Purpose of the Ijtima – an excerpt from Al Hakam Article “The Khuddam Ijtema – A Vital Part of Training”
Once, Hazrat Musleh Maudra noticed that some Khuddam had not attended the Ijtema. He stated:
“I direct pity and surprise at those Khuddam that did not attend the Ijtema and I wish to tell them that the purpose of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya is to inculcate the realisation that they are the servants of Ahmadiyyat, and a true servant is he who remains close to his master. The servant that does not remain close to his master in a timely or apt manner he cannot be called a servant”. (6 February 1949)
Hazrat Musleh Maudra says that a khadim is he who remains close to his master, whether physically or through thought and emotion. Hence, Huzoorra says that they were meant to attend the Ijtema that was being held under the guidance of the Khalifa of the time but they did not hearken to his call; the call of the one whom they had pledged allegiance to. So this meant that they did not have the right to call themselves Khuddam because a khadim is he who honours his master’s wishes and desires.
Hazrat Musleh Maudra also stated:
“I would like to remind the youth of the Jamaat of the fact that such tasks have been assigned to the Ahmadiyya Community that shall create a mighty spiritual revolution in the world.” (6 February 1941).
So the spiritual revolution that is to take place in the world, Hazrat Musleh Maudra has attached that to the Ijtema because it is only through collective effort that this revolution can be brought about, and not individually.
The Ijtema is the flagship of the whole year’s activities in the sense that it shows the essence and outcome of the entire year. If, during the year, the Majlis has not done much work, has not been strengthened, has not remained in touch with each other and has not remained involved in activities, the low attendance will reflect this sad fact. It will be apparent that the programmes at the Ijtema are not up to the mark. Similarly, if the Majlis has been functioning efficiently throughout the year, then the attendance of the Ijtema will reflect this promising fact too.
At another place Hazrat Musleh Maudra has stated:
“We say others are bad, though our own condition in some matters is worse than theirs. There is no doubt that the example of our community is better in most matters than other communities, but in some matters we have been unable to match them… If the Khaksar movement announces a gathering in a city, then sometimes two or three thousand members attend and remain in that city for two or three months.”
Hazrat Musleh Maudra expresses his sorrow here that some of our events attract small numbers. He gives the example of a political movement which calls its members to an event and, in response, two or three thousand leave behind their occupations and homes, and they remain in attendance for two or three months at a time – all in the name of a political ideology. Then, how is it not possible for one to leave behind everything to attend to a call of their faith? It makes one sad to read further when Hazrat Musleh Maud states that if our opponents threw this sad fact at us, I would be extremely embarrassed before them.
We are all striving to become perfect khadims, but it is essential to understand the purpose of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya. The purpose of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya is, as Hazrat Musleh Maudra has stated, that a khadim understands the directions of the Khalifa of the time. Moreover, the individual working in Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya is not an officer, but a khadim, and a khadim is one who is a field worker. He is supposed to do Waqar-e-Amal [labour work with pride], Khidmat-e-Khalq [serving mankind] and to actively engage in manual work.
A large part of the work carried out by Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya is actively engaging in manual work and labour. This Waqar-e-Amal results in saving the Jamaat’s funds which would otherwise have to be paid to contractors. For example, the arrangements of set-up and wind-up of Jalsa UK range between a period of 28 days. Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya is actively involved in both set-up and wind-up through Waqar-e-Amal, which, as a result, saves around forty- to fifty-thousand pounds of the Jamaat a day. Hazrat Musleh Maudra highlights this very aspect of Waqar-e-Amal and encouraged it as a means of saving the Jamaat’s funds.
Another fundamental purpose of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya, which is also outlined in the very pledge, is that whenever the nation needs sacrifice, a khadim should actively step forward and present his sacrifice, whether it be of time, wealth or honour. For instance, we had the opportunity to serve during the floods here in the UK. That was a service for our nation. Then there was the Grenfell Tower fire and other tragedies that caused national concern. During such testing times, Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya steps out and leaps forward to serve. Feeding the homeless is another such example which MKA does very regularly here in the UK.
Another fundamental responsibility of Khuddam-ul-Ahamdiyya is that whenever Islam comes under attack, it is for us to step forward and answer those allegations and present before the public the beautiful, peace-loving teachings of Islam. If such steps are taken by an individual in young age, then by the time they reach a mature age, they will become habituated in them, remaining attached to the greater cause.
Sports is a very good means of attaching youngsters to the Jamaat. Hence, sports make an essential part of Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya activities. This entire vision was given by Hazrat Musleh Maudra, emphasised further in this day and age by Huzooraa. Connection with Allah the Almighty, a living relation with Khilafat-e-Ahmadiyya, Khidmat-e-Khalq, Waqar-e-Amal and Sports; all are the bloodline for Khuddam-ul-Ahmadiyya.
Hazrat Musleh Maudra, on one occasion, pointed out a very fine angle of national wellbeing. He stated that once, as he was on his way to the Ijtema, there was a football match taking place. He noticed that the spectators did not seem engaged. So, in his speech, he drew the attention of the Khuddam to the fact that a good crowd of spectators motivates the players and watches the match with full attention. The spectators should not turn their backs to the players and engage in their own talk because this shows a lack of attachment to one’s nation. Spectators tend to overlook such minute issues, thinking that it is just a match, so it does not matter if we remain engaged in our own activities. But an onlooker will take this as a lapse of discipline when a match is going on and the crowd is disengaged. This could be seen as a trivial matter but when seen in a national perspective, then we can see that this is how nations are built. Hazrat Musleh Maudra always wanted the Khuddam to progress in everything that leads to national stability and prosperity.
Hazrat Musleh Maudra also states that a general knowledge exam should also be conducted at the Ijtema. Lectures and talks should be arranged on various matters of religious and contemporary importance. Moreover, moral, spiritual and academic abilities should be enhanced. Moral abilities for instance, can be developed at the time of eating when you may have to wait for food and queue for it. Moreover, from a discipline point of view too, if you are told to go right, you must do so, and if you are told to go left, you must do so; if there is something that makes one lose their temper, then remaining calm and not showing anger is encouraged; if one makes a mistake, then one should speak the truth, regardless of the consequences. So, any situation that may arise during one’s duty or even as a participant of the Ijtema creates opportunities for moral training.
In terms of moral training, the participation of Atfal in Ijtemas is even more important as training at that age is more effective