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Obligations of Duty Holders at Jalsa

Summary of Friday Sermon

delivered by the Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community

July 21st, 2006

NOTE: Alislam Team takes full responsibility for any errors or miscommunication in this Synopsis of the Friday Sermon

Huzur aba delivered the Friday Sermon on the obligations of the duty holders at Jalsa Salana. Huzur aba said the bustle of the Jalsa has started here in Britain and as customary on the Friday before Jalsa, he gave a discourse on the significance of the commitment of those who volunteer their services to look after the guests of the Promised Messiah as at the Jalsa Salana. This year the number of these volunteers is approximately 5000 and they are indeed eager to begin their duty to serve the guests and to earn reward from Allah. Explaining the value of the guests they will serve, Huzur aba said they will be gathering to develop their spirituality and to enhance their knowledge and moral values.

Although the duty-holders appear most keen to undertake their obligations and are indeed requesting Huzur aba for prayers that they may be able to carry out their task befittingly and without any slip-up, any blunder in the arrangements would be a source of pain for Huzur aba more than anyone else and Huzur aba added, so it should. He said with the regular attendance of the Khalifa of the day since the migration, the UK Jalsa has taken on the perception of the central Jalsa and this is what the visiting guests consider it to be. Therefore, Huzur aba said, he too must focus on the dear guests of the Promised Messiah as and is thus drawing the attention of the duty holders to their obligation.

It should serve as a reminder for the experienced workers and should benefit the new comers; Huzur aba said he would draw attention to one aspect that covers all other aspects. As explained in the years before, Huzur aba said that some guests either expect too much or are perhaps too sensitive to the slightest of disruptions and despite being in the wrong they insist that they are in the right. In any case, it is the task of the duty-holder to keep their emotions in check, look after the guests and not give them any cause for complaint. Huzur aba said he understands at times this is difficult, but once one has offered one’s services one has to make sacrifices and the reward is indeed with Allah.

Huzur aba said we are the followers of a Prophet saw whose blessed model is replete with superlative instances in this respect; once a non-Muslim visitor left his bedding soiled and the Holy Prophet saw proceeded to wash the sheets himself, despite his Companions urging him not to. While washing, he did not criticize the man, although he was not present anymore, such was his fortitude. It is a saying of the Holy Prophet saw that "One who believes in Allah and the Day of Judgment should hold his guest in esteem".

Huzur aba said the hospitality entrusted to the Jalsa duty-holders is that of those who are gathering for the sake of Allah and who are inspired to get together annually by the Promised Messiah as to develop their spirituality - therefore nothing as extreme as this can be expected of them, however, if a guest is short-tempered, the volunteers should always forgive and not take offence as this increases the unpleasantness. Although courtesy should be across the board, but Huzur aba said he was addressing the duty-holders and expected them to display ample patience.

Citing the general Quranic commandment to be ‘gentle in speech’ Huzur aba said in the Jalsa days there is a specific requirement for this. In addition to earning reward with Allah, this develops one’s belief and the gentle approach would compel the other person to realise their mistake and make them appreciate that the Ahmadi environment is that of gentleness and affection. Huzur aba reiterated that the duty-holders need to keep their emotions in control and respond with the utmost of courtesy.

The Holy Prophet saw said that nothing is weightier in the scales than courtesy and that one who possesses civility achieves the rank of fasting and Salat through it. Huzur aba expounded that the troubles and difficulties faced by our master the Holy Prophet saw are incomparable. In addition he had the tremendous obligation given to him by Allah; there was also the concern for his ummah, present and future. Despite all this his level of courtesy and civility was supreme.

The Promised Messiah as said that the heart of a guest is as fragile as a mirror and the slightest of knocks, breaks it. He also said that in a Jalsa environment one is familiar with some and not familiar with others; therefore it is best if one considers everyone worthy of service. Huzur aba stressed that the hospitality people and those serving food should bear this adage in mind and ensure that no one is made to feel that the next person is better than them. With the exception of special dietary requirements for the ailing and special representatives from other countries, everyone else should be treated the same.

Huzur aba said this year the British High Commission has been very generous in issuing visas in Pakistan – may Allah reward them – and as a result a great number of Pakistanis have come for the Jalsa. Some of these guests are from the countryside and it is their first time abroad and they have met Huzur aba and told him midst great emotion that they have come to see him. Some of these people are staying with relatives while others are guests of the Jama’at. Huzur aba counselled the relatives to look after these guests and not to distinguish between them and any other closer relatives. Huzur aba related an incident from the life of the Promised Messiah as illustrating his intense desire to keep his guests in comfort and urged that today it is our obligation to replicate.

Huzur aba said universally people from the countryside are most hospitable; he urged that excellent examples of hospitality should be extended to these guest so that they may appreciate that courtesy and civility is not limited to the villages of Pakistan; rather, after accepting the Imam of the age it is the way and manner of each Ahmadi and despite coming from different social backgrounds the values that are upheld remain the same; those taught by the Holy Prophet saw  and his true and ardent devotee the Promised Messiah as.

Huzur aba said this year the Jalsa is being held in the new Jalsa Gah, Hadiqa tul Mahdi. The locals had a few reservations which have been mostly addressed by the Jama’at by regular communication. It is the task of the duty-holders to further strengthen this by carrying out duties in a controlled manner.

Huzur aba prayed that may Allah enable everyone to discharge of their duty in the best manner and may the guests of the Promised Messiah as have no complaints against anyone. Our greatest resource is prayer, none should attribute their good works to experience or knowledge, all is possible only with Allah’s grace and we should ever turn to Him to be the recipient of His beneficence.

With further counsel to the duty-holders to provide maximum ease to the guests Huzur aba mentioned that in the congregation today was present an esteemed guest, the President of Republic of Sierra Leone, Al Haaj Dr. Ahmad Teejan Kabbah who had expressed his wish to offer Jummah prayers in our mosque. Huzur aba prayed for the peace, security and stability of his country and  concluded on the prayer that may Allah make it so that the world recognises God and recognises each other and lives in peace and harmony.