Ahsan Mahmood Khan, Afsar Jalsa Gah
The 35th West Coast Jalsa Salana USA took place from 23 to 25 December 2022 at the Baitul Hameed Mosque in Chino, California, which is situated about 30 miles east of Los Angeles.
Over 1,500 Ahmadi Muslims from throughout the country, but primarily the 11 chapters of the Western states, attended the Jalsa, which first started in 1982 to cater to the many Ahmadis living in the western parts of the country but has now attained some international flavour due to it being live streamed this year via MTA USA Studio to over 5,600 viewers.
The theme of this year’s Jalsa Salana was the Promised Messiah’sas revelation, “اِنِّيْ مَعَكَ يَا مَسْرُوْرُ” [Surely, I am with you, O Masroor], highlighting common themes gleaned from the various Friday Sermons and addresses delivered by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa during his recent historic tour of the United States in September and October of the year 2022.
Sahibzada Dr Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad Sahib, Amir Jamaat USA, hoisted the Liwa-e-Ahmadiyyat to open the Jalsa Salana. The opening session, presided over by Dr Hamid ur Rahman Sahib, Naib Amir USA, featured a talk on the existence of God, delivered by Sabahat Ali Sahib, a missionary of Silicon Valley.
Later in the evening, a special guest session was held, in which over 175 guests, including faith leaders, lawmakers and community neighbours, attended. Asif Arif Sahib moderated the guest event and invited local leaders to deliver short addresses, including Eloise Reyes, California State Assemblywoman, Bill Assayli, California State Assemblyman, and Frank Garcia, the Mayor of Maywood, California. They all expressed their appreciation for the services to the community provided by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat.
The missionary-in-charge and Naib Amir USA, Azhar Haneef Sahib, delivered a speech entitled “A Universal Message of Peace”, in which he highlighted the message of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa delivered in Dallas on 11 October 2022 warning the world of a Third World War and the pathway to avert global war through the promotion of peace. A print booklet of the address was provided to all guests.
Saturday morning speeches this year covered a variety of topics, including the importance of reciting and reflecting on the Holy Quran, delivered by Sardar Anees Ahmad Sahib; the blessed example of the Holy Prophetsa in worshipping Allah, delivered by Waqas Nazir Sahib; the prayer duel between the Promised Messiahas and John Alexander Dowie, delivered by Absar Alam Sahib; and the life of Hazrat Maulvi Sher Alira, delivered by Ibrahim Ahmed Sahib.
The combined Saturday afternoon session featured speeches themed around Khilafat, including how attachment to Khilafat protects from social evils, delivered by Usman Jamil Sahib; and how success lies in obedience to Khilafat, delivered by Salman Shaikh Sahib, a missionary of Phoenix. A speech on the Islamic concepts of reformation and forgiveness was delivered by Qudus Malik Sahib, Sadr Darul Qadha USA.
The ladies’ separate session included speeches on the importance of Wasiyyat, delivered by Dr Amatul Mujeeb Sahiba; the Promised Messiah’s love for the Holy Prophetsa by Maleha Awan Sahiba; the Promised Messiah’s prophecy about Dowie, by Nicole Williams Sahiba; and obedience to Khilafat, by Ramla Shabir Sahiba.
Sadr Lajna Imaillah USA, Dhiya Tahira Bakr Sahiba delivered the final speech of the session, on emulating the wives of the Holy Prophetsa in the 21st century.
In the concluding Sunday session, Malik Tariq Mahmood Sahib, a missionary of Los Angeles, delivered an Urdu speech on raising children in the West, and Ehtishamul Haq Mahmood Kauser Sahib, another missionary of Los Angeles, gave a speech on holding fast to the rope of Allah as an Ahmadi Muslim. Sahibzada Mirza Maghfoor Ahmad Sahib, Amir Jamaat USA, delivered an address on the Promised Messiah’sas kindness towards all of mankind.
This year, Jalsa Salana Qadian took place on the exact same dates. The concluding address by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa from the United Kingdom was replayed on recording in the Jalsa Gah and on live stream to close the final session. This was a unique aspect of this year’s West Coast Jalsa Salana and the highlight of the entire event by the grace of Allah.
MTA USA ran live on-site interviews throughout the Jalsa and the entire Jalsa was live-streamed on YouTube and on the official Jalsa Salana website. Spanish live translation of all speeches was also provided by the Spanish Desk.
Additional programmes were held by the tabligh, waqf-e-nau and nau-mubai‘een departments, along with the Ahmadiyya Association of Muslim Scientists. This year, an Amin ceremony (a formal recognition of the completion of the first reading of the Holy Quran) was conducted by the national talim-ul-Quran department, in which several boys and girls participated.
This year’s Jalsa Salana featured new additions, including a large stand-alone exhibition on the existence of God hosted by The Review of Religions, called “The Existence Project”, and a Meet and Greet room run by the rishta nata department to facilitate the introduction of families in a prearranged fashion. Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya USA hosted the MKA Hub where Khuddam and Atfal could enjoy games like air hockey and table tennis and also enjoy the onsite cafe.
The size of the Jalsa Gah tents was enhanced this year, and a separate children›s marquee was installed. Additional portable washrooms were also present. The langar food marquee for men and women was also more spacious than prior conventions, and a new registration portal system was also debuted.
The West Coast Jalsa Salana returned this year after a two-year pause due to the global pandemic. Special Covid-19 precautions were maintained, including a masking policy.