1996 — Year of the Berlin Mosque

The Light (UK), March 1996 Issue (pp. 1–2)

At the time of the Annual Jalsa [Gathering] an appeal was made to those gathered at Dar-us-Salaam (Pakistan), for funds, for the repair and restoration of the Berlin Mosque and the Mission House. There was an overwhelming and moving response to this appeal and those gathered for the Jalsa donated large sums for this cause. However, further substantial funds are needed to restore our mosque to its former glory. The Berlin Mosque is recognised by the German Government as a historical monument. Therefore, they will have to be consulted and approve every stage of the repairs.

A three-year project has been set up for the whole task. The target for the funds required over the three-year period is DM [Deutsche Mark] 1,000,000. In the first phase, the most urgent repairs required by the minarets will be undertaken. With Allah’s help, this task will be completed this year. However, we urgently need to raise funds to meet this target.

On 27th January 1996, Hazrat Amir, Dr Saeed Ahmad Khan sahib, sent out to the Ahmadiyya jamaats [branches] throughout the world an appeal to raise these funds.

Hazrat Amir said:

“At the time of the Annual Jalsa, the fervour shown, and sacrifices made by members, women and especially children, in response to the appeal for funds to repair the Berlin Mosque, presented a magnificent faith-boasting scene. On this occasion, Ahmadi women rekindled their age-old tradition of donating their jewellery for the completion of houses of Allah.

“Given the circumstances at the time, completion of the Berlin Mosque in the four-year period, from 1922 C.E. to 1924 C.E., was a miracle. At that time, the Centre did not have any property or a secure means of income. A small jamaat [Organisation; Movement] constructed a magnificent mosque in the centre of Europe, in those days, at a cost of Rs. [Indian Rupees] 250,000, under extremely adverse circumstances. This is a glorious and living example of religious fervour and financial sacrifice and it shall be written in letters of Gold in the history of Islam. The Berlin Mosque is a beautiful example of Eastern architecture. Berliners show it to visitors with pride. The government has added it to the list of important historical buildings.

“Unfortunately, the mosque was damaged during the Second World War. When for the first time, in August 1945 C.E., it was learnt through Reuter that the mosque was safe; Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali made a passionate appeal for funds to repair the mosque under the heading ‘Congratulations to the jamaat’ through the Paigham-e-Sulh.

“Today, the Berlin Mosque, its minarets and the Mission House again need urgent repairs. The beautiful Berlin Mosque in the heart of Europe is our pride and at this time it also presents us with a trial. Come, let us again show our faith and not hesitate to make The Sacrifice for this house of Allah.

“The Centre has decided to dedicate 1996 as “The Year of the Berlin Mosque”. All foreign jamaats too are to take part in this campaign. In this regard, the International Consultative Council has arranged a comprehensive programme, details of which will be sent to you by the Newsletter. Merger of the East and West Berlin has restored the age-old importance of this mission. I am certain that every man, woman and child from among us will take full part in the Centre’s campaign to restore to this mission its former magnificence. In my opinion, no appeal can be more effective than the appeal that Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali made. I include part of his appeal in mine so that the words of that righteous man may warm your hearts and again create in you the same feeling of faith and sacrifice which resulted in the completion of this mosque. Hazrat Maulana said:

“Berlin is destroyed but Reuter’s correspondent informs us today that in the ruins of the city the Berlin Mosque stands tall. A poor people had built a house of God in this Berlin. Their purpose was not showmanship but to give their wealth for establishing a house of God and also to pray humbly:

‘Our Lord, accept our humble offering.’

“I remember the scene — a handful of women were sitting at our Annual Jalsa when this appeal by our missionary that there are no funds left for the minarets, came from Berlin. At that time, I appealed to that handful of women. Then Allah opened their hearts and the few women of a small jamaat contributed thousands of rupees. So, today, I congratulate my jamaat for God has shown a clear sign of accepting their offering. Today, Reuter’s correspondent has informed the world that God saved His House in that city demolished, something that was not in our power. It is strange, the same news said that, although the dome and minarets have suffered some damage, the minaret which the muezzin climbed to give the call to prayer remains intact — that is from where the name of God rang out. What a glorious sign has God shown. The matter of joy is this that, in saving His house, God showed such a momentous sign and proved His existence and His might. The One who showed the world that burning fire could not harm Ibrahim [Abraham], showed the world again, today, that what He wants to save, He keeps safe even amongst burning fires. By saving the mosque from the fires raining down, God has shown that His Hand is at the back of this jamaat. And that He is with the man who put this jamaat to The Task.

“My friends, come prostrate humbly before God for He showed such a glorious sign of His might and omnipotence for us, sinners and incompetents. It is due only to His mercy; we did not deserve it but His Grace is boundless. He granted such honour to such a small effort. Let us give thanks for this miracle, this honour but in a practical way. Understand this! God has determined that His name should spread in the world. If your wealth is put to glorifying God’s name and taking His message to the world, then it will be purified, and you will attain the everlasting life. You know not the rewards God has reserved for those who sacrifice their wealth in His way. God bestowed such great honour on your first effort. Now move even faster in God’s way. If you were sitting or standing in His way, now start walking. If you were standing and had started to walk, now start running. Bring what you can so that together we may glorify God in the world. Your God is with you, if you are determined He will give you strength.

“O men of wealth, if you do not bring your wealth at my call then remember that one day, you will regret it. Give your wealth in the way of God. Give your wealth so that God may be glorified throughout the world.

“During this Ramadan fall before God and lament and pray

‘O God, grant some greater means for the victory of Your Religion.’

Pray and cry for the victory of God’s Religion so much that your sighs reach the heavens. Do not forget my last plea. If you cannot give wealth, then help me with prayers that reach the heavens.”

Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Ali published this appeal on the 7th of Ramadan. By a coincidence, when my appeal reaches you, it will be Ramadan. I appeal to you:

‘In this blessed month, sincerely and passionately, pray for the successful completion of this project and contribute whatever you can for this noble task so that the glory of this house of God in Europe may again be restored.’

Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad said:

‘The Truth shall be victorious as the bright and fresh day, the one that rose in the ages gone by, shall again appear for Islam. The sun shall rise in all its glory, as it rose before. But it will not come to pass yet. The heavens shall hinder it until our livers bleed from hard work and sacrifice and until we give up all comforts so that it may appear and accept all humiliation for the honour of Islam. To bring Islam back to life requires a sacrifice. What is it? Our death in its way. The life of Islam, the life of Muslims and manifestation of the living God, all require it. This is what is called Islam.” (Fath-e-Islam, p. 10)