‘Those who, if We establish them in the earth, will observe Prayer and pay the Zakat and enjoin good and forbid evil. And with Allah rests the final issue of all affairs.’ (22:42)
Alhamdolillah, today Ahmadiyya Jama’at in Japan is enabled to have its first mosque inaugurated. May God bless this mosque in every way and may those who attend the mosque be able to fulfil all the objectives for which a mosque is made. Indeed, some beautiful mosques are also built by non-Ahmadis spending millions and hundreds of thousands of dollars. This is the first Ahmadiyya mosque in Japan but not the first mosque in the country, there are about 100 mosques in Japan. Simply having a mosque built does not fulfil our objective in Japan. Our mosque is understood to be the largest mosque in Japan in terms of capacity. This is also not a very significant fact and should not make us think that we have reached our ultimate goal. Our objective will be fulfilled when, having taken the bai’at of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) we try to attain its objectives, that is, to forge a connection with God, to fulfil the rights and dues of worship of God and to fulfil the rights and dues of God’s creation, to elevate our practice to high levels and take the beautiful message of Islam to every person in this nation.
Once Japan had religious freedom and its people became inclined to faith, they were also interested in Islam. When this fact was brought to the attention of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) he expressed an intense desire to deliver the message of true Islam to the Japanese. He explained, more than a century ago, that if Japanese people were inclined towards Islam, they should be given the message of true Islam. He asked why they should turn to a faith that was dead. Explaining, he said how could those, who do not have the spirit of Islam in themselves, be of any benefit to the Japanese people. Those who have closed the door to revelation and made their faith lifeless. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said agonisingly that other Muslims are not only unfair on themselves by following this creed they also make others distant from Islam by showing the erroneous creed. He said, what is needed is that this community should prepare some people for this task who are competent and courageous. He also expressed the desire to write a book for tabligh among the Japanese. The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) came in subordination of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) to spread his message in the world which indeed includes Japan and Oceania and other parts of the world. It is a grace of God that Ahmadis have migrated to Japan and it is God’s grace that some run successful businesses there. Almost all Ahmadis in Japan are those who benefitted economically after migrating from Pakistan. Many among them are those whose forefathers accepted Ahmadiyyat and there would be some among them, who, after listening to the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) may have wished and longed to visit Japan and rest of the word to spread the message, but their longing remain unfulfilled. Ahmadis who are now in Japan and are given the opportunity by God to be there should spread that message. Surely, they have not migrated simply for economic reason?
The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) was saddened that other Muslims, having closed the door to revelation had made faith dead, what message of Islam could they take to the Japanese for the Japanese were not in need of a lifeless faith. Now Ahmadis living in Japan can give proof of Islam being a living faith. Once door to God is closed what difference remains between Islam and other religions? If Islam’s pre-eminence is to be proven it is to be done by telling the world that the God of Islam still speaks to those He loves. Economic benefit should not be the only goal of coming to Japan, rather everyone should forge connection with God. Islam does not need any force or might to spread. It is in need of people who have absolute faith in God, whose standards of worship of God are high and who, rather than perpetrate murder and mayhem, engage in Jihad against their selves to make themselves better people. It is a great tragedy of the state of Muslims that on the one hand they reject that God can still send down revelation and on the other hand they try to spread Islam through force and oppression and by murdering innocent people. The recent Paris attacks were intensely barbaric. These people are not garnering God’s grace, rather they garner His chastisement. In this regard there is huge responsibility on Ahmadis to elevate their levels of worship of God as well as spread the message of the teachings of Islam. Their responsibility is to fulfil the rights and dues of the new mosque, to populate and fill it five times a day, to elevate their level of worship of God, to reflect and analyse their practice and to extend the fields of tabligh. Indeed, the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) said if you want to introduce Islam in an area, build a mosque there. Avenues of tabligh and introduction will open up.
The mosque in Japan puts responsibility on Ahmadis who live there as regards standards of their worship of God and tabligh. Media has given quite a bit of coverage to the opening of the mosque as presenting peaceful Islam. It is up to the Ahmadis in Japan to avail this introduction. Of course building of our mosque is nothing new in Japan. There are some 100 mosques in the country. The significance of our mosque is that unlike other Muslims we give true illustration of Islam, the illustration given by the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) and for which his true and ardent devotee was sent in this age. It is also the responsibility of Ahmadis to present this illustration and for this strength of creed and belief is not sufficient, in fact good standard of practice is also required as well as spirit of brotherhood. We have to turn our sights to where our master’s sight was as well as the sight of his true and ardent devotee. We can find this discourse in the Holy Qur’an. It is not sufficient to say, Alhamdolillah, we have accepted the Imam of the age. And in this age Ahmadi Muslims alone are the addressees of the verse recited at the start of the sermon, who have accepted the Imam of the age and among whom the system of Khilafat is instituted for the firm establishment of faith. And God has laid down some principles for those who associate with the system of Khilafat. Firstly, attention is drawn to observance Salat. If attention is lacking in this regard then it is incorrect to claim to be true Muslims and say that we will bring about revolutionary change in the world and we have accepted the true and ardent devotee of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). This is so because the very objective of the coming of the Promised Messiah was to connect man to God, the second objective is to connect humanity with each other.
The aforementioned verse states that those who fear God pay the dues of His worship and also spend for the good of others. Not only do they follow this in their life-time they also leave behind models for others to emulate; models of how to avail the real objective of life and to protect oneself from Satan. If we accept the one commissioned by God in this age we must consider this as a grace of God because other Muslims are dispersed. We accepted the Promised Messiah and after him his Khilafat was firmly established, through which we move at the gesture/signal of one hand. Indeed, the status of being firmly established/honoured is not simply attained through governance or power, rather it is also attained through inner peace. InshaAllah that time will soon come when governments will also accept the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). The world now looks upon us to give the true teachings of Islam, this too is an honour stemming from us being firmly established. God states that to be recipients of this grace stay firm on piety and spread it and avoid what is bad and also save others from it and this practice will give you progress.
Every Ahmadi should be mindful to continue to focus on bettering our practice and this will continue to be a source of our Jama’at being firmly established and honoured and governments too will come under its umbrella and become subservient to the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him). This indeed is a great glad-tiding for true Muslims who are not oppressors, who are fair and just, who do not forget God, who worship Him and who do not usurp others, rather who fulfil rights of others. Who are not selfish, rather are selfless and who have a sincere connection with Khilafat e Ahmadiyya and do not simply repeat pledges at Ijtemas, rather who spread good values and stop what is evil and before doing so, who self-reflect. Who sacrifice their egos for the sake of the administrative system of the Jama’at. These aspects make them closer to God and also facilitates them to fulfil rights of humanity and make them true Ahmadi Muslims as the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) expected them to be.
There are some in the Jama’at who say that they will sacrifice their all for the sake of Khilafat e Ahmadiyya, however, when they are asked to settle mutual grievances they look for endless excuses. If you want to be true believers, be those who give peace and security. Being associated with the new mosque in Japan should not be in terms of merely associating with a building of bricks and mortar. Rather, it should be associating with that person whom God sent to connect man with God and having abandoned all personal grievances, wishes and egoism, to bind people in a system which demands sacrifice. And this sacrifice may not be simply financial giving but may also be sacrifice of egoism. Enjoining good should not be only for others but should also apply on oneself and before forbidding others from evil, one should self-reflect.
Large majority of Ahmadis in Japan are from Pakistan where they face persecution to worship God, where they face persecution to call their mosque a mosque, where uttering greeting of peace and security can end up in three-year imprisonment. Some Ahmadis in Japan have sought asylum and they should ponder as to how much God has blessed them. There is no persecution in Japan as regards worship of God, no punishment for calling mosque a mosque and rather than causing imprisonment, greetings of peace and security is appreciated. Does all this not demand that we bring about revolutionary changes in ourselves and recognise the objective of our creation? That we should live with mutual love and affection and extend this love and affection in wider society and instil those qualities in ourselves that God wants us to have. Effort will be needed for this.
God states in the Holy Qur’an: ‘They are the ones who turn to God in repentance, who worship Him, who praise Him, who go about in the land serving Him, who bow down to God, who prostrate themselves in prayer, who enjoin good and forbid evil, and who watch the limits setby Allah. And give glad tidings to those who believe.’ (9:112)
The first condition to become a true believer is to repent from sin and promise to completely avoid it. This does not only signify big sins but mistakes and errors which create disturbance in the system of Jama’at are also sin. Worship of God is also an obligation, as it is obligatory to abide by God’s will. Indeed, God’s will is for man to worship God as it is stated: ‘And I have not created the Jinn and the men but that they may worship me.’ (51:57) No one is exempt from worship of God; the rich, the poor, business people alike should not be indolent about it.
Some Ahmadis have given great financial sacrifices for the construction of mosque in Japan, others have endured hardship to make sacrifices and children too have contributed in giving. Although there has been a tremendous spirit of sacrifice it does not exempt anyone from being indolent as regards worship of God. Sacrifices gain acceptance in conjunction with fulfilling dues of worship of God. The verse goes on to state: praise God. We should praise God that by granting us the mosque in Japan He has opened avenues of tabligh for us, we should praise God that He has opened up new ways for us to spread the teaching of Islam, we should praise God that He has made us economically better-off, this is not owing to any cleverness on our part but is through His grace alone. We should remember God’s blessings on us. Praising God should also encompass being grateful to Him even in adverse circumstances. We should praise God that He enabled us to accept the Imam of the age. God states in the verse that true believers travel to seek God’s pleasure and the migration of Ahmadis to Japan should be in this vein. The verse goes on to state that true believers bow down before God. This signifies bowing down in Salat as well as spending wealth and one’s energy/skill/knowledge for the cause of faith. We should not merely repeat our pledge in a ritualistic manner but should put it in practice. God states in the verse that true believers also prostrate before God and are inclined to pray.
The Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that a true believer is the closest to God when in the prostration posture. Prostrations of nearness of God should be looked for. Merely putting one’s forehead on the floor does not signify prostration. Rather, we should also prostrate in spirit most humbly and try and seek God’s pleasure. What is needed is to sacrifice everything before God, to put aside one’s ego, abide by commandments and follow the administrative system of the Jama’at. It is indeed also God’s commandment to obey the administrative system of community and it brings nearness to God. The prostration posture brings one closer to God and is made in a state of humility. When we are enabled to make prostrations of complete humility and make full efforts to gain God’s nearness, we should also use all our capacities to bring others close to God; those who are immersing themselves in worldly ways. This is the task and responsibility of every Ahmadi to save the world from Divine displeasure. God states in the verse that true believers watch the limits set by God, that is, full effort should be made to put in practice limits set by God as stated in the Holy Qur’an and which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) elucidated and which were also told by the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) who expected us to abide by them. Try and put in practice the words of the Khalifa of the time. We should guard our faith and our practice and value the blessing of Khilafat that God has given us in this age. God has stated it [Khilafat] as an important element of being firmly established and honoured and has given glad-tidings to those true believers who put these matters in practice.
It is God’s favour on us that we utilise modern inventions to our benefit. The Jama’at spends hundreds of thousands of dollar each year on MTA. It is a huge resource of tabligh as well as tarbiyyat and above all it is a means to be connected to Khalifa of the time. A mother recently complained about lack of Jama’at resources in Japan. Most of the week the children are either at school or at home with parents. When home parents should at least show them the programmes of Khalifa of the time. It will give them tarbiyyat (moral training) and they will understand the concept of the unity of the Jama’at. Parents should adhere to MTA programmes of the Khalifa of the time and also make their children adhere. Even people outside our Jama’at write in to Hazrat Khalifatul Masih telling him how listening to his sermon made them aware of the reality of religion. How much more do we need to watch these programmes? If time difference is a problem, there are many repeat broadcasts at various times.
Then there is the ill of finding faults of others rather than spend time in constructive matters. Office-holders too should do tarbiyyat affectionately and rather than increase grievances they should increase mutual affection. We give the message of love for all, hatred for none but what is the point if we ourselves have malice in our hearts? Those who find themselves in such situations should bring changes to seek God’s pleasure and be included among those who have been given glad-tidings as true believers. Some families talk negatively about Jama’at and office-holders at home. They are subliminally ruining their next generation. We claim to enjoin good and forbid evil and as such we should first and foremost direct these aspects at ourselves and our families. Failing this, our tabligh efforts will be unsuccessful. Now that the mosque is built, its rights should be fulfilled. Addressing native Japanese Ahmadis Hazrat Khalifatul Masih said they should learn faith and progress in belief. They should not see how such and such long-term, born Ahmadis are. As mentioned many times before, God is no one’s relation, His help and succour will be with those who are pious. May God make every Ahmadi live their life by this principle and may this mosque bring a revolutionary change in the belief and practice of every Ahmadi. Rather than have temporary enthusiasm and interest about the mosque may its rights be fulfilled in reality.
As regards facts and figures about the mosque the land it stands on is 1000 square metres. It has a ground floor and a first floor and is situated on a main road which is also a junction. It has exits to two highways close by. Also a close by is a train station from where direct trains run to Nagoya International Airport. As blessings bricks from Masjid Mubarak Qadian and Darul Masih Qadian were used in the mosque. Ground floor of the mosque has the main hall with the capacity for more than five hundred worshippers. Lajna hall is upstairs and there is also a terrace. With a small marquee erected on the terrace the mosque capacity could increase by seven to eight hundred. There are also offices and a library on the first floor. There is also a house for the missionary and guest rooms. The building was purchased and alterations were made to convert it into a mosque including four minarets and a dome. As it is on a main road it draws a lot of attention. It is our first mosque in the entire Far East region, may it herald many more. The property was purchased in June 2013 and the costs were around 137,000,000 JPY ($1,115,591). A little less than half of this was given as aid by the centre and the balance was met through great sacrifices by Japanese Jama’at. May God reward them all! It was first thought that planning permission will be easily obtained but a time came when everything looked very difficult. At one point lawyers advised against going ahead due to Jama’at not being registered and suggested relinquishing the contract. But God removed all the obstacles. There were also concerns that the locals may protest but a meeting was called and God filled their hearts with conviction and they promptly agreed. Some of them would be present at the Friday Prayers. All these matters should increase the faith of Ahmadis who live in Japan and they should pay attention to their responsibilities.
There are many accounts of financial sacrifices made for the building of the mosque. One Ahmadi took home whichever office-holder requested for donation and said I will give whatever I have. His Japanese wife presented some boxes from which she took out cash and property worth $10,000 and donated. Sadr Sahib Japan says he knows of other families who are not financially well-off but they limited their own personal expenses and made donations. At one stage there was a shortage of £250,000 which was met by Ahmadis in Japan by making great sacrifices although they had already made donations. A young student who works part-time gives, or gave regularly until the time reports were received, each month. Children gave their pocket money, a young girl collected all the gifts she had received on different occasions and gave a donation of nearly $9000. Ladies gave their jewellery including one who gave her 24 bangles of gold. One lady gave the jewellery her mother had given her and a lady who has recently arrived from Pakistan gave her new gold jewellery set bought only in January of this year.
May God Himself bless all these people and continue to increase them in faith and may they fulfil the rights and dues of the mosque and live together with love and affection. Neighbouring Japanese people have made many sincere gestures. When a neighbour found out that guests were coming from abroad for the opening of the mosque he gave the use of his large three-storeyed house as accommodation for guests. Other neighbours offered car parking spaces. It is traditional for Japanese people to decorate new buildings with opulent flowers. Two Japanese friends expressed the wish to decorate the mosque for its opening and were very helpful. A non-Ahmadi lawyer was extremely helpful in the registration process and all matters legal regarding the mosque. His fee amounted to $20,000 which he waived because he felt Ahmadiyya Jama’at had done many favours to Japan. The opening was also covered well by media.
Second largest newspaper of the country published a report on 11 Nov. It said that a mosque and community centre of peaceable Ahmadiyya Muslim community is ready. It constitutes of minarets and has capacity for 500 worshippers. The Ahmadiyya community prides in propagating peace and love and holds programmes promoting social interaction. There are about 200 members of this community in Japan most of whom are of Pakistani origin while others are from fifteen different ethnicities. The community is at the forefront of voluntary activities. They distributed food among those affected by the Kobe earthquake and tsunami, as well as the earthquake in northern Japan and floods this year.
This is the impression the Jama’at has on others; as representatives of Islam which promotes peace and security, who serve humanity. It is the task of every Ahmadi in Japan to keep this going and to enhance this impression. May God enable every Ahmadi to promote the reality that Islam is a religion of peace and security and our mosques are symbols of this so that avenues of spreading Islam in this nation become wider still and this nation may also be fortunate enough to recognise the Creator and understand the status of the benefactor of humanity, the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).