Every year, millions of devout Muslims from across the globe gather in Tongi, a suburb of Dhaka, the capital city of Bangladesh, for an event of profound spiritual significance and universal harmony known as Bishwa Ijtema. Bishwa Ijtema, which translates to “World Gathering” in Bengali, is one of the largest Islamic congregations in the world. This extraordinary event serves as a testament to the power of faith, unity, and the message of peace.
The Origins of Bishwa Ijtema:
The roots of Bishwa Ijtema can be traced back to the 1940s when it was established by Islamic scholar and preacher, Maulana Muhammad Ilyas. Inspired by the teachings of his father and the need to promote Islamic values, he initiated the first Tablighi Ijtema (Islamic congregation) in India. The movement gained momentum and spread across South Asia, eventually evolving into the global phenomenon that is Bishwa Ijtema.
A Two-Part Congregation:
Bishwa Ijtema is typically held over a three-day period, divided into two parts, occurring on consecutive weekends. The first part focuses on the preaching and understanding of Islamic principles, while the second emphasizes prayers, supplication, and spiritual reflection.
The Message of Peace and Unity:
One of the most remarkable aspects of Bishwa Ijtema is the message of peace and unity it conveys. This gathering transcends borders, cultures, and languages. Muslims from various walks of life, ethnic backgrounds, and nationalities come together in a spirit of brotherhood and sisterhood. The congregation preaches the virtues of peace, tolerance, and understanding.
The Role of Tabligh:
At the heart of Bishwa Ijtema is the concept of Tabligh, which means “to convey” or “to spread.” The primary goal of Tablighi Jamaat, the organization behind Bishwa Ijtema, is to encourage Muslims to practice their faith sincerely and to share the message of Islam with others through peaceful and respectful dialogue. During the congregation, experienced scholars and preachers deliver sermons aimed at fostering a deeper understanding of Islamic teachings and the importance of living a pious life.
A Gathering of Millions:
Bishwa Ijtema has grown significantly over the years. The event attracts millions of attendees, including both men and women, from countries as far apart as Indonesia, Nigeria, and the United States. These diverse attendees stay in temporary camps around the congregation site, living in a communal atmosphere, sharing meals, and praying together. This environment exemplifies the unity and equality that are central to Islam.
The Impact Beyond Borders:
While Bishwa Ijtema has a profound impact on the lives of the participants, its significance extends beyond the congregation itself. The message of peace, unity, and the practice of sincere faith resonates with attendees and is carried back to their respective communities and countries. This global event contributes to fostering peaceful coexistence and understanding among different cultures and faiths.
Bishwa Ijtema is more than just an annual gathering of Muslims; it is a testament to the power of faith, unity, and the promotion of peace. This remarkable event underscores the potential of religion to bring people together, transcending geographical, cultural, and linguistic boundaries. In a world that often emphasizes division, Bishwa Ijtema serves as a shining example of how a shared faith can unite millions, promoting a message of tolerance and peace that resonates far beyond the congregation grounds.