Love for All, Hatred for None: Baitul Wahid Mosque Opens in Feltham, London
On 24th February 2012, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba), Khalifatul Masih V, Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, inaugurated the Baitul Wahid Mosque in Feltham, London. A formal reception was held in the evening and was attended by a number of dignitaries, guests and local residents.
Mary Macleod, MP for Brentford and Isleworth, congratulated the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on the opening of the Baitul Wahid Mosque. She offered her support for the many peace initiatives undertaken by the Community and praised the Community’s role towards building a peaceful society. She also spoke of her concern at the continued persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan.
Seema Malhotra, MP for Feltham and Heston, said that the Ahmadiyya Jama’at was constantly striving to bring people of all faiths and beliefs together. She said the values of the Community made it an “example” for others to follow and said she was sure the new mosque would educate and bind the local community together.
The Mayor of Hounslow, Councillor Amrit Mann, called the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at in Hounslow “a model community”. He praised the Community’s motto of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None’ and its commitment to humanitarian efforts.
Jagdish Sharma, MBE, Leader of Hounslow Borough Council, said Ahmadi Muslims had the distinction of being “law abiding and tolerant”. Also in attendance at the event were Virendra Sharma, MP for Ealing Southall, and Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon.
The function was concluded with a keynote address by the Fifth Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad(aba). The full transcript of this address is presented below.
“All distinguished guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
We are all gathered here today for the opening of our Baitul Wahid Mosque, here in Feltham. The opening of this mosque is a cause for great happiness and celebration for the local Ahmadi Muslims who live in this area. In particular, this jubilation is even greater bearing in mind that certain obstacles arose during the process of attaining permission for the construction of the mosque. Such issues were, at the time, certainly a cause of anxiety for the local Ahmadis; but ultimately, we were granted permission to build this mosque. This was because, as I have said many times that here in the UK, the system of governance is just and one which affords citizens their due rights. Having gained permission, it now gives us great pleasure to be able to inaugurate this truly beautiful mosque here today. We, who are Ahmadi Muslims, always pray that God Almighty enables just and fair governments to be established throughout the world, and also that the world becomes filled with people who are fair minded and even-handed. We pray that such equitable people spread far and wide so that a truly just and unified society develops, where all people are afforded their due rights.
We, the Ahmadiyya Jama’at, are constantly engaged in trying to develop exactly this type of society in every part of the world. Unfortunately however, in some parts of the world certain governments and people have failed to stand shoulder to shoulder with us, in our efforts to create a peaceful and harmonious society. Instead of assisting us, they are in fact persecuting us, oppressing us and making us a target of their hate. When it comes to giving us our due rights, they either give false and artificial excuses for not granting them, or in many cases they openly deny our due rights altogether, without giving it a second thought. Let it be known though, that in the face of such injustice, we never display an inappropriate or wrong response. Where we are able to do so, then certainly we seek our rights through the proper channels of the law and we do so persistently. If the law or authorities are able to help us then that is good, and it is always appreciated. However if that is not the case, then we leave the matter in the hands of God Almighty. We bow down before Him and beseech His Help for our situation to improve. This is the beautiful way that we have been taught to act by our Holy Book, the Holy Qur’an and by the Founder of Islam, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him). Ahmadi Muslims are spread across the globe, yet they are unified in terms of their conduct and behaviour. Thus, you can travel to any part of the world and you will find that the character and manner of Ahmadi Muslims is completely distinct and that they follow precisely the true teachings of Islam.
However, before going on to speak about Islam and its teachings, I would like to first of all take this opportunity to thank all of the guests present, from the bottom of my heart, for making the effort to come and attend tonight’s function. We are grateful to all of you, that despite belonging to different religions or having different beliefs, you have come today to join in our celebrations. You have come because of the personal relationships that you have developed with Ahmadi Muslims, and also due to your high moral values. I have no doubt that those who are opposed to the construction of this mosque will be keeping a close eye on tonight’s event and also paying attention to the people attending.
Your attendance in spite of this, proves that you are unconcerned by such matters. Instead, for the sake of upholding human values, and considering the feelings of others, you have come to take part in our mosque’s opening. Thus your attendance is extremely praiseworthy, it is extremely admirable and is indeed a very courageous step. In particular, those people who are involved in local politics have set aside any political risk to their popularity or even their career in an effort to join with us this evening. Bearing all of this in mind, I have the utmost respect for everyone who is attending this event, and so from the depths of my heart, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you.
Being grateful for the kindness of others is not just a matter of routine, but is actually an essential part of our faith, because our master, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him), instructed all Muslims that a person who is not grateful to mankind, is in fact not grateful to God Almighty. As we believe in life after death, where we will be called to account for our actions in this world, I and indeed every Ahmadi Muslim, will always try to ensure that we never act in a way that is displeasing to God Almighty. I should also clarify, that as Muslims we have not simply been told to be thankful to our fellow Muslims, but instead we are taught that a true Muslim must express his gratitude to all people, regardless of religion or background. Therefore, as I just said, our expression of thanks is not given merely out of a basic moral courtesy, but is in fact an essential part of our faith. My gratitude to all of you, therefore, is given as a means to please God Almighty. I hope and indeed expect that you will always find the local Ahmadis living nearby, displaying the same level of appreciation. The Ahmadis will always remain grateful to the people who helped us build this mosque, or who co-operated with us, or showed kindness in any way.
Nevertheless, as I mentioned, there were, and indeed still are, also some people opposed to this mosque and who wished that it had not been built. With regard to such people, Ahmadi Muslims will continually pray for them, that may Allah remove any lingering misconceptions or suspicions that they have about us. It is only through such a spirit that we can be true to our community’s motto, ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’ I am confident that as this mosque is now open for worship, it will, God Willing, become a means of removing the misconceptions that exist amongst certain people in this area. For how can it be that on the one hand, a building is constructed for the worship of the One God, yet on the other, the worshippers choose not to pay heed or due attention to God’s commands? Wherever God Almighty has commanded Muslims to worship Him, he has also, at the same time, commanded them to fulfil the rights of His Creation. If the rights of God’s Creation are not fulfilled, then in the sight of God, there is no value to such worship, or even such mosques. This point is mentioned repeatedly in the Holy Qur’an. For example, in Verse 84 of the second Chapter of the Holy Qur’an, God Almighty has commanded, very clearly, that apart from worshipping Him, we must also adopt other virtues and so travel on a path of righteousness and goodness. The verse explains to us that one crucial way to adopt righteousness is through our conduct in our personal relationships. It speaks in detail of our duty to care for and show love to our fellow man, and indeed various categories of people are listed, who are deserving of our care and consideration.
First and foremost, it draws our attention to one’s parents being the most deserving of our love and affection. This is because from childhood through to maturity, parents care and nurture their children to such an extent, that the child can never fully repay them or properly express his gratitude. Thereafter, God Almighty has commanded that our close relatives, neighbours, friends and other such relations are also deserving of our care and compassion. The verse then calls on Muslims to fulfil the rights of orphan children because they are vulnerable and living a deprived life. Also, we are commanded to fulfil the rights of the poor and the needy. If a Muslim fails to discharge the due rights of such vulnerable people, he can never please God, nor can he play any role in establishing peace in the society. Then at a collective level, Muslims are commanded by this verse, to act kindly and lovingly to all people with whom they come into contact. Thus, in essence, this verse orders Muslims to act compassionately towards all of mankind.
So when such a teaching exists, how can a true Muslim even contemplate playing a role towards the destruction of society’s peace and harmony? On many occasions, the Holy Qur’an has stated that the hallmark of a Muslim and a sign of his true faith is the performance of righteous deeds. For the benefit of man, the Qur’an has listed some of these righteous acts and deeds. For example, the Holy Qur’an calls for fulfilling the rights of one’s neighbours. The Qur’an calls for the establishment of peace. It calls for the establishment of truth and it calls on Muslims to adopt countless other moral acts. Similarly, we learn from a tradition of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah upon him) that he taught that a person should desire for others, what he desires for himself, and that only then can such people be classed as true believers. What a truly beautiful teaching this is. The Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) also said that a person has a duty to be a good neighbour if he wants to be classed as a true Muslim.
In light of all of these teachings, when a mosque is built by a person who claims to be a Muslim, and who believes in the One God, then how can it be possible that instead of using the mosque to worship God Almighty, he uses it to try and cause distress and anguish to others? As I have briefly explained, both the Holy Qur’an and the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have taught that fulfilling the rights owed to mankind is a great responsibility and burden, that has been placed on the shoulders of every Muslim. Indeed, as I just mentioned, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) went as far as to say that we should desire for other people the same as we desire for ourselves. If we ponder over this, we will observe that no intelligent or wise person could ever desire pain or suffering for himself, nor could he desire that his rights be seized by another. Thus, no true Muslim can ever desire injustices or suffering for any other person because that would run entirely contrary to what the Qur’an and the Holy Prophet of Islam (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) have taught.
I have already mentioned that Islam teaches the vast importance of being a good neighbour. It teaches that fulfilling the rights of one’s neighbours is fundamental to maintaining the peace of society, and only if you are a good neighbour can you be classed as a sincere Muslim. Islam teaches that a neighbour is not just he who lives next door. Instead, God Almighty has designated a very wide circle of people who count as neighbours. Apart from the people who live nearby, also included as neighbours are your work colleagues and subordinates, the people for whom you are responsible and those people with whom you journey. Many other groups of people are also designated as ‘neighbours’. Bearing all of this in mind, when a Muslim who is pure of heart, enters a mosque, then undoubtedly he bears the responsibility to make righteous acts and positive human values, a distinctive feature of his character. These are the hallmarks of a true Muslim and without them, a Muslim’s faith cannot be deemed to be proper or sincere. Hence, these are the beautiful teachings of Islam, which act as the guarantor for a truly peaceful society, and it is upon such pure teachings that we Ahmadi Muslims have built this mosque. We have built this mosque so that people can join together and fulfil the rights owed to God Almighty and to His Creation. Apart from the worship of God, we will use this mosque to mutually consider and discuss matters of goodness and morality, so that each and every person who enters it will be inspired to move further towards piety and virtue.
Thus, as I have already said, I truly believe that this mosque will become a means in itself for dispelling the erroneous views held by certain locals and some of our neighbours. All of you will come to see that our response to such wrongfully held suspicions will be nothing except for love, except for affection and a total commitment to serve mankind.
You might feel that some of the Muslims, or Muslim groups, do not follow the teachings I have just mentioned. The answer to this is that we, the Ahmadiyya Community, in every part of the world we may reside, follow the true teachings of Islam; those that have been imparted to us by the Founder of our Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (peace be upon him) who claimed to be the Reformer, Promised Messiah and Mahdi. He asked us that; follow these true teachings, otherwise you cannot be considered a true Muslim. In the 123 year history of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at (or Community), you will never find a single occasion when anyone has been able to truthfully allege that our Community took part in any disorder. This is due to us following the true teachings of Islam as interpreted by the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Community. Certainly, whenever and wherever we have been called to help and assist in good endeavours or in service to humanity, we have always heeded the call and come running to partake in those good acts. We do so, not due to any vested interests, but only due to our desire to seek God’s pleasure and nearness. Thus, to any of our friends who have fallen prey to certain misconceptions, or perhaps have heard misinformation or false rumours and so have come to hold a negative view of us, I would like to send them a message through all of you who are here – and that message is that this mosque has been built only for the worship of God, and as a means to develop love, affection and peace. We have no other purpose, and we never will.
The world today is fraught with danger and turmoil. We sit at an extremely critical juncture and so there is an urgent need for us to all recognise our Creator and to fulfil the rights of His Creation. Otherwise, if we fail to uphold and discharge each other’s due rights, it will undoubtedly lead to great destruction in the world. Whilst God will call to account those who usurp the rights of others in the next world, it is also His practice to punish people in this very world. That is why we find so many calamities, natural disasters and wars taking place, for they are a result of God’s anger and wrath. As we stand on the brink of disaster, we must all join together in an effort to prevent such a huge catastrophe from befalling us. Every individual in a society, irrespective of his background, has a role to play. We need to warn our leaders and governments of the dangers of this time. Otherwise, if we fail in this task, and are led to a Third World War, then the horrific destruction that will befall us is apparent to all, and lies in front of us. We must care for our future generations and must not be consumed only by our own personal interests. It is my ardent prayer that the world comes to realise this, and thus save itself from the almighty devastation that otherwise awaits.
At the end, I would like to sincerely thank all of the distinguished guests once again for taking the time to attend this event. May Allah reward all of you for this, abundantly; thank you.”