A glimpse into Jalsa Salana Ghana 2024: Buildup to a historic convention


Ahmadiyyat was founded in a small town in Punjab, India, where the Promised Messiahas was promised by Allah: “I shall cause thy message to reach the corners of the earth.” It was not long before this promise began to be fulfilled.

It was in fulfilment of this prophecy (among others) that Ahmadiyyat was miraculously established in Ghana in 1921. One hundred years later, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana organised a Jalsa to commemorate one hundred years of Ahmadiyyat in Ghana.

It is a long and impressive history with many milestones to be commemorated at this year’s Jalsa, which starts in a few days from Thursday 22 February to Saturday 24 February 2024. This Jalsa will be held at ‘Bagh-e-Ahmad’, a 400-acre piece of land owned by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Mission in Ghana, about 60 kilometres from the capital, Accra. This land was purchased in 2008, just before Huzoor’saa historic Khilafat Centenary Tour in April 2008. (Khutbat-e-Masroor, Vol. 6, p. 183)

A vast piece of land scaled
A vast piece of land soon to be filled with over 40,000 expected participants | Image: Library

The Jalsa will also be broadcast live on MTA Ghana for all three days as well as online at jalsa.mta.tv, and the highlight of this historic Jalsa will undoubtedly be the live concluding address of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, which will be broadcast from Masroor Hall, Islamabad, on all MTA channels and platforms, insha-Allah.

For the benefit of our readers, we wanted to know what was happening on the ground and what was being done to ensure that this historic Jalsa would be a success for all participants.

We also spoke to Dr Abdullah Munir, who serves as the secretary of the National Jalsa Planning Committee, and he told us about the preparations being made for this Jalsa. He said:

Alhamdulillah, we are once again preparing for our Centenary Jalsa, which is scheduled for 22, 23 and 24 February 2024. Originally, the Centenary Jalsa was to be held in 2021, but as we know, Covid-19 struck and everything was put on hold.

Alhamdulillah, when the ban on gatherings was lifted, the Jamaat elders went back to the planning table and everything was put back on track.

“As far as the Jalsa Planning Committee is concerned, it is the committee that plans and organises the Jalsa. The committee has several sub-committees. They all play different roles and have different responsibilities in the planning and organisation of the Jalsa.

“The notable sub-committees include facilities, utilities, general feeding, men’s health, women’s health, protocol feeding, executive reception, seating, etc.

“The facilities sub-committee is the main committee responsible for the groundwork and construction of semi-permanent and permanent infrastructure on the grounds. Prior to the Jalsa, the ground had to be prepared, so there was a need to clear the ground of bushes, etc.

Clearing the ground for the Jalsa Gah scaled
Clearing the ground for the Jalsa Gah | Image: Library

“The road infrastructure was laid. Infrastructure such as building accommodations for our guests and the elders of the Jamaat, building the temporary infrastructure for the male and female clinics, building the Jalsa Gah itself for the male and female participants, building the prayer areas for the male and female participants, and building the general feeding kitchen.

Road works to ensure clean and smooth roads scaled
Road works to ensure clean and smooth roads | Image: Library

“The seating sub-committee is responsible for all the seating on the stage and for the participants, making sure that there are enough seats for all the participants.

“This year we also have regional kitchens, so there are several kitchens that will be run, insha-Allah. There is also the executive reception, which takes care of our guests of honour, mainly those from the political and non-political class, traditional leaders, leaders of other religious organisations in Ghana, etc.

“As I said, the executive reception is a special reception that is set up to receive our guests of honour who are invited to attend the Jalsa. Normally, they attend the Jalsa on the basis of an invitation issued by the National Jalsa Planning Committee under the auspices of the Afsar Jalsa Salana. We receive them in the executive reception tent where they are refreshed. It is also a waiting area for them until they are taken to the Jalsa Gah.

“We also have protocol feeding, which takes care of our foreign guests, as well as the amila members of the Jamaat, all the central missionaries, etc. The general feeding takes care of all the participants of the Jalsa.

“This year, insha-Allah, there will be several kitchens for each region or in some cases zones. The general feeding team is responsible for the general feeding of all the other kitchens this year. They will ensure that the logistics and materials needed for cooking are provided. They will also ensure that there is proper sanitation in the various kitchens.

Although gas will be the main cooking fuel firewood will also be available scaled
Although gas will be the main cooking fuel, firewood will also be available | Image: Library

“The utilities sub-committee is responsible for two major utilities, electricity and water. We all know the importance of these two utilities, without which we cannot function with the numbers we expect.

“The utilities sub-committee will ensure that there is enough water to supply everyone. This year, permanent pipelines have been laid to supply water to different parts of the Jalsa compound. Water will be supplied directly to the kitchens, accommodation areas, washrooms, etc.

Water tanks will store water for the Jalsa participants scaled
Water tanks will store water for the Jalsa participants | Image: Library

“In addition to the pipelines, water tanks will be placed at various locations to augment the water supply. We hope that this year there will be no shortage of water.

A water pumping machine will be used to ensure that water reaches all parts of the Jalsa Gah scaled
A water pumping machine will be used to ensure that water reaches all parts of  the Jalsa Gah | Image: Library

“As far as drinking water is concerned, the utilities sub-committee is also responsible for providing drinking water at the Jalsa Gah. Adequate treatment for drinking water, including water filtration, has been installed on site. This is being done with support from Humanity First.

Drinking water is also provided free of charge in water satchels like this one scaled
Drinking water is also provided free of charge in water “satchels” like this one | Image: Library

“Since the head of the utilities sub-committee is also the president of Humanity First in Ghana, there is some coordination and cooperation between the two in terms of aid. However, the utilities sub-committee does most of the work.

“The Public Announcement System (PAS) sub-committee is tasked with overseeing some crucial aspects of the Jalsa programme, ensuring the seamless audio and video transmission of speeches to the intended audience. They are responsible for the Jalsa’s Public Announcement System. They deal with all the electrical issues involved in getting the speeches to the participants in the Jalsa Gah, the kitchens and the sub-committee quarters where people will be working and listening to the speeches at the same time.

“This year, there will be live translation of the original speeches, which will be delivered in English, into three local languages – Wale, Akan, and Dagbane – as well as French. The broadcast will be over radio frequencies. We have already secured four radio frequencies for this purpose.”

We also spoke to Mr Hanif Bipuah, the President of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya Ghana. He told us:

Alhamdulillah, the tasks are far advanced. The khuddam are involved in a lot of waqar-e-amal at the moment. A lot of work has been done, but a lot more needs to be done. The khuddam are basically involved in all facets of organising the Jalsa Salana, when it comes to field work, i.e. putting up fences in the Jalsa Gah, fixing all the flag poles, assembling all the materials needed to decorate the Jalsa grounds, erecting the gates for the Jalsa Gah, etc.

The khuddam are working hard to ensure that the entire Jalsa Gah is fenced scaled
The khuddam are working hard to ensure that the entire Jalsa Gah is fenced | Image: Library

“Some of the activities are still to come and as we get closer to the Jalsa, the canopies and chairs will come and we will arrange them. There is a lot of carpentry work going on in the exhibition area and a lot of weeding and other things.

The exhibition area in preparation scaled
The exhibition area in preparation | Image: Library

“The khuddam are helping MTA build their camp where they will have their studio and  other facilities. This installation is very important. So the khuddam have helped MTA dig the foundations so that they can build the structure. All that remains is to build a fence around it.

The MTA studios are under construction scaled
The MTA studios are under construction | Image: Library

“When you go into the kitchen, there is a lot of work to be done. We had some rain two days ago and it put the place in a very difficult state. So we’ve gone back and repaired everything, including the roof.

Despite the rain the khuddam are not deterred 1 scaled
Despite the rain, the khuddam are not deterred | Image: Library

“We had to put the khuddam on cooking duties because we have about 400 khuddam and about 35 Lajna members on site for the next five days doing some security training to prepare them adequately for security duties during the Jalsa.

I was personally with the Amir and the Missionary in charge a few days ago. He gave instructions for the cleaning of guest rooms for our dignitaries, foreign guests and all Jalsa participants.

“In general, all departments of the Jalsa make arrangements with the Sadr Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya or his assistant who is in charge of Jalsa duties. We are given quotas or we are told how many khuddam they need, so we assign different numbers of khuddam to go and help them do their work, which is mostly manual labour (waqar-e-amal).

The khuddam are happy to do waqar e amal before the Jalsa scaled
The khuddam are happy to do waqar-e-amal before the Jalsa | Image: Library
Preparations for the stage are also underway scaled
Preparations for the stage are also underway | Image: Library

“As the Jalsa gets closer, we will start assigning the khuddam to specific duties, most of which are security related some of which are traffic control, managing the Jalsa Gah as well as the prayer area where they will be at the end of the Jalsa, insha-Allah.

“At the moment there are a lot of machines working on the ground and the khuddam are scattered all over the Jalsa area. But they work on a schedule because they also have to do security training.

So in the morning they do their physical training and aerobics, then they take a break for breakfast, and then they do intelligence training: fire training, crowd control, traffic control, scanning, body searches, and so on. Then, in the afternoon, they go back to their various duty stations, where they help the various departments of the Jalsa to continue their work.”

This year is also special as Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa will be addressing the concluding session of the Jalsa. We caught up with Mr Fowad Ahmad, a waqif-e-nau lifelong devotee serving in MTA. He said:

Alhamdulillah, the work is in progress. The planning for this Jalsa started many months ago and we are now at the stage where our plans are coming to life.

“This is the Centenary Jalsa for Ghana, so it is a special Jalsa. We are very blessed that Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa will be giving the concluding address on the last day, which is Saturday. This, of course, places great expectations on us as members of the MTA Ghana team to help broadcast the proceedings on all three days and to have a live link on the final day to showcase the event to the world.

“Last year, we reached a new milestone by broadcasting a full three days live on MTA Ghana, which was also streamed around the world [online]. Over the three days, we had studio discussions, interactions and insights from the field, as well as some documentaries.

MTA set up a studio behind the stage for the live broadcast on all three days scaled
MTA set up a studio behind the stage for the live broadcast on all three days | Image: Library

“This year, we have that again. In addition, we are trying to surpass this milestone by having a one-hour live studio session and discussion on Saturday before Huzoor’saa concluding address, during which documentaries will also be shown. This will, insha-Allah, be broadcast live on all MTA channels.

“The first and second days of the Jalsa will be streamed live on jalsa.mta.tv, as will the third day. Of course, the third day will also be available on all MTA platforms. This is obviously a huge technical challenge, but one that I believe our very capable team will be able to overcome with Allah’s help.

“We have had some challenges with the weather, but by the grace of God, we have made good progress. Our team has been there for almost a week and we are working tirelessly to make this Jalsa a success.

The MTA studio and camp will be just behind the stage scaled
The MTA studio and camp will be just behind the stage | Image: Library

“Finally, I would just like to humbly ask you all to remember the entire team in your prayers, so that we may be able to meet the expectations of Huzoor-e-Anwaraa and that this Jalsa as a whole is a success.”

Given the unique nature of this year’s exhibition, we caught up with Maulvi Ishaque Yakub, a member of the dedicated team working to ensure the smooth running of the exhibition area. He gave us an insight into their efforts and progress:

“This year, we are mainly exhibiting the rich history of the Jamaat in Ghana. I say ‘rich’ because when we were privileged to go through history while choosing the items for the exhibition, we realised that we have a lot that many people do not know. So we are trying – in the limited space we have – to add as much content as possible so that the Jamaat members, the masses who will come, will be enlightened. At least they get to know the toil of our earlier fathers, our missionaries, the sacrifices they made and the trials they went through, so that maybe it will cushion us to do more.

“Apart from this exhibition, we also have the Review of Religions exhibition. We also have MTA (a new addition), IAAAE, Waqf-e-Nau, AIMS and Humanity First.

“Another thing we have added this year under San’at-o-Tijarat, with the approval of the Afsar Jalsa Salana, is that all Ahmadi-owned businesses will be given the opportunity to showcase what they have and offer. These stalls will include Raqeem Press. This will also promote brotherhood and make it an interactive kind of thing where people can ask questions about each business.”

This year’s Jalsa is shaping up to be an exciting Jalsa in all respects. May Allah enable us to make it a successful Jalsa and may we understand the objectives of this Jalsa as laid down by the Promised Messiahas and live up to the expectations of our beloved Imam, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa. Amin!

(Report by Al Hakam Ghana Team)

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