Pilgrims converge on Tongi ahead of Bishwa Ijtema's first phase

The Ijtema grounds are teeming with Tabligh Jamaat followers a day before the event, with many devotees lining the roads outside the venue

Gazipur Correspondentbdnews24.com
Published : 1 Feb 2024, 06:07 AM
Updated : 1 Feb 2024, 06:07 AM

The first phase of the Bishwa Ijtema, the world's second-largest Muslim congregation, is set to begin on Friday with a pre-dawn sermon on the banks of the Turag River in Tongi.

A day before the start of the event, the Ijtema venue is already crowded with followers of the Tabligh Jamaat. With the 160-acre ground almost filled to capacity, the crowds have spilled over to the roads outside the venue.

Engineer Abdun Noor, a member of the Ijtema organising committee, said that the venue is teeming with millions of Muslims from around the globe, making Tongi's Turag riverbank a hub of activity.

To accommodate the early arrivals, spiritual leaders began delivering sermons from Thursday's Fajr prayer, with pilgrims engaging in prayer and religious devotion to pass the time.

Engineer Md Mahfuz, another committee member, noted that although the main activities are scheduled to start on Friday, Tabligh Jamaat followers began congregating at the venue from Wednesday.

The influx of attendees continues, with people arriving in groups by various means of transportation, carrying essentials for their stay.

The organisers anticipate the arrival of devotees to continue through to the final prayer on Sunday.

The largest Jumma prayer congregation in the country is expected to take place at the Turag shore around 1:30 pm on Friday, led by Maulana Zobair, a senior cleric from Dhaka's Kakrail Mosque, the Tabligh Jamaat's national headquarters.

In addition to Tabligh followers, residents of Gazipur and neighbouring districts have been streaming into the venue since Thursday night to join the Friday prayers.

Participants will line up along the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway and adjacent areas for the prayer.

This year, a prayer platform and a pulpit have been constructed on the site to accommodate the vast number of attendees. Loudspeakers have been installed across the venue to ensure all can hear the sermons, with adequate lighting and separate areas for domestic and international Tabligh followers.

Modern accommodations have been arranged for foreign attendees in the northwest corner of the grounds to ensure a comfortable experience.