The Jamaat’s calendar, which is now turning into a global calendar for a global community, usually has two main highlights in the summer season: Jalsa Salana UK and Jalsa Salana Germany.
This year saw Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Belgium coming together when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V graced their 25th Jalsa Salana. The worldwide Jamaat Ahmadiyya witnessed another blessing of Allah when this apparently small Jamaat hosted 3,878 guests who had flocked from various parts of the world, mostly Europe.
As soon as the Jalsa season has passed, the season of Ijtemas dawns on the horizon of the Markaz here in London. As you read these lines, we see the high-noon of this Ijtema season with the Ijtema of Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya held last week in the vast fields of the Country Market in Hampshire. A tent-city – quite like a miniature of the grand one of Jalsa Salana – was to be seen thriving with Ahmadi youth praying, playing, eating, reading and taking part in a variety of competitions together. They resided there for the three days where the MKA administration had organised an array of activities for their physical and spiritual wellbeing.
It is important to note that when Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra founded Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya (also referred to as MKA in this age of abbreviations), he laid equal emphasis on physical wellbeing as he did on the spiritual side of the Ahmadi youth; the Ijtema administration every year ensures that they are able to arrange a feast for both aspects.
The Ijtema fever (or hype if you like) is now at its pinnacle. While the Khuddam and Atfal are settling down after their Ijtema, their mothers and fathers are now heading to the same tent-city in Hampshire. They too are geared up for their own Ijtemas that have commenced today; the Lajna UK and Ansar UK Ijtemas. The same marquees that were erected for the MKA Ijtema will remain for this weekend’s event where one of the marquees will be taken by Ansar and the other by Lajna.
Ijtema is a great training camp in every sense of the term. Whether one is participating in competitions, just popping in to watch a match or two or is part of the organising body, there is always something good to take home. It is here that many Khuddam and Atfal discovered that they can actually deliver a speech or sing a nazm from a stage in front of an audience or are able to answer questions in a rapid-fire round of a quiz; things they thought they could never do.
Sports is a great means of bringing members of their respective auxiliary organisations from distant regions closer to each other and to build bonds like the Islamic muwakhat (brotherhood) to enable them to inspire each other with the good sides of their personalities.
Those that are part of Waqar-e-Amal (voluntary physical labour) learn to put aside their educational qualifications, career excellences and worldly positions to volunteer in physical labour by way of erecting marquees, laying floors, cleaning toilets and picking litter for all three days of the Ijtema. Waqar-e-Amal, as Hazrat Khalifaul Masih IIra termed it, literally translates as “dignity of work”. So Waqar-e-Amal alone is more of an academy than a mere department where Khuddam, Atfal, Ansar, Lajna and Nasirat members learn that working with their own hands brings dignity and prestige to their character and not otherwise.
The presence of Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa in the UK Ijtemas is a blessing that is unparalleled. But is this a blessing that we earned through some merit? Of course not! It is a great blessing of Allah that He has bestowed upon those who happen to live in the UK and are able to benefit from this great blessing.
How do we thank Allah for this? Well, there are many ways. But one thing we could do is to listen to every word of Huzoor very carefully, understand the wisdom behind it and try to follow it to the letter. For example, if Huzoor mentions the Companionsra of the Holy Prophetsa that fought with him in the Battle of Badr, shall we just take it as a chapter of history that Huzoor is narrating to us? Partially yes, but then we could also take it as an invitation from Huzoor to make ourselves available for the battle that he, as Khalifatul Masih, is fighting against the evils of the world; a passionate, powerful yet peaceful battle.
The blessings of Khilafat transcend the borders of the United Kingdom through the enormous bounty of MTA International. Through this, all Ahmadis around the world partake of the shower of blessings Allah rains upon His community of believers. MTA brings Hazrat Khalifatul Masih in our living rooms. One can be seated in the comfort of their home, in any corner of the earth, and still listen to every word that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih delivers for our guidance. So lucky are we who live in this age of communication where we can connect to Khilafat just as much as those who live physically close to it. But this happens with the grace of Allah. Praise be to Allah the Almighty!