Establishment of the Center
In the year 1332 S.H/1953 A.D, the importance and necessity of establishing an Islamic centre and a mosque for the Iranians was discussed at a meeting which was held at the Atlantic Hotel and led by a group of Iranian residents of Hamburg. This suggestion was welcomed by the attendees and it was decided that a mosque would be established to cater not only for the Iranians, but rather for all Muslims living in Hamburg.
In 1332, a letter was sent to Ayatollah Borojerdi by the members of this meeting which contained a proposal for establishing a centre to hold various religious gatherings,
The late Ayatollah Borojerdi welcomed the proposal and sent 10 thousand tomans as the first financial support for the establishment of the centre.
On the second day of Tir 1332 S.H 23rd June 1953 A.D , a group of interested individuals were invited to a session where the letter of Ayatollah Borojerdi was read out. At the board’s managers meeting, 9 individuals were elected as the mosque engineering managers, namely:
1.Haj Ali Naghi Kashani 2. Hossein Veladi 3. Mohammad Ali Bagherzadeh 4. Mohammad Taghi Tabarrok 5. Mohammad Khosroshahi 6. Hamid Shojaee 7. AbdolAli Feiz 8. Mohammad Hossein Dehdashti 9. MirHossein Ghaffari.
Furthermore, among them, a four-member managing board was elected and a bank account by the name of “Iranian Population” was opened. Simultaneously, based on the recommendation of the late Ayatollah Borojerdi, a commission of Tehrani business men was formed in Tehran to collect financial support for the mosque.
In 1334 1955 A.D , the late Hojat Al-Islam Agha Mohammad Mohagheghi; the representative of Ayatollah Borojerdi and the mosque’s Imam started his mission. On the 9th Tir 1336 1st October 1957 A.D , the current land which is 3744,4 square metres was purchased for the amount of 250 thousand marks. This amount was granted by an Iranian benevolent business man the late Haj Ghasem Hamedanian.
On the 12th Azar 1336 3rd December 1975 A.D , a competition was set up by the centre’s engineering board in which three enterprises proposed their plans regarding the mosque. For the final acceptance, these suggested plans were sent to Ayatollah Borojerdi in Qom and he appointed Mr. Lorzadeh, a famous Iranian architecture, to carry out this mission. Amongst the plans submitted, the designs by Schram and Elingius were selected by Mr. Lorzadeh. This design has been prepared with the cooperation of an Iranian engineer named Mr. Parviz Zargarpoor. On the 11th March 1960, a contract was settled with the above-said contractor and the preliminary infrastructure tasks to build the mosque with an area of 832.42 square meters started. The mosque preliminary stages were carried out by Hojat Al-IslamMr. Mohagheghi and in the presence of a group of Muslim representatives in Hamburgon the 15th Shaban 1370 A.H the 24th day of Bahman 1336 S.H and 13th February 1960 A.D which coincided with the birth of Imam Mahdi AJ , the construction work began.
Towards the end of 1963 the structure of the mosque was completed. Due to the death of the late Ayatollah Borojerdi and the return of Mr. Mohagheghi to Iran at the end of the year 1963, the construction was delayed again and due to lack of budget; the engineering board was in debt to the German banks. The mosque’s unfinished building caused the managers to experience numerous difficulties. Moreover, it led the members of the municipality to complain. Therefore, an article under the heading “a Remote Mosque” was published in the Hamburger Abendblatte newspaper in which the issue of Muslims’ unfinished building around the Lake Alester and Schone Aussicht Street beautiful landscape was discussed.
In mid-1342 1964 A.D. , an amount was credited to the Hamburg mosque‘s account with the cooperation of Chamber of Commerce in Iran; therefore, the debts of the mosque was almost cleared.
In 1343 1965 A.D , Ayatollah Dr. Beheshti was appointed as the Imam of the mosque by the -Maraje Taqlid. One of his first measures was to establish a new engineering board with more members than before. Furthermore, a seven member board of following trustees were appointed:
1 Ayatollah Dr. Beheshti
2 Dr. Engineer Iraj Moshiri
3 Dr. Ali Ammari
4 Manochehr Eghbal
5 Karim Nematzadeh
6 Mohammad Khosroshahi
7 Hassan Velladi
Based on the assessment of the status quo and a lengthy discussion, the new engineering board concluded that it was not practical to finish the construction of the mosque all at once. They also concluded that to alleviate the remote condition of the mosque, the following five-step program was agreed:
Completion of the ablution block and administrative offices and libraries
Completion of the exterior decorations of the mosque
Completion of external area of the mosque
Completion of the rest of the mosque building especially its dome
Building a residential room for the mosque’s custodian
During 1966 and 1967, the administrative part of the mosque and a part of its external walls tiles were completed by a group of individuals’ financial support and endowments of interested Muslims in Hamburg and Tehran; yet the mosque still was in debt to Melli Bank. By now seven years passed since the beginning of the construction.
Another important initiative of Ayatollah Beheshti was that in addition to establishing a mosque, an Islamic cultural institute should be founded to cater for all the Muslims from different nationalities and religious backgrounds. Therefore, on the 19th Bahman 1344 8th February 1966 Hamburg Islamic Centre was registered through the initiative of Ayatollah Dr. Beheshti and its cultural activities began in Germany and other European countries.
In 1968, Hojat Al-IslamMr. Mohammad Shabestari was leaving for Hamburg following the invitation by Ayatollah Beheshti to cooperate with him. After Ayatollah Beheshti’s return from Hamburg in 1970, he was assumed the responsibility of the mosque’s prayer leader and director of the Islamic Centre in Hamburg.
From then until the martyrdom of Ayatollah Dr. Beheshti 1360 S.H , the management of the centre were under his supervision and the next Imam should be appointed under his authority.
During 1969 and 1979, construction activities concerning amphitheatre, the mosque’s façade and a part of basement was completed.
Despite the fact that several intensive activities were completed, no efforts had been made regarding the structural status of the mosque; no more progress had been made regarding the construction of the mosque. This condition can be seen during the time of Hojat Al-IslamMohammad Khatami when he was appointed as the mosque’s Imam and director. 1357 to 1359 S.H , 1978 to 1980 A.D . This coincided with the challenges faced by Iranians leading up to the Islamic revolution.
Sayyed Khatami returned to Iran and Hojat Al-Islam Mohammad Moghaddam assumed the responsibility 1358 to 1370 S.H, 1980 to 1992 A.D , repairing the mosque, the basement, including kitchen, toiletstiling inside the dome was completed in 1989 and simultaneous translation system equipment were installed at the mosque’s amphitheatre. Additionally, during the period of the management of Hojat Al-Islam Moghaddam, several proposals were offered to establish a centre supplementary department located behind the mosque. Numerous preliminary tasks were carried out to pursue the administrative procedures of the new department situated next to the original mosque building. These proposals were carried out during the time of Hojat Al-Islam Ansari and were completed in 1378 2000 A.D . Upon the arriving of Hojat Al-Islam Hosseini Nasab in Hamburg, the opening ceremonies of these plans were performed.