Muḥammad Anwar Mangla, President Lloydminster Jamā‘at
The Aḥmadīyya Muslim Jamā‘at in Lloydminster is pleased to announce the completion of our Mosque, Baitul Amaan. After many years of praying and constant hard work, we have overcome many obstacles by the help of Allāh. We have been very blessed and fortunate to finally have our mosque, Baitul Amaan. I would like to take this opportunity to share some history of our Jamā‘at and the process of building the first mosque in Lloydminster.
Lloydminster is the only border city of Canada, located on the border of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The Lloydminster Jamā‘at was established in 1993 and prior to that members of the Lloydminster Jamā‘at were part of the Edmonton Jamā‘at. At that time, Mirzā Ikram Aḥmad Ṣāḥib’s family members were the only ones residing in Lloydminster and would travel to Edmonton for Friday and ‘Īd prayers. Mirzā Ikram Aḥmad Ṣāḥib was the first President of Lloydminster Jamā‘at. He made the initial efforts to establish a Namāz centre or mosque in Lloydminster. Along with his younger brother, Mirzā Irshad Aḥmad Ṣāḥib, he made many road trips to the National Markaz to attend National Majlis Shūrā, Jalsa Sālāna, and other Jamā‘at events. Mirzā Ikram Aḥmad Ṣāḥib’s home was used as a Namāz centre. He also graciously offered his home for accommodation of Jamā‘at visitors and showed great hospitality.
In September 2002, when Mirzā Akhtar Ṣāḥib’s home was constructed, he openheartedly offered the spacious basement of his home to the Lloydminster Jamā‘at to offer prayers and hold various Jamā‘at events. The Lloydminster Jamā‘at started to hold all events and meetings at Mirzā Akhtar Ṣāḥib’s residence.
Huzoor Anwaraa Visits Lloydminster
June 20, 2005 was a very historical day in Lloydminster Jamā‘at’s history as Huzoor Anwaraa graced the Jamā‘at with his presence. At that time the total Tajnīd of Lloydminster was 30. Huzooraa offered silent prayer on the 2 acres of land donated for the Mosque by Mirzā Akhtar Ṣāḥib. Intially, Mirzā Akhtar Ṣāḥib donated 2 acres of land, however, in March 2010, he donated 3 more acres and transferred all 5 acres of land to the National Markaz for the Lloydminster Mosque.
In the meantime, with the blessings of Allāh Almighty, the Lloydminster Jamā‘at started to grow rapidly, with majority of the families moving from Saskatoon and Toronto. As the Jamā‘at grew, a larger place to hold Jamā‘at events and prayers became a priority. The Jamā‘at then started to rent a hall called Forester’s Hall for Jamā‘at events, which met the needs of the members. In 2009 Forester Hall became available to purchase. A proposal was sent to Markaz showing great interest in purchasing this hall but, unfortunately, due to insufficient funds and the limited time available, this opportunity could not be availed. Under the new ownership, Forester Hall was no longer available to rent so the Jamā‘at began looking for another suitable place to accommodate all its members. By the Grace of Allāh Almighty, the Jamā‘at started renting a hall at the Royal Canadian Legion for a special discounted price. All Jamā‘at events and activities started to take place there on a regular basis, but we continued to look for our own centre.
Struggle for a Mosque
Respected Amīr Ṣāḥib Canada, Lal Khan Malik Ṣāḥib, arrived in Lloydminster and motivated our Jamā‘at to start building a Mosque on the 5 acres of land donated by Mirzā Akhtar Ṣāḥib. In our meeting with Respected Amīr Ṣāḥib and Respected Regional Amīr, Salman Khalid Ṣāḥib, on the occasion of Jalsa Sālāna Western Canada, held in Cochrane, Alberta, a presentation was shown by Kaleem Malik Ṣāḥib. Blueprints of the proposed Lloydminster Mosque were also presented to all Lloydminster Jamā‘at members.
We quickly started acting on the advice of National Amīr Ṣāḥib and submitted an application to build a mosque on the donated land to the County of Vermilion River. We learned that we would need to submit an application for re-zoning of our land from an industrial zone to an institutional zone suitable for building a religious assembly. In November 2011, the County of Vermilion River denied our request of re-zoning citing that they cannot allow a religious assembly in the middle of an industrial area.
In March 2013, a member of our Jamā‘at, Mr. Sherjeel Butt Ṣāḥib, informed me that there was a warehouse for sale and its market value was approximately $300,000. He also mentioned that the owner might be willing to sell it at a lower price. I had a meeting with the seller and he asked for $220,000 for the building. I explained our intention of building a mosque and informed him about our community. We offered him $190,000 for the property after getting approval from National Markaz. Allāh Almighty once again helped us through this agreement because not only did he accept our offer, but he also agreed that we could pay him 50% of the total amount at that the time and the remaining 50% after 6 months. He was very cooperative and gave us the keys to the building after we paid the first 50%.
Respected Amīr Ṣāḥib sent Nasir Mahmood Butt Ṣāḥib, Missionary In-Charge of Calgary at that time, to Lloydminster for fundraising. Members of the Jamā‘at were requested to especially pray and become the recipient of this spiritual blessing. By the Grace of Allāh, our local Jamā‘at offered exceptional sacrifices. Everyone enthusiastically took part in this noble cause by donating. Lajna members organized a garage sale and raised funds and many Lajna members even donated their jewellery.
On July 17, 2014, this property was transferred to National Markaz. On November 23, 2014, just prior to the land title transfer, Respected Amīr Ṣāḥib sent a fax to Huzooraa requesting him for a name for this property. Huzooraa graciously named it “Baitul Amaan.”
We contacted the City of Lloydminster and asked if we could make a few changes to the building to meet our mosque needs. The City of Lloydminster advised us to get new blueprints and building permits for the property. In our ‘Āmila meeting we reviewed all the requirements and a plan was made that was then engineered by Universal Consulting Group and presented to National Markaz for approval.
In January 2014, I faxed Huzoor Anwaraa a letter in which I wrote about the refusal by the County of Vermilion River for building a mosque and then requested Huzooraa for approval to sell the 5 acres of land. Huzooraa granted permission to sell the land and in his letter to National Markaz he wrote, “When we cannot build anything there then there is no need to keep it.” On January 7, 2015, the 5 acres of land was sold for $320,000 and all the money was submitted to National Markaz.
After getting the blueprints for Baitul Amaan, we sent a proposal for renovations to National Markaz, which was approved by the National Finance Committee as well as the Capital Project Committee. Respected Amīr Ṣāḥib appointed M.A. Rashid Malik Engineer as Project Manager. Construction was started on May 2, 2015, and Bilal Ahmed Butter Ṣāḥib, who is a member of Saskatoon Jamā‘at, voluntarily offered construction management through his company, Green Villas Construction. He made multiple trips to Lloydminster and played a major role in the construction of Baitul Amaan. A few members of Saskatoon Jamā‘at, Amjad Ṣāḥib, Akbar Ṣāḥib and Zohaib Ṣāḥib helped put in the tile flooring; and Muhammad Asghar Ṣāḥib, Imran Bajwa Ṣāḥib and Munam Rehman Ṣāḥib helped with tile and carpet installation. Hassan Masood Butter Ṣāḥib from Sasktoon did the plumbing work. Maqsood Butter Ṣāḥib from our local Jamā‘at also worked day and night at Baitul Amaan. Similarly, many local Khuddām, Anṣār and Aṭfāl members also helped with cleaning and general labour.
Geographically, Baitul Amaan is situated on the Saskatchewan side of Lloydminster towards the east side of the city. Baitul Amaan is about 4 blocks away from downtown. Baitul Amaan is also easily accessible from the east side of TransCanada Highway. Since it is located on the south end of the railway tracks, it makes it very convenient for most of our Jamā‘at to get to Baitul Amaan as they won’t be stuck waiting at the tracks for the train to go by.
On January 1, 2016, we offered Namāz Tahajjud at Baitul Amaan in which a large number of members participated. All inspections passed on February 3, 2015, and by the Grace of Allāh Almighty we started offering daily prayers at Baitul Amaan on Friday, February 5, 2016.
Brief Description of the Mosque
The total cost is estimated at around $240,000, excluding the purchase of the property, which was $190,000. There are 22 parking stalls on the premises. The total lot area is 0.35 acres and the building size is 3,200 sq. ft. The property can accommodate 200 people. There is also a 1000 sq. ft. detached storage unit on the property.
I hope and pray that, Insha’Allāh, Huzooraa will inaugurate our Mosque, Baitul Amaan. Amīn! May Allāh make our mosque a great source of Tablīgh and Tarbiyat! May Allāh Almighty enable us to fulfill our duties and may He accept our prayers and services! Amīn!