Zafir Malik, UK
If I asked you to name some basic human needs, you may say – and quite rightly so – food and water. But a recent study carried out by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) discovered that social interactions is also a basic human need just like food and water. No wonder why Islam commanded to gather together five times a day to pray in congregation at the mosque. Social interaction is a key element of Islam whether it is through Salat – Praying – or Hajj, wherein Muslims from all over the world convene upon Makkah to perform pilgrimage at the sacred house, the Ka’bah. These social interactions serve a dual purpose, connecting with Allah, our Creator, and also connecting with our fellow brothers in humanity.
In the same spirit as the wise principle behind the social aspects of Islam, the founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the Promised Messiah of the latter days established the Annual Convention known as ‘Jalsa Salana’. The first such convention took place in Qadian, India in 1891 with 75 devotees attending. Today, this convention takes place in dozens of countries around the world, most recently the Annual Convention in UK was attended by over 41,000 people attended from 118 countries. This coming weekend, the Jalsa Salana Germany is set to take place, with tens of thousands expected in attendance.
Among the reasons of gathering together, Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) outlined certain objectives,
- To increase one’s bond with Allah the Almighty
- To meet new members and increase in Brotherhood
- To pray for those brothers who have passed away
- To gain and increase in knowledge
The blessings attached to this event can be gauged from the fact that the Promised Messiah (as) prayed for every person who makes the effort to attend in the following words:
‘I conclude with the prayer that everyone who travels for [attending] this Convention that is for the sake of Allah: May Allah, the Exalted, be with him, reward him in abundant measure, have mercy on him, ease up for him his circumstances of hardship and anxiety and eliminate his anguish and grief. May He grant him freedom from every single hardship and lay open for him the ways of [achieving] his cherished goals, and raise him up, on the Day of Judgment, among those of His servants who are the recipients of His blessings and Mercy. May He be their Guardian in their absence until after their journey comes to an end. O Allah! O Sublime One and Bestower of bounties, the Ever Merciful and One Who resolves all problems, do grant all these prayers, and grant us victory over our opponents with scintillating signs, because You alone have all the prowess and power. Amen! Amen!’
About the Author: Zafir Malik serves as the Associate Editor of The Review of Religions, having graduated from Jamia Ahmadiyya UK – Institute of Modern Languages and Theology. He is also an Imam of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and regularly appears as a panellist on MTA International and Voice of Islam radio station answering questions on Islam.
 Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmadas, Ishtihar 7 Dec. 1892, Majmoo’ah Ishtiharat, Vol. 1, p. 342.