People of the Book

Qadiani Ahmadis don’t pray behind Muslim imams, because Muslims reject their prophet Mirza. They consider us “people of the book” insofar as they would allow Muslim women to marry Qadiani men, but wouldn’t allow Qadiani women to marry Muslim men. (Lahori Ahmadis don’t have the same rules.)

Qadiani leadership allows its members to pray in Muslim mosques, so long as they don’t pray behind our imams.

The question arises, given that we are just considered people of the book by them, why don’t they pray in churches or synagogues too?

The Largest Mosque in Western Europe

Regents park mosque in london england

The Ahmadiyya claims to have “the largest mosque in Western Europe”. This claim was made when I was still a member of the Ahmadiyya group and of course, I repeated it without question. We were urged to promote this “fact” to newspapers, politicians and so forth. We were made to feel proud of this achievement.

What is a mosque? Can a Baha`i for example, create a building and call it a mosque? Technically, there is nothing to stop them doing that in this country. “Mosque” is the English word for the Arabic masjid, which is derived from the Arabic root sajada, for which I’m sure no Muslim requires any translation. So “masjid” is literally a place where one bows down in prostration. Linguistically then, it is legitimate for Qadianis and Lahoris to call their places of worship “mosques”, but theologically, and particularly in the case of the Qadianis, this claim is problematic, as the Muslim reserved word “masjid” is only applied to a place of congregational worship for Muslims. So whilst we don’t make takfeer on individual Qadianis, the Ummah and its `ulama are unanimously of the view that certainly the Qadiani Ahmadiyya community is not Islamic, with the views on Lahoris being only slightly less rigid, though the consensus still appears to be that they are not within the fold of Islam. A mosque then, is a place where Muslims gather in congregation to bow down in worship to Allah.

Let’s set aside the theological issue for the purposes of investigating the claim at face value. We already know that the Qadianis are in the habit of making outrageous claims that have never been substantiated in fact and sadly, their followers tend to accept and promulgate these claims without question. Most notably, the ludicrous claims of a membership of 200 million have been parroted in the Islamophobic media. The “largest mosque” claim was also shamefully cited in The Guardian, which obviously didn’t check its facts.

Let’s also ignore mosques in mainland Europe and focus only on those in Britain. The authoritative, respected, fact-checked and peerlessly  comprehensive report on British mosques by the Muslims In Britain site has this to say on the Qadiani claims that their place of worship in Morden accommodates 10,500 worshippers:

Baitul Futuh is promoted by the Ahmadiyya movement as “the largest mosque in Western Europe” based on a claim of a capacity of 10,500 worshippers. The Ahmadiyya have their own reasons for making this claim. But they admit that dedicated prayer space (on which all the above masjids’ capacities is based) is 4,000. (http://www.baitulfutuh.org/construction/index.shtml ) In fact the prayer space is comparable only to the larger masjids of circa 3,000 capacity, hence my adjusted figure of 3,000. By comparison, most larger masjids have substantial areas that are routinely used for salaah on Friday Jumu’ah, not to mention Eid and Tarawih salaahs. E.g. Regents Park Masjid (Islamic Cultural Centre) has a substantial concourse, large basement rooms and a big plaza, all of which are filled for Jumu’ah, more than doubling the 5,400 capacity dedicated prayer space.

Having visited Bait ul-Futuh when I was a Qadiani, it was certainly large, but no larger than the Birmingham Central Mosque, and certainly not as big as the Islamic Cultural Centre, which has multiple storeys available for worshippers as well as a routinely used concourse. It’s not anywhere near as big as the East London Mosque, which I have also had the pleasure of visiting frequently, especially for `Eid, and which continues to undergo expansion.

Let’s have a closer look at the Baitul Futuh site’s claims. It claims the following for prayer capacities:

  • Total Area of Mosque 4000
  • Ancillary Areas in Mosque 2000
  • Remainder of other Areas 4500

These appear to be exaggerations, notwithstanding the fact that the capacity is rarely utilised. So what about authentic mosques?

Britain s Largest Mosques

(Source: http://www.muslimsinbritain.org/resources/masjid_report.pdf)

The Qadiani place of worship comes at the bottom of this list. So the next time someone tells you that the Qadiani place of worship is “the largest mosque in Western Europe”, don’t just tell them that it isn’t a mosque, offer them the facts, and if they’re really interested and you’re in London, take them on a tour of proper mosques and show them that Islam doesn’t require deception. Just don’t be surprised if the Qadianis revert to type and indulge in character assassination of the people behind the above report. 

May Allah guide the believers in Mirza Ghulam Ahmad back to Islam, insha’Allah, blessing them with the guidance I received eight Ramadans ago.

 

 

Qadiani leader calls Ground Zero mosque an affront to “human decency”

Two weeks ago, the Assistant National Director of Interfaith Relations for the Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya came out in opposition to the proposed Islamic center in downtown Manhattan (“the Ground Zero mosque”). In a column in the Richmond Times-Dispatch, Qasim Rashid argues that the mosque is an affront to “human decency” and offends the memory of the 9/11 victims.

Ironically, this is the same argument that has been used by right wing extremists who have threatened violence against the mosque for similar reasons. He also claims, without citing any sources, that the Saudi government is funding the mosque; again, fomenting hysteria about Saudi plots to take over America is a common tactic of neo-conservative Islamophobes.

With New York being home to over 800,000 Muslims, the fear-mongering in response to the Ground Zero mosque at times borders on absurdity. This is how Clyde Haberman of the New York Times summed up the controversy: “The center, which could rise as many as 15 stories and has the blessing of local officials from the mayor on down, makes some people uneasy. The reasons are understandable, if not entirely admirable. Some opponents, mostly political conservatives, have exploited the discomfort with statements that are inflammatory or misleading, or both.”

Naseem Mahdi, one of the foremost Qadiani clerics in the United States, recently claimed that his group represented “one of the leading movements” aimed at “bringing Muslims out of the dark ages.” Again, the resemblance to radical neo-conservative dogma is striking. For it was none other than Paul Wolfowitz, deputy defense secretary under Pres. Bush, who said “We need an Islamic reformation” and then proceeded to lead the invasion of Iraq.

More to the point, such remarks lead one to question how the Qadiani leadership reconciles their laudable doctrine of “Love for all, Hatred for None” with their apparent support of intolerance and bigotry towards Muslims in America.

Calgary company sues world’s largest Qadiani Temple

From the Calgary Herald on Friday the 19th:

A Calgary-based company has sued the country’s largest mosque for nearly $4 million in allegedly unpaid bills related to a contract to construct the northeast religious facility.

EllisDon Construction Services Inc. filed the statement of claim earlier this month in an attempt to recover $3,962,671 it claims it is owed, plus $1 million in “damages for interference with contractual and economic relations.”

The construction company says it entered into a written contract in June 2006 to build the 45,000-square foot Ahmadiyya Muslim Mosque, completed in late August this year, and that the contract was breached.

Naseer Ahmad, an employee or agent of Ahmadiyya also named as a defendant, is alleged to have interfered with EllisDon’s contractual and economic interests with an an intent to damage its reputation.

EllisDon alleges he “encouraged subcontractors to reduce their billings on the project and to make up the reductions on other projects; issued instructions directly to subcontractors to carry out additional work then refused to pay for the work; advised contractors that delays in payments arose from the contractor’s incompetence or misconduct; and attempted to pursuade the project consultant to rescind approvals and certificates of payments that had already been issued.

If not paid the amount owing, says the claim, a builders’ lien must be placed on the mosque and property and it should be sold to pay off EllisDon.

A spokesperson for Ahmadiyya, based in Toronto, did not immediately return phonecalls on Friday.

None of the allegations have been proven in court. No statement of defence has been filed.

When I was a Qadiani, I used to hear of a lot of fraud, mismanagement, nepotism and skullduggery surrounding the building of Qadiani places of worship, so this comes as no surprise, if true.

More can be found here and here.