During the second phase of his historical tour of the United States of America, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa blessed the City of Allen with his presence. Allen is a city in Collin County in the US state of Texas and a northern suburb of Dallas. There, Huzooraa unveiled a commemorative plaque to mark the opening of the Bait-ul-Ikram Mosque on Monday, 3 October and officially inaugurated the mosque with his Friday Sermon, delivered on 7 October.
Reception to mark the inauguration of Bait-ul-Ikram Mosque
On 9 October, a reception ceremony was organised by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to mark the inauguration of the mosque. This event was also graced by Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa. The event was attended by many non-Muslim guests, including federal, state, county and city officials. Attendees came from ten different countries and hundreds of different cities. The event was also simultaneously translated into various major languages and broadcast live by MTA International for its global audience.
The event started with the recitation of verses 126 to 129 of Surah Al-Baqarah and verse 30 of Surah Al-Araf of the Holy Quran by Syed Labeeb Janood Sahib followed by its English translation, delivered by Ibrahim Naeem Sahib. Then, Amjad Mahmood Khan Sahib (Secretary Umur-e-Kharijiyyah USA) welcomed the attendees and presented a brief introduction to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He also gave a brief introduction to the Bait-ul-Ikram Mosque. The entire mosque complex, he informed, expanded over 3.87 acres and served the 600 members of the Community who lived in and around the area.
The first guest speaker was Honorable Carl Clemencich, a member of the City Council of the City of Allen. Mr Clemencich called it an honour to join the reception event and congratulated the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He praised the efforts of the Jamaat towards peace and service to mankind. He then said, “Behind these acts of service is great leadership and that is why we are so grateful His Holiness has chosen to visit Allen to inaugurate this beautiful mosque. Your Holiness! The message of peace Justice and service to mankind that you are spreading throughout the world is just what we need right here, right now. The city of Allen is fortunate that such a peace-loving and service-oriented community has decided to settle down here and build such a beautiful mosque. It is my wish that this mosque becomes a ‘beacon of hope’, not just for the city but for all those around it.”
He also presented the key to the city of Allen to Huzooraa on behalf of the mayor and city council of Allen.
Professor Dr Robert Hunt was next to present his remarks. He is the Director of Global Theological Education at Southern Methodist University’s Perkins School of Theology. Dr Hunt thanked the Jamaat for inviting him. He said that we are looking forward to the visionary address of Huzoor-e-Anwaraa. He stressed the importance of religious harmony and said, “It is my hope that the opening of this mosque and the visit of His Holiness will encourage us all to redouble our efforts to create, through dialogue, a peaceful harmonious and respectful society not only here in North Texas but across the globe.”
The Honorable Michael McCall was the final guest speaker to share his remarks. He is a member of the United States Congress, serving Texas’s 10th District. He serves as the ranking Republican chair of the House on the House Foreign Affairs committee. He is also serving as co-chair of the Ahmadiya Muslim Congressional caucus.
Congressman McCall said in his remarks that it was an honour for him to be at this historic event. This was the second time he had had the opportunity to attend an event with Huzooraa, he said. Addressing the attendees of the ceremony, he said that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat had faced a lot of opposition but had always stood up for freedom of religion. He said, we could learn a lot from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community about peace and forgiveness. The congressman then read out and presented a resolution to Huzur-e-Anwaraa, in which Huzooraa has been welcomed and his unwavering efforts towards world peace have been recognised. He also added, “[His Holiness] delivered the keynote address at a special bipartisan reception at the Rayburn House Office building on Capitol Hill on 27 June 2012 […] Your Holiness! I look forward to having you back at our nation’s capitol to address us again.”
Address by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa at the Reception
After that, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih Vaa blessed the gathering with an address. He began by reciting the basmalah and then thanked Allah the Exalted for enabling the Jamaat to build the mosque. Huzooraa also thanked the guests for accepting the Community’s invitation to attend the reception event and everyone who may have supported the project in any way.
He then briefly outlined the two principal objectives underlying any mosque built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He said, “Firstly, our mosques serve as places for our members to congregate to fulfil their religious duties of worshipping God Almighty. Secondly, our mosques enable us to serve God’s creation and to propagate Islam’s teachings.”
Huzooraa then removed the possible fears and reservations of the neighbours by reassuring them that “This mosque will never cause you or your fellow citizens any harm or distress. Rather than sowing seeds of discord and disharmony in society, this mosque will serve as a unifying force for good.” Giving the example of the Kaaba, Huzooraa said that it was a symbol of universal peace and security for all peoples and nations. Hence, when Muslims faced the Kaaba while praying in any mosque, they were required to follow the same objectives.
Addressing an allegation made by the opponents of Islam, namely that Islam was an extremist religion that promoted violence and warfare, Huzooraa said, nothing could be further from the truth. Huzooraa said, “Islam’s teachings do not permit Muslims to engage in warfare or resort to the use of force except in the most extreme circumstances where war is waged unjustly against them and there is a direct attempt to destroy and eliminate Islam. In early Islam, the conditions were so grave that Allah the Almighty permitted the Muslims to defend themselves to uphold and defend the principle of universal religious freedom,” never for any personal revenge. Huzooraa then explained, how the early Muslims, abided by the highest moral standards and stringent rules of engagement even though their lives and properties were under the gravest threat.
While interpreting verse 126 of Surah al-Baqarah regarding the Holy Ka’bah, Huzooraa said, “Allah the Almighty states that He built the Sacred House as a refuge from evil and as an abode of peace and security for all mankind to join together. This verse reiterates the duty of Muslims to live in peace and harmony with all members of society and to bestow peace and security to others. Consequently, if a person fails to be a source of peace for others, he or she cannot call themselves a true Muslim.”
Then, Huzooraa interpreted verse 64 of Surah al-Furqan and said, the verse “instructs Muslims on how to respond to ignorant or hostile people who taunt or speak unkindly to them. Rather than reacting indignantly, Allah the Almighty instructs Muslims to keep their dignity in the face of provocation, to remain patient and to respond by saying ‘peace be upon you’ and to take leave of the situation. The Quran teaches that rather than confront aggression and provocation in a light fashion, Muslims should set aside their pride and respond by conveying a message of peace and avoid all forms of conflict […]”.
Huzooraa explained that the God, presented by the Holy Quran, was the Lord of All Mankind, which required a Muslim “to bestow comfort, to be a source of peace and to establish love and harmony with all other people, rather than be a person who causes humanity grief or suffering. A true Muslim is one who shoulders the burden of others and feels their pain and sorrow as though it was their own.” It was in this spirit that we built our mosques, Huzooraa said.
Highlighting some of the humanitarian services of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Huzooraa said that apart from building mosques, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, inspired by its faith, also constructed hospitals, medical clinics, schools, clean water facilities and ran a multitude of other humanitarian projects, such as sending humanitarian relief teams to those places afflicted by natural disasters. He emphasised that all such services and help were rendered irrespective of nationality, ethnicity, religion or belief and that the Community sought no reward as their only objective and heartfelt desire was to alleviate the suffering of mankind. “Serving humanity is our mission and purpose because Islam has taught us that we must not only fulfil the rights of God Almighty but also the rights of his creation,” Huzooraa said.
Huzooraa then told the attendees that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community considered it their responsibility to convey Islam’s true message of peace and security to the entire world and to play a foremost role in that regard. He then spoke of the purpose of the advent of the Promised Messiahas in accordance with the prophecies of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa and how he corrected the wrongful notions regarding religious warfare that had crept into the beliefs of Muslims.
“Hence,” Huzooraa said, “the local people in Dallas have no need to fear this mosque. So, I urge anyone who has any doubt or fears to breathe a sigh of relief in the knowledge that this new mosque, built by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, will only ever represent and reflect Islam’s enlightened teachings of peace, respect and tolerance. Our teaching is not to confront those who have different beliefs from us but to embrace them. Our teaching is not to attack our opponents, but to defend them and their rights. Rest assured, this mosque will radiate nothing but love, compassion and sympathy for mankind. Those who enter this mosque shall be those who seek to contribute to and serve society in the best possible way.”
Huzooraa then addressed the current perilous state of the world and said, “Unquestionably, today the world teeters on the brink of disaster as nations around the world are engulfed by a ferocious storm of political, economic and social unrest. The war in Ukraine has been raging for months and dark clouds indicating even greater turmoil and warfare are hovering ominously above us. Opposing political blocs and reliances have become progressively entrenched as the world becomes increasingly polarised. The result is that the peace and security of the world is unravelling by the day. Until recently, threatening to unleash nuclear weapons was considered unthinkable but now such threats are uttered on an almost daily basis.” Huzooraa then explained how the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had been, for many years, striving to highlight the volatile state of the world to world leaders as well as the ordinary public and urging them to set aside any differences that exist for the greater good. Huzooraa said, “I have always sought to make people understand the true value of peace and to make them aware of the risks of divisive and unjust policies that serve only to ferment unrest and lead to frustrations that are bound to erupt and boil over eventually. We must urge our leaders and politicians to step back from the precipice because there is no doubt that if a global war erupts, it will be unlike anything the world has ever seen.”
Huzooraa further said, “My ardent request and message to the world is that we must set aside our differences and work tirelessly to foster peace in society.”
While urging everyone to play an active role in the pursuit of peace, Huzooraa said, “Wherever there is cruelty or injustice, we must condemn it. We must urge our political leaders that instead of propelling our nations towards war and rather than raising the temperature through threats of retribution and violence, they should endeavour to cool the tensions that exist both at an international level and within nations, through diplomacy and wisdom. They must ensure that the peace and security of the world remains their paramount objective.”
Huzooraa urged Muslims, Christians, Jews, Hindus, Sikhs and all those who do not believe in God or subscribe to any faith to come together for the sake of humanity and especially urged religious people to pray for true and lasting peace in the world to emerge. Huzooraa then prayed, that the world may be saved from all forms of destruction and devastation and may God Almighty have mercy upon the world.
In the end, Huzooraa said, “I pray that our new mosque here in Dallas forever serves as an abode of peace and prosperity for all mankind. May its spiritual light illuminate its surroundings and eternally shine forth as a symbol of peace and humanity.”
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa then thanked the attendees once more, before leading everyone in silent prayer and the reception came to a successful conclusion.