Celebrating 100 Years of Empowering Women

Women from around Aldershot and Farnborough celebrated the centenary of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Women’s Association, Lajna Ima ‘illah, by inviting local friends for dinner at St George’s Church, inĀ Badshot Lea. Lajna Ima’illah was started one hundred years ago by the then Khalifa and spiritual leader of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, His Holiness Mirza
Bashir-ud-din Mahmud Ahmad, on the advice of his wife Amatul Hai who was keen on the development and progress of women. At its launch, His Holiness said: “Aside from gaining personal and spiritual knowledge, henceforth the successful progress of the community is also dependent on efforts by women.”

From its small beginnings, the organistion has spread across the world and was permanently formed in the UK in 1957, growing from 34 members to more than 10,000 with branches across the country. The Aldershot branch of Lajna UK formally began in October 2010 and now consists of two growing branches with more than 200 members. Local Lajna were joined by Rushmoor Borough Councillors and other friends to mark the centenary and learn about the Lajna organisation and its work, including education, charity and community work, learning skills and building confidence and empowerment in its members.

Recent work by the group with the local community has included producing masks and PPE for NHS staff in the pandemic, planting a hedgerow, and supporting local charities and food banks. During a Q&A local Lajna members including presidents of Aldershot North, Farzana Luqman and Aldershot South, Dure Ajum Ahmad, talked about living as Muslim women in the area and how Lajna UK has changed over the years. Councillor Sophie Porter said on her research of the organisation: “These words really stuck out for me.”

‘Understand our efforts needed for the community’ and ‘know our community values and ability and use them for the betterment of the community and the world.’ ‘What a powerful purpose, share your values but doing so by supporting a community whilst really understanding its needs. Together, as a combined force for good to benefit the whole community, as women united, cohesive in our community.’ The evening was rounded off with dinner and guests were given gifts and celebration cake to mark the event. Lajna from Aldershot are joining those from across the UK in continuing to mark the centenary by education, working in the community, and planting trees as a productive way of celebration.