Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

Address at the Inaugural Session of Jalsa Salana UK 2021: ‘Righteousness and Mutual Love – Fulfilling the True Purpose of Jalsa’ (Summary)

After reciting Tashahhud Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) stated that the purpose of the Jalsa Salana is to establish a special bond with Allah Almighty, and to listen to the teachings of the Holy Prophet (sa) in order to reform one’s self.

His Holiness (aba) said that in essence, we gather during these days to quench our spiritual thirst. Hence, we must always keep this purpose in mind. This year’s Jalsa is limited due to restrictions, and is being held after a gap of one year. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may this pandemic cease quickly, may Allah have mercy on everyone and may the world return to normal so that we may have the Jalsa in its full grandeur.

Achieving the True Purpose of Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) said that the true purpose of Jalsa is achieved when we strive to bring about a pure change within ourselves and tread upon the path of righteousness. Our spiritual thirst cannot simply be quenched at once. Rather, after these three days, we must take the water with us, in order to maintain the change that has been brought about.

His Holiness (aba) said that various Jama‘ats around the world are tuning into the Jalsa from wherever they are. This is also a new experience, that sitting in their own mosques and halls, people from around the world are joining in the Jalsa. This too is one of the great blessings of Allah, that despite the prevailing circumstances, Allah is opening new doors which are benefiting the Community. 

His Holiness (aba) said that there are also those who are tuning into the Jalsa from their homes. This Jalsa should have an impact on everyone who watches and listens and should facilitate a pure change. Only then can we say that we have benefited from the Jalsa. Only then can we say that we are fulfilling our pledge to the Promised Messiah (as), and partaking of the prayers which he made. Otherwise we will remain bereft of the blessings associated with Jalsa. 

His Holiness (aba) said that in these days, everyone should pay special attention to this, whether they are present at the Jalsa, sitting with their local communities or listening at home. 

Treading the Path of Righteousness & Shunning Worldliness

His Holiness (aba) said that if we were to encapsulate the purpose which the Promised Messiah (as) has outlined for the Jalsa into a single phrase, it would be to tread on the path of righteousness. In saying so, the Promised Messiah (as) has taught us such a great lesson, that if acted upon, we can bring about a great reformation. This does not mean that we should entirely forsake the world and completely cut all ties. Rather, whilst living in this world and carrying out our duties, we must continue to tread upon the path of righteousness, and no worldliness should deter us from that purpose.

His Holiness (aba) narrated an example quoted by the Promised Messiah (as) that there was a person who conducted a great deal of business and as such made large transactions. However, despite his great monetary gains, it never deterred him from God for even a second. It is regarding such people that Allah Almighty states:

“By men, whom neither merchandise nor traffic diverts from the remembrance of Allah” (24:38)

His Holiness (aba) said that the true meaning of piety is to carry on our duties in this world, to our families and to humanity, all while maintaining our devotion and connection with God. This can only be done when we adopt righteousness, the fear of God, and His love.

His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that the true purpose of Jalsa Salana can only be achieved when one adopts the fear of God within oneself. There are people in the world who, without realising, fall into the traps of Satan. But, if a person is aware that God is watching their every move and listening to everything they say, and that He takes to account a person’s evil deeds, then true fear of God will be established. This will then prevent one from usurping the rights of others. The Promised Messiah (as) said that we must adopt the highest levels of fearing God, and become an example.

His Holiness (aba) said that Ahmadis should become exemplary in restraint, both from minor sins and major sins. This is a salient feature of one who truly treads upon the path of righteousness. Such people truly fulfill the oath which they have made. One should evaluate themselves to see whether they are striving to rid themselves of any evil within, and whether they are trying to improve on any missing virtuous qualities. When one constantly evaluates themselves in this regard, then they can fulfil the purpose of attending Jalsa. 

Attaining Righteousness & the Nearness of God

His Holiness (aba) said that another way of attaining righteousness and the nearness of God is kindheartedness. This entails forgiving even those who may have wronged you. Regarding this, Allah Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an:

“And those who suppress anger and pardon men; and Allah loves those who do good;” (3:135)

His Holiness (aba) said that this can only be achieved when a person is kindhearted, fears God and treads the path of righteousness. We must all strive to achieve these standards. We should not quarrel or seek retribution on small and petty matters. Instead, the quality of a righteous person is to extinguish their anger and be forgiving, while treating even the transgressor with kindness. God Almighty does not say to merely suppress our anger, but to go a step further and eliminate all malice from our hearts. This is true kindheartedness. If we do this, then we will be able to fulfil the true purpose of Jalsa.

Suppressing Anger 

His Holiness (aba) said that once, the Holy Prophet (sa) said that the reward for suppressing anger for the sake of attaining the pleasure of God is unparalleled.

His Holiness (aba) quoted the Promised Messiah (as) who said that one who succumbs to anger is not able to speak righteously or say things of wisdom and insight. Anger and wisdom cannot go hand in hand. The consequences of anger are not temporary, rather it impacts a person’s ability to be virtuous and wise. If that is the case, then how can one attain righteousness. And if they cannot attain righteousness, then how can they benefit from the Jalsa. Therefore, everyone must use these days to ponder over these things and evaluate themselves. 

Developing Brotherhood 

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) enjoined us to become exemplary in mutual brotherhood and kinship, one of the greatest examples of which is the brotherhood which was established between the Muhajireen (migrants from Makkah to Madinah) and the Ansar (natives of Madinah). It is stated regarding them in the Holy Qur’an:

“And for those who had established their home in this city and had accepted the faith before them, they love those who come to them for refuge, and find not in their breasts any desire for that which is given them (Refugees), but prefer the Refugees alone themselves, even though poverty be their own lot. And whoso is rid of the covetousness of his own soul—it is these who will be successful.” (59:10)

These are the examples which the Holy Prophet (sa) has instructed to follow. Their brotherhood was such that they would take hardships upon themselves, so that they may be able to help their brothers. This is how mutual love, compassion and brotherhood can truly be established. 

His Holiness (aba) said that these were the noble purposes for which the Promised Messiah (as) initiated the Jalsa Salana. All of these things must be done for the sake of Allah Almighty, for it is then that one can attain true righteousness. It is such people who please God in this world, and attain His pleasure in the Hereafter as well. Thus, we must establish these examples. 

His Holiness (aba) said that establishing mutual brotherhood is an extremely noble cause. Such that once, the Holy Prophet (sa) said that on the Day of Judgement, God will ask about those people who established brotherhood and mutual compassion solely for His sake, so that He may bring them under His shade when there will be no shade other than His.

Adopting Humility

His Holiness (aba) said that another purpose for which the Promised Messiah (as) established the Jalsa Salana was so that attendees may adopt humility. God Almighty states in the Holy Qur’an: 

“And turn not thy cheek away from men in pride, nor walk in the earth haughtily; surely, Allah loves not any arrogant boaster.” (31:19)

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) was informed by God Almighty regarding the acceptance of his humility, and the fact that he was able to please God. The Promised Messiah (as) stated that one should not think of themselves to be superior to anyone else. Remaining humble opens the doors for one to build a connection with God. There are various forms of arrogance, and each hinders one from attaining righteousness, and an arrogant person can be of no benefit to others. One must strive to abstain from all forms of arrogance. 

Establishing Truthfulness 

His Holiness (aba) said that another purpose for which the Promised Messiah (as) initiated the Jalsa Salana was to establish truthfulness. Truthfulness leads to purity, and purity leads to God. Falsehood leads to evil, and evil leads to the Fire. The Holy Qur’an has likened falsehood to idolatry, as it is stated:

“Shun, therefore, the abomination of idols, and shun all words of untruth,” (22:31)

His Holiness (aba) said that if we can establish truthfulness, then many domestic issues, familial issues and societal issues can be resolved. Hence we must pay special attention to this. If we strive to fulfil the vision of the Promised Messiah (as) and adopt these qualities, then we can bring about a peaceful society. 

His Holiness (aba) reiterated that the purpose comes down to righteousness, regarding which the Promised Messiah (as) has given constant reminders.   

His Holiness (aba) prayed that may we be able to tread upon the path of righteousness and bring about a pure change within ourselves, and fulfil the purposes of this convention. May all those attending, and those watching around the world benefit from the Jalsa and bring about a great reformation within themselves. Only then can we truly convey the message of the Promised Messiah (as) to the world.

His Holiness (aba) said that in the silent prayer, everyone should pray for the prevailing circumstances in the world today, and that everything may return to normal, and may the Jalsa return to its full grandeur. May Allah relieve the Ahmadis in Pakistan and anyone else around the world facing hardships and straitened circumstances. His Holiness (aba) said that everyone around the world should focus on prayers. Also pray for all those imprisoned solely on the basis of their beliefs.

At the end, His Holiness (aba) led everyone in silent prayer.

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions.