Ali Fatty, Final year student Jamia Ahmadiyya International Ghana
These days many people are embarking on journeys from different parts of the world to attend the international Jalsa Salana UK, which is taking place from 28-30 July 2023. The Jalsa Salana is the largest Muslim conference in Europe. It attracts more than 30,000 attendees, including international guests such as: religious leaders, foreign ministers, ambassadors, high-profile politicians, civil-society groups and many stakeholders around the world.
All the attendees come together in consensus by rejecting injustices, terrorism, inequalities, seeking the help of Allah the Almighty for this noble course and acknowledging the dire need to arrest the decline of the belief in One God for peace to be established in the world.
Snapshot of Jalsa Salana history
The Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, started the Jalsa Salana in 1891 in the obscure village of Qadian, India. Today, we see that same gathering which commenced a hundred years ago, acclaiming global prominence and accommodating the state-of-the-art complex for global attendance. This divinely inspired event started from a very humble beginning, with only 75 devoted souls attending the first Jalsa Salana.
During the preliminary stages of Jalsa Salana, members of the community had to face great difficulties, ranging from inadequate lodging arrangements to scanty accommodation for the guest. Notwithstanding all this, Hazrat Ahmadas and his devoted followers would deprive themselves of every possible comfort for the convenience of their guest.
They would prepare all the food they had been storing and present it to the guests, and at times, would barely have anything left for themselves . They would sleep on hard floors and happily give up their comfortable beds for the guests. This selfless sacrifice and love to serve humanity indeed reminds one of the enormous sacrifices made by the Holy Prophetsa and his brave companions in the initial stages of Islam.
Hazrat Ahmadas and his devout companions managed with the little provisions they had and placed unshakeable trust in Allah the Almighty.
In March 1882, the Promised Messiahas received the following revelation:
يَاْتِيْكَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيْقٍ۔ يَاْتُوْنَ مِنْ كُلِّ فَجٍّ عَمِيْقٍ۔
“People will come to you so that the track will become deep due to excessive travel. So many people will come to you that the track on which they travel will become deep.” (Tadhkirah [English], p. 57)
The Jalsa Salana has become a fulfilment of the above revelation. This revelation was vouchsafed to the Promised Messiahas by Allah the Almighty at a time when he was alone. Allah instructed him to widen his place because people from far lands will flock to him as his guests, and Allah the Almighty himself would be taking care of their sustenance and provisions.
Yearly, as people from all parts of the world come to attend Jalsa Salana UK as the special guests of the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdias, we see how magnificently this prophecy has been fulfilled. Accommodation, which used to be a challenge for the community, is now no longer an issue, by the grace of Allah the Almighty.
Today, it is not only those who physically participate in the Jalsa Salana who experience the uncountable blessings of the event. Also, in this day and age, with the advancement in technology, MTA International broadcasts live coverage of the entire Jalsa Salana UK to the homes of Ahmadi Muslims across the seven continents of the world. This prophecy also sees its fulfilment through MTA. It enables Ahmadi Muslims who cannot physically participate in the Jalsa Salana due to one reason or the other, to also virtually join the conference by watching and listening to the faith inspiring speeches of the great scholars of the Jamaat.
They also tune in to the live Jalsa Salana speeches Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, including the live Friday sermon. We all participate in the spiritually satiating international bai‘at, to spiritually charge our souls, which is the central focus of this conference.
We interviewed people from different countries across Africa to share their Jalsa experiences and their feelings about the forthcoming Jalsa Salana UK 2023:
Dr Saeed Timehin, Lecturer at Lagos State University Nigeria, said:
“I had, in 2005, the privilege to attend the Qadian Jalsa. It was an awe-inspiring, spiritually fulfilling and morally rewarding experience for me. It was a spiritual homecoming for me. In 2015, the UK Jalsa gave me a different dimension to the Qadian effect. I was awakened to the reality of the possibility of attaining positive spirituality in a world dominated by obscenity and negative modernity. While the Qadian experience reconnected me with my roots, the UK experience opened the doors of unlimited opportunities.”
Monsurat Ikumapayi, Sadr Lajna Imaillah Basse Santa Su, The Gambia, said:
“Jalsa Salana UK is an emotional and spiritual gathering where Huzooraa blesses all the sessions with his presence. This is an occasion where brothers and sisters all over the globe unite and strengthen the spirits of brotherhood and sisterhood. We renew our pledge in the UK Jalsa of being a follower of the Imam Mahdi.”
Mr. Hanif Bipuah, Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Ghana, said:
“Jalsa Salana is an event packed with blessings and a special kind of spiritual rejuvenation for me, and I believe the same is true for others. It is so fulfilling to see Ahmadis congregating from all over the world to listen to our Khalifa at one and the same time.”
Musa Kinteh Sahib said:
“Jalsa Salana is a blessing of an incomparable nature among all conferences, and it brings the members of the blessed community at the hand of the Khalifa of the Messiah of the age.”
Mashood Djalo of Guinea-Bissau said:
“The Jalsa Salana is not merely an event; it is a time of profound significance where we rekindle our bonds of friendship and fortify our faith. It offers a unique opportunity for us to come together in unity and brotherhood, fostering a sense of belonging and togetherness within the community. It is a time of unity, reflection, and renewal, a moment when we strengthen our faith and dedication to the teachings of Ahmadiyyat. However, the pinnacle of this momentous occasion is the Keynote addresses given by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa, which holds a profound significance for every attendee.”
Rasheedah Badmos, Federal University of Agriculture Abeokuta Nigeria, said:
“Jalsa Salana has always been the most blessed Muslim gathering in the world. Not only does it promote peace, love and unity among members, but also serves as an avenue to worship the Almighty Allah with a sincere heart. A gathering where people tend to earn more reward from Allah by sacrificing themselves to the service of the programme. It is indeed a great occasion.”
Abdul Akinyemi Roqib, Sadr Majlis Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya Nigeria, said:
“Jalsa Salana is one conference that I always love to attend. Growing up while I was a tifl, myself, my siblings and all members of the family would look forward to participating in the Jalsa in Nigeria. What makes the UK Jalsa so special is the opportunity to see beloved Huzooraa, to have mulaqat with him, pray behind him and listen to his sermons directly.”
Hajia Sadicka Bonsu Yeboah Sahiba of Ghana said:
“I attended Jalsa in 2007. Being present there was an experience I would never forget. We do watch the proceedings on television but the physical experience was exceptional. I am anticipating this Jalsa as much as all Ahmadi Muslims because I get to relieve those precious moments by just watching the television. Also, I get to renew and remind myself about the oath I have pledged as an Ahmadi Muslim”
Ridhwana Ahmad Sinayoko, a journalist from the Gambia, said:
“This Jalsa Salana is a great occasion that one can use in learning and creating harmony among people of different tribes and cultures that are gathered together. Watching the Jalsa makes me feel like the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is one family, blessed with peace and harmony. The Khalifa of the Jamaat always gives the best pieces of advice in bringing together this Jamaat as one family.”
Hawa Jallow, a teacher in The Gambia, expressed:
“It is indeed a blessing to witness yet another Jalsa Salana of the United Kingdom. I am also thankful for MTA The Gambia for enabling us to watch the live coverage of the Jalsa Salana UK. The present Khalifa of the worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaa, is giving a powerful message to humanity which is indeed faith inspiring. May Allah the Almighty make this Jalsa Salana a successful one, may Allah Almighty give long life to Hazrat Khalifatul Masihaa and may Allah Almighty enable us all to benefit from the speeches of the Jalsa Salana UK. Amin.”
Demba Bah, Missionary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community The Gambia, expressed:
“Alhamdulillah Jalsa Salana is a unique event, where one meets people from diverse backgrounds, countries and nations. Daily one benefits from faith-inspiring speeches which are the main highlight of the Jalsa Salana. We can truly say we have have gained significant benefits from Jalsa when we are able to ponder every word of Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaa and act upon them.”
Tahir Ramadhan Marunda, Missionary Mtwara, Tanzania, said:
“For me personally being an Ahmadi is a huge blessing of Allah, and on top of that having rightly guided khilafat is just something that is impossible to be expressed in words. Both these blessings can hugely be felt during our annual convention, Jalsa salana, wherever it may be.
What we witness during the days of Jalsa Salana UK, especially the second day address of Hazrat Amirul Momineen Khalifatul Masih Vaa regarding the progress of Jamaat worldwide and also the international baiat ceremony in the final day, are among moments that I cherish a lot. Through Jalsa salana UK, I feel my faith renewed and increased, and find so much pleasure in following not only all the addresses of our beloved imam, but also other speeches from various Jamaat scholars.”
Ssenfuka Abudul Maalick, Sadr MKA Uganda, expressed:
“Alhamudulillah, I am very grateful to witness another Jalsa Salana UK, this is the time of spiritual uplifting, most especially at the time of bai‘at my heart is always filled with happiness and my body grows the goosebumps, seeing my Khalifa plus the love from members of different parts of the world connected on one rope, in rows in and outside the marquee Allahu Akbar.
“My prayer is that may Allah one day bless me with an opportunity to meet my beloved Imam and take bai‘at on his hands, insha-Allah. Long live my beloved Huzoor and long live Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya.”
Mohsin Jowaheer, Rose-Hill, Mauritius
“I had the privilege of attending the Jalsa Salana in 2018. The anticipation and atmosphere of the Jalsa was electric. It was a most wonderful and memorable experience where I was able to learn many secular and spiritual truths and meet many different people from all over the world. The warmth, joy, and brotherhood is like no other. I truly hope and desire to return soon again, insha-Allah.
“We are eagerly awaiting the Jalsa Salana of this year. This year is going to be a special one as it is the first full Jalsa since Covid hit us. We are attending the Jalsa spiritually and we pray that everything will run smoothly during the whole event. Insha-Allah.”