The highest compliment believers in Jesus can receive is that they are truly Christ-like in their compassion, love, caring and service for others. On Friday, April 8th representatives from four Southern California chapters of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community declared their praise and appreciation for the Christ-like example shown by the Mormons towards Ahmadi Muslims over the years.
In April of 2003 for the Chino-area Ahmadiyya Community, an electrical fire in a ceiling fixture in the kitchen at the Chino Mosque resulted in a fire in the attic of the single-storey main office structure, causing extensive damage.
It was during the Mosque rebuilding phase from 2007-2009 when the Mormon church in Chino offered their facilities to the local-area Ahmadis so they could perform their required weekly Sermon and Islamic Prayers every Friday, as well as other religious gatherings. This continuing act of generosity extended for nearly two years, until Oct. 2009 when the Chino Mosque reconstruction project was completed and the building was re-opened for use by the large community of nearly 700 Ahmadi Muslims.
The two religions have places of worship not far from each other in Chino, and Ahmadi Muslims and Mormons have been good friends and neighbors since the late 1980s when the Ahmadiyya Community’s Baitul Hameed Mosque was first constructed at 11941 Ramona Ave. between Philadelphia and Francis.
The Tahir Hall was the site at the recently rebuilt, two-storey Chino Mosque for an Indian-style dinner to honor area members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons) for their many years of friendship, love and support for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. The dinner was an informal event attended by a cordial mixture of more than 70 Ahmadi Muslims and Mormons.
After dinner, a commemorative plaque was given to Mormon Chino Stake President Daniel Stevenson that contained a verse from the Muslim Holy Book, the Quran, which read:
“. . .And thou shalt assuredly find those who say, ‘We are Christians’ to be nearest to the believers in their love for God. That is because among them are savants and monks, and because they are not proud.”
Imam Shamshad A. Nasir, the Ahmadiyya S.W. regional missionary in charge of the Chino Mosque, gave a brief account of the many similarities the two faith communities shared, including a zeal for preaching their message to the world and an unwavering dedication to serving humanity in times of disaster and need.
The dinner was held to recognize the long-standing friendship and mutual respect between Ahmadi Muslims and Mormons, both of whom believe God can send reformers and prophets (who are subordinate to their religion’s founders and do not bring a new Law) to revive the spiritually and morally dead and lead people back to God.
Mormon Chino Stake President Stevenson acknowledged this commonality when he read a statement to that effect from the book “The Philosophy of the Teachings of Islam” written in 1896 by the Mirza Ghulam Ahmad of Qadian, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. Pres. Stevenson also referred to the common element of religious persecution suffered by Ahmadi Muslims and Mormons – in some U.S. states laws where still on the books only 40 years ago commanding, not condemning, the murder of Mormons.
Pres. Stevenson decried and lamented the fact that as recently as May 28th of 2010 until Feb. 6th of this year, more than a hundred Ahmadi Muslims have been viciously murdered by Muslim extremists in Pakistan and Indonesia. He called on God to protect and provide for the persecuted members of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community throughout the world.
The somber words notwithstanding, the evening was a pleasant gathering of mutual friends and good food, and the event closed with a brief question-and-answer session and group photo. One of the questions by a Mormon guest which was answered by Imam Shamshad dealt with the status and duties of women in Islam.
Shamshad answered that women’s status in Islam was not second-class to men, and in fact, in many ways a woman’s status and duties were greater than those of men because women are given the capacity and responsibility for not only having children but for raising them and giving them vital spiritual and moral training for the success and betterment of society.
When asked by a Muslim during the time of the Prophet Muhammad who he should serve, the man was told: “Your mother.” The man then asked who, after the mother? Muhammad (pbuh) replied: “Your mother.” Three times the man asked the same question and three times the Prophet Muhammad responded the same, on the fourth time responding: “Your father.” This demonstrates the immense debt owed to mothers by their children for all the love and care they were given, and Islam instructs grown offspring to always provide love, care and mercy to their parents in their old age and to never speak harshly or cruelly to them.
Imam Shamshad also quoted a famous saying of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) that “Paradise lies at the feet of your mother,” meaning that the duty of offspring (young or old) who wish to enter Paradise is to love, honor, obey, respect and serve their mothers, for a good mother selflessly sacrifices everything to give life, health and happiness to the child.
Another question frequently asked was about Muslim women being required to cover their heads. Imam Shamshad responded that the Bible requires Christian women to cover their heads in Church or have their hair cut off, and that historically (and still today in the Middle East and South Asia) no Christian women went outside without covering her head in some way. Mary, the mother of Jesus (pbuh), is and should never be depicted immodestly with her head and body uncovered. Islam teaches that all women should be self-respecting and respected, just like the mother of Jesus (pbuh), which is why Muslim women are required to dress modestly and cover their heads.