Tongi, Bangladesh: The first phase of Ijtema, the second largest global Muslims’ congregation after the hajj, ended on January 11 with the final supplication — Akheri Munajat (concluding sermon) seeking the spiritual wellbeing and welfare of the Muslim Ummah and world people, said a Maulana named Sayed Alam from Ijtema.
Millions of Muslims from home and abroad raised their hands together seeking world peace, forgiveness and blessings for mankind, especially for the Muslim Ummah
Millions of Muslims from home and abroad raised their hands together seeking world peace, forgiveness and blessings for mankind, especially for the Muslim Ummah while the Indian Islamic scholar Mawlana Saad began the Akheri Munajat around 11:30am on January 11 at the banks of river Turag in Tongi. The prayers ended at 11:50am, the Maulana more added.
As many had to walk miles to join and return from the venue, different social organizations and individuals distributed juice, water and dry food at different points among the devotees. Those who could not go to the Ijtema ground joined yesterday’s Munajat through their cell phones and other electronic media.
The prayers were attended by hundreds of thousands of devotees who gathered at the venue. The pilgrims begged mercy from Almighty Allah (the eternal God), one of the participants named Jaffar Ahmed said.
President Abdul Hamid took part in the last prayers from his Bangabhaban residence and Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina from her Gono Bhaban official residence. They sought peace and prosperity of the country as well as the community of Muslims across the world, according to security officials.
Muslim devotees from 32 districts of the country- Bangladesh- and about 10,000 foreign nationals from at least 55 countries are taking part in the first phase of the Ijtema, said Harun-ur-Rashid, superintendent of Gazipur police.
At least 10 people have died in the grounds of Ijtema during its first phase due to cardiac arrest and other complications, a man named Mostaque said quoting police.
Special security measures were in place to ensure security of the devotees amid the countrywide non-stop blockade enforced by the BNP-led 20-party alliance, according to police.
Larger number of troops from various law enforcement agencies has been deployed at Tongi to ensure the foolproof security of the devotees.
Several watch towers were erected at the entrances to the Ijtema ground, according to security personnel.
Meanwhile, law enforcers picked up 17 people on charges of pick-pocketing and mugging. A mobile court also lodged 10 cases and fined Tk 13,000 to businessmen for sale of adulterated food, one of the police officers said.
The Ijtama overview in 2015
The first phase of Ijtema (Friday, Saturday and Sunday) ended with Akheri Munajat on January 11 and the second phase Ijtema will begin after a four-day break — from Jan 16. It will conclude with the Akheri Munajat on Jan 18.
Since 2011, the Ijtema has been held in two phases to accommodate the large number of devotees.
The congregation was first organised at the Kakrail mosque in 1946.
Two years later, it was held at Chittagong’s Haji camp followed by one at Narayanganj’s Siddhirganj in 1958.
As the number of participants increased, the congregation was eventually moved to the banks of Turag in Gazipur.
Later, 160 acres of land was acquired and developed as a permanent Ijtema ground.