The 51st Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in the United Kingdom concluded on Sunday 30 July 2017 with a powerful and faith-inspiring address by the World Head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph), His Holiness, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
More than 37,000 people attended the Jalsa Salana, which took place at Hadeeqatul Mahdi in Alton, Hampshire.
Apart from the thousands of Ahmadi Muslims who participated, many non-Ahmadi and non-Muslim guests also attended. The entire event was also broadcast live on MTA International and streamed online.
A highlight of the three-day Jalsa Salana was the pledge of allegiance, known as Bai’at, that took place on Sunday afternoon, where the participants pledged allegiance to Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad as the Fifth Khalifa (Caliph) of the Promised Messiah (peace be upon him). The participants formed a human chain leading to the Khalifa as they repeated the words of the pledge in unison.
Prior to the ceremony, His Holiness announced that more than 600,000 people had joined the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community during the past year from all around the world. He further announced that the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was now established in 210 countries.
During his concluding address, His Holiness spoke of the consequences of the negative publicity Islam received in much of the world and how the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community sought to counter the false narrative being perpetuated.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“When we Ahmadi Muslims around the world stand up and tell people about Islam’s true message of peace, the response invariably is one of surprise. People are shocked to see what Islam truly represents having previously only known what they had been fed by the media. Sadly, the majority of media outlets focus solely on the actions of a tiny minority of extremists and have perpetuated the myth that Islam, God forbid, is a religion of violence to the extent that those living in remote villages in Africa and even those living in developed countries like America, express similar negative views about Islam.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad continued:
“The reality is, and always will be, that Islam’s teachings are the true guarantor of peace in the world. The word Islam literally means peace and security and so Muslims are taught to manifest peace to all peoples from all walks of life. Islam denounces all forms of distinction based on creed, caste or colour and states that all people, no matter where they hail from, are born equal. Indeed, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) categorically proclaimed that no Arab bore superiority over a non-Arab and nor was there any difference between the people of any differing race or ethnicity.”
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad further said:
“According to Islam, God has sent prophets to every nation and Muslims believe in all of the prophets of God. This unique point illustrates that no faith can rival Islam’s commitment to religious freedom and tolerance. Regrettably, people of other faiths may speak against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), however a Muslim is, and always will be, compelled to respect and believe in the founders and prophets of all other religions and to never speak against them. Whilst other people use vile terms against the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), Muslims at the same time send salutations of peace on the prophets and founders of other religions. This is the true Islam.”
To further explain Islam’s teachings regarding religious tolerance, His Holiness quoted chapter 6 verse 109 of the Holy Quran which states:
“And revile not those whom they call upon beside Allah, lest they, out of spite, revile Allah in their ignorance. Thus unto every people have We caused their doing to seem fair. Then unto their Lord is their return; and He will inform them of what they used to do.”
Refuting those who sought to justify their hateful terrorist acts in the name of Islam, His Holiness stated that the Quran categorically stated that there should be no compulsion in religion. He said that Allah the Almighty had forbidden the Holy Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) from using any force or compulsion in order to spread Islam and, given this, how could it be possible for any Muslim to be given a licence not afforded to the Prophet of Islam (peace be upon him) himself.
During his address, His Holiness condemned the trading of arms and said that Western powers were fuelling wars in the Muslim world by selling weapons to certain Muslim countries or providing them to certain rebel groups.
His Holiness said that Muslim countries did not have the capability to produce the sophisticated weapons that were ruining their countries and they were being imported from abroad. Such weapons were ending up in the hands of terrorists and extremists and causing destruction and devastation.
His Holiness also gave a comprehensive response to those who questioned why the early Muslims engaged in warfare. His Holiness made it clear that all wars fought during the period of the Holy Prophet (peace be upon him) and his four rightly guided successors were defensive wars fought to defend the principle of universal religious freedom.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“It can never be said with any justification that Islam is a religion that destroys peace of the world or that it wishes to destruct places of worship of other religions. Those who engage in such heinous activities – for example destroying churches or famous historical religious sites – are acting entirely against the teachings of Islam. Let it be clear that Allah the Almighty will not reward them with a place in heaven, rather He will reserve a place in hell for those who engage in such evil.”
Concluding his address, His Holiness said that Islam alone provided the solutions to the world’s problems.
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad said:
“The world has exhausted all worldly means and schemes in order to establish peace but sadly these efforts have all desperately failed. Rather, we see how disorder, hatred and conflict have continued to burn and escalate. The truth is that until the world adopts true Islamic principles of love and justice at all levels of society they will not be able to achieve peace. The means to peace are to recognise One’s Creator and to serve humanity.”
The Jalsa Salana concluded with a silent prayer led by His Holiness.
During the 3 day convention, His Holiness delivered five addresses and various other scholars gave addresses expounding upon Islam’s true teachings.
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