Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

A Gathering of Peace

Why Were Over 30,000 Muslims Gathered in Karlsruhe in Germany this June?

 

“I am content and delighted to the depths of my soul. In particular, I would like to say regarding the address of the Khalifah that he has invited us and called us towards peace, tolerance, and love. We are all aware that we are passing through a time when the levels of tolerance are nil. This is a time when wars and killing are prevalent,” said Mr. Marincho, a guest form Macedonia Mr. Marincho while commenting on the address delivered by the Worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba on the second day of the 39th Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Germany. Nearly one thousand non-Ahmadi guests attended this special session and heard His Holiness’s address with upmost respect and attention. His Holiness’s address was replete with faith and wisdom. Thousands of members of the Community also eagerly listened to their beloved Khalifah. Many had gathered in the main hall to listen to faith inspiring speeches and later enjoyed a stroll in the area to meet old acquaintances and to make new friends, appreciating the various types of foods being cooked, book stalls and exhibitions set up for their benefit.

While informing the guests about the purpose of Khilafat (spiritual successorship) His Holiness said:

“Let me make it clear that the institution of Khilafat leading the Ahmadiyya Community has no interest in power or government. Rest assured that true Khilafat has no worldly or political objectives. The sole concern of the Ahmadiyya Khilafat is that the people of the world come to recognise their Creator and bow down before the One God.”[1]

To a person who is oblivious with this Community’s mission statement, the thought of 33 thousand Muslims getting together for three days might sound very dangerous, suspicious and threatening. But a visit to any event hosted by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community can suddenly change that notion. It is Khilafat that makes the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community most unique when compared to any other Muslim Community around the globe. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is guided by a central spiritual leader or Khalifah Worldwide. His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmadaba, is the only Khalifah of the Muslim World and the Community believes that only Khilafat can uphold the true values of Islam and unite humanity. The Community is at the forefront of spreading the true and peacefull message of Islam and holding annual conventions aids this cause. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is the leading Islamic organisation to categorically reject terrorism in any form.[2]

In his passed speeches, His Holiness has laid great emphasis on the importance of serving the rights of God and His creation. This, is the true Islamic teaching through which peace and love can be attained on a global level. Reiterating on this subject His Holiness stated:

“The Khilafat of the Ahmadiyya Community can never depart from Islam’s core teachings of fulfilling the rights owed to God and to mankind. Today, the institution of Khilafat is striving for peace in every possible way and to spread love and affection throughout the world.”[3]

Many of the guests were touched by His Holiness’s words. His presence left a wonderful impression on both the members of the Community and the guests who attended the Jalsa. After listening to His Holiness’s address, Karl Heinz said:

“Those things were said that the Pope would not have been able to say. Muslims are presented in the media as if they are all extremists and people are incited against them. And Christians are conversely presented as peaceful. Today I have come to learn the true teaching of Islam. It is a peaceful atmosphere here and it is quite amazing that how so many people are mingling together in such a peaceful and dignified manner.”

Mr Nikolcho Goshevski, who works at a government office, remarked:
“My visit was greatly beneficial to learn more about religion and to study and reflect upon it deeply. The speeches of the Jalsa left a deep impression upon me. His Holiness’s speeches transformed my views on Islam altogether. Perviously, I precieved Islam as a radical and extremist religion but now I have removed my previously considerations because Islam is a religion of peace.”

Mr Mehmet Turan, a German party member, commented:

“All politicians were greatly impressed by your address and this was something visible from their faces. This statement of the Khalifatul Masih was greatly impressive and wise that he said to all the members of the Jamaat to play a part in the progress of the German nation.”

Mr Claud Tatah from Cameroon said:

“The Khalifah’s speech was very elaborate and permeated with knowledge. Inter-religous dialogue was fabulous. I gained a lot of knowledge regarding Islam, things I didn’t know before. The true meaning of Jihad is to fight for the etablishment of love without any weapons. Now I have understood the true definition of Jihad, and that of religious tolerance and cooperation. This is the actual meaning of Jihad.”

There were two meetings organised during the Jalsa for the guests to ask questions, whereas individual discussions and interfaith dialogue continued all three days from morning till late night. One meeting was with the Arab guests in which more then 220 guests were present. The second meeting was with the Russian speaking people from Germany and more than 30 guests from various countries were also in attendance. His Holiness honoured many of the guests by meeting with them. After which, some couldn’t help but express their fascination and joy.

Dusko Vuksanov, a guest at the Jalsa, was very happy and satisfied with his Jalsa experience. He said:

“The meeting and collective prayer attract me to learn more about Islamic gatherings and traditions and to learn more about the religion. The speech of the Imam of the (Ahmadiyya) Community had the greatest impact upon me. I wish to attend the Jalsa next year also.”

Referring to his meeting with His Holiness, Mr Vuksanov said:

“He answered all our questions and explained all matters that we asked about. Our thoughts about Islam were transformed all together. The answers were greatly detailed, based on truth and we came to learn how good are the teachings of Islam. Islam teaches to show love and compassion to everyone.”

While commenting on his Jalsa experience, Mr Bogon Gabriel from Romania said:

“It was impressive to see various religions represented at the Jalsa. We learned many new things about Islam. I am very happy that Ahmadiyyat grants various religions an opportunity to share their views.”

His Holiness delivered four addresses across three days during this grand Jalsa. The Jasla commenced on Friday 13 June, 2014, with flag hoisting ceremony followed by Friday Sermon delivered by His Holiness. Alongside the flag of the Community, the German flag was also raised to show solidarity and loyalty to one’s nation, which according to the teachings of Prophet Muhammadsa, the Founder of Islam, is an integral part of faith. On Saturday 14 June, 2014, His Holiness delivered two addresses: one at the Ladies marquee and the other was delivered the same day for the guests. Then on Sunday 14 June, 2014, His Holiness concluded this grand event by delivering a spiritually charged address about the importance of building a pesonal bond and connection with God Almighty.[4] More than 33 thousand members of the Community attended this three-day convention in Karlsruhe, Germany. Amongst the 33 thousand in attendance, there were numerous delegates who were representing France, Belgium, Estonia, Croatia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Romania, Hungry, Montenegro, Bosnia, Kosovo, Albania, Bulgaria and Macedonia.

These addresses not only helped the Ahmadis in attendance, who were spiritually inspired and raised mighty slogans to express their love and passion for their revered Khalifah, but also impacted the hearts of many non-Ahmadi guests. Michael ch. P. Whittman, a guest in attnedance remarked, ‘The Jalsa atmosphere was full of joy and amusement. Speeches of the Khalifah of the time were directed towards everyone. Hence, all in attnedance were affected and benefited immensely from this spiritual experience.’

Other than the addresses delivered by His Holiness, the Jalsa programme was loaded with speeches that enhanced the spiritual and moral standards of the listeners along with increasing their knowledge of history of Islam and Ahmadiyyat. Some of the speeches delivered at this Jalsa were on the following topics: ‘The importance of attributes of God in our lives,’ ‘Disadvantages of social ills: resentment, hatred, suspicion, etc’, ‘The life of Hadhrat Alira’, ‘The Holy Qur’an and evolution’, ‘The importance of Belief in life after death’, ‘Harmonious married life is important for good training of children’, ‘Good treatment of non-Muslims by the Holy Prophet Muhammadsa’.

The guests of this Jalsa were indeed very appreciative of His Holiness. His Holiness also acknowledged the importance of his guests and their role in making such events successfull. Appreciating the guests of Jalsa Salana, in his Friday Sermon delivered on the first day of the Jalsa, His Holiness said:

“The Jalsa’s atmosphere is created by members of the (Ahmadiyya) Community attending it. Ahmadi men, women and children attend the Jalsa with great passion and zeal or they make an effort to do so. But now part of the ambience, flavour and atmosphere of the Jalsa is also made up by our non-Ahmadi friends who come to listen and see the Jalsa…”[5]

Many guests and members of the community enjoyed the atmosphere of the Jalsa. This atmosphere was impossible to create without the tireless work of hundreds of volunteers of this impressive event. All the volunteers at the Jalsa were members of the Community who devoted their time for this noble event. The Jalsa lasted three days, but the preparation and wrap up took much longer than that.

The purpose of these annual conventions, that are being held in every continent, by the Ahamdiyya Muslim Community, which is estabished in more than 200 countries worldwide, is to foster love and brotherhood amongst its members and help them evolve spiritually by giving them a chance of collective reformation and an opportunity to attain spiritual nourishment as well as an oppotunity to perform their obligations and responsibilities. On a broader and more external level, these conventions aid the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community to fulfill its true task as initiated by its Founder, the Promised Messiah, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas. The great task of defending Islam and presenting its true and beautiful teachings to the world. The success of these blessed Conventions is mind boggling. Clearly, the outcome of Jalsa Salana Germany was no different. The Promised Messiahas emphasised the importance of attending Jalsa Salana and very eloquently described its essence. He said:

“The primary purpose of this Convention is to enable every sincere individual to personally experience religious benefits; They may enhance their knowledge and due to their being blessed and enabled by Allah, The Exalted – their perception [of Allah] may progress. Among its secondary benefits is that this congregational meeting together will promote mutual introduction among all brothers, and it will strengthen the fraternal ties within this Community.”

“It is essential for all those who can afford to undertake the journey, that they must come to attend this Convention which embodies many blessed objectives. They should disregard minor inconveniences in the cause of Allah and His prophet (peace be upon him). Allah yields reward to the sincere persons at every step of their way, and no labour and hardship, undertaken in His way, ever goes to waste. I re-emphasise that you must not rank this convention in the same league as other, ordinary, human assemblies. This is a phenomenon that is based purely on the Divine Help, for propagation of Islam.”[6]

In October 2010, Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, said that immigrants should integrate and adopt Germany’s culture and values. ‘We feel tied to Christian values. Those who don’t accept them don’t have a place here,’ she said.[7] If one was to look back at the history of the German nation, it is evident that this nation has come a long way in promoting pluralism and multiculturalism. The same Ahmadiyya Community which is a victim of severe state-sanctioned persecution in Pakistan, thrives in Germany and continues to progress in leaps and bounds. This is a vivid sign of this nation’s tolerance and acceptance. Mr. Konkoly Gyorgy, a native Hungarian guest at Jalsa Salana Germany, would probably agree. ‘It is nice to see how tolerant and open is Germany, Hungary unfortunately not so much, for the foreigners and different religions’, said Mr. Konkoly.

Mr Joachim Arnold, a guest at the Jalsa commented on the work of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Germany and the positive impact it has in society:

“I have witnessed for 25 years that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat always adopts tolerance and plays its’ role in society. Your mosque is a symbol of religous tolerance and the fact that we can live with each other with mutual cooperation,” he said.

Zawadi Melimeli from Tanzania who is doing Masters in Theology summed up his feelings for the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community very eloquently. He said:

“Their good actions are a challenge for others. Their message of love is a good model for others in order to establish peace worldwide. They treat their guests with great hospitality. God appears from within this Community in a unique manner which the world needs to understand. However, while trying to understand that concept, you need to understand how God can appear from other human beings. For example, Ahmadis believe that man can enter heaven by doing good deeds. Now the questions arises that as human beings, we have the ability to please God the Almighty with our actions, or we can, we will enter heaven due to his Love and Mercy? The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community will prosper and continues to prosper to sway the world.”

This article is based on the reports provided by The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Deutschland.

 

Endnotes

1.  Ahmadiyya Muslim Community International Press and Media Office, “True Khilafat is Spiritual Leadership and Has No Interest in Power or Government”, Al Islam, last modified June, 15, 2014, http://www.alislam.org/egazette/press-release/head-of-ahmadiyya-muslim-community-true-khilafat-is-spiritual-leadership-and-has-no-interest-in-power-or-government/.

2.   “New Introduction to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community”, YouTube video, 9:35, January 27, 2013, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVGAPLwUBrE.

3.  Ahmadiyya Muslim Community International Press and Media Office, “True Khilafat is Spiritual Leadership and Has No Interest in Power or Government”, Al Islam, last modified June, 15, 2014, http://www.alislam.org/egazette/press-release/head-of-ahmadiyya-muslim-community-true-khilafat-is-spiritual-leadership-and-has-no-interest-in-power-or-government/.

4.  Ahmadiyya Muslim Community International Press and Media Office, “Jalsa Salana Germany 2014 Concludes”, Al Islam, last modified June 16, 2014, http://www.alislam.org/egazette/press-release/jalsa-salana-germany-2014-concludes.

5.  Hazrat Khalifatul Masih Vaba, “English Translation: Friday Sermon 20th June 2014 – Islam Ahmadiyya”, YouTube video, 1:09:46, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tfMrBqIb0i4&index=3&list=PL745A4D1C28F137BB.

6.  The Promised Messiahas, “Ishtihar 7 Dec. 1892”, in Majmoo`ah Ishtiharat Vol. I, 340-341.

7.  Audrey Kauffmann, “Merkel says German multi-cultural society has failed”, Internet Archive: WayBack Machine, last modified October 17, 2010, http://web.archive.org/web/20101024003727/http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101017/wl_afp/germanymuslimreligionimmigration.