Berlin Mosque and Mission
Phase 1 (to December 1997)
by Sister Samina, Columbus,
The Berlin Mosque and Mission House, located in the Wilmersdorf
area, was built in the years 1924-1926 by Maulana Sadr-ud-Din. Funds
for the Mosque were raised with great sacrifice by the members of the
Lahore Ahmadiyya Jamaat. This included several memorable fund-raising
appeals by Maulana Muhammad Ali. The Mosque with its classical Mughal
architecture and thirty meter Minarets was a striking and beautiful
sight to behold. Initially under Maulana Sadr-ud-Din, and later under
Dr. S. M. Abdullah, the Mosque became a center for the propagation of
the true Islam in the heart of Europe. The magazine of the Mosque, the
Muslimische Review, presented an enlightened and rational picture
of Islam to the German-speaking public, and many Germans became Muslims.
During World War II, the Mosque and Mission House were badly damaged,
and both Minarets were levelled by artillery fire in the closing stages
of the War. Subsequently some repairs were made to these structures
but they were not sufficient to prevent further damage, and the Minarets
were not rebuilt. Deterioration of the Mosque and the Mission House
continued to such an extent that there was danger of collapse of the
Parapets of the front of the Mosque and the roof of the Mission House.
The bricks of the remaining portions of the Minarets had become loose
due to frost and plant damage. These falling bricks were a hazard
to people passing below. Large chunks of plaster of the outer walls
had fallen off, exposing the walls to water and frost damage.
The late Head of the Lahore Ahmadiyya Movement, Hazrat Ameer
Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan, had made several appeals for funds for the repair
of the Mosque as he was very concerned about the continuing damage
to the building. However, the needed amount of approximately two and
half million German Marks seemed an impossible target to achieve by
the Jamaat members.
In 1995, with the encouragement of Dr. Saeed Ahmad Khan and the Board
of Directors of the U.S. Jamaat, I went to Berlin in an attempt to
raise funds for the repairs from the German Government. In Berlin,
I was told by Imam Ch. Saeed Ahmad that it would be impossible to
get an appointment with the Monument Department as there was a waiting
period of six months due to a large backlog. However, I was convinced
that Almighty Allah would help me if I made an effort. The next morning
1 went to the Monument Department without an appointment, where I
was told that it was impossible for me to meet the President of the
Monument Department in the few days that I was in Berlin. I requested
them to give me an appointment the next day as I had come from America
and was in Berlin for only a few days. By the Grace of Almighty Allah
and the prayers of our late Hazrat Ameer, my pleading had an effect,
and I was given an appointment to meet the President of the Monument
Department the very next day.
The following day I met with the President and four members of his
department. In our discussions I explained to them the importance
of the Mosque to the City of Berlin and to our Jamaat and the necessity
of preserving the Mosque. They agreed in principle to provide funds
for the repairs but said that they would pay half of the cost and
we should pay the other half. After returning from Berlin I phoned
the late Hazrat Ameer and gave him this good news which he was extremely
happy to hear.
In January of 1996 I again went to Berlin during Ramadan. Chaudry
Saeed, the Imam of the Berlin Mosque, was on leave in Pakistan. I
had five days of meeting with the President of the Monument Department,
the Cultural office and the Architect chosen by the Monument Department.
We had long discussions in which I stressed the fact that we were
not a rich Jamaat, and that they should reduce our share of the repair
cost to 20% from 50%. They agreed to consider my request. It was a
source of great joy and happiness to me to be there in the month of
Ramadan. Although it was one of the coldest winters in Europe and
there were no proper arrangements to keep the fast, I still managed
to keep the fast. I prayed that Almighty Allah would bless my efforts
in this Holy Month.
On Eid Day, the 18th of February, I received a call from the Monument
Department saying that they had approved 250,000 DM and our share
would be 50,000 DM, making a total of 300,00 DM. I relayed this good
news to our late Hazrat Ameer. I will always remember the joy and
happiness in his voice as he thanked Allah Almighty. He said that
he was constantly praying for the project and that the Monument Department
and the Government would help even more. He entrusted this work to
me as a representative of the Central Anjuman. I have tried my best
to live up to that trust.
In February of 1996, I made another trip to Berlin to sign the contracts.
It appeared that the late Hazrat Ameer's prayers had been answered:
they had raised their contribution from 250,000 DM to 300,000 DM Our
share was left at 50,000 DM which now came to only 13% of the new
total. This 350,000 DM was for the first phase of the repairs which
would include the following:
- Repair of the Parapet of the front of the Mosque and the adjacent
portion of the roof. (See Illustration 2.)
- The roof of the Mission House.
- The bathroom of the Mission House and the initial repair of the
The Architectural plans were thoroughly researched and surveyed by
the architect. A coloured illustrated book of the History of the Mosque
was prepared. This book was meant for distribution among potential
donors to raise additional funds for the repair of the Mosque and
The first structure to be repaired was the North Minaret which is next
to the entrance of the Mission House. Plants had sprouted in the crevices
of the bricks, loosening them. These bricks used to fall in bad weather
and were a danger to people entering the Mission House. (See illustration
3A.) The plants were uprooted and all the crevices were filled with
concrete and the loose bricks were secured. A new cap was placed on
the top of the Minaret. (See illustration 3B.) The repair of the Mosque
and Mission House started in November 1996.
An extensive scaffolding with lifts was put in place at the front and
side of the Mosque and around the entire Mission House. (See Illustration
4.) The scaffolding around the Mission House had a solid tin roof and
plastic sheets on the sides. This would allow work in bad weather as
the covered area could be heated in the winter and work could be done
in below freezing conditions. The scaffolding company, knowing that
restoration work on old buildings is unpredictable because unexpected
damage may be discovered, gave the scaffolding on a contract basis for
the entire duration of the repair work. This cost was equal to three
months rental. The scaffolding remained for one year but the charges
did not exceed more that three months rental charge.
Mission House Roof
The condition of the roof was much worse than expected. The beams were
rotten and had been seriously weakened by dryrot and water damage. Huge
wasp nests were present around the beams. The Architect and the Monument
Department were of the opinion that the roof was in imminent danger
of collapse. (See Illustration 5A.)
The repair work included replacement of entire segments of beams.
A four foot concrete wall was poured along the edges of the roof to
anchor the beams. The wall was strengthened by steel brackets in the
poured concrete. A new chimney was built and heavy insulation was
blown into the attic. The roof was water-proofed with a double layer
of waterproofing. (See Illustration 5B.)
New decorative sculptures were fitted under the eaves. Heavy sculptured
ornaments each weighing approximately 80 pounds will be placed all
around the roof edges. (See Ilustration 5B (v) and (vi).) These will
be anchored to the roof edges by stainless steel hooks embedded within
the ornaments. These hooks will be placed over stainless steel rods
along the roof edges and all the joints will be encased in concrete.
Outside Walls of the Mission House
Large areas of the plaster had fallen off, leaving bare bricks exposed
to water and frost damage. (See Illustration 6A.) In addition, there
were numerous cracks in the plaster. The bare areas were replastered
and the cracks filled in. This will provide a waterproof exterior for
the building. (See Illustration 6B.)
Interior of the Mission House
Originally, there were two separate half bathroom areas side by side.
These were made into a single, spacious modern bathroom with fully tiled
floors and tiled walls up to the ceiling. New fixtures (wash basin,
toilet and a bathtub) were installed. During the renovation of the bathrooms,
it was discovered that extensive water damage with dryrot had occurred
to the beams in the floor of the bathrooms. New beams and floors had
to be put in. This led to unanticipated expenditures. It was also found
that all the pipes were rusted and corroded beyond repair. New copper
pipes and a new water heater were installed. (See Illustration 7A &
Small bedroom adjacent to bathroom
The dryrot had also affected the beams and floors of the room. The beams
and the floors were replaced and a new heater was also installed. (See
Illustration 7A & 7B.)
The ceiling of the large bedroom adjacent to the Imam's bedroom and
a portion of the upper hallway was replaced because it had suffered
extensive water damage. (See illustration 8.)
Both the upstairs and downstairs hallways were painted. (See illustration
The entire kitchen was repainted and the new water pipes were installed.
(See illustration 8.)
Due to the extreme cold in the winter, the pipes in the upstairs small
bedroom and the basement had burst. All the pipes in the basement were
replaced. The cast iron drainage pipes were replaced with modern PVC
pipes. (See Illustration 9.)
Contract for Phase 2
The above repairs were included in the First Phase. By the grace of
Almighty Allah, funds for the second phase have been granted and I have
signed the contracts. DM 200,000 will be given by the German Government
and our share will be DM 20,000, which is 10% of the total. The U.S.A.
Jamaat will provide the Anjuman's share, most of which consists of personal
donations from the U.S.A. Board of Directors.
In the Second Phase, the entire North Minaret will be restored to
its original height of 30 meters.
On December 6th, 1997, Dr. Noman Malik and I visited Berlin to check
on the completed work of the First Phase. We met with Mr. Lampeitl,
the Architect, Mr. Wendtland of the Monument Department, and Dr. Pintsch,
who is an architect and a member of the Pakistan-German Association.
Dr. Pintsch had a very high opinion of the work done. He had been
in Pakistan a month earlier and had reported to the Central Anjuman,
Lahore, on the satisfactory progress of the repair work on the Mosque
and Mission House.
Members are requested to pray for the success of the repairs.