Just before Jalsa, while waiting to get my food from the langar, I managed to get a chance to speak with a Lajna member on the Ziafat team. I decided to do a quickfire Q and A with her. This is her brief story:

Me: Assalamo Alaikum. What is your name? What is your usual routine before Jalsa duties kick in?

RM: My name is Rakshanda Mahmood and I am a house wife with three children, so I barely have any spare time! I am also the Sadr of my Local Jamaat, Alhamdulillah. Believe me, juggling between the both is more than a full time job! But I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Me: Oh wow. Very busy lady! So how does life change in preparation for these three days. And what sacrifices do you have to make for Jalsa?

RM: The sacrifices Alhamdulillah are all gladly made. Everything is for the benefit of True Islam and to keep our many many guests as happy and comfortable as possible. I love trying the other foods available at the bazaar but we are unable to go there as it is all closed when we are winding down for the few hours between serving. 

Me: Ah, the struggles! But like you said, all is gladly sacrificed for a higher purpose. So what would you say is the best part of being on the Ziafat team and what would be the downside?

RM: The good side is that most of the Ziafat team is my family and relatives! A lot of us are in the same Jamaat so our duty is always together. It helps a lot when times get tense!  The downside is always the same every year that when you have 15,000 odd Lajna trying to get food, you will always have some unhappy customers. It is hard to keep everyone happy but we try our best, honest!

Me: I can imagine. The queues for the food marquee can stretch very far. So what do you wish to gain from this Jalsa?

RM: Prayers. Everyone’s prayers. And may Huzoor (atba)’s prayers of duty holders and the guests be accepted and may Allah enable us to fulfil our duties to the best. And at this note I must apologise as I have to run back to the duty!

Me: Of course, thank you for your time! Jazakallah.