Baitul Futuh Mosque
|Baitul Futuh Mosque in London|
Back view of the mosque
|Location||Morden, London Borough of Merton|
|Administration||Ahmadiyya Muslim Community|
|Construction cost||£5.5 million (mosque)|
£15 million (including complex)
|Capacity||6,000 (prayer halls), 13,000 (total) |
|Dome height (outer)||23m|
|Dome dia. (outer)||18m|
|Minaret height||36m and 25.5m|
|Site area||5.2 acres (2.1 ha)|
The Baitul Futuh Mosque (English: House of Victories), also known as the Morden Mosque, is a mosque complex in Morden, London. It is one of the largest mosques in Western Europe. Completed in 2003 at a cost of £15 million, entirely from donations of British Ahmadi Muslims, the full complex can accommodate 13,000 people. The main mosque (pictured right) has a height of 23m above ground, and in order to maximise capacity the building extends below ground. Baitul Futuh is located in the south-west London suburb in the London Borough of Merton. It is situated next to Morden South railway station, 0.4 miles from Morden Underground station (Northern line) and one mile from Morden Road tram stop.
The Morden Mosque is notable for its work in serving the greater community. Baitul Futuh has featured in national news for its peace work and community cohesion efforts, noted later in this article under 'Community Cohesion'. The design of Baitul Futuh similarly aims to combine modern British architecture.
Baitul Futuh has a history of notable events. It featured in the 2015 TV documentary 'Britain's Biggest Mosque' by Channel 5. Similarly, the mosque is host to the weekly Friday Sermons delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad. These speeches are relayed live across the Ahmadi community's social media channels and global TV network.
His Holiness Mirza Tahir Ahmad, who was the head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the time, launched an appeal for funds for the building on 24 February 1995, and the land was purchased on 29 March 1996. The designs were produced by Oxford architectural studio, Sutton Griffin. The foundation stone was placed by the late Mirza Tahir Ahmad  on 19 October 1999 in a ceremony attended by 2,000 guests, and inaugurated by the current head of the worldwide Community, His Holiness Mirza Masroor Ahmad, on 3 October 2003. The opening ceremony was attended by over 600 guests; those present included High Commissioners, Deputy High Commissioners, Members of European Parliament, Members of Parliament, Mayors of London boroughs, Councillors, university lecturers, and representatives of 17 nations.
On 26 September 2015, a major fire broke out at the administrative side of the mosque complex - adjacent to the main mosque. The fire brigade were called at 12:20 noon and the blaze was soon declared a 'major incident'. 10 fire engines, an aerial platform and 80 fire-fighters tackled the fire. The fire was under control at 5:32pm, more than 5 hours after the initial report, and was extinguished after 30 hours of firefighting.
The majority of the building damage occurred at the front of the complex, within the administrative block of the site. The men's and women's prayer area were not affected. According to news reports, 50% of the ground floor, as well as the first floor and the roof were ablaze. The site was evacuated by site staff and one man was hospitalised after he collapsed and blacked out from smoke inhalation. London Fire Brigade later reported that the "mosque itself is thankfully unaffected". Extensive structural damage led to complex demolition work (adjacent to the functioning TV studio, major A-road and main mosque) over several months in 2017.
The blaze created a huge plume of smoke, visible for miles in South West London, and caused widespread traffic congestion, bus disruption and local rail suspension. The A24 London Road, a major London A-road, was shut down for hours because of its proximity to Baitul Futuh.
By the end of the day, no suggestion of a deliberate attack was made. Two teenagers were arrested the following day on suspicion of arson. Although, the elder of the two was soon released without charge.
- In 1999, the foundation stone was laid by Mirza Tahir Ahmad (the fourth head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community).
- In 2010, Baitul Futuh hosted BBC Radio 4's Question Time with Jonathan Dimbleby, Guardian columnist Polly Toynbee, Minister Sadiq Khan, Deputy Leader of the Liberal Democrats Simon Hughes, MP Daniel Hannan and a studio audience of 400.
- The mosque was voted one of the ‘Top 50 Buildings in the World’ by Spectator magazine in 2010.
- Lord Eric Avebury was awarded the first Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize, in recognition of his lifetime of human rights work, at the National Peace Symposium event hosted at Baitul Futuh in 2010.
- The 2010 plan to burn the Qur'an by the Pastor of the Dove World Outreach Center on the 9th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks was strongly condemned at the Baitul Futuh mosque by British faith leaders, representing various faiths, such as Church of England, Catholic Church, Judaism, Bahá'í Faith and other Christian and Islamic sects.
- The Baitul Futuh Mosque acted as the centre for the UK-wide 'Loyalty, Freedom and Peace Campaign', which sought to challenge stereotypes of the faith, remove misconceptions, start conversations and improve the integration of Muslims and non-Muslims. The campaign was famed for featuring on the side of buses across London.
- In August 2013, the mosque was the location of the largest Eid celebration in the UK of 15,000 people.
- Home Secretary Theresa May toured the Baitul Futuh Mosque complex in May 2015 and addressed 200 members of the community to take questions and commend the relief efforts of Humanity First, an international charity run by volunteers of the Ahmadiyya Community.
- In 2015, the massive preparations for Eid celebrations at Baitul Futuh Mosque were filmed by Channel 5 for the behind-the-scenes TV documentary 'Britain's Biggest Mosque'. The one-off special was broadcast in 2016. Channel 5 included the fire in their programme.
- The site hosts the annual National Peace Symposium which begins with tours followed by speeches from notable guests and the awarding of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize. Speakers have included the head of the Ahmadiyya Community Mirza Masroor Ahmad, politicians such as Boris Johnson and the heads of various faiths.
- The 13,000-capacity complex is host to the weekly Friday Sermons delivered by the head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad (whom resides at Fazl Mosque, a smaller mosque in London). These sermons are relayed live to social media and the community's worldwide TV network, including the UK Sky 'MTA' channel.
The Morden Mosque is notable for its efforts in serving the greater community. Baitul Futuh has featured in national news for its peace work and community cohesion efforts. The design of Baitul Futuh also aims to combine modern British architecture.
Several events are held at the Bait'ul Futuh Mosque to serve the greater community. The complex hosts school tours, local college exams, local community events, multi-faith conferences, the National Peace Symposium, and visiting dignitaries. In addition to regular congregational prayers, its services include the Peace Symposiums, weekly homeless feeding across London, volunteering events, local community events and the 'Merton Youth Partnership Annual Conference’, hosting the BBC Radio 4 Programme Any Questions?,. The Mosque receives over 10,000 visitors a year from schools, faith groups, public service organisations, charities, local and central government, and other groups.
The National Peace Symposium 2010 chose the location to award the first Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize to Lord Eric Avebury. The award was for lifetime contribution to global Human Rights. The Peace Prize is awarded annually "in recognition of an individual’s or an organisation’s contribution for the advancement of the cause of peace". The Ahmadiyya Muslim Peace Prize has since been awarded annually at the Peace Symposium hosted at the Baitul Futuh Mosque.
The Baitul Futuh Mosque acted as the centre for the UK-wide 'Loyalty, Freedom and Peace Campaign', which sought to challenge stereotypes of the faith, remove misconceptions, start conversations and improve the integration of Muslims and non-Muslims.
In 2018, Baitul Futuh was one of the UK Ahmadi Mosques to host 'The Big Iftar', a gathering to break the fast during Islam's holy month of Ramadan. Ahmadi Muslims were encouraged to invite their neighbors, in addition to the open invitation on social media. Londoners from across the capital attended to tour the site and sit together for an evening meal. The Big Iftar has run since 2013.
Redevelopment for 2020
Plans were made to redevelop the administrative block damaged by a large fire in September 2015. Proposals for the reconstruction were designed by renowned London architecture firm John McAslan + Partners. Reconstruction funds were raised from fire damages repaid by the insurer, and additional donations from the British Ahmadi community. The London architectural studio published its initial concepts online in July 2016.
In January 2017, several months of complicated demolition work took place in close proximity to the major A24 London Road, Morden South Railway Station bridge and the functioning Mosque. Planning and consultation work for the rebuild also took place in 2017/2018.
The new Foundation Stone was placed by Mirza Masroor Ahmad, head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, on 4 March 2018. Following this ceremony, a two-year expectation was set for the new building to open. Construction work began in October 2018 after receiving the necessary permissions.
MTA Television Studios
The Baitul Futuh complex includes the Mosque and an administrative block, which is the location of the UK studio of the MTA International Studios (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya). There are two studios on site that are home to several television shows and other media relayed to the MTA online channels and television channels in the UK (e.g. the Sky MTA channel) and globally. MTA has a complete post production studio on site that processes its broadcast material.
The fundamental role of MTA is to provide a platform for the head of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Community, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, to address his community members across the globe and also the wider global audience. Baitul Futuh also serves as the location of the weekly Friday Sermons delivered by Mirza Masroor Ahmad and these sermons are live broadcast globally on MTA's television channels and social media channels.
The studio also hosts the Voice of Islam radio station.
Apart from two separate large prayer halls in the mosque for women and men, the complex includes the following facilities:
- Islamic book store
- The Aftab Khan Library
- Khilafat Centenary Gallery (exhibition space to celebrate 100 years of spiritual leadership)
- Multi-functional halls
- MTA Television Studios and the Voice of Islam Radio (VOI Radio) station
- Kitchen & Dining Hall
- Guest rooms
- Disabled access
- Wash-room facilities
The Baitul Futuh complex includes the mosque and an administrative block. A standout design feature of the mosque is the 18 metre diameter "shimmering silver dome" made of stainless steel (as reviewed by Exploring Surrey's Past). Inside of the mosque in the upper prayer hall, hand-painted silver Arabic calligraphy from the Quran lines the interior of the dome. The mosque's two upper (above ground) and lower (below ground) prayer halls span spaces of 28m x 36m. The exterior walls of the mosque are made with polished marble tiles. Huge glass panels make the entrance to the mosque. The mosque was designed from the ground up, the adjoining multi-functional halls were renovated from an existing derelict dairy building. The original site's chimney was converted into the 35m minaret featured right.
Oxford architectural studio Sutton Griffin designed the complex and Carter Jonas designed the mosque with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association. The design of Baitul Futuh aims to combine modern British architecture, and the environmentally-friendly building design won the prestigious Green Award. Renowned architects John McAslan + Partners, notable for King's Cross station and The Roundhouse in London, were chosen to design a large administration block in the location of the previous block which was damaged by a serious fire in 2015.
Baitul Futuh was voted one of the ‘Top 50 Buildings in the World’ by Spectator magazine. The mosque was also listed in the 'Best 50 Modern Religious Buildings' published by The Independent newspaper.
The Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden is part of the architectural event Open House London, an annual event in September which recognises building design.
- Ahmadiyya Muslim Community
- MTA International
- The London Mosque (Fazl Mosque)
- Ahmadiyya in the United Kingdom
- Islam in the United Kingdom
- Islamic architecture
- List of Ahmadiyya buildings and structures
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