Jalsa Salana, Australia
The Annual Convention
History in the making - Huzur's Visit to Australia 2006
Day 14 Highlights - 24/04/06
Visit to Opera House
- On the 24th of April 2006, Huzur (aba) left for the City with his entourage from Baitul Huda Mosque at 12:10pm.
- Huzur (aba) arrived at the Sydney Opera House at 12:55pm where he was met and greeted by the tour guide for the day.
- The tour guide gave Huzur (aba) a short historical background on the Opera House as he was making his way inside.
- The NSW State Government upon the design of a renowned Danish architect, Jorn Utzon, built this Australian Icon. It cost 102 million Australian Dollars to build and it was first opened in 1973 by Queen Elizabeth II. It has 5 theatres that together stage around 1500 performances a year.
- Huzur (aba) was led into the smallest theatre first. This theatre only holds up to 400 people and is mainly used for children plays and dramas. The next theatre or Studio Room was where the Opera House conducts its own shows. Here more modern performances are staged and are targeted at the age group between 18 and 35.
- The 3rd theatre shown to Huzur (aba) was the Drama Room, which has a capacity of 550 persons. This was initially used for contemporary modern art performances, but is now used for various plays, dramas and modern artistic performances. It is also the home of the Sydney Theatre Company. An interesting point mentioned by the tour guide here was that the front row seats in this theatre were below sea level.
- Then the tour guide took His Holiness to the outer area offering the beautiful view of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. While walking, Huzur (aba) was briefed with some more historical information on the Opera House.
- As the tour continued back inside the Opera House, Huzur (aba) was shown inside the 4th theatre, where the Australian Ballet Group was rehearsing.
- The tour guide highlighted the architectural wonder of the Opera House that pushed the limits of engineering at the time it was built. He pointed out to the shells that were radiating upwards inside the Opera House. These were made of concrete and then covered in tiles. All the roof sections are held together by 350 of tensioned steel cable.
- Huzur (aba) enquired about the life span of the Opera House and the tour guide mentioned that this structure would easily last for around 300 years.
- Huzur (aba) was then taken inside the last and largest theatre of the Opera House. This theatre can hold up to 2700 persons.
- Huzur (aba) then enjoyed the view of the harbour from inside the Opera House, as everyone else got ready for Zuhr and Asr prayers. Huzur (aba) then led Zuhr/Asr prayers at 1:40pm from inside the Opera House.
- As the tour guide escorted Huzur (aba) outside of the Opera House, group photos were taken outside the Opera House with the Sydney Harbour Bridge and the harbour in the background. Photos were also taken on the steps of the Opera House and with the City in the background as well.
- His Holiness also took his own personal video of the Opera House from outside and the whole view of the Sydney harbour. Huzur (aba) then walked to the 'Aria Restaurant' just in front of the Opera House at East Circular Quay at 2:20pm for lunch.
- This restaurant is situated on the very edge of Sydney harbour offering panoramic views of the Harbour. Huzur (aba), his staff and various members of the Jamaat enjoyed a main course meal and dessert before leaving the restaurant at 3:55pm.
Visiting Royal Botanic Gardens
- His Holiness then walked towards the Royal Botanic Gardens and entered the Gardens at 4pm. Before going on a walk through the Gardens, Huzur (aba) relaxed for a while with his wife, Hazrat Appa Jaan Sahiba, having tea and some snacks.
- Huzur (aba) then went for a walk through the Gardens and continued to take shots of the beautiful views present from his personal video camera.
- Huzur (aba) stopped at a particular spot in the Gardens where there were a number of parrots around. His Holiness very kindly and patiently fed sunflower seeds to the parrots by his hand.
- After walking for around different pathways of the gardens, Huzur (aba) exited the Royal Botanic Gardens at 5:15pm and he then left for the City with his entourage at 5:23pm. Huzur (aba) arrived back at Baitul Huda Mosque at around 6:15pm.
- After a short break, Huzur (aba) met with National Ameer and Missionary Incharge, Maulana Mahmood Ahmad and his family. He also met another couple of families.
- Huzur(aba) also met Michael Al-Masri, the Structural Engineer in regards to the construction of the Khilafat Centenary Hall, which his Holiness just blessed with the laying of the foundation stone a few days ago. Huzur(aba) had a detailed discussion on the matters relating to the construction of the hall. Huzur (aba) also offered some valuable advice and guidance in this regard.
Visiting Ahmadiyya Library
- Around 8.20pm, Huzur(aba) visited Ahmadiyya Muslim Library of Australia upstairs in the mosque. Saqib Mahmood Atif, Head Librarian and National Secretary Isha'at (Publication) briefed his Holiness about the Library and answered questions raised by Huzur (aba).
- Huzur (aba) viewed the Holy Quran displayed in different languages. The Ahmadiyya Muslim Library of Australia has the translations of the Holy Quran in 48 different languages. However, the Worldwide Ahmadiyya Muslim Jamaat has translated the Holy Quran in many more languagess.
- Huzur (aba) also enquired about various books and advised to order some specific books on the life of the Promised Messiah (as) as well.
- Huzur (aba) was then told about the Library membership system, which was all computerised. He was also shown a catalogue of all the books available in the Library to borrow. His Holiness was also given an honorary membership card of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Library. Membership cards were also printed and given to Additional Vakilul Tabshir, Abdul Majid Tahir and Huzur's (aba) Private Secretary, Munir Ahmad Javed.
- Huzur (aba) enquired about the sale of books as well and this system is also fully computerised.
- As this Library did not have an official name, Huzur (aba) very kindly named the Ahmadiyya Muslim Library of Australia as 'Hassan Musa Library,' after Sufi Hassan Musa Khan, who was the first Ahmadi in Australia.
- Finally, a photo was taken with Huzur (aba), Ameer Sahib and the Library Team. The Library Team consists of: Saqib Mahmood Atif, Head Librarian and Incharge, Syed Fawaz Ahmad, Technical & I.T. Support plus the creator of the computerised systems for both the borrowing and selling of books and Syed Tariq Ahmad, Assistant Librarian.
- This last day of Huzur's (aba) historic tour of Australia before his departure, came to an end with His Holiness leading Maghrib and Isha prayers at 8:35pm.
Signing off for today, the 24th of April 2006,11:10pm
Syed Tariq Ahmed - Editor News Gents