Building Mosques and Steadfastness in Worship of Allah
Sermon Delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon
This light is now lit in houses with regard to which Allah has ordained that they be exalted and His name be remembered in them. Glorify Him therein in the mornings and the evenings;
Men whom neither trade nor commerce makes oblivious of the remembrance of Allah and the observance of Prayer and the giving of the Zakat.
So that Allah may give them the best reward of their deeds, and give them increase out of their bounty. And Allah does provide for whomsoever He pleases without measure.’ (Surah Al Nur, verses 37 – 39)
Today God has enabled the New Zealand Jama’at to build their mosque. May God bless this mosque for the Jama’at in every way! New Zealand Jama’at is small with just four hundred members, yet they have made a very good mosque with a capacity greater than their numbers. May God make them outgrow its capacity! Members of the Jama’at have worked day and night with great enthusiasm to get the mosque ready. As it is traditional in the Jama’at, they undertook many jobs [in the building] themselves through Waqar e Aml and saved costs. The total cost of building the mosque and some renovation was 3.5 million NZ dollars. Due to the Jama’at being small the amount could not be promptly raised, therefore a loan was taken. However, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih hopes that members of the Jama’at will soon pay off the loan. This year New Zealand Jama’at completes its 25 years, therefore, in spite of their small numbers, the members intensely wished to submit the gift a mosque to God in the form of His house. It should be remembered that the enthusiasm with which this gift has been offered, it should not remain a gift based on loan. Efforts should be made to pay off the loan as soon as possible so that the sacrifice is pure. The loan was taken by the Jama’at keeping a positive outlook towards the members, that they will make sacrifices for the construction to attain God’s pleasure.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that one who makes a house of God in this world God will make a house for him in Paradise. Can there be anyone who does not wish for a house in Paradise? No Ahmadi can even think of not attaining God’s pleasure and not wish for the blessing to have a house built in Paradise. It is the beauty of the Jama’at that everywhere in the world, it makes unreserved financial sacrifice. The substance of financial sacrifice that the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) initiated in his companions to take the message of Islam to the ends of the earth and about which he said that he was amazed to see the boundless sincerity and love of his companions, still exists today, a hundred years later in members of the Jama’at. Regardless of which country Ahmadis may belong, they surpass each other in loyalty and sincerity. The New Zealand Jama’at is comprised 60% of people from Fiji, 23% Pakistani immigrants and the rest from varied ethnicities. Thus this small Jama’at made up of diverse people excels in sincerity. It should be remembered that apparent sincerity, temporary sacrifice be it of time or wealth is not sufficient for a true believer. In fact dignity of a true believer is in abiding by Taqwa with resolve and constancy while keeping one’s objective of creation in view.
In this regard the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) explained: ‘Due to their lack of understanding and timidity people of different natures ascertain different goals for their lives and limit them to worldly objectives and desires. However, the objective that God Almighty states in His pure Book is: ‘And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.’ (51:57). In light of this verse, the real objective of man’s life is worship of God and gaining His knowledge and to become God’s.’
It should be remembered that after coming in the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) it is not our aim to make sacrifices borne of temporary enthusiasm. Rather, we need to worship God with constancy and this is possible when one has the awareness that God is the Master of all powers and watches over everything one does, has the knowledge of what is deep in one’s heart and also has knowledge of what one intends to do in the future. Then alone can we say that man is making an effort to become God’s.
We should not worship God only when we need His help, when we are in trouble, when our worldly needs are not being met. In fact we should also pay heed to worship of God in good times. Worldly trade and commerce should not make us distant from worship of God. This mosque should not be reduced to a mere building. Its length and breadth and beauty should not just remind us of our Waqar e Aml performed for it and how much contribution we made for it. In fact this building should remind us that building a mosque in this world will make us the recipient of the blessing of a house in Paradise from God. And this will come to pass when, having made the mosque we will also pay its dues. This comes to pass when, as the verse recited at the beginning states the true believers are those: ‘…whom neither trade nor commerce makes oblivious …’ Indeed, they are not oblivious of the remembrance of Allah, Prayer and Zakat. We Ahmadis should aspire to be such believers.
A Salat centre existed here before, but there is an obvious difference in a Salat centre and a mosque. Aside from the architectural features of a mosque, minaret and dome, a mosque has an air of sanctity. In his 2006 trip to New Zealand, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih had asked the Jama’at to build a proper mosque with the objective that its minaret and dome would remind them that they have built a mosque through sacrificing their time and wealth and also need to fulfil its rights. Additionally, the minaret and the dome are also a point of interest for local people and can be a source of Tabligh. People are drawn to know the true picture of Islam or are merely inquisitive. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said he has observed thus far that with the grace of God the profile of the Jama’at increases manifold with the building of mosques and due to this increase in profile the rights of mosque can be fulfilled.
What are the rights of mosque? Firstly that one’s trade and commerce should not make one distant from remembrance of God, in fact the facade of a mosque should draw one to Salat and remembrance of God. When the call of ‘Come to Salat’ during Adhan is made, one should forget one’s trade and commerce and go to mosque. It can be said that these days mosques are at huge distances and the sound of Adhan is also not heard as it is called internally. Therefore, it should be realised that we have built this mosque to pay the dues of worship of God and to recognise the reason for our creation. Also, it has been mentioned before that these days everyone carries mobile telephones. These should be put to their best use by setting alarms for Salat times. Those who live close by should attend mosques and those who are at long distances should offer their Salat at work. People around them will notice this and will be intrigued. This could lead to inviting friends to mosque and thus one would be remembering God as well as initiating taking the message of Islam to others.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) had generated a revolutionary change among his Companions and the verses recited at the beginning cite their example. They dealt in trades of millions but their hearts were filled with remembrance of God and they were always drawn to financial sacrifice. And it was for this very revolutionary change that in this age, God sent the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessing of Allah be on him), the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) to strengthen connection with God, to safeguard Salat and to make financial sacrifices.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that he often mentions that the stance of the Jama’at in financial sacrifice is very high. However, there is a great need to pay attention to Salat. Mosque should be populated for true observance of Salat is when it is offered in congregation in a mosque and a mosque is built for this very purpose. God states that a true believer is more concerned about the Hereafter than this world. When man reaches old age he is worried and cries to God praying for a good ending. God states that a true believer does not get to this stage in old age, in fact he is drawn to God, to His worship, to purify himself in young age and during times of ease and prosperity. A true believer remembers God day and night with the fear of the Hereafter ever present in his mind. This is how the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) were and the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) came to inculcate this condition in us. He said: ‘One’s heart is ever aggrieved that may Allah the Exalted also bestow the blessings of the Companions on our Jama’at. They may have that truth and honesty that sincerity and obedience instilled in them which the Companions had. They may not fear anyone other than God. May they be righteous because God’s love is with the righteous: ‘…Allah is with the righteous.’ (9:36)’
If we wish for God’s blessings and also wish to include our homes in those homes which are exalted by God’s command, then we need to fill our homes with remembrance of God and keep His fear ever present in our hearts. Concerns about the world, concerns about one’s trade should have no significance compared to fear of God. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) repeatedly asked his Jama’at to inculcate Taqwa and give precedence to God. Paraphrasing the words of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said that even if one gains temporary advantage due to pursuing worldliness, one still feels susceptible. If one becomes God’s, one finds Him as well as the world. As mentioned earlier, the Companions of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) used to deal in commerce running in millions yet they never forgot remembrance of God and never forgot fear of God. In this age we say that after coming into the Bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we have brought pure change in ourselves. However, this change will only avail when it is a real change and is not mere verbal professing. One is rewarded by God with worldly as well as spiritual provisions when one bring about a true and pure change in which Salat is offered for the pleasure of God and other good deeds are also followed. God has not stopped one from doing trade and commerce, what He has said is that this trade and commerce should not make a person distant from His remembrance. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) is known to have said that if we fail to offer Salat what is the difference between us and the others and what is the benefit of taking Bai’at? If we consider ourselves part of the Jama’at then we have to make it clear that we will adapt every word and deed of ours according to the pleasure of God. We will have fear of God in our heart and our sight will more be on the Hereafter than this world.
Expounding this point, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said: ‘Remember, God Almighty’s perfect servants are those about whom it is stated: ‘…whom neither trade nor commerce makes oblivious of the remembrance of Allah…’ When a heart truly connects to God and instils His ardent love, it cannot separate from Him. This condition can be understood from the example of someone’s child being ill. No matter where that person is and no matter what he is occupied with, his heart and mind will be with the child. Similarly, those who inculcate a true connection of love with God Almighty cannot forget God Almighty under any circumstances.’ The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) also said: ‘Worldliness and faith cannot coexist.’ However, he also said: ‘We do not say that a farming person abandons farming or a trader abandons trading or an employee abandons his employment or an industrialist abandons his business and sits uselessly. Rather, we say it should be a matter of: ‘…whom neither trade nor commerce makes oblivious of the remembrance of Allah…’. While they are engaged in their tasks their hearts should remember God. A trader in his trade, a farmer in his agricultural work, a king in his governance, in short whatever task one has to do, one keeps God as one’s objective. And does whatever one wants while keeping His greatness and His authority in view and abiding by what He has enjoined and what He has forbidden in His commandments.’ Hazrat Khalifatul Masih explained that ‘And does whatever one wants’ means that when abiding by all this, one will have no other way to follow but God’s.
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) further said: ‘Fear Allah and then do everything. When does Islam give the teaching that one should abandon trade and sit around like an incapacitated person and rather than serve others, become a burden on them. Not at all! In fact it is a sin to be indolent. How can such a person serve God and His faith and provide for his family who has been entrusted to him by God? It should always be remembered that it is most certainly not God Almighty’s will that the world should be completely abandoned, rather His will is: ‘Surely, he prospers who augments it.’ (91:10) Only those prosper who keep themselves purified. Purify yourself in such a manner that these [worldly] matters do not make you negligent and then your world will become subservient to faith. Man has not been created for the world. If the heart is pure and one is ever eager and ardent to please God, then the world also becomes Halal for a person. Deeds are judged by motives.’
This is the condition that each Ahmadi should inculcate. When we make the pledge to give precedence to faith over worldly matters, it signifies that our worldly matters will be subservient to faith. Fortunate are those among us who have this view and live their life by it. Taking Bai’at and building mosques will be of no avail without it and this Jalsa (NZ) taking place will also be of no avail because it is not a worldly gathering. Its objective is to gain religious knowledge and spiritual beneficence. Pure change more than ever should be instilled with the building of the new mosque. It will InshaAllah also open avenues of Tabligh so practices should be moulded accordingly. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih drew the attention of the New Zealand Jama’at and the auxiliary organisations not to merely rely on traditional ways of Tabligh but find new ways and means to carry it out and introduce Islam as much as possible. He said Maori TV coverage of the event regarding the translation of the Holy Qur’an in Maori language was a source of introduction of the Jama’at and the inauguration of the mosque will further enhance this introduction. God has provided these arrangements and they should be availed for the propagation of Islam to attain God’s pleasure. While paying the dues of worship of God, also exhibit high morals, love, affection and cooperation and thus truly introduce Islam to the people of the region and help remove the misconceptions about Islam. If the resolve is strong even a small Jama’at can undertake this task.
The beautiful mosque has been seen by Ahmadis all over the world through MTA. They would also be interested in some facts and figures about it. The mosque is called Baitul Muqeet and the location is conveniently close to railway station and motorway. The site of under two acres was purchased in 1999 and halls were built here which were used as Salat centre. During his 2006 trip Hazrat Khalifatul Masih advised extending the building. Construction started in July 2012 and was completed in August 2013. The mosque comprises of two storeys. The minaret is 18.5 metres tall. The local council deems the mosque has a capacity of 600 but Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said it can probably accommodate 750 worshippers. 300 people can offer Salat in the old building, taking the total number to a thousand. A Langar Khana has also been incorporated. As it is traditional in the Jama’at great contributions were made for the construction of the mosque, women gave their jewellery and children donated their pocket money. It is said that at two points during the construction there were no funds in the Jama’at account at the end of the month but the contractor had to be paid. The national amila and the auxiliaries promptly collected 100,000 dollars or more to make the payment. With the grace of God some members made sacrifice of more than 100,000 dollars and everyone gave according to their capacity. The New Zealand Jama’at is small but the expense of building a mosque was huge so members made extraordinary sacrifices. May God immensely bless all those who made sacrifices those who could not give financially gave their time and did Waqar e Aml. May God enhance their sincerity and keep their next generation connected to Ahmadiyyat and increase their faith! May they pay the dues of the mosque and also fill their homes with remembrance of God, may they be abound with the spirit of paying the dues of mankind and be drawn to spread the message of real Islam. As mentioned earlier these are days of New Zealand Jalsa, so special attention should be given to prayers during Jalsa. It should be prayed that may God bring about pure changes in all of us and may our hearts have greater fear of God and may the pure changes become a part of our lives and may all the Jalsa attendees be the recipients of the prayers of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) for those who attend Jalsa.
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