Today's Friday sermon was delivered by Khalifatul Masih V (May Allah be his Helper) from Baitul Futuh mosque, London. After Tashahhud and Surah Fātiḥah Khalifatul Masih said By the Grace of Allah, last week Jalsa Salana UK took place. Even though we had many concerns because of the current situation of the world and concerns over peaceful arrangement of the Jalsa but by Allah Almighty's help the three days of Jalsa went very well alhamdulillah and the Jalsa concluded successfully. May Allah safeguard the Jama'at against worries and mischief/ ploys in the future as well. Ameen.
The Spiritual environment that was experienced at the Jalsa by Ahmadis and non-Ahmadis was expressed by all. May the effects of this spiritual condition that the guests and Ahmadis felt in their hearts, may it become everlasting. May we always remain ever grateful and prostrate before God and may we fulfill our pledge of giving preference to faith over worldly matters. The things that have impressed us , may we continue to make them a part of our life in future.
We should continue to pray O Allah, the shower of Thy Blessings upon us and the glad tidings given to Promised Messiah (A.S) that You are fulfilling are never taken away due to our mistakes and shortcomings.
O Allah, only You can grant us the strength to perform virtuous deeds and remain steadfast. Also we can only overcome our shortcomings with Your Grace. May Allah enable us to remain ever grateful to Him. O Allah, Count us amongst those who are recipients of Your rewards and blessings.
And remember also the time when your Lord declared, 'If you are grateful, I will, surely, bestow more favours on you." (14:8)
By the Grace of Allah, Jalsa organization and works begin well in-advance and Khuddam, Atfal, Ansar present themselves for service. The waqar e amal starts two to three weeks prior to the Jalsa and it continues till almost two weeks after the Jalsa concludes.There is a lot of hardwork and dedication displayed and then these volunteers are allocated Jalsa duties as well. Jalsa Salana UK has now become an international Jalsa due to the presence of Khalifa Waqt here in the UK. Many representatives from various countries come here. This year due to the large attendance and large presence of international volunteers, this Jalsa became truly international. In the previous years, Khuddam from Canada frequented the Jalsa but there was lack of organization. This year there was far greater organization. The volunteers from Canada also increased manifold. This year Khuddam also participated from USA for waqar e amal. Even from a volunteering aspect, this year the Jalsa was international. USA volunteers participated beforehand in the preparation and over 150 volunteers from Canada took part in windup. Sadr Khuddam ul Ahmadiyya UK informed me that the the international volunteers did a great job and worked quickly and were very organized and had a lot of passion to serve. May Allah grant the very best to the volunteers. We should be grateful to UK Khuddam, Ansar, Atfal who worked extremely hard. Along with the UK Khuddam and Atfal we should also be grateful to Canada and USA Khuddam for their dedication and help .Foremost, we should be grateful to God that He has granted us volunteers from the developed nations who put themselves forward for this selfless service. From UK, about 6000 girls and boys volunteered from all age groups. This is Allah's Grace upon us. They were allotted work in the cleaning department,toilets , kitchen, dining hall, security, parking etc. They worked hard throughout their tasks and did the wind up in a very organised manner as well. We cannot witness such hospitality and volunteerism anywhere else in the world. Hence all these volunteers, workers and helpers deserve our thanks and they should thank God Almighty who has provided them with an opportunity to serve the guests of Promised Messiah (A.S) and they should pray for themselves that next time may Allah bless them with greater opportunities to serve.
Many outsiders who were guests expressed their awe at the work of children, youngsters and elders that impressed them. Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih (May Allah be his helper) related the impression of a few guests. The silent tabligh that is done through the programs of Jalsa and through workers and volunteers during Jalsa has far more impact on people than giving out literature or other modes of tabligh.
The defence minister of Benin took part in the Jalsa. He said that by participating in this Jalsa he had the chance to meet the true ambassadors of peace and love. Everyone met each other cheerfully and tried to greet the guests in their language with a smile. Jalsa is a true display of brotherhood. Moreover, he said that this Jalsa is truly the centre of peace. All of the participants, be it old or young tried to make sacrifices to make others comfortable. He said that your Jalsa is similar to an Academy which taught me a lot. It was very surprising that everyone was working hard to help guests. If a hint was dropped that something was needed and wasn't there, it was quickly brought and made available. The most important thing was effective security measures for all people attending the Jalsa. A proper security plan was implemented and it felt as if professionals were taking care of it, although there were no army or police personnel in sight. He said I wanted to find out the secret behind such an organization. He realized that this community stands behind one Khalifa and hence an army has gotten ready that is prepared for any sacrifices.
A journalist from Benin also attended the Jalsa. He said if someone was told about the organized event of this Jalsa, they won't believe it until they witnessed it for themselves. I have been given a message of hope in this Jalsa, he said. Today the world is busy focussing on their selfish pursuits. Seeing the spirit of youth in this Jalsa, I can see that these selfless youngsters will cause a new world to be born. A world that will focus on helping others. Islam Ahmadiyya is a beautiful mirror that today is showing the world a beautiful face of Islam. As a journalist this person from Benin has been to many different parts of the world and witnessed many large scale gatherings. He has seen the management and organisation of Hajj and big gatherings in Iran and has attended great UNO conferences but has not seen such great organization anywhere else. These youth and elders are ever-ready to serve and they are guided by their Khalifa . People from all nations were serving guests. It was difficult to tell who is rich or poor. All were working with same spirit of serving others and making their stay comfortable. MTA's management has also had a great affect upon me. This journalist was also the ex-director of the National Television Station in Benin. He said that I have never seen such organization and number of translations in different languages being done simultaneously not even in the UN. So much so that each guest could hear the Jalsa in his/her own language and felt as if Jalsa was happening in their own country. I have learnt from Ahmadiyya teachings that your Faith should have the foremost priority and that Truth is always victorious. Also one who apparently looks mighty always does not have all the power. By participating in Jalsa, I realized there is still an avenue open to meet God.
Attorney General of Congo said that I have served as the magistrate for 25 years and have observed your Jalsa in depth and realized that just wealth is not enough until one is truly united. Jalsa volunteers become united as One and turn a jungle into a city. Radio and TV stations are here, clean toilets and lodging is provided, rich and poor from all across the world, politicians, ministers, knowledgeable well read folks and people from all the different walks of life are all here working together. Serving 40,000 is not an easy task but 6000 volunteers happily performed their duties. The volunteers ranged from age 3 to 80. These volunteers felt great joy in serving others. I only witnessed Love and unity. The Jama'at is doing great work and it will never be unsuccessful, Insha'Allah. I would like to tell everyone that observe the Jama'at closely and you will see for yourself. He said that when I came to the Jalsa I just felt awkward for the first half an hour. After that, people were coming up to me themselves and introducing themselves. Seemed like we knew each other since ages.
The beauty of Jalsa is that in-addition to the volunteers even the attending members of Jalsa make a great impression upon guests. This is a form of silent tabligh. Not only the volunteers on duty should be grateful to God that they are spreading the message of peace through their actions but the attending guests/ members should also be grateful to Allah for giving them the opportunity for silent tabligh.
President of Niger's special advisor about religious matters also took part in the Jalsa. He said that I spend my entire year traveling and attending religious events but I have never witnessed such a spiritual gathering. He said that he felt as if a Divine Light is descending from Heavens. While witnessing the Ba'iat Ceremony he expressed that he felt that as if he was part of Ba'iat e Rizwan..
A Friend from Japan who is a scholar said that Ahmadi youth's passion for service is worthy of appreciation. There are no such youth in the world who volunteer with such spirit. You would only witness this in Jalsa Salana where some youngsters are worried about serving guests food, other young kids are serving water, some are worried about picking up guests, and at places elders are busy working and serving people.The passion that I have seen in kids is a guarantee that the future of Ahmadiyya community is bright and Huzoor says Insha'Allah it will be.
Vice President of Uganda Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi was also present and attended the Jalsa. When he was given a tour of the Jalsa area, he was very surprised to find that all workers are volunteers. He thought at least security must be paid but was told that they were volunteers as well. He was shocked to hear that.
He said that he had never seen such a large scale peaceful gathering of Muslims and had only heard that Muslims only harm one another and slit each other's throats. Even in Uganda this is the case and Government often has to intervene. He realized that true Islam is beautiful. Ahmadiyya community is showing Islam's true face to the world.
A guest from Iceland says that this was one of the greatest and most beautiful experiences of my life. My faith has been rejuvenated after witnessing the 40,000 people together in a peaceful gathering. I am greatly impressed by your hospitality. I will try to spread Islam's true message of peace.
The atmosphere and ambience that is created during Jalsa often greatly affects people. But this year as well, we witnessed some events which should not have occurred. Some people had fights and such individuals should pay heed. It can have a negative effect upon the guests and can send the wrong message across. Each Ahmadi should realize this especially more so during Jalsa days but even in normal days as well. Allah covers our shortcomings and guests don't see such things but we should be more careful.
A guest from Greece said that the Jalsa arrangements were great and the volunteers did some great work. When I met people from different countries, I tried to make a list of the people participating from different countries and noticed that the number count went up to 30. He was surprised. When he witnessed the ba'iat ceremony in the marquee, he saw that people were very emotional and moved and he thought that it was a beautiful thing to witness.
A large group of people attended from Macedonia. A female member from the group said that I was left quite surprised that all facilities were provided. I was greatly impressed by young children serving guests.
A member of Parliament from Guatemala said that Hospitality was great. To allocate duties to children and youngsters is like preparing them practically and making the youth realize their responsibilities. Each Ahmadi focuses on their reformation during Jalsa and impresses others during the process as well. Jalsa has opened avenues of propagation and tabligh even though the main purpose is still reformation of Ahmadis. Media and many Muslim groups present Islam in a negative manner and many felt that their opinions changed after attending Jalsa. We can say that to witness the beautiful teachings of Islam, one should look upon Ahmadiyya Community.
Another member of parliament from Guatemala Ms Aliyana says that I have attended a Muslim convention for the first time. The true teachings of Islam have come to my knowledge. I was impressed by the organization. I saw unparalleled love and brotherhood at this Jalsa. This Jalsa will serve as one of my greatest memories. I will return to my nation with a hope that I am given the opportunity to attend again.
Zakriya Sadi a non Ahmadi friend who is a PhD said Jalsa Salana was a beautiful Islamic convention. I consider it to a perfect way of showing others the true picture of Islam. Ahmadiyya Community is involved in helping others across the world. Whether it is providing free medical care in remote areas in Africa or providing clean drinking water to the deprived areas.
Another Non-Ahmadi guest Mr Tony Whiting said that I realized that people of Britain can learn a lot from your community. For example we can learn from you that what is a community and how to come together and work for peace and also how to bring together youth and to teach them to become useful members of a peaceful society. Upon seeing your community, it is not at all surprising why people join your community from around the world.
There are many incidents from the new converts that also are a source of their spiritual training.
A new convert from Guatemala Mr Salfredo says that it is a great thing for me to be a member of a Worldwide community that shows the true picture and teachings of Islam to the world. One such example is this Jalsa Salana where different people from different nations come together. The love and brotherhood present here is a true depiction of Love for All Hatred for None.
A Belgian lady Ms Fatima Diyalo also attended the Jalsa with her two kids and converted to Ahmadiyyat at the Jalsa. She said that my husband introduced me to the Jama'at but I heard different views that Ahmadis are not Muslims etc. She decided to participate in the Jalsa with her kids and decide for herself that what was the actual truth. She said that she realized that Ahmadiyya community are true Muslims and Hazrat Khalifatul Masih's (May Allah be his helper) sermons were based on Holy Prophet (Peace be Upon Him) sayings, and peaceful teachings. She said that she is thankful to Allah Almighty for guiding them to the path that leads to Him. She was grateful for the volunteers for serving them day and night even though they were tired and the respect they showered upon them.
A professor from Japan whom I mentioned before says that seeing over 30,000 from 80 countries and the flags from different countries made it look like UN. But when I listened to the keynote address of the Khalifa of the time and heard him talking about the issues which impact the whole world, not just a single country , my opinion changed. In UN, every representative from a certain country is just talking about his/her country's selfish interests and not about issues that affect the world as a whole.
By the Grace of Allah, media covered the Jalsa this year much more than last year. Central Press and Media officers reported that coverage started before jalsa and BBC, Radio 4, The economist, the Guardian, the independent, channel 4, daily telegraph, daily mail (most read newspaper online), daily express, the sun (most read newspaper in the UK) , Radio LBC, London Live tv, Sky News, Channel 5, Scottish TV, Belfast Telegraph, Nottingham Post covered the Jalsa. Print and online media reach was about 41 million. If we add all modes , the total comes to 135 million people. If we consider that not everyone reads the newspapers, even 20% would make the numbers according to careful calculations to be 18 million. The reach of 20% makes us realize that the message reached 6 million more people than last year. I personally feels the message reached over 100 million. The Press and Media section is astonished themselves about the coverage that Jalsa got and think it to be mere Grace of God Almighty.
Tabligh department UK reports that three articles were printed about Jalsa in South West Londoner Newspaper and the online readership of this newspaper is about 150000 people.
The Herald Magazine in Scotland also published an article about the Jalsa and its readership is about 150000-175000.
Two national Belgian newspapers also published articles about Jalsa. A journalist from Guyana also took part in the Jalsa with her cameraman for reporting and reported for TVG for four days from Thursday to Sunday in the evening news bulletin about the Jalsa. Guyana times , a famous newspaper published articles about Jalsa.TV viewership is about more than 200000 people and newspaper readership is about 300000.
Many wrote their comments under the articles and said that other Muslims hate Ahmadis but Ahmadiyya Community presents true face of Islam. Ahmadiyya Community is a peaceful community in the true sense but Sunnis consider them disbelievers. One person wrote that Ahmadis believe that Hindu God Krishna was a prophet, they are a very peaceful community that is why they are being oppressed in different regions. Many wrote to newspapers saying that we felt impressed and we hope Ahmadiyya community will have a greater effect. Some wrote when will Muslims raise their voice against extremism. Ahmadis have been raising their voice against extremism since a long time but nobody pays heed to them but people pay more attention to the false portrayal of muslims by media.
An individual wrote that we hope France also holds such a convention so the extremists can stop imposing their foolish views on others. Many felt such a Jalsa was required a long time ago but people don't know that we have been working for over 100 years. The press and media usually doesn't give us any media coverage so people think that this is the first time we have had the Jalsa and raised voice against extremism. Some feel this is the first time the message of peace is delivered.
For the first time, MTA Africa showed Jalsa proceedings. Thousands of people from east and west Africa sent messages of congratulations. Many national TV channels, Ghana National TV, Cine plus TV Ghana, TV Africa, Sierra Leone, MI TV Nigeria , Benin also showed Jalsa proceedings. Uganda Broadcasting association first said they won't show proceedings but ultimately did. Rwanda also showed Jalsa proceedings. Media coverage and Jalsa also resulted in various ba'iats.
In Congo Brazil a Christian individual heard the Jalsa for 3 days in the mission house. He said that he was afraid of Muslims before but also has never felt the love and affection that he felt amongst Ahmadis. He said that Khalifa of the time's speech has moved me and made me realize that I would like to convert.
A wife of a local president was christian and didn't want to convert. She heard Huzoor's (May Allah be his helper) speech and decided to convert. She said I can see and feel that there is just truth here and we are taught ways to live life correctly.
These are few narrations from a vast ocean of narrations from Jalsa. God has increased his sphere of Grace manifold so we should expand our sphere of gratefulness for our Lord. May Allah increase our rewards. Each Ahmadi all across the world should reach the pinnacle of gratefulness for Allah by obeying commandments of God. May Allah enable everyone to do so.
I didn't say much about the management. There were some weaknesses, especially in scanning department, parking, security. We should improve and start preparing from right now. We need to plan and improve and eliminate such shortcomings, then present a report to Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih (May Allah be his helper).