The history of Lajna Imaillah (the women wing of Ahmadiyya Jama’at) and their activities dated back to the early days of the Jama’at itself to be precise in 1922. Though the name, “Lajna Imaillah”, was not known to the early Ahmadi ladies, they contributed in no small measure (Physically, financially and spiritually) to the progress of the Jama’at, as well as propagation of Islam. The presence and the activities of the ladies had always been felt at the formative stage of the Jama’at.
There were women who were very much out-spoken in the preaching of the true Islam.Among the early lady activists that held the fort for the Lajna Imaillah were: Mrs. Shifau Shodeinde, Mrs. Munirat Martin, Mrs. Mariam K. Ajose, Mrs. Taibat Marquis, Sisters Humulhairi Salca Ayeni, Hanat Agusto, Nasirat Adamson Yakub. Others were: Sisters Rahmatullah Jariogbe, Hulaima Ali-Owe, Safurat Bamgbaiye, Hulaimat Agbeke Sanyaolu, Nusirat Oniwinde, Raliat Hassan Abdullahi, Aisha Ejide Bamgbala, Zeenat Olokodana, Mariam Olokodana, Tawakalitu Olokodana, Raliat Elias Olokodana, Aisha Anibaba, Hasanat Anibaba, Iya Inaya, Neemotallah Yusuf Junaid, Alhaja Nusirat Oluwa (Iya Alaro), Sister Sariat Oluwa and Hanat Balogun.
The Ahmadi ladies right from 1916 to 1921 had been active but actually started organizing themselves from 1940. They held meetings and Quranic/Islamic Classes but not under the umbrella of “Lajna Imaillah”, as established by Hazrat Khalifatul Masih II (r.a). The Ladies were led at different periods by Sisters:Rahmatullah Jariogbe, Hulaimot Ali-Owe, Sufurat Bamgbaiye, Alhaja Hulaimot Agbeke Sanyaolu, Alhaja Bilikisu Ayoka Olunlade, Alhaja Aisha Ejide Bamgbala, Alhaja Tokan, Alhaja Mrs Wosilat Adedoja Tinuke Kole, Alhaja Huseifat Kikelomo Sunmonu and Alhaja Qudrat Raji.
The activities of Lajna, as a formal corporate body, became publicized within the Jama’at nation-wide in 1965 when Alhaja Aisha Ejide Bamgbala became its President.
In fact, that happened to be the first time the leader of ladies section of the Jama’at would be referred to as President. All among, it had always been referred to as Chairlady. Alhaja Bamgbala, being a very energetic woman, made a lot of efforts to give the Lajna a broad and attractive outlook.
The remarkable year of Lajna Imaillah in Nigeria was in 1972, when Maulana Muhammad Ajmal Shahid arrived in Nigeria as the Amir and Missionary in-Charge of the Jama’at. He was the one who actually re-organised and reformed the Lajna Imaillah in the pattern of the International Headquarter of the Jama’at. In fact, it was at this period that the name: “Lajna Imaillah” became known in the ladies circle. Elections were, at that time, held with Alhaja Aisha Ejide Bamgbala re-emerging the President and Alhaja late Wosilat Adedoja Tinuke Kole the Secretary.
Before that time, the activities of the Lajna were concentrated mainly in Lagos and, perhaps, a few other places around Lagos. But with the reformation at that period, the activities started reaching the Jama’at’s Headquarters in Rabwah. Although Lajna had at that period no formal national outlook, its activities were in operation nation-wide, but not nationally co-ordinated.
Meetings were being held regularly at many places across the country. Lectures, Quranic/Islamic classes were organized at fairly regular interval and the younger ones (Nasrat) were also incorporated in the scheme of things. Like every other auxiliary body, Lajna Imaillah also started its Annual Ijtema in Lagos in 1976 and had since being on a rotational basis.
The quest for progress for Lajna Imaillah became stronger, especially among the educated ones, that they planned to and actually launched the body on a National level in 1984, during one of their Ijtema in Ado-Ekiti. It was on this occasion, which Alhaja Husainat Kikelomo Olajumoke Sunmonu was elected the National President, while Alhaja Aisha Ejide Bamgbala was made the patron. Alhaja Sunmonu, being a front-line, dynamic woman activist, then transformed the Lajna Imaillah and gave it an enviable national outlook, so much so that the body is now a reputable force to be reckoned with within Ahmadiyya Community.
Alhaja Sunmonu and members of her new executive travelled through the length and breadth of the country, organizing and co-ordinating the activities of Lajna members all over the country. Seminars, Workshops, Lectures and some other interesting programmes, were planned, on national, state as well as local levels. Lajna Imaillah in Nigeria had then acquired a piece of land at the Ahmadiyya Settlement, Ojokoro, Lagos for the building of an ultra-modern hall, the plan of which was already at an advanced stage. It was also to their credit that they had started publishing a magazine – SIDDEEQAH – on a quarterly basis.
This piece is taken from the website of Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama’at Nigeria.
See on-line at: http://www.ahmadiyyang.org/auxi-lajnah.php