Today, on 29th January, fifteen Local Ijtema’at were held across the United Kingdom. This was the first time in almost two years that Khuddam were able to get together for an Ijtema and compete in academic and sports competitions at a local level.
The fifteen Qiadats that had their local Ijtema’at were Baitul Futuh South, Tooting Broadway, Purley, Stockport, Leamington Spa, Burton Upon Trent, Watford, Wandsworth, Guilford, Bradford South East, Mitcham Park, Peckham, Swansea, Surbiton, and Malden Manor.
The Ijtema’at followed a similar programme:
- They started with an opening session in the morning
- They then held academic competitions consisting of Tilawat, Hadith, Adhan, Speech, etc.
- Followed by Namaz Zuhr and Asr
- Sports competitions including a sprint race, football, and cricket
- Closing session around 3pm where most Qiadats were joined by Sadr Sahib Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK via Teams and Khuddam were able to ask Sadr Sahib some questions
- The Khuddam were served food
The feedback from all the Khuddam was positive, all were happy to be meeting their fellow Khuddam brothers once again after such a long time. Below we share some of the feedback we have received from the Qaideen about how the Khuddam found their local Ijtema:
Tayyab Ahmad, Local Qaid Watford: “Due to COVID the numbers were lower than usual but that did not stop our Ijtema from being a success. The Khuddam enjoyed each other’s company and there is a strong feeling of being part of something that is bigger than all of us — overall everyone enjoyed participating in the sports and academic competitions.”
Fadlullah Afolabi, Local Qaid Peckham: “Alhamdulillah the Ijtema was successful, we managed to do football which always gets Khuddam together. Khuddam understood the theme for the year and Sadr Sahib’s address was very useful to everyone.”
Ammar Ahmad, Regional Qaid Darul Aman, speaking in relation to the Stockport Ijtema said “This is the first local Itema in over two years. One Khadim who unfortunately had to miss out still stood around outside for a bit, dismayed. He said he wishes he could be part of the gathering. We had our regional Murabbi Sahib do a Talqeen-e-Amal which was very beneficial to Khuddam, but it was the gathering of Khuddam— learning together, doing sports together, and doing prayers together which everyone loved.”
At 3pm, the majority of the local Ijtema’at tuned into a live session with Sadr Sahib UK which he chaired from the Guildford Ijtema. Sadr Sahib delivered a talk that was listened to by all Khuddam present both physically and virtually as part of the closing sessions, due to all Ijtema’at having a hybrid set-up. At the end of the talk, Sadr Sahib opened up the floor for questions. These, along with the answers, are presented below.
Question: Why are congregational prayers more rewarding that individual prayers?
Answer: “In Islam there is more reward engaging in acts of virtue and goodness collectively. The reason for this is that through congregational efforts everyone influences each other and naturally the good in society is absorbed. Therefore, Islam has prescribed congregational prayers for all men and emphasised that it is obligatory upon men to pray at a Mosque. When we convene in gatherings such as today’s Ijtema’at and offer our prayers together, it has a different spiritual effect as compared to praying at home.”
Question: To what extent do we compromise shaking hands with the opposite gender?
Answer: “In reality you do not need to compromise on this. You should explain that these are your values and your religious beliefs and that they should be respected in the same way that you respect the values of others in society. We should remember that Allah the Almighty has a way of making mankind accept His commands—with the pandemic everyone has been forced to cover-up which is a type of Purdah [Islamic veil], before women in the West would not cover their faces but now at the very least they have to cover their faces in line with government guidelines. Furthermore, most people today prefer not shaking hands and prefer just saying greetings to each other from a distance because of COVID. Therefore, there is nothing wrong if you explain that you are not shaking hands because of your values. You should be polite, but be courageous about it.”
Question: These days the Jama’at is going through some difficulty, how can we show Huzooraba that we are loyal and how can we help him?
Answer: “Allah the Almighty has said when someone says he or she believes it is not the end of their difficulty. Rather, Allah the Almighty will test that belief in various ways. This is also the case with the community of believers. It is through such trials that Allah the Almighty determines who is a loyal devotee and whose faith is empty. Therefore, our responsibility is to act upon the instructions of Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih Vaba and to ensure that we remain attached to the Jama’at. In the future our progeny will either thank Allah that their forefathers remained attached to Khilafat if we now remain devoted, or they will curse those who left the Jama’at.”
Atmosphere at National Ijtema
The second day of Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK’s National Ijtema has now come to an end. We, the editors at Tariq, toured the Ijtema site to get a feel of the atmosphere and to speak with our fellow Khuddam and guests to find out how they were feeling about the Ijtema.
Touring the Ijtema site, we sensed a great deal of brotherhood and enjoyment present everywhere. The Hub has been the biggest attraction for many Khuddam, featuring a variety of activities and sessions consisting of Hub Talks, memory and mind challenges, strength endurance challenges, gaming zones, and the most famous Hub Café offering savoury snacks and milkshakes.
The Hub Talks on day 2 featured panels consisting of Murrabian and professionals discussing various topics on faith, prayer, masculinity, fatherhood, and tarbiyyat. The talks were highly engaging and informative for all. We spoke with Umar Nasser Sahib who works in Rational Religion for his views in the Ijtema, he said “It’s very nice to have a full Ijtema. There is a very nice spiritual atmosphere here. The Sadr Sahib’s talk was a highlight for me. It was a beautiful talk which brought up a lot of relevant points and guided the audience to understand the true essence of Salat and its importance.
In addition, there seems to be a good combination between educational and more fun activities. So, I’m really enjoying it so far. We also had a session with Maulana Abdul Gani Jahangeerkhan Sahib who gave many instances of his experiences with Khilafat which was a very beautiful one. That was also a highlight for me.”
Umar Sahib was also leading a Rational Religion talk at the Ijtema, when asked about his experience as a speaker and a panellist, he said “I really like the opportunity to talk to people about their own issues because you can write all the articles you want but at the end of the day you don’t know what people are really thinking until they tell you in person. So, I think it’s very important to always engage with the people directly and answer their questions directly.”
Just outside The Hub, the Discovery Zone has been set up where we had various other talks being delivered by distinguished guests. The main highlight of the Discovery Zone was the Fireside Talk with Mirza Waqas Ahmad Sahib after Ishaa Salat. He narrated various faith inspiring accounts from his experience with Huzooraba. He reminded us of the blessings that Allah has bestowed upon MKA UK enabling us to host Ijtema and other religious gatherings. He also spoke about Huzooraba becoming a Khalifa and the atmosphere and emotions that unfolded at that time.
We met Mirza Muddabir Ahmad, a Khadim from the West Midlands region. Speaking about the discovery zone, he said “We’ve finally had a big Ijtema after a long covid break so it is nice seeing everyone together. Sometimes you see people that have moved Jama’ats and you see them around and get to meet everyone. One of the highlights of this Ijtema I’d say is the talks going around right now by discovery zone. As you probably know that opposition against the Jama’at is growing especially in the UK on the social media scene. And as our youth is quite active on social media, they might come across some accusations that they might not know how to answer. And this can cause some doubt in their minds. So, it’s good to have these conversations that directly tackle these situations and that’s one of the things I’ve looked forward to”.
Also, outside the Hub, representatives from the Army, Navy, and Air force set up tents and allowed the Khuddam and Atfal to learn about each respective branches of the UK’s armed forces. The tents featured a variety of equipment for the Khuddam and Atfal to wear as well interactive puzzle and critical thinking challenges.
We had the opportunity to speak with Richard Grey, a Navy officer running one of the tents, on his thoughts on Ijtema, he said “Its brilliant. It’s amazing. What I’ll talk about is the warm welcome that we get. Every time I go down the mosque in Morden, I’m always welcomed. Everyone makes me feel at ease, at home, and they feed me, as the food is amazing. So, I really enjoy spending my time with my Ahmadi brothers. What strikes me is when we went to the football course, the boys look after each other. They annoy each other but they welcome each other in, like a brotherhood”.
Abdul Hai Hamza, another Khadim from the West Midlands region said “Very interesting talks. The thing I like the most are the army and police stalls. They’ve been here before but this is the first time they have more interactive things especially for the Atfal to try. And I like that the items they have brought are what they use in their actual life which makes it even more interesting. The talks are quite interesting. Food is very nice. I’ve been to the sports grounds. While they are far from the main marquee, it’s a nice environment”.
Throughout the morning and afternoon, sports were also held which continued the football, cricket, and volleyball tournaments from Day 1 of the Ijtema as well as adding more sports for the Khuddam to participate in, including slow bike race, standing long jump, 100m race, strong man competition, etc.
The second day of the Ijtema concluded with a Masterchef Grill Competition where regions from around the UK competed against each other to prepare the best BBQ meal, the competition was won by Tahir region.
National Ijtema 2023 Day 1 Highlights
Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya UK’s flagship event – the National Ijtema – started yesterday at the Old Park Farm. The day started with Tahajjud Namaz at 5am, followed by Fajr Namaz at 6am.
Breakfast was served to the attendees from 8am. Khuddam and Atfal began arriving to register themselves for the Ijtema from around 10am with Rooh Afza and some refreshments available for guests at the registration marquee.
Lunch was served at noon before Khuddam and Atfal listened to the Friday Sermon of Hazrat Khalifatul-Masih V’saba in the Ijtema Gah.
After Jummah and Asr prayer, the Ijtema progressed at 4:30pm with flag hoisting ceremony and the opening session chaired by National Ameer Sahib Jama’at UK. During the opening session, Khuddam and Atfal also reaffirmed their pledges.
Immediately after the opening session, academic and sports sessions began in their respected zones. On the academic side, Khuddam had the opportunity to participate in team presentations, observation and sensory tests, Hifz-e-Qur’an, Hifz-e-Ad’iyyah, and Hifz-e-Ahadith. On the sports side, Khuddam partook in Football, Cricket, and Volleyball.
Simultaneously, The Hub organised a talk on the topic of ‘young money’ delivered by Jahanzeb Jahangeer Khan Sahib; the discovery zone also hosted various talks on the topics of ‘Am I an Ahmadi by birth or by choice?’ and ‘Khidmat-e-Khalq’ delivered by Fatir Tahir Sahib and Akbar Butt Sahib respectively.
Throughout the day, Khuddam benefited from the displays in the exhibition marquee, featuring exhibitions on the MKA theme of the year and on the 20 years of Khilafat-e-Khamisa.
After dinner and Maghrib & Ishaa prayers, a fireside talk took place on the topic of ‘Acceptance of prayer: The Hallmark of a believer’ delivered by a guest panel featuring the director of productions at MTA International – Munir Odeh Sahib, the Chairman of Humanity First UK – Dr Aziz Hafiz, and Sadr Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya – Abdul Quddus Arif Sahib. The panellists narrated personal incidents on the topic and took questions form the audience as well. S’mores and tea were served during the talk.
As the fireside talk was underway, at 9pm, MKA Isha’at department also did a live and interactive Q&A session on YouTube.
To end the first day of the Ijtema, the Khuddam and Atfal were also given an opportunity to star gaze the moon at the Ijtema village before going to sleep.
MKA National Ijtema 2022
At a time when everyone is feeling the blues after the success of Jalsa Salana UK 2022, the perfect antidote is just around the corner. The National Khuddam and Atfal Ijtema 2022 will be taking place on the 9th, 10th and 11th of September 2022 at Old Park Farm in Kingsley.
This is a perfect opportunity for all Khuddam and Atfal across the country to come together and enjoy the extensive array of academics, activities, discussion and food planned for the entire weekend. Additionally, it’s a great way for Khuddam to rekindle lost friendships after the pandemic.
Our world has taken a turn towards mischief and society is increasingly moving further away from their Lord. The responsibility of bringing the world back to God rests on the shoulders of the youth of today. This duty is arduous and cannot be undertaken unless self-reformation is brought on first. The National Ijtema is a means of directing the Ahmadi Youth of today towards their duties and responsibilities as Ahmadi Muslims.
Hazrat Khalifatul Masih V (aba) said on the occasion of the National Ijtema in 2013,
“It is the Ahmadi Muslim youths who will be the means of leading others towards success and true freedom. To do this, you must learn about your faith so that you can display the highest moral standards in all aspects of your lives. Only when you strive for such high standards will you be able to paint the true picture of peaceful Islam for the people of the world.”
And the statement of Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmad (ra) – who founded Majlis Khuddamul Ahmadiyya – that “Nations cannot be reformed without the reformation of their youth” sets forth such a profound philosophy for all Nations to come. And it is at Ijtema that the youth of Ahmadiyyat can foster these qualities within themselves to become the guiding forces for the future generations.
This year we have a lot to offer all attendees including the academic competitions, exhibitions, indoor and outdoor competitive and non-competitive sports, interactive discussions on hot topics and inspiring talks on the issues that are affecting our young people across the whole country. And of course, National Ijtema would not be complete without The Hub. This year, we have lots of fun and engaging activities taking place in The Hub, and we’re not just talking about the café with Waffles, Ice Cream and Milk Shakes… come and test your mettle with the Scalextric F1 racing challenge and the PlayStation racing experience. Ask a Murabbi your burning questions or take a seat and Chit Chat Chai about Islam, metaphysics and other contemporary issues.
We have all of the usual outdoor team sports taking place such as Football, Volleyball, Cricket, and Tug of war, as well as individual sports competitions such as 100m race and Strong man competition. For indoor sports competitions, we have Weight Lifting, Basketball, Table Tennis and Armed Forces Activities just to name a few.
Unlike last year when we couldn’t offer accommodation to all Khuddam and Atfal due to Covid restrictions, this year we are making necessary arrangements with necessary amenities for our Khuddam and Atfal brothers to stay on-site if they wish to do so. Sanitised mattresses will be provided and those wishing to stay overnight must bring their own bedding.
Due to the still prevalent Covid pandemic, we are still keeping in place some measures to keep all of the attendees safe during the weekend. Wear a mask, keep a safe distance and try to refrain from handshaking and hugging. On arrival, you need to provide proof of a negative LFT no less than 24 hours old so please register your negative LFT on NHS Website before you leave for the Ijtema. We will put a sticker on your AIMS card, and this will give you access to the Ijtema site for the next 3 days.
One of the highlights of the National Ijtema is to spend time in the company of our Beloved Imam, Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad (aba) so we can elevate our spirituality and increase our love for Khilafat. We were blessed to have the blessed company of Huzoor (aba) in last year’s Ijtema. This year again we are fortunate that InshaAllah Huzoor (aba) will be gracing us with his presence and we can once again benefit from the blessed company and guidance of Beloved Huzoor (aba).
We look forward to welcoming you to the National Ijtema in less than 24 hours! Please visit mka.uk/ijtema-reg to register today and visit ijtema.org.uk for more details about the Ijtema and to access the interactive academic syllabus. Please reach out to your local/Regional Qaid Sahib if you have any questions or email [email protected].
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