Farhad Rana, USA
A year and a half ago the world underwent unprecedented changes that we couldn’t have imagined would reshape it in ways we’d never seen. The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything around us. In parts of the world, the lockdown and precautionary mandates have kept people in some countries home longer than others. Along with businesses, entertainment facilities and religious communities all having to make adjustments to their normal activities and events, many of the events that we anticipate and activities that we partake in were put on hold. Along with regular Mosque visits, Jama’at/ Auxiliary meetings, Ramadan and Eid, Jalsa Salana for the majority of the countries of the world was not held throughout the year. The premiere Jalsa of the year: the International Jalsa Salana UK being one of the most anticipated events worldwide also was not held.
As a Jamia Student (student of languages and theology) I was given the blessed opportunity to frequently visit the UK, and serve in the Private Secretary’s office as per His Holiness’s (aba) instructions and kindness and thus was able to attend the Jalsa in the last 3-4 years. Alhamdulillah (all praise belongs to Allah), after completing my studies in Jamia Ahmadiyya (Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology), I came to the UK. I was fortunate enough to remain in the UK for 5 months, and spending three and a half months of that time in Islamabad, Tilford. As the summer came closer there was a sense of sadness and disappointment as there would be no Jalsa Salana UK that year due to the pandemic. But as we reached closer to the original dates of when Jalsa would have been held, it was announced that His Holiness (aba) would address the Jama’at (Community) in a fashion similar to the Jalsa Address. Along with the Friday Sermon in which His Holiness (aba) narrated various incidents from around the world that exhibited the truth of Islam-Ahmadiyyat were made clear and apparent, we were blessed with the Faith inspiring address of our Beloved Hazoor (aba), both taking the place of the usual three-day hustle and bustle of the Jalsa proceedings.
Not only was this the first time we all would see His Holiness (aba) out in the public since the pandemic, but this was the first occasion since the pandemic began, that His Holiness (aba) addressed the Jama’at on a larger public scale, with the limited number who were attending in person following all the safety protocols instituted by the government. This was a blessed occasion for which we could not have been more grateful. Just when we thought we would be deprived of this blessed event of Jalsa and the presence of our beloved Imam, Allah Almighty blessed us with this divine occasion with all its splendour and spiritual upliftment in the blessed grounds of Islamabad.
Having to leave the UK due to the limit allotted to me as a foreigner and having been posted as a missionary in the United States, I have not been able to visit the UK since. For this year’s Jalsa Salana UK, due to the safety protocols issued by the government as well as keeping the safety of those attending in mind, those of us living outside of the UK are all compelled to remain home and will tune in to the Jalsa Salana proceedings by means of MTA.
It is sad to not be in the UK at this time of year when it had become the norm for those who were blessed with this opportunity to frequently meet our beloved Caliph, and attend the Jalsa Salana but we should remain thankful that Allah Almighty has allowed the UK Jama’at to hold the Jalsa and that He has blessed us with the 5 addresses of His Holiness (aba), which we can all take benefit of through MTA. One of the many and infinite blessings and signs of the greatness of the divine institution of Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya is that we are blessed with MTA by which we are able to tune in to spiritually uplifting programs and are granted access to our beloved Imam. Although we are not able to participate in person this year as we’ve done before, we still have the opportunity to tune in and reap the blessings of the international Jalsa Salana through MTA and benefit first-hand from the blessings of this grand occasion.
About the Author: Farhad Rana is a graduate of the Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology Canada. He currently serves as an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United States of America.