Al Hakam spoke to Haider Ali Zafar Sahib, missionary and Naib Amir of Germany, who recalled the following regarding the history of Jalsa Salana Germany:
Haider Ali Zafar, Naib Amir Germany
In 1975, Ahmadis were mostly populated in and around the Hamburg region and were scattered into small Jamaats.
Other than the Jumuah prayer, they would also have frequent get-togethers so that they could meet each other and find opportunities to share and exchange information about their efforts in tabligh and love with fellow Ahmadis.
These small gatherings evolved into formal events and as the missionary of that area, I tried to organise and arrange these gatherings in accordance with the Jamaat’s traditions.
A sort of administrative committee was formed and chaired by me and the event became known as Jalsa Hamburg, which was automatically renamed Jalsa Salana Germany.
Although there was no formal title of Afsar Jalsa Salana or Afsar Jalsa Gah, but team members worked like nazimeen and I assumed a role similar to that of Afsar Jalsa Salana. All these developments took place in the following two to three years and after the mid 80s, when members of the Jamaat clustered in Frankfurt and its surrounding areas, the Jalsa moved to a hall in Frankfurt and then to Nasir Baach, Gross-Gerau.
In the days of Maulana Fazal Ilahi Anwari Sahib and then Nawab Mansoor Ahmad Khan Sahib, there were no more than two missionaries posted in Germany and they trained the members of Jamaat to deliver their duties, which they had already done in Pakistan. It was, and it is even today, the same baton passed on to next generation under the blessed guidelines and instructions of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih.
Like human evolution, Jalsa Salana has evolved and developed branches and mechanisms with the passage of time, but its basic structure can be identified and traced back to the time of the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas.
During the days of Jalsa Hamburg, there were a few newly converted Ahmadi Muslims in Denmark and Sweden, and they would be invited for delivering speeches to the congregation and as guest speakers.
Even in late 80s, the total number of participants could be accommodated in the Nasir Baach premises, but soon after the attendance began to swiftly grow and it began to overflow with the blessings of Allah the Almighty. Jalsa Salana Germany was then moved to Mannheim, where it continued for a long period of time.
Here came that blessed occasion when Jalsa Salana UK was merged with Jalsa Salana Germany in 2001 due to the outbreak of foot-and-mouth disease in the UK.
During the Mannheim Jalsa days, Jalsa Salana developed almost all of its branches and administrative faculties.
But according to the continuous glad tiding of èÓñÙ åãÇæã “Expand your house”, we had another venue waiting for Jalsa Salana Germany, namely the DM Arena in Karlsruhe.
Here, Jalsa Salana Germany accommodates around 40,000 guests each year, and around 3,500 volunteers are honoured to host the guests of the Promised Messiahas at Jalsa Salana.
The sessions and speeches, along with various details to do with the Jalsa Gah, are separately organised under the supervision of Afsar Jalsa Gah. All other administrative departments fall under the supervision of Afsar Jalsa Salana.
I would like to mention here the greatest blessing of Allah in all Jalsa Salanas around the world.
The spirit and drive of all these arrangements, duties, enormous volunteer services and enthusiasm is the presence of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa.
At anytime or anywhere, you will find the faces of participants beaming with happiness, with the hope to catch a glimpse of their beloved Imam and for their Imam to see them as they perform their duties. They enjoy the Jalsa as it is their own home; they eat, drink, sleep and pray as they are sitting right in their homes.
The sole reason behind all the peace and tranquillity felt by all duty-holders and guests during Jalsa is the holy and blessed presence of Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa, whose sight, wave or smile is a reward for each and every participant.
(Prepared by Tahir Ahmed Bhatti, Al Hakam’s Germany Correspondent)