Safeer Ahmad Siddiqui, Missionary, Almere, Holland
Allah Almighty states in the Holy Quran:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَالْإِنسَ إِلَّا لِيَعْبُدُونِ
“And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship Me.” (Surah al-Dhariyat, Ch.51: V.57)
The primary purpose of our creation is to worship our Creator to the best of our ability. The most suitable place for a Muslim to carry out worship of Allah Almighty is a mosque. The first house of God, the Holy Ka‘bah, in the Holy Quran has been declared a place of peace for all of mankind. Allah Almighty states:
اِنَّ اَوَّلَ بَیۡتٍ وُّضِعَ لِلنَّاسِ لَلَّذِیۡ بِبَکَّۃَ مُبٰرَکًا وَّ ہُدًی لِّلۡعٰلَمِیۡنَ۔ فِیۡہِ اٰیٰتٌۢ بَیِّنٰتٌ مَّقَامُ اِبۡرٰہِیۡمَ ۚ وَ مَنۡ دَخَلَہٗ کَانَ اٰمِنًا
“Surely, the first House founded for mankind is that at Bakkah, abounding in blessings and a guidance for all peoples. In it are manifest Signs; it is the place of Abraham; and whoso enters it, enters peace.” (Surah Al-e-Imran, Ch.3: V.97-98)
There are also countless sayings of the Holy Prophet, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, regarding the importance and significance of mosques. Once, the Holy Prophetsa said:
“O ye people, praise Allah. Whoever builds a mosque for Allah, Allah the Exalted shall build a house for such a one in paradise.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab al-Salat)
The Holy Prophetsa said on another occasion:
“To Allah, the most adored places are the mosques”. (Sahih Muslim, Kitab al-Masajid wa Mawadhi as-Salat)
Following the model of the Ka‘bah and the practice of the Holy Prophetsa, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya is earnestly engaged in building mosques across the globe. The Promised Messiahas and the Khulafa have always paid special attention and emphasis towards the construction of mosques in every corner of the world.
The Promised Messiahas said:
“At present, there is a pressing need for our Jamaat to build mosques. A mosque is a house of God. Be it a city or a village, wherever our mosque is built consider it being the building block for the development of the Jamaat in that area. If there is a village or city where there are no or very few Muslims and promulgation of Islam is required, then just construct a mosque there. Allah will indeed Himself attract Muslims to that place. But there is a condition that the mosque shall be built with very true and honest intentions [i.e. only for God Almighty].” (Malfuzat, Vol 7, p. 119)
Baitul Afiyat Mosque of Holland is a picturesque manifestation of every word expressed by the Promised Messiahas in the above statement. Before the construction of Baitul Afiyat, there were only two families in the city of Almere.
A few months later, after the completion of the mosque, by the grace of God Almighty, there has been a sudden increase in the members of the Jamaat in Almere and the total number has equaled the capacity of worshippers which the mosque can accommodate.
Raised from the sea, Almere is purpose-built city of Holland. Its construction began on 20 September 1975. The meaning of Almere is “a huge lake” or according to some lexicons, it means “a modern lake”. It is home to more than 200,000 inhabitants from diverse races and ethnic groups. Baitul Afiyat is the seventh mosque in this city and the first of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya.
Every success and progress of the Jamaat is due to the blessings of Khilafat. The construction of Baitul Afiyat Mosque in Almere was also made possible through the guidance and prayers of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper. The project of Baitul Afiyat Mosque was initiated as a result of the blessed instruction of Huzooraa.
Addressing the Holland Jamaat in 2007, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“You should remember that one of the best means of capturing other people’s attention towards you is to build mosques and I want to draw your attention towards this. Currently, there is only one purpose-built mosque in Holland located in The Hague and it was built nearly 50 years ago. Even then, the expenses of that mosque were given by Lajna, the Lajna of Pakistan in particular. Thereafter, this center of Nunspeet was purchased and even this place, where we are offering the Friday Prayer right now, was bought by the Markaz.
“Thus far, the Jamaat of Holland has not built even a single mosque. Presently, you are in such numbers here that if you decide and harvest a capacity for sacrifice, you can build mosques one after another. When you will initiate the work, Allah will also help you, Insha-Allah. A great sign of being the best of ummah is that you have full trust in God. When you believe in God, you should also put your trust in Him and as I have just said, when you will start this task of building mosques Allah will help you, Insha-Allah.
“Yesterday I was telling Amir Sahib and missionaries during a meeting that once you start constructing mosques, they will eventually be built, Insha-Allah. If you are fearful of taking it upon yourselves, thinking about where the expenses will come from and when the money will be collected for its construction, then you will never be able to build it. If you make a resolve, Allah Almighty will surely help you, Insha-Allah … Therefore, you need not worry; you should not underestimate yourselves and you should not have wrong opinions about yourselves. By doing so, you are not having wrong opinions about yourselves, but in fact you are having wrong opinions about the blessings of Allah Almighty. If you have faith, then you should believe in the blessings of God. If you set a target that you will at least build one mosque in a city where Ahmadis are in reasonable number (there are two or three cities of such kind), then the Jamaat will spread in abundance, Insha-Allah.
“As I have said earlier, carry out the tabligh and continue to build mosques. As this is a small country, when mosques are built here, and the call of Allah’s unity resonates from its minarets and you advance in good deeds and worship, then the wrong opinions of the people shall certainly be eliminated and you will be the ones to remove them and you will become the beneficiaries of Allah Almighty’s blessings. These people will know the truth as well and they will also realise that whatever they think or used to think about Islam is not right in reality, but rather it is a religion of those who are spreading peace and beauty. Hence, along with promulgation, you should also pay special attention towards the construction of mosques.” (Friday Sermon, Nunspeet, Holland, 5 January 2007)
Against all the odds, when Allah Almighty wills, paths begin to open. Likewise, the city of Almere was selected for the construction of a mosque when an Ahmadi, Mehbub Ilahi Ranjha Sahib, who lives there, contacted the council in this regard. Thereafter, a mutual connection was established with the city council. The council suggested a land for the construction of a mosque.
In 2008, a centre by the name of Baitul Mahmud was purchased in the city of Amsterdam as an expression of gratitude for the Khilafat Jubilee. Huzooraa also visited this place in 2008. During the same trip, Huzooraa went to Almere for the first time and visited the council’s proposed land. Eventually, the council itself refused to give the place because of a great protest from the locals.
The council then proposed another location, but this time, the Jamaat refused because the place was not suitable for the construction of the mosque. Thereafter, the Jamaat’s administration felt that there was no hope. In fact, the interaction with the council was almost over.
A few months later, unexpectedly, the council contacted the Jamaat and suggested another place for building the mosque. When the Jamaat surveyed the land, everyone liked the place. Upon the approval of Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa, the land was purchased. Huzooraa named the mosque to be built on this land “Baitul Afiyat”.
After purchasing the land, the administration was worried because the council had mentioned while suggesting this place that an anti-Islamic group might object to the construction of the mosque at this place, which could halt its construction. The Jamaat wrote a letter seeking prayers to Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa. The effect of this prayer was such that it appeared as if the anti-Islamic party went to sleep, and during the period in which it had a legal right to object, the party did not object and thus there was no stopping in the construction of the mosque.
Amir Sahib Holland has formed a committee known as the CMC (Central Mosque Committee) for the construction of mosques and to purchase centres. This committee had the opportunity to take all the important decisions regarding the mosque. Moreover, the members had the honour of taking guidance from Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa. The members of this committee include Hibatunnoer Verhagen Sahib (Amir Jamaat Holland), Abdul Hameed van der Velden Sahib (Naib Amir Jamaat, appointed as the president of the committee), Naeem Ahmad Waraich Sahib (Missionary In-charge), Hamid Karim Mahmud Sahib (missionary), Muzaffar Hussain Sahib (National General Secretary), Hanif Handrekas Sahib (National Secretary of Estate), Azhar Ali Naeem Sahib (National Secretary of Foreign Affairs), Abdul Haq Compier Sahib, Abdul Basit Sahib and Shahid Fras Sahib.
The architect of this mosque is a friend of the Jamaat, Farhan Ilahi Bakhsh Sahib. During the construction of this mosque, according to the direction of Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa, Akram Ahmadi Sahib of IAAAE continued to oversee the mosque committee. The supervisor of this project was Azhar Ali Naeem Sahib and the president of Holland mosque fund was Abdul Basit Sahib.
The level of sacrifice and passion amongst Holland Jamaat members can be estimated in that there was no delay, even for a moment, during the construction of the mosque due to expenses.
The administration of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Holland all express that they do not know who gave the money and where the money came from, but members of the Jamaat continued to provide financial support and ensured the construction of the mosque.
The land of the mosque was purchased in 2012 and it totalled 1436 square metres. This piece of land was purchased for 276,000 euros. The area on which the mosque is built is 634 square metres. The total cost for the construction of the mosque was close to 1.8 million euros.
The building of the mosque consists of two storeys. Downstairs is a multipurpose hall along with two offices for men and women respectively. Upstairs is a mission house of the Jamaat and the mosque itself. During the period of construction, the community purchased 247 square meters of extra land. Now the total area of the mosque amounts to 1,683 square meters.
The foundation stone of Baitul Afiyat Mosque was laid on 7 October 2015 by Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa. Thereafter, Hazrat Syeda Amatus Sabooh Begum Sahiba placed the second brick, and then various Jamaat office-bearers and individuals had the honour of placing a brick.
The foundation stone ceremony was attended by more than 55 guests. The Deputy Lord Mayor of Almere, Frits Huis welcomed Huzooraa to the city and said in his address:
“Both His Holiness and I were born in the same year, but His Holiness has far more wisdom than me and hence, I will keep my comments extremely brief. It is much more important for us all to listen to him. All I wish to add is that the key principle of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is peace and so you are extremely welcome in Almere.”
Highlighting the true teaching of Islam, the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said:
“Alongside laying the foundation stone, I wish to let the people of this city know that we have named the Mosque as ‘Baitul Aafiyat’ and this means a ‘House of Peace and Security for all people’.”
Referring to a couplet written by the Promised Messiahas, Huzooraa said:
“The Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community wrote that the entire world was consumed by danger and peril, so he had been sent to provide peace, security and refuge to all mankind. Therefore, every Ahmadi Mosque, no matter where in the world it is built, is an abode of peace, security and shelter for all of humanity.”
Furthermore, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa said:
“In our own personal lives, if we build a house, we seek to ensure that it is a place where we feel protected, safe and is a place where we can live with true peace of mind and comfort. Hence, in terms of building a House of God, how is it possible that we could ever seek to construct a Mosque that is a means of spreading harm or a threat to anyone? … It is incumbent on a true Muslim to exhibit love and compassion towards all others and to be guardians of the peace of society. Let it be clear, therefore, that this mosque, whose foundation stone is being laid today, will prove to be a glorious symbol of peace, security and sanctuary for all.”
May Allah the Almighty grant the Jamaat strength to build mosques in every city of the world, so that this religion of “peace” conquers the hearts of humanity and establishes the unity of Allah.