The Review of Religions [English], January, February and March 1923
[Jalsa Salana Qadian]
[…] It is a matter of gratification that the number of those who joined the Jalsa [Salana Qadian 1922] was about 8000 – a number that exceeds the figures of the preceding year. It is a visible sign of the steady growth of our Community and the increasing interest of its members in the movement that every year sees an advance over the preceding one.
Another feature of this year’s Jalsa is that an abnormally large number of non-Ahmadis joined it, and thank God, the major portion of these accepted the Ahmadiyya teachings and entered into the bai‘at of the Khalifatul Masih [IIra].
A large number of Ahmadi ladies also took part in the Jalsa. Lectures were delivered by the prominent members of the Community, reports of the different departments of the central administration of the Community at Qadian were read and an appeal for subscriptions was made to the members.
The Jalsa lasted for three days, beginning on 26 [December] and ending on 28 December . His Holiness delivered one lecture on 27 [December] and another on 28 [December], the latter being on the subject of Salvation. His Holiness first described the teachings of all the different religions of the world, both old and modern, and then proceeded to explain the teachings of Islam on this important question. He laid stress on the point that while other religions only held out the hope of salvation to their followers, Islam went a step further and promised them not only salvation but falah, i.e., gaining the object of one’s life. Salvation, he said, is a negative virtue, [i.e., of lesser importance], which means only that the man who gains salvation is saved from the evil consequences of life. But the man who gains falah is not only thus saved but further attains the object of his life by gaining access to his Lord and Master in Heaven. His Holiness further explained how Islam bestows salvation and falah in this very life, while other religions only make promises about the next. How can a true believer come to know that he is really treading the path of salvation when the goal is to be reached after death? The follower of such a religion will face death with a thousand doubts and misgivings as to whether he has followed the right path. But the man whose salvation and falah begin in this world and who reaps the fruits of his labours in this very life and tastes the sweet syrup of Divine favour and love before his soul is called upon to leave “this fleshy nook” faces death with peace and calmness, for he knows that the tree whose delicious fruit he has tasted in this life will bear more delicious and more varied and more luxuriant fruit in the next. This is why the Quran says:
وَلِمَنۡ خَافَ مَقَامَ رَبِّهٖ جَنَّتٰنِ
“Verily, there are two paradises for him who fears the Lord and remembers the day when he will stand before Him.” [Surah ar-Rahman, Ch.55: V.47]
After this, His Holiness proceeded to explain the ways of salvation and falah, i.e., how salvation and falah can be attained in Islam. Finally, His Holiness described the signs by which it may be known that a certain person has gained falah. The lecture was very learned, yet very clear and instructive.
Last year was a year of great financial strain for us. There was an abnormal deficit in our budget, which, with all the efforts of our Finance Member, could not be made up. Retrenchment was of course resorted to, but where the scale of expenditure is already at its lowest, retrenchment is of little help except at the cost of efficiency. But thanks to the zeal and devotion of the members of the Ahmadiyya Community, a special subscription of 6,000 rupees was raised among the Community, and thus, through God’s grace, the situation was saved. This year, the state of our finances, though not quite stable, is nevertheless encouraging.
This year, the portfolio of our Education Department has been in the hands of Chaudhry Fateh Muhammad Sayal MA, who is also in charge of the Tabligh and Missionary Department.
The most noteworthy achievement of the department this year is the establishment of a society of Ahmadi women at Qadian for the general education and training of Ahmadi ladies. The society is known as Lajna Imaillah (i.e., Ladies’ Society of the Servants of Allah) and is under the direct supervision and guidance of His Holiness. Meetings are regularly held, and rules and regulations have been framed for the healthy working of the Society, and it is a matter of immense gratification for us that a general awakening is to be seen among our sisters. Branches of the Central Lajna will soon be established in other important parts of the country. The Girls’ School at Qadian is in a fairly satisfactory condition, but there is much room for improvement. It has been decided to prepare text books that may suit our requirements, and unless this objective is achieved, the raising of the school from the primary standard to the secondary department has been postponed.
(Transcribed by Al Hakam from the original, published in The Review of Religions [English], January, February and March 1923)