Friday Sermon delivered by Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba) on September 30, 2022, at Fath-e-Azeem Mosque, Zion, Illinois, USA
After reciting tashahhud and ta’awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) said:
Today, you have all gathered here for the inauguration of the mosque in Zion. Allah the Almighty has granted Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya USA the opportunity to build this mosque and in such a city which holds a special significance with regards to the history of the Jamaat. Two days ago, a journalist asked me why this mosque was of such significance. I mentioned to her that all the mosques hold great importance for us. She thought that perhaps I have only come especially for this mosque. I told her I have previously travelled to inaugurate other mosques as well. In any case, I told her that this mosque does have a special significance however, and that is owing to the fact that it has been built in a city which was established by an opponent of Islam. Those who have an interest in history, they will try and learn about the history and background of this city. However, apart from our Jamaat, no one knows about this city’s history or about Dowie. Therefore, the Jamaat has set up an exhibition which sheds light on its history in relation to the Jamaat. Those who take a keen interest in this will be able to derive benefit to some extent from this exhibition. [The journalist] may even write an article tomorrow on this as well. In any case, as I mentioned, given the historical significance of this city, and the fact that there was a false claimant who used ill language against the Promised Messiah (as), and who then later died, and then for the Jamaat to be established here are all such aspects which will, and should, make every Ahmadi express their gratitude to Allah the Almighty.
In light of the instruction of the Holy Prophet (sa), we also express our gratitude to the people of this city. Despite the fact that the council initially opposed the construction of the mosque and rejected the proposal, the people of this city stood in our support and compelled the council to permit us to build a mosque.
It is the guidance of the Holy Prophet (sa) that whoso is not grateful towards people, is not grateful to Allah the Almighty as well. (Jami’ at-Tirmidhi, Abwab-ul-Bir wa al-Silah, Hadith 1954). In accordance with this guidance, we should express our gratitude to that Magnificent God, Who enabled us to build this mosque. As such, this is not merely a day to rejoice for us Ahmadis, but it is also a day to express our immense gratitude to God Who, along with the construction of this mosque, also manifested to us a living sign of the Imam of the age and the ardent Devotee (as) of the Holy Prophet (sa).
I will also mention a few aspects from the historical records of that time, which shed light on its significance, the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (as) as well as the testimony of the people who acknowledged this sign. The more we express our gratitude, the greater the blessings of God Almighty will be bestowed upon us and the signs of the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (as) will continue to be revealed to us. Hence, it is our expressing of gratitude that will make us a witness to the truthfulness of those signs. There is no doubt that Allah the Almighty has vouchsafed countless promises to the Promised Messiah (as) in relation to the progress of the Jamaat. Allah the Almighty has shown the progress of the Jamaat and will continue to show you its progress. However, we will only truly be able to witness and be part of this progress when we become grateful to Allah the Almighty, act in accordance with His commandments and fulfil the rights we owe to Him. There are countless promises, which we have seen fulfilled during our lifetime. Allah the Almighty manifests the fulfilment of each of His promise at its appropriate time.
If this [mosque]is not a manifestation of the fulfilment of His promises then what is it? Today, Allah the Almighty enabled the Jamaat to build a mosque in the city belonging to a false claimant and an enemy of Islam, whose destruction had been prophesied by the Promised Messiah (as) 120 years ago after being informed by Allah the Almighty about it. Moreover, this opponent had announced that no Muslim would be able to enter the city until they had converted to Christianity. Thus, these are the works of Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty proved the falsehood and ultimately destroyed such an individual, who was extremely wealthy and held great worldly esteem. On the other hand, Allah the Almighty granted the means to propagate the claim of His appointed one – who came from a small village in Punjab, and whose claim was in relation to the rejuvenation of Islam – to reach 220 countries of the world. However, is this where our responsibility ends? Is it enough for us that we have built a mosque in a small city in America and that the Jama’at has made progress? Certainly not.
In fact, Allah the Almighty has made the entire world an arena for the Promised Messiah (as). We must bring small cities, large cities and entire countries into the servitude of the Holy Prophet (sa). Based on the means we have, this seems like a grand task, yet despite all of this, this duty has been entrusted to us and this too is a promise made by Allah the Almighty to the Promised Messiah (as). However, the Promised Messiah (as) has stated that all of this work being carried out is nothing but our humble efforts; along with this, what we truly require are prayers, for it is through prayer that this task can be achieved. Hence, we must always keep in mind this important aspect which is to focus on prayers. The very reason for building mosques is to allow people to gather for worship; so that they may present themselves before Allah the Almighty five times a day; so they become regular in the Friday prayers and so that amidst the attractions and pastimes of the world, they do not forget their worship. If we forsake our worship, then building this mosque will be nothing more than having built a physical structure. Although we will be telling the world that a mosque has been built here by the Muslims, our actions will not be of the standard in the sight of Allah the Almighty that can allow us to reap the blessings of this mosque or to be considered amongst the true helpers of the Promised Messiah (as). The Promised Messiah (as) has stated that one should become his helper through constant prayer in order to see the fulfilment of the blessings of Allah the Almighty as swiftly as possible.
Hence, it is the duty of every one of us today to make worship a part of our lives in order for our prayers to reach the stage of acceptance. We must also inculcate the habit of prayer within our children as well. We must offer our prayers in the manner taught by Allah the Almighty. We must sincerely bow before Allah the Almighty and implore Him for further victories. How fortunate will those among us be, who attain all of this and then witness the blessings of Allah the Almighty raining down? If we elevate the standards of our prayers and give precedence to our faith over the world, then we will see the fulfilment of Allah the Almighty’s promises to the Promised Messiah (as) within our lifetime. Therefore, we must give due attention towards our own conditions. Having come to these developed countries, do not become immersed in worldly endeavours. In the recent past, new asylum seekers have arrived here; do not become immersed in worldliness. Every mosque that is built here should bring about in us a new passion, zeal and connection with Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty will certainly fulfil His promises; it should not be that due to our actions, their fulfilment is delayed or that they are fulfilled through others or those who come after us whereas we remain deprived.
Allah the Almighty had promised the victory of Islam to the Holy Prophet (sa), and who could be more beloved to Allah the Almighty than the Holy Prophet (sa)? However despite this, on the occasion of the Battle of Badr, had his fervour, humility, fear and prayers not reached an extraordinarily high level? His fervour was such that his cloak constantly fell off of his shoulders and then when Hazrat Abu Bakr(ra) submitted,
“O Messenger (sa) of Allah, Allah the Almighty has promised victory and help, why then are you so restless?” Upon this, the Holy Prophet (sa) said, “Allah the Almighty is Self-Sufficient. Even in victory there are hidden conditions. Hence, it is my duty to seek Allah the Almighty’s help with great humility.” (Malfuzat [English]Vol. 1, p. 10)
Then, despite the constant enemy attacks on various occasions and despite them trying to cause harm in every possible way, Allah the Almighty granted such a grand victory a few years later, the likes of which have never before been seen or heard of in history, where not only did the enemies bent on taking his life become Muslims, but they became those who loved him and became a practical example of those prepared to lay down their lives for him. They proved to the world that no one could reach the Holy Prophet (sa) without first crossing over their dead bodies. However, those people who were destined for disgrace and humiliation, Allah the Almighty utterly destroyed them.
The Promised Messiah (as) states that it was the supplications of the one who had lost himself in God which brought about this revolution. (Barkat-ul-Dua, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 6, p. 11)
Today, it is the prayers of the true servant of the one who had lost himself in God which will be fulfilled at the right time and will bring the world into the servitude of the Holy Prophet (sa). However, the Promised Messiah (as) states, “Those of you who associate themselves with me should help me with their prayers and actions.”
Today, we are sat in this mosque for its inauguration and it’s named the Fath-e-Azeem Mosque. This mosque has been given this name based on a divine revelation and prophecy of the Promised Messiah (as). Upon receiving the revelation from Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah (as) prophesied the death of Dowie and stated,
“This sign, which we will be a great victory, is going to manifest very soon.” (Haqiqatul-Wahi, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 22, p. 511 [Footnote]).
And the world witnessed how within 15 to 20 days, Allah the Almighty destroyed Dowie in a humiliating manner. The manner in which Allah the Almighty treated him before his death requires a detailed exposition of its own. In any case, upon receiving news from Allah the Almighty, the Promised Messiah (as) declared this sign as a great victory. Today, we enter the next stage [of this victory]by inaugurating a mosque in this very city. We witnessed the fulfilment of one aspect of this revelation approximately 115 years ago and today we are witnessing the fulfilment of another aspect. Around 115 to 120 years ago, the secular newspapers of the time published the challenge issued by the Promised Messiah (as) in their newspapers and then also published the news of Dowie’s death. Thus, this was a sign of God Almighty which the world accepted. I will not be able to cover a lot, but nevertheless I shall mention some details of the news as published by a newspaper. On June 23 1907, The Sunday Herald Boston wrote an introduction of the Promised Messiah (as), his claim and also the challenge he had issued. It also wrote with regards to Dowie. I shall present some of the quotes from that very newspaper. The heading which it gave to its news article read as follows: “Great is Mirza Ghulam Ahmad The Messiah – Foretold pathetic end of Dowie, and now he predicts plague, flood and earthquake.”
It further states:
“Twenty-three were the days of August in 1903 when Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, India, foretold the death of Alexander Dowie, yclept Elijah III., which took place last March.”
It further states:
“The Indian gentleman has been well known in the eastern pastures of the world for many years. His claim is that he is ‘the true Messiah who was to come in the last ages,’ and that God has showered him with grace. He first came to the attention of the United States in 1903, on account of a controversy with Elijah III. Since the death of Dowie the Indian prophet’s reputation has soared, for did he not tell the death of Dowie, that it should take place within his (the Messiah’s) lifetime, should take place with ‘with great sorrow and torment’?”
The newspaper then further states by quoting the Promised Messiah (as):
“If (Mr Dowie) shows his willingness by any direct or indirect means to enter the lists against me, he shall leave the world before my eyes with great sorrow and torment.”
It then further states with reference to the Promised Messiah (as):
“But if Dr Dowie cannot even now gather courage to appear in the contest against me, let both continents bear witness that I shall be entitled to claim the same victory as in the case of his death in my lifetime if he accepts the challenge. The pretensions of Dr Dowie will thus be falsified and proved to be an imposture. Though he may try as hard as he can to fly from the death which awaits him, yet his flight from such a contest will be nothing less than death to him, and calamity will certainly overtake his Zion, for he must take the consequences of either the acceptance of the challenge or its refusal.”
“I close these brief remarks with the following prayer: ‘O powerful and perfect God, Who hast ever been revealing and wilt ever continue to reveal Thyself to Thy prophets, do Thou give Thy judgment and show to Thy people the imposture and falsehood of Dowie and Pigott, for Thy weak creatures, having taken to human-worship and trusted in weak mortals like themselves, have fallen away from Thy path and are wandering in errors far from Thee.’”
It is then further stated in the newspaper:
Dowie at first paid no public attention directly to the challenge from the far east. But on September 26, 1903, he said, in his Zion City publication:
“People sometimes say to me, ‘Why do you not reply to this, that and the other thing?’ Reply! Do you think that I shall reply to the gnats and flies. If I put my foot on them I would crush them out their lives. I give them a chance to fly away and live.”
Only once did he show in any way that he knew of the existence of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad. He referred to him as the ‘foolish Mahometan Messiah,’ (God-forbid) and on December 12, 1903, he wrote:
“If I am not God’s prophet, there is none on God’s earth that is.” In the following January, he wrote: “My part is to bring out the people from the east and the west, from the north and from the south, and settle them in this and other Zion cities until the time shall come when the Mahometans are swept away. May God grant us that time.”
This is what Dowie had stated. It was further stated in the newspaper:
“Whereupon Mirza Sahib tersely challenged him to ‘pray to God that of us two whoever is the liar may perish first.”
“Dowie died with his friends fallen away from him, and his fortune dwindled. He suffered from paralysis and insanity. He died a miserable death, with Zion City torn and frayed by internal dissensions.”
“Mirza (Sahib) comes forward frankly and states that he has won his challenge, or a ‘prediction.’ And he asks every seeker after truth to accept the truth as he announced it. He regards the misfortunes which befell his traducer in America as evidences of divine vengeance commingled with divine judgment.” As a follower says, however: “It is not to exult over a fallen enemy that we refer to certain circumstances in Dowie’s life. Such a thing is furthest from our ideas. It is only in the cause and for the furtherance of truth that we publish these facts. The holy religion of Islam, no doubt, teaches us not to mention the faults of the dead, but this does not mean that facts should be concealed when their disclosure is in the interests of society and a service to humanity, truth and God.”
It was further mentioned in the newspaper with reference to the Ahmadi:
“In bringing disaster upon Dowie’s head, and ultimately in his untimely death, brought about with sorrow and torment, Almighty God has given His judgment exactly as He had informed His messenger three or four years previous to these occurrences.’” (Sunday Herald of Boston, June 23, 1907, Magazine Section)
This was an example from a newspaper which I have just presented. Indeed, this was a victory and a testament to the truthfulness of the Promised Messiah (as). However, as I have mentioned, the mission of the Promised Messiah (as) is very vast and this is just the mention of a victory on one front. We will find true happiness and joy only when we bring the entire world into the subservience of the Holy Prophet (sa). To achieve this, we must seek out new avenues of propagating Islam alongside the construction of this mosque. We must present the arguments of the Messiah of Muhammad (sa) to the world. More so than ever, we must improve our actions and spiritual states. As I have already mentioned, the true “great victory” took place at the conquest of Mecca. Following the conquest of Macca, did the Holy Prophet (sa) and the rightly guided caliphs or the Muslims that came after cease in their efforts of propagating Islam? Did they not make every effort to spread the message of Islam to the corners of the earth? Did they not conquer lands through wars? Indeed, wars took place, but wars were not fought to spread faith. Rather, hearts were won which brought troves of people towards Islam who were prepared to offer sacrifices. Thus, we must give continuity to the victory attained by the Promised Messiah (as) into the future by propagating Islam and through prayers. The followers of the Promised Messiah (as) are counted amongst the people of the latter days who would come together with those who came before them. Did those who came before them cease in the propagation of Islam and the reformation of their spiritual and moral states? Did they lower their standards of worship? As long as these traits remained in the Muslims, Islam continued to progress. The Muslims started to face decline only when the world became more important to them; their standards of righteousness began to fall and their regard for worship continued to decrease. However, because it was the promise of Allah the Almighty to the Holy Prophet (sa) that this religion would remain established and will be granted strength until the Day of Judgement, He sent the Promised Messiah and Mahdi (as) in the latter days. After his advent, the Promised Messiah (as) informed the world of his coming and despite not having sufficient means, his message reached Europe and America and many other countries.
In relation to Dowie, we are witness to the glory in which the message [of the Promised Messiah (as)]spread. The seed planted by Allah the Almighty through the Promised Messiah (as) for the revival of Islam is continuing to grow and spread with such glory throughout the world. Allah the Almighty made countless promises to the Promised Messiah (as) and revealed to him,
“God will not abandon you. God will grant you extraordinary respect. The people will not save you, but I will save you.” (Izala-e-Auham, Ruhani Khazain, Vol. 3, p. 442)
Allah the Almighty has made countless promises to the Promised Messiah (as) such as this one, and the 133-year-history of the community is a testament to how Allah the Almighty continues to fulfil these promises. Today, the community has spread to 220 countries of the world, and this is due only to the fact that Allah the Almighty provided the means for its message to spread. Today, the world recognises Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian (as) as the Promised Messiah and Mahdi. The Promised Messiah (as) challenged all his enemies and they were left with no choice but to either run or face ruin and destruction at the hands of Allah the Almighty. Indeed, opposition against the communities of prophets does not stop, however, the enemy can never achieve their objective. The same is happening to the Ahmadiyya community. The enemy is putting all of their means and strength to use to bring an end to the community and continues to do so even now. Those of weak faith at times fall prey, however, when we lose one, Allah the Almighty grants us thousands in return. Thus, if our claim is sincerely from the heart and we proclaim that Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) of Qadian is the Promised Messiah and Mahdi whose advent was prophesied by the Holy Prophet (sa), then we must employ all of our faculties to become helpers of this Messiah and Mahdi. We must demonstrate the same example given to us by the companions. It is our responsibility to bring all the Muslims under one faith and rid them of all their innovations in faith and also bring the beautiful teachings of Islam to all non-Muslims so that they may become worshippers of the One God and offer salutations to the Holy Prophet (sa). Only then will we do justice to our pledge of allegiance made to the Promised Messiah (as), otherwise our pledge is hollow. To achieve this, we must elevate our standards of worship. If not, then constructing mosques is pointless. However, we can only achieve this if we recognise the purpose of our lives. What is the purpose of our lives? The Promised Messiah (as) states:
“Humans cannot designate themselves the purpose of their life. It is God Who has created humankind, and He states:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَ الْاِنْسَ اِلَّا لِیَعْبُدُوْنِ
That is, ‘I have created man and the jinn so that they may worship Me.[51:57]’”
The Promised Messiah (as) has elucidated on this verse at many instances. At one instance, while expounding upon this verse, the Promised Messiah (as) states:
“The true purpose for the creation of man is to recognise his Creator and to obey Him, just as Allah Almighty states:
وَمَا خَلَقْتُ الْجِنَّ وَ الْاِنْسَ اِلَّا لِیَعْبُدُوْنِ
‘And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they worship Me. [51:57]’
“Yet, it is unfortunate that after reaching maturity, instead of understanding their duties and focussing on the purpose of their lives, the majority of people who come into the world forsake God, incline to the world, and become so enamoured by the wealth and honours of this world that there remains very little space for God; in fact, He is not at all in the hearts of many. They are immersed in this world and lose themselves in it. They are completely unaware if there is even a God. Of course they become conscious of this when the One Who seizes the souls comes to take their soul away.” (Malfuzat ,Vol. 7, pp. 177-178) i.e., when the time of death arrives.
We, who claim to accept the Imam of the age should not live such lives. We must do justice to our worship through continued efforts in recognising the purpose of this life. Only when we strive to attain the help of Allah will people pay attention to this beautiful mosque; only then will we truly be able to further spread the message of Islam, and only then will we be able to fulfil the mission of the Promised Messiah (as). And this will not be possible until we fulfil the rights of our worship. Hence, every Ahmadi must ponder over this and strive to make this a part of their lives, whereby they do justice in their worship so that they may adorn their life in this world and the next, whilst drawing the blessings of Allah the Almighty.
Therefore, the opening of this mosque today will only be “great” when we recognise what the true purpose of our lives is, otherwise, there are countless mosques around the world which are beautiful and outstanding, but those who go there do not fulfil the purpose of their lives. Worship does not merely entail offering the five prayers, or a few prayers, by simply going through the physical motions of the prayer. Rather, worship means to do justice in one’s prayer and to offer it in an excellent manner. The Holy Prophet (sa) instructed a person to offer their prayer three or four times over, because he felt that he was not fulfilling the due right of prayer nor offering it in the excellent manner that behoves it. (Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitab-ul-Adhan, Hadith 757)
Hence, one must offer prayers whilst doing justice to it. Only then can we attain the nearness to Allah the Almighty and our prayers will only be accepted when one is also fulfilling the rights of the creation of Allah the Almighty. Allah the Almighty states that the prayers of those who usurp the rights of others become the means of their destruction and are thrown back on their faces.
Hence, our objective is to fill the mosques and do so in line with the commandments of Allah the Almighty in order to attain His pleasure.
What did the one who challenged the Promised Messiah (as) want? In the name of religion he desired to have governance over the world. In order to do so he used the name of the Promised Messiah (as) and made tall claims that he would do so and so with the Messiah of Muhammad (sa), as I have just quoted from a newspaper. When the Promised Messiah (as) challenged him to a prayer duel, his end was made manifest. The world witnessed the humiliation and disgrace of Dowie in every regard. Such a clear sign was manifested that the newspapers had no choice but to accept it, and there was no alternative but to declare Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) as great. But should we only build a memorable mosque and be pleased whilst rejoicing in this great victory? As I have said we have reaped the fruits of the Promised Messiah (as) and continue to do so, yet the Promised Messiah (as) guided his followers to tread the paths which enable one to develop a relationship with Allah the Almighty. The Promised Messiah (as) did not only make this challenge to destroy him, rather, it was to establish the grandeur of Islam; to bring the world under the banner of Islam; and to show that now the supremacy of the Messiah of Muhammad (sa) will be established in the earth, who was to raise the banner of the Holy Prophet (sa) and establish the sovereignty of the One God in the world.
Thus, it is our responsibility, as those who attribute themselves to the Jama’at of the Promised Messiah (as), that we will spread the message of the Messiah sent in the Ummah of the Holy Prophet (sa), to every corner of this country. We have to prove to them the unity of God, but this will only happen when we ourselves forge a connection with God Almighty; when we excel in our righteousness.
The Promised Messiah (as) says:
“It is particularly incumbent upon my community to adopt righteousness, especially in view of the fact that they associate themselves with and swear allegiance to a man who claims to be divinely commissioned. In this way, they shall be delivered from any of the diverse forms of malice, rancour, associating partners with God, and worldly attachment that may plague them.” (Malfuzat , Vol. 1, p. 10)
Thus, purifying one’s inner self is of vital importance and when one cleanses their inner self, righteousness will be instilled within them. Then the world will see that signs after signs will continue to manifest themselves. And this is that very state upon reaching which will pave the way to further victories, God willing. It is this state that will show us the reality of this great victory. Thus, O servants of the Messiah of Muhammad (sa)! Every sign of victory ought to bring about a transformation within us. Therefore, make an oath that today is the day that a great spiritual revolution will be brought about within us; and it ought to serve as a day of bringing about a spiritual revolution within our children and our progenies, and indeed it ought to be. Otherwise, how would the destruction of [Alexander] Dowie or the fact that the people of this town were unaware of him and that we made them aware of it, be of any benefit for us? It will only be of benefit when upon fulfilment of this great victory, we bring about an extraordinary transformation within us and bring our fellow countrymen and the rest of the world in the servitude of the Holy Prophet (sa); when they become convinced of the Oneness of God and are prepared to offer every sacrifice. May Allah the Almighty enable us and our progenies to attain this state.
Last modified: January 2023