RoR Women’s Team
By the grace of God, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been established in Germany for 100 years. This is an auspicious occasion, and one to celebrate with zeal. For a century, the German Ahmadiyya community has grown, developed, integrated and had a positive contribution to its society. The women’s auxiliary organisation, Lajna Imai’llah (also commemorating 100 years since its establishment internationally), have been there every step of the way. From organisation to education, secular and spiritual, Ahmadi women are at par with men.
The Jalsa Salana Germany is the ideal setting to see this first hand. In the colossally large halls that form this year’s Jalsa site, women are handling all the logistics on their side. Duty workers have shared their thoughts about having reached a milestone.
Laraib Rehman is the General Secretary of AMSV- the women’s student association. We speak about what we learned earlier in His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad’s (aba) address delivered to the women’s side. His Holiness (aba) mentioned those women in Islam who have inspired generations with their good deeds, loyalty to faith and sacrifice.
Laraib passionately says,
‘Firstly, as a woman, what I always tell my friends about Jalsa is that I don’t have to care about what men are doing; I can do whatever I want in the Lajna section because it’s my place and I’m the one who is responsible for helping others’. She continues, ‘… it’s just a very wonderful place to show that it’s not just men who can do this work but also women’. Quoting the words of His Holiness (aba), “If women work outside the shade of men, they flourish better” . This simple but powerful line was so eloquently shared with the German press in 2019. ‘That’s the quote that’s always in front of me’.
The moral upbringing of children has also been a topic of speech during the convention. For Laraib, having the opportunity to speak to many young women from around the country has been important. She is able to connect with fellow students and motivate them.
She herself has been a recipient of this encouragement – of women supporting women. When Laraib first moved to Germany, she did not know the language but needed to learn it for school. ‘My local Lajna president always sent me to student meetings.’ Through these meetings, she heard other girls speak the language and they encouraged her to communicate in her first language, Urdu, as she slowly learned German from them. ‘They were so nice!’ she exclaims. With the help of her sisters, she has come far, ‘And now I’m standing here with the student organisation’.
‘When girls come from Pakistan, I tell them it’s possible; nothing is impossible. Huzoor (aba) also said in today’s address [that you should not] have any complex that you’re wearing hijab so you’re less than somebody…I feel proud when I go somewhere and there’s no hijabi, and I’m like, ‘Yes! I’m the only hijabi”’.
We hope that people who wish to learn about the strength and capabilities of Muslim women take a look at events such as the Jalsa. ‘I think everybody had this image of a hijabi – that if she’s wearing a hijab she is not that educated. So now it’s changing Alhamdolillah (all praise belongs to God)…and education is changing it’. Today, at the ladies’ session, a long list of names of women were announced that achieved academic excellence, all the way up to the Ph.D. level. This is the high standard of Ahmadi Muslim women.
Along with secular education, women are also enhancing their religious knowledge. Another initiative of the community is the Aisha Academy – an institute of theology and languages for women aged between 16-35 years old. The institute offers a 3-year course after which the student obtains a Mubashara Degree. We met Amtul Jameel Ghazala, serving as the principal of Aisha Academy. She tells us how many German girls desired to have a similar institute as young men have in Jamia Ahmadiyya [Institute of Modern Languages and Theology]. It was a blessing that His Holiness (aba) also pointed them towards this direction.
During the completion stages of the academy, the Covid pandemic hit and so the opening of the academy was delayed. In 2021, as the restrictions started to lift, the doors of Aisha Academy Germany opened. The first cohort consisted of 10 girls. This year 30 applications have been received for the next batch.
Entering its third year, we ask how it has been for the girls that are studying there. Amtul tells us ‘They have a lot of interest and eagerness’. Amtul informs us that some of the students are married and have children. We wonder how they manage all of these responsibilities, ‘It’s a big sacrifice of the girls, that despite living in a material world, they want to gain religious knowledge, and even despite the fact they have husbands, kids, looking after a house. They say that…they wake up at 3am for the Tahujjud [voluntary] prayers, and then they do their work for Aisha Academy, and then come to class.’
His Holiness (aba) in his address said Ahmadi women should be the ones leading the world. These young women are truly paving the way for not only other women but for future generations too.
Here at Jalsa, we have been fortunate to come across many leaders. The Humanity First in-charge, Susan, is one of them as she makes a rippling positive impact not just in Germany, but the world. She has been an Ahmadi Muslim since 2008. She explains that women of the community are travelling all the way to Africa for humanitarian projects. ‘We also have some female engineers and doctors, some teachers- they go from Germany and participate in projects and they are involved like the men Alhamdulillah. This is very special.’ At her stall, attendees can try a new virtual reality feature and visit the likes of Benin and other countries, and quite literally see for themselves what these projects entail. ‘For example, you can visit our orphanage, you can go in all the rooms, and you can see how the children have the school lessons’.
From high-achieving students to ardent humanitarians, the women’s Jalsa site has no shortage of inspiration, reminding us of the honour of being part of this organisation and sisterhood.
The perfect parting advice from our wise sister Laraib gathers everything into one sincerely true point: ‘You can do it… Just pray to God and God makes everything possible, every step for you. Anything is possible if you pray.’