With Jalsa approaching at an exceedingly fast pace, talks about the weather and the guests that will be arriving have already started. However, something which may not be at the forefront of these conversations is all the work that gets put into the three days. With thousands of voluntary workers and months of preparation, let’s get a snippet of some of the duties that make Jalsa Salana the success that it is.
During the days of Jalsa, a major push is given to hospitality so that guests can feel at home and benefit fully from these three blessed days. One of the areas where this is key, is at Accommodation Baitul Futuh where Aneeba Mustafa is doing her duty for the fifth year now. Along with many responsibilities she has to pick up luggage from the entrance and drop it off to Tahir hall, help with anything guests may need and foremostly make the guests’ visit at Baitul Futuh the highest standard possible.
Some 5 miles away at the Jamaat’s international headquarters, the Fazl Mosque Reception Team play a significant role in welcoming delegates from around the world. They organize guests for Mulaqats with Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) and beloved Appajaan, set up chairs for the guests, offer them water, tea and biscuits and provide information and directions about Jalsa. The incredible teamwork and remarkable camaraderie between the team creates a happy atmosphere and allows the guests to have an extremely enjoyable time.
Najia Tahir Munir has Registration duty at Baitul Futuh on the days leading up to Jalsa and then at Hadeeqatul Mahdi during the three days in which she issues Aims Cards to the Jalsa attendees. With a post office style queuing system and professional cabins with TVs so that guests can watch the proceedings whilst waiting, a swift and stress-free service is ensured. Another extremely beneficial improvement that has been made in recent years is that Lajna Aims databases of countries such as Germany, Indonesia, and Canada etc are obtained well in advance, so attendees from those countries can use their own Aims Cards instead of creating new ones which creates a lot of ease.
As soon as you enter Jalsa, you may notice Jaziba Qamer busy at work scanning Jalsa Aims cards. She finds that the best part about doing her duty is knowing that she’s doing something for the Jama’at and she always looks forward to the second day to catch a glimpse of our beloved leader, Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) when he comes to the ladies side. Another out front is Saira Nasir, who is also part of the Aims card scanning team. They scan everyone’s Aims cards to ensure safety and make sure the details of each person match the face to ensure the safety of all guests.
Scanning Aims cards is just the first of the security process; as you step in further, you are bombarded with beeps and buzzes of the different work stations performing the various security procedures. You may catch a glimpse of workers like Naila Tahir Chaudhry who performs body searches and scans every single bag entering Jalsa. This airport style security is indeed for the protection of all the attendees enabling them to have a carefree enjoyable experience.
When there are more than 30,000 people in one place, keeping discipline is no easy task. Wareesha Ranjha, part of the Discipline Bairoon team says that her main duties include maintaining silence during the Jalsa proceedings, and making sure people are in the right place at the right time. The best thing about her duty is that she learns organisation and discipline skills which are beneficial lessons that can be used in other aspects of her life. Also an enjoyable moment of her duty is when it’s raining and kids jump and slide around in the mud; she finds it “hilarious to look at.”
Tayyiba Nasir channels her passions of working around children by doing discipline duty in the Mother & Child Marquee. Her main tasks include organising the marquee prior to Jalsa and maintaining order throughout the Jalsa proceedings. On the day, she finds it exciting to welcome little children and put a smile on their faces. Jalsa time can be quite stressful experience for mothers with young children, therefore Tayyiba Nasir finds it rewarding to help them out and make it easier for them. The best part about her duty is when someone says thank you, as she experiences happiness and satisfaction in being able to help others.
And of course, no Jalsa is complete without the little girls doing water duty. The utter dedication shown by the girls makes the Jalsa spirit contagious to all the attendees. Liza Gill with her partner Sabeeka Waseem, are some of the several girls that get jugs of water and go around the Jalsa Gah offering glasses of water to the guests. Liza and Sabeeka go to the chair area where the elderly sit as they find it a rewarding and pleasurable experience.
A main objective of Jalsa is to gain religious knowledge and one way this can be done is by touring the exciting exhibitions that depict the community’s international activities and other historical and educational stands. Alia Manzoor is really enthusiastic about the duty she will be doing at these popular exhibitions in which she will be taking Lajna guests on tours and answering any questions that they may have. She thinks that it will be a great learning experience for her as by giving tours to others, she will be increasing her own knowledge too.
After months of planning and making arrangements, and three lively action-packed days, what may be the greatest duty of all is transforming the temporary bustling city back to the original countryside fields. The wind up team work tirelessly to pick up any litter, pack up chairs, roll up carpets, and take down banners and posters, driven by their passion and dedication to restore the provisional urban setting back to the original rural landscape.
Here are just a few of the numerous devoted volunteers that put in commendable effort and energy into making Jalsa run smoothly. May Allah reward them for the zeal and enthusiasm they put into their work and enable them to carry on in the future. Ameen
By Kholood Tahir Munir