New Delhi, Dec 13, 2016: The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community announced it will hold its three-day yearly convention in Punjab on Tuesday and extended an invitation to all countrymen to visit the spiritual gathering.
The 122nd Jalsa Salana (Annual Convention) will be held in Qadian in Gurdaspur district, from December 26-28. It will be addressed by the community’s fifth and current caliph, Mirza Masroor Ahmad, from Britain through livecast.
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“The objective of this Jalsa is to present pure, pristine and peaceful teachings of Islam. Likewise to call people towards their creator, to develop love, affection and compassion among the creations of God, and promote brotherhood, are also its objectives,” a statement issued by the Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat International (India) said.
At the convention, religious leaders of the community from around the country will address people on the tenets of Islam and its power to promote peace and harmony in the world.
A separate gathering of women will also be convened there, where they will discuss their issues and present an agenda to work on during the next year.
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Ahmadi is a sect of Islam which is widely perceived to be different from the mainstream form of the religion as they believe that the advent of a messiah, as promised by the Prophet Muhammad, has already happened.
They believe, unlike the mainstream believers of Islam, that the messiah was incarnated in 1835 in the form of Mirza Ghulam Ahmad.
In 1889, Ahmad proclaimed himself the awaited messiah, and was widely subscribed to be so by Muslims from around the world. The followers of Ahmad thus came to be called ‘Ahmadis’ or ‘Ahmadiyyas’.
The first annual convention of the community took place in Qadian in 1891 and has been taking place here since, barring a couple of years during the country’s partition.
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“We are completely same as the other mainstream followers of Islam but for our belief in the advent of a messiah, which they believe is yet to take place,” Shiraz Ahmad, Additional Chief Secretary, Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, told IANS.
“We have been persecuted in Pakistan for this reason and yet we have never resorted to violence, nor formed any militant body,” he added.
The Ahmadi community was proclaimed ‘non-Islamic’ in Pakistan in 1974 during Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s Prime Ministership. Later, punitive measures were also imposed upon the community, which barred its members from offering namaaz and calling their place of worship ‘masjid’ (mosque). Instead, they were asked to call it ‘ibaadatgaah’.
“We are discriminated amongst Muslims in India as well. The All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) doesn’t have a single representation in it from Ahmadi sect, because even they don’t consider us Islamic,” the Ahmadiyya spokesperson told IANS.
“There are about 1.25 -1.50 lakh Ahmadis in India and we all profess our loyalty to India,” he added. (IANS)