London’s First Mosque: A study in history and mystery

Jihad Of Pen: The morning of the 3rd of October 1926 dawned upon London as another regular Sunday morning, but for the residents of Putney, it had been long awaited. The construction of an unusual building on Melrose Road SW18 had been ongoing for two years now, and had been of great interest for the local residents of Putney and Southfields. It had also attracted immense press attention ever since its foundation was laid in 1924, by Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad [ra], the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community at the time. The residents
had witnessed famous architects such as T. H. Mawson visit the site 1 during the planning phase and then members of the local community voluntarily taking part as labourers in the construction phase. 2

Now, on this morning, it was ready for its inauguration—an event that was scheduled to occur later that afternoon. What made the event historically so important was the fact that it was set to be the opening of London’s first ever Mosque. 3 There had long been a Muslim presence in Britain; organised communities, such as that of Abdullah Quilliam had emerged (and dispersed). Various houses had been what Muslim Londoners later called the East London Mosque, but the need for a purpose built Mosque in London was long felt by Muslims in Britain. This gap was to be filled by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, 4 adding a new dimension to the historical importance of the Mosque.

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