LARGEST ISLAMIC CONVENTION IN GREAT BRITAIN
Posted on July 25th, 2009

AHMADIYYA MUSLIM JAMA’AT – SRI LANKA 619/4, Baseline Road, Colombo 9, Sri Lanka.

The 43rd Annual Convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat UK began last Friday at the vast Oaklands Farm site in Alton known as “ƒ”¹…”Hadeeqatul Mahdi’. The event opened with the Friday Sermon delivered by His Holiness, Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad the world Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. In his address he spoke of the need for all Ahmadis to work towards improving the impression of Islam within the media and society at large. He said “ƒ”¹…”so called’ Muslims had hijacked the name of Islam for their own gain and because of this it was now falsely portrayed as a religion of hatred, rather than a religion of peace. His Holiness also addressed the first full session of the Jalsa, as did a number of external dignitaries.

 Hadhrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad began his Friday Sermon by explaining that the UK Convention had for the last 25 years attained the special importance of an “ƒ”¹…”international’ event because the Head of the Community, the “ƒ”¹…”Khalifa’, had lived in the UK since 1984. Thus the event was of particular significance and was always attended by thousands of people from countries all over the world. He said it was a shame that due to the un-Islamic acts of a few misguided persons and groups the peaceful message of Islam was being forever tarnished. He said that he always attempted to remove such misconceptions whenever the opportunity arose. He said:

 “Whenever I get the chance I always try to remove such misconceptions and inform the audience that Islam is a peaceful and loving religion and it was such teachings that the Promised Messiah gave to us.”

 His Holiness continued that Islam placed great importance on the rights of one’s neighbours and thus every Ahmadi Muslim must look after and care for those people who live nearby. He said that due to the large numbers attending the Convention, in previous years a few locals from the surrounding areas had found reason to complain. His Holiness said that this was unfortunate and that every Ahmadi Muslim should feel it their obligation to obey the local laws and rules and regulations so that no person would feel the need to register any form of complaint. He said that the purpose of the Convention (Jalsa) was to spread peace, not to cause difficulty or trouble. He also clarified the point that all Ahmadis attending the event must class the people of Alton and the surrounding towns and villages as their neighbours and so should treat them with love, respect and consideration.

 The weather during the Friday Sermon and prior to it was extremely poor. Heavy rain persisted and during the Sermon at times it felt as though the marquee was shaking. This also caused difficulty and resulted in some Ahmadis arriving late. However during the Sermon, His Holiness prayed for better weather and despite forecasts to the contrary for the rest of the day the rain ceased and was replaced by bright sun and blue sky.

 The traditional “ƒ”¹…”Flag Hoisting’ ceremony took place at 4.30 p.m (local time). His Holiness raised the “ƒ”¹…”Liwa-e-Ahmadiyya’ which is the Flag of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat. This was followed by the raising of the Union Jack as a means to manifest the loyalty of the Jamaat in the UK towards the country and its people.

 The first full session began thereafter and was initially addressed  by Tom Brake the Lib Dem MP for Carshalton and Wallington; by Paul Burstow the Lib Dem MP for Sutton and Cheam; by Justine Greening the Conservative MP for Putney and by Baroness Emma Nicholson a member of the House of Lords and a long standing human rights activist. Each of the guests took the opportunity to congratulate the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community on the occasion of the Convention and to commend the Jamaat for its continued peaceful message and humanitarian relief.

 His Holiness thereafter took to the stage at 5.15pm and delivered an hour long address in which he spoke of the importance of righteousness which he defined as being attained through the worship of God Almighty and through service to humanity. Events such as the Jalsa Salana were an effective way of fostering ties of love and tolerance. He said:

 “When we look at the current situation in Pakistan all we see is so much blood shed in the name of religion. Islam, which is the religion of love and peace, is being shown to be a religion of extremity and terror. Those who are adverse to religion itself are benefitting from these events. Yet although we see division at every level, Ahmadi Muslims are certainly an exception. We hold gatherings (such as this) for purely spiritual reasons in every country of the world.”

 The session concluded with a silent prayer before the thousands of Ahmadis dispersed to their various locations. Some were camping at Hadeeqatul Mahdi, some had booked hotels nearby, and others were commuting, whilst some were still looking for a place to spend the night. All though felt the same excitement that is felt each year upon the arrival of the Jalsa Salana. One person described the event as “ƒ”¹…”unique’ whilst another who had travelled from Ghana said he already felt a sense of “ƒ”¹…”spiritual upliftment’.

 This three-day Convention will include a world-wide Initiation (Bai’at) Ceremony that is held every year at the time of Annual Convention in which large numbers of people from different countries gather at some places in their respective countries and then via satellite take an oath of allegiance at the hand of the Caliph of the Ahmadfiyya Muslim Community Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad  This historical ceremony is to be held on Sunday the2 26th July 2009 (last day of the Convention) at 5.30 P.M. local time. Ahmadi Muslims across the country assembling in their mosques situated at Colombo, Negombo, Pasyala and Polonnaruawa and taking part in this Initiation Ceremony via MTA (Muslim Television Ahmadiyya) “”…” Community’s FREE satellite TV.   

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