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Inside the UK’s biggest mosque with its own sports hall and TV station

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One of the largest mosques in Western Europe, and the biggest in Britain, is correct on our doorstep – however many aren’t conscious of precisely what goes on there.

The Baitul Futuh mosque in Morden, South London is tucked away at the finish of the Northern Line, on a website that was a dairy bottling plant.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim neighborhood purchased the website in the late Nineteen Nineties, and the Baitul Futuh mosque was inaugurated in 2003.

It is now a thriving neighborhood hub for all South Londoners, with house to host tens of hundreds of worshippers, a sports hall, media centre, library, bookshop and extra.

There are round 30,000 Ahmadiyya Muslims in the UK, and followers of this department of Islam consider in the second coming of the Messiah in 1835. They consider that God despatched Mirza Ghulam Ahmad to revive morality, justice and peace.

The Ahmadiyya neighborhood has been established in the UK since 1913, and are led by the motto ‘love for all, hatred for none’.

A neighborhood hub

Not solely can the Baitul Futuh (which interprets to House of Victories) host 13,000 worshippers in its prayer halls and overflow areas, it is usually a hub of the South London neighborhood.

It has a sports hall which hosts coaching and tournaments, faculty exams, Covid vaccination periods, and inter-faith symposiums, in addition to a library, exhibition house, bookshop, gymnasium, and maintained gardens.

After Covid, the sports hall will obtain some TLC and shall be again to internet hosting sports video games, coaching, faculty exams and conferences

There is even a TV studio and radio studio, dwelling to Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA International), broadcast on-line and on Sky, and Voice of Islam for DAB radio.

More of a neighborhood complicated than merely a mosque, the Baitul Futuh is a vital house for Ahmadiyya Muslims to fulfill, pray, have a good time and be taught.

The £15 million mosque was paid for totally by donations from the Ahmadiyya Muslim neighborhood and constructed by volunteers.

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Following a devastating hearth in 2015 which destroyed the administrative aspect of the complicated, intensive renovation and rebuilding works have been happening, and a brand new constructing with a shocking façade is quickly to be unveiled in a ceremony.

My London was proven round the mosque by two imams: Adeel Shah and Mansoor Ahmad Clarke. They defined the traditions, occasions and makes use of of the mosque, from enormous Eid celebrations to day by day prayers, sports video games to conferences.

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The Baitul Futuh’s towering minaret

Decoration and design

Taking our sneakers off earlier than getting into the mosque, we handed by means of a steel detector that’s primarily used to verify everyone seems to be protected when the Baitul Futuh hosts enormous occasions like mass prayers and celebrations.

The entrance to the mosque is ornately adorned, with golden lettering celebrating the constructing’s basis and inauguration in 1999 and 2003 respectively.

Potted vegetation and bushes encompass the stone steps, every containing fastidiously planted flowers and shrubs. The mosque typically wins Merton in Bloom due to its intricately designed gardens, cared for by volunteer gardeners and members of the mosque.

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The entrance of the principal mosque is surrounded by stunning vegetation and flowers

The principal mosque constructing is carpeted with gentle inexperienced flooring – no chilly ft right here – and Mansoor defined that the entire constructing is fastidiously temperature managed not just for the consolation of worshippers, but in addition to make sure that the working of the mosque is as eco-conscious as attainable.

The males’s prayer room, the place afternoon prayers had been happening as we visited, was flooded with pure mild.

Throughout the mosque, together with in the prayer rooms, the ornament is minimal. Mansoor and Adeel defined that that is to assist to cut back distractions from prayers and to make sure a complete deal with God whereas in the mosque.

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The mosque’s hallways and landings are flooded with pure mild

The partitions are painted white, and the carpets in the prayer rooms have a striped design which helps worshippers line as much as pray in the path of Mecca.

Adeel mentioned that dozens of worshippers can match on a single row, which means lots of of individuals can pray in the prayer rooms at anybody time, although with Covid restrictions this quantity is diminished.

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The partitions are plain, except for some phrases written in Arabic. Around the round centre of the ceiling is written: “Surely, in the remembrance of God do hearts discover consolation.”

An arch on one wall, above which the first pillar of Islam is written in Arabic, is the place the imam kneels to guide the prayer. The imam, and all those that are praying, face in the path of the Kaaba in Mecca.

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The imam leads the prayer from underneath the arch, above which reads the first pillar of Islam

The Kaaba, a constructing at the centre of Islam’s most vital mosque the Masjid al-Haram, is taken into account to be the House of God and is the qibla (path of prayer) for Muslims round the world.

Downstairs at the Baitul Futuh mosque is the girls’s prayer room, which has an adjoining soundproof creche to maintain youngsters protected and completely satisfied whereas the girls pray.

The home windows should not clear, to supply privateness as the basement home windows are at floor stage, however they’re specifically designed to maximise pure mild regardless of the incontrovertible fact that the prayer room is technically beneath floor.

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While the girls’s prayer room is technically beneath floor stage, it’s nonetheless crammed with pure mild from specifically designed home windows

Communication and media

After trying round the principal mosque, we had been proven one among the extra shocking facets of the complicated at Baitul Futuh – the media centre.

The Ahmadiyya Muslim neighborhood is usually media-savvy, with representatives repeatedly showing in the media to discuss ongoing neighborhood work and additionally internet hosting their own tv and radio reveals.

Muslim Television Ahmadiyya International (MTA International) and DAB radio’s Voice of Islam are each recorded, edited and broadcast on-site in Morden and attain audiences globally.

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Voice of Islam Radio broadcasts all through the day and, like MTA International TV, is run by volunteers from the mosque neighborhood

With its towering minaret, spectacular measurement and soon-to-be-unveiled new golden façade, Britain’s largest mosque is definitely a monumental sight to behold in Morden.

Throughout the go to, it was clear to see that the Baitul Futuh mosque performs an vital position not solely in the Ahmadiyya Muslim neighborhood, however is an asset to individuals in the space who use the house in lots of different methods.

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