Our blogger, Alia Selby, has been working hard all day and writing at night to keep us posted with her perspective of life behind the scenes at Jalsa UK!

Day 3 (Saturday) – A meeting with Royalty Today was a day full of sublime blessings from beginning to finish. Alhamdulilah. I arrived onto duty and was immediately put to work as the flocks of devout Lajna and Nasirat arrived especially in the moments leading up to our beloved Huzoors arrival. What is normally hard was made enjoyable as we not only listened to Huzoors speech but also listened to the numerous nazms and poems recited by our nasirat and by various other countries. Alhamdulilah, their voices were so beautiful they caused us to smile and become even happier than we already were. As if hearing the nazms and speeches was not a big enough blessing, we were then informed that myself and a few other lucky volunteers had the opportunity to work alongside the Security team and form a ‘human chain’ alongside the pathway of which Huzoor (May Allah be his helper) would walk on. The nazms finished and we heard Huzoor give his Salam to the crowd and we knew instantly that we would soon be greeted by his heavenly smile and blessed presence. As Huzoor came walking towards us, the closer and closer he came, the more and more my heart was aflutter. The more I felt like crying. To some maybe this was a small thing, but my love for huzoor is such that even a glance at him or the chance to be as close as I was to him was a honour. Truly, there is no life without Khalifa. He smiled at us all and waved as he passed by and each of us exchanged smiles of gratitude as he walked by.

Later that evening I had the blessed opportunity of volunteering at the Tabshir dinner with Begum Sahiba (Huzoor’s wife). It was truly amazing to meet so many dignitaries from across the world and to be in their company. Catching up with old friends as well as making new friends, the night was beautifully transcendent. Near the end of the dinner once everyone had finished their meals, Begum Sahiba meet and embraced everyone. Once all the guests had been up to see her, I noticed she was close to leaving and spotted a chance to ask if I may greet her. She saw me and allowed myself and my other fellow volunteers to greet her. The love I have for Huzoor and his wife could only be likened to a granddaughter and their grandparents, in the sense that you long to be in their constant presence and you love to hear all of their stories and you listen to them as they give you life-changing advice and so any moment with them is golden.

Such a blessed day, I honestly do not think I could put into words how I am feeling right now; somewhere between overwhelmingly blessed, honoured and emotional. Jalsa has once again made my soul weep tears of joy and filled my heart with true happiness. I can only look forward to tomorrow in which I get to take part in my favourite part of Jalsa; International Ba’ait.

Stay Blessed and Stay Tuned,  

Day 2 (Friday) – In the eye of the storm

For most of the people visiting Hadeeqatul Mahdi, this is their first day. For myself, it is the second and already it has been better than the first. So many blessings I leave myself wondering where to start. Once again I start early and so do the blessings as we arrive at Hadeeqatul Mahdi to find a parking spot free right at the front. The atmosphere of spiritual serenity already filling my heart, I begin my duty but within minutes everything changes. As head of crowd control, one of my toughest challenges is ensuring that a huge number of guests can queue in an orderly fashion, that there are no errors in their cards before they join the main queue and that everyone leaves my part with a smile bigger than when I first saw them. Not an easy task and one that requires vast amounts of patience (that, and it teaches you a lot of patience) and yet it is hugely rewarding.

The biggest blessing when doing this particular duty at Jalsa is that the guests are so incredibly grateful and appreciative, it empowers and inspires you to work harder each year. To lighten the mood, you crack a few jokes with the guests, entertain their children and set personal best scores on how quickly and efficiently you can get everyone in before Jumma (this is mainly to keep us motivated but the guests appreciate it massively too! Oh, and we beat our score once again Alhamdulilah). There is nothing that can put a smile on your face more than when you see excited kids showing their badges proudly with a smile on their face. So proud of who they are, it leaves a smile on your face for hours.

Aside from duty, I was also able to listen to two of our beloved Huzoors speeches; his Friday Khutbah and his Inaugural address. Both insightful and inspiring, they gave out advice on how to improve upon ourselves and how to make the most of this Jalsa period. Such is the love that Huzoor has for us, his speeches never fail to touch our hearts! When Huzoor spoke about Taqwah and spoke upon the necessary steps to achieving this high level, he uses powerful language to truly hit home to us the importance of the issue. Asking us to pray that we become the Imams of righteousness and placing shirk and backbiting hand in hand really sends out a powerful message as to how much importance this has in our beloved Huzoors heart.  May we be able to attain this level of righteousness and May Allah protect us from harm and harmful intentions, Ameen.

Lastly, from one duty to the next, I served the Arabs at their dinner. Such is the blessing of Jalsa that we are able to meet people from all diverse backgrounds and cultures. Here, I also had the opportunity to meet with a dear old friend from the American Jamaat and was also introduced to a fellow Ahmadi whose book I had had the pleasure of reading. Blessings on top of more blessings, I ended my day how I had started it, with prayer.

May Allah make this Jalsa a blessed memorable experience for our guests and an enjoyable experience for those tuning in from their countries.
Day 1 (Thursday) – The calm before the storm Arriving at Hadeeqatul Mahdi in the early hours of the morning, I began my duty by collecting my badge, lanyard and high-viz jacket. As guests started to arrive with their luggage, I manually checked through each of their cards, saying Assalamu Alaikum and smiling as I did so. My duty is one of importance as my fellow volunteers and I are the first ones to greet the guests as they make their way into the ladies area. How we first greet them can have an instant impact on their day.
My scanners set up, I begin to check through each card, sifting between the ones that need updating and the ones that are fine to proceed. I switch my requests from lowering niqabs to removing sunglasses, for identification purposes.
Thursday is what I call the ‘calm before the storm’. It gives a nice introduction into our duty for newcomers and a refresher to our seasoned workers before Friday comes along and the pre-jummah masses make their way in.
Beside the usual chai run and quick training of the newcomers, not much altered from my duty bar the additional training top-up. As usual, the most blessed part of my duty was the fact that I got the opportunity to meet all of our guests from across the world. I received adorable salaams from the charming young Canadians, and saw the beautiful smiles and cute chubby cheeks of the young African children. The biggest perk of the day is seeing these young ones so incredibly happy to be in a spiritual setting.
I made a new young friend today; a 4 year old who made me work for her love. As I walked her mother to the registration tent, I made every effort to win this young girls heart and all of which ended up in vain. As her mother’s card was being made, I played peekaboo as she used her mother as an invisibility cloak and won little giggles as she did so. By the end of her little adventure, I smiled and waved at her and she returned both. It is my biggest priority as it is for the others in my team to make sure each guest is left feeling happy and has been assisted in every way possible.
I was also able to taste the Langhar Khana (food of the Promised Messiah (May peace be on him) and the delicious roti fresh from the plant. It is funny how you do not even realise how hungry you are until you start eating but such is the blessing of Langhar Khana that your hunger is fixed as soon as it is noticed. Alhamdulilah. Tomorrow begins the real work and also the fun. Stay tuned and stay blessed.