Inaugural Friday sermon Baitul Aafiyat Mosque, Philadelphia
- Formal opening of Philadelphia mosque with Friday Sermon
- Key to Philadelphia presented to Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa
- Huzooraa opens Baitus-Samad Mosque, Baltimore
- Huzooraa travels to Central America for the very first time
- Hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims of Central America take Bai‘at
- Opening of Nasir Hospital, Guatemala
On 19 October 2018, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa formally inaugurated the Baitul Aafiyat Mosque in Philadelphia, USA. Huzooraa delivered his weekly Friday Sermon from the mosque, which was broadcast live around the world on MTA International.
In his sermon, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa reminded the worshippers that it is not enough to simply celebrate the opening of the new mosque, rather it is incumbent upon Ahmadi Muslims to fulfil the true purposes of mosques by joining together for the worship of Allah the Almighty and preaching the true, peaceful teachings of Islam.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa called on the worshippers to self-reflect and analyse to see if they are fulfilling the rights owed to mosques.
“Now that this mosque has been inaugurated, the responsibilities of all those who associate themselves to it have become far greater with regard to fulfilling the rights of God and the rights of the creation of God. Only when you fulfil both these responsibilities will you be the recipients of the constant love of Allah the Almighty.”
Baitul Aafiyat Mosque reception
Giving emphasis on the importance of spreading the peaceful teachings of Islam, Huzooraa narrated that the Promised Messiahas had stated that wherever one wishes to propagate Islam, they should build a mosque in that area.
Huzooraa observed that despite a multitude of prayer centres established by different Islamic sects, the Baitul Aafiyat Mosque was the first purpose-built Mosque in Philadelphia.
The plot for the mosque was purchased in 2007 and is based on a four-acre piece of land. The complex hosts a mosque with prayer halls for both men and women capable of accommodating about 700 people, a multi-purpose hall, a missionary’s residence, numerous offices, kitchen and large parking facilities with space for further development.
Later that day, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa delivered the keynote address at a special reception held to mark the inauguration of the Baitul Aafiyat (literally meaning “House of Security”) Mosque in Philadelphia, USA.
The mosque, which is the first purpose-built mosque in Philadelphia, was officially opened earlier in the day when Huzooraa delivered his weekly Friday Sermon. Over 175 dignitaries and guests attended the evening reception held in the new mosque.
The highlight of the event was the keynote address delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa during which he spoke of the true objectives of mosques and stated that freedom of belief is a core tenet of Islamic teachings.
Throughout his address, Huzooraa emphasised the importance of fostering unity and tolerance within society.
“Irrespective of differences of race, religion or social background, we are united as human beings and so it is vital that we interact with other people, rather than isolating ourselves or only mingling with members of our own particular community… For the advancement and evolution of society, and to foster an atmosphere of peace and togetherness, respectful discourse and discussion between people and amongst different communities is vital.”
Referring to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat’s motto of “Love for all, Hatred for None”, His Holiness said the slogan was nothing new, rather it was based directly upon the teachings of the Holy Quran and of the Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him. He said that Islam taught Muslims to respect people of all beliefs and religions.
He cited the example of Ahmadi Muslims living in Philadelphia who immediately offered their support to members of the Jewish community following an attack at a nearby Jewish cemetery.
Explaining the true objective of mosques, Huzooraa said that the primary one is for Muslims to join together and worship the One God. Secondly, Huzoor said, a mosque’s major objective is to function as “a centre for serving mankind.”
“Our mosques increase our determination to spread peace and to cultivate bonds of brotherhood and mutual affection with people from all walks of life and to eliminate all forms of hatred, bigotry and division from society.”
Before the keynote address by Huzooraa, a range of dignitaries also addressed the audience, whilst the Amir of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat USA, Dr Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad Sahib introduced Huzooraa prior to the keynote address.
The Mayor of Philadelphia, James Kenny presented the key to the city of Philadelphia to Huzooraa as a show of respect and appreciation. “I am delighted that you now have a beautiful new place to worship,” he said. “Philadelphia’s history is based on being a place for religious freedom. It is part of its family principles. Our city was built on the idea that while we may be different in nationality and ethnicity, this city welcomes all to worship and practice the faith of our culture of our choosing… The opening of this mosque is a testament to our unity and to our harmony. Muslims are the central part of the American establishment.”
The Mayor of Philadelphia, James Kenny presenting the key to the city of Philadelphia to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V a.a.
Congressman Honourable Dwight Evans, Member of the United States Congress, said:
“This is really an honour to be here today, to welcome His Holiness to the great city of Philadelphia, to the city of brotherly love and sisterly affection. On behalf of the Philadelphians I would like to say to the Muslim community that your message of peace [is] welcome here… I want you to know that we stand with you against hatred, prejudice and wilds.”
Prior to the reception, the Mayor of Philadelphia, James Kenny and Congressman Dwight Evans were able to have a personal audience with Huzooraa. Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa also met members of the assembled media and answered questions about the objectives of the new Mosque and other related issues.
On 22 October 2018, at 12:10pm local time, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa arrived in Guatemala for his first ever visit to Central America. Huzooraa had travelled specially to inaugurate the Nasir Hospital, a large-scale humanitarian project of Humanity First.
Arrival in Guatemala
After landing in Guatemala City after a flight from Houston, Texas, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa was greeted at the airport by Guatemala’s National Congresswoman, Iliana Calles. During a meeting with Huzooraa, the Congresswoman offered her deep appreciation to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat regarding the Nasir Hospital project. She said that it was very much needed and would be a means to serve humanity and the underprivileged in particular.
At 1:10pm, Huzoor travelled by road to the city of Antigua.
It is for the first time that Huzooraa has travelled to Central America to meet local members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat and to directly deliver Islam’s true teachings of peace, justice and humanity.
Later in the day, Huzooraa visited the Baitul Awwal Mosque in Guatemala, which had been inaugurated by Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IVrh in 1989.
Huzooraa inspected the mosque before meeting hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims hailing from various Central and Southern American countries, including Guatemala, Belize, Paraguay and others.
Emotional scenes were witnessed as various Ahmadi Muslims expressed their joy when meeting their beloved Imam and hosting him. They had the chance to ask Huzooraa various questions during the moving and faith inspiring session. Later, after leading the Maghrib and Isha prayers at the mosque, Huzooraa initiated the Bai‘at in which hundreds of Ahmadi Muslims pledged obedience to Khilafat and entered the fold of Islam Ahmadiyyat at Huzoor’s hand for the first time. During the ceremony, those converting to Islam could be seen deeply moved by emotions.
The following day, on 23 October 2018, Huzooraa inaugurated the Nasir Hospital – an event among the highlights of his blessed tour.
Before travelling to Guatemala, Huzooraa had travelled to Houston and Baltimore in the USA.
The events that took place there will be reported in our next issue.