In an unprecedented incident, the three-day Biswa Ijtema, ostensibly the second largest yearly congregation of the Muslims, on the bank of Turag River at Tongi was cut short on its inaugural day yesterday due to an inclement weather that had caused deaths of at least three pilgrims. The akheri munajat or the concluding prayers of this year’s ijtema started at 7:55pm ending at 8:15pm yesterday instead of its schedule tomorrow. [The Daily Star; Saturday, January 26, 2008]
For the last two days life in Dhaka as well as else where in Bangladesh is disrupting with chilly wind and drizzles. This includes a foggy and cloudy weather through out the country. Due to this cold spell and inclement weather, the lowest temperature in Dhaka was 15.3 degrees. The difference of minimum and maximum temperature in Dhaka was only 2.4 degrees Celsius.
And yesterday was the beginning of the IJTEMA, second largest religious congregation of the Muslims after hajj, begins today on the bank of the river Turag. This year due to the political stability of Bangladesh, at least three million people from about 58 countries were expected to join. Ijtema plays a significant role in rapid dissemination of Islamic ideals and lessons of the Quran and Sunnah across the globe. Usually Ijtema holds for three days. The last day is known as AAKHERI MUNAZAT’s DAY. In the last day all the Muslims regardless scholars and ordinary people, pray to Allah (the Almighty) for establishing universal peace and strengthening unity, solidarity and fraternity in the Muslim world.
Devotees at the Biswa Ijtema ground use plastic sheets to take cover from the drizzle. The poor conditions led to the congregation’s abrupt end last night. Photo: Anisur Rahman
But the inclement weather wrapped up the whole congregation. The canopies and mats used in Ijtema grounds were damaged in the rain. The devotees collected polythene as an alternative since they were cost-effective. Many of the elderly devotees had to take shelter at various mosques and other places adjacent to the Ijtema ground. But yesterday, after evening the drizzles were turned into rain which made the authorities taking the decision of winding up Ijtema on its inaugural day, considering the sufferings of several lakh pilgrims in a bitter cold weather.
Regarding this, my opinion is that government should take necessary steps to build permanent buildings there on Ijtema ground with the help of the other Muslim countries. As it is obvious that Ijtema will be held in Bangladesh in the upcoming years like the former years, government should provide the devotees with facilities of brick-built cabins instead of canopies. It is a great issue as many Muslims scholars from around the worlds come Bangladesh only for joining Ijtema. So, I think other Muslim countries will come forward to help Bangladesh in this regard.