Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

Friday Sermon Summary 28th July 2023 – ‘Establishing the True Spirit of Jalsa’

After reciting Tashahhud, Ta`awwuz, and Surah al-Fatihah, His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) said that by the grace of Allah, today the Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) UK is starting.

His Holiness (aba) said that now, about four decades have passed of the Caliph being present at this convention in the UK. In the beginning, because of the vast organisation of the event, there was much to be taught to the local members, and so, the Fourth Caliph (rh) gave personal attention to teaching members about the organisation of Jalsa. The first full Jalsa in the presence of the Fourth Caliph (rh) was in 1985 and had an attendance of about 5,000. At that time, the organisers were worried as to how they would cater to such a large number. However now, that is the attendance just at the Khuddam or Lajna Ijtemas (gatherings) that are held every year.

His Holiness (aba) said that this year, since the full fledged Jalsa at its complete scale is being held once again after a gap of a few years, the organisers are once again worried, especially in light of the more than 40,000 attendance that is expected. However, the workers of Jalsa, young and old, are now so experienced that they can carry out their duties in an excellent manner. 

All Experience and Ability is Gained Through the Blessings of Allah

His Holiness (aba) said that last week he conducted an inspection of all the various duties, and found everyone to be very confident and knowledgeable about their department, which helped do away with many of the prior fears that the organisers had. Any remaining worries of the organisers will surely be done away with, God-willing. However, this is conditional upon us always turning our attention towards reaping the blessings of Allah the Almighty. We do not attain experience due to our own capabilities, rather we do so only due to the blessings of Allah the Almighty. 

His Holiness (aba) said that in the previous sermon he briefly outlined that all the workers of Jalsa should carry out their work with effort, prayers to Allah the Almighty and whilst exhibiting the highest standards of morals. It is then that Allah the Almighty will bestow His blessings in the work that is done. Everyone should remember that they have volunteered their services for the sake of the guests of the Promised Messiah (as) and have gathered solely for the sake of faith. Hence, it is this very passion with which they have volunteered that they should carry out their work for the duration of their duties. At the same time, the workers should not forget that they must worship Allah the Almighty as well and maintain their prayers.

His Holiness (aba) said that one should not think that they have done their job simply by carrying out their duty, rather they must ensure to uphold and maintain their worship and prayers.

His Holiness (aba) said that he would also like to highlight some points for the attendees of Jalsa. This guidance should not just be simply something said and heard, but these things should all be implemented as well.

This Convention is Not Like any Worldly Gathering

His Holiness (aba) said that firstly, all the attendees should remember the statement of the Promised Messiah (as) that this is not like any worldly gathering. Rather, attending this Jalsa has a purpose; that purpose is to improve our spiritual, intellectual and moral states. It is to establish love for God and His Messenger (sa). When this is the focus, then one will not be drawn to worldly matters. Subsequently, if there do end up being any organisational shortcomings, they will be easily overlooked and one will remain unaffected, because their purpose is to improve their spiritual and moral states, which can be achieved through the various speeches delivered at the Jalsa. Hence, every attendee should ensure that rather than roaming about, they should attend the complete proceedings of the Jalsa. 

His Holiness (aba) said that similarly, the time in-between sessions should also be used wisely. Of course that time is for eating, offering prayers and meeting with friends, however even then, time should not be wasted simply by shopping in the bazar. Instead, attendees should take advantage of things such as the bookstall, or various exhibitions such as those set-up by Makhzan-e-Tasaweer, The Review of Religions, the Tabligh Department, or the Archives Department.

Primary Focus of Attending the Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) said that when the primary focus of attending this Jalsa is to improve one’s spirituality and morality, then this will naturally increase mutual ties of love. If there are any weaknesses in the organisation, then they will be easily overlooked. Such a beautiful atmosphere will be established that is truly reflective of true believers. Conversely, if attendees start searching for faults and things to complain of, then certainly in such a vast and temporary operation, they will surely find some sort of faults, but then this will create an atmosphere that contradicts the true purpose of this Jalsa. 

His Holiness (aba) said that for example, every effort is always made to ensure that the right quantities of food are prepared for the guests. However, it is possible that there could be a time when there is a discrepancy in that estimation. If this occurs, then the guests should wholeheartedly accept the apologies of the organisers. 

His Holiness (aba) said that the Promised Messiah (as) has set an example for us as to what should be done under such circumstances. Once, while on a journey, the Promised Messiah (as) was busy in his work, and did not eat dinner until all the other guests were being served. The organisers put down the food and later picked it up, not realising that because he was busy in his work, the Promised Messiah (as) had not yet eaten. Later, when the Promised Messiah (as) asked if there was any food, the organisers became extremely worried, because after all the guests and then later the workers had eaten, there was no food left. It was also late, so nothing could be ordered from the market. The workers were extremely worried and were trying to figure out what could be cooked at that time for the Promised Messiah (as). However, the Promised Messiah (as) stopped them, and said that there must be some leftover pieces of flatbread and that those would suffice. 

His Holiness (aba) said that had the Promised Messiah (as) asked for food to be cooked, the workers said they would happily have obliged. However, the Promised Messiah (as) was mindful of them and said that there was no need to worry. Hence, this was the example which he established and which we must adopt. If some attendees of the Jalsa are not able to eat in time, they should not create a fuss, rather they should be content with whatever they receive. Similarly, the Promised Messiah (as) also taught that no food should ever go to waste, as he ate whatever pieces of flatbread were leftover.

His Holiness (aba) said that it should always be remembered that the people working in various departments are not professionals in those departments, rather they are volunteers. Hence, their efforts should always be appreciated. 

The Importance of Exhibiting a High Standard of Morals

His Holiness (aba) said that without morals, there is nothing. In order to establish the right environment during Jalsa, it cannot be that only the workers exhibit good morals, rather all the attendees must exhibit the highest standards of morals as well. Similarly, as is stated in a saying of the Holy Prophet (sa), smiling is charity, and this should always be kept in mind as well.

His Holiness (aba) said that with regards to exhibiting high morals during Jalsa, the Promised Messiah (as) said that one’s faith cannot be complete until they give precedence to the comfort of their brother over their own comfort. The Promised Messiah (as) said that if a person who is in good health was sleeping on a bed and another was sleeping on the ground, and the one on the bed did not give up his bed for the person on the ground, then it would be a great pity. Similarly, if someone were to speak harshly, then one should remain patient and weep in prayer for that person. These are just some of the basic morals which should always be exhibited, and should be implemented especially during the days of Jalsa. It is this very mentality that can bring about a pristine society.

His Holiness (aba) fulfilling the rights of others is not an easy task. Hence, everyone should always be of the mindset that they must give priority to others and their rights before their own, and do so with the intention of attaining the pleasure of Allah. Such a mentality can bring about a peaceful and loving society. A society where it is pitiful for one to respond to harshness with harshness and instead they pray earnestly for the one who spoke harshly to them would be an extraordinary society indeed. 

His Holiness (aba) said that if these matters are focused on during the three days of Jalsa, then the true purpose of gathering at this convention will be achieved. Sometimes, people lose their tempers, both from the attendees and some workers. However, if people cannot keep control over their emotions then they should not attend or volunteer. Sometimes, when space is full and guests are directed elsewhere, they become enraged and think that this will dampen their plans of attending the Jalsa, whereas the workers have no other choice but to redirect them to another area. If people are so keen then they should arrive on time. Similarly, the volunteers should not become easily angered either. 

His Holiness (aba) prayed that not even a single example of harsh treatment comes about, and that no worker is tested in this regard. His Holiness (aba) prayed that these days should not be limited to merely singing poems and expressing love, but the training received in these three days should be such that truly establishes love and harmony throughout all of society. 

His Holiness (aba) said that guests should not have great expectations of ease and luxury. Sometimes, those who do not have family members nearby and their stay is organised by the Jalsa organisation, however they make such demands that are difficult to meet. Generally, people are very understanding in this regard. For example, His Holiness (aba) said that there was a family he met a few days ago who, only upon his asking and not in a form of complaint, told him that though they had informed the administration well ahead of time regarding their arrival and stay, there was some miscommunication due to which their accommodation was not arranged. Instead of creating a fuss, they made their own arrangements with a relative, despite their relative’s home being small and they would have to sleep on mattresses on the ground, however they were happy to do so. Hence, the hosts should do their utmost to cater to the guests, and the guests should do their utmost to remain content and bear small difficulties for the sake of Allah’s pleasure. 

Establishing an Atmosphere of Love and Harmony

His Holiness (aba) said that the Holy Prophet (sa) taught that in order to establish an atmosphere of peace and harmony, one should feed the needy and convey greetings of peace to all, whether one knows them or not. So much of the strife in the world is due to shortages or cost of food and basic necessities, and if this principle of the Holy Prophet (sa) was kept in mind then it would be a huge proponent of establishing peace. Furthermore, conveying greetings of peace and establishing it as the norm naturally evokes positive thoughts and sentiments for each other. Hence, that same environment should be established at Jalsa, and then subsequently reflected in society. In fact this is also a means of doing away with enmity and grudges.

General Guidelines for Jalsa

His Holiness (aba) said that there are some general matters pertaining to Jalsa which everyone should keep in mind. Everyone should listen to the Jalsa proceedings quietly and attentively. It should not be that only select speeches are listened to and others are ignored. Then, there should be special attention during the days of Jalsa towards remaining occupied in the remembrance of Allah and sending salutations upon the Holy Prophet (sa) though durood sharif. Especially since we are passing through the month of Muharram and it is the 10th of Muharram today, there should be an emphasis on reciting durood sharif with the prayer that God continues to exalt the station and rank of the Holy Prophet (sa), continues to make his message prevail, and save this ummah from destruction. It was on this day, that in the name of the honour of the Holy Prophet (sa), the family of the Holy Prophet (sa) was martyred. Today, the true spiritual family of the Holy Prophet (sa) is being persecuted and this is perpetrated by those who claim to do so in the name of the Holy Prophet (sa). However, what they do not realise the profound love which the Promised Messiah (as) had for the Holy Prophet (sa), a love which was even attested to by the angels, and everything he was bestowed by God was due to his love and devotion to the Holy Prophet (sa).

His Holiness (aba) prayed that may those blessings promised to the Holy Prophet (sa) spread throughout the world swiftly.

His Holiness (aba) said that it should also be inculcated within the children that they should listen to the proceedings of Jalsa with great attention. Similarly, every attendee of the Jalsa should remain aware of their surroundings from the standpoint of security. 

His Holiness (aba) prayed that may all the attendees benefit from the Jalsa in the best way, safeguard everyone from all evil, and that may Allah continue to shower His blessings upon everyone.

Summary prepared by The Review of Religions