GAZIPUR (Bangladesh) - Hundreds of thousands of Muslim devotees gathered on the banks of Turag River outside the Bangladeshi capital on Friday, to call for peace and a revival of Islamic tenets in the world’s second largest congregation after the Hajj.
“This great congregation is playing an important role in spreading Islamic morals and the teachings of ‘Sunnah’ among the residents of the world,” Bangladeshi President Zillur Rahman said in a statement on the occasion cited by Bangladesh’s online newspaper bdnews24.com.
“To enforce peace, unity, solidarity and brotherhood in the Muslim world, the Biswa Ijtema is really important,” he added.
“Everyone should be inspired by great Islamic ideals and devote themselves to the welfare of humanity.”
Friday’s gathering was kicked off by the World Congregation of Muslims in the morning on the sandy bank of the Turag River.
The first day of the gathering was inaugurated after Fajr prayers with a lecture by Pakistani Hazi Abdul Wahab.
The first phase will run through to Jan 15 and the second one from Jan 20 to Jan 22, during which the faithful pray and listen to religious scholars.
Bishwa Ijtema was first held in the 1960s by Tabliq-e-Jamaat, a group that urges people to follow the Islamic teachings in their daily lives.
The Bishwa Ijtema is the second largest Muslim congregation in the world after the Hajj. Organizers say nearly 4 million are expected by Sunday.
With a population of 144 million, Bangladesh is the world’s third-largest Muslim-majority nation.
Darul Ihsan Media Desk