Liputan6.com, Alton – In the last week of July 2023, the Ahmadiyya community in England set up their largest annual meeting: Jalsa Salana. More than forty thousands people from around 100 countries attended the grand event. It was the first Jalsa Salana after COVID-19 pandemic is easing.
The Hadeeqtul Mahdi area in Oakland Farm, Alton, once again became the location of year Jalsa Salana. Two vast tents were prepared, one for men, another for female members of the Ahmadiyya community.
This year’s Jalsa Salana took place on July 28-30, and the strong enthusiasm could be felt on the first day. The traffic to the area was congested, it took five hours from the usual 40 minute to reach Hadeeqtul Mahdi, and some participants opted to just walk.
After the Friday prayer, the organizers hoisted the flags of various countries to welcome their international guests. And that also signified the start of Jalsa Salana 2023.
In his opening remark, the fifth Khalifa (Caliph) of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community Mirza Masroor Ahmad reminded the Ahmadi Muslims to live simply, humbly, and avoid arrogance. He said that simplicity is the true branch of true wealth.
Jalsa Salana itself is not a substitute for Hajj. Senior members of Ahmadiyya in Indonesia said this event was to strengthen the strong bonds in their religious community.
“Umrah and Hajj are in Mecca. That is irreplaceable. Jalsa Salana is the momentum of silaturahmi that shows the Islamic ukhuwah from all over the world,” said the Emir of Ahmadiyya Muslim in Indonesia.
“Silaturahmi” means connection and “ukhuwah” means kinship, both are popular terms among Indonesian Muslims.
Ahmadiyya invited some people as observers. And for the first time ever, the organizers also invited journalists from Indonesia. However, doing coverage at Jalsa Salana 2023 was not a smooth sailing. The main challenge was communication because of the lack of signal. WhatsApp was unworkable, and sending photos and videos was not possible.
Taking photos in the female section was strongly prohibited due to privacy and security issues. There were many people who came from countries that still persecuted the Ahmadiyya.
One of the prominent guests from Indonesia was the head of the Religious Harmony Forum from Middle Java Province, Taslim Syahlan.
“As a non-Ahmadiyya, I witnessed two things. First, our brothers and sisters of Ahmadiyya are clearly Muslims. The people from 100 countries are saying shahadat together. And that shahada is exactly the same as the one that I say. The Al-Quran is also the same as I usually read,” said Taslim.
Taslim also noticed the friendliness and generosity of the Ahmadi Muslims. He was reminded by a verse from Surah Al Hujurat verse 10 from Al-Qur’an that says believers are brotherhood members.
Furthermore, Taslim saw the inclusivity during the event as the invited speakers came from non-Muslims.
“At least 70 percent of Indonesians know Ahmadiyya,” Taslim explained. “That doesn’t mean they need to join, the important thing is they accept Ahmadiyya as Muslims.”
An Indonesian researcher from the National Research and Innovation Agency (BRIN) Ahmad Najib Burhani also came to the event, and it’s not his first. He went to the Ahmadiyya event in Singapore three times, in Qadian once, and multiple times in Indonesia.
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