by Aalia Qureshi, London, UK
Thoughts of a Teenager
Once again, the dazzling, long-awaited season of summer among its incessant delights has at long last reached us. Another year has passed us by in the blink of an eye. And this can mean only one thing for the Ahmadiyya Community; the blessed Jalsa Salana – Annual Convention – is finally upon us! The endless wait has finally come to an end! Along with the anticipation for the coming 3-day spiritual festivities comes an onslaught of charming childhood memories: from losing my family in the seemingly infinite, vast marquees to running gleefully on the enormous, green fields with friends and family.
The purposes for which our beloved Promised Messiah (as) asked us to hold an annual Jalsa Salana are indeed plentiful: they consist of social interaction – building ties of kinship and friendship with our fellow Ahmadi sisters and brothers; spiritual improvement – to better ourselves in terms of our closeness to God and dedication to our faith as well as intellect – to advance our knowledge of the morals, principles and reasoning surrounding not only Ahmadiyyat but the very world itself such as politics, environmental issues to name but a few.
Personally, my favourite part of this annual convention is the Pledge of Allegiance held at the very hand of our beloved Khalifa Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, on the third and final day. The sensation of being connected to the entire Community, hand to shoulder, is like no other; utterly extraordinary. Moreover, the chorus of disparate languages unanimously translating our beloved Khalifa’s sacred words merges to form an otherworldly harmony and emanates an overwhelming sense of unity and devotion to Allah. Disparities overlooked, ethnicities disregarded, and hope of past sins forgiven we are all stripped down to our cores by his mere words: Ahmadi Muslims with one purpose – to worship Allah and lend a hand out to those in need of it for as long as we are on this Earth. The subsequent prostration following our renewal of faith is one of complete peace and harmony accompanied by a sense of rejuvenation and replenishment: a fresh start, a new beginning.
The notion that this entire convention is constructed with just the voluntary donations of us Ahmadis is absolutely astounding in view of the vast quantities of food prepared, the enormous amounts of provisions provided in addition to the intense manual labour put in for the ultimate Jalsa experience we all assuredly will receive. Even more so, the fact that our Jalsa Salanas are put together wholly by volunteers from the Community is outright phenomenal. Despite this, it would be naïve to lose sight of the fact that none of this would be feasible without the Grace and Help of Allah. We should all be indebted to Allah for bequeathing upon us with all His Grace and Wisdom the power and strength to organise and carry out this wonderful Annual Convention.