If you don’t know about it you might just miss it. So inconpicuous is the markaz (world head-quarters) of the Tablighi Jamaat at Basti Nizamuddin in Delhi. There are hardly any photographs available on the web of the building or the leaders. It is a very different religious organization in the sense that it is totally apolitical and has always shunned publicity. Its workers go about doing their tasks with a nonchalance that sometimes seen unreal. The truth is that it is not.
The world may have respected their desire for privacy for a long time but these days it is difficult to get 2 million Muslims from all over the world congregate at a place and not get noticed. Tongi in Bangladesh would play host to the second largest gathering of Muslims after Hajj for the 38th Bishwa Ijtema (World Congregation) over the next three days.
Preparations are almost complete for the 38th Biswa Ijtema, the biggest congregation of Muslims next to Hajj, at Tongi from Saturday.
Devotees from around the world will start arriving in a couple of days for the three-day Ijtema that takes place on an area of 160 acres of land on the eastern bank of the river Turag.
Every year, about two million people from home and abroad join the grand meet, organised by the Tablig Jamaat. Devotees from Indonesia, Malaysia, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Middle Eastern countries pray for the divine blessings, unity and prosperity of the Muslim Ummah.
Volunteers have already set up pandals and makeshift camps. Hundreds of devotees from the Kakrail Grand Mosque, other mosques, students from madrassahs and different religious institutions carried bamboo poles, gunny and other necessary things to the spot from as early as October.
The major news agencies are still confused about what to report. Reuters says that it is being organized by the World Tablig Council even though there is no such thing. BBC calls it Bangladesh Muslim Festival which is incorrect as it is no festival. And what would these 2 million people do for three days? They would pray, listen to sermons/talks and make plans on how to mold their lives according to the teachings of Islam.