Danila Jonnud, Aldershot
It’s Saturday the 14th of September and Day 2 of the National Lajna Ima’illah and Nasiratul Ahmadiyya Ijtema 2019. Ijtema is three days of attending speeches and presentations, listening to Tilawats (recitations of the Holy Qur’an) and Nazms (Urdu poems) as well as other interesting items.
Throughout the years, much has changed about Ijtema. When I was younger, we would sit in a big hall at Baitul Futuh Mosque complex, and listen to all the competitors, waiting for lunch to arrive when we ran around playing games, or buying chips.
This morning was different though with such a sense of déja vu as I walked in and saw the big white tents, and the grass, when barely two months ago we had the Jalsa Salana with a similar scene, There was a large marquee for the main Lajna programme as well a a series of smaller marquees for accommodation, dining, lectures, exhibition and Nasirat programme; lots to choose from.
For the past couple of years, the Nasirat girls (aged 7-14) have been given more to do than simply listen, and there have been specially tailored lectures on interesting current issues as well as an exhibition marquee. As soon as I walked into the exhibition marquee I saw signs with interactive stalls such as Lajna Mastermind – two minutes to answer questions and get on the leader board, or building blocks which you could write on to build a wall for strengthening methods of tabligh (outreach). Further on, there was a stall about sound, another about the Solar System with a quiz, and a third about recycling and how to reduce our use of plastics. Right at the end of the marquee, there was a display of homegrown vegetables and how to do the same. I also liked the stall about light where, using shaded plastic, I could see ‘invisible’ writing. All these stalls were linked with a different attribute of Allah, for example the one featuring light was accompanied by a banner about Al-Noor the Light.
In the lecture marquee which featured many interesting discussions conducted by AMRA (Ahmadiyya Muslim Research Association) which included ancient history, disabilities and special needs, mental health, and health and fitness.
For my generation, I think it’s especially important to raise awareness on such important topics. Both the sustainability of our Earth, as well as being able to tackle things such as depression and anxiety are fundamental for our future.
Then in the central marquee, the participants of the many Lajna competitions presented their research based on the theme of the Ijtema, The Divine Attributes of Allah the Almighty. These were also interesting because the teams used both words and visuals in English and in Urdu so everyone there could understand and enjoy their presentations.
There was such a lot to see and do at Ijtema and, for those staying after dark, there was even the chance to do some stargazing. As Day 2 ends I’m looking forward to the final day when Hadhur, may Allah be his Helper, is scheduled to address the Lajna and Nasirat from our marquee.