Lajna Ima’illah was initiated and established in 1922 in India by the Community’s spiritual head at that time who is known as Khalifatul Masih. It was to be an independent and empowered women’s organisation. Its focus was to transform the lives of the women of the Community by improving opportunities for them through learning and development. In 1922 there were only fourteen members. Over the years, the organisation has spread all around the world and was officially formed in the UK on a permanent basis in 1957, though Lajna’s principles had been followed for decades previously by Ahmadi Muslim women living in the UK. There were 34 members on record when Lajna began in the UK – the membership today stands at over 12,884.
Our Founding Principles
Our founding principles focus on autonomy, women leading women, and working together and empowering each other.
Specifically, our founding principles are:
- For women to come together to increase their knowledge and spread it.
- To uphold the spirit of unity under our unique spiritual guidance of Khilafat.
- To work at ever-improving our morals and spirituality.
- Be fully aware of the responsibility of the sound bringing up of our children.
- Regardless of social standing, to consider all women as sisters.
- To serve Islam in practical ways and to help those brothers and sisters who are in need.
- Above all to try and attain all this through prayers.
Intrinsically, we are a religious organisation. All our work stems from spiritual education and training and includes:
- Outreach work
- Social welfare activities
- Industry and handicraft endeavours
- Physical health programmes
We have our own flag which has many powerful symbols, which are all spiritual in nature with centre-stage allocated to female icons. And this year, because it’s our centenary year, we have a special centenary logo.
Prior to lockdown, examples of normal regular fundraising activities are coffee mornings/evenings and holding stalls and bake sales to raise funds for various charities such as Macmillan Cancer, Cancer Research, etc. We also participate in the RBL Poppy Appeal by distributing boxes of poppies to local schools and selling poppies in designated public areas.
We have done a lot of work with the Royal British Legion and feature on their website
The Ahmadiyya Muslim Community believe in community cohesion and makes every effort to integrate with the community at their religious events. For example, we regularly donate gifts/hampers to elderly people’s homes and women and children’s shelters at Christmas time. Lajna attends interfaith events at Sikh Gurdwaras , Diwali celebrations, and Jewish Mitzvah Day. We believe strongly in interfaith dialogue as a way to achieve understanding and empathy with others of different faiths or in fact those members of the wider communities who may not follow any particular faith.
SOCIAL WELFARE ACTIVITIES
Lajna in our local areas of Barking & Dagenham, Gillingham, Havering, Newham, North London, Redbridge and Waltham Forest supported Health Care Workers during C-19 Pandemic by:
- Clapping for the NHS on Thursdays.
- Contacting residential care homes and GP surgeries to offer PPE supplies.
- Sewing PPE supplies at home (see table below of what we distributed)
- Raising £250 in 24 hours for Queens Hospital
- £400 raised by a Jamaat for PPE masks and scrub donations
- PPE deliveries were made to 15 care homes across the region
Continuing to focus on Social Welfare Activities, Lajna also provided practical support for elderly and vulnerable members of the wider community.
Practical help and support to elderly and vulnerable neighbours and friends
- Phone calls/texts to make sure they are well
- Shopping for groceries and delivering to those socially isolating
- Collecting medicines from pharmacies and delivering them to those socially isolating
- Picking up and delivering medicines to families
- Delivering facemasks and gloves to the community
Help with food supplies:
- Donating money to vulnerable families for their food supplies.
- Running a collection service for and donating items regularly to local food banks.
- Buying food for homeless people and feeding them.
- Providing cooked meals to hospitals, care homes, and homeless
- Approaching local schools to ask whether any families might need help with food supplies. Lajna offered to cook for those families and donate money
Although thankfully, the Pandemic is at an end, Lajna continues to support neighbours and the community at large and seek opportunities to help wherever they can.
SPECIAL PROJECTS TO CELEBRATE OUR CENTENARY
Sierra Leone Maternity Hospital
£19509.64 was raised in 2020-2021 for the Sierra Leone Maternity Hospital through personal donations from Lajna living in Barking & Dagenham, Gillingham, Havering, Newham, North London, Redbridge, and Waltham Forest. This fed into the amount collected nationwide by other Lajna living in other areas. This is an ongoing project financed by the Lajna resident in the UK.
Tree Planting across the UK
For our centenary, Lajna Ima’illah was given the task of collectively planting 100,000 across the UK. So, we are regularly volunteering with organizations that are tree planting and combining our efforts with theirs. The target for the East Region is 6,471 and we are almost there!