Jalsa Salana Qadian: A Unique Spiritual Experience
Sidra Tul Muntaha
Women naturally look for equality and respect in the public sphere. We are living through these unfortunate times, when the moral standards of our society are falling apart. The feeling of being unsafe and insecure is something most of us can relate to. However, there are still places that provide equal space to women in terms of dignity and safety.
Today, I would like to share my experience of one such convention that I attended several years ago in India. As the end of the year comes close, a small village in India gets ready to celebrate 3 days of peace, equality, diversity, faith and spirituality. Today, the 3 day annual convention came to an end and I couldn't help but reminisce about the time I attended it several years ago.
Qadian is known to be the birthplace of the Promised Messiah, who’s advent was promised by Almighty in almost all religious scriptures in the later days. And people who believe that His Holiness Mirza Ghulam Ahamd of Qadian was that Promised Messiah. When the Promised Messiah Established Ahmadiyya Muslim community, a sect within Islam. Fulfilling the purpose of his coming, he reintroduced the true and beautiful teachings of Quran and Islam and in doing so, he advocated women rights to the highest degree. He announced a unique religious and spiritual event. Which was going to provide an equal opportunity to both men and women to attain higher moral and spiritual standards. The first ever annual convention of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community was held in December 1891 in Qadian. While only 75 people attended this convention, today, thousands of men, women, and children from across the globe attend this blessed event and it has turned into one of the oldest religious conventions today.
I started my journey as a pilgrim to attend this annual convention in 2015. Being an Ahmadi Muslim, it was a unique spiritual experience; walking on the same soil where a prophet of God walked, still gives me goosebumps. As a woman, it was more special to me for a number of reasons. I witnessed the true colors of equality and respect which Islam gives to women. I remember going to the house of the Promised Messiah also known as “Dar ul Massih” several times a day to offer prayers. Unlike many other public places, all the holy places in Qadian have visiting hours and schedules for both men and women sperately. Women only areas and women-only hours ensure safety for women and the ability for them to pray freely and comfortably. The amount of safety and security that I felt during my stay there was something that I only felt inside my own house.
Jalsa Qadian is a historic event and must be attended at least once in a lifetime to fully absorb the feel of equality, diversity and spirituality in a purely Islamic environment.
Sidra Tul Muntaha is a Toronto based photographer, writer and a community worker. She volunteers for @mtacanada. Follow her on twitter @SiddraaRana
Disclaimer: The views expressed in this paper are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Equal Entrance.