By Alia Selby
Each year, thousands of guests attend Jalsa Salana UK from around the world, each with their own hopes, aspirations and desires for what they wish to achieve from this spiritual gathering. Some visitors come to strengthen their ties with their religion and community, others come to reignite their belief and passion for their religion and others come to find a source of contentment, a faith to follow that will give them the peace and contentment which their minds have been yearning for.
We were fortunate enough to speak with some guests who experienced Jalsa Salana UK last year, below are some of their thoughts about the gathering:
A guest from Guatemala stated said; “that he observed the practices of unity, love and affection at Jalsa which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) wished for. He said Jalsa was an illustration of the Hadith in which the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him) said that believers are like one body and any pain in one part of the body is felt by the rest of the body!”
With visitors to Jalsa representing from a wide range of countries and religions, the very essence of Jalsa is an inspirational and for some, a life changing, event. Being in the midst of such spirituality leads to some of our brothers and sisters from other faiths to converting because they fall in love with Islam after witnessing the unity, love and peace of our community. Throughout the years of Jalsa, many guests have spoken upon the emotional and spiritual impact that it has had on them:
A lady from Costa Rica said that “attending Jalsa was a unique experience and the mutual love of people of different ethnicities left a great mark”. She felt the spiritual atmosphere of international Bai’at was redolent of the time of the Holy Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be on him).
This year two Russian guests took Bai’at after observing the Jalsa atmosphere. Although guests from Guatemala, Chile and Costa Rica from South America did not take Bai’at during Jalsa, but it left a great mark on them and later on, during mulaqat with Huzoor they expressed regret at not taking Bai’at earlier and acknowledged they had recognised the truth and wished to take Bai’at. Thus, six people, four men and two women took Bai’at yesterday after Zuhr Prayer.
“A friend from the Philippines who took Bai’at last year came to Jalsa. He said he had found what he was looking for by attending Jalsa. God willing he now aims to spend the rest of his life as an Ahmadi Muslim. He felt the loving enthusiasm of the volunteer workers at Jalsa was commendable. He saw them work from morning till night and this wondrous experience won his heart over.”
These above quotes are but an example of the impact that Jalsa Salana has on our guests but it does not end there. Even our fellow Ahmadis have been affected by Jalsa Salana UK, such is power of it. One guest from the US saying that:
“While attending the 2008 International Ahmadiyya Muslim Convention in the UK, teeming with more than 40,000 people, I met with all of these personalities. The common thread, the overwhelming sentiment that flowed through every interaction, was that each person seemed humbled, grateful and expressed their excitement and connection to the Ahmadiyya community through our beloved leader Mirza Masroor Ahmad. Even with countless memories of my visit to the UK, two events made the greatest and most lasting impression; the first being the international bai’at and the second, meeting wither the leader of more than 220 million people worldwide. It is a minority community in comparison to the majority Sunni Muslims, but at that moment, nothing seemed larger. There were so many wonderful experiences throughout my entire time: volunteers working tirelessly to see that our every need was met, the kind faces of children who readily greeted you and offered assistance, the many expressions of love and hospitality; so many examples of kindness, how could I possibly forget?”