DESPITE the lifting of pandemic restrictions on gatherings, Muslims from across Britain belonging to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community have taken a safety-first approach towards their annual convention.
Their annual Jalsa Salana, which normally attracts 35,000 people over three days to the convention site at East Worldham near Alton, was dramatically scaled down this year to just 4,000 capacity.
And it was supported by mini gatherings in towns and cities across Britain where transmissions from the main convention were sent via satellite TV.
Each delegate had to provide evidence of being double-vaccinated and a negative lateral flow test result. Social distancing was observed, and everyone wore masks.
Rafiq Hayat, president of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, said: “In addition to main Jalsa, every town and city in Britain where there are Ahmadi Muslims celebrated the occasion in their homes and in their mosques. It was a truly wonderful, uplifting, and spiritual occasion.
“As a community, we are founded on a mission of spreading peace and love, and this unique convention reinforces our commitment to be of benefit to society and to be of service to humanity.”
The highlight was the addresses by the worldwide head of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, the Caliph Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad.
Speaking about the concept of gratitude and the fulfilment of one another’s rights, he said: “It is a matter of fact that the rights of the different groups within society cannot be truly established until and unless it is realised that we are all created by One Supreme Creator and that we must also fulfil His rights.
“Fulfilling the rights of friendship should be for the sake of God and this alone can maintain true friendship. Friendships that are void of the love of Allah the Almighty are but temporary friendships.”
His Holiness also emphasised the need to safeguard orphans and to help care for the sick – so that their rights and needs are fulfilled as well, as required by Islam.
The annual convention of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community has been running for more than 100 years.
The community originated from India and is now established in more than 200 countries across the globe.
The Jalsa also received messages of support from faith and political leaders, including the main UK party leaders and Prime Minister Boris Johnson.