Apr 16, 2009

Bangla Istimaq

Bishwa (World) Ijtema is a Muslim religious congregation organized annually by the Tabligh Jamaat Bangladesh. ‘Tabligh’ an arabic word, which means to reach out, to make known or to publicize. 'Ijtema' means a public gathering.Ijtema has been held every year since 1966 on the bank of the River Turag near Tongi, Dhaka which is now known as the place for Bishwa Ijtema (world congregation). It is an annual meeting place of Muslim pilgrims from various countries of the world for special prayers. Its main objectives are to inspire Muslims of the world to follow the norms of Islam and encourage them to lead a life that conforms to the tenets of Islam as depicted in the Quran and Hadith.Originally starting in 1920 under British India, the movement has spread to 150 countries and has an active following estimated to be between 70 to 80 million devout followers. The Jamaat does not solicit or receive donations. Rather it is self-funded by its members and operates on a very efficient model, where administrative expenses are almost absent or taken care of by donations from senior members.Maulana Ilyas founded ‘Tabligh’ in 1920, at Sahranpur of Uttar Pradesh / Delhi, India. After partition of 1947, three Ijtema centres developed in three parts of the subcontinent - India, West Pakistan and East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). However, in terms of popular attendance, the Tongi Ijtema is the largest of all these congregations.The Tabligh Jamaat movement started in Bangladesh (then East Pakistan) in 1948 with a few followers in presence of Maulana Eusuf. The activities got momentum in Kakrail Mosque adjacent to Ramna Park in 1950s, at the initiative of Maulana Abdul Aziz, Engr. A Mohsin Ahmed and Engr. A Muquith Ahmed and some other dedicated souls. Congregations were organized in 1954 in Chittagong, 1958 in Narayanganj, and in 1960, '62 and ’65 in Ramna Race course (now Sohrawardy Uddyan). Ramna Race course proved to be too small to accommodate devotees. Consequently, a large open space at the village Pagar on the bank of the River Turag near Tongi was chosen for the next Ijtema in 1966. That year many devotees from overseas joined the Ijtema.The number of participants in the Ijtema of 2001 was about 2 million. Among them were the representatives from 70 different countries including India, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait, Egypt, USA, UK, Germany, China, Japan, Kenya, and Turkey. Even the vast open space of the Ijtema venue proved too congested to accommodate the huge number of devotees who came to join the prayer on the third (final-Akheri Munazaat) day of the three day Ijtema function. Bangladesh Railways ran special trains to accommodate devotees attending the Ijtema.Ijtema is now a symbol of the unity of all Muslims, an opportunity to demonstrate their mutual solidarity, love and respect and to reiterate their commitment to the Islamic values of discipline, brotherhood and magnanimity. Ijtema is the largest congregation of Muslims next to the Hajj.Throughout the world, the activities of the Tabligh Jamaat are conducted from mosques, which the Tabligh activists call the markaj (group). The routine of Tabligh activities is so designed as to enable every member to be in touch with markaj daily. The central markaj coordinates the activities of all these local markajes.The Tabligh Jamaat lays special emphasis on jimmadari (leadership/trustee). A jimmadar (leader) must have all the qualities of a guide as enjoined by Islam and is to be especially patient, modest, soft speaking, morally sound, and determined. Only those people who possess these qualities and devote maximum time in Tabligh work are inducted as leaders. At every stage of the Tabligh organization, Shuras (counseling assemblies) are constituted to advise the leaders. Bishwa Ameer, the world Tabligh leader, conducts all his affairs in consultation with the Shura members and the participants respect his decisions and directives

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