Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 4
The committees which were established in the blessed eras of the Promised Messiahas and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira were all of men, for instance, Ishaat-e-Islam, Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, Tashizul-Azhan, Majlis Ahbab, Majmaul Ikhwan and Majlis Irshad to name a few. At that time, there were no academic, religious and civic organisations present for women.
Hence, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra established Lajna Imaillah on the proposal of his second wife, Amatul Hay Sahibara, on 25 December 1922, and its first secretary was Hazrat Amatul Hay Sahibara. After Hazrat Amatul Hay Sahibara, this important service was entrusted to his other wife, Hazrat Sara Begum Sahibara and then, to Hazrat Syeda Umme-Tahirra.
When the launch of this organisation was brought into effect, members of Lajna Imaillah humbly requested Hazrat Ummul Momineen [Hazrat Nusran Jehan Begum Sahibara] to accept presiding as its Sadr. The first gathering most probably occurred under her presidency. However, having seated Hazrat Umme-Nasirra in her position at the very first gathering, she nominated her as Sadr. Thus, till her demise on 31 July 1958, Hazrat Umme-Nasirra carried out this responsibility in an outstanding manner.
Thus was the inception of Lajna Imaillah. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra wrote the following exposition addressed to the ladies of Qadian on 15 December 1922:
“Assalamo Alaikum wa Rahmatullahe Wabarakatuhu. In order to fulfil the aim and objective of the purpose of our creation, the efforts of women are as necessary as that of men. In my opinion, the perception of what Islam expects of women has not dawned upon them and how their lives should be spent whereby they can, attaining the pleasure of God, become the inheritors of the bounties of Allah Almighty, not only in the hereafter but in this world as well.
“If one reflects, it will dawn upon them that most women do not have an understanding of whether they are capable of other work aside from daily chores.
“The enmity for Islam that is instilled in children through women (mothers) in anti-Islam circles can be countered only through our women. Further, if a spirit of sacrifice can be created in children, then that can also only occur through mothers. Thus, besides their own spiritual and academic progress, the progress of the future Jamaat is mostly dependent upon the efforts of women, since the influence which children retain when grown is not as deep as is retainable in childhood. Similarly, the reformation of women can also occur through women.
“Bearing these matters in mind, I invite those sisters who second this idea and admit the need of the following matters to initiate work together, in order to fulfil these objectives. If you also agree upon the following matters, please notify me so that this work begins as soon as possible:
1. It is necessary for ladies to strive together to increase their knowledge and to relay their gained knowledge to others
2. For this, an organisation requires establishing so that this work is formally continued
3. There is a need for some rules to run this organisation, the adherence of which should be compulsory on every member
4. There is a need for the rules and regulations to be in accordance with the Islam presented by the Ahmadiyya Jamaat and which aid in its progress and consolidation
5. There is a need for essays to be read out in gatherings regarding various topics in Islam, especially contemporary issues. They should be written by the members of the organisation themselves so that in this way, the faculty for the usage of knowledge can be fostered
6. There is a need for people already acquainted with Islam to be brought forth for lectures on such topics, which the organisation deems necessary for the objective of increasing knowledge
7. In order to maintain a spirit of unity within the Jamaat, all actions are required to occur in accordance to the prepared scheme of whoever the Khalifa of the time may be, bearing in mind its progress
8. It is essential that you strive and offer any sacrifice for unity of the Jamaat in accord with the Quran, Hadith and sayings of the Promised Messiahas; as is incumbent upon every Muslim
9. It is necessary for you to always be attentive towards reforming your morals and spirituality and for you not to confine your attention to mere eating, drinking and wearing clothes. For this, one should assist the other as fully as possible and should reflect and act on such means
10. It is important that you especially comprehend your responsibility to the moral upbringing of children. Instead of making them ignorant of religion, discontented and lazy, they should be made active, alert and tolerant to adversity. Acquaint them with themes of religion, to whatever extent you have knowledge of and create in them the spirit of love and obedience to God, the Holy Prophetsa and Promised Messiahas. Develop in them a passion to spend their lives for the sake of Islam and in accordance to its motive. For this reason, reflect over proposals to accomplish this task and implement them
11. It is necessary to overlook one another’s faults when working together and strive for reformation with patience and resolve rather than increasing discord by anger and indignation
12. As people laugh and mock upon every task when it is initiated, it is necessary not to give laughing and mockery of people any value and for sisters to gain the lesson of enduring, with courage and resolve, various kinds of scorns and taunts or ridicule by the public. Further, the ability to give birth to such a strength should be acquired beforehand so that other sisters may divert their attention towards this task, upon observing this example
13. It is important that in order to strengthen this concept and for it to eternally endure, there should be likeminded people to yourselves. And this task can only proceed when every sister who participated in this gathering regards it her duty to also make other sisters likeminded as her
14. It is necessary that to save this work from ruin, only those sisters should be made members of the organisation who fully agree with these ideas. If, God forbid, anybody does not remain in agreement at any time, they should happily separate from the organisation, otherwise, they should be separated
15. As the Jamaat is not the name of any specific group and young, old, poor and rich all constitute of the Jamaat, it is necessary for there not to be any distinction in this organisation between the poor and affluent. Rather, it should be striven to create love and equality in both poor and rich and to eliminate from the hearts disdain to one another and a tendency of haughtiness because in spite of the distinction of ranks, all men are in actuality brothers and all women, sisters
16. It is necessary to propose some methods for practically serving Islam and to help your poor brothers and sisters; and then to act upon them
17. As all help, success and blessings come from Allah Almighty, it is important to supplicate and to encourage others to pray, ‘Let those objectives be revealed to us which He [God] had in view in our creation. Inform us of the best means to fulfil those purposes and then, enable us to fulfil those means in the best manner that lead to a blessed end. Guide the forthcoming generations also by your grace and make this mission eternally last, according to Your will, until this world comes to an end’
“If you agree with these ideas and are prepared to act upon the rules that are being passed having gone through the Anjuman (and will be so in future), please sign this paper. Having taken separate signatures, oaths shall be taken from every sister in relation to these rules.”
Upon this preliminary proposal [which was purely voluntary], 13 ladies of Qadian signed. On the instruction of Huzoorra, these ladies who had signed gathered in the residence of Hazrat Ummul Momineenra on 25 December 1922. Following the Asr prayer, Huzoorra delivered a brief address and the establishment of Lajna was brought into effect. In his address, entrusting the arrangements of the ladies Jalsa to the women, Huzoorra gave them counsel and advice. After this first gathering, the detailed rules for Lajna Imaillah were published in the magazine Tadib-ul-Nisa [which used to be published under the editorship of Hazrat Sheikh Yaqub Ali Irfanira, in Qadian]. In this manner, formal activities began.
(Translated by Fateh Alam, London)