A new dawn for Jalsa Salana UK – From Mahmud Hall to open fields

Chaudhry Hameedullah, Wakil-e-Ala, Tahrik-e-Jadid Anjuman Ahmadiyya

Regarding the migration of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh from Rabwah in 1984, some articles have been published from time to time in newspapers and magazines of the community. Useful information has also surfaced from the monthly Khalid and Syedna Tahir special edition (2004).

On the night of migration from Pakistan to England, Huzoorrh issued important guidelines to Sahibzada Mirza Mansoor Ahmad Sahib, Sahibzada Mirza Mubarak Ahmad Sahib and this humble one.

Since there were many kinds of dangers and apprehensions at the time, Huzoorrh had appointed more than one deputy for the various office-bearers of the Anjuman so that following the first, the second, and after the second, the third could take charge. Huzoorrh departed Rabwah on the morning before the Fajr prayer at 4am. In Masjid Mubarak, the companion of the Promised Messiahas, Sufi Ghulam Muhammad Sahib led the Fajr prayer and Sahibzada Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib announced that Huzoorrh was not arriving due to some religious engagements, and that for this reason, the revered Sufi Sahib would lead the prayer.

The actual convoy had departed at 4am in the morning. The dummy convoy had left in the morning at 5am, and Sahibzada Mirza Ghulam Ahmad Sahib and this humble one bade farewell to this convoy. Sahibzada Mirza Munawar Ahmad Sahib and Sahibzada Mirza Anas Ahmad Sahib etc. were also included in this convoy.

After departing Rabwah in 1984, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IVrh had called a counsel regarding certain matters, and he had set a Majlis-e-Shura for this consultation as well. The Shura took place in the beginning of September, 1984. A representative was to go to London with the counsel. Accordingly, Huzoorrh decided that this humble one would travel to London with the counsel. In this journey, Advocate Mujibur Rahman Sahib of Rawalpindi was with me. We finally travelled to London during September 1984.

Prior to departing for London, Huzoorrh instructed me to come for fifteen days. My return practically occurred fourteen months later in November, 1985. During this period, the late Masud Ahmad Sahib, Nasim Mahdi Sahib, Nawab Mansur Ahmad Khan Sahib, Muhammad Aslam Shad Mangla Sahib and myself would assist Huzoorrh. Later, Mubarak Ahmad Saqi Sahib also joined us. Mirza Naseer Ahmad Sahib, missionary in England, also continued to assist us. In April, 1985, Chaudhry Mubarak Muslehuddin Ahmad Sahib, who had come to London for the purpose of treatment, also continually assisted us.

I had arrived in London on 25 September 1984. A few days after arrival, Huzoorrh said, “We shall organise a Jalsa Salana here. For this reason, propose a name for Afsar Jalsa?” Thus, in the beginning of October 1984, a Malis-e-Amila meeting was summoned. Anwar Ahmad Kahlon Sahib was Amir of the UK Jamaat at the time. The Majlis-e-Amila proposed Hidayatullah Bangvi Sahib to be appointed as Afsar Jalsa. Therefore, Huzoorrh accepted this proposal and Hidayatullah Bangvi Sahib began to work in the capacity of Afsar Jalsa Salana. Huzoorrh instructed me to guide him regarding work at Jalsa.

It was decided that the Jalsa would be held in April, 1985. Along with [this decision], Huzoorrh instructed that the International Shura would happen following the Jalsa, and Huzoorrh instructed this humble one to make arrangements for it. In relation to, and regarding, the occurrence of the Jalsa and Shura, guidelines were dispatched to Jamaats around the world, including Pakistan, that friends over there should also take part in the Jalsa. It was decided that the Jalsa would be held in Islamabad (Tilford). The Jalsa Gah could be constructed by erecting a marquee whereas arrangements for accommodation were difficult to an extent. The state of the buildings in Islamabad was abysmal. To make them fit for lodging, the UK Jamaat did a great deal of Waqar-e-Amal. A lot of repair work was such which could only be accomplished by professional labour. This work was executed under the supervision of Abdul Baqi Arshad Sahib, and the buildings were prepared for accommodation before the Jalsa. The lack of space was fulfilled through tents etc.

It was the final day of the Jalsa. Huzoorrh was delivering the final address of Jalsa Salana, yet at the same time, strong showers of rain were pelting down. Huzoor’s speech continued. The appointed time for departure of the buses which had transported guests from London had passed. Huzoor’s speech still continued. The drivers started to protest that if they were delayed, they would not be able to go to their next shifts on time. Anwar Ahmad Kahlon Sahib drew my attention towards this. I replied, “I cannot tell Huzoor to shorten his address when the speech is also at its climax.” However, such a change occurred that after a short while, the drivers themselves offered to wait until the end of Huzoor’s address.

On the final day of the Jalsa, so much rain had fallen that the buses had sunk in the mud, and only with great difficulty were they pulled out.

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