Some Directives for Guests and Workers of Jalsa Salana
In the light of instructions by Hadhrat Khalifatul Masih V
PURPOSE OF JALSA SALANA
• This is NOT A FESTIVAL but a Jama'at convention. Do not think that you are participating in a festival and do not waste your time in personal meetings or in buying or selling or showing off the latest fashions.
• Greet each other with smiles. If you had any rancour, end them with smiles in these three days. Secondly, spread the good words and urge others to perform good deeds and tell them to desist from bad practices. After all, that is the prime purpose of Jalsa Salana. Those who come to attend Jalsa, must participate in it fully and instead of roaming about aimlessly, they should derive the maximum benefit from the programme.
• Care should be taken that the ladies and the children sit and listen to the Jalsa proceedings quietly and try to derive the maximum benefit from them.
BLESSINGS OF JALSA
• Ahmadis from the UK should participate in the Jalsa with full zeal and vigour. This is YOUR Jalsa Salana. Do not be absent without any valid reason. Some people only come for one day instead of all three days and then their objective is to meet friends rather than gain the blessings of the occasion. If the blessings of
Jalsa are kept in mind, then attendance on all three days is essential. Listen to the speeches and other programmes in silence paying full attention. Do not waste this precious time.
ADVICE FOR HOSTS
• On some rare occasions some local drivers offer a lift to the guest in their car and then demand money. This is against the spirit of hospitality and people should refrain from this practice.
• To honour and serve our guests should be our aim and we should serve them with love and sincerity and in a spirit of sacrifice.
ADVICE FOR GUESTS
• Guests should remember that all these arrangements are temporary. The volunteers work very hard to serve the guests, but occasionally if there is any shortfall, it should be overlooked.
• If any guests find a shortfall, they should gently draw attention of the workers to it. There is no need to get angry. The arrangements are large scale and there are bound to be some deficiencies. They should be tolerated and overlooked.
ADVICE FOR WORKERS
• Treat your fellow workers with respect and honour; and perform all your duties together in an atmosphere of love and friendship.
• The hosts must perform their duties of hospitality in a pleasant manner and continue to do so as long as the hospitality period continues. It is not commendable that the workers disappear immediately after the Jalsa is over and those in charge are left in embarrassment. Perform your duties diligently and honestly.
• Similarly, if the workers find a guest angry, they should apologise politely and try to remove and solve his difficulty. Remember! you should never speak to your guests harshly or discourteously.
ETIQUETTES OF THE MOSQUE
• Remember the etiquette and sanctity of the place in and around the mosque. During the Jalsa, the marquees serve as mosques. Therefore, remember to observe the sanctity of the mosque in these.
ETIQUETTES OF THE PRAYER
• Jalsa days should be spent in the rememberance of Allah, reciting 'Durood' (invoking blessings of Allah upon His Holy Prophet) and regular performance of Salat. The guests have come from far and wide. If they do not perform Salat regularly and at thier appointed times, they will lose the real purpose of their coming to Jalsa. Similarly, in such places as the kitchen where it is difficult for the worker to leave, arrangments should be made so that they can perform their Salat in their place of duty. This is the responsibility of those who are in charge of those areas.
• Sometimes, children start crying during the Salat, this naturally diverts the attention of the others and spoils their prayers. The parents, whether father or mother, should take the child away for the sake of others.
• Fathers or mothers with very young children should not try to occupy the front rows during Salat. They should sit in the back row so that if need be, they can leave.
• Please switch off your mobile (handy/cell) phones during the prayers. Some people have the habit of bringing in their phones and leaving them switched on. When the phones begin ringing, it causes a great deal of disturbance to the worshippers.
ETIQUETTES OF CONVERSATION
• Refrain from meaningless talk. Conversation should be carried out in low voice and with due respect. Acrimonious talk should be avoided.
• Some people talk loudly and in querulous tones as a matter of habit or sit in groups and indulge in loud laughter. Try to avoid these practices as much as you can during these three days. In fact avoid these altogether. This is not considered a good habit anyway.
• Please avoid making too much noise in the narrow lanes. It is
important for the guests from outside to remember that they should not think that this place is uninhabited. There are some residents; unnecessary noise can cause disturbance to them.
• Be mindful of all the discipline and arrangements and co-operate and abide fully with the instructions given by workers on duty.
• During the Jalsa, some children and adults throw litter on the grounds and pathways. Irrespective of whose duty it is, whosoever notices any litter should pick it up and deposit it in the litterbins or boxes provided for this purpose. Both guests and hosts should keep the site free of litter.
• There are simple etiquettes of cleanliness. Remember to keep the toilets clean, after all cleanliness is part of our faith.
• In this environment, we must always keep in mind the cleanliness of the premises. Do not provide any opportunity of complaint to those on duty. Put it in the forefront of your mind that come what may we have to maintain cleanliness.
ADVICE FOR WOMEN
• Ladies are advised that they should take care not to roam around aimlessly. However, those ladies who are not Ahmadis and do not observe Purdah, they should only be requested to do so. There is no need for force or coercion. If there is some Ahmadi who has a difficulty to cover her face, she should wear minimum and simple make-up. Spread the habit of keeping your head covered. It should be remembered that we are spending our time in a spiritual environment during these days. We should not try to find excuses not to observe Purdah. It is a different matter if there is a genuine reason. Even then the minimum norms of Purdah should be observed.
• Do not be oblivious of what was said in the speeches and what tarbiyyat programmes were discussed.
ETIQUETTES OF FOOD
• It has been observed that a lot of food is wasted during these days. It is generally a good practice to take only so much in the plate as you can finish and thus waste nothing. Teach the same to your children. We should not be guilty of bad manners that may affect others. It is also observed that food is wasted by the consumers and not by those serving. Please avoid this practice.
• Demand only as much food as you can consume. However, those on duty are instructed that they should never refuse anyone who wants food. If they see someone wasting the food he should be gently reminded about this fact but no worker is expected to use hard words or rude language with guests. Explain gently that once you finish, you can have a second helping.
• Some guests leave their dirty plates on the table and do not deposit them in the waste-bins that are provided. It requires only a small effort on the part of each guest. Dirty plates lying around look untidy, are unhygienic and add to unnecessary work for volunteers already under pressure when they can gainfully be employed elsewhere.
ADVICE REGARDING BAZAAR
• Another important matter to note is that the Bazaar remains closed during the Jalsa proceedings. The guests should be aware of this and not force the shop owners to open their shops for them or sit there.
• When parking your cars, make sure you do not park in front of entrances to other people's houses and do not park in places where parking is forbidden.
• Observe the traffic rules and co-operate fully with the parking teams.
• Never commence your journey if you are tired or if you are not feeling well. Always have rest and start your journey relaxed and refreshed.
• It is important that for the sake of security, you remain watchful all the time. Be vigilant and if you notice a stranger, inform the relevant department immediately. It is not advisable to interfere yourself personally.
• The best way to be watchful is to keep a sharp look out around yourselves on those who are not familiar to you. This is the best security for Jama'at Ahmadiyya.
• When entering, present yourselves voluntarily to the relevant staff for checking.
• Always keep your identity card prominently visible. If you notice someone without the card, remind him politely to display his card.
• Take special care of your valuables and cash. This is your own responsibility. The organisers cannot be held responsible for any loss.
ADVICE REGARDING VISA
• Please observe the other laws of this country during your stay here. Make sure that you leave this country before your visit visa expires. Those who obtained the visa to come to Jalsa must utilise the entry clearance for the Jalsa alone strictly.
• Most important are supplications and prayers to Allah. Remember to put great emphasis on your prayers, when starting your journey, coming to Jalsa and during travels.
(Based on Friday Sermon 18th July 2003,Published in Al-Fazl International 12th September 2003,)
Hazrat Mirza Masroor Ahmad