Community

Community

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is a religious organization, international in its scope, with branches in over 189 countries in Africa, North America, South America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. This is the most dynamic denomination of Islam in modern history, with worldwide membership exceeding tens of millions.

The Ahmadiyya Community was established in 1889 by Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (1835-1908) in a small and remote village, Qadian, in the Punjab, India. He claimed to be the expected reformer of the latter days, the Awaited One of the world community of religions (The Mahdi and Messiah). The Community he started is an embodiment of the benevolent message of Islam — peace, universal brotherhood, and submission to the Will of God — in its pristine purity. Hadhrat Ahmad proclaimed Islam as the religion of man: ” The religion of the people of the right path ” ( 98:6 )

With this conviction, the Ahmadiyya Community, within a century, has reached the corners of the Earth. Wherever the Community is established, it endeavors to exert a constructive influence of Islam through social projects, educational institutes, health services, Islamic publications and construction of mosques, despite being bitterly persecuted in some countries. Ahmadi Muslims have earned the distinction of being a law-abiding, peaceful, persevering and benevolent community.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Islam was created under divine guidance with the objective to rejuvenate Islamic moral and spiritual values. It encourages interfaith dialogue, and diligently defends Islam and tries to correct misunderstandings about Islam in the West. It advocates peace, tolerance, love and understanding among followers of different faiths. It firmly believes in and acts upon the Qur’anic teaching: There is no compulsion in religion. ” ( 2:257 It strongly rejects violence and terrorism in any form and for any reason.

The Community offers a clear presentation of Islamic wisdom, philosophy, morals and spirituality as derived from the Holy Qur’an and the practice (Sunnah) of the Holy Prophet of Islam, Muhammad (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). Some Ahmadis’, like late Sir Muhammad Zafrulla Khan (who served as the first Foreign Minister of Pakistan; President of the 17 th General Assembly of U.N.O.; President and Judge of the International Court of Justice, at the Hague), and Dr. Abdus Salam (the Nobel Laureate in Physics in 1979), have also been recognized by the world community for their outstanding services and achievements.

After the demise of its founder, the Ahmadiyya Community has been headed by his elected successors —Khalifas . The present Head of the Movement, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, was elected in 2003. His official title is Khalifatul Massih V .

Purpose of Worship

Purpose of Worship

The purpose of the creation of man, according to Islam, is that he should worship Allah.

Allah says in the Holy Quran:

“I have not created the jinn and the men but that they may worship Me”. (51:57)

Worship means total obedience to the commands of Allah. The Holy Prophet Muhammad, peace and blessings of Allah be upon him, brought the message of God and explained all the commandments concerning the religion of Islam.

Islam has five basic duties which a Muslim has to perform. They are known as the Five Fundamentals of Islam or the Five Pillars of Islam.

The first pillar is called Kalima Shahadah, the declaration of Islamic faith, i.e; to bear witness that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah. The oneness of God is the basis of our belief in Islam.

The second pillar is called Salat, i.e; to perform Prayer in a prescribed form.

The third pillar is called Zakat, a form of levy which Muslims of means pay annually in cash or kind, and is spent for good causes mentioned in the Holy Quran.

The fourth pillar is called Saum, i.e; to keep fasts in the month of Ramadhan.

The fifth pillar is called Hajj, i.e; to perform pilgrimage to the Kaaba in Makkah at least once in the lifetime of a Muslim.

Of all religious obligations, Islam has laid greatest emphasis on the institution of Salat. It is enjoined upon every Muslim to pray five times a day. Besides the five obligatory Prayers, there are other types of Prayers which are optional.

A Muslim takes the spiritual side of life as seriously as a worldly person takes the material side of it. As air and food are essential for our physical life, likewise, we cannot survive spiritually without offering Salat or Prayer regularly in different parts of the day. Salat or Prayer, consists of various postures, i.e; Standing called Qiyam, Bowing down called Ruku, Prostration called Sajdah and Sitting called Qa’dah. During each posture prescribed, phrases are to be recited. As these phrases are in Arabic, every Muslim is required not only to memorise these verses but also to know their meaning so that the worshipper knows what he is saying to his Lord during the Prayer.

Mosque plays a significant role in the spiritual development of a Muslim. Muslims, who live near the Mosque, are required to worship, five times a day, in Mosque.

Importance of a Mosque

Importance of a Mosque

Sir William Muir writes in his book “The Life of Muhammad”:

“Though crude in material, and insignificant in dimensions, the Mosque of Muhammad is glorious in the history of Islam. Here, the Prophet and his Companions spent most of their time; here, the daily service, with its oft-recurring prayers was first publicly established; and here, the great congregation assembled every Friday, listening with reverence and awe to messages from Heaven. Here, the Prophet planned his victories; here he received embassies from vanquished and contrite tribes; and from hence issued edicts, which struck terror amongst the rebellious to the very outskirts of the peninsula. Hard by, in the apartment of Aisha (one of the wives of the Prophet), he breathed his last, and there, side by side with his first two successors he lies buried.” (p.177)

A mosque, therefore, not only serves the purpose of offering prayers (Salat) and remembering of God (Dhikr), but also serves many other purposes.

Mosque as a meeting place:

The Holy Prophet made great stress on visiting the mosque frequently. Abu Hurairah, a Companion of the Prophet, relates that the Prophet said:

“For him who proceeds to the mosque morning or evening, Allah prepares entertainment in paradise every time he proceeds, morning of evening.” (Bukhari & Muslim)

“He who makes his ablutions at home and then walks to one of the houses of Allah to discharge of obligation imposed on him by Allah, one step of his wipes out a sin and another step raises his status” (Muslim)

According to another saying, the Prophet is reported to have said:

“The best parts of a city, in the eyes of God, are its mosques”

A mosque therefore becomes a meeting place for Muslims 5 times a day. They great each other and may discuss any matter that may affect or interest them, before or after the services.

All Islamic Services, the five daily prayers, the Friday noon service, the festivals and the pilgrimage to the house of Allah are so organised as to ensure the co-operation of all sections of Muslim society. The mosque, being the focal point of all this, plays a great part in the general life of the town.

Mosque as a place for rest:

A mosque is also used as a place of rest. The worshipers come in to the mosque, wash their hands and faces and take rest during the heat of the noon in hot countries before or after the prayers. Sometimes they stay for the night if they happen to be strangers in the town and have no other accommodation. Those who travel through the villages generally resort to the village mosque for their stay for the night during the journey. Shower and toilet facilities are provided in mosques. When the time for the meal approaches, one of the local inhabitants gladly takes the stranger home for his meal, hospitality being always considered important in the Muslim world.

Mosque as a source of water supply:

After reaching a mosque the worshipers purify themselves with water, i.e. they perform ablution. Therefore some sort of water supply is essential in every mosque. For centuries the mosque wells were the only source of water supply for the towns, and even today in villages where there is no other water supply system, people converge to the mosque with their earthenware to draw water from the mosque well, dug either in the courtyard of the mosque or near its entrance.

Mosque as a place of learning:

Today mosques continue to be used as schools where Muslim children are taught reading, writing and the recitation of the Holy Quran. In large towns however separate school buildings are found either attached to the mosque or near the mosque. For older students, colleges for the special study of religion, are built along side the mosque, where the imam and other religious teacher impart religious instructions for full time students. These institutions often contain a large collection of religious books, for the use of students and the public.

Al Azhar University, which is a famous educational institution in Middle East, even today, is attached to Al Azhar mosque in Cairo, Egypt, where students from far and wide follow the course in religion, Shariat (Islamic Law) and Fiqh (Jurisprudence), and highly qualified teachers and scribes are appointed for the purpose.

Mosque as a place for social gathering:

Mosques are also used for social gatherings, like wedding ceremonies, funeral services, courts of law, and other religious ceremonies