Assalamo Alaikum and welcome to the 56th Jalsa Salana U.K. 2022.
Alhamdolillah! Praise be to Allah the Almighty who has allowed us to once again experience the abundant fruits of this spiritual city. All around me, the hustle and bustle of ladies with their children (who we missed last year) are being ushered inside the historical Hadeeqatul Mahdi gates…But first, covid tests!
After parking and entering the Jalsa site, we were asked to go into a testing marquee. Individual Covid tests were collected and completed and results checked by marshals guiding attendees towards the security marquee. A golden sticker was placed on our ID cards to indicate that the Covid test has been done.
We just entered the ladies main marquee. In preparation for the Friday sermon, final touches are being made to the stage, perfecting an already adorned-by-flowers blue setting. There is obviously a very high emphasis on cleanliness, as duty workers vacuum away. Though cleaning will continue to take place throughout the day.
Ladies are beginning to take their seats in eager anticipation of the sermon.
The marquees have been fitted with air conditioning systems providing a much needing breeze on this hot British summer, Jalsa day.
After the Friday Sermon and prayers, it was time to commence the Jalsa diet. 3 days of daal (lentils) and aloo gosht (meat and potato curry) with rice or fresh roti (pita bread) from the roti plant onsite.
Several entrances and marquees are in place to ensure attendees are fed in a timely manner. There are spaces set up for disabled and elderly, mothers and children, special dietary needs and workers.
We were served with a hearty bowl of daal, with pickles, and roti. It’s truly astonishing that every year the taste is the same. As is the hospitality shown by the workers.
We spoke to one such worker, who had been volunteering in Ziafat (hospitality) for over 17 years. She told us that it took several hours to set up the marquee before lunch time. And straight after lunch, they would start preparing the marquee for dinner.
When asked what was the most rewarding thing about her duty, she answered ‘feeding the guests of the Promised Messiah (as)’
After a satisfying lunch, ladies make their way back to the main Jalsa Gah in anticipation of the Flag Hoisting Ceremony.
The first day of Jalsa is drawing to an end. The day has gone by so fast! Our eyes and hearts are refreshed at seeing and hearing our beloved Caliph, and we are spiritually charged to return tomorrow for more.
Ladies are spread across the food marquees, mini bazaar stalls, which have replaced the usual large scale bazaar, and are happily meeting their family and friends.
From us here at the Jalsa site, we pray for everyone’s safe travels home.