The Bishwa Ijtema the World or Global Congregation or Meeting is an annual Tablighi Jamaat Islamic movement congregation held at Tongi, Bangladesh by the river Turag. It is the 2nd largest Muslim congregation in the world after the Hajj. The event focuses on prayers and supplication and does not allow political discussion.
The first meeting was reportedly held in 1946 (although various sources indicate other dates for this) and continues to be organized by the Bangladesh Tablighi Jamaat. It lasts three days and is attended by over five million Muslims, making it one of the largest congregations after the Hajj to Mecca and the gathering of Muslims in Karbala, Iraq to commemorate. Ijtema was initiated by an Indian savant named Muhammad Ilyas al-Kandhlawi and began as a small group of religious-minded individuals gathering at a local mosque. For forty-one years Tongi has been the chosen location, although similar programs are held on a lesser scale in other countries. The Ijtema is non-political, and therefore it draws people of all persuasion. Prayer is held for the spiritual adulation, exaltation and welfare of the Muslims community. This immensely popular program gives the people of Bangladesh an opportunity to interact with Muslims from other countries and is commonly attended by prominent political figures.
The congregation takes place at an area comprising 160 acres (0.65 km2) of land (0.25 square mile). Devotees from approximately 150 countries, including the host country, Bangladesh, attend the three-day Ijtema seeking divine blessings from Allah. In recent years, over seven thousands foreign delegates attend the congregation each year. Special rates are provided by Bangladesh Biman's world wonder fund.
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