By Ehtesham Ahmad Arif
By Ehtesham Arif
A tradition which has become an integral and key highlight of Jalsa Salana is the flag hoisting ceremony. This is when Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih graciously marks the beginning of the Jalsa by hoisting the Liwa-e-Ahmadiyya – otherwise known as the flag of Ahmadiyyat – followed by a silent prayer.
When the community marked its 50th anniversary in 1939, many proposals were raised regarding the inauguration of the jubilee. One such suggestion was that a standard flag of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community should be created, which should be formally hoisted by Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih II (ra).
Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih II (ra) took counsel from the scholars of the community regarding this suggestion; Hazrat Mir Muhammad Ishaq Sahib (ra) expressed that a flag was hoisted by the Holy Prophet (sa) on multiple occasions. Also, Hazrat Maulawi Syed Muhammad Sarwar Shah Sahib (ra) reminded everyone that the Promised Messiah (as) had witnessed a vision in which he possessed a flag.
Thus, the Second Khalifa (ra) instructed:
“A specific amount in paisas (one hundredth of a rupee) or even less, should be collected from particular companions (ra) of the Promised Messiah(as)and cotton should be bought from the sum of money, which should be handed over to the female companions (ra) for spinning and eventually to those companions (ra) who are tailors to prepare cloth from the yarn. Similarly, the companions (ra) should cut and clip suitable wood [for the mast] which should then be handed over to representatives of the Jama’at after being wrapped and this should be our first official flag. Thenceforth, it should be copied and reproduced. In this way, the values of the Jama’at shall be associated with it in a manner that the generations to come will surely be ready to present any kind of sacrifice for it.”
The features of Liwa-e-Ahmadiyyat which were approved by Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) are as follows:
– The flag was 18 feet long and 9 feet wide
– The colour was black
– A full moon and crescent were printed on opposite ends
– The Minaratul-Masih was included
– The verse و لقد نصرکم اللہ ببدر و انتم اذلة was included – “And Allah had helped you at Badr when you were weak” Ch 3:124
A five-foot high platform was built towards the north-western side of the stage of the jubilee. Hazrat Musleh Maud (ra) reached this platform and said that every person should pray the following:
ربنا تقبل منا انک انت السمیع العلیم
‘Our Lord, accept this from us; for Thou art the All-Hearing, the All-Knowing.’
(Holy Qur’an, 2:128)
Therefore, on 18th December 1939, the flag was hoisted for the first time.
Since that day, 82 years ago, it has been the tradition of the community to hoist a flag which is safeguarded by members of Khuddamul Ahmadiyya during Jalsa Salana and other special events carried out by the Jama’at.