We learn from the writings and sayings of the Promised Messiahas that he had a very strong desire to propagate the message of Islam to every part and all peoples of the world.
Hazrat Munshi Abdullah Sanorira, a close companion of Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, narrates that when Hazrat Ahmadas was initially informed by Allah the Almighty that he was the one appointed to reform the world, he published a one-page announcement to declare this to the world. The announcement was published in Urdu with a twenty-thousand run, and its English translation was printed afterwards printed at the back of the sheet. While declaring his Divinely granted status, he also challenged adherents of any religion of the world to come forward and test the truthfulness of Islam before him.
Hazrat Munshi Sahibra relates that he was given the responsibility to make arrangements to post the announcement to any and every part of the world where mail could possibly be sent from India. Addresses were painstakingly collected of kings, queens, ministers, religious leaders and other influential persons and the tract was sent out by mail.
The successors of the Promised Messiahas always placed his desire of propagating Islam from the East to the West as their foremost priority. Hazrat Hakim Maulvi Nuruddinra, his first successor, initiated the first mission in Europe by sending a missionary to London. Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, the second successor of the Promised Messiahas, followed suit with his grand vision of spreading Islam to the corners of the Earth. Germany was always of particular importance in his grand scheme of westward outreach. He saw it as the gateway to Eastern Europe which could potentially pave the way for Islam entering Russia. He had only voiced his desire for a mosque in Berlin that the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas, well known around the globe for its financial sacrifices in the way of Allah, presented to him as much as they possibly could. Since the direct addressees of this scheme were Ahmadi women, they took this as an opportunity to prove that they were in no way behind their male counterparts when it came to sacrifice.
It was in 1923 that Maulvi Mubarak Ali Sahib, a missionary of the Jamaat in England, was sent to Germany to assess the possibility of establishing a mission in Germany. Malik Ghulam Farid Sahib was sent from Qadian to join him in Germany. Malik Sahib set sail on 26 November 1923, arriving in Germany on 18 December 1923. Along came a drastic slump in the German economy which resulted in all estimates turning upside down. Where a missionary could live reasonably in six pounds a month, it turned out that it would take twenty-five to live merely on the breadline. The estimate of the expenditure on the mosque – initially given at thirty-thousand rupees – soared up to fifteen-hundred thousand.
The project had to be put aside and it was decided by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra that the funds, energy, time and effort – thus far saved for Berlin – be rather invested in the London mission. This saw the Fazl Mosque being established in London in 1924.
The time we are looking at was, in retrospect, more of an interval between the two world wars than a time of peace; hardly having recovered from the First World War, the world was struck by the Second.
It was after World War II that another attempt was launched at establishing a mission in Germany. With this task at hand arrived in Hamburg Chaudhry Abdul Latif Sahib.
Al Fazl, on 21 January 1949, published a letter by Hafiz Qudratullah Sahib – then a missionary in Amsterdam – requesting prayers for Chaudhry Abdul Latif who had departed from Amsterdam to establish a mission in Germany. Further reports in Al Fazl suggest that he successfully established a mission – although on a small scale – in Hamburg. A report in Al Fazl issue of 26 June 1949 has it that Chaudhry Abdul Latif Sahib organised a meeting of the locals to introduce them to the teachings of Islam. This meeting, as reported in Al Fazl, was held in a hall named “Debnicke” in the heart of Hamburg.
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This was a quick glance at how the German mission was established in the time of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra; a mission that has grown from strength to strength and continues to do so under the blessed guidance of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih. But what became of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II’s desire for a mosque in Berlin?
Well, Allah the Almighty never lets his beloved people down and He has His own ways of manifesting His omnipotence. A mosque in Berlin was to be built but in the time of the fifth successor of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa. Khadija Mosque, as named by Huzooraa, has become an iconic building in Berlin not only on the skyline of the city but also on its social, religious and cultural canvas.