Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih IIra felt the need for reform in the system of Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya, along with the need of systematic consultation within the Jamaat regarding issues that arise from time to time. This resulted in Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra founding the Majlis-e-Shura on a permanent basis in mid-April 1922.
The establishment of Majlis-e-Shura resulted in the basic organisational structure being complete: the Khalifatul Masih as supreme head and pivotal point of the whole Jamaat; the Majlis-e-Shura presenting suggestions to Khalifatul Masih; Sadr Anjuman Ahmadiyya running parallel by way of implementing reforms, plans and strategies given to them by Khalifatul Masih.
The first Majlis-e-Shura of the Jamaat was held on 15 and 16 April 1922 in Talim-ul-Islam High School, Qadian. Taking part were 52 delegates from various regions of India and 30 delegates from the Markaz. Huzoorra was seated in the northern part of the hall and facing him, seated in a semi-circle were the delegates.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra delivered an address at 9:30 on the morning of 15 April which formally inaugurated the session. As this was the inaugural session of Majlis-e-Shura – and first ever of its kind – Huzoorra set out a detailed plan as to how this institution was going to work; objectives, procedures, expectations, scope and vision; this address lasted up to around 12 o’clock midday. The instructions given by Huzoorra to the delegates are that everyone should:
1. Pray to Allah, saying, “I am here only for your sake, so guide me so I stay away from personal desires in any matter”
2. Give the best possible proposal to the matter under discussion
3. Give precedence to reality above emotions
4. Present proposals that are not only right but the best
5. Save time by not repeating proposals that have already been presented for discussion
Having outlined the guidelines, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra said:
“God has given me such a mind that I constantly ponder over schemes that can spread righteousness in the world. Some ideas are so tempting that I feel compelled to materialise them. I find it hard to stand a day or a year where I see the Jamaat making no significant progress. I am always anxious to initiate new schemes … It has come to my mind that our Jamaat is not working for the present but also for the future. Worldly bodies aim at working in the present, preparing reports and presenting them before people. But I have to report to God who sees the future also; this keeps me anxious that what we do today should be a foundation-stone for future plans. So I am concerned about the future and set my eyes on it to see that we are laying foundations for it. Those with narrow visions feel discomfort in doing so but the future generations will invoke blessings on those who lay these foundations for them.” (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 4 p. 297)
Thereafter, Huzoorra set up seven subcommittees to discuss various matters and with this concluded the proceedings of the first day.
The proceedings of the second day started at 7am and concluded at around two o’clock at night – only breaking for prayers and meals. The subcommittees presented the outcome of their discussions and presented their suggestions as regards their respective matters. Having heard the suggestions of the house, Huzoorra made some very important decisions, a few of which were that:
1. Missions should be established in foreign countries with priority being given to the Islamic world as well as Java and the Philippines; such missionaries should be deputed who earn their living alongside doing tabligh
2. A post of Secretary Umur-e-Aama (general affairs) be created in every Jamaat
3. A register of Rishta Nata (matrimonial affairs) be maintained in every Jamaat
4. As missionaries are sent out for tabligh, waizin (tutors) should be sent out to focus on the tarbiyat (reformation) of members of the Jamaat
5. To motivate the members of the Jamaat to memorise the Holy Quran
6. An English newspaper be launched from the Markaz
7. A system be established to regulate collection of chanda (financial contributions)
8. A journal for women be published from the Markaz
From this first session of the Majlis-e-Shura in 1922, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra graced its annual sessions up to 1960 with his blessed presence and guidance in matters under discussion.
Huzoorra, addressing the Shura in 1928, said:
“Our Majlis-e-Shura may seem negligible to the world but there will be, there certainly will be, a time when even the members of the most respectable parliaments will not be seen with such honour as will the members of our Majlis-e-Shura because parliaments of the world will fall under it. So, the membership to this Majlis is a great honour; such an honour that if it was bestowed upon a king, he too would be proud of it; there will be a time when kings will take pride in this honour.” (Tarikh-e-Ahmadiyyat, Vol. 4, p. 299)