The first phase of the 55th Bishwa Ijtema began on Friday on the bank of the River Turag at Tongi where thousands of local and foreign devotees arrived to join the second largest congregation of Muslims.
The three-day Ijtema organised by Tabligh Jamaat began after Fazr prayers with general sermons by Pakistani Islamic scholar Maulana Obaidul Khorshed which was translated into Bangla by Maulana Abdul Matin. The Ijtema premises became jam packed by Thursday afternoon when people from across the country were on their way to the venue and gathered on the empty spaces including roads and highways beside the venue.
The road from Gazipur Chourasta to the Ijtema ground witnessed heavy traffic congestion as huge people in different types of vehicles thronged the venue on Friday and the rush will continue till ‘Akheri Munajat’ through which the Ijtema will end on Sunday.
For the foreign attendees, the tents have been set up on the north-western side of the Ijtema venue, said Mahfuzur Rahman, a senior member of the event’s organising committee.
The ijtema venue, on the outskirts of Dhaka city, turned into a human sea during Jumma prayer while people from different parts of Dhaka city and adjoining areas of Tongi rushed to Ijtema field to attend Jumma prayer.
Vehicle movement stopped when the people sat on the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway to attend Jumma prayer with a grand congregation of tens of thousands devotees.
Kakrail mosque Imam Hafez Maulana Mohammad Zubayer conducted the Jumma prayer.
Religious affairs minister Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah, state minister for youth and sports Zahid Ahsan Russel, Gazipur city mayor Jahangir Alam, Gazipur metropolitan police commissioner Md Anwar Hossain, deputy commissioner SM Tariqul Islam and other officials joined the jumma prayers.
The Islamic scholars in their sermons laid emphasis on Imaan, Amol and Akhlaq.
On Thursday and Friday, four devotees, Shahidul Islam, 55, from Paiker in Atrai upazila of Noagon, Khoka Mia, 60, of Patgram, Kazipur, Sirajganj and Mohammad Ali, 70, of Kahigram, Patia, Chattogram and Yakub Ali Shikder, 85, of Lakhirpar, Kotalipara, Gopalganj died at the Ijtema venue.
Gazipur Metropolitan Police Commissioner Md Anwar Hossain said that a five-tier security system has been implemented in the area for strict security.
Different programmes, including marriage without dowry and enlisting names for 40-day Chilla will be held on Saturday.
According to a decision taken in a meeting at secretariat on October 28, 2019, on the first phase, followers of Maulana Jubair Hassan will participate in the Ijtema and the followers of Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi will take part in the second phase of the Ijtema.
Bishwa Ijtema is held every year since 1946.
The organisers in 2011 split the Ijtema into two phases, dividing the participation of the 64 districts, to reduce pressure at the venue and ensure better management and security.
But, due to quarrel between the two factions over the nomination of the chief of World Tabligh Jamaat, the Ijtema had been holding in two phases by the factions.
The three-day second phase of Ijtema will be held from January 17 to January 19.
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