Praise is to Allah, Lord of all creation, and peace and blessings on Prophet Muhammad, his family and companions, and those who follow his guidance until the Day of Judgement...
Allah, the Almighty, says in the Quran: (In houses—mosques, which Allah has ordered to be raised, in them His Name is remembered. Therein glorify Him in the mornings and in the afternoons or the evenings • Men whom neither trade nor sale diverts from the Remembrance of Allah, nor from performing Salah, nor from giving Zakah. They fear a Day when hearts and eyes will be in commotion. • That Allah may reward them according to the best of their deeds, and add even more for them out of His Grace. And Allah provides without measure to whom He wills.) Surah al-Nur 36-38
First, I wish to address our noble Imams, and esteemed workers for Islam (Du’at) in Europe, brothers as well as sisters, spiritual guides and teachers (Murabbis). I offer to all, our appreciation in the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE); we appreciate their role, and value their efforts. Indeed, they follow the noble path walked by the Prophets (peace be upon them).
On the road of migration (Hijrah) from Makkah to Madinah, the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, stopped at Quba, and established the very first mosque in Islam. This was the first mosque founded on piety, as mentioned in the Noble Quran. Moreover, the first act of the Prophet, peace be upon him, on arriving at Madinah, was to establish the Prophet’s Mosque, which was the principal foundation of the new society, characterised by its diversity, and inclusiveness of Muslims and non-Muslims on the basis of mutual respect, and the rights, and responsibilities dictated by citizenship.
The mosque was not simply a place to perform prayers, but a school and university where Muslims received the teachings and directives of Islam, a forum harmonising the different tribal elements that had long in history been in conflict and wars borne of ignorance, a headquarters for administering society’s affairs, and a council chamber for consultation and resolution. Even more so, the Prophet’s Mosque was also home to a large number of the poor and dispossessed, who had nowhere to stay, no wealth, no family or children. The Mosque also opened its doors to non-Muslims, as related in the biography of our Messenger, peace be upon him.
This connection between migration (Hijrah) and establishing the mosque has made clear the extent to which the mosque plays a key role in securing peace, establishing stability, and enshrining openness and transparency. The prior period in Makkah had been characterised by repression of belief and hounding of the believers, thus preventing the mosque from being established occupied, and assuming its natural role; as such, the prayer in the mosque at Quba was a turning point in Islamic history, from the era of trial, fear, and suffering, to a new era of stability, security, tranquillity, and collective participation.
Muslims in Europe, in the trend to establish mosques and Islamic centres, in the appropriate architectural form, and including proper facilities and services, embody one of the forms of positive integration in their European societies, and also express an appropriate presence within the space of citizenship that must remain wide enough to include everyone within the framework of law, public and private rights, and personal and religious liberty. No doubt that in the ideal sense, the role of mosques and Islamic centres, lies in serving the cross sections of the Muslim community, and supporting social cohesion, as well as a shining light for the wider public in their diverse colours, with opportunities for fruitful, mutual interaction.
In this context, we summon the directives in the Quran, and the lessons learned from the noble Prophetic life—peace be upon him, in inviting to Allah with wisdom and good preaching, in the spirit of sincerity and selflessness, while appreciating the burden of responsibility, and the scale of the trust in conveying the message of Islam, and promoting its lofty values, and observing moderation in thought and practice.
In the book of Allah and the example of the Messenger of Allah, peace be upon him, there is much to encourage and urge Muslims to cooperate in acts of goodness and piety, as well as invitation to the workers for Islam (Du’at) in the European countries to unite upon the Truth, hold fast to the rope of Allah, and reject division and disunity, while focusing on the vital and weighty issues.
We ask Allah to bless all good efforts, and help us all attain piety and success in this life and the hereafter... and all praise is due to Allah, Lord of all creation.
Wa assalamu alaykum wa rahmat Allah
Your brother, Chakuib Ben Makhlouf
President of the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE)