Devotees gather at a reservoir at the Biswa Ijtema ground for ablutions before Zohr prayers yesterday, the second day of the first part of the Ijtema on the Turag in Tongi. The Akheri Munajat (final prayers) will be held today seeking divine blessings of Almighty Allah. Photo: Rashed Shumon
The first phase of Biswa Ijtema, the second largest congregation of the Muslims after Hajj, ends today with Akheri Munajat or the concluding prayer in Tongi on the outskirts of the capital.
The Akheri Munajat would be offered sometime between 12:30pm and 1:15pm before Johr prayers, said the organisers of the gathering. Maulana Zubairul Hasan of India is expected to lead the prayer, they added.
President Abdul Hamid, BNP Chairperson Begum Khaleda Zia, Jatiya Party Chairman HM Ershad, members of different political parties, foreign dignitaries, and government high-ups are expected to join the prayer.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is also expected to join the prayer through a video conference.
Around four million devotees might turn out for the prayer.
While visiting the venue yesterday, this correspondent found that the heaps of dust were causing problems for the devotees.
The entire ground stretching over around 160 acres virtually became dusty as the devotees continued to pour into the Ijtema venue.
The influx of devotees from home and abroad had started gathering the site on the bank of the river Turag since Friday.
The second phase of the congregation will be held after a four-day gap from January 31 to February 2.
Routes of inter-district vehicles changed
Due to the concluding prayer, the routes of several inter-district buses have been changed for today.
Entrances at Bhogra on Dhaka-Mymensigh highway, Mirerbazar and Kamarpara in Gazipur; Baipail and Abdullahpur in Dhaka would remain closed for all types for vehicles from 5:00am to 6:00pm, said Shakhwat Hossain, additional superintendent of police (Traffic) in Gazipur.
Buses plying between Chandra-Baipail-Abdullahpur will use Chandra-Baipail-Nabinagar-Gabtoli route to enter the capital, whereas vehicles using Bhogra-Mirerbazar-Tongi route will take Mirerbazar-Kanchpur Bridge route to enter the capital.
Moreover, as many as 40 shuttle buses would operate from Bhogra to Tongi Station road since 5:00am to carry the devotees to the venue, the ASP added.
SERMONS THROUGHOUT THE SECOND DAY
Religious scholars from home and abroad delivered sermons, explaining the Islamic philosophy in the light of the holy Quran and Hadith.
The day started with sermons by Pakistani scholar Maulana Abdul Wahab immediately after the Fazr prayers.
Another Pakistani scholar Maulana Mohammad Jamshed gave lecture after the Johr prayers, Indian scholar Maulana Zubairul Hasan after the Asr prayers, and Maulana Ahmed after the Magrib prayers.
They talked about the worldly life and the way to achieve divine blessings.
Human souls will not be purified unless the lust for wealth is overcome; everyone needs to work hard to achieve such purity, the scholars observed.
The sermons were instantly translated into Bangla, English, Hindi and Malayalam for devotees belonging to different language groups.
Before the Asr prayers, a total of 108 couples yesterday got married through a traditional ceremony of the Tablighi Jamaat, which was administered by Maulana Zubairul Hasan.
Three more die
Three more devotees including a Yemeni national died yesterday, taking the death toll to six in two days.
Shamsuddin, 60, of Gafargaon upazila in Mymensingh, and Zihad Ali, 55, of Daulatpur upazila in Kushtia, died of cardiac arrest around 1:00am and 5:00am respectively, said Ismail Hossain, officer-in-charge of Tongi Police Station.
Shah Alam Sharif, civil surgeon of Gazipur, said the Yemeni national was identified as Ahmed Abdullah Jarun, 70, son of Ahmed Abduhu Abdullah Rukuh.
He died of old-age complications around 8:00am at the tent for foreigners.