Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

Friday Sermon Summary (Jalsa Salana UK) 6th August 2021: Responsibilities of Workers and Attendees During the Annual Convention

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that today, God-willing, the Jalsa Salana [annual gathering] UK is commencing.

His Holiness (aba) said that in these days, everyone should pray that the Jalsa is held successfully, and everyone is able to increase in virtue and righteousness. Due to the pandemic, the physical attendance may be limited, but there are many others who are participating from their homes and mosques. All those participating elsewhere should take part in spirit as though they are physically at the Jalsa. 

His Holiness (aba) said that this year, the Jalsa is a new experience for the organisers along with the attendees. Certain things could not be tended to by the organisers due to the various restrictions, and so the guests should also remain patient. His Holiness (aba) said that we should pray for the Jalsa to return to its original grandeur.

His Holiness (aba) said that there are some who may not be satisfied with the selection process undertaken to decide who would attend. His Holiness (aba) said that those who feel this way should forgive the organisers, whether there were shortcomings or not, as this was the first such experience under the circumstances. 

Instructions to Duty Holders During the Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) said that he would highlight some of the important points which should be kept in mind by the duty-holders as well as those attending the Jalsa.

His Holiness (aba) said that no matter if the Jalsa is being held at a smaller scale, there should be no reduction in the level of hospitality shown to the guests of the Promised Messiah (as). 

His Holiness (aba) said that volunteers should not become relaxed, and should be hospitable with great care. Among the volunteers during the Jalsa UK, there are some who become experts in their duties and possess great capabilities. Hence, the duty-holders have the potential to do excellent work. At the same time, the Qur’an commands us to constantly remind one another of good things. And so, no matter the smaller numbers, the volunteers should not slacken and should carry out their duties in the best possible manner. 

Adopt the Virtue of Hospitality

His Holiness (aba) said that hospitality is one of the great attributes of prophets. As such, we must all adopt this quality. During the time of the Holy Prophet (sa), when guests began arriving in large numbers, the Holy Prophet (sa) would divide the responsibility of hosting them among the companions. He would regularly inquire from the guests as to whether they were satisfied with everything. The guests would reply that they had never experienced such great hospitality. This was a result of the teachings and example set forth by the Holy Prophet (sa).

His Holiness (aba) said that once, the Promised Messiah (as) said that if a guest were to arrive and their demeanour was negative, even still, the host must treat them with great care, and should not respond to harshness with harshness. 

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) established great examples of hospitality for us. And this was to be so, as the Promised Messiah (as) was meant to exhibit high moral standards, in order to portray the beautiful teachings of Islam. 

His Holiness (aba) said that Hazrat Mufti Muhamad Sadiq (ra) was a guest, and upon arrival, the Promised Messiah (as) told him that he would arrange for food to be brought to him. He thought the Promised Messiah (as) would send someone to bring him food. However, the Promised Messiah (as) came back carrying a tray of food himself. Then he told Mufti Sahib (ra) to begin eating, upon which Mufti Sahib (ra) could not hold back his tears, seeing this hospitality shown by the Promised Messiah (as). In fact, there were times when there would not be enough beds for the guests, and so the Promised Messiah (as) would offer his own bed to be given to them. These are some examples of the great level of hospitality shown by the Promised Messiah (as).  

His Holiness (aba) said that all guests must be treated equally. No matter if one is an office-bearer, high-ranking official or an acquaintance; all guests must be treated with the same respect and good treatment. This is the true essence of hospitality. His Holiness (aba) said that most adhere to the high standards of hospitality that is expected of them. Those who fall short should analyse themselves and see how they can improve.

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Always Maintain a High Standard of Moral Conduct 

His Holiness (aba) said that he is aware of the fact that there are some guests who may act in a harsh or unbecoming manner. However, the volunteers and duty-holders must maintain their high standard of morals and act with great patience. His Holiness (aba) said that there are certain things that volunteers will be reminding guests about, such as wearing a mask, social distancing etc. There are some who may dislike hearing these things, but no matter what, the volunteers must maintain their patience and high morals. One of the signs of a believer is that they honour their guests. This quality should be found within everyone. 

His Holiness (aba) said that due to the inclimate weather and muddy conditions at Hadeeqatul Mahdi, parking arrangements have also been made off-site, from where busses will shuttle the guests to the Jalsa site. There may be some who bring their cars straight to the Jalsa site, and insist to be let in, but the duty-holders should lovingly and patiently direct them and explain the arrangements to them. 

Responsibilities of Guests Attending Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) said that Islam teaches the guests to also be mindful of their hosts. They should not enter one’s home without first informing them. Though this may not apply to the Jalsa guests in general, this year, due to the conditions, an age-limit has also been set for the attendees of Jalsa, along with other conditions. In this regard, certain individuals who meet these conditions have been selected to attend the Jalsa. There are also newcomers to the country who insist upon being allowed to enter the Jalsa. His Holiness (aba) said that by going against the guidelines, they raise the potential risk of discord. But as Islam has said, a guest should not enter without prior permission. And if they are turned away, then they should happily oblige without any complaints. 

His Holiness (aba) said that one of the great purposes of attending Jalsa is reformation of the self. By following the guidelines which may restrict one from entering the Jalsa, one increases in their own piety by showing obedience. Those who have not been able to attend should pray with great fervour, so that those who have been unable to attend this year, may freely attend the Jalsa in the future. 

His Holiness (aba) said that the Companions (ra) would always try to fulfil the commandments of the Holy Qur’an in their own way. Once, a companion said that he would go to people’s homes at odd hours, so that upon being turned away, he could fulfil the commandment of the Holy Qur’an of returning home happily when not granted entry by the host. However, he would never be turned away from anyone’s door.

Overcoming Difficulties Faced During the Convention

His Holiness (aba) said that under normal circumstances, the organisers do not reject the requests of guests. However, this Jalsa is being held under unique circumstances. Hence, those who are not able to attend should not hold any malice in their heart. Similarly, those who have been given invitations should do their utmost to attend, barring any extenuating circumstances. There are some who make the excuse of not attending due to the rain. His Holiness (aba) reminded that in Qadian and Rabwah, the Jalsa would be held out in open fields during the winter months, yet people happily attended. Even the earlier UK Jalsas, held in Islamabad would at times be held during heavy rain. 

His Holiness (aba) recalled one such Jalsa which he attended, where the rain had come into the marquee, to the extent that whilst praying, the worshippers’ knees and faces would become wet. In fact, His Holiness (aba) said that this happened with him as well. Hence, the weather should not be made an excuse for not attending the Jalsa. 

His Holiness (aba) said that there are also those who make excuses and seek out mistakes to highlight. His Holiness (aba) said people should also remain mindful of this. 

His Holiness (aba) said that in the dining marquee, guests should adhere to the social distancing measures put in place and anything they are reminded about by the volunteers. There are some who do not pay attention to this and are not mindful of the distance that must be kept. Hence, all guests should be extremely careful in this regard. Of course, masks must be taken off to eat, however whilst in line to get food, masks should always be worn. Volunteers and duty-holders should make it compulsory for themselves to always be wearing their masks, no matter where their duty may be. Even whilst raising or responding to slogans during the Jalsa, everyone should ensure that they continue wearing their masks. In order to keep everyone safe, everyone should keep their mouths and noses covered. 

Diligence in Security Measures

His Holiness (aba) said that in order to ensure safety and security, there will be various checks. The guests should fully comply and not become annoyed by the various checks. Similarly, there should be no slackness in security, and everyone must remain vigilant. 

His Holiness (aba) said that everyone should listen attentively to the Jalsa proceedings, rather than meeting in small groups and talking to one another. There will be many who are seeing each other after quite some time, but this should not be an excuse or deterrent from listening to the proceedings of Jalsa. These meetings should also not take one’s attention away from prayers. In these days, one should focus on the remembrance of Allah. Wherever people may be watching and listening to the Jalsa, everyone should focus on the remembrance of Allah. 

His Holiness (aba) presented a quote of the Promised Messiah (as) in which he said that merely the oratory skills of speakers should not be lauded, rather whatever is done should be done for the sake of Allah. People do not leave such gatherings having been reformed. His Holiness (aba) said that this points to the fact that we must not merely pay attention to how a speech sounds, rather we must pay close attention to the content and what is being said. 

His Holiness (aba) prayed that may everyone attending or listening to the Jalsa bring about a true change within themselves. May the weather not present any hindrance, rather may Allah turn it in our favour.

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.