By Amina Ali, London
According to the Promised Messiah, Hadhrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as), the purpose of the beautiful event that is Jalsa Salana is purely for spiritual enlightenment and the strengthening of bonds in the way of Allah the Almighty. He details in his writings the following:
‘The primary purpose of this Convention is to enable every sincere individual to personally experience religious benefits; They may enhance their knowledge and – due to their being blessed and enabled by Allah – The Exalted- their perception [ of Allah ] may progress.
Among its secondary benefits is that this congregational meeting together will promote mutual introduction among all brothers, and it will strengthen the fraternal ties within this Community…’
[Ishtihar 7 December 1892, Majmoo`ah Ishtiharat Vol. I, Page 34]
In looking at the wonderfully articulated explanation he provided the world, we can see that Jalsa Salana, wherever it may be held, holds a particular importance to each and every Ahmadi Muslim, with its lessons taking in route in the hearts of many regardless of religion or creed.
From the very first Jalsa Salana in 1891, wherein there was an attendance of only 75 people, there have been grand speeches praising our Holy Prophet (saw) and anecdotal stories providing insight in how to gain nearness to the Almighty. These speeches have taught and reminded Ahmadi Muslims what it means to be a true Muslim. These lessons are a reminder of what it means to be one united Jama’at under the banner of Islam, with our Holy Prophet (saw), our Promised Messiah (as) and our Ameer-ul-Mu’mineen Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad Khalifatul Masih V (atba), at their heart.
The Promised Messiah (as) stated:
‘It is essential for all those who can afford to undertake the journey, that they must come to attend this Convention which embodies many blessed objectives.
They should disregard minor inconveniences in the cause of Allah and His prophet (peace be upon him). Allah yields reward to the sincere persons at every step of their way, and no labour and hardship, undertaken in His way, ever goes to waste.
I re-emphasize that you must not rank this convention in the same league as other, ordinary, human assemblies. This is a phenomenon that is based purely on the Divine Help, for propagation of Islam.’
[Ishtihar 7 December 1892, Majmoo`ah Ishtiharat Vol. I, Page 341]
In his emphasis of the significance of the Annual Convention, the Promised Messiah (as) has aptly and beautifully shown us that unlike any other gathering of people, Jalsa Salana offers not only the attainment of Islamic knowledge, but the reward of Allah the Almighty in mere attendance.
For the duration of these three days, we each experience many emotions, some similar and some different from our fellow attendees. We strive to fill the void in our souls with the Noor of our Creator, akin to the Sunflower turning its head towards the bountiful warmth and light of the Sun.
In attendance of such a convention wherein Allah is the centre and it is His perfect religion that is being praised with love and awe, we each learn a great lesson which is that our sole purpose on this Earth is to serve and worship Allah as His dutiful and loving servants.