Four die from natural causes
The first phase of Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of Muslims besides Hajj, began on the banks of the Turag River in Tongi after Fajr prayers yesterday.
Amid cold weather and heavy security measures, this year’s Ijtema began with an "a'm bayan" (general sermon) delivered by Pakistani Islamic scholar Maulana Obaidul Khorshed.
The followers of Maulana Jubair Hassan, along with hundreds and thousands of Muslims, will participate in the first phase of Biswa Ijtema.
The venue was brimming even before the Friday prayers commenced as participants who failed to find a place took to the streets and footpaths around the Dhaka-Mymensingh highway.
Engineer Mofizur Rahman, an elder at the congregation said: “Even though the initial a’m bayan by Maulana Obaidul Khorshed was in Urdu, it was simultaneously translated in Bangla by Maulana Abdul Matin. Furthermore, all the sermons delivered are being translated to Bangla, English, Arabic, Tamil, Malay, Turkish, Persian, and other languages for the ease of visiting Muslims who have gathered here from all around the world. We have prepared accommodation facilities for them on the North-western side of the venue.”
As more and more foreign and local devotees are joining the congregation, Tongi has seemingly become a holy city.
Four devotees pass away due to natural causes
Officer-in-charge (OC) of Tongi West police station, Emdad Hossain confirmed to Dhaka Tribune that four devotees have passed away from natural causes.
“Shahidul Islam, 55, hailing from Naogaon passed away yesterday morning while on Thursday night, Sirajganj’s Khoka Miah, 60, fell ill and was rushed to the nearby Shahid Ahsan Ullah Master General Hospital where the on-duty doctors declared him dead,” Hossain said.
The OC added: “At 1am on Friday morning, Mohammed Ali, 70, from Patiya, Chittagong fell ill under the 76th khitta. He too, was rushed to the same hospital and was declared dead. Earlier on Thursday morning, Yakub Shikder, 85, hailing from Kotalipara, Gopalganj also died after suffering a cardiac arrest.”
The first phase of Biswa Ijtema will conclude with the Akheri Munajat on Sunday, January 12. The second phase is set to be held between January 17 and 19 where followers of Maulana Muhammad Saad Al Kandhalvi will participate.
Tabligh Jamaat has been organising the congregation at the venue since 1967. In 2011, Tabligh split the Ijtema into two phases, dividing the participation of people from 64 districts, to reduce pressure on the venue and ensure better management.