By Talat Syam
One aspect of the Jalsa is the Langar Khana (public kitchen), where the volunteers of the Jama’at spend their time making delicious hot food to serve the guests of the Promised Messiah (as) at Jalsa. Many volunteers spend these days making Daal(lentils), Aloo Ghosht (potatoes with meat) and of course the dietary food such as pasta and rice. This is a very important aspect of the Jalsa Salana as food and hospitality is a vital part of Islam and honouring guests of the Promised Messiah (as) with delicious food is a blessing and duty upon us all.
In 1874 the Promised Messiah (as) saw an angel in the guise of a handsome young boy, who was seated on an elevated platform. In his hand he was holding a pure delicious loaf of bread, which was four times the original size. He gave this to the Promised Messiah (as) and said:
“this is for you and for the dervishes who are with you”
(Nuzulul-Masih, pp. 206–207, Ruhani Khaza’in, vol. 8, pp. 584–585)
This was a most significant dream, it prophesied an ever-expanding institution; the Langar Khana which was established to serve all those who came to Qadian. Today it is this very langar, established by the Promised Messiah (as), that is still in operation that serves the guests of the Jalsa Salana.
The Promised Messiah (as) initiated the public kitchen for this very purpose, and called it an important matter among other important matters. Today wherever the community is established there is a Langar Khana in operation
Seeing the financial blessings bestowed upon the community by Allah the Almighty, it is difficult to imagine the humble beginnings of the Langar Khana.
It started from the house of the Promised Messiah (as). Hazrat Nusrat Jahan Begum Sahiba, the wife of the Promised Messiah (as). She used to prepare food for all visitors and guests who used to come see the Promised Messiah (as). This was in accordance to the teachings of the Holy Prophet (sa). It is narrated that the Holy prophet (sa) said that:
مَنْ کَانَ یُؤْمِنُ بِاﷲ وَالْیَوْمِ الْاٰخِرِ فَلْیُکْرِمْ ضَیْفَہٗ
The one who believes in Allah Almighty and the Judgement Day should honour and respect guests.
(Sahih al-Bukhari, Kitabul Adab 6019)
The Promised Messiah (as) would join his guests for the meals arranged in his own house however, the number of guests increased day by day and it was not possible for him to always participate. Allah the Almighty commanded the Promised Messiah (as) that “do not turn away from the servants of Allah and do not tire of people”.
The Promised Messiah (as) has written in his book ‘Victory of Islam’, the five branches of spreading the message of Ahmadiyyat, and one of them is the establishment and maintenance of the Langar Khana.
Today the members and guests enjoy the hospitality of thousands of volunteers at the annual conventions. Over the course of three days, people are served with three meals per day. Volunteers who are serving the guests of the Promised Messiah (as) only expect to be rewarded by Allah the Almighty.