A Symbol of Peace and Harmony
Historic Opening of Mosque in Valencia, Spain
During his address, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba explained true Islamic teachings of peace, justice and tolerance. Numerous guests attended the reception, including a range of politicians and dignitaries, some of whom also addressed the audience.
Her Excellency Mari Carmen Contelles Llopis, the Lady Mayor of Pobla de Vallbona, the town where the new Mosque is located, said she was delighted to welcome so many guests to her town. She praised the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community for “always promoting peace and tolerance in the world”.
Jose Maria Alonso MP, said he had been greatly impressed when meeting His Holinessaba a few months earlier at the European Parliament and when listening to his address in Brussels. The MP said it was imperative that inter-faith relations between Muslims and Christians continued to develop.
Luis Santamaria, Head Representative of Spanish Government in Valencia, also spoke of the need for inter-faith dialogue. He said that Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba had always promoted Islam’s message of peace. He added that “all people of goodwill were welcome in Spain”.
Juan Cotino, President of Valencia’s Regional Parliament, called the new Mosque a “truly beautiful building” and said the event itself was a “symbol of goodness” as people of different faiths and beliefs were joined together.
Keynote Address by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
After reciting Tashahhud, Ta’awwuz and Bismillah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba said:
“All the guests, Assalamo Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahe Wa Barakatohu – peace and blessings of Allah be upon you all.
Before I say to you a few words about the inauguration of this mosque, I would first of all like to thank all of you guests, who are mostly non-Muslims, for attending this event. It is our pleasure to have you with us. You are attending this event despite the fact that in Europe and the West, Muslims and the religion of Islam are looked upon with apprehension, and the followers of this religion are considered to be extremists or fanatics. It is also believed that a Muslim dislikes non-Muslims – and does not consider them worthy of interaction. With this viewpoint about Islam and Muslims, having you here with us specifically for the event of a Muslim community, being held in its mosque, and the event being the inauguration of the mosque, shows your openheartedness. Though people do come together to participate in the events of different communities and religions, yet your coming here is still worthy of praise. It is possible that you are attending this event due to a curiousity of learning about what we have to say or a curiousity about Muslims in general; however, whatever the reason I am very grateful for your presence, for taking the time to grace this auspicious event.
It is also my religious duty to be grateful for and to thank all those who have accepted our invitation. The Holy Prophetsa of Islam said that anyone who is not grateful to his fellow human beings cannot be grateful to his Creator. Islam says that if a person does not show humility and gratitude to his fellow human beings, and instead only professes his gratitude and humbleness to God, such a person is not sincere to God as well. Hence, with these few words, I would once again like to say that we, as members of the Ahmadiyya Community, are grateful for your presence.
Now I would like to present to you a few Islamic teachings with regards to the mosque and as well as the rights we owe our neighbours. First of all, I am grateful to our neighbours, councilors and the mayor of the town for allowing us to build this mosque. In addition to the mosque being a place of worship for us, I would also like to point out that the construction of this mosque is also a means of beautifying your area as it is architecturally an eye-catching building. When driving on the motorway, motorists can see and observe the beauty of this mosque. Another thing I would like to mention is that some neighbours had apprehension about the building of this mosque. They felt that by this addition the peace and quiet of their community would be affected, there would be increased traffic on the roads, people would throw litter around and disturb their surroundings. It is my hope and belief that their apprehensions would not prove to be right. You all must have noticed that in the past few weeks there has been a lot of activity going on in this mosque. A lot of people have been gathering here, lots of food has been prepared and lots of people have been eating here, but I believe this would not have been a disturbance to the locals. At least in my view, I do not think I have seen any such litter lying around in this area. I believe the only extra work must have been for the council’s refuse collection truck, which would have had to pick more refuse bags than usual – and I apologise to them.
A true Muslim has been thoroughly advised by his religion that cleanliness is a part of religion. Not only is outwardly cleanliness enjoined, but also deeper, thorough cleanliness is advised. In fact, when the New Year dawns, when most people celebrate the occasion by partying through the night, we help our local community councils in cleaning up the streets and provide manpower to help them clean up after all such celebrations. This we do because we have been told to do so by our religion. It is our duty to help our neighbourhood and ensure they are not inconvenienced in any way.
The Holy Prophet of Islamsa said that he has been repeatedly told by Allah to help and assist your neighbours. And this has been emphasised so much, that he said that sometimes I think that a neighbour is even going to be entitled to our inheritance, such is the importance that has been placed on caring for our neighbours.
One thing I admire about the Spanish people is that they lay importance on cleanliness. Women not only clean their homes – which I am sure they must do – but they also come out to clean the pavements outside their homes. When driving past I have seen women sweeping the area outside their homes. Indeed, the neighbours of this mosque might have reservations about the level of cleanliness that will be maintained with the introduction of this mosque and the increase in the number of people seen in the area. However, I would like to assure you that we will ensure that we will not give you a cause to complain.
Whilst speaking about neighbours, I would also like to define to you what a neighbour means. Not only is your immediate neighbour on the either side of your house a neighbour, but also even locations on each side as far as a 100-house distance are considered to be neighbours. A person travelling with you in a train, or car, or bus and even your work colleague, is a neighbour. In this way, the definition for a neighbour is very vast. We have been taught that we should never act in a way to cause our neighbour any inconvenience. Hence, we are not here to cause you any disturbance, but rather, are here to serve you. We are here to share with you our community, join you in your activities and live peacefully and happily with you.
Today, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is established in more than 200 countries. And everywhere we go we spread the message of ‘Love for All, Hatred for None.’ We preach to everyone to show love and kindness to the people. No one should be hurt by any of our deeds. In one of his sayings, the Holy Prophet of Islamsa said a true Muslim is one from whose hand and whose tongue every peace-loving person is safe. Hence, we Ahmadi Muslims try to live according to this teaching and would also like the entire world to live accordingly; that is to live in peace and harmony with fellow human beings regardless of their faith or race.
The Holy Qur’an has taught us that we have to not only discharge the rights due to God, but also have to discharge the rights due to our fellow human beings. We have to show true justice in all our dealings, because by being unjust, you distance yourselves from God. In one instance the Holy Qur’an teaches us that if we have to give testimony against our self, our parents, our family and dear ones, we should do it. We will only be considered to be true Muslims when we live according to this teaching.
There is not enough time to present to you the detailed teachings of the Holy Prophetsa and the Holy Qur’an. However in short I would like to mention that in today’s world Islam is wrongly portrayed and considered to be a religion of aggression. Of course, this wrong projection has been made by a minority of extremist Muslims no doubt, but in the time of the Holy Prophet of Islamsa, and his early four true Khalifas, there was never an occasion when the Muslims were the first to initiate war or do any aggression, rather they dedicated their time to serving humanity, and spread the peaceful message of God Almighty. War was only allowed to the Muslims when they were persecuted and were driven from their homes in Makkah and migrated to Madinah. It was when they were followed and attacked in Madinah that they were allowed this right to defend themselves.
The Holy Qur’an also says that we have given you this permission to fight back simply because if you do not do so now, no place of worship, be it a church, or synagogue, or mosque or any temple will remain safe from the aggressors. Hence, with this permission, not only has Islam and the mosque been protected from atrocities, but other religions and places of worship have been provided safety with this decree. A true Muslim is not only told to protect a mosque, but also told to protect the places of worship of other religions. Hence, true Muslims have never caused damage to the places of worship of other religions in time of war. Permission to fight back in war has only been granted in situations where people have been plotting against the government, and have been known to be a threat to the country.
All that I have presented to you today is the true teaching of Islam. Some of you might disagree with me on some aspects of how history has been mentioned, but this is due to how history has been wrongly presented to us by some historians or orientalists, who have not done justice to history or reality. I am not saying that Muslim governments have never been in the wrong and have never caused disorder in their respective countries or with their neighbours, but there were situations when they were treated in the same way by non-Muslim governments and history bears testimony to this fact.
Regardless of this I would like to say that this mosque has been built to serve as a place of brotherliness and unity. Whoever comes here, be it a Muslim or non-Muslim, with pious intentions, will have the doors of the mosque always open for him or her. This mosque has been named Masjid Baitur Rahman – that is a House of God – Who is ever gracious, Who shows kindness to His creation, without any conditions.
We, who have built this mosque, will ensure that we continue to serve and help the communities we live in and continue to serve God’s creation, so that we continue to receive as much graciousness as possible from the ever-gracious God.
In the end I would like once again to thank you all for gracing this event with your presence. It is my prayer that the unity and bond between the Muslims and non-Muslims in this community strengthens. Thank you very much.”