DHAKA – Millions of devotees from Bangladesh and abroad have thronged to attend Bishwa Ijtima, the world’s second largest Muslim gathering after hajj, preparing for three days of worship and Islamic knowledge.
“Our ultimate aim is to satisfy our Allah to work with Tabligh Jamaat,” Mohammad Quasim, a South African Muslim, told OnIslam.net.
Quasim was one of millions who gathered on the banks of the river Turag at Tongi township on the outskirts of the capital Dhaka to attend the Bishwa Ijtima, or the World Muslim Congregation.
Launched on Friday, January 24, the three day long Ijtema will conclude with final prayer on Sunday.
Breaking the old decades tradition, this Bishwa Ijtema have performed in two phases, January 24-26 and January 31-February 2, to ensure better management and security reasons since last three years.
The three-day gathering is organized annually by Tablig-e-Jamaat, a Bangladeshi non-political Islamic group.
About two million devotees are expected to join the Bishwa Ijtema. But, one of the organizers from Tabligh Jamaat said about three million devotes are likely to attend Bishaw Ijtema this year.
Organizers said that devotees from 32 districts out of 64 districts of Bangladesh are joining the first phase of Ijtema while those from the remaining 32 districts will join the concluding phase.
“Tabligh Jamaat has been working dawah activities of Islam all over the world,” Ersadul haque, a leading organiser of Bishwa Ijtema, told this at preparatory meeting at Bishaw Ijtema ground on Thursday.
This year, organizers of the Tabligh Jamaat are expecting a large number of turnout of participants from as many as 80 countries including US, UK, South Africa, KSA, Kuwait, India, Pakistan, China, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore and Japan.
Quasim, who travelled thousands of miles to join around Muslims in Bishwa Ijtema, said he will stay in Bangladesh for ‘one chilla’, meaning 40 days for da`wah work.
He added that his journey to Bangladesh had a sole aim of spreading Islam all over the world.
Da`wah to Allah
Though praising the work of Tabligh Jamaat, some Muslims criticized it for targeting Muslims only in its work.
“The works of Tabligh Jamaat is positive. But they should works for the emancipation of whole mankind,” Dr. Mohammd Yosuf, Associate professor of National University, told OnIslam.net.
Mahfujur Rahman, a senior journalist and ex-president of Dhaka Reporters Unity (DRU), shared a similar opinion.
“Tabligh of Islam should be for the non-Muslim, not for Muslim,” he told OnIslam.net.
Other participants in the event disagreed and said that they were trying to Tabligh Jamaat.
‘We are able to know what is Islam and how to works for dawah through the Tabligh Jamaat and Bishwa Ijtema,’ Fahad M. Panggaga (26), MSS in development communications and citizen of Philippines, told this Onislm.net.
Panggaga added that every Muslim should specify part of his time to spread Islam throughout the world.
Abdul Moahimen (28), student of public administration of a Philippines university, said that he will offer a four-month da`wah tour with Tablig-e-Jamaat.
“We are Ummah of Hazrat Muhammad (peace be upon him). So we have responsibility to present Islam all people including Bangladeshi also,” he told OnIslam.net.
Bishwa Ijtema was first held in the 1960s by Tabliq-e-Jamaat, a political group that urges people to follow the Islamic teachings in their daily lives.
Five thousand volunteers have been working around the clock to maintain discipline and security measure on the Bishwa Ijtema venue of 160 acres land to accommodate the devotees.
Multi-tier security measures have been taken from the government to avert any unpleasant incidents.
Bangladesh Railway and Bangladesh Road Transport Authority have arranged special train and bus services to carry out the visitors to and from the Ijtema.
With a population of 144 million, Bangladesh is the world's third-largest Muslim-majority nation.
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