3 Days to Remember (The Last Jalsa Salana in Rabwah)

Today as the Jalsa UK 2013 is about to start , the mind is full of memories of moments spent. This time the focus of these memories is the Jalsa Salana that was held in Rabwah.

My memories are conflicted between two emotions, one is filled with the beautiful mements of Jalsa Rabwah and the second is the fire of longing that burns in my heart which is reignited when I start to remember, its like a thirst which cannot be replenished & the reason for that is, like so many others I am of that generation which has not witnessed the Jalsa Rabwah in its full glory. There are a few vague memories, which are blurred by the limitations of childhood.

Going through the streets of Rabwah when one passes in front of the different Langar Khanas in every Mohallah of Rabwah one cannot help but wonder at the hustle and bustle these places would have seen and what our elders tell us about.

1983. The last ever Jalsa held in Rabwah, the last time a populous of more than 250,000 made Rabwah their host. The rush in the streets of Rabwah, the staying of guests in different guest houses and homes and the arrangements to bring food to the houses and dinning areas must have been a spectacle to behold. Rabwah would be decorated like a poor man's bride.

When the buses would arrive at the Rabwah bus stop the guests would see beautiful gates and banners welcoming them and bestowing prayers of blessings on them ... they would hear Naraa'a Takbeer and gracious Khudam would help them unload their luggage and they would be taken to different guest houses.

Imagine the train arriving at the railway station which is totally booked for Rabwah and the crowded station resonates with the sound of Allah ho Akbar and Jalsa Salana Rabwah Zindabad. There is huge gathering at the Langar Khanas, food is being distributed on the basis of the Parchi (issued slips) considering the number of guests in homes. The wonderful aroma of Alo' Ghosht being prepared in Daigs.

What cool and tasty water, which would be presented in Abkhoras (the utensils made of clay), these would be prepared well in advance of the Jalsa by skilled craftsmen. A makeshift market would be set up in the Goal Bazaar area of Rabwah and the taste of that Samosa I ate then is still mouth watering.

Parali, hay stacks would be used to create comfortable sitting arrangements for the guests at the Jalsa Gah. The chilling December weather but the heat of the spiritual high outshines the sun. Masjid Aqsa is packed, the proceedings of the Jalsa are about to start. The Motorcade of the Khalifa of Islam enters the premises ... the air gets filled with deafening Nara a Takebeer. Huzoor's presence grace's the Jalsa Gah, a sea made of people stands up and this man of God reaches the stage.

Ahmadiyat ZIndabad... Mirza Tahir Ahmad Zindabad.... Jalsa Rabwah Zindabad... Mirza Ghulam Ahmad ki Jay.... echo in my mind.

The persecution of Ahmadis in Pakistan is at its peak, Saqib Zervi Sahib recites Do Ghari Saber Se Kaam Lo Sathiyo... which echoes through loud speakers and then in the final session, the Khitab of Khalifatul Masih touches every heart when he says with utter conviction in the words of the Promised Messiah ... Meri Sarisht main Nakami ka Khameer nahin... loosely translated (Failure is not a part of my being).

The Jalsa is ending with tearful prayers, a somber time for both guests and hosts. The caravans are leaving but hoping to return next year, little did they know that this was the last time their souls would enjoy such blissful spiritual enlightenment & even two generations after that they would still be unable to experience such a spectacular congregation. Sadder still soon after that the Khalifa of Islam had to migrate to London.

But that didn't stop Allah's design, in fact it was a blessing in disguise. Soon the cassette tapes of Khutabat and Jalsa Salana start arriving and the voice of the khalifa instead of being silenced, echoes in every Ahamdi's home. This Jalsa was to be not confined to Rabwah anymore it was to become global. In every continent, in every country.

The emergence of MTA to the delight of every Ahmadi in the world, reaching the corners of the earth and straight into their hearts. The advent of the internet and the social media makes us feel like we are a part of the proceedings.

But the streets of Rabwah still await their guests, to be graced by the presence of The Khalifa of Islam bringing back life giving happiness. The residents of Rabwah await to be really Masroor.

*The pictures don't represent exact moments
*Adopted from article written by Nasr Ahmad in Urdu


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