The best thing to do is to open up the build.xml and take a look. Ant is very easy to use. If you can write jms applications, then ant shouldn't cause you any hassles.
You can certainly use jms without it though. If you write a jms client, start it with java -classpath foo myclient.
But learn ant, the small time you spend learning how to use it will save you a LOT of time in the long run