Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

Friday Sermon Summary 5th August 2022: ‘Responsibilities of Volunteers & Attendees at Jalsa Salana’

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta‘awwuz and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that by the grace of Allah the Almighty, the Jalsa Salana UK is being held at its full scale for the first time since 2019. Although the Jalsa Salana was held last year, it was at a limited scale.

His Holiness (aba) said that although this year’s Jalsa is primarily for members of the UK Jama’at and international guests are limited, all members of the UK Jama’at can join in full attendance over the three days.

Importance of Following Protocols During Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) said that the Covid pandemic caused a break in the Jalsa being held. Even now, although it has lessened to some extent, the pandemic continues and rises in waves. Still, the government has allowed events to be held at full capacity, but this does not mean that all safety members should be abandoned. Therefore, all those attending the Jalsa must remain mindful of these precautionary measures, including wearing a mask. While listening to the proceedings, performing duties or walking outside, everyone should keep their mask on. 

His Holiness (aba) said that some homeopathy medicine is also being offered to those attending the Jalsa. His Holiness (aba) prayed that may Allah bestow his healing in this medicine, for it is He who truly heals and grants cure. 

Remembering the Purpose of Holding Jalsas

His Holiness (aba) said that he would speak about the responsibilities which must be fulfilled in serving the guests of the Promised Messiah (as), especially for the benefit of new volunteers and those who have come from Pakistan over the last three years. Similarly it will serve as a reminder for the experienced volunteers as well. If these things are kept in mind, then one can reap the true benefits of Jalsa.

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) explained that this is no ordinary, worldly convention, but is an opportunity to be reminded of God’s teachings and the example of the Holy Prophet (sa) so that we may mould our lives accordingly.

Readiness of Ahmadis to Sacrifice Their Time

His Holiness (aba) said that volunteers offer themselves to serve at the Jalsa, no matter their profession or status. Preparations for Jalsa begin much earlier than the three days of Jalsa themselves and require a lot of time, which volunteers sacrifice. In fact, history bears testament that so many people present themselves to offer duties that the organisers are left determining where all these people can be utilised. His Holiness (aba) said that just last week, many more volunteers showed up than were expected to help prepare the Jalsa site. In fact as such a large number was not expected, appropriate food arrangements had not been made beforehand either. The organisers should bear in mind that especially on weekends, they should be better prepared and generally prepare a large amount of food.

Admonitions for the Hospitality Department During Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) advised the hospitality department saying that with regards to preparing food for guests, they should not incline towards being conservative in the amounts of food they prepare. Similarly, His Holiness (aba) advised that since the weather is quite warm, any time food is being prepared and meat is being cut, it should be placed in chillers right away, rather than leaving it out all day.

His Holiness (aba) said that volunteers should serve with the spirit that they may not receive recognition from others, but are undertaking this service for the sake of God. Volunteers should serve with the same spirit as that Companion of the Holy Prophet (sa) and his wife, who remained hungry themselves in order to feed their guest. In fact, they did so in a manner that would not make it apparent to their guest that they themselves were not eating. This greatly pleased the Holy Prophet (sa), who said that God had also been pleased with what they had done. 

His Holiness (aba) said that volunteers will encounter many different types of people, including some who may even be short tempered. In any case, volunteers must ensure to treat everyone with respect and kindness. They should never be harsh in speaking to guests or even fellow volunteers but should maintain the highest degree of dignity. This should also be kept in mind by the officers in-charge with respect to their treatment of the volunteers working under their leadership. 

His Holiness (aba) said that once a guest came to the Holy Prophet (sa). He was offered food and given a bed to sleep on. Early the next morning, he soiled the bed and left. Instead of saying anything to reprimand the guest, the Holy Prophet (sa) asked for some water and began cleaning the bed. The Companions present asked the Holy Prophet (sa) to let them clean the bed, however he refused, saying that this was his guest. He said that anyone who believes in Allah and the Last Day, honours their guest. Thus, the volunteers of Jalsa should endeavour to serve with the spirit of sacrifice, and serve to the highest degree even in the face of difficulties. 

His Holiness (aba) said that the officers should bear in mind that it is due to the blessings of Allah the Almighty that they have been given the opportunity to serve. As such, they must exhibit the highest moral standards. If they do so, then those working under them will also exhibit the same high standard of morals.

His Holiness (aba) said that in light of precautions due to Covid, the organisers have tried to make arrangements so that people do not remain in the dining marquee for extended periods of time. As masks must obviously be removed while eating, everyone should cooperate with the organisers and limit their conversations and time spent in the dining marquee. 

Guidance for Guests Attending Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) said that guests also have certain responsibilities. They should not have unrealistic expectations from their hosts, so that both the guests and the hosts may be at ease and not be under any undue pressure. It could be that the food may not be to a guest’s liking, however, they should happily eat whatever they are presented with. The cooks should also continuously strive to cook the highest standard of food.

His Holiness (aba) said that good morals are not required to be shown only by volunteers, but must be shown by all attendees of the Jalsa. Hence, all those attending should bear in mind that they are attending the Jalsa in order to increase their connection with God and their spirituality. They are attending a Jalsa which is solely for the sake of God, hence small matters or grievances do not need to be expressed. Instead they should realise that volunteers are also human, and if they happen to make any mistake, it should be overlooked. We must always remember that the purpose for gathering at the Jalsa is a very lofty purpose, for which the least that can be done is to sacrifice one’s sentiments and instead focus on the remembrance of God and seeking forgiveness. 

His Holiness (aba) said that it must constantly be borne in mind that we have left our homes and travelled to the Jalsa for the sake of God. Doing so will shower blessings upon our journey and stay at the Jalsa. The Holy Prophet (sa) taught to pray for righteousness and the pleasure of God whilst travelling. He also taught a prayer for the safety of one’s journey and the safety of those whom they leave at home. 

His Holiness (aba) said that these days there is worry due to the Covid pandemic and as such everyone should focus on prayers for everyone’s safety. Everyone should focus on offering Durood Sharif (prayer for invoking blessings upon the Holy Prophet (sa)) and offering the prayers in congregation. The attendees should also carefully listen to the various speeches at the Jalsa which have been prepared with great effort and can be the source of answering many questions which people may have. 

His Holiness (aba) said that this year there is no bazar and so in between sessions, people should visit the various exhibitions which have been set up. Furthermore, due to the large volume of cars in the car park, everyone should remain patient and cooperate with the volunteers. People should maintain a high level of cleanliness in the lavatories and also conserve water, especially due to the lack of rain. Security should also be ensured by all.

His Holiness (aba) again emphasised the importance of the remembrance of Allah and worship especially during these days. His Holiness (aba) urged everyone to pray for the success of the Community, safety from its enemies and the emancipation of those who have been falsely imprisoned on the basis of their faith. 

His Holiness (aba) ended by presenting a prayer in the words of the Promised Messiah (as) for all those attending the Jalsa. 

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions