Annual Tablighi Ijtema Begins in Bangladesh After 2-year Covid Hiatus

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Team Clarion

DHAKA — Hundreds of thousands of Muslims gathered in Tongi on the outskirts of the Bangladeshi capital Dhaka as the annual Bishwa Ijtema has started on Friday after a two-year Covid-19 hiatus. The Ijtema is billed as the second largest gathering of Muslim devotees after Hajj.

Maulana Ziaul Haque hailing from Pakistan delivered his Aam Bayan (sermons) after Fajr prayers marking the beginning of the Ijtema.

Thousands of Tabligh members in small and large groups came to the banks of the Turag River in Tongi on Thursday itself and filled the place ahead of the Ijtema.

The worshipers who did not get a place on the Ijtema ground reportedly took position on the footpaths of the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway and in the open spaces around the ground.

The organisers have put up loudspeakers several kilometres away from the venue so that a large number of devotees could join the grand prayer.

Eminent scholars from Bangladesh, India and Pakistan are scheduled to deliver their sermons until the last prayer on Sunday.

Among others, Maulana Ismail Gudar, Maulana Zubair Ahmad and Maulana Ahmad Lat are expected to deliver their sermons at the Ijtema. Their sermons will be translated into Bangla by Maulana Omar Farooq of Bangladesh, organisers said.

People from Saudi Arabia and Europe have already taken up residence in the pandal of the foreign guests on the Ijtema ground. A separate accommodation with modern facilities is provided in the northwest corner of the grounds for foreign Tablighi followers.

Seeing the convergence of the people for the Ijtema the organisers say they expect a record number of attendees as the event is being held after two years.

To ensure security, several thousand members of law enforcement agencies were deployed around the venue.

Deputy Commissioner of Dhaka Anisur Rahman said their executive magistrates would be on alert to prevent any mishaps.

The health department had also made all preparations to provide free health services for the participants, according to Jahangir Alam, the supervisor of Shahid Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital.

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