With Jalsa Salana UK 2021 right around the corner, The Review of Religions spoke to some Ahmadis from the UK about their sentiments and feelings regarding the Annual Convention.
‘I honestly had no idea that Jalsa was happening this year. But now that it is happening after all that has happened in the past year, I am overwhelmed with joy and excitement. I am especially looking forward to doing prayers behind beloved Huzoor-e-Anwar (aba).’
‘The pandemic has caused many of us, especially myself, to reflect on the numerous things in our lives for which we are fortunate to have. Whether it is the fortune of being in the presence of Khalifatul Masih [His Holiness] (aba) or enjoying gatherings such as Jalsa or Ijtemas, all of a sudden these things sadly became a long lost memory and those emotions of feeling spiritually high and enjoying the brotherhood amongst others all so quickly became feelings we could only look back on rather than experience them. With Allah’s grace, being able to once again enjoy these blessings is a testimony of how important it is to remember how any such blessing can so easily be taken away when we don’t recognise everything we should remain grateful for. For me, being able to once again enjoy offering prayers behind Khalifatul Masih (aba) will be a gift that I look forward to receiving so much. Spirituality is something that flows in waves and being able to hit those spiritual highs once again is something to remain eternally grateful for.’
‘Every Ahmadi anticipates the annual Jalsa Salana with immense excitement and enthusiasm. Yet my feelings this year have taken a very different turn. The prevailing pandemic has made Jalsa Salana this year even more special. Whilst I am unable to attend in person, I feel an even greater sense of gratitude for the many years that I was able to attend and God-willing will have the opportunity to attend in the not too distant future. Whilst a glimpse by comparison, witnessing these restrictions has brought home the realisation of the great sacrifice many Ahmadis around the globe make in not being able to host Jalsa Salana, due to the decades of state-sponsored persecution they face in countries such as Pakistan.
Simultaneously, one is filled with gratitude for MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya), which fills this great void for those unable to attend Jalsa. Alhumdulilah (all praise belongs to Allah), MTA provides us with a wonderful Jalsa experience and above all a direct connection to hear the words of our beloved Khalifa (aba).
-Dr Maleeha Mansur
‘I look forward to meeting others who I haven’t seen in a very long time. Of course, seeing Huzoor will be the highlight though.’
-Ataul Fattir Tahir
‘I am really looking forward to attending Jalsa after two years!
Jalsa duties for me usually begin about two weeks prior to Jalsa as I volunteer at Baitul Futuh (mosque in Morden, UK) where the guests of the Promised Messiah (as) from around the world come and stay. This atmosphere at the mosque is buzzing! This is then followed by duties on the 3 days of the actual Jalsa.
In that way, this year has been rather different but I feel privileged that I will still be able to volunteer my time for the convention this year too.
Our (Bookstall) team is smaller than usual this year, we will all be masked and following all the required precautions to keep everyone safe but we will be attending Jalsa! Alhumdulilah (all praise belongs to Allah)! And that’s all that matters!
‘Where do I start?
I have mixed feelings, considering the events of the past year with Covid-19 and no Jalsa last year, this year I wasn’t sure if Jalsa will be going ahead. When I heard it would be going ahead, it felt a bit surreal, then came the news attendance will be via invitation only. I wasn’t sure if I will be able to attend. I was invited but unfortunately can’t attend due to various other reasons.
I feel happy that Jalsa is happening Alhamdulillah (all praise belongs to Allah). Watching the preparations for Jalsa brings so much positivity and hope and some normality.
I was feeling down that I wouldn’t be able to attend but then had to think on the bright side – Alhamdulillah it’s happening as compared to last year when we couldn’t have Jalsa at all. Although I can’t attend, but it brings me joy, happiness and hope that things are getting better and progressing and Insha’Allah (God-willing) looking forward to listening to the speeches, although the atmosphere wouldn’t be the same, but very thankful for Jalsa going ahead.
-Fatihah Ghaffar Walker
I wasn’t too sure whether Jalsa would happen this year until the time came close and the decision was made. I was relieved and excited since we missed out on the Jalsa experience last year. Like every year I’ll be performing duty in MTA. I look forward to working with the team behind the scenes to provide broadcast coverage for those who aren’t able to attend.
‘Whilst the number of attendees are limited due to the Covid-19 pandemic, members across the world can experience the spirit of Jalsa Salana via MTA International. And, whilst I prepare for my arrival at Hadiqatul Mahdi (the home of Jalsa Salana UK), my heart swells with gratitude as I reflect on how blessed I am to be attending this convention and to be in the midst of a chosen man of God. It has been just over a year since I was in the presence of beloved Huzoor (aba) in his physical abode, Masjid Mubarak. My sentiments and emotions are such that I gravitate towards beloved Huzoor (aba) and await seeing him in person for the first time since the pandemic. It must be highlighted that this expression of love echoes the sentiments and emotions of millions of Ahmadi Muslims worldwide.’
After having attended every year (sometimes even twice by going to Germany) it came as a shock to not have anything last year. To be able to hold it again this year, and see Huzoor (aba) Insha’Allah (God-willing) face-to-face is the most exciting part. The whole atmosphere with the covid restrictions will be different and it’s another new experience I look forward to adding to my lifetime memories.’
‘I am looking forward to this year’s Jalsa Salana as this Jalsa will be a unique and remarkable experience! I am looking forward to seeing Huzoor Aqdas after such a long time!’
‘After a year sitting behind a camera for nearly every single Jama`at event, I would say that it is a breath of fresh air to attend the Jalsa Salana UK 2021 meeting my brothers in faith even if it may be in a staggered manner is still one step closer to the normal life that we were all once accustomed to. But leaving all that behind words cannot describe the emotions that I am experiencing in the build-up to this year’s Jalsa Salana. Getting a chance to meet my brothers, being able to take part in Waqar-e-Amal and eating food from the langar(kitchen) of the Promised Messiah (as) is something I have been patiently waiting for, for the past year. But most of all, being able to see our beloved Hazour-e-Aqdas (aba) in person is by far not only my wish but I am sure the wish of every single member of the Ahmadiyya Community around the world. This is what I am most excited for.’
As many know, this year due to Covid restrictions, the number of attendees is limited. Attendees have been randomly selected and invited. I find myself extremely fortunate to have been invited on Saturday, Day 2 of Jalsa, when Huzoor (aba) speaks directly to the Lajna members. Alhamdulilah! We all are desperate to see our beloved Imam’s glimpse and his live address to Lajna will be the highlight of the day after a long time.
As Jalsa is a very special occasion for everyone, my 2 sons aged 11 years and 8 years, are extremely excited. They have plans to celebrate three days of Jalsa with their cousins, having the same Jalsa menu to get the maximum flavour of Jalsa while staying at home as they are not allowed to visit Hadeeqatul Mahdi and local mosques. They will Insh’Allah (God-willing) seek Jalsa blessings via MTA.
‘It is said that you only appreciate the value of something when it is gone, and that seems to perfectly encapsulate the longing each and every Ahmadi had for Jalsa. By the grace of Allah this year, through all adversity, we have been blessed to have the opportunity to attend Jalsa. Since it was announced, I have been counting down the days and keenly watching the Jalsa Connect videos on Twitter and am eagerly waiting to attend. May Allah enable us both, watching from home and in person to take full benefit of these 3 blessed days. Ameen.
-Shiraz Ahmad Khan
The excitement and anticipation I have been feeling while watching Jalsa Salana 2021 preparation videos on The Review of Religions and MTA social media accounts is indescribable. I’m sure Ahmadis all around the world share in this feeling; my heart skips a beat and I can’t stop smiling as I hear the familiar nazms (poems) and see videos of the tracks being laid and marquees being put up on the Hadeeqatul Mahdi Jalsa site.
Seeing this makes me feel humbled at the power and grace of Allah the Almighty that once again we are able to hold Jalsa Salana and members of the Jama’at will once again be able to unite and pray behind their beloved Khalifa and we will again be given the opportunity to reap the blessings of Jalsa and hear the words and blessed guidance of our beloved Huzoor-e-Aqdas (aba).
For continued coverage of the Jalsa Salana, visit The Review of Religions Jalsa Page