History of Jalsa
What is Jalsa Salana
Jalsa Salana (Urdu: جلسہ سالانہ) is the formal annual gathering of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community initiated by Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (May Allah be pleased with him).
Usually, the gathering spans over three days, beginning on Friday after the Friday Sermon. Typically, the flag hoisting ceremony is used to identify its commencement. Although there is a central, international Jalsa attended by Ahmadis from across the world, many of the countries hold their own national jalsas too, sometimes attended by the Hazrat Khalifatul Masih.
History of Jalsa Salana
From a mere attendance of 75 at the first ever Jalsa in Qadian to the unparalleled turnout of more than 30,000 in current years in the UK; the convention of Jalsa Salana has exceeded all expectations and achieved unbeatable milestones in the past 125 years. This tremendous progress is truly the product of the divine help from Allah the almighty and the bountiful blessings of Khilafat. Today many of us are accustomed to the various Jalsas that take place around the world but let us take a journey back to where it all began.
In May 1891 in a remote and unknown town in India called Qadian, under Divine inspiration Hazrat Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (as) announced that he was the Promised Messiah and Imam Mahdi awaited by all Muslims. Later on the same year the Promised Messiah (as) decided to hold the first Jalsa Salana and from then on the divine conventions of Jalsa Salana’s began.
After the partition, the community grew in size and number and Jalsa Salanas continued to be held in the town of Rabwah. These steadily increased in size and influence as even more Ahmadi Muslims gathered with the shared purpose to enhance their spiritual knowledge and to reaffirm their dedication to their Khalifa. In 1984, Ordinance XX was introduced by the government of Pakistan which denied Ahmadi Muslims the right to practice their faith. Due to these circumstances, the fourth Khalifa Hazrat Mirza Tahir Ahmad (ra) left Pakistan and migrated to the United Kingdom, moving the headquarters to Fazl Mosque London. The last Jalsa Salana held in Rabwah, in 1983, saw nearly 250,000 faithful Ahmadi Muslims attending and seeing one last time the face of their Khalifa in Pakistan.
Meanwhile, under the guidance of Khilafat the community was spreading across the world. Countries such as Ghana, Nigeria, Germany, Switzerland, Canada, United States of America, Fiji, Bangladesh, Australia, Singapore and many more held their own separate Jalsas and are continuing to do so every year.
Jalsa Salana History: “The big Jalsa”
During the first Jalsa Salana in 1891, the Promised Messiah (as) had announced that the newly initiated Jalsa would continue annually every 27th of December. Accordingly, in 1892, Jamaat members travelled to Qadian for the Jalsa Salana and partook of the Promised Messiah’s (as) blessed company.
“The Big Jalsa”
The Jalsa Salana of 1892 became known as “the big Jalsa” among those attending. Tareekh-e-Ahmadiyyat paints how this Jalsa was held next to the pond in Qadian, the stage was built from the mud collected from in and around the pond. The Promised Messiah (as) was sat upon the raised platform on which carpet had been laid, jamaat members were seated around him on the floor.
Jalsa Salana Programme 1892
The historical proceedings of the 2nd Jalsa Salana.
Tuesday, 27th December
The first speech was delivered by Hazrat Maulana Noorudin Sahib (ra) on the death of Jesus. Thereafter, Hazrat Syed Hamid Shah Sahib (ra) recited a Qaseedah before the audience. Then, the Promised Messiah (as) delivered a powerful lecture regarding a section of his book ‘Tauze e Maram’ that dealt with angles; Muslim clerics had raised objections against it. The speech had a profound effect upon those present.
The Promised Messiah (as) later also conversed with his companions after Zohar and Asr prayers.
Wednesday, 28th December - Shura
On this day, a Majlis-e-Shura was held to discuss plans for tabligh across Europe and America – approximately 40 prominent companions contributed and presented their ideas. The gathering decided to create a detailed leaflet portraying the beautiful teachings of Islam and distribute it for free in Europe and America. Counsel was also taken on building a press in Qadian, a list of those companions was also recorded who would contribute to this project.
Another proposal was concerning the initiation of a newspaper that would aid in spreading the teachings of Islam Ahmadiyyat. Maulana Syed Muhammad Ahsan Sahib Amrouhi (ra) was given the responsibility to promote this proposal across India and Punjab.
The aims and purpose of Jalsa Salana was discussed by Majlis-e-Shura and its organization was given structure; a committee was proposed who would take care of arranging Jalsa Salana. The proposal presented Hazrat Maulana Noorudin Sahib (ra) as the In-Charge.
The Shura concluded with prayers.
Tarikh e Ahmadiyyat vol. 1, pp.442-43
“The primary purpose of this Convention is to enable every sincere individual to personally experience religious benefits; They may enhance their knowledge and – due to their being blessed and enabled by Allah, The Exalted – their perception [of Allah] may progress. Among its secondary benefits is that this congregational meeting together will promote mutual introduction among all brothers, and it will strengthen the fraternal ties within this Community.”
Ishtihar 7 Dec. 1892, Majmoo`ah Ishtiharat Vol. I, Page 340
The 73rd Jalsa Salana USA will be held from
July 14th-16th, 2023.