The social and political climate during the partition months need not be elaborated since it is well known that the conditions were far from allowing the Jalsas that Qadian had been home to for half a century to take place. Yet we find that this divinely established gathering did not cease at this juncture. Rather, it became a means of bringing Ahmadi Muslims and people of various faiths together at a time when religious persecution had engulfed the subcontinent. Hence, on 16 December 1947, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra announced during the Friday Sermon that just as the Jalsa Qadian would continue as normal, a zilli Jalsa [meaning in reflection of the original] would be held in Lahore on 27 and 28 December 1947, which was to be preceded by the Shura on the 26 December.
The first Jalsa during the “Derweshan-e-Qadian era” was held in Masjid Aqsa just like the first Jalsa 56 years before. This Jalsa was attended by 315 individuals of which 62 were Sikh and non-Ahmadi Muslim guests. This marked a historic moment in the history of the Jamaat since it was the first time the Jalsa in Qadian did not have the presence of the Hazrat Khalifatul Masih.
In order to better understand the feelings and emotions of the those gathered in Masjid Aqsa for Jalsa Salana, a brief glimpse into the first day’s programme is presented below:
26 December 1947
- Recitation of the Holy Quran: Hafiz Abdur Rahman Sahib Peshawari
- Nazm: Bashir Ahmad Sahib of Gujranwala recited the well-known Urdu poem Naun-e-halan-e-Jamaat
- Speech: Hazrat Maulvi Abdur Rahman Jatt delivered a speech recalling the history of the Jamaat. He stated, “Qadian is here, its holy places are present, its mosques exist, its Langar Khana exists, but how unfortunate is it that our beloved Imam is not present. My eyes yearn to see my master, but they are unable to. However, there is one joy and that is that our Imam has blessed us with a message.”
A profound and faith-inspiring message of Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra was then read out, a message which echoes through the ages and is a living testament to what the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat stands for. A few parts are presented below:
“These conditions are temporary, and with the grace and blessings of God Almighty, we are convinced that Qadian, being the home of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat and the divinely established centre by God Who is One, shall surely return to the control of Ahmadis again and yet again Ahmadis from across the world shall walk its streets singing songs in God’s praise. Those people that are captives of our homes and our properties, there is no doubt that their capturing is out of opposition. However, there is also no doubt that such people are forced to do so since they too were removed from their homes and they were estranged from their own properties. Though they captured our homes and our properties with force, but the onus of the use of such force is not upon them, rather it is on the conditions that our country is undergoing. Therefore, we consider them to be our guests. So you too should consider them to be your guests. Show them, and all those noble people who acted with honour during these times of disorder, love and forgiveness… I see the finger of God Almighty spell out glad tidings for the victory of Ahmadiyyat in the heavens. What is decreed in the heavens cannot be neglected by the earth and man cannot alter the command of God. So be comforted and be joyful.”
The Jalsa continued for three days and ended on 28 Decemeber with closing remarks from Maulvi Abdur Rahman Jatt Sahib (President of the Jalsa) who reminded the non-Ahmadi attendees about the righteous conduct of the Jamaat since its inception.
We learn much about the important role the Jalsa Salana has played from the Jalsas held in 1947. On the one hand, it has been a rallying force bringing people from all parts of society together to collectively reflect upon its progress and translate it into practice. Those Sikh and Hindus that attended the Jalsa Salana in Qadian were greatly moved by the efforts of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat to establish peace. Another role the Jalsa has played is that of a Shura – though the system of Musharawat is now a separate institution – we find the elementary forms of the Shura in the Ahmadiyya Jamaat taking place at the Jalsa; the first Jalsa Salana in 1891 is a perfect example of this.
In short, the importance of this gathering can be better understood when we cast a glance upon history and realise the role the Jalsa Salana has played in the progress of the Jamaat.