Muslims renew pledge to leader as Jalsa Salana festival concludes
Frederick Case, Guyana’s High Commissioner to the UK; flanked on the left by his wife Asian Rahaman and on the right by Guyana’s President of the Ahmadiyya Community, Aftabudim Nassir; and Ahsan Ullah Mangat, Missionary in Charge of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at GuyanaBy Devina Samaroo In LondonIn an emotionally charged ambiance, thousands of followers pledged their allegiance to His Holiness, Mizra Masroor Ahmad, as the golden jubilee of the Jalsa Salana rolled into its final day.The Jalsa Salana, also known as the annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community, is observed to promote a life of peace and righteous in accordance to the teachings of the Holy Quran.A key highlight of this yearly event is the spiritual moment when worshippers from across the world gather together to renew their pledge to His Holiness and the teachings of Islam.This year, the community recorded over 500,000 new followers, who joined the community between the period July 2015 to June 2016.During his closing address, His Holiness re-emphasised the need for peace among all mankind.He underscored the need for everyone to recognise each other’s worth and uphold each other’s rights.He reiterated that women’s rights to freedom ought not to be denied and that any attempt of deprivation must be strongly condemned and forbidden.His Holiness strongly denounced racial discrimination or discrimination of any form, and he called on everyone to do the same.Other notable speakers took centre stage to deliver messages of peace and encouraged the world to strive to establish justice and equality among humankind.Behind the scenesOver 5000 volunteers worked over a 28-day period to transform the vast fields into a magnificent tented village.In fact, the pooling of ideas and drafting of plans for the event commenced long before the physical work got underway.One of the main organisers and spokesperson of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, Farooq Aftab, explained that the members worked through day and night to ensure everything was smoothly executed for the three-day convention.“It’s a huge operation. We have men, women and children all involved who help in the erection of the marquis, logistics, car parking, and these are people from all over the United Kingdom. It’s a tremendous amount of work and we are all volunteers. We don’t get paid for this. The motivation is our religion,” he stated.He noted too that the work of the volunteers also continues even after Jalsa Salana concludes, as they have less than two weeks to dismantle the little village to get the land ready for farming purposes again, in keeping with the lease agreement. And shortly afterwards, the cycle repeats as planning stages kick off for the event next year.Expanding homeWhile the count of Ahmadis in Guyana stands at around 300, Guyanese High Commissioner to the UK, Frederick Chase, emphasised that the community needs to do more so its presence can be felt all throughout the country.“They need to get more among the Guyanese people, telling them about the religious organisation and how it promotes peace. That way, people are bound to become interested and they will participate,” he said.The High Commissioner was definitely inspired by the proliferation of messages promoting peace, love and harmony across various cultural divides.“The purpose of religious practices and religion is to promote peace, so whichever religion a person may belong, their religious mission is to promote peace,” he noted.He was also remarkably impressed by the friendliness of the people and joviality the entire atmosphere.