By Ehtesham Ahmad Arif
In 1891, the Promised Messiah (as) invited his followers to come to Qadian on 27th December to further expound upon the establishment of an Anjuman [organisation] which was explained in his treatise ‘The Heavenly Decree.’
Thus, seventy-five individuals congregated at Masjid Aqsa, Qadian before the Promised Messiah (as) and a meeting was held following Zuhr prayer. Several issues relating to the Anjuman [organisation] were discussed, including its members and at the manner in which the anjuman [organisation] should operate.
These were the humble beginnings of the Jalsa Salana of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in which only seventy-five companions of the Promised Messiah (as) participated. Thereafter, the Promised Messiah (as) announced that the Jalsa Salana would be an annual gathering.
Through various revelations, God Almighty revealed to the Promised Messiah (as) that many more people will be arriving to meet him. Thus, it was revealed:
یاتیک من کل فج عمیق۔ یأتون من کل فج عمیق
‘So many people will come to you that the track by which they come will deepen. And the help will come to you by every distant track, and such tracks will deepen by the travelling of the people who will walk on them.’
[Tadhkirah, p. 725]
In line with this grand prophecy, we see that during the lifetime of the Promised Messiah (as), the participants of Jalsa Salana grew as more and more people visited Qadian during the Jalsa days. The final Jalsa Salana during the life of the Promised Messiah (as) was attended by approximately three-thousand people. This number continues to grow each year.
What began as a few individuals discussing the propagation of Islam in a remote village in the Punjab, has now evolved into an internationally commemorated occasion. The Jalsa Salana UK, for example, is one of the biggest annual gathering of Muslims in the United Kingdom – with an average of forty thousand participants from around the world each year.
The proceedings are also televised through MTA International to the millions of Ahmadis across the globe who are eager to see Khalifatul-Masih blessing the Jalsas with his august presence.