On a cool and balmy autumn morning, the 23rd Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Australia commenced on Friday the 6th of April 2007 at Baitul Huda Mosque in Sydney. It was not the official opening of the Convention as this was scheduled for the afternoon after Friday prayers, but the Inspection started the full swing activities of the Convention. After last year’s historic and memorable visit of the Worldwide Leader of the Ahmadiyya Community, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad, Khalifatul Masih V (aba) during the 22nd Jalsa Salana, there was still an air of sadness of missing him among the members of the Community, but you could feel that the ever-lasting memories from last year would further motivate people for this year and that by the Grace of Almighty Allah, this year’s Convention would be a great success.
The Ameer and Missionary-Incharge of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community of Australia, Mahmood Ahmad Shahid began the inspection of the various departments involved in the Jalsa Salana at 10:06am. The National President of the Ahmadiyya Community of New Zealand, Dr. Mohammed Shorab, who was also present for this year’s Jalsa accompanied Ameer Sahib during the Inspection along with the Afsar Jalsa Salana, Mohammad Sarwar Shah and the rest of the Jalsa planning team.
The first stop on the inspection tour was the registration department, where the scanning of the registration cards was shown via the computerised system that was once again in use this year. The car-park was visited and then the inspection team met with the security team. Next, the reception, information, lost & found, accommodation, transport and first-aid departments were inspected. The next stop on the tour was the bookstall, where a large number of newly arrived books from London and Qadian were also displayed among others. The computerised sale system similar to last year was used again. Dr. Shorab commented on the impressive presentation of the books.
The inspection team then made their way to the ablution area and the portable toilets. The rest-area for the kitchen staff was inspected and then they met the maintenance and preparation team, which included the electricity and plumbing teams. The pot cleaning area was the next department inspected where after the inspection team entered the ‘Langar Khana’ (food preparing department) and had a look at the kitchen facilities. Upon entering the kitchen, the smell of the food hit you straight away and once Ameer Sahib and Dr. Shorab tasted lentils (daal) and naan roti (bread), you could tell that the food tasted as good as the smell. After this, the store was inspected, which included food and other supplies. The food serving team were then introduced and before entering the mosque, the main eating area was checked out.
The hygiene and cleaning team was the first team to meet the inspection entourage at the entry of the mosque. This was followed by the inspection of the gents Jalsa Gah (the convention auditorium) set in the upstairs hall of the mosque. After this, the MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya) office and studio was examined, where the live editing and recording studio was also inspected. During the inspection tour, the inspection team met with all the volunteers and assistants working in each department.
Finally, the inspection team met with the website reporting team, without which you would not be reading this report. Ameer Australia proudly introduced the web team to Ameer News Zealand. This brought an end to the inspection tour at 11am.
The Friday Sermon commenced at 1:30pm with Chaudhry Khalid Saifullah speaking on the rights and duties of humans towards God and towards other human beings. He highlighted some of the does and don’ts for the members of the Ahmadiyya Community and then advised everyone to seek the blessings of this Jalsa and bring about a permanent change of thinking and attitude towards others. Friday prayers were offered after the sermon where after everyone made their way outside the mosque for the flag hoisting ceremony.
Flag Hoisting Ceremony
The 23rd Annual Convention was officially commenced at 2:16pm with the flag hoisting ceremony. The Ahmadiyya Jamaat flag was raised by worthy Ameer Australia, Mahmood Ahmad Shahid and the Australian flag was hoisted by Manzoor Qadir Khan, President of the Community in Adelaide. During the hoisting of the flags, religious slogans were chanted. Conditions were still overcast as they had been for most of the day and a cool breeze was blowing across making the flags flutter quite strongly, but the sight of the two hoisted flags with the beautiful mosque in the backdrop was quite striking.
Before we continue, it would be appropriate to reiterate the readers of the objectives of the Jalsa Salana in the words of the Promised Messiah (as), the Holy Founder of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community:
“The major aim of the gathering is that the sincere members of the Jamaat should be able to drive religious benefits and at the same time they should acquire more knowledge and advance in their God realisation. One advantage is that meeting their friends will broaden their circle of brotherhood and it will strengthen the mutual ties.”
The first and opening session of the Jalsa Salana began at 3:00pm by the blessings of Almighty Allah and was chaired by Dr. Mohammed Shorab, the President of the Ahmadiyya Community of New Zealand. The session started with recitation of the Holy Quran and its English translation by Hafiz Sohail Arshad. This was followed by a religious poem (nazm) beautifully delivered by Idress Ahmad Khan.
The sequence of speeches commenced initially with Dr. Mohammed Shorab’s inaugural speech in English. He firstly conveyed many congratulations and best wishes to the Australian Jamaat on behalf of the whole New Zealand Jamaat. He then reminded the audience to constantly spend time during the Jalsa in the remembrance of Allah and to carry out all actions in order to seek the pleasure of Allah. He stressed the importance of the five daily prayers and the tahajjud prayer as ways to attain closeness to Allah. Spiritual growth and development are also necessary for every person throughout his life. He advised everyone to pray for the success of the Jalsa and that Allah may grant His blessings to all of the attendants, volunteers and guests of this Holy Gathering.
The 2nd speech was also in English and was delivered by Khalil Sheikh on the topic of ‘Our God.’ The speaker highlighted various verses from the Holy Quran to prove the existence of God. He further explained that to learn about God you need to learn and know His many attributes, which are His perfect names are in unlimited in number. He recited chapter 112 of the Holy Quran that explains the true essence of the unity of God. He ended his speech by mentioning some of the writings of the Promised Messiah (as) in regards to the existence of the one and only God, Allah.
The 3rd and final speech of the first session was by Maulana Masood Ahmad Shahid in Urdu on the topic of ‘Characteristics of Prophet Mohammad (PBUH).’ He began by stating that Prophet Mohammad (PBUH) preached tolerance and brotherhood 1400 years ago and after the ‘hijrat’ from Makkah to Medina, he formed an agreement with the non-Muslims, in which it was established that everyone should have religious independence regardless of their faith. The speaker further elaborated various characteristics of the Holy Prophet (PBUH) throughout his speech.
With the conclusion of the 3rd speech, Dr. Shorab ended the opening session with silent prayers at 4:40pm.
This was the opportunity for members from around the country who had travelled to Sydney from various cities, such as Canberra, Bundaberg, Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide to meet with each other increase their bond of brotherhood. During this time, the first session of Majlis-e-Shura (the advisory body) also began at 5:00pm leading up to Maghrib and Isha prayers at 6:30pm. Dinner was then served at 7:00pm and after that most of the members of the Community decided to get some rest to re-energise themselves for 2nd day of the Jalsa Salana. The members in the Majlis-e-Shura met once again at 8:00pm for the second session that went on for a couple of hours before the 1st day of the 23rd Annual Convention came to a successful end.
Syed Tariq Ahmad and Hassan Bashir reporting
Ahmadiyya Australia News Team
Day 1 - From Ladies Vantage Point
By the grace of Allah, Friday the 6th of April was the begining of the proceedings for the 23rd Jalsa Salana 2007. With an overcast morning the carpark was filled with number plates from different states within the country. This along with tents and colourful banners symoblised a familiar atmosphere one of memories that only 12 months ago our beloved spiritual leader had walked upon this soil and blessed us with his presence. Ladies and girls could be seen in addition to their male counterparts preparing for the 3 days event ahead. On this particular day Inspection was to be held by the Missionary Incharge and national Ameer (President).
People began to enter for the days activities after 9:00am with the reception and hospitality teams there in full force to greet them and to provide them with breakfast. All duty holders as wel as interstate guests could be seen mingling and greeting one another.
Around 11:00am, the Inspection team made their way from the Men's area to be greeted by the President of Lajna Imaillah, the Women's Auxiliary and her team. They made their way through the mosque from the main hall to the area reserved for mothers with younger children. After inspecting the registration and childcare tents. The delegation made its way through to the exhibition tent. This was a showcase of the hardwork and effort put in by the female members of the community throughout the entire year. Some peices of work were handmade which would later be judged in the annual competition. The delegation then entered the hospitality area and then the stroller marque and made their way back to the Men's area.
Lunch was served at noon, with Friday prayers soon after.
The first session began with the flag hoisting and then the ladies were directed to the main convention hall for the remainder of the session. The session lasted for approximately three hours begining with the recitation of the Holy Quran. After that a mixture of speeches and poems were read and the session was concluded wuith silent prayers.
Reported by News Team - Ladies & Families
Signing off Ahmadiyya Australia Technical Team at 12.30am - See you again tommorrow with the proceedings of Day 2
( - 06.04.07)