Majlis Atfal-ul-Ahmadiyya (MAA)'s purpose is to prepare Ahmadī children in a proper manner so that they may be molded in such a way that they are able to utilize their God gifted abilities towards the progress of the Jamā'at. In the United States, MAA was officially founded with the establishment of MKA USA in 1969. Currently, MAA USA is comprised of 70 Majalis (chapters) over 23 regions.
While God has emphasized upon the believers to keep themselves away from the fire of His displeasure, He has also made them responsible for their families. Thus, along with self-reformation they must also reform their families and thus fulfill the responsibility of reforming their future generations.
In the world we see that in order for a nation to progress, it is necessary to establish a proper system for training of future generations, so that after they receive adequate training, they can shoulder the system established by their predecessors and become capable of furthering its progress. We have also seen that the best time for the training of a generation is in its childhood. In this age, the state of heart and mind is clean. Whatever imprints are placed in the heart of a child, they will not be easy to be removed in a later period.
Our Master the Holy Prophet(saw) has said:
“A child is born in the right nature; later his parents make him a Jew or a Christian or a Zoroastrians” (Bukhari Kitābul Jnaiz)
The reason for this is that a child has the nature of understanding and imitating. He will accept anything that the parents or guardian will teach him. Thus, it is the childhood training, in which the foundation of a person's thoughts and character is built. That is why he remembers things learned in childhood more so than those learned later on.
As Holy Prophet(saw) has said:
“A matter learned in childhood like a carving on a rock”
The imprint of this learning remains for a long time and is not easily erased.
Discussing this same topic, the Promised Messiah(as) says:
“Age of childhood is very appropriate for the acquirement of religious knowledge … The memory in childhood is very sharp. A person never has this kind of strong memory in any other period of life. The knowledge of early age is deeply imprinted and deep rooted because growth of faculties in this age. …In brief regarding the method of education, it must be kept in mind that religious education should begin from the start and this was my desire from the start and it still is. May Allah fulfill it.”(Malfoozāt Vol. 1)
Fulfilling the desire of the Promised Messiah(as) , Hadrat Musleh Mau'ūd(ra) has given an organized form for the moral and spiritual training of Ahmadī Children. Alongside other auxiliary organizations, he has given two independent auxiliary organizations for Ahmadī children.
- For Ahmadī girls, “Nāsiratul Ahmadīyya” whose supervision is under Ahmadī Ladies Organization, “Lajna Imā'illah.”
- For Ahmadī boys, “Majlis Atfālul Ahmadīyya” whose supervision is under the Ahmadī Youth Organization, “Majlis Khuddāmul Ahmadīyya”
On April 15, 1938 in Masjid Aqsa, Qādiān, in his Friday Sermon Hadrat Khalīfatul Masīh II(ra) gave the initial order to establish this new auxiliary organization. Accordingly, on April 23, 1938, this organization was opened under Resolution # 17 in the Markaz of Khuddāmul Ahmadīyya.
On July 26, 1938 Hudur announced:
“Within one month, Majlis Khuddāmul Ahmadīyya should establish an organization for youth between the ages of 7-15 and should name the organization Atfālul Ahmadīyya.”
From then on, the educational and moral training of Ahmadī youth took on an organized form and, to this day, by the Grace of Allah, this organization continues to run exceptionally.
In the beginning, Atfālul Ahmadīyya was established in various Halqas of the Jamā'at Markaz in Qādiān. Soon, and very rapidly its branches spread in foreign areas. At the very outset, the program and guidelines of this organization were very brief. However, slowly, the program expanded and started to grow in parallel to the progress of Jamā'at-e-Ahmadīyya.
By the Grace of Allah, today thousands and thousands of young Ahmadī children are receiving beneficial training in Majlis Atfālul Ahmadīyya. Without a doubt, the establishment of Atfālul Ahmadīyya was among the huge achievements of Hadrat Musleh Mau'ūd(ra) . This was a tremendous effort towards the Tarbiyat of the future generations of Jamā'at-e-Ahmadīyya.
Hudur(ra) advised and gave principle guidelines that member of Jamā'at and the office bearers of Majlis Atfālul Ahmadīyya should focus on, for the moral training and welfare of Ahmadī youth. In every step, Hudur(ra) advised the office bearers and the parents on these matters, which became a great source of guidance and inspiration for us.
The programs of the Majlis have always been organized in light of those principle guidelines. Similarly, the guidelines given by Khalīfatul Masīh(atba) and traditions set by Hadrat Musleh Mau'ūd are used to make the new programs.
It is our prayer that Allah Almighty may enable us all to act according to those guidelines and bless all of our efforts as well as produce excellent results of our humble efforts in training the future generations.
Muhtamim Atfal has at his disposal a comprehensive executive body to maintain the activities and progress of MAA, which include Assistants to Muhtamim (Naib Muhtamimeen) and a Regional Nazim (secretary) for the 10 MKA/MAA geographic regions in the U.S. Various departments work under the Muhtamim MAA, including Taleem, Tarbiyyat, Ma’al and Isha’at to name a few
The local representative of each chapter of MAA is known as the Nazim Atfal. This position is assigned to a local member of MKA (Khadim) by the specific MKA Chapter head (Qaid).
In order to also train the youth in the art of leadership, officers are also being appointed among the members of MAA and they are always encouraged to hold their separate meetings, but under the direction and supervision of MKA. Each local MAA chapter makes a Majlis-e-Amila (consultative body) by appointing suitable Atfal as the following:
i. Secretary ‘ Umumi (General Department)
ii. Secretary Tajneed (Census)
iii. Secretary Tarbiyyat (Moral Training)
iv. Secretary Ta’leem (Education)
v. Secretary Maal (Finance)
vi. Secretary Waqf-e-Jadid
vii. Secretary Waqar-e-Amal (Dignity of Labor)
viii. Secretary Sehat-e-Jismani (Health & Physical Fitness)
ix. Secretary Khidmat-e- Khalq (Humanitarian Service)
x. Secretary San‘at-o-Tijarat (Industry & Trade)
xi. Secretary Isha ‘at (Publication)
xii. Secretary Waqf-e-Nau
Atfal are also mentored by appointed members of Ansarul Ahmadiyya (auxiliary of the Jama’at for men over the age of 40) known as Murabiyaan Atfal. A Murabi Atfal serves as an elder guide for the local MAA chapter assisting the local Nazim Atfal with overall training of the local members of MAA.
The MAA annual calendar includes a variety of events, including local and regional camps/sleepovers, Tarbiyyat events, Sports events, and the flagship event of the year, the National Ijtema (Rally) in which Atfal from all over the country are invited to participate in a weekend retreat of educational and athletic activities and competitions.
Currently, MAA contributes articles written by Atfal to a quarterly publication known as Al-Hilal. MAA has dedicated activity coverage on the quarterly publication of MKA magazine (Mujahid).
MAA also has a “Rising Stars” program in which talented Atfal from across the country are recognized who score victories/achievements in various spiritual and educational endeavors.