Jalsa Salana/Annual Conventions

Lajna Centenary: Commemorating 100 Years of Sisterhood at Jalsa Salana

RoR Women’s Team

A special feature of this year’s Annual Convention (Jalsa Salana) is the Lajna Centenary Exhibition which has been erected to commemorate 100 years of Lajna Ima’illah, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Auxiliary Association.

We entered the Lajna Exhibition Marquee to enjoy the beautiful and informative displays about our rich history, featuring a timeline, the initiation of the auxiliary, the pioneer members, the meaning and background of the Lajna flag, and an interactive quiz, to name just a few.

This space has been wonderfully crafted as ladies walk around reading the words of wisdom and guidance given to us by the Promised Messiah (as) and his Caliphs. We observe women of all ages and backgrounds taking in generations of awe-inspiring incidents, with the knowledge that this is who we are, this is where we come from. We flick through the exhibition’s guestbook with shared sentiments of Lajna from around the world, expressing appreciation and gratitude for this sisterhood. From German and Urdu, to English, sweet words of kinship are reiterated by everyone.

We caught up with two Lajna members from Singapore, Mahidah Farhan Putri Amir and Malihah Naureen and asked them about their thoughts on this brand new addition to the women’s Jalsa site and share the experiences as novel Jalsa UK attendees.

Mahidah tells us she has been scrolling through Instagram to get an idea of the Jalsa site, and from those photos, she discovered she would need wellies! Being her first ever Jalsa UK, she didn’t expect the area to be as big as it was.

On their first day, explains Malihah, who is serving as the General Secretary of Singapore Lajna, the two ladies were impressed by the young girls who were on hospitality duty in Jamia UK (their accommodation during the convention) and by their sheer dedication. Jamia U.K. is currently home to hundreds of guests from around the world. We try to speak to other ladies we met in our room’, she goes on, ‘It’s amazing we can all bond.’ Even with language barriers, they feel connected. They tell us the amusing tale of meeting a lady from Bolivia who spoke Spanish, ‘We communicated with her using Google translate, it was funny.’ Mentioning that there are always common things we share – because we are all Lajna Ima’illah – they spoke to us about the blessings of the Caliphate. ‘For us, we love meeting people from different countries”, this type of exposure to so many different people can only be sought from going to overseas Jalsa. In their home countries, they usually just see people from neighbouring countries year after year, so coming here to the UK and meeting people from all over the world is exciting.

‘When we came in from the security entrance and I saw everything I was actually quite overwhelmed!’ Malihah exclaims with teary eyes. We all feel that instant bond of sisterhood and this brief meeting comes to an end with an exchange of warm embraces and numbers and a beginning of new friendships.