Nimrah Butt, Muavina Sadr Lajna Imaillah UK
After two years, Lajna Imaillah UK was blessed with the opportunity to hold its National Ijtema on 25 and 26 September 2021, at Baitul Futuh Mosque. This was Lajna Imaillah UK’s 42nd Ijtema, the theme of which was “Muhammadsa: Mercy for Mankind”.
After almost 18 months of the Covid-19 pandemic, the planning and delivery of this year’s Ijtema was considerably different. In order to ensure the safety of guests, the number of attendees was also limited based on the capacity of the venue.
Lajna across the UK who met the age and vaccination criteria, were able to specify a session that they preferred to attend via an online form – over 2,000 responses were received. Each day was divided into two sessions and by the grace of Allah, most members who completed the form were accommodated and invited to one of the four sessions.
Seats were spaced apart to implement social distancing and masks had to be worn at all times. Upon arrival, members were asked to provide proof of double vaccination and a negative result to a Covid test taken on the day of the event.
As ever, the Ijtema programme was jam-packed, with Lajna and Nasirat participating in the academic competitions of tilawat, nazm, extempore speech and poetry, as well as being treated to engaging and informative presentations on the topics of Women in Islam, Refutation of Objections Against Women, Treaty of Medina and Charter of Rights, Climate Change and Our Responsibilities, and The Holy Prophetsa in the Eyes of Non-Muslims.
Sadr Lajna Imaillah UK also delivered an address, in which she spoke about the most pressing tarbiyat related issues.
To end the first successful day of proceedings, Lajna members were treated to some Tai Chi, whilst the Nasirat did some kickboxing.
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Research Association (AMRA) hosted an exhibition throughout Ijtema, the theme of which was “From darkness to light”. Just as the Holy Prophetsa brought us from spiritual darkness to light, the exhibition aimed to highlight significant discoveries in science that changed the course of history and our understanding of the fundamentals of the universe.
There were several interactive activities for Nasirat, as well as 360 degrees videos that could be viewed in a dome planetarium.
The highlight of this Ijtema was undoubtedly the virtual concluding address, delivered by Hazrat Amirul Momineen, may Allah be his Helper, from the MTA studio in Islamabad, Tilford.
Approximately 1,500 Lajna and Nasirat listened to this live address from Tahir Hall and the main mosque areas in Baitul Futuh, Morden.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa highlighted the vast dangers of social media and what Ahmadis should do to shield themselves and their families from the effects of its increasingly dangerous and immoral content.
“It is common knowledge that these [social media] platforms are constructed in a way that makes them addictive and, just like any addiction, the results are often horrific. For example, very recently, a report by the Wall Street Journal found that Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, tried to cover up its own internal study because it proved that access to its platform was causing huge levels of anxiety and other dangerous mental health issues amongst children and teenagers. It found that amongst those children in the UK who had suicidal thoughts, 13% admitted that it was their use of Instagram that had driven them to consider taking their own life.”
Huzooraa also spoke about increasing levels of materialism throughout the world. The rich are getting richer, but dissatisfied with their wealth and worldly comforts, they seem to be engaged in constant and endless pursuit of more. While on the opposite end of the spectrum, you have those living in extreme poverty and are made increasingly aware of the disparity in worldly comforts through social media, Huzooraa explained:
“Thus, instead of bridging the gaps that exist in society, modern technology has served only to shine a glaring light on the inequalities and injustices that exist. In turn, this has naturally fermented feelings of anguish, anxiety and discontent amongst those who are forced to endure great adversity […] So, where on the one hand, rich governments and their people reassure themselves that satellite television and the Internet is providing people living in poor countries with entertainment, the reality is that the technology has served to drive an even greater wedge between the haves and the have nots.”
Lajna members shared their thoughts and feelings following Huzoor’s powerful address.
Sara Khan Sahiba stated:
“I was so impressed and struck by the speech today. It was so relevant to the topics we see in the world around us. Huzooraa spoke so pertinently about mental health and the influence of social media – studies of which have been in the news recently.
“I was struck by the tone of love from which Huzooraa spoke. I felt the concern and care for each one of us and our families when Huzooraa spoke of those who had written to him regarding their family members. There was no judgement or condescension, only compassion. We are fortunate to have a spiritual leader who has a deep understanding of the situations many families or we ourselves are facing and can offer guidance and advice. It makes us feel connected to our Khalifa and reminds us we have a leader who cares for us.”
Naila Tahir Chaudhry Sahiba stated:
“Huzooraa warned us of the increasing dangers of modern media. Whereas before we were guided to limit the time our children spent watching TV, now I, as a mother of three young children, will need to be more mindful to monitor the content across TV, tablet etc. as there are morally destructive adverts.
“I also learned that by setting a good example of modesty in dress and attainment of moral values for my children, not only will I grow in self-confidence and be free from complexes to open the doors of tabligh, but my children will also be trained to take up the mantle of service to the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas and to strive to win the hearts and minds of humanity.”
Sadia Rana Sahiba stated;
“What I took away from Huzoor’s address is that we can never compromise on our morals and consequently our faith. These should always be our first priority. There is no harm in indulging in some entertainments within this global world but within the limits and dictates of our morals and faith. We should not allow people and companies to exploit our mental health and societal peace for so-called freedoms and their bottom line. It is important to be vigilant on what we choose to spend our limited free time on.”
Lajna and Nasirat in attendance, as well as those Ahmadis listening live around the world, were reminded by Huzooraa of how hard we must strive to stay away from immorality and fulfil the true purpose of our lives, stating:
“Remember why you have this chance and never forget who you are, rather take pride in your faith and religion. Where you strive to excel in your studies, you must also remember that your faith should take precedence over all worldly and material matters. If your priorities are in order, you will live your lives in a way to be proud of and you will also prove to be of benefit to this country. Strive to be a good citizen and, to achieve this, you must utilise your capabilities, faculties and skills for the benefit of others and play your role in building a better and more harmonious society.”
May Allah enable all Lajna and Nasirat to put their love for Allah and their faith above all worldly and material matters and fulfil these noble expectations of our beloved Khalifa. Amin.