On 22-24 September 2023, Lajna Imaillah UK held their annual ijtema in Kingsley, Hampshire. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V, may Allah be his Helper, graced the ijtema with his presence and formally concluded the event with an address.
At approximately 16:15 local time, Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa arrived at the main Lajna marquee and began the proceedings of the final session by inviting Samina Arif Sahiba to recite a portion from the Holy Quran, verses 1-12 of Surah al-Mu’minun, followed by their English translation.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa then stood up, as did all those present, and took the Lajna Imaillah pledge. After the pledge, Huzooraa invited Fariha Sosan Sahiba to read an Urdu poem composed by the Promised Messiahas.
Thereafter, the ijtema report was read out by Dr Fariha Sahiba, Sadr Lajna Imaillah, UK. She started off by thanking Huzooraa for his special attention to Lajna Imaillah UK and for gracing the Lajna with his presence at their National Ijtema. Sadr Sahiba reported that this year was special as Lajna Imaillah was celebrating its centenary year. Many events were held to celebrate the 100 years since the establishment of Lajna Imaillah. Sadr Sahiba reported that Lajna planted over 90,000 trees, out of which over 30,000 were planted by the Midlands region alone. Lajna held 142 local tabligh events, and one national peace symposium was held to demonstrate how Islam empowers women. As part of its centenary celebrations, Lajna UK is building a maternity hospital in Sierra Leone, which has been named Ayesha Maternity Hospital by Huzooraa. The theme of this year’s national ijtema was 100 years of Lajna Imaillah. Various talks and presentations were held, including the establishment and history of Lajna Imaillah, how Khilafat has empowered Lajna, and how Lajna is at the forefront of financial sacrifices. There was also a special presentation on the achievements of Lajna Imaillah in Africa, the Arab world and Bangladesh. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Research Association (AMRA) arranged talks on various current topics as well as a health check screening on site. The academic awards for educational excellence were distributed to the students whose names were announced in the Jalsa Salana earlier this year. Sadr Lajna concluded by expressing her gratitude to all the duty holders, Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya, the UK Jamaat and Majlis Ansarullah for their help, and again to Huzooraa for his special attention and continuous guidance. A short video highlight presentation of the ijtema was then shown.
Huzooraa then took to the podium, conveyed “Assalamu alaikum wa rahmatullah”, and recited tashahhud and ta‘awwuz. Huzooraa said, “With the grace of Allah, this year Lajna Imaillah is celebrating its centenary year” as it was founded by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra in Qadian in the year 1922-23, where it started with just a few women in Qadian. Huzooraa said that today, by the grace of Allah, Lajna Imaillah is established all over the world. While this is a means of happiness, we must remember that we are not like those secular and worldly groups who become content by reaching such milestones. Instead of euphoria, such milestones should serve as a means of expressing our gratitude to Allah the Almighty for his favours and blessings.
Hazrat Amirul Momineenaa emphasised: “The time for real celebration will only be when the objectives for which Lajna Imaillah was founded are fulfilled.”
Huzooraa said that regarding the founding of Lajna Imaillah and other auxiliary organisations, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih IIra clearly identified their objectives. In various addresses to Lajna, he expressed his high hopes and expectations. He made it clear that no Ahmadi woman should consider herself inferior to any Ahmadi man or remain hidden in his shadow. Huzooraa said, “In all respects, men and women are equal. For example, in terms of building a relationship with Allah the Almighty, where Allah had instructed men to submit to Him to worship Him and to establish a living relationship with their Creator, He required the same of women.”
He said it is certainly true that according to the commands of Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophetsa, women must play a fundamental role in safeguarding their home and family environment, especially in terms of raising their children. At the same time, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra also made it clear that Ahmadi women are duty-bound to serve their society and to strive for its prosperity, especially “by conveying the teachings of Islam.” Hence, no Ahmadi woman should be under the misconception that tabligh is only for men; rather, women should strive in this regard and try to spread the teachings of Islam far and wide. Huzooraa said it is also up to Lajna to show the world what Islam is.
In the world we live in today, much is said about women’s rights, and false allegations are routinely raised against Islam. If a Muslim woman directly responds to such allegations by proudly professing her faith and using her intellect, it will hold much greater weight than if any man responds on her behalf.
Thus, it was to fulfil these monumental moral and spiritual objectives that Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra established Lajna Imaillah a century ago.
Huzooraa said he would benefit from an address by Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra that he gave to Lajna and discuss the standards of faith to which Ahmadi Muslim women should aspire.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra stated that there is no difference between a man and a woman when it comes to their religious obligations. Indeed, Allah the Almighty has said in Chapter 4, verse 2, of the Holy Quran that He has created men and women as mates. It means that they have the same responsibilities and will be held equally accountable by Allah the Almighty for their deeds. “It is true that Islam has prescribed a division of labour wherein men are given the principal responsibility for providing financially for their family, while women are given the primary duty of running the home affairs and morally training their children. Irrespective of this distinction, Islam has greatly emphasised the importance of educating girls and ladies so that their potential is unlocked and they become assets to their community.
“Furthermore, being educated will enable mothers to nurture and guide their children in such a way that they develop into well-rounded and responsible citizens who contribute positively to their communities.”
So, even if there is a degree of divergence in the responsibilities of men and women, Islam has established equal rights in terms of their value as human beings, feelings and emotions. Therefore, Ahmadi women “should consider their religious obligations as an opportunity to please their Lord and to attain His rewards and blessings.”
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra gave the analogy of two people who came before their king. One was a criminal who was looked down upon by society. He stood before the monarch, afraid of his sentence. The other person was a distinguished military general, whose purpose was to brief the monarch on matters of state. Where the public and courtiers could not hide their disdain for the criminal, they were left in awe by the general and how the king was pleased with him. “When it comes to our spiritual and moral obligations, we should seek to live our lives according to the commands of Allah the Almighty so that when we stand before Him, we do not go forth shamefaced like a disgraced criminal but like the general who fulfilled all that was required of him.”
Thereafter, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra stated that the lives of the Holy Prophetsa and Prophet Jesusas were preserved to a much greater extent than those of other prophets of God. In both eras, there existed righteous women who attained esteemed ranks in spirituality. For example, in the time of Jesusas, when he was taken down from the cross and placed in a cave, his devoted and loyal female disciples came to his aid while his male followers deserted him out of fear.
In the blessed era of the Holy Prophetsa, the sacrifices of Muslim women were also “extraordinary and beyond all compare in the history of mankind. During the first few years of Islam, Muslims were relentlessly persecuted and subjected to barbaric cruelties. Slavery was rampant in Arab society, and those slaves who accepted Islam were treated even more inhumanely by their merciless owners.”
For example, a Muslim husband and wife were tormented so much that one shudders upon the mention of it. They were made to lie in the blistering heat on boiling sand and dragged for long stretches, severely beaten so that their eyes were swollen and no parts of their bodies were spared. This was only because they accepted Islam. Yet they held onto their faith. While they were being tortured, the Holy Prophetsa happened to walk by, and the slave owner demanded that they renounce their faith and reject the Holy Prophetsa, but they remained steadfast and bore every difficulty for their faith. Upon seeing this, the Holy Prophetsa became grief-stricken like a father seeing his child in great distress. He counselled them to remain patient and assured them their agony would come to an end. The husband succumbed to the torture and died soon after. The slave owner showed no mercy to his wife either. He pierced her torso with a spear and killed her. As such, it is thought she became the first martyr of Islam.
As this relentless opposition continued, the Holy Prophetsa told some of his companions to migrate to Abyssinia. Hazrat Umarra, who had not yet accepted Islam, noticed a group preparing to leave Mecca. He asked a Muslim lady gathering her belongings where she was going. She said they could no longer tolerate the cruelties of the Meccans. Upon seeing her anger and pain, Hazrat Umar felt shame and was overcome with sorrow. With tears in his eyes, he could only bring himself to meekly say goodbye and wish her the best.
These were outstanding examples of early Muslim women who were ready to sacrifice everything for the sake of their Faith, including leaving behind their homelands. Moreover, they never forgot the objective of their migration, which was to attain religious freedom.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa said: “Today, many of you or your elders were also forced to leave your homeland due to religious persecution. Having done so, you must ask yourselves whether, now that you have attained religious freedom, you are giving precedence to your faith over everything else. Are you ready for every possible sacrifice?”
Huzooraa said that some may wonder, “What is meant by sacrifice in this day and age? It is quite simple, [i.e.,] to act upon the commands of Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophetsa at all times. It is to worship Allah five times a day at the appointed times. It is to study and ponder over the meaning of the Holy Quran and to act upon its commands. It is to train your children according to Islam’s teachings and instil Islamic values within them.”
Huzooraa said, “In this society, where there is religious freedom, unfortunately, certain other so-called freedoms are aggressively pushing society down a dark and dangerous path. Vulgar activities and beliefs are taking route, that are incredibly harmful and a means of driving the coming generation away from religious teachings and moral values. Hence, guiding your children and helping them navigate between right and wrong is an essential and great challenge to which Ahmadi mothers must rise.”
Another example of outstanding faith that Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra narrated is the sister of Hazrat Umar. When he was an opponent of Islam, he left his home, sword in hand, intending to kill the Holy Prophetsa. On the way, a man asked him where he was heading. When Hazrat Umar told him, the man said to first glance into his own home, where his sister had accepted Islam. Furious, he headed for her house and heard his sister and her husband reciting the Quran. They hid their Muslim teacher and the pages of the Holy Quran in their possession, but Hazrat Umar had heard them. In a fit of rage, Hazrat Umar lunged forward to strike his brother-in-law, but “with immeasurable defiance and bravery, his sister rose like a lion to shield her husband and was struck. As blood poured from her nose, she fearlessly addressed Hazrat Umar and proclaimed, ‘Yes! We are Muslims, and if you wish to kill us, go ahead!’ Upon witnessing all this, Hazrat Umar was left astonished and ashamed, and his tone instantly softened, and he asked to see what they had been reciting. His sister said he was impure and must bathe himself before reading the Holy Quran. He complied with her demand, and after Hazrat Umarra started reading the Holy Quran, immediately the beautiful words of the Holy Quran penetrated his heart.
Consequently, contrary to his original plan, Hazrat Umarra rushed to find the Holy Prophetsa to accept Islam as opposed to killing him, as was his original plan. This change in Hazrat Umarra was the result of “the magnificent standard of faith and phenomenal courage displayed by Hazrat Umar’sra sister that ignited a spiritual revolution within him.”
Following the migration of the Holy Prophetsa, Muslim women continued to make exceptional sacrifices for the sake of their faith. After the Battle of Uhud, where Muslims faced losses, the state of Muslim women was such that they did not care whether their husbands, brothers and sons had died but enquired only about the Holy Prophetsa and rejoiced when they found out he was alive and well. This was all due to their sheer love and passion for Islam and the Holy Prophetsa.
Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra, citing the examples of such women, stated that “in this era, Ahmadi women have also claimed to have accepted a prophet who came according to the prophecies of the Holy Prophetsa and was the pure reflection of him. Thus, every Ahmadi woman must ask themselves whether they possess the same spirit and devotion that the female companions of the Holy Prophetsa had for the sake of their faith, and whether they exhibit the levels of righteousness and spirituality […]?”, where they would spend their nights engaged in nawafil, fast and be ready for every sacrifice.
Huzooraa said that recently, in the UK and Germany Jalsa Salanas, he presented many examples of how the female companions of the Holy Prophetsa would strive to fulfil the demands of their faith and discharge every command of Allah the Almighty and the rights of his worship.
There were such women whose lives were transformed from ignorance to enlightenment only due to their obedience and love for Allah the Almighty and the Holy Prophetsa. They made sacrifices that cannot be imagined in this day and age. For example, once, when an army was formed, a woman pleaded to join the front line. When stopped, she became angry and asked if women were not required to serve Islam. Having observed this, the Holy Prophetsa smiled and even laughed a little, and upon seeing her passion, he permitted her to take part in the war as a nurse, and she played a full role in the war, tending to the Muslim soldiers, and was even given a share of the proceeds of the war. Her service also set a precedent for future battles, where Muslim women, including the wives of the Holy Prophetsa and his daughter Hazrat Fatimara, would tend to the injuries of the soldiers. Hence, where the Holy Prophetsa speaks of believing men, it also talks about believing women.
In light of such examples, Hazrat Musleh-e-Maudra expressed his heartfelt belief that in this era, if Ahmadi women were infused with such passion and spirit of early Muslim women, Ahmadiyyat would spread and progress with great speed.
Huzooraa said, “Thus, as Ahmadi women, you must recognise your duties to spread the message of Islam amongst other ladies so that the future generation of society can be rightly guided. Given the pivotal influence of women on their progeny, the long-term effect of preaching to women will have a more profound and longer-term impact on society.
“In order to be successful in tabligh, you must seek to increase your religious knowledge. Always remember that today, knowledge and prayers are our only weapons of choice in the cause of spreading Islam. In front of all Ahmadi women is the example of Hazrat Aishara, who, in terms of religious knowledge, attained a rank far beyond the men of her time, or indeed, any other era. […]
“Women have the potential to scale the greatest intellectual heights, and so you must never underestimate yourselves. Rather, seek to fulfil your rich potential, as it will provide you with the capability to raise your children in a way that they grow to be beneficial to society. It will also enable you to defend your faith and beliefs.”
These days, once again, the Khatm-e-Nabuwat issue, i.e., the Finality of Prophethood, is being raised very loudly by our opponents as they seek to incite people against Ahmadiyyat. They claim we don’t believe the Holy Prophetsa to be the Seal of the Prophets. In this regard, it was a woman who provided the answer to this question long ago. Hazrat Aishara said, “Say he is the Seal of the Prophets, but do not say that there is no prophet after him.”
“With these insightful and profound words, Hazrat Aishara settled the debate by clarifying that whilst the Holy Prophetsa was the final law-bearing prophet, the door to prophethood remained open. She made this statement due to her wisdom and foresight as she recognised the future dissent over this issue. Regrettably, so-called Muslim clerics who consider themselves scholarly and wise, have fallen prey to the ignorance and falsehood that Hazrat Aishara tried to save the Muslim ummah from.
Huzooraa said: “So now it lies in the hands of the Ahmadi women to strive to emulate the example of Hazrat Aishara and guide the world.”
Huzooraa said that as Lajna is marking its centenary, Ahmadi women should not be satisfied if 40%, 50%, or 60% of Ahmadi women are fulfilling their religious obligations. Ahmadi women must not be content unless 100% of the Lajna members reach the highest standards of worshipping Allah and strive to spread the teachings of Islam.
Huzooraa stressed: “You cannot rest easy until all members of Lajna seek to convey Islam’s teachings and fulfil their duties to ensure the moral and spiritual training of the next generation. Only when you reach such heights will you have fulfilled your objectives, and only then will you be truly able to celebrate 100 years of Lajna Imaillah. Otherwise, merely reaching 100 years is meaningless and not a measure of any success.”
“Furthermore, as you strive to achieve your religious objectives, never be embarrassed or fall prey to any inferiority complex. Instead, take pride in your faith and religious conviction.
“Likewise, if your husbands ever prove an obstacle in the fulfilment of your religious duties, you should tell them without any fear or hesitation that you will never take a backward step when it comes to the fulfilment of your religious obligations. If you manifest such courage and firm faith, you will come to reform Ahmadi men so that they also prioritise their faith over all worldly matters.”
“As the ijtema concludes and you return to your homes, every one of you should inculcate within yourselves a firm determination to act upon Islam’s teachings at all times.
“As the page turns on the first century of Lajna Imaillah, a blank page now lies before you in the shape of the coming century. And your conduct and standard of faith will determine what is ultimately written upon it. May it be that your sacrifices and unwavering loyalty to your faith come to be recorded in the history of Islam, just like those women who accepted Islam in the time of the Holy Prophetsa. May it be that when the time comes to write the history of this era, the blank page of which I spoke is decorated with stories of countless Ahmadi women from this era who proved that they were ready for every sacrifice for the sake of their faith and who gloriously fulfilled their responsibilities to their religion. May it be that history bears witness to the fact that Ahmadi women were at the vanguard of establishing the Oneness of God in the world, and may we soon come to witness the momentous spiritual victory of the Holy Prophetsa Muhammadsa, where the people of all nations and races spiritually unite and embrace Islam’s true teachings. Surely, only in that lies the salvation of the world.
“May Allah the Almighty bless you all, and may the dawn of the second century of Lajna Imaillah prove a means of eternal progress for the Jamaat of the Promised Messiahas. Amin.”
In the end, Huzooraa led everyone in a silent prayer, after which he announced the attendance according to the latest report at the time, which was 6,768. Lajna then had a chance to recite some choral poems.
(Report prepared by Al Hakam)