Over 230 members of PAAMA from all over the UK, representing various African countries, stepped away from their usual weekend family lives to participate in the PAAMA UK Eid Milan picnic held at the prestigious location of the Jamia Ahmadiyya UK in Haselemere, Surrey on Saturday the 9th August 2014. Jamia Ahmadiyya is a religious seminary and educational institute of the Ahmadiyya Muslim community to train Ahmadi scholars.
While majority of the members were shuttled by buses from Baitul Futuh Mosque in Morden South West London, others travelled by car with their families to the Jamia complex. Registration of members was followed by a guided tour of the Jamia facilities in and around the complex, including the library, lecture rooms, IT rooms and gymnasium.
The program officially started with the Tilawat recitation of Chapter 110 (Al-Nasr) of the Holy Quran, by Abdullahi Sanni Sahib and the English translation was read by Israfael Kusi Sahib. The opening introduction of the guest speakers (Maulana Mirza Naseer Ahmad Sahib and Maulana Raja Burhan Ahmad Sahib) was done by President of PAAMA UK, Tommy Kallon Sahib. The respected Missionaries who are also Lecturers at the Jamia UK respectively addressed the audience respectively on the topics: ‘The Institution of Jamia Ahmadiyya – Its Role and Pre-eminence’ and ‘The Devotion of Life – Its Blessings and Importance’.
Maulana Naseer Sahib, a former Principal of the then Ahmadiyya Missionary Training College in Ghana, said the Jamia Ahmadiyya is a 7 year training course and the students undergo rigorous training spiritually, morally and physically to prepare them for their career ahead. The standard of discipline according to him is very high which is necessary to prepare students to survive conditions in any part of the world they are sent to propagate the message of Islam. Among the blessings of joining Jamia Ahmadiyya UK is that the students have the privilege of having close relationship with Huzur. Mulakat with Huzur is quite often. Three students each day visit Huzur and also Huzur himself visits Jamia Ahmadiyya UK quite regularly. He concluded by saying that there is a great demand for students at the Jamia and prayed that the children who are considering joining would be enabled to make that good decision.
The second speaker, Maulana Raja Burhan Ahmad Sahib, emphasised on the benefits of self-dedication. A Waqf has no authority over his own life as it effectively belongs to Jama’at. He said the first Zindegi (devotee of life) was a Prophet. He further added that the best thing to give as a gratitude to Allah is one’s own life and accordingly the Holy Prophet (saw) and the Promised Messiah (as) sacrificed their lives. Maulana Burhan Sahib narrated a number of incidents from the lives of the Promised Messiah and his followers in which they received direct help from Allah as a result of sacrificing their lives for His sake. He concluded his speech saying ‘Each Missionary is a representative of the Khalifa of the time and as such occupy a highly respected position.’
In the end, Tommy Kallon Sahib the President of PAAMA UK gave the vote of thanks. He thanked the speakers and expressed his sincere hope that some of the children of African provenance will aspire to join the Jamia Ahmadiyya UK in future. He thanked the Jamia Administration, the organisers of the function, the Internal Affairs team, the Isha’at team and the general membership. He also acknowledged the hard work of the previous PAAMA UK Administration. The President used the occasion to launch the first edition of the PAAMA newsletter which Huzur had graciously named Pan-African News. Copies of the Newsletter which contains a special message from Huzur were distributed to all present. The President also invited members to visit the newly launched PAAMA website. This was followed by Silent Prayers led by Maulana Naseer Sahib who afterwards also led the congregation in Zuhr and Asr prayers marking the end of the formal session of the event.
Soon afterwards the picnic was in full swing in the whole Jamia complex and the surrounding grounds. The Internal Affairs team did a wonderful job of coordinating the catering services and providing lively activity in the form of two giant-sized bouncy castles and slides for the children. Lunch – a mix of African and Asian cuisine – and refreshments were served and the general atmosphere was very convivial. While the children continued with their acrobatics on the bouncy castles, the adults engaged in various sporting activities. The men were split into regions to form two football teams with 10 players in each team of mixed nationalities and age groups playing. Other members were in the table tennis rooms taking turns in playing against each other in a very friendly atmosphere.
By sunset the last half an hour was spent helping tidying up the premises and getting the kids all together ready for the long trek back home. On the whole this was a remarkable, enjoyable and fulfilling event which was a big success and members cannot wait for another such event.
Please click here to view pictures from this historic event.