know that it was the main congregation. Then, there are mosques which are populated but it is done with empty hearts and worldly matters are at the forefront during the time spent there.

We should be mindful that when we build mosques it should be to seek the pleasure of God. Rather than feel pride we should be grateful to God for any sacrifice that we are enabled to make for this. Any sacrifice we make is not even a fraction of the sacrifice made by Hadhrat Ishmael (on whom be peace). Our sacrifice is limited to financial sacrifice and that too is mostly within our means. Certainly, in the materialistic world of today it is a big way of giving and building of mosques is a commendable act and people who do this have their reward from God. With the grace of God our JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at is greatly drawn to building mosques in the Western countries. This has changed the preferences of some people to the extent that they put themselves in difficulties but contribute towards building of mosques. Yet, we should always remember not to display any sense of pride for this.

The cost of building of Baitul Amaan was ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£1.2 million and 75% of the promises/pledges have been paid. Members of the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at have made tremendous sacrifices for this. Individual contributions of up to ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£84,000 and ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£78,000 have been made as well as contributions of ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£15,000 to ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£30,000. The pledges of around eleven people total more than ƒÆ’-¡ƒ”š‚£300,000. These are huge sacrifices in this day and age, but they should incline us towards humility because the model God has put before us is that our sacrifice is naught and is truly beneficial when a mosque is populated. The place where once the House of God was built was desolate and deprived of inhabitants and from a spiritual perspective the West is also a barren land and we have to make it spiritually verdant. It is with this viewpoint that we build mosques in Europe. Mosques should not be populated only on Fridays, rather we should pray ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Our Lord, accept this from us; for Thou art All-Hearing, All-KnowingƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ and supplicate for spiritual advancement. We should pray to be enabled to keep mosques populated and pray that may people who advance in spirituality inhabit the area. May God accept our sacrifice and take us to the spiritual station of His nearness and make us the recipients of His Paradise.

Hadith relates that the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that on the Day of Judgement God will state that those gathered will know who the esteemed and the honoured will be. These will be people who held assemblies for remembrance of God in mosques. The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) also said that a person who goes to the mosque each morning and night, God will prepare hospitality for him in Paradise.

May those who will populate our mosque too be those whom God likes and those who seek His pleasure. Fortunate are those who build mosques with this intention and indeed come to mosques with this intention. Not only do they attain paradise in this world, they are also given Paradise in the Hereafter for they seek them both. Often on the inside of the domes of our mosques the Quranic verse ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ and whose hearts find comfort in the remembrance of AllahƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”š‚¦ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (13:29) is inscribed. It is also inscribed in the new mosque, Baitul Amaan. What greater paradise is there for those whose hearts are comforted? Those who remember God, endure difficulties for the sake of God. They make these difficulties a source of seeking pleasure of God and in turn a source of inner peace. Meanwhile, due to failure to withstand grief, hundreds of people daily commit suicide in the world. Some suffer from fatal heart attack when faced with grief or shock. Recently due to extreme weather conditions in Pakistan a farmerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s crop was completely destroyed. When he went to the see the damage, the shock of it proved fatal and he died of a heart attack. People of God do not let worldly grief influence them. Each episode of grief inspires them towards love of God and they come in the lap of God where their hearts are comforted. The QurƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢an states: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”But for him who is awed by the lofty station of his Lord, there are two gardens.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (55:47) The garden/paradise of this world is granted for being an Abd e Rahman (servant of the Gracious God) which goes on to also make one a recipient of the Paradise of the Hereafter.

The second verse recited at the start of the sermon is a prayer by Prophet Ibrahim and Prophet Ishmael (peace be on them) that may we become good people of God. The humility expressed here is noteworthy in that in spite of the sacrifice they made and in spite being sent by God they still prayed to be good. Although Hazrat Ibrahim (on whom be peace) left his wife and child in a desolate land, he still prayed to God to be a submissive servant of His and the son too, in spite of agreeing to the ultimate sacrifice for the sake of God, prayed to God to be completely obedient to Him.

This is the station that a believer should try to attain. One should never be proud or reliant on any good one does. One should always submit to God that without His grace oneƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s deeds are naught and it is only with His blessing that one becomes a servant of the Gracious God. Our supplication should be to stay firm on good and be sincere, not just for ourselves but also for our next generation, as stated: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”and make of our offspring a people submissive to TheeƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢. After building a house of God our concern to populate it should not be limited to our own lifetime, rather, we should pray that the spiritual beneficence is passed on and such people continue to born among our future generation. Only the elderly and those with time on hand should not be associated with the mosque. Those who are busy should also take time out of their engagements and the enthusiasm for worship of God should be passed on to our youngsters and children. While practical endeavour is required in this regard, prayer is a tremendous source to attain it. God is aware of what is in our hearts and we should pray with the view that the seed of piety is passed on from generation to generation. If we are indolent about these matters, our next generation is also indolent.

The prayer of Hazrat Ibrahim and Hazrat Ishmael ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”And show us our ways of worship, and turn to us with mercy;ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ draws attention to our own reformation as well as that of our children, it signifies worship of God as well as all other commandments that should be carried out. And once these obligations are fulfilled one should not presume to have done something great, for the verse/prayer goes on to say: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”and turn to us with mercyƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢, that is, accept our repentance and forgive us our minor errors. The objective of building mosques is fulfilled when regular prayer is made in this vein. It also inspires to make effort to keep our children on this path.

Such prayer will bring about that supreme beneficence which came to pass in acceptance of the prayer of Hadhrat Ibrahim and Hadhrat Ishmael (on whom be peace). It brought about a great revolutionary change through which the [spiritually] dead came to life and it established unprecedentedly high standards of worship of God. It brought about the advent of that great Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) who was superlative in every sense of the word. God then made the Seal of all the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) declare: ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”Say, ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”My Prayer and my sacrifice and my life and my death are all for Allah, the Lord of the worlds.ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ (6:163). Here, in GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s eyes lofty standards of worship, sacrifice and every other deed were established which had never been seen or heard before. This high station was granted to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him) by God Who made him declare that GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s love could only be attained by following this noble Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Many attained first hand, direct beneficence from his power of holiness and multitudes of sincere worshippers of God were created who worshipped God through the night and during the day presented themselves to serve religion to the great Prophet who had come for till the end of time and for all people and all times.

His beneficence and his model are luminous today as ever and his great teaching is still resplendent. In this age, his true and ardent devotee came and through him, once again GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s signs were recited and wisdom was imparted. Followers of his true and ardent devotee too tried to adapt themselves in these ways and the opponents were forced to acknowledge that they presented a model of the Islamic ways.

Today, this remains our greatest objective and this is the way to silence the world. We have to convince the world with our practices. We have to worship God and supplicate Him with utter tenderness and pathos so that we may absorb GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s grace. We need to connect our children with the mosque, and then alone will we fulfil the object of the building of the mosque and will be able to say that we have fulfilled the rightful due of the BaiƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at of the Imam of the age. In true obedience of the beloved of God, the Prophet, (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) will we also attain GodƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s love and be the recipient of fulfilment in this world and the Hereafter.

With the building of this mosque, those who are spiritually weak should modify/improve their ways; ways that lead to love of God. Those who are drawn to worship of God should endeavour to attain higher levels. The new mosque should bring about a revolutionary transformation in the local JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at.

It is reported that the menƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢s Prayer hall of the new mosque accommodates 760 worshippers and the ladies Prayer hall accommodates 560 worshipers, although the capacity can be increased and if required 2000 worshippers can offer Salat in the mosque. The phrase that 2000 worshippers ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”can offerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ Salat here should be transformed into ƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ”¹…”do offerƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢ Salat here as soon as possible. May God enable to do so.

In the UK as well as in Europe, the JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at is drawn to building of mosques, but the beauty of mosques is only with worshippers. Since 2003 when Baitul Futuh was inaugurated, the UK JamaƒÆ’‚¢ƒ¢-¡‚¬ƒ¢-¾‚¢at is enabled to construct 14 purpose-built mosques, six of which have been built this year. There were 13 mosques in [mainland] Europe and in the last seven to eight years there has been an increase of 44 and the number now is 57 with one nearing completion. Most of these mosques are in Germany. Again, the beauty of mosques is not in simply building them but is with worshippers. Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih said that his message to Ahmadis of Europe was that our pride is not in simply building these mosques. Our objective will be fulfilled when each of these mosques is so populated that it becomes constricted for the worshippers. May God enable us so.

Next a few incidents of some companions of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) were related. These incidents illustrated their complete devotion to and absorption in Prayer.

In occlusion, Ahmadiyya Khalifa read out few extracts from the writings of the Promised Messiah Hazrat Mirza Ghulam ahmad (on whom be peace) were read. These illustrated that we can fulfil our great wishes by turning to God and supplicating. One who turns to God with true fervour and sincerity is never wasted. If a man undertakes something but sees no result, he should examine his practices and see what it is that is wrong. In terms of worship of God, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said we should offer our worship as if we can see God and He is watching us. We should repent profusely and purify ourselves.

May we be enabled to understand this message and may God enable us to worship Him in the true sense and make us those who seek His pleasure.

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