|By Ferdous Ahmad, IOL Correspondent|
|“I have been attending the Tablig-e-Jamaat meeting for the past 40 years,” Abu Taher told IOL.|
DHAKA — Just like every year, Abu Taher joined millions of Muslims from Bangladesh and abroad in threes day of worship and Islamic knowledge in the largest gathering of Muslims after hajj.
“I have been attending the Tablig-e-Jamaat meeting for the past 40 years,” Abu Taher, 59, told IslamOnline.net on Sunday, February 1.
Millions 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.
The three-day gathering is organized annually by Tablig-e-Jamaat, a Bangladeshi non-political Islamic group.
Dhaka was deserted on Sunday, a normal working day in Bangladesh, as many residents left their jobs and headed to the venue to attend the final prayers, which make the climax of the event.
Organizers said more than 10,000 foreigners from 108 countries attended this year’s event but that most of the worshippers were rural Bangladeshis.
Taher, who has been a member of the Tablig-e-Jamaat for decades, travels to Ijtima from the town of Bogora, some 250 km away from Tongi.
He recalls how 40 years ago, the meeting was attended by only few thousands.
The first Bishwa Ijtima was held in 1946 and began as a small group of people gathering at a local mosque in Tongi.
It has been held annually since then.
In recent years Bishwa Ijtima drew millions of devotees from Bangladesh, the world’s third-largest Muslim-majority nation, and abroad.
“It has become a very big congregation of Muslims. So we feel proud to attend Ijtima,” one devotee told IOL.
|“I have joined this Tablig-e-Jamaat to develop my faith as a Muslim through da`wah works,” Mohammad, a university student, told IOL.|
The gathering shuns politics and focuses solely on reviving the tenets of Islam and promoting peace and harmony.
For three days, participants pray, discuss the Noble Qur’an, attend lectures given by scholars from around the world and share notes on ways to spread Islam’s message.
“Preaching Islam in the world is the main target of this three-day Bishwa Ijtima,” Abul Bashar Khan, an engineer who attends the annual gathering, told IOL.
He added that participants learn during the meeting about new programs for da`wah works.
Mohammad Saiful Islam, mathematics student at the Jahangir Nagar University in Dhaka, comes to listen to speeches by prominent scholars on da`wah.
“I have joined this Tablig-e-Jamaat to develop my faith as a Muslim through da`wah works.”
Mohammad joined in November a four-month da`wah tour with Tablig-e-Jamaat that took him to several religions across the Asian Muslim country.
Mohammad Anisuzzaman, another devotee, is yet to join one of the Tablig-e-Jamaat’s da`wah convoys.
The trip is expected to take him all the way to Russia.
Mohammad Maruf Bin A. Jabber comes to Bishwa Ijtima to gain more knowledge on how to inform people of Islam’s peaceful message.
The businessman believes that joining da`wah is an obligation for every Muslim.
“We are responsible to preach Islam in today’s world.”
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