On the evening of May 5th, about 60 members of Altrincham Interfaith Group gathered at the Ahmadiyya Mosque for one in the series of visits to various places of worship. This is a new Mosque in Hulme built for the Ahmadiyya community which was established in India in 1889 by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad in Qadian but which since has spread all over the world. Their motto is “Love for All, Hatred for None” and we certainly received a most warm welcome from members of this community.
On arrival we were ushered into a large hall and offered refreshments after which we were welcomed and, after a prayer from the Koran recited by Hafiz Arsalan Ahmad Rana, were given a brief introduction to Islam by the Imam Muhammad Akram, who described the 5 pillars of Islam: the testimony of faith, prayer 5 times a day, giving alms to the needy, fasting during the month of Ramadan, and the pilgrimage to Mecca once in a lifetime for those who are able. It was also stressed that everyone was born innocent, free from sin, and that everyone is responsible for his or her own actions.
This was followed by a presentation by Dr Imran Khan, the AIG committee member representing the Ahmadiyya community, and he showed a short video about their history, their many social projects and work for peace. He stressed that to be human means to be of service, and that the movement hoped to bring Islam back to its original teachings, to concentrate on peace and tolerance and to root out oppression and inequality. They raise money for British charities and have a love for Britain, supporting the Poppy Appeal of the British Legion and condemning the actions of Muslim extremists. There were several questions and it was then time for prayer so, having removed our shoes, we respectfully entered the prayer hall to observe the evening prayers undertaken by the members of the Mosque as well as visitors from the Altrincham Mosque.
We were then invited to partake of a buffet, comprising both western and Asian food. It was absolutely delicious, and a chance for everyone to talk and continue with their questions. We were very much overwhelmed by the generosity of our hosts, they had obviously gone to a tremendous amount of trouble and preparation for our visit.
On leaving, everyone was handed a bag of publications by the Head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya community. I think everyone left very moved and impressed by this small but loving community of people, who are working so hard to bring peace in our troubled times. Grateful thanks are due to Dr Naseer Choudrhy, regional president AMA NW, Dr Ijaz Ahmad president of Manchester West chapter, Imam maulana Muhammad Akram and Imam maulana Muhammad Ahmad Khurshid for making this visit possible.