Earlier today, His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad inaugurated the 44th Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat UK. In a powerful and emotional speech His Holiness spoke about the courage displayed by the 86 Ahmadi Muslims who were brutally martyred in Lahore on May 28.
The three day international event is being held at Hadeeqatul Mahdi in Alton, Hampshire and has attracted great interest with at least 30,000 delegates expected from over 80 countries. The event began with His Holiness leading the Friday prayers at 1pm. His Holiness took the opportunity to speak about the true Islam, which is so often misrepresented in the media. He said Islam was a religion of peace, tolerance and mutual love and was based upon a love of God Almighty. This love was the reason why so many people had travelled so far, at great difficulty to take part in the event.
The event recommenced at 4.30pm when His Holiness raised the Flag of Ahmadiyyat as a means to officially open the Jalsa. As a symbol of the Jamaat’s commitment and loyalty to the United Kingdom, simultaneously the Union Jack was also raised. This was done in compliance with the instruction of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) who taught that love of one’s nation is part of one’s faith.
In the afternoon session, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad once again addressed the audience. Speaking about the long history of persecution faced by the Jamaat and specifically the Lahore incident, His Holiness said that a true believer would never allow fear to compromise his faith. Ahmadi Muslims were being threatened throughout the world by extremists who had hijacked the religion of Islam for the benefit of their own political vested interests. Yet this had not inculcated a state of fear or paralysis but instead had brought about a resolution of faith and a determination to grow ever closer to God Almighty.
“Those who persecute us had hoped and expected that after the Lahore attacks we would become scared and fearful. But in the wake of that tragedy our true spirit has emerged, that we are not scared of anyone or anything except God Almighty.”
His Holiness spoke about the spirit of sacrifice that the martyrdoms in Lahore had brought about. The opponents had hoped that the Ahmadis would become divided but instead these attacks had brought them even closer together. Ahmadis were now joined in prayer not only for themselves and their families but for the Jamaat itself.
Concluding his address, His Holiness quoted the examples of the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) and the Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat the Promised Messiah. He said that they had both faced trial after trial but had always borne such trials with patience and through their examples they had created communities who were willing to bear any sacrifice for the sake of their faith. The living example today of such sacrifice was the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. After concluding his address His Holiness led the congregation in a silent prayer. Millions of Ahmadi Muslims throughout the world who were watching via MTA International simultaneously joined in with the prayer.
The weather remained pleasant throughout the day as delegates used the lunch and evening breaks to walk around the vast site.
The event is set to continue over the weekend with further speeches about the role of religion in contemporary society and the misrepresentation of true Islam in the modern world.