Love of Caliphate Blooms in Stuttgart

Over 40,000 people from all over the world attended the annual event held this year in Stuttgart by Germany’s Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. This event is known as the Jalsa Salana and took place over the course of three days from Friday 1st September to Sunday 3rd Septermber 2023.

The keynote speaker was of course His Holiness Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba), who is the Worldwide Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. His Holiness resides full time in the UK but travelled to Germany for the event. He delivered keynote addresses on all three days on the topic of Islam. Both His Holiness and the event were well received by the guests in attendance. Here’s what some of them had to say:

“These were two very impressive days” — Martin, Görlitz

What is your Full name and what city are you from?

Martin George Konrad. I was born in Kiel. Currently, I am living in Görlitz on the Polish side.

Could you tell me something that you have taken along with you in the future, and what was the most remarkable thing to you regarding the speech of our leader?

Oh, there is so much. These were two very impressive days and I have a lot to process. Let me think. The essence of Islam, the most important thing to me is that I as a person cannot bear the weight of everything by myself. And Islam bestows upon you the present of not having to bear it all by yourself. But you can hand some of it to God. That’s one great thing. 

What I particularly like about Ahmadiyya Islam is its inclusivity, i.e. a solution is found for the issue of how the different religions can be integrated into one worldview. 

Speaking of the address from just now, of our leader, what is something you can think of in that regard?

With respect to the speech from just now I have to say that I think he clarified some matters that are often misunderstood within Islam. Especially things you hear from the media, negative things which people do in the name of Islam. I think one important thing is him saying that this has nothing to do with Islam, but that people interpret Islam according to their vested interests and do things that have nothing to do with Islam. 

Okay, thank you very much Martin!

“Very silent and peaceful. The Caliph was very calm, relaxed.” — Omar

Where are you from and what do you do?

I’m from Columbia, I live in Germany, in Frankfurt, and I’m a physiotherapist. 

How did you find the Caliph’s speech today?

Very, very, very important, very peaceful, and very clear about many wrong ideas that people have about Islam.

. . .

What impression did the Caliph’s personality have?

Very silent and peaceful. The Caliph was very calm, relaxed. He made a very relaxed impression and seemed very sure about what he was saying. It was very beautiful. 

How did you find out about us?

I am Muslim, and I had heard of this community, but this is the first time. It was a coincidence, and I am very impressed by the organization of such a large event without any additional aids, without any donations. I wonder how this could be realized. 

. . .

“You just feel comfortable and warm-hearted in his presence.” — Tim, Rheinau

My name is Tim Konermann. I am 26 years old. I’m from Rheinau. One week ago, I officially took the Bai’at in Nordhorn. In the months and years before that or a little longer, I dealt with faith with other religious orientations as well. Finally, I considered the Ahmadiyya Community as the right one for me. That is why I became aware of the Jama’at in Rheinau specifically, and I got in touch with them. That’s where I joined. That is also why they graciously invited me here to the yearly gathering, this time still as a guest, but next year hopefully as a full-fledged established member, although I am under the impression that I am already those things. 

Could you tell us which things you would take along from today and what you are taking along from your attendance of the Jalsa for the future?

Something I will definitely take along are the many positive values that are conveyed and which I stand with gladly and which I would like to gladly stand with in the future. And for the future I wish that these values are upheld and carried out into the world; that we can further foster peace. 

What did you think about the address given by the Caliph just now?

I thought the address was very good. It really touched and inspired me and I would say that one central point that is new to me in my Islamic faith, and of course, formerly, I used to be prejudiced is the part where he spoke about women’s rights, which also lead to an enlightenment at a much earlier time, when women’s rights were established, so that now we may know them. That really inspired and touched me, and it was something I was, in some way, proud of.

What impression did Huzoor (aba) leave on you?

Very impressive, also somewhat imposing, and very spiritual of course. You just feel comfortable and warm-hearted in his presence. I can also express this by saying that the picture of the Promised Messiah (as) leaves me feeling warm, lighthearted and happy. I think that’s because in that photograph, they got hold of him in a very happy moment, and that he was able to precisely reflect that in his teaching, even just in the form of that photograph, in combination with the teachings of Islam and in many other fields. 

Could you name one or two things [that you liked from the speech]?

Sure, the matter of women’s rights was definitely an illuminating point. That was something that I didn’t know the exact verses of the Qur’an about. Yes, when I saw that photograph, it illuminated me with a very happy and warm feeling. When I look at that photograph and I look into his eyes, I feel like that already brings me closer to God. I feel more at peace and happy with myself and I realize that if I can access that image and its aura, I can find my way to God more easily, both in my daily life and in my prayers.

“Full of energy, and the organisation is excellent.” — Dan, Bulgaria

Hello, my name is Dan Dimitrov, I have a law firm and I am teaching in university. I am from Bulgaria.

How did you find the speech today of the Caliph?

It’s very [full of] wisdom, very deep speech. I think we must have more speeches like this to understand each other because the key of understanding is to accept each other as different people.

One or two points that you’re taking away from this speech which really affected you?

Definitely I think that the words of peace, the best way to communicate with each other, because everybody is in a different universe. We have to live at the same place and we have to respect each other. 

How did you find the address when the Caliph was addressing you?

Full of energy, and the organization is excellent. Congratulations to all of you for all the efforts that were built up by everybody.

“I feel full of spirit.” — Veronica

Hello, my name is Veronica Summa. I am an attorney of law, and I am a university professor as well.

How did you find the speech today of the Caliph?

I liked the speech very much as well, and I was impressed by this part related to women. 

One or two points that you’re taking away from this speech which really affected you?

I was impressed by the idea of humanity, because first of all we are human beings, and we should accept each other with our differences. 

How did you find the address when the Caliph was addressing you?

The atmosphere for me is very spiritual and I feel full of spirit.

“We learned so much” — Alexander, France

My name is Alexander Uslim, I’m from France, and I’m an actor.

How did you find the atmosphere of the Jalsa?

Peaceful . . . we learned so much. 

How was it when you saw the Caliph?

I was feeling that I should be there.

Is it something that you would want to come back to? And anything you’re taking away home with you?

Insha’Allah [to come back]. A lot of information. This morning and yesterday there were really good speeches, . . . there was a lot of good information that I can bring back home.

“It was indescribable.” — Amin, France

My name is Amin from France as well, and I’m a developer.

How did you find the atmosphere of the Jalsa?

For me, the atmosphere was really good. I feel so much spirituality in the atmosphere, by the way, and I was so proud because I’m here. It’s the second time I came to Jalsa Salana Germany, and I like the moments, and I saw the brothers that I haven’t seen in many years.

Which years have you been before?

2017. I was like a guest, so it was a good time so I thought to myself that I must do it again. I was in the green area. I prayed all the Tahajjuds with him. 

How was it to see the Caliph, how did you feel inside?

It was indescribable. I don’t have words actually, but I feel such positive energy, and much more spirituality that I can’t even handle actually. 

Anything you’re taking back from Jalsa Salana?

Tolerance, respect, and . . . Love for All and Hatred for None.

“It was touching.” — Elias, Frankfurt

My name is Elias Stuils. I’m from Frankfurt, Germany.

How did you come to the Jalsa?

I have some Muslims friends who are in this community. 

What did you think of the Caliph’s speech?

It was really nice; it was really good. It was touching. The biggest point is always peace and I really enjoy hearing it, especially in these concerning times, and having all these wars, a Muslim Community is standing out and saying not only do we protect the Muslim beliefs, we protect any beliefs, give everyone the freedom to have them.

What do you think of his personality? What was it like seeing a worldwide leader?

It felt like he was one of us.

Has the Caliph’s speech helped to change your views? Any issues or doubts you used to have with your Muslim friends?

There are a lot of different Muslim Communities and groups, and I think we have to see everyone differently. Of course, I have contact with my other Muslim friends and Muslim groups, and they are also not violent or anything like this. So, I was already open minded and didn’t come here with any concerns. 

“We started being confident in believing in Islam” — Abdullah, Barcelona

What did you think of Huzoor’s speech?

Huzoor has dealt with all the problems that Islam is facing here in Europe, especially with the issue of women. And Huzoor has been very clear in that short time, to explain that Islam has nothing to do with these misconceptions, and he has done very well in this regard.

When Huzoor came into the hall, what did you feel, what impression did it leave on you?

To be honest, this is my first time being so close to him and it is also my first time praying behind him, here in Stuttgart. The impression is very difficult to explain but you do feel a great relief, and you really feel that this man is truly the Khalifa, who has truth in his words. He transmits you relief, and we well as security; so you know you are following the right path. And having prayed behind him for the first time, it is a sensation very hard to explain. 

Has anything about your knowledge of Islam’s response changed after listening to Huzoor’s speech?

Well, I have heard him many times before as well, today was not my first time; however today was the first time listening to him live. But it changes you. Before I would feel confused, we would not know how to respond. Especially living in Europe, you encounter people asking about Islam; one person says something, the other says something else. So this sometimes creates confusion between Muslims to the extent that I know some Muslims who left Islam. After finding Islam Ahmadiyyat, after listening to many speeches and programs, we started being confident in believing in Islam, and realized that (before Ahmadiyyat) we were misinterpreting it. Now we are following the right path, following the “Noah’s Ark”. The Noah’s Ark we have built and will continue on it. But now we talk with our heads held high, we respond (to the questions) and we know that all Ahmadi Muslims claim the same thing, and are steadfast on it, because we know that Islam Ahmadiyyat is taken care of by God Himself. 

“I was particularly impressed by the message about doing something for the country one lives in.” — Julian, Freiburg

[My name is] Julian Salvamorser. I am from Freiburg. I have been there since my childhood many years ago. I was friends with Sadiq since year 5, and he belongs to the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. He invited me. This is my second or third time in Jalsa. I am often in the Community and take pictures there. 

What was your impression of the Caliph?

My genuine impression was that the Caliph was very sensitive. He was open and merciful. Everything he said comes from experience and he has lived many things, so he is able to speak about it.

I was particularly impressed by the message about doing something for the country one lives in. One should help everyone, especially the neighbours, I think it was 40 houses or 40 people around you. I was surprised that the neighbourhood was this big and that it still counts as a neighbourhood. This is never defined in Christianity or elsewhere. It is always thought that a neighbour is someone who lives directly next to you. But that the neighbourhood is a much bigger place and therefore the responsibility was also much bigger. That is truly neighbourhood living, and working together rather than waiting for society to ask who can do it, you can start yourself as well. 

. . .

“I like the way he speaks . . . and I like his style.” — Isa, Madrid

My name is Isa Caravali. I was born in Columbia, and am living in Madrid, Spain.

How did you find out about the Jalsa? 

When I was living in Madrid, I went to a meeting in Lasa Arabi, and I met Qamar, who is one of the leaders of Ahmadiyya in Spain. So, he invited me to Cordoba and to join the Organization. That’s how I learned more about Islam Ahmadiyya because I didn’t know anything about it.

What was your impression about the speech?

Well, it was a very strong, necessary speech, because a lot of people believe that Islam is all about violence and war, that Islam does not respect the rest of the people, the rest of the religions and ideologies. And I found that speech really accurate for this time, and I think that most of these speeches should be this way, because then people would know about the true Islam.

Were you born Muslim?

Well there is the belief that we are all born Muslim. I was born in a Christian family, but I didn’t practice Christianity, that’s why for me it was easy to become Muslim, because I didn’t like Christianity. But I don’t hate Christian people, I don’t hate Christianity, I respect them all because my mother and all my family are all Christian.

Which points stood out from the speech?

I think the most important is to understand that Islam does not practice violence or force people to violence. And the other point is that Islam forces Muslim men to respect women. I think that those two points were the most important for me.

What were your impressions of his personality?

I was so impressed because this is the first time that I have seen him so close, I have seen many videos. I like the way he speaks because he speaks very slow and calm, and I like his style. It shows that he is a true Muslim. 

Is there anything that you may have heard about Islam before, that has changed?

I don’t think much because I have been reading a lot. 

Have you accepted Ahmadiyyat?

Yes, for the past three years.

“A very open-minded speech.”Yannik, Reutlingen

[My name is] Yannik from Reutlingen. My friend invited me.

What did you think of the Caliph’s speech?

I think it was a very nice speech, a very open-minded speech. He told me good information that I never heard before. So yes, I thought it was very nice.

I think the most outstanding point is the slogan “Love for all, hatred for none”. I think that’s the most interesting point, the best point in my opinion. 

What do you think of his personality as a religious leader?

I think this person is a wise person, he has a lot of knowledge, especially about Islam. And as I could hear, he told very clearly his points, he pointed them out very nicely, and made them very clear for myself what kind of way this is. So, it was very good to understand.