Yusuf Christopher Pender, Press Secretary, Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Ireland
Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Ireland held its 19th Jalsa Salana on 3 October 2021 at the Glenroyal Hotel, Maynooth Co Kildare.
This year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, the number of attendees was limited; however, the Jalsa was also streamed live by MTA Ireland so others could take part virtually. It was the first national event held by the Jamaat after 18 months of restrictions and lockdowns. As children under 12 were unable to attend, they were asked to send in recorded video messages, which were played during the breaks.
The event organisers ensured Covid-19 regulations were followed with vaccination certification checks, masks, social distancing, rapid antigen testing as well as having medical professionals on hand.
The one-day Jalsa began with the flag hoisting ceremony at 10 am in which Liwa-e-Ahmadiyyat and the Irish national flag, the Tricolorwere raised by the National President of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiya Ireland, Dr Anwar Malik Sahib and Ibrahim Michael Noonan, Missionary-in-charge Ireland.
After the recitation of the Holy Quran and a poem, several inspirational and engaging speeches were delivered through the day’s sessions.
Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya and National Secretary Tabligh, Dr Hamid Khan Sahib delivered an English speech on the topic of the importance of financial sacrifice.
Atta-ur-Rahman Khalid Sahib, a missionary delivered a speech on the divine guidance and blessings which are bestowed on those who follow the companions of the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa.
Another speech was delivered by the Missionary-in-Charge Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Ireland, Ibrahim Noonan Sahib on the subject of mindful prayer.
During the Jalsa, the annual academic awards were announced for members of the community who excelled in their educational and professional achievements as well as outstanding achievements in the field of scientific research. 23 students and professionals met the criteria for the academic awards. These included two PhD degrees, three Master’s degrees, four Bachelor’s degrees, two post-secondary certificates, five leaving certificates signifying the end of secondary school and one for significant scientific achievements.
An exhibition was held in which copies of the Holy Quran in various languages were displayed. Other Jamaat books were also displayed, and many were available for purchase.
The highlight of this year’s Jalsa was the loving and spiritually uplifting message of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper. This message, which was full of prayers, was read out during the concluding session.
In his message to Jalsa Salana Ireland Huzooraa impressed on the importance of ensuring a good upbringing of our youth and advised that one of the best ways to achieve this was to strengthen their bond with Khilafat. Huzooraa advised members of the Jamaat that the best way to achieve this bond was to ensure our children watched MTA regularly. Huzooraa also encouraged the Jamaat to excel in spreading the true teachings of Islam.
One of the features of the annual convention has always been inviting dignitaries to address the attendees. However, this year due to the Covid-19 restrictions, dignitaries addressed the convention via recorded video and written messages.
Various dignitaries addressed the gathering in which they expressed their true appreciation for the Jamaat’s excellent example of integration, outreach to society and charitable activities.
Some notable comments are as follows:
The Mayor of South Dublin Cllr Peter Kavanagh said:
“I want to thank the Ahmadiyya Muslim community for their tireless dedication they have to their own charity work and outreach throughout what has been a very difficult time for people all over the world. The light which you shine, the beacon of hope which you offer is an inspiration to other communities throughout the country.”
The Minister for State at the Department of Health, Frank Feighan T D said:
“As a community you are founded on a mission of spreading peace and love. And this unique convention reinforces that commitment to be of benefit to society and to be of service to humanity.”
Jack Chambers TD Government Chief Whip and Minister of State for Sport, the Gaeltacht & Defence commented about the Jamaat’s charitable and fund-raising efforts even during the pandemic, and said:
“[…] despite this your community has done some wonderful charitable work […] [which] has not only been admired by myself but also many of my colleagues and people across the country.”
Deputy Emer Higgins TD said:
“The Ahmadiyya Muslim Association are invaluable members of our local community. I really enjoyed being able to further my relationship and build that link with members of the community since being elected as a TD last year.”
Paula Hillman, assistant Garda Commissioner outlined the Gardai’s commitment to engaging with communities right across Ireland and encouraging members from diverse communities to come and work with An Garda Siochana. She thanked the Jamaat for its openness and willingness to engage. She said:
“I do thank you for your engagement with us […] and I know it will go from strength to strength as we continue moving out of Covid. I wish you all the very best and I look forward to seeing you soon.”
Eamon O Cuiv TD, a long-time friend of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Ireland said:
“Since I have gotten to know the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community here in Ireland I have been struck that you absolutely live by your motto “Love for all, hatred for none” and that you have been very open in your engagement with people of different faiths and different beliefs and that you have engaged sincerely with them while holding very fast to your own beliefs and your own commitment to your own religion.”
While extolling the work and impact of the Jamaat in Ireland he also said:
“What is more important to me are the friendships and the bonds that you have created with me and so many others.”
The concluding address was delivered by the National President of Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya Ireland, Dr Anwar Malik Sahib in which he spoke about the emotional and economic stress which the pandemic placed on society over the last 18 months. He therefore stressed on the greater need for care and attention towards fulfilling the rights of one another in our family relationships.
The Jalsa Salana Ireland 2021 concluded with silent prayer.