Faran Rabbani, Al Hakam Correspondent
Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA: While explaining the true purpose of Jalsa Salana, the Promised Messiahas wrote, “The primary purpose of this convention is to enable every sincere individual to personally experience religious benefits”.
This spiritually enriching experience began for the participants of Jalsa Salana USA today with congregational Tahajud prayer followed by Fajr Salat and a brief dars at the Jalsa Gah and various hotels where the guests of the Promised Messiahas are staying.
Prior to the morning session today, fresh and warm breakfast was being served at the Ziafat halls at the Jalsa Gah.
The morning session was presided by Naib Amir Dr Hameedur Rahman Sahib, which began with a beautiful recitation of the Holy Quran and a nazm of the Promised Messiahas. After this, the first speech of the day was presented in Urdu by Haris Raja Sahib on the topic of “Survival of the Fittest – Living in the West Without Losing Faith”.
Raja Sahib quoted Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Ira where he said that the biggest problem of this day and age is materialism and this is why the Imam of our Jamaat, the Promised Messiahas added the proclamation, “I will give precedence to my faith over worldly matters”. After this, Raja Sahib shared many anecdotes from the stories of prophets from the Holy Quran. Raja Sahib also shared many faith -inspiring incidents from the lives of Ahmadi Muslims who are new to the USA but have not given up on their religious values and are being blessed by Allah in every sense of the word.
The second speech of the morning session was on “Our ‘Ilah’ is One! – Demolishing Inner Idols That Hinder Sincere Belief”. This speech was presented by Sahibzada Usman Latif Sahib. He presented the example of Hazrat Sahibzada Abdul Latif Sahib Shaheedra who laid down his life in order to set the example of true belief in Allah in this day and age.
The following speech was on the topic of “The Modesty and Humility of Our Messengersa – How to Avoid Immoral Societal Trends”. This speech was presented by Abdul Hai Thomas Sahib who shared a detailed contrast between the concept of haya (modesty) and riya (showing off). He presented many faith inspiring incidents from the life of the Holy Prophetsa where his modesty prevailed over the societal ills. The blessed model of the Holy Prophetsa serves as a citadel of refuge for us in dire times when society is ridden with myriads of spiritual ills.
The final speech of the morning session was presented by Imam Mahmood Kauser Sahib on “The Critical Need of Life Devotees to Spread the Light of Islam”. Imam Kauser presented the life of Hazrat Musabra bin Umair, the first life devotee for the sake of Islam. He shared many incidents from the lives of life devotees of the past and present who are known as stalwarts of Islam Ahmadiyyat. At the end, he shared the dire need that Islam Ahmadiyyat requires in this day and age from all of us and that is to come forward and present ourselves for the ultimate sacrifice to dedicate our entire lives for the sake of propagating our faith.
At the end of the morning session, Humanity First USA recognised some of its volunteers for exceptional services that they had rendered in the service of humanity via different projects under the Humanity First USA flagship.
The session concluded with lunch break followed by Zuhr and Asar prayers in congregation.
VIP Lunch and the Afternoon Session
A special lunch with Amir Jamaat USA, Sahibzada Dr Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad Sahib was prepared for the dignitaries that had come to this year’s Jalsa USA. The notables included US congresswoman Norma Torres (D-California), Kurt J Werthmuller (Policy Analyst), US Commission on International Religious Freedom Blake Strayhom, President Habitat for Humanity Durham Sue Henderson, Vice President of US & Canada, Habitat for Humanity International Hon Neftaly Aldana Herrera, Judge of Constitutional Court of Guatemala, Siddique Abou Bakr Wai (Ambassador of Sierra Leone to the US), Craig Considine (author and professor of sociology), Rice University Representative Andrew Lewis, Member Pennsylvania House of Representatives Bob DeSousa, Representative from Office of US Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa) and Rushan Abbas (Executive Director Campaign for Uyghurs).
After Zuhr and Asr, lunch was served to the guests of the Promised Messiahas. The afternoon session started at 3:45pm and was presided by Naib Amir Dr Nasim Rehmatullah Sahib. In this session, there were two speeches; the first was presented by Mujeeb Ijaz Sahib on the topic of “Service to Humanity – A Fundamental Form of Divine Worship” and the second speech was presented by Rasheed Reno Sahib on the subject of “Compassion in a Time of Crisis”.
The 2019 Ahmadiyya Muslim Humanitarian award’s recipient was Congresswoman Norma Torres of California. In her acceptance speech, she commented:
“I want every immigrant to have the experience I had; to be welcomed into a loving community. I am so honoured to be here. I am grateful for this award and our friendship”.
Another guest speaker, Hon Judge Neftaly Aldana Herrera of Guatemala, said:
“I want to express my gratitude to this community for its commitment to serve humanity and create bonds based on love and peace and humanity. Nasir Hospital (Guatemala) is a hope for our community”.
Miss Rushan Abbas, the Executive Director for the campaign for Uyghurs said:
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has given us the most precious gift: the light of hope”.
Special messages were received and presented at Jalsa Salana from Tom Wolf (Governor of Pennsylvania), Bob Casey (US Senator, D-Pa) and Eric Papensfuse (Mayor of Harrisburg).
After the evening session ended, a special dinner was organised for tabligh guests which was presided by Amir Sahib along with Missionary In-charge Azhar Hanif Sahib. Various new converts to Islam Ahmadiyya presented their motivating stories of how and what led to their conversion to Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam.
One young new convert in today’s gathering was Alejandro Pino of Puerto Rico, who said, “I was in a spiritual search for something to satisfy my soul which I ended up finding in Ahmadiyyat, the true Islam”.
A question and answer session was also held with tabligh guests and new converts where Azhar Hanif Sahib and Amir Sahib answered many questions from the members of the audience. Azhar Hanif Sahib said, “Faith is part of the human family, our history, our daily experiences … We are blessed to have prophets to guide us to God”.
The special dinner ended with Amir Sahib reading an excerpt from the writings of the Promised Messiahas on the concept of how to avoid sin and attain nearness to God, followed by silent prayer.
Day 2 of Jalsa Salana USA ended with Maghrib and Isha prayers at 8:40pm.