Today was the last day of the Annual Convention, and this signals not only the end of two and a half days worth of speeches, poems and Quran recitations, but the end of our journey and our last submission on the Jalsa Australia 2005. There will never be a 21st Annual Convention again, and it is fitting to wrap up our thoughts overall, as well as providing our usual entertaining summary of the day.
We shall start with the latter first.
In the first session, we have guests today - the Director of the Refugee Council and the Federal MP for Greenway were two of them. There were four speeches, a poem and a recitation of the Holy Quran.
The first speech by Mr Khalid Saifullah Khan saheb, naib Ameer Australia was about secularism and its compatibility in government with religion The speech explored the various shades of secularism to conclude that it was possible for an open, tolerant state to exist and hold principles which overlap with religion so long as religion plays a co-operative role. Religion should never be imposed on other people. He gave the example of the Covenant of Medina, which worked towards absolute justice and recognised each individual's right to be governed by their own customs and religious practices.
The second speech by Ehsanul Haque Alvi was about Jihad - quite fitting in the current climate - and outlined the various types: Jihad with the self, Jihad against Satan, and finally Jihad for freedom of conscience. The last of the three is the lesser Jihad and may involve the use of weapons but can never be used to attack others or impose a persons personal religious practice upon any other.
The advent of the Promised Messiah (AS) signaled the end of this type of Jihad. Even when the early Ahmadi's were being attacked, he asked his followers to respond not with violence or armed resistance, but with supplication (prayer) - this included praying for the oppressors.
It was at this point that two of our guests spoke. The first guest was Louise Markus who is Federal Member for Greenway. She said that she has a strong faith and believes in strong family. She wants to serve the community well and be to be compassionate to people needing help. She also stressed on loving fellow beings and valuing each other's differences.
The second speaker was the Director of Refugee Council Australia Ms Margaret Piper. She said that this Jalsa gives her the opportunity to learn more about her country, and the history and faith of all people. She appreciates the work done by the Jamat to help those who are overseas.
Next was Zahoor Rasool Butt, with a speech about the role of women in Islam. He stated that there was spiritual equality between men and women, but obvious physical characteristics created different roles for them. For example, child bearing is obviously something only women are capable of, whilst activities requiring lifting of heavy objects is something men are better equipped to do. Men must safeguard women's rights.
Last But Not Least ...
Finally, Dr Riaz Akbar spoke before our lunch break telling us about services to humanity that has been offered by Jamat Ahmadiyya since its founding. He gave a number of statistics and emphasised the need for us all to contribute and help out, citing many examples from the life of the Promised Messiah (AS). He seemed to have enormous information to offer however, limited time did not permit him present valuable collection he researched for today.
Lunch and Concluding Session
After this it was time for lunch. We went down to the tent and ate a hearty meal. Afterwards, it was time for Namaz before the final session where we sat and listened to Ameer saheb's closing address.
Ameer Saheb stressed on better communication between individuals of the Jamat. Also the individual families need to develop better relations among their members. Particularly, the quality of relation between the parents plays pivotal in shaping up the personality of the children. He also stressed on the need to document every business and social deal that happens between the members of the Jamat. It would help to refer back to original understanding more precisely whenever it is required. It will also assist Jamat to resolve issues among the members requested for.
He also announced opening of this website Ahmadiyya.org.au. He prayed and hoped that it will serve Jamat to the best of its capacity in future. He also indicated that the next Annual Convention is expected to be a special occasion in the history of Jamat Australia and every member needs to plan its special preparation well in time.
The Session and the Convention both concluded with silent prayer lead by respected Ameer Saheb.
Our final thoughts? Over the years we have noticed the steady increase in numbers attending each Jalsa and the quality of speeches significantly improved. Hassaan had never been to an Australian Jalsa before, but he thoroughly enjoyed his experience.
Gulfam Ahmed and Hassaan Bashir.
Assalam-o-alaikum wa rahmatullah
Today was the last day of Jalsa Salana. We waited for this Jalsa all year round and then it goes by so quick, it's over just like that.
Today I'll tell you a little about our children's marquee and our Lajna's exhibition marquee. I will also write briefly on some of the feed back from our special guests I got.
In the children's marquee there were 91 children. They have a large range of activities for these children to keep them busy all day, while their mothers enjoy the Jalsa. The sort of activities they had were painting, playing with play Dow, they had a large range of toys that were donated by members of the Jamat. They also had activities where the children would tell everyone where they came from and what they like the most about the Jalsa.
The children's marquee had 10 helpers that were from young Lajna. The children also had snake time, where they had sandwiches, cookies and juice. The children were kept busy all three days and enjoyed being in the children's marquee. But most of all, all the mothers were very happy.
The ladies exhibition marquee had a variety of stuff, such as clothing, artificial jewelry, bangles, shoes, craft items like mugs that were decorated or key holders etc. They also had a publications table where they sold nazam CDs and tapes as well as books. They also had photographs of our beloved Hazur, some framed and some on its own.
The stalls of items were set by each halqa in Sydney. The interstate members that attend our Jalsa also had there stalls. This exhibition marquee was great fun, preparing for it as well as shopping in it.
Talking to Our Special Guests
I had an opportunity to talk to for our website audience to our special guests that have come all the way from Singapore especially for our Jalsa. All four ladies told me that they really enjoyed their stay here in Australia and also very much enjoyed the Jalsa Salana. They say that the Jalsa was well organized and that they were very impressed. They also told me that they were very grateful for all the hospitality they received and loved the people here.
Mrs. Nusrat Johan Mahammod was saying how she did not know what to expect from the Jalsa Salana, Australia, but saw that it was very nice and well organized.
Mrs. Halimah Mahammod, the National Sadr of Lajna Imaullah of Singapore, was telling me how she loved it here and that the Jalsa program were very good, as well as the speeches. She was saying, she will miss all of us here in Sydney and got very emotional while saying this to me.
We pray for their safe journey back to Singapore and also pray that they will be back to visit us again and soon. Inshallah
I, myself enjoyed all three days of the Jalsa from the speeches and nazams to the meeting and greetings of others. But most of all I love the lively and happy atmosphere of the Jalsa Salana. Now we're all waiting for next year. Inshallah!
In the best of your prayers, please remember me and also my fellow Editor Afsha Ahmedi, who is visiting abroad now a days. Jazakomullah!
Assistant News Editor (Lajna), Ahmadiyya Australia website
Reporting from Lajna Jalsa Gah
Thanks for joining us on this auspicious occasion of Jalsa Australia 2005. We also look forward to broadcast highlights of the coming important events of the Jamat Australia.
Please do not forget the Ahmadiyya Australia team in your prayers.
Good bye and Allah Hafiz for now!