Commemorating the centenary of Lajna Imaillah, the Ahmadi Muslim women’s auxiliary, members from across the country share their stories of empowerment, progress and much more.
OCTOBER 31, 2023
Around a century ago, the world was hesitant to grant women the recognition they deserved. Women were regarded as inferior and were often denied access to universities and did not enjoy the right to vote in many parts of the world. At that time, in a remote part of the world, in the Indian village of Qadian, an organisation was established with the groundbreaking belief that women possessed potential far beyond society’s preconceptions. This marked the birth of Lajna Imaillah in 1922, an organisation dedicated to empowering women and championing their inherent rights.
Recognising the crucial role women played within the formative years of Islam and inspired by his second wife Sahibzadi Amatul Hayyra, Hazrat Mirza Bashiruddin Mahmud Ahmadra, the Second Caliph of Ahmadiyya Muslim Community founded Lajna Imaillah. This organisation, exclusively run by women for women, was founded on the principle that “it is necessary for women to come together, increase their knowledge, and then impart that knowledge to others”, as Hazrat Mirza Mahmud Ahmadra emphasised during the organisation’s inception.
October 2022 marked the centenary of Lajna Imaillah. Hundred years on, the organisation has grown into a global platform with members from various countries united under the banner of spirituality and sisterhood. As the centenary year draws to a close, we asked sisters from across India to share their Lajna story—the narratives of their empowerment, spiritual progress, and much more.
Bushra Pasha, National President, Lajna Imaillah, India
Lajna Imaillah has been a great blessing for me. I take immense pride in being a part of this organisation. This is a space through which every member achieves progress in both their worldly and spiritual spheres while maintaining a bond of love and sisterhood. I feel immensely proud of the progress Lajna Imaillah has attained so far.
The establishment of this organisation by the Second Khalifa of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community had a noble purpose – to ensure that women, particularly the oppressed and irreligious section, could attain civil and social rights. For this purpose, he envisioned the creation of an organisation exclusively led by women, both as office bearers and members, with the aim of elevating their status similar to that of the female Companions of Prophet Muhammadsa. This goal could be achieved step by step through the understanding of the Quran, the acquisition of religious knowledge, and the practice of righteous actions. Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II had a deep yearning to ensure that women played their full role as religious scholars of the Quran and Hadith, serving as guides for their own gender, nurturing their children in the best manner, and fulfilling their responsibilities in both religious and worldly matters.
Lajna Imaillah is one of the very few organisations of Muslim women that has achieved global status. Today, its membership is not limited to just fourteen individuals, nor is it confined to merely fourteen thousand; instead, it extends into the millions. With Divine support and under the guidance of the Khalifa, this organisation is thriving and flourishing. Lajna Imaillah is an association of handmaidens of God, who are always ready to sacrifice their lives, time, and children for the sake of earning Divine pleasure and satisfaction. The hundred-year-long history of the organisation bears testimony to the fact that the members of Lajna Imaillah are constantly striving to fulfil this pledge. Alhamdulillah.
It is my prayer that Allah always binds us to this organisation and we remain steadfast in responding to the call of Khilafat. Amin.
Qurratul Ain Maryam, Architect, Urban planner and Doctoral student in Public Policy, Kolkata
As a policy researcher, I often read about gender inequalities, marginalisation, and oppression within our society and how movements like feminism are trying to empower women, reclaim their rights, and instigate structural changes in our societal fabric. However, I have been fortunate not to experience such discrimination personally. The fact is, I have consistently felt empowered and liberated throughout my life. My empowerment is rooted in my identity as an Ahmadi Muslim woman and my affiliation with Lajna Imaillah, where my rights are safeguarded. Within the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community and this auxiliary, which consistently strives to uphold the true Islamic teachings under the blessed guidance of our beloved Khalifa, I experience a liberating space unparalleled in the world. Lajna Imaillah gives us a platform to use our capabilities to our full potential to serve humanity and establish peace in society—and to do so independently, unshadowed by men.
As a member of Lajna, I enjoy the equal rights and opportunities that Allah grants women through Islam. Lajna Imaillah is not just an organisation but a sisterhood transcending class, ethnicity or any social hierarchy, binding us together through our shared faith and a profound bond of love. No matter where I am in the world, the presence of fellow Lajna members is akin to finding a family away from home. As sisters, we pray together and work towards both spiritual and professional excellence, providing one another with unwavering support and motivation. While the world endeavours to establish a societal order that champions women’s equality, Lajna Imaillah stands as a beacon of progressiveness and empowerment.
Dr Mansoora Alladin, President Lajna Imaillah, Qadian
To me, Lajna is similar to the manifold branches of a tree that provide shade on a hot day. These branches are nourished by the guidance of the Caliphs, and they are deeply rooted together in a common faith. As branches of a tree derive strength from their roots, so too do Lajna members gain support from their common beliefs and goals. We share and learn from each other and make collective efforts to attain the grand purpose of life, which is to establish a living connection with Allah the Almighty.
In my younger years as a Lajna member, I vividly remember Hazrat Aapajaan Sahibzadi Amatul Quddus Begum Sahiba working tirelessly for the progress of this organisation. Her exemplary commitment to Lajna Imaillah was demonstrated through her dedicated teaching and training of other members and imparting her knowledge in a humble manner, without an iota of arrogance. She worked with great passion and zeal, which left an indelible impression on my mind. She has set an example for all of us, which I feel, we must try to emulate. Being Lajna members, we see such noble women who serve as shining lights of inspiration, leading us to the right path.
Lajna Imaillah also serves as a platform where we learn and practice virtues like obedience, sacrifice, commitment, responsibility, reliability, and team spirit, among several others. We share and help each other voluntarily without any desire for monetary gains, just to earn the love of Allah.
Lubna Jinahuddin, Advocate, Chennai
The very thought of what it means to be a Lajna brings a smile to my face. I realise how happy and blessed my inner self feels in being a part of this divine organisation. Love, care, guidance, honour and a sense of sisterhood are embedded within every woman who proudly proclaims themselves as a Lajna member, and I am no exception.
I am blessed to have spent more than 30 years observing and admiring the traits of wonderful senior Lajna members who not only preach but also serve as exemplary role models for the younger generations. They have instilled a strong belief in every young Lajna member that, as Muslim women, observing hijab is our dignified identity, which we should always take pride in. This strong belief has encouraged many women to advocate for their right to wear hijab in their workplaces and educational institutions.
Mansoora Fazal Mann, Urdu Poet, Qadian
Being a member of Lajna Imaillah is not just an affiliation for me; it is my identity, my essence. It has been a profound blessing in my life, drawing me closer to our Khalifa and nurturing a deep sense of spirituality within me.
Living in Qadian, the sacred birthplace of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community, and being an active member of Lajna Imaillah have bestowed upon me extraordinary experiences.
For a century, Lajna Imaillah has stood as a beacon of empowerment and enlightenment for women within the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community. It has been my source of guidance, imparting invaluable lessons on righteous living and the importance of faith.
Dr Waseema Salam, President Lajna Imaillah, Calicut
For me, Lajna Imaillah is not just an organisation of Ahmadi sisters; it is a platform to experience the true essence of women’s freedom as granted by Islam. It boosts the spiritual and moral values of its members and assists them in refining their abilities and skills. The ultimate goal of this organisation is to empower women through the true teachings of Islam.
To me, Lajna means a perfect blend of blessings and guidance. Being ‘maidservants of God’ provides us with an immense opportunity to grow and prosper under the shade of Khilafat.