There has been an ongoing debate concerning the proposed establishment of a new mosque in East London. It is true that many Muslims and some non-Muslims are supporting it, yet we have also witnessed opposition to it from many including some members of the Muslim community. I find myself obliged to clarify the Islamic opinion regarding supporting the establishment of this mosque in particular and any other mosque for that matter.
Mosques are blessed premises where the words of the Creator are recited and taught. They are centres of mercy and peace for the whole of humanity. They are houses where monotheism is proclaimed enabling people to receive rays of guidance. It is for this reason that mosques are the most beloved places to Allah as the Prophet (sallaAllahu alayhi wa sallam) declared in an authentic hadith. In addition, the act of establishing mosques is one of the best deeds according to Islamic teachings. Allah says in the Quran [translation of the meaning of (9:18)], ‘The mosques of Allah shall be maintained only by those who believe in Allah and the Last Day; who perform Salat, give Zakat, and fear none but Allah. It is they who are expected to be on true guidance’. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, ‘Whoever builds a mosque for the sake of Allah, seeking by it Allah’s grace, Allah will build for him a house like it in Paradise’. (Related by Al-Bukhari & Muslim). The first action carried out by the Prophet (peace be upon him) when arriving at Madinah was to establish the mosque. The Mosque in Islam has a central role in a Muslim’s life; the Prophet (peace be upon him) would spend a great amount of time in it meeting with people, receiving foreign delegates, co-ordinating activities, and holding public gatherings to discuss matters of public concern. It is the place at which the life of Muslims is centred.
In contrast, Allah condemns in very harsh terms those who prevent people from establishing the remembrance of Allah in mosques. Allah says in the Quran [translation of the meaning of (2:114)], ‘And who is a greater wrongdoer than one who forbids that Allah’s Name be glorified and mentioned much in Allah’s mosques and strives for their ruin? It was not fitting that such should themselves enter them except in fear. For them there is disgrace in this world, and they will have a great torment in the Hereafter.’
Allah described the destruction of places where He is worshipped as an action of mischief and corruption. Allah says in the Quran [translation of the meaning of (22:40)], ’For had it not been that Allah checks one set of people by means of another; monasteries, churches, synagogues, and mosques wherein the Name of Allah is mentioned much would surely have been pulled down.’ Allah also commands us to help one another when doing righteous deeds by saying [translation of the meaning of (5:2)], ’Help one another in virtue, righteousness and piety; but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is severe in punishment.’
Based on these and other texts, I conclude that it is obligatory upon each and every Muslim who bears witness that Allah is the only God to be worshipped and Muhammad is His final Messenger to aid and help the establishment of this aforementioned mosque and any other mosque in the UK. This obligation is ever the more binding when we bring to our minds the unprecedented challenges the Muslim community in Britain is currently facing. This should oblige Muslims to be united and to be vigilant of any harmful or hidden agenda as well as of the possible ramifications of such debates.
Finally, it is not acceptable for any Muslim in the UK or elsewhere to refrain from supporting a mosque that he knows needs moral support, especially when seeing many adversaries actively working to stop Muslims from preserving their identity and religion. I warn the Muslims who are working and striving against the establishment of this mosque that they may in effect be aligning themselves with those who are classified as hindering people from the path of Allah as mentioned in the Quran; Allah says: [translation of the meaning of (22:25)], ‘Verily! Those who disbelieve and hinder (people) from the Path of Allah, and from the Sacred Masjid (at Makkah) which We have made (open) to (all) men – the dweller in it and the visitor from the country are equal there (as regards its sanctity and pilgrimage) – and whoever inclines to evil actions therein or to do wrong, him We shall cause to taste a painful torment.”
Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom’s Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari’ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.