Reflections from Three Decades Ago – First Jalsa Salana in Islamabad

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A brief report regarding the first Jalsa Salana after the migration of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh to the UK that took place in the April of 1985. The english translation of the report from An-Nasr magazine published on 19th April 1985 is presented below.

The 20th Jalsa Salana of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya, United Kingdom concluded with great success and excellence. All praise be to God. The participation of approximately 6,000 devotees of Islam and Ahmadiyyat, from 48 countries. 

By the grace of God Almighty, the 20th Jalsa Salana of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat in the United Kingdom was held on 5, 6 and 7 April 1985, on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, in the newly purchased centre of the Ahmadiyya Community in Europe, Islamabad, Tilford (situated in Surrey). The Imam of the Ahmadiyya Community, the leader of the faithful, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV led the Jumua prayer prior to the commencement of the Jalsa. 

Afterwards, the inaugural session commenced with the recitation of the Holy Quran. Following on, Saqib Zervi Sahib recited the sublime words of the Promised Messiahas) from Durr-e-Samin. Thereafter, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV delivered the inaugural address. 

Therein, he mentioned those Divine bounties which, opposed to the [wishes of the] government of Pakistan, Allah the Almighty bestowed upon the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, subsequent to the promulgation of the Ahmadiyya ordinance and Huzoor’s arrival to England.                                                                                                                                       

On the second day, Huzoor delivered a speech in the ladies Jalsa marquee. This address was also relayed at the same time to the men’s Jalsa marquee. In this address, Huzoor related beautiful and faith-inspiring accounts of the wonderful sacrifices of Ahmadi ladies in relation to their lives, wealth and sentiments, all across the world.

On the third day, Huzoor’s address commenced at 3:45pm, following the Zuhr and Asr prayer, and this continued until 8:45pm. In the magnificent address – which lasted five hours – Huzoor responded to the primary accusation of the released White Paper by the Pakistani government against the Ahmadiyya Community that the Ahmadiyya Community did not accept Hazrat Muhammad Mustafasa to be Khatam-un-Nabiyyin. In response to this accusation, Huzoor presented numerous references from the Holy Quran, the Hadith of the Prophetsa and Islamic saints, proving this accusation of the White Paper to be utterly baseless and a means of deception. 

Throughout the Jalsa, the thunderous slogans of Nara-e-Takbeer: Allahu-Akbar, Khatam-un-Nabiyyin: Zinda Baad and (Hazrat Mirza) Ghulam Ahmad Ki: Jay were frequently raised whereby the atmosphere of the Jalsa increased in sanctity and purity.  

Over 6000 delegates from more than 48 countries of the world participated in this Jalsa. In accordance with the traditions of the Jamaat, lodging and nourishment was organised for all of these delegates. Around 1000 delegates were lodged in the buildings of Islamabad. A large number was accommodated in the guesthouses and homes of Ahmadis in the precincts of the Fazl Mosque, based on the sentiment of Islamic brotherhood. Some people were also accommodated in hotels. 

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The twenty-five acres of Islamabad and the buildings therein were fully utilised for the arrangements of Jalsa. Therefore, two large marquees for 6000 people were installed as the men’s and ladies Jalsa marquees. Two tents were put up as dining areas, where an extremely dignified arrangement for food was made available for the guests. Aside from this, many people lodged in the forty provided caravans. An open field was utilised for car parking. From among the buildings, one building was brought under use for the exhibition which had literature exhibited in various languages of the world for purchase. Newly published books of the Promised Messiahas continued to be a cause for special interest of visitors. The department of cleanliness attempted to fully act on the Hadith of the Holy Prophetsa, “Cleanliness is part of faith” in every respect and maintained cleanliness of the atmosphere of the Jalsa. 

A significant characteristic of this Jalsa was that headphones were provided to relay live translations of the Urdu addresses into Arabic, Indonesian and English, both in the men’s and ladies marquees, under the translation department. Video film and audio recordings of the entire proceedings of the Jalsa were prepared. 

Coaches were arranged on a vast scale for delegates lodged in various areas. In order to welcome foreign delegates arriving, volunteers of the Jamaat would be present in the airport meeting area around the clock, who served by transporting the guests by vans to the Fazl mosque and Islamabad. Near the main Jalsa marquee, arrangements for stalls of food and drink were also present, for the ease and comfort of guests. 

By the grace of the Almighty Allah, delegations from the following countries took part in this Jalsa:

Japan, Fiji, Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Iraq, Jordan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Libya, Gambia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Kenya, Uganda, Congo, South Africa, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Canada, America, Trinidad, Guyana, Liberia, Australia, Mauritius,  Ireland, Iran, Qatar, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Nigeria. 

All of the arrangements for the Jalsa Salana were executed by the Jamaat in England and by volunteers who had come from other countries, amongst whom members who had come from Pakistan played a significant role. 

After the conclusion of the Jalsa, Majlis-e-Mushawarat was held in Islamabad for two days, in the blessed presidency of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IV. Vitally important decisions were made in it for the progress and strengthening of Islam Ahmadiyyat. Delegates from 48 countries also participated in it. Afterwards, on 11 and 13 April, a Majis-e-Shura for missionaries, who had come to the London mission from numerous countries, was also held in the presidency of Huzoor. On 11 April, a press conference was also arranged at a hotel in Central London. 

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