After reciting the Tashahhud, Ta’wwuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) stated:
Alhamdulillah, by the grace of Allah the Exalted, the Jalsa Salana (annual convention) of the United Kingdom concluded last Sunday, having manifest the blessings and grace of God Almighty. The three days (of the Jalsa) were very blessed. Although, the preparations for Jalsa Salana take place all year round, but the management and the many volunteers specially engage themselves in the preparations of the Jalsa in the last three to four months. The number of the volunteers increases significantly in the two weeks (prior to Jalsa.) In order to provide all the facilities at Hadeeqatul Mahdi, the workers work to their utmost capacities. It is not an ordinary task to construct a temporary city with all the adequate facilities in a place which is almost a jungle. Moreover, the workers are not professionals of the work they carry out. Everything that we accomplish and the results we obtain is due to the grace of Allah the Exalted. It is God Almighty alone who blesses these efforts in an extraordinary manner.
The guests who attend also express their astonishment by seeing the motivation of the workers. The number of the people working prior to Jalsa increases manifold during the Jalsa itself, which includes the youth, elderly, children, men and women. For non-Muslim guests it is an extraordinary sight as to how the young and the old are all devoted to their duties. The way these people express their sentiments is truly remarkable. In addition to commenting on the service provided by the workers, they also say that the Jalsa has had a special impact on them and has changed their lives. Thus, on the one hand, Jalsa is a means of strengthening the faith and increasing the brotherhood among our own people and on the other hand it serves as a means of conveying the true message of Islam to others. I will now present some of the sentiments which show how much the blessings of Jalsa affect others too.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) read out many faith-inspiring quotations from many respected guests admiring the organisation, peace, tranquillity and atmosphere of Jasla. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) said that I would also like to mention that once again, approximately 140 Khuddam came from Canada to help with the wind up. They have fulfilled this task in an excellent manner. Aside from them, I would also like to thank all those from the UK who helped in the wind up. In addition to this, the UK Tabligh Department had the opportunity to hold seminars and question and answer sessions, as well as five exhibitions: the Al-Quran exhibition, in which the beautiful teachings of the Quran were highlighted by displaying different types of Qurans, there was a speech competition about the (life and character of the) Holy Prophet (sa). This was in response to the hate campaign initiated by the Dutch politician (Geert) Wilders. Many non-Ahmadi and non-Muslim Europeans took part in this contest.
The broadcast of the Jalsa Salana through various means was as follows: Alislam website was visited 862,000 times and number of videos watched was 218,000. The number of online and print outlets that covered the Jalsa numbered 53, on radio the Jalsa was broadcast in 20 news reports and four news reports were covered on television. The total number of reports was 70, which reached more than 26 million people. Among the well-known television channels and media outlets which covered the Jalsa included: the BBC, ITV, BBC Arabic service, The Economist, The Express newspaper, The Independent, the Huffington Post, LBC, Capital Radio, Alton Herald, London Live. Aside from these, 19 regional BBC radio stations gave airtime to our representatives, which provided coverage for a large area. Journalists were present from all over the world and following their return to their countries they would also cover the Jalsa through print media and electronic media, as well as through documentaries. Speaking about the Ladies Jalsa Gah (event hall), a female journalist said: “I had an opportunity to attend the Jalsa last year, however, I was unable to visit the ladies’ section, but this year I managed to see it. I must admit that your (Ahmadi) women are more educated and engaging than the men. They had complete freedom and seemed very sincere to their community. This experience has completely changed my perspective.”
The Jalsa was covered across the African continent and this year, 15 television channels broadcast the Jalsa including; Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Benin, Uganda, Mali, Congo-Brazzaville and for the first time Burundi Television channel broadcast the Jalsa as well. Each journalist wrote stories for their respective channels. In total, across the African continent, the Jalsa coverage reached 50 million people. In this regard hundreds of people have sent their comments which shows that they have watched the coverage.
People commented on other departments including the photo exhibition, Review of Religions, Archives, Al Hakam exhibition and through these people were able to learn about the history of the Jamaat. In the Jalsa administration as well as the exhibitions were all organised by volunteers. As is clear from the sentiments of the people attending Jalsa, all the volunteers were carrying out silent tabligh, children, women and men alike. Therefore, after expressing gratitude to God Almighty, all the participants of the Jalsa should be grateful to all the workers and should also pray for them. May Allah enable them to serve in the future as well.
I would also like to express my gratitude to all the workers, both men and women. May Allah reward them and enable them to offer greater sacrifice in the future; and also make them helpers of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya. All the workers should render thanks to God Almighty, all the volunteers should first and foremost give thanks to God Almighty that He enabled them to fulfil their duties. Without the help of God Almighty it would not have been possible to carry out this task. May Allah enable everyone to increase in humility and may they be protected from all forms of arrogance that could be borne out of the service they have carried out and the praise they have received.
After reciting the Tashahud, Ta‘awuz, and Surah Al-Fatihah, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V(aa) stated:
Alhamdolillah, by the grace of Allah the Exalted, the Jalsa Salana [annual convention] of the United Kingdom concluded last Sunday, having manifest the blessings and grace of God Almighty.
The three days [of the Jalsa] were very blessed. Although, the preparations for Jalsa Salana take place all year round, but the management and the many volunteers specially engage themselves in the preparations of the Jalsa in the last three to four months. The number of the volunteers increases significantly in the two weeks [prior to Jalsa.] In order to provide all the facilities at Hadeeqatul Mahdi, the workers work to their utmost capacities. Among them is a large number of Khuddam – young men. It is not an ordinary task to construct a temporary city with all the adequate facilities in a place which is almost a jungle. Moreover, the workers are not professionals of the work they carry out. Everything that we accomplish and the results we obtain is due to the grace of Allah the Exalted. It is God Almighty alone Who blesses these efforts in an extraordinary manner.
The guests who attend also express their astonishment by seeing the motivation of workers. The number of the people working prior to Jalsa increases manifold during the Jalsa itself, which includes the youth, elderly, children, men and women. For non-Muslim guests it is an extraordinary sight as to how the young and the old are all devoted to their duties. Guests who have not experienced something like this before are hugely impressed by their work. The way these people express their sentiments is truly remarkable. In addition to commenting on the service provided by the workers, they also say that the Jalsa has had a special impact on them and has changed their lives. Despite not being Muslims, the teachings of Islam leave a lasting impression on them. Their knowledge regarding Islam and the Jamaat had increased and rather than Islam leaving a negative impression on them, they had gained knowledge of its beauty.
Thus, on the one hand, Jalsa is a means of strengthening the faith and increasing the brotherhood among our own people, and on the other hand, it serves as a means of conveying the true message of Islam to others.
In the address on the second day of Jalsa, the blessings of God Almighty that had been bestowed upon us was briefly expressed. We observe that by showing gratitude towards Allah the Exalted, His countless blessings become even more visible during the Jalsa which leads to even more gratitude. One manifestation of this are the impressions of the non-Muslim guests regarding the Jalsa.
I will now present some of the sentiments which demonstrate just how much the blessings of Jalsa affect others too.
Mr Valentine Houde Sahib, a guest from Benin, who has served as secretary of state for eight years and is currently a member of parliament, participated in the Jalsa. He states, “I have gained from the Jalsa Salana what I could not have gained even by spending a large sum of money. I had the opportunity to stay in a peaceful and spiritual atmosphere. Before today, I had never witnessed such an organised gathering, which is attended by approximately forty thousand people. There are people from various nations, backgrounds and races, however, there is no quarrelling or fighting. Everyone is occupied in serving one another. Whether they are young, old, ladies or girls, everyone is working towards providing comfort for others whilst displaying excellent morals. This is something quite extraordinary and astonishing for me that no member of the police or army can be seen at such a large gathering. Only the volunteers of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat could be seen working everywhere. I was thinking that in this time and era, how could it be possible to work in such a selfless manner? I then came to the conclusion that this could only be possible under the leadership of Khilafat of the Ahmadiyya Jamaat, which has brought up the children, older members, youth and women of the Jamaat and which teaches them the arrangements and management of the Jalsa from their very childhood.”
He then says, “I am able to say that as a result of the Islam which the Ahmadiyya Jamaat presents to the world, and the manner in which it trains its members, the world will swiftly enter the fold of Ahmadiyyat and Ahmadiyyat will be the largest religion in the world.” Ahmadiyyat is not a religion, it will be Islam that will prevail in the world, which will be re-established through Ahmadiyyat and the Promised Messiah(as). He further says, “I have witnessed the practical example of the teaching which the Ahmadiyya Jamaat presents to the world by attending this Jalsa. I am returning to my country from London with many wonderful memories of this Jalsa. It is not possible for me to put these moments into words. They are wonderful memories.”
Then, another guest from Benin, Mr Tchinwanu Pascal, who came on behalf of the ministry and is appointed in a high ranking position in planning and development, says, “I have seen and attended many conferences. However, I have never before seen a gathering as well-organised as your Jalsa. All the workers of this Jalsa were familiar with their responsibilities and were fulfilling them in the best manner. To feed forty thousand people is astounding. However, the most significant and unbelievable fact is that all of the cooks and those feeding the people were volunteers. If people would work with this passion throughout the world, I can say with certainty that this would bring an end to the war and quarrels in the world as well as the problems faced by mankind. I am obliged to praise the Ahmadiyya Jamaat. Its children, adults, youth, elders and women, all of them are very organised and civilised.”
The representative of the President of Haiti, Mr Joseph Pierre was in attendance and said: “This Jalsa was a wonderful experience of my life and one which I will not be able to forget. The unparalleled conduct of the workers has opened my eyes. As a matter of fact, it has completely changed my perspective about Islam.”
Then, a judge from the supreme court of Ivory Coast, Mr Tourre Ali Sahib, who is also an advisor of the National Constitutional Council of Ivory Coast says, “I am a Muslim and have had the opportunity to attend programmes of various Islamic sects over the past twenty years. Yet in these twenty years, I have never been able to acquire the knowledge of Islam which I acquired in these three days of Jalsa. I was unable to acquire spiritual progress in the previous twenty years, which I acquired in these three days.” He further says, “Non-Ahmadi scholars have no knowledge of Islam. If anyone wishes to learn about the true Islam, he should come to the Ahmadiyya Jamaat.” He then says, “The manner in which volunteers render their duties throughout Jalsa is sufficient to demonstrate that Ahmadis are greatly in love with Khilafat. Furthermore, as a result of this very love, they completely obey their Khalifa and live with one another with great affection. There is a sense of unity in this love and this is the very reason they are truly serving Islam. No other Muslim sect has such a leader and unity.” He continues, “I will attend this spiritual Jalsa in the future as well and as a matter of fact, I will also bring my wife [to the Jalsa].”
Then, a female journalist from Belize, Mrs Sarah Vasquez, says, “When I was on the flight from Miami to London, many thoughts of fear, anxiety and terror crossed my mind. These thoughts were not a result of being on a flight for seven hours. Rather, I realised that I was going to spend the next three days among Muslims. Some Muslims are responsible for the most horrific terror attacks around the world. I realised that I could no longer return as the plane had taken off and would have to face the consequences. Hence, I prayed to not become the victim of a terror attack. It is evident that I did not become the victim of a terror attack, rather, what occurred was the complete opposite. I was treated like a princess. The impressions of Jalsa Salana are among the most wonderful memories of my life. I have met many people, yet I have never come across people as sympathetic as Ahmadis. I have come to know an excellent and wonderful Jamaat. I was able to witness the highest standards of meekness and affection. Every day was extremely magical. I am proud at the fact that I am returning with many memories and having made many friends. This was truly an experience, which I will never be able to forget.”
Then, the Mayor of the city of Belize, Mr Bernard Joseph says, “My first experience of Jalsa Salana was extremely pleasant and inspiring. Over the three days, I was extremely impressed by the brotherhood of Ahmadis, their mutual love and service towards mankind. I have come from a country where we face many social problems. As the Mayor of the city of Belize, I believe that perhaps we should consult and seek guidance from our local Ahmadi Community in Belize in order to overcome all of these social issues.” He then says, “I am returning with many good memories as well as the new acquaintances that I made over these three days. The standards of the accommodation, food and transport were extremely high. The drivers, the workers standing at airports and welcoming [the guests], the children on duty during the course of the Jalsa providing water, the workers in the parking [area], the cooks and all of the departments that were enabled to render their services behind the scenes, all of them have made this Jalsa extremely memorable.”
Then, there was a professor from Italy, Justo Lacunza Balda. He is a Catholic missionary priest and has also served as the advisor of the former Pope. He says, “I have noted three things in particular during this Jalsa. Firstly, to see people from various nations meet with such love and not to have any form of barrier between them is astounding. Such a scene cannot be witnessed anywhere in the world. Secondly, I felt a lot of peace during this Jalsa and there was no form of discomfort. Thirdly, the addresses of the Khalifa contained a clear message and a lot of practical guidance for all of us.”
Elayna Logus Sahiba was a guest from the Philippines, who currently works for an Arab news channel and attended the Jalsa last year as a reporter for Manila Bulletin. This year she travelled to the Jalsa on her own expense. She stated: “This is the second time I have attended the Jalsa and I must say that every time, the Jalsa arrangements and everything connected to it impresses me greatly. Similarly, after witnessing the spiritual condition of people, particularly seeing people of various backgrounds and cultures greeting one another to the extent that all their differences completely vanish, illustrates the love and brotherhood which gives a practical view of your message. This in itself is far more effective than any speech [that could be delivered on this subject matter]. I have firm belief that the attendees of Jalsa return with this love and equality to their respective countries and because of this all countries that are represented at Jalsa benefit from this environment.” She then says: “I believe that more and more people should spend a few days in the Jalsa environment with the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in order for them to find out what love and affection really means and how beautiful is the true face of Islam.”
Whilst commenting on my speech delivered at the ladies Jalsa Gah [event hall], Yukiko Kondo Sahiba, a lady from the Japanese delegation, states: “From the address delivered to the ladies [by the Caliph], we can learn that the guidance provided by him [i.e. the Caliph] provides the shade of protection under which the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community progresses. Keeping families together and avoiding [the negative aspects] of technology is needed in the world today.” She continues to say: “The world today is drifting away from religion. However, we were wondering as to what is the strength that lies behind the members of the Ahmadiyya Community which grants them the passion to serve? Our minds were preoccupied with this thought, however the very first day of Jalsa after participating in prayer and listening to the guidance by the Caliph of the Ahmadiyya Community, we were convinced that prayer is the one feature which separates the Ahmadiyya Community from the entire world. We had the opportunity to pray repeatedly during the Jalsa after which our hearts felt less burdened and our souls were reinvigorated.” She continues, “The weather was warm during the Jalsa days but we noticed that people did not get restless due to the heat. The workers continued to smile and discipline during food serving times remained exemplary. When I found out that the vast numbers of people serving happily – from the children on water duty to those who were cleaning the washrooms – were volunteers, I could not help but envy them and prayed for them that may God be pleased with these people who were sacrificing their comfort for the satisfaction of others.”
Patrice Mayeko Sahib, a new convert from Guadeloupe states, “I have never attended a programme like this one in my entire life. It was very impressive for me that the Jalsa programmes started on time. The various topics of speeches were in accordance with the need of the time and were particularly beneficial for me. All the Jalsa arrangements were akin to a working machinery consisting of various parts, each set in its place and the volunteers were running this machinery together in the best way possible. Every worker was expert in their task.” Then he further states, “All the exhibitions that were organised during Jalsa were of immense benefit. I was particularly impressed by the exhibition organized by Archive, Mazkhan-e-Tasaweer and The Review of Religions. I really appreciated these exhibitions and gained a lot of knowledge about the history of Ahmadiyyat. After attending this Jalsa, I now give thanks to God Almighty more than ever before, for He granted me the opportunity to be attached to such a blessed Community.” He has hinted towards one thing that was lacking: “Irrespective of all the good things of this blessed Jalsa, according to my limited sense of wisdom, I noticed that the lack of French programmes in comparison to English.” Those who speak the French language and those who produce programmes should make a note of this. Either there should be French programmes or French translation should be provided for the programmes being aired. To have our weaknesses pointed out to us is also a blessing of Allah Almighty.
One of the guests from Japan, Yoshida Sahib, who is the Chief Priest of the Buddhist community, expressed his views regarding the International Bai‘at Ceremony. He states: “After witnessing the Bai‘at Ceremony, I felt that we have One God and we can obtain tranquillity if we bow down in front of Him and our sins can be washed away in this process. Hence, if all of mankind desires to become one and to end all discords, then this is achievable.” He continues, “Tears were flowing from our eyes as we participated in this ceremony and when we prostrated with everyone, it felt as if our sins were actually being washed away.”
There is a scholar from Indonesia whose name is Professor Momal. He states, “The undertaking of the Jalsa Salana in itself is a fascinating programme. People from different countries were in attendance at this Jalsa and it felt as if the entire world was united as one nation. No example from any organisation can be found in which volunteers would work in the manner they were working here. This is a great proof of the service of the Ahmadiyya Community that it is a community which serves in all capacities. I was able to meet every type of person during the Jalsa and many of them were prominent figures. The sight of brotherhood in Islam could be witnessed everywhere and the message of peace could be seen in all directions.” He then says, “As far as the hospitality is concerned, it is really not possible to mention it all. The workers showed a lot of respect to the guests and would treat them cheerfully. It felt that as if we were staying in our own homes. Everyone was able to easily understand the speeches of the Jalsa.” He then says, “I suggest that a magnificent Jalsa such as this one should be held in Indonesia and the Khalifa also attends it. This would be a great honour for us.” If this is their desire, then they should convince the people in their country as they are continuously increasing in their opposition of Ahmadiyyat.
A female guest from Indonesia, who is a leader of one of the organisations of Muslim women, stated: “I have read various books of the Ahmadiyya Community and I have good knowledge about the Jamaat, but having attended the Jalsa Salana, I was very much impressed by the speeches delivered by the Khalifa of the Community. Certainly, the members of the Ahmadiyya Community are those who practice what they preach. It is truly remarkable to witness the manner in which they listen to the speeches delivered by the Caliph of the Community with such attentiveness and focus. People say that the Ahmadiyya Community has fallen into disbelief and misguidance and they are misleading others. However, the truth is that [the Ahmadis] are the true Muslims who are punctual in their prayers and are fulfilling the rights due to Allah and His Creation in an excellent manner. They treat each other with respect and extend greetings of peace before speaking to each other. They are obedient and follow instructions in every programme in order to maintain discipline. Each volunteer is serving their duty in the spirit of [Arabic] ‘And help one another in righteousness and piety’. I was amazed after witnessing all of this and it is due to the blessings of the Imam of the age and Khilafat.” She is not an Ahmadi.
There was a non-Ahmadi Scholar from Indonesia who is also the head of the philosophy department in a university there. He states: “This is the first time I have witnessed such a gathering where all spiritual matters are kept in view. I consider this Jalsa as a golden convention because people from around the world have surrounded Khilafat at this event like a moth flies around light. As an Indonesian, I praise the Khalifa for his efforts for he has gathered people from around the world at one place and has presented this scene of brotherhood.” In actuality, it is Khilafat that is advancing the work for which the Promised Messiah(as) was sent. May Allah Almighty enable this person to accept the Imam and Mahdi of this day and age. He continues to say: “This is the true Islam and this is genuine brotherhood. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat is the only global organisation whose example is unmatched worldwide. The motto of this Jamaat is excellent. It becomes embedded in the hearts like a nail. Every single speech of the Khalifa delivers the Islamic teachings in an excellent manner in light of the Holy Quran, sayings of the Holy Prophet(sa) and practice of the Holy Prophet(sa). Even though the Jalsa lasts three days, but these three days are filled with blessings. We are very grateful to you for this.”
Kamara Sahiba, who is the Governor of a province of Guinea Conakry states, “I have never witnessed a programme which is better and more organised than this one. People from all countries, from all cultural backgrounds attended this programme in great numbers and everyone was showing the best Islamic model. There was an extraordinary demonstration of love and affection that was not only verbal, rather it could be seen and felt. Anything that was needed was provided at all times. I had the opportunity to listen to all the speeches. It felt as if these speeches were prepared based on the exact need of the time. The speeches delivered by the Khalifa of the Community were extraordinary. If we were to follow the guidance that was given to the hosts and the guests during the Friday Sermon, then all of our issues, which are in fact trivial matters, would be resolved through [expression of] love and affection. After these three days, I think that the Ahmadiyya Jamaat is an organised Community that follows the signal of their leader. This is the beautiful teaching of Islam and we can become one Jamaat by following this.” In the end, she said, “I request for prayers that Allah Almighty establishes peace in our country and also for true Islam to be established there.”
Manolo Jose Escoto from Honduras, who is a journalist for a television channel, states, “I became curious after receiving an invitation to attend a Muslim gathering because of the negative attitude that exists throughout the world towards Muslims. However, I would like to say whole-heartedly that the reason for this negative attitude is due to a lack of knowledge. Thousands of people like myself, who were not aware of the true Islamic teachings and the sentiments of Muslims, have now learnt a lot about Islam through the Ahmadiyya Community. Spending time among the atmosphere of the Jalsa I have learnt that rather than forming bias opinions about other people, one should establish a personal contact. The underlying message of the Jalsa is one of peace and should reach every single person. I had the opportunity to meet people who were compassionate and would treat me with respect and saw workers who opened their hearts to serve the people.”
A journalist from Guatemala named Galadys Ramirez says, “I was extremely happy to have participated in the Jalsa Salana UK. I had a chance to see the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat up close. Many of my misconceptions about Islam have been removed. I am now aware of the true teachings of Islam. I am ecstatic that all those attending the Jalsa have treated me with the utmost love and respect, and being a woman, I never felt that I was away from home and by myself. On the contrary, I felt completely safe here and honoured by those around me. I witnessed the practical example of mutual love and brotherhood. To meet individuals from different countries of the world made me feel as though everyone has love and compassion for one another. Even though we all spoke different languages the practical examples set made us forget about the difference in languages.” She says: “I was very impressed by this peaceful atmosphere and I believe that the members of the Ahmadiyya Community are a practical example of peace and harmony.”
A photographer for a television channel from Guatemala also attended and says, “It was an unforgettable experience. From the workers all the way to the organisers, all treated us very kindly and with love and affection. I was very amazed by the organisation of the Jalsa and the speeches. You have practically shown me what true Muslims are.” He says, “I came to know of the Community in 2015, but after coming here, I felt at home. As human beings we must all respect one another and help those in need. I have learnt from this Jalsa that if we all work together with love and brotherhood then we could work wonders.”
Elizabeth Parera Sahiba, a new convert from Mexico says, “I have only been an Ahmadi for a year and I am still learning about Islam. This is such a religion which is not looked upon in a good light in our country and the reason behind that is the media. However, I am aware that Islam is a religion of peace yet my family were not allowing me to come here and attend the Jalsa and were warning me about attending. Despite that, after arriving here, I found it to be the complete opposite.” She then says, “From being received at the airport until the three days of Jalsa, the passion of the volunteers I witnessed has really impressed me. Now there is no doubt in my mind about the brotherhood and family-like bond within the Community.” She further says, “I will use the memories which I am taking back with me to Mexico and will convey the message of the Ahmadiyya Community to the people there.”
Then another new convert from Mexico, Laura Brito Soberanis Sahiba says, “At times the volunteers would not understand what I was trying to say, but after coming here I have seen that a difference in languages does not affect the bond between the Ahmadis. The love of God Almighty has made us all one. I feel as if I am with my family members and after listening to the speeches of the Khalifa I analysed myself as to where my short-comings lie. I am now sure that I am at the right place and that God Almighty has guided me to this path. It is my heart’s desire that just as my faith has become firm, my family members too should come to know about Islam and have firm faith in it.”
Muhammad Mbohou Azize Sahib of Cameroon says, “I attended the Jalsa last year. Compared to last year there have been improvements in every department and the transport and accommodation was very well organised. I am very surprised with the food arrangements that such a large crowd can be provided food entirely within two hours. There was no kind of fighting or arguing and everyone arrived on time in the Jalsa Gah to listen to the proceedings and this is a special quality which you will not find in any worldly gathering. For so many youths to work with such fervour and love is something which is unparalleled.
“The community which has such devotion and dedication will always make strides forward in progress. As a journalist I was very pleased to meet the staff of MTA and everything we needed was there, which is not even provided in private and government organisations. I came to learn from the impressions of the non-Ahmadi guests as to how the message of the Community is being conveyed to the world and everyone praised the teachings of the Community of love and compassion.”
He then says, “The sermon of the Khalifa to the women is extremely important for the upbringing of the next generation – how to use social media etc. are very important today. If we fail to protect our children from this, then society will stray far away from humanity and Islam. We must therefore implement these teachings in our lives.” He then says, “The explanation of indecency which His Holiness gave in the final speech was very impressive and to hear the meanings of it made one feel as though we are all prey to these wrongdoings. Furthermore, there are many people professing to be righteous, yet their deeds are not pious. If we understand these explanations of the Khalifa and put it into practice then we can provide our future generations with a pure and righteous society. The explanation of the word ‘indecency’ has really shaken me to the core and it is such a beautiful point which I will make a part of my life.” He further says, “I also saw the various exhibitions and learnt about the history of the Community. Those nations who do not forget their history continue to progress. The Review of Religions, which was launched by the Community has been conveying the message for a century.” He says, “I myself read it regularly and its articles are of a very high standard. Similarly, the efforts of Humanity First are outstanding.”
A guest from the Iceland delegation, Emelita Ordonez Sahiba says, “I learnt a great deal having attended the Jalsa and understand the Ahmadiyya Community much better now. To meet people from all over the world and to speak to them was very interesting. I felt the peace, love and brotherhood everywhere. The speeches at the Jalsa were faith-inspiring and I really enjoyed the exhibitions on display. To see the pictures of the martyrs gave me a feeling of sadness as they were wronged purely on the grounds of religious differences. The Bai‘at ceremony on the last day deeply affected me and it is impossible to explain and give my impressions on many other things.”
A journalist from Macedonia, Mr Tony Ajtovski says, “The thing which impressed me the most about the Jalsa were the speeches of the Khalifa, especially the one about the upbringing of children and use of mobile phones and how they are adversely affecting the unity of families. This was a universal message because all the families of the world are affected by this. If a family is unable to remain a family unit and the relationship between the family members is non-existent, they will remain separate and this breaking up of families destroys the unity in society as a whole and there is no guarantee for a good future.”
Mr Jorge Carino of the Philippines also attended the Jalsa. He is the host of a very popular Morning Show for the ABSCBN TV channel. He says, “It is the first time in my life that I have seen so many people from different countries, of different ethnicities and backgrounds gathering in one place. No matter where they were from, whether they knew each other or not, everyone would smile at each other and convey greetings of peace to one another. But the most important thing was that the sole purpose for their gathering was to spread love and human values. As a journalist I have attended thousands of gatherings, but I have never witnessed the level of peace, tolerance and organisation as I did in the Jalsa Salana UK. The amount of love and respect shown to us by the volunteers and how they took care of all our needs was something which deeply impressed me.” He further says, “Whether we talk about the traffic control, or the drinks provided to help with the heat or the young children carrying out their tasks with great determination, I was really pleased to have attended the Jalsa as it has really opened up my mind much more than before and given me a new perspective. In this regard the Jalsa is a milestone in my life and due to it, I have been able to witness new cultures, civilisations and ways of life, which are very different to the Philippine culture.”
A Greek guest, Mrs Marcia says, “It is impossible to express my feelings and experience in words when being amongst 38,000 people who are praying for peace. During the Jalsa the love and affection received from all around was remarkable which have really raised my hopes as to how mankind can enter a new age of peace with open-mindedness and by accepting one another. Despite all of our differences, this is a huge step towards the progress of mankind.”
A delegation of the indigenous people of Canada – who are known as the First Nation – also attended the Jalsa. They were wearing the large head dresses which are traditionally worn in their tribes. Chiefs of three tribes and one of their youth leaders were in attendance. The youth leader, Max Fineday says, “We were extremely impressed by the voluntary work of the youth during the Jalsa. As soon as we return we will hold programs between the Ahmadi youths and the First Nation youths. I have never seen in any people such organisation and discipline as I saw in the Ahmadi youths and the skill with which they carry out their duties is peerless.” The Khuddam should keep in mind that this praise should encourage them to increase in their services. Then one of their chiefs, Roger Redman said, “I have a habit of smoking cigarettes, rather, in our tribe, cigarettes and the usage of tobacco is a religious custom of the people of First Nation. We believe that the usage of tobacco is a catalyst for the progression of spirituality.” He further says: “However, at the occasion of Jalsa Salana when the Khalifa instructed the members of the Jamaat to refrain from smoking, I also made a pledge to refrain from smoking in these days”,and he remained firm on his promise. In this there is a lesson for the Ahmadis as well. Someone said to me that in long ten to twelve-hour flights, there are no smoking areas and one cannot smoke during the flight. In this instance, they are patient, so they can be patient during Jalsa and they will also receive reward. Then he states, “After listening to the address of the Khalifa, I feel that if the teachings of Islam are of loving, spreading peace and to sympathise with humanity, as you have mentioned in your address, then I would like to be an Ahmadi Muslim.” Then the chief added that before any promises he would consult with his elders as these people hold dear their values and traditions.
Then one chief of the First Nation, Lee Crowchild states, “The love and respect that we received at this Jalsa is similar to our centuries old teachings of love and brotherhood. All of our needs were catered for.” He further states, “The Americans as well as Canadians have a certain perception of Muslims. However, it is extremely sad that some of our people do not have a positive perception of the Muslims. But now I believe that we are the enemies of our own selves.” He states, “I have seen amongst Jamaat-e-Ahmadiyya that the members do not quarrel with one another, nor do they argue and do not speak against one another.” These are the noble examples which leave a profound impact on others.
Emilo Lopez from the Spanish delegation states, “It is the first time that I have participated in the Jalsa Salana. I have a very strong relationship with the Ahmadiyya Community. The Jalsa was very interesting. There was a message of tolerance for others and peace. The message of honouring other religions and people is a unique message. The example of the Ahmadis must be kept alive. I wish that everyone adopts these sincere values.”
Then another person from the delegation of Spain who works in the newspaper of Cordoba states, “The moral conduct of those present at the Jalsa and mentioning your qualities is a key point for me.”
Then there is another person from Spain who states, “I have had the opportunity to deeply analyse your culture and religion. The hospitality was outstanding and the speeches were very interesting.”
Another person from Spain writes, “After attending the Jalsa Salana, I have firm faith that Islam has nothing to do with terrorism and is miles apart from any blood-shed.”
A non-Ahmadi lady from Jamaica named Ouida Nesbeth attended. She is an accountant and an educated woman, she says, “I have been in contact with the Jamaat since last year. During this time, my relation and understanding of the Jamaat grew. However, after attending the Jalsa, this has increased vastly. Whatever concerns and reservations I had regarding Islam were all removed. I was also pleased that men and women were segregated. On one hand, an allegation can be raised; however, the women are pleased and so the attention is not divided.” She has herself admitted that when we usually gather, men are usually unable to restrain their gaze. She says that the men and women were segregated therefore the attention was not divided and thus people are able to concentrate on Islam and worship. Therefore, those Ahmadi women who have any sort of complex should pay heed to this comment.
An Italian Professor, Rafael Lazzi who is the director of a Study Centre states, “The state of the Ahmadis during the Bai‘at ceremony was also felt by others. I have studied psychology and I am able to identify the sincerity of ones claim of being spiritual merely by looking at his body language and conduct. After seeing the Ahmadis, I firmly believe that the level of your spirituality is extremely high.” When he found out that during the past year, six hundred thousand people had taken the Bai‘at he said he is thankful that they have joined Ahmadiyyat.
A female journalist from Italy, who writes for the Vatican and is an orientalist, states, “After attending the Jalsa Salana, I have come to realise the scale of the activities of the Jamaat. We need to inform the world about such an organised and peaceful Community. Ahmadis are putting in great effort to have issues resolved amongst the Muslim community through dialogue. The world needs to be informed of your projects and services.”
The Deputy Director of the Belarusian University, Sergei Setrashki states, “As an expert of religion who has a very elementary understanding of Islam, to attend the Jalsa was very precious, memorable and beneficial for me.” Although he is an expert in religion, he had a very basic understanding of Islam. “As a result of attending the Jalsa I have learnt that Islam is a universal religion. This phrase is often heard by others, but not everyone believes in it. They either have little understanding of Islam, or they have some misunderstandings, or there are some distorted versions of Islam that do not allow people to believe that Islam is a universal religion. However, the atmosphere of the Jalsa Salana removes all the barriers of uncertainty. This convention is first of its kind that I have attended where I have been able to closely analyse the atmosphere of Muslims. In this Jalsa there were many interesting things. The delegates of different countries were there in their traditional clothing. The arrangements of Jalsa also leaves one in amazement. To arrange an event for two hundred people is difficult; however, the way they have made arrangements for 38,000 people truly leaves one astonished. I would like to thank all the volunteers for the great arrangements they made.” This was in relation to the volunteer workers.
I would also like to mention that once again, approximately 140 Khuddam came from Canada to help with the wind-up. They have fulfilled this task in an excellent manner. Aside from them, I would also like to thank all those from the UK who helped in the wind up. In addition to this, the UK Tabligh Department had the opportunity to hold seminars and question and answer sessions, as well as five exhibitions: the Al-Quran exhibition, in which the beautiful teachings of the Quran were highlighted by displaying different types of Qurans, there was a speech competition about the [life and character of the] Holy Prophet(sa). This was in response to the hate campaign initiated by the Dutch politician [Geert] Wilders. Many non-Ahmadi and non-Muslim Europeans took part in this contest. A Christian woman by the name Katherine Mary Rohan said, “Being a woman, I was interested to discover what Muhammad(sa) said in regard to women. He appeared at a time when Europe was engrossed in turmoil and during this time he stated that one should treat women with respect and compassion. Similarly, once Muhammad(sa) was asked who deserves the utmost respect, he replied, ‘Your mother.’ The questioner asked who is after her to which he replied, ‘Your mother’ and upon asking the third time he again said, ‘Your mother’”. The lady then says, “This incident had a profound impact on me.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari, Kitabul Adab, Hadith No. 5971)
Another guest from the Tabligh Department, Leanette O’Millan, says, “I had the opportunity to attend the Jalsa Salana for the first time. In my opinion, whosoever has little knowledge about God Almighty should attend the Jalsa and at the end, they will leave with an ocean of knowledge about the existence of God Almighty”.
The broadcast of Jalsa Salana through various means was as follows: Alislam website was visited 862,000 times and the total number of views on videos was 218,000. The number of online and print outlets that covered the Jalsa numbered 53, on radio the Jalsa was broadcast in 20 news reports and four news reports were covered on television. The total number of reports was 70, which reached more than 26 million people. Among the well-known television channels and media outlets which covered the Jalsa were the BBC, ITV, BBC Arabic service, The Economist, The Express newspaper, The Independent, the Huffington Post, LBC, Capital Radio, Alton Herald and London Live. Aside from these, 19 regional BBC radio stations gave airtime to our representatives, which provided coverage for a large area. Journalists were present from all over the world and following their return to their countries, they would also cover the Jalsa through print media and electronic media, as well as through documentaries.
A journalist from a Japanese news agency says, “I was greatly impressed with the peaceful atmosphere of the Jalsa Salana and happiness was visible on the faces of all those present. However, during the International Bai‘at [Initiation] ceremony, all the Ahmadis were crying profusely.” He was later informed that every Ahmadi was happy at the Jalsa, however at that moment [during the Bai‘at] everyone was crying to show gratitude to God Almighty and also praying for peace in the world.
Speaking about the Ladies Jalsa Gah [event hall], a female journalist said, “I had an opportunity to attend the Jalsa last year, however, I was unable to visit the ladies section, but this year I managed to see it. I must admit that your [Ahmadi] women are more educated and engaging than the men. They had complete freedom and seemed very sincere to their community. This experience has completely changed my perspective.”
The Jalsa was covered across the African continent and this year, 15 television channels broadcast the Jalsa including Ghana, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, The Gambia, Rwanda, Burkina Faso, Benin, Uganda, Mali, Congo-Brazzaville and for the first time, Burundi Television channel broadcast the Jalsa as well. Each journalist wrote stories for their respective channels. In total, across the African continent, the Jalsa coverage reached 50 million people. In this regard, hundreds of people have sent their comments which shows that they have watched the coverage.
Nonetheless, there are many other details in which people have sent in their comments as well as coverage of other press outlets. Other departments regarding which people sent their comments are Makhzan-e-Tasaweer, The Review of Religions as well as, Archives, Al Hakam exhibition, and through these, people were able to learn about the history of the Jamaat. At Jalsa, the administration as well as the exhibitions were all organised by volunteers. As is clear from the sentiments of the people attending Jalsa, all the volunteers were carrying out silent tabligh; children, women and men alike. This year, the participants of Jalsa Salana have expressed their sentiments by saying that the workers, both men and women, exhibited extraordinary etiquettes and served with great passion. Therefore, after expressing gratitude to God Almighty, all the participants of the Jalsa should be grateful to all the workers and should also pray for them. May Allah enable them to serve in the future as well.
(Translated by The Review of Religions)