In Jamia Ahmadiyya UK, during break and eating hours, students gather together in the dining area known as the Mess. Mess Hall is the term used for a room or building where people, especially soldiers, eat together. The Mess Hall accommodates all 100+ students, allowing them to sit with their friends at six tables. The teachers have a designated area of the mess to enjoy their meals.
The Mess Committee
In Jamia, food is prepared by professional cooks and served by a selected group of students. Two students from each class are chosen (14), headed by their Sadr (leader). The Sadr is chosen from the sixth year. The students are assigned tables which they serve and clean. Every 4-6 weeks the committee is changed, and a new group of pupils are selected.
Here in Jamia, all three meals are prepared according to a set menu approved by beloved Huzoor, may Allah be his Helper; every day consists of different dishes, be it traditional food like Biryani and Pilau, or fast food like burgers and wings, the students have all kinds of cuisines to look forward to. Moreover, alongside various cereals, different types of breakfast are also provided for the students, such as ‘English Breakfast’, ‘French Toast’, omelette, scrambled eggs and more.
Aside from the curriculum, academic competitions, such as Tilawat, Nazm, Azan, speeches, presentations and group quizzes are held throughout the year. Points are awarded to groups and individuals who represent their groups. At the end of the year, the winning group is crowned! There are special prizes for the student and speaker of the year, which are given in the Annual Prize Distribution Ceremony at the end of the year.
External guests frequently visit the premises to deliver lectures on various topics. Guest lecturers are primarily experts in their respective fields and students also get to have a Q&A session at the end. These lectures are not only on religious topics but interesting secular topics are covered also, ranging from psychology to media. These lectures are thoroughly enjoyed by the students and teachers alike.
Classes and groups also have opportunities to organise recreational trips. Students usually go to restaurants or for activities such as bowling and paint-balling. Historically, a picnic is held annually as well. In senior years some trips are part of the curriculum, such as visiting Churches, Temples and Synagogues.
Health & Fitness
Within the Jamia campus is an array of indoor facilities; a gym, consisting of weights, machines and calisthenics equipment. There is also a local leisure centre near Jamia, where students go on a daily basis to play basketball, badminton and squash (and also football during the winter season on the 3G pitches).
Every year, students look forward to the three-day sporting event where a wide range of competitions take place, individual and also group. In respect to the group competitions, each student is given a group (there are five: Diyanat, Rafaqat, Amaanat, Shuja’at and Sadaqat) and each group battles it out to be named the group of the year in competitions of football, basketball, volleyball, athletics and many more. As for the individual competitions, each student has the chance of being named sportsman of the year, if able to gather the most points in the individual competitions. These range from the much-anticipated obstacle course to the hundred-metre race and many more competitions.
Team sports like football, basketball and volleyball are played all year round. There are two basketball courts that can also be used as tennis courts, and a mud track around the field is available for running or leisurely strolls. Throughout the year, several competitions are held regarding these sports, where classes and groups compete against each other.
Serving The Ahmadiyya Community
In Jamia, aside from learning about our own beliefs, we also learn about the beliefs of other religions. Whilst attaining this knowledge, an amazing way to put our skills to use is by going out for Tabligh and spreading the true peaceful message of Islam. Many students of Jamia go out and engage with the public, be it in their local areas, Central London or other cities across the country. It is an amazing way to spread the message of Ahmadiyyat and improve our interaction with the public, which is a skill every missionary should have.
At the end of every academic year, all students are given the opportunity to experience what life is like as a missionary for two weeks. Students are sent in pairs of one junior and one senior student to either an office or to a mosque, where they must stay for two weeks and fulfil all the duties required of a missionary. These include: leading the prayers, interacting with the community, holding classes with children and much more. This is a great way to prepare future missionaries for life after Jamia and build their confidence before they step into the field as missionaries.
Every year a Peace Symposium takes place in the Baitul Futuh Mosque, where dignitaries, members of parliament and other esteemed guests are invited and given the peaceful message of Islam. Beloved Huzoor, may Allah be his Helper, delivers a keynote address and meets with the esteemed guests. The students of Jamia play an integral role in making sure the event runs smoothly, by giving the guests tours of the premises and helping serve the food to all present for the occasion. This is an amazing opportunity the students of Jamia receive on an annual basis to serve and sacrifice time for our community.
Engaging With The Local Community
Students here at Jamia Ahmadiyya UK have been heavily and readily involved with Poppy Appeal initiatives for many years. Whether it be for the Royal British Legion or for Marie Curie charity organizations. Students endeavour to partake in these on a yearly basis, wherein they go as far as to compete with other fellow students in raising the most amount of money for charity.
Getting involved in charity walks, treks and challenges such as the NSPCC’s charity runs in London is also part of student life here at Jamia Ahmadiyya UK. Throughout the year, students are also given the opportunity to be part of our local blood drives in Haslemere, as well as partake in the local food banks for the poor and needy.
We have been volunteering at the local community centre for many years and have always been eager to lend a helping hand at the reception, in the kitchen, in the lounges etc. Building this bond with the Haslewey Community Centre has not only allowed us to get to know the locals better but has also enabled us to be more involved in local events throughout the year.