Sunday, July 30, 2017

Perspective: Jalsa is a joyous gathering | Abrahim Rehman


As you make your way to the large sitting prayer area, there are several department stalls to answer any question you might have about that particular subject.

Times of Ahmad | News Watch | US Desk
Source/Credit: Times Union
By Abrahim Rehman | July 28, 2017

This month, I took a six-hour car ride down to Harrisburg, Pa., to be a part of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community's 69th national convention.

Known as Jalsa Salana USA, the three-day gathering is the nation's longest-running Muslim convention. With over 70 local chapters in 30 states, there were 8,700 people in the Farm Show Complex and Expo Center from virtually every region of the country along with people from 34 different countries.

Those who have attended Jalsa are aware of the rich environment it offers, and don't want to miss out on the experience. In fact, every year some non-Muslim friends from the Capital Region come along as guests to see the brotherhood and sisterhood that go along with Jalsa, where people of all races, creeds and ethnicities embrace one another, whether they are old-time comrades or brand-new friends.

The convention starts on a Friday, the holy day of the week. When you walk in, young men and women greet you and take security measures to make sure that everyone is safe and accounted for in the system. The men proceed to a separate hall from the women during the duration of the event in order to provide a comfortable environment for both sexes. As you make your way to the large sitting prayer area, there are several department stalls to answer any question you might have about that particular subject. Also, you will see volunteers running around doing different tasks that go along with this large-scale event.

Many arrive before 2 p.m. to take part in the Friday prayers, known as the Jumma proceedings, this year led by Imam Azhar Haneef.

The convention consists of four main activities: gathering for the five daily prayers, listening to inspirational speeches, engaging in conversations with people from far and wide and, of course, eating good food.

Founded in 1889, the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community is an international movement within Islam with millions of members in over 200 nations. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community USA was established in 1920 and is among the oldest American-Muslim organizations. It is the only Islamic organization to believe that the messiah has come in the person of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad, of Qadian, India, who lived from 1835-1908. The community believes that God sent Ahmad, like Jesus, to end religious wars, condemn bloodshed and reinstitute morality, justice and peace.

This year, the convention's central theme was "Absolute Justice, Kinship, and Kindness," which is a solution given by the Quran for creating much-needed peace in the world today.




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