RoR Women’s Team
Asiya Abu-Bakar, Zainah Amit and Zainab Ahmad have made a few interesting pit stops before finally stepping into Jalsa (the Annual Convention). With the guests of the Promised Messiah (as) congregating from around the globe, the UK workers spend their days and nights meticulously caring for their hospitality.
These three ladies were initially staying at the Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden, then Hadeeqatul Mahdi (Oakland Farm) and finally at the campus of Jamia UK (Ahmadiyya Institute of Languages and Theology) – all a part of the hustle and bustle of Jalsa guests coming and going. By sheer chance, getting to experience three significant locations has been a positive experience for them. Asiya tells us that she has loved the, ‘people, guests, workers’. For a lot of us, Jalsa is the place where we form lifelong connections in a matter of days- fulfilling one of the main purposes of the Jalsa which, as the Promised Messiah (as) stated, is to strengthen the mutual ties.
This year is also significant because the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association (Lajna Ima’illah) is celebrating its 100 year centenary. There is no better personification of unity than that which is displayed in the Lajna Marquee, where thousands of members sit shoulder to shoulder.
In the past, Asiya has watched the Jalsa UK on TV from her home country of Malaysia, but being here physically has changed all her initial expectations. ‘It is different to TV’. Here she can take in the atmosphere, ambiance… and weather! She also likes being able to make friends with people from all over the world and eagerly awaits the moment she will have a private audience (mulaqat) with His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), Fifth Caliph and Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, which she predicts will be a ‘speechless experience’.
The three ladies serve their community in Malaysia in the Tabligh (propagation), Ziafat (hospitality) and Finance departments. However, they are impressed with what they have seen here. ‘The setting up, hospitality, how lajna (ladies) do work!’ Asiya exclaims. They understand the effort and manpower it takes to pull off a large scale event like this, having helped to conduct the Jalsa in Malysia, ‘We need to learn from them [the workers in the UK], how they can manage everything with a passionate heart, we want to adopt the same approach in Malaysia’. She mentions how everyone is smiling as they work. Asiya wants to create a presentation about what they have learned here in the UK over the three Jalsa days to share with her fellow members back home. As His Holiness (aba) mentioned in his Friday Sermon on the first day of Jalsa, ‘…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.’
It is no secret that thousands of unsung heroes work tirelessly to erect this self sufficient mini city for all of us to enjoy, and they keep it running to make us comfortable in it. Hearing how much our Malaysian sisters appreciate these efforts is heartwarming. It reminds us that much like the ten fingers of our hands, we are all instrumental when working together.
‘And hold fast, all together, by the rope of Allah, and be not divided’ (3:104)