Friday Sermon Delivered on May 17, 2013
In his last visit to Canada, Hazrat Khalīfatul-Masīḥ Vaa delivered guidance on the subject of building mosques on the occasion of the Baitur Rahmān Mosque Inauguration in Vancouver, Canada. The following are extracts from the Friday Sermon delivered on May 17,2013 highlighting importance of building mosques for Aḥmadīyya Muslim Jamā‘at, and its crucial role in this age. These are revised extracts from alislam.org.
A mosque has its own importance and significance. The minarets, the dome and the very shape of a mosque leaves an impression on the members of the Jamā‘at, as well as on the surroundings, and the rest of the members of society also.
Wherever a mosque comes into being, new avenues for the introduction of Islām to others are opened up, and new opportunities arise for conveying the message of Islām to the broader society. This is the reason why the Promised Messiahas has so strongly drawn our attention to the building of mosques and said that in this way, not only will the unity of Jamā‘at be promoted, but also as a result, the work of conveying the message of Islām would be greatly enhanced.
It is true that the Promised Messiahas has said that it does not matter if the mosque built is a humble and simple structure, but it is important that a mosque be built. Some people may be thinking, therefore, what is the need for us to build such grand mosques, especially as the demands from many Jamā‘at’s are coming that mosques should be built there also; and some of them do not have the capacity to do it on their own and so the national headquarters has to help them. So the thought might come that if smaller mosques are built, then in the same amount of money more mosques could be built. But if we keep in mind a fundamental principle, then perhaps this question would not arise and that principle is enshrined in the saying of the Holy Prophetsa: “Inna mal Aʻmālu Binnīyāt” meaning that the reward of any deed is based on the intention behind the action.
Vancouver is the biggest city of British Columbia, and this is where the largest number of Aḥmadīs of BC live; and based on the number of Aḥmadīs living in BC, this is not really a very big mosque. And then, when we look at the Grace of Allāh, the Exalted, and the manner in which the avenues for conveying the message of Islām-Aḥmadīyyat are being opened up, they also demand from us that our places be large and spacious. Then our places need to be expansive also on the basis of this revelation of the Promised Messiahas: “Wassiʻ Makānaka” in which Allāh directed him to expand his house and make it more spacious.
This revelation however does not only mean that we make our houses more spacious so that more and more guests can be easily accommodated therein when they come to visit or attend the Jalsas, but we need our mosques also to be more and more spacious.
Then in this age in which we live, the Promised Messiahas has been addressed by Allāh as Ibrahīm and it was through Hazrat Ibrahīmas that Allāh had built the Khāna Kaʻaba. For the establishment of the Unity of God, the First House of Allāh built for His worship was again reconstructed and repaired through Hazrat Ibrahīmas.
And in accordance with the promises of Allāh, it will be through the Promised Messiahas that this world will come to know, and indeed is getting to know, and there is no doubt in this, that Islām’s rejuvenation will occur through the Promised Messiahas. And in a spiritual sense, in this age, the purpose behind the building of the Khāna Kaʻaba will be fulfilled through the Promised Messiahas, and the world shall come to know and recognize this.
The purpose for the building of mosques is that people should gather together to worship the One God, and from this point of view also we need to give attention to the building of mosques.
So, as I said, the real thing, in accord with the directives of the Holy Prophetsa, is the intention behind any action, and our intention is: to work to establish the Unity of God, and to spread His message; and to gather the largest numbers of people under the flag of His Unity and Oneness; and to bring about a revolutionary improvement in the condition of our own selves and our progenies, and by doing so, make ourselves and our children bow down in front of God.
We have to make use of every effort to establish Ṣalāt and fill the mosques for this purpose in such a way that they begin to appear to be too small.
So when this is the intention, then even seemingly large mosques will not appear to be just for the purpose of show but rather will be large for the purpose of winning the pleasure of Allāh, the Exalted. Inshā’Allāh, I am convinced that those of you who live in this area, who are going to populate this mosque, if you will discharge your responsibilities with such intentions, then while you will be succeeding in spreading the message of Islām-Aḥmadīyyat, you will also simultaneously be advancing spiritually, and by uniting your children with the One God, you will become the ones who will improve their lives here and in the Hereafter.
You also shall be gaining the pleasure of Allāh and see the bounties of Allāh rain down upon you. And when the Grace of Allāh begins to rain down upon people, when the intention is purely to win His pleasure, then in each city Allāh bestows upon the people the ability to build several mosques.
So now your intention should be that we will not wait another 30 or 40 years before building the next mosque, but shall go on making this and many other similar mosques that shall be built to become too small to accommodate all the worshippers.
By populating mosques, by fulfilling the requirements of worshipping God, and in accordance with His directives, by making our lives fully in line with His teachings, we can make the increasing needs to expand our mosques a way to draw upon ourselves more and more blessings of Allāh, and make this a way to go on gaining every day more and more the Grace of God.
So if we are inaugurating this mosque with this intention, then certainly we are making an attempt to make up for not having built this mosque for such a long time. And those areas where there are still no mosques built, with the inauguration of this mosque, attention to this important task will be also drawn there, and this will also serve to make up for the long time it took you to build this mosque.
Always remember, as I have said before, that a mosque has its own importance and significance and centres, mission houses, or halls cannot attain that stature which a mosque enjoys.
Yes, it is true that a hall or centre allows the Jamā‘at to have a place to get together but the spiritual connection that one gains by being in a mosque and the emotions that are evoked by a mosque – those cannot come into being without a proper mosque. This is a part of human nature if you will. So wherever lands have been bought, make proper mosques instead of making halls or centres. I heard about a place in Canada where they had some land, and they had decided to build a hall with the money they had. I am grateful to Allāh, the Exalted that they changed their decision when they were asked to look at the matter again. May Allāh bless all those places that are considering building mosques that they be able to build mosques.
It is certainly true that once mosques are built then new avenues open up for conveying the message of Islām-Aḥmadīyyat. At the end of March, I inaugurated the mosque in Valencia, Spain, and now reports are reaching me that non-Muslims are making inquiries about Islām, and also non-Aḥmadī Muslims are coming to offer their prayers and gaining knowledge about the Jamā‘at. Inshā’Allāh, from among such people those blessed with righteous, blessed souls shall be granted the ability to accept the message of Islām-Aḥmadīyyat and enter in its fold.
From among the duties that Allāh the Exalted, has assigned to the Promised Messiahas one duty is that the Muslims be informed about the true teachings of Islām, and that they be gathered on that Islām that the Holy Prophet Muḥammadsa had brought and that that Sharī‘a should be promoted which had been revealed to him.
Allāh, the Exalted, had directed the Promised Messiahas through revelation, “Gather all the Muslims on the face of the Earth on the One True Religion.” Explaining this, the Promised Messiahas has said that this command to gather together all the Muslims that are living on the face of the earth is a special kind of directive . . . That Allāh desires that the Muslims living on this Earth should be gathered together on the one true religion and this shall indeed come to pass and they shall indeed become gathered so together . . .
So now, the way to guidance for all, Muslims and non-Muslims alike, is through the Promised Messiahas alone. In this country, and in this city, hundreds of thousands of Muslims live and certainly this mosque will draw their attention. Construction of this mosque will draw positive and negative commentary from Muslims and non-Muslims alike. This will lead to many new opportunities for conveying the message of Islām-Aḥmadīyyat, and you will have to prepare yourselves for this also. So the building of this mosque will continue to increase your responsibilities one after the other.
Clearly, when you will prepare yourself to convey the message of Islām-Aḥmadīyyat, you will have to improve your personal and moral qualities, as well as improving your knowledge of matters related to the faith; and this is essential. If you do not do this, then because of the lack of accordance between your words and deeds, no one will even want to come close to you. So the building of mosques leads to opening of doors for persons to draw upon themselves the blessings of God, which continue to increase the faith of a believer continuously. And there are also blessings that the whole Jamā‘at draws upon itself by building mosques, to such a degree that boggles the mind.
Allāh has discussed the subject of mosques in several places in the Holy Qur’ān. The Holy Qur’ān addresses the topic of respect and honour due to mosques. It addresses the topic of the purpose of mosques and it has laid bare the characteristics of those who populate the mosques of Allāh. Right now the verse of the Holy Qur’ān that I have recited in front of you discusses those who populate the mosques.
The first thing stated is that those who populate, who come to the mosques, are those who believe in Allāh. But just saying that we believe in Allāh is not sufficient. The faith mentioned here also has some standards that Allāh has mentioned. Allāh the Exalted, says that if you will establish these standards of faith, then alone will you be counted as being among those who are perfect in their faith, otherwise your faith shall not be perfect.
The Promised Messiahas has said that if you wish to attain to the high stages of belief, then you must try to attain to the highest levels of moral qualities also. And the way you can judge your level of high morals is by looking at your discharge of duties you owe to your fellow human beings. So just offering prayers, and in your own mind discharging the duties you owe to God is not sufficient in attaining the nearness of God. It is essential for a believer, in fact, to also discharge the rights of the society among whom he lives.
Then the Promised Messiahas has said that you must also safeguard yourself against laziness and lethargy because this also takes one away from God. Much of the time when you ask those who have difficulty offering their five daily prayers, and I do ask many such people, you find them saying that they feel lazy and do not take the necessary care. This laziness makes one also negligent of the love of God and this carelessness, negligence, slowly but surely takes one away, far away, from the faith also, and one also loses the fear of the Day of Judgment and the fear of the coming of the Day of Reckoning and having to present oneself in front of God.
This is why Allāh has mentioned faith in the Hereafter as one of the characteristics of those who populate the mosques who come to the mosques regularly. This is why we are taught that we will get the reward of the things we do in this world in the Hereafter.
Those acts of worship carried out purely for the sake of winning the pleasure of Allāh, and having faith in God in this world and getting oneself counted amongst the believers will yield its fruits in the Hereafter by making one inherit paradise.
Then it is said that those who come to the mosques regularly and offer their five daily prayers also offer financial sacrifices too. They spend their wealth in the way of Allāh to seek His pleasure.
By the Grace of Allāh, the Aḥmadīyya Jamā‘at is extraordinary in its zeal for making financial sacrifices for the sake of Allāh. At the least there is a group that makes amazing extraordinary sacrifices. In the construction of this mosque, there are members who have sacrificed hundreds of thousands of dollars. When it comes to the construction of mosques even non-Aḥmadī Muslims make great sacrifices, but the hallmark of the Aḥmadī is that he makes the constant sacrifice to pay the regular Chandajāt (contributions), as well as participating in whatever special schemes or projects are presented to them. This is why their sacrifices occupy a high level of importance and worth, and especially so in today’s materialistic world, and more so because of the current economic conditions. May Allāh bless without end, the persons and possessions of all these who made these sacrifices.
But I want you all to remember that just one action is not enough to enable you to achieve the heights of righteousness or Taqwa or make your faith perfect. Indeed for a Mu’min, a true believer, it is necessary that he discharge both his obligations to God and to God’s creatures.
So with the construction and building of this mosque, we need to carry out an inspection, or analysis of ourselves, and determine to what extent we are discharging the obligation of worshipping God; and determine to what extent we are fulfilling the demands that we love God; and see to what extent we are fulfilling the obligations and duties each of us has on the other because the dues of worship cannot be fulfilled without righteousness and this we cannot acquire till we fulfill and act on all the commandments of God.
May it be that by the building of this mosque the Jamā‘at becomes stronger internally also; and become such that act on the injunctions and commandments of Allāh; and as those that attend and populate the mosques; and may the hearts of every one of you be always remain in the mosque in the same way as the Holy Prophetsa has wished of a true Mu’min. May this mosque be such as would capture the Grace of God; and may everyone who comes here share in this; and may the doors of conveying the message of Islām-Aḥmadīyyat keep on opening as a result of this mosque having been built.
In the end I want to read out a short excerpt from the writings of the Promised Messiahas. He has said:
The true beauty of mosques is not in their building structures, but in fact it is with those worshippers who offer their prayers in them with full sincerity. Without such people these mosques are lying abandoned. The mosque of the Holy Prophetsa was small and its roof was made of date palm branches and water would leak onto its floor when it would rain. But the glow and atmosphere of a mosque is with its worshippers. In the time of the Holy Prophetsa some worldly-minded people made a mosque that was brought down by the command of God. The name of that mosque was Masjid Zarār. This mosque was brought down. The commandment with regard to mosques is that they should be built for the purpose of Taqwā, righteousness.
So this is what every Aḥmadī must keep in mind.
The Promised Messiahas has gone on to say:
The Jamā‘at should have its own mosque in which there should be an Imām of our own Jamā‘at who should advise and guide the people and the members of the Jamā‘at should all get together to offer their prayers in this very mosque. There is great blessing in the Jamā‘at and unity and much confusion arises of disunity. And this is the time when unity and togetherness needs to be promoted and minor small differences should be overlooked which cause disunity.
May Allāh enable us to mould our lives in accordance with these instructions! Āmīn!