First phase of Biswa Ijtema ends today

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The three-day first phase of the Biswa Ijtema, the second largest Muslim congregation after the Hajj, will end today with the Akheri Munajat (concluding prayer) in which devotees will seeking welfare of the Muslim Ummah and their spiritual well-being.

A large number of devotees from the capital, Gazipur and nearby areas is expected to converge on the Ijtema venue where over an estimated one million devotees from home and abroad have gathered to take part in the Akheri Munajat on the Turag in Tongi.

Thousands will also participate in the prayer from far and wide as it will be aired live on several television channels.

This year, the Imam of Kakrail Mosque Hafez Mohammad Zobayer leads the munajat, expected to begin at 11:00am and continue for about an hour, Moulana Mohammad Giasuddin, a shura member of Bangladesh Tabligh Jamaat said.

Hafez Zobayer, who is also a member of Tabligh’s 11-men Shura committee, will deliver a sermon.

Top Tabligh Jamaat Islamic scholar Maulana Saad Kandhalvi from India, who conducted the munajat in the last two years, was supposed to lead the munajat this year too but could not attend the Ijtema. He left Bangladesh yesterday in the face of protests by a section of Tabligh followers. Radical Islamic organisation Hefajat-e Islam Bangladesh led the faction that claimed that Saad gave controversial statements about Quran and Sunnah.

Superintendent of Police of Gazipur Harun-or Rashid yesterday said vehicular movement would remain suspended on Abdullahpur, Ashulia Kamarpara, Bhogra bypass in Gazipur and Tongi’s Nimtoli roads from zero hour today.

Fifteen buses will shuttle devotees from Bhogra bypass and Nimtoli. Special buses and train services will be arranged to carry devotees to and from the capital.

Meanwhile, a Malaysian devotee, identified as Abdul Rahman, passed away yesterday. Organisers said he became sick early yesterday and died before he could be sent to Shaheed Ahsanulah Master General Hospital in Gazipur, said police. With this, three devotees have died in the first phase of Biswa Ijtema that began on Friday, reports our Gazipur correspondent.

Islamic scholars from home and abroad delivered sermons on Islamic philosophy in light of the holy Quran and Hadith over the last two days.

The second phase of the Ijtema will begin on January 20 and conclude on January 22 with another Akheri Munajat.

Tabligh Jamaat has been organising Biswa Ijtema, also called the World Muslims’ Congregation, every year since 1946. In 2011, the organisers split the congregation into two phases to deal with overcrowding, ensure better management and security.