Every year, we hold an annual convention on a plot of land aptly named “Hadeeqatul Mahdi”. This translates to the “Gardens of the Guided One”. I say it is aptly named as thousands of devout Muslim followers travel to this location to listen to the speech of our Caliph (Khalifa) among other speeches to draw knowledge and wisdom on a variety of topics. It becomes a “Global Village” filled with Muslims and guests of a diverse number of faiths and backgrounds where essentially it feels as if everyone knows each other. They smile and greet each stranger, wishing upon them peace from their Lord and they discuss faiths and peace with them. They eat together, pray together and converse with one another as if some spiritual family. Thus this ‘Global Village’ becomes a sacred place of peaceful co-existence and mirrors the tranquillity of a beautiful garden.
The purpose of Jalsa Salana was explained by our Caliph; Khalifatul Masih V Hadrat Mirza Masroor Ahmed in his June 5th 2015 Khutbah. He stated that:
“The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) told us that the objectives of Jalsa Salana were to develop connection with God, to live one’s life according to God’s commandments, to pay the dues of one’s brothers and to spread God’s message in the world. All this demands sense of sacrifice. Jalsa Salana is not a worldly fair and it is not a source of attaining worldly objectives. People coming to Jalsa should engage in remembrance of God and do so all the time.”
He further stated in June 12th 2015 Khutbah that whilst primarily it provides spiritual nourishment for Ahmadi Muslims, it also provided the opportunity for the Jamaat to have a true illustration of itself for Non Ahmadi guests. Not only this but also, the Jalsa Salana aided Non Ahmadis in solidifying their decision in converting after witnessing the blessed united community vibes that manifested in their souls.
One of the biggest blessings of Jalsa Salana is that it provides an escape from the world and its constant focus on materialism. It allows you to block the entire surrounding world out and to focus on your knowledge and your faith through listening to speeches and staying in the constant remembrance of God. Huzoor spoke a few months ago on the importance of creating a spiritual “heaven on earth” and that we should self-reflect on ourselves and focus towards realigning our souls with the splendid character of the Promised Messiah (May Allah bless him) and the Holy Prophet (May the peace and blessings of Allah be upon him). (Friday Sermon, 5th June 2015).
Jalsa Salana is one way in which we can aim to build on this ‘Earth’ and Heaven’ as we separate ourselves from the rest of the world to focus on our spirituality. We are surrounded by our spiritual family who also aim towards this same goal in improving our knowledge and then acting upon this by adopting the teachings of Islam into our everyday lives. Furthermore, since everyone is separated from the declining world outside, there is a state of peace that envelops the land and as a result, as one guest noticed at a Jalsa in 2014; “everyone at Jalsa interacted with each other as old friends.”
Another way in which Jalsa Salana could be an example of “Heaven on Earth” is also the same reason it holds the fond name of “Global Village”; the way it unites people from all over the world, attracting people of different beliefs, ethnicities and backgrounds. This adds to the sheer feeling of international brother/sisterhood and not only strengthens the bonds between faiths but also it changes the view that people hold of our Jama’at.
Jalsa indeed does provide a “Heaven on Earth” feel with its Global Village attributes, its thought provoking, soul nourishing speeches, its emotional poems and our beloved Huzoors presence. We come and we leave with unique memories that imprint on our lives and inspire us to continue on our journey to self reformation and to continue to sacrifice our lives to the service of humanity. As we approach Jalsa Salana let us how remember the words of our dear Khalifa:
“The Promised Messiah (on whom be peace) has especially enjoined those who come to Jalsa Salana for spiritual development to adopt truthfulness, honesty and openness. When each Ahmadi’s honesty will be of high standard their words will be effective and they will be able to take their mission onwards and upwards. Indeed, the Promised Messiah’s (on whom be peace) mission constitutes two important tasks: to make man recognise God and forge a connection with God and secondly to pay the dues of mankind. Both these tasks demand of us to make pure change in our practices. We cannot connect the world to God unless we ourselves have a strong bond with Him and we cannot pay the dues of mankind unless we inculcate enthusiasm for humility, honesty, love, unity and sacrifice. We should reflect over this bond and this enthusiasm in these three days and enhance it so that we can fulfil the wishes of the Promised Messiah (on whom be peace). Every Ahmadi should try to enhance his Taqwa in the three days, may God enable us to do so.”