Muslim devotees pray on the street in Dhaka, Bangladesh, during Bishwa Ijtema, one of the major Islamic religious gatherings which is observed annually.
The Ijtema is a prayer meeting spread over three days, during which attending devotees perform daily prayers while listening to scholars reciting and explaining verses from the Quran. It is one of the largest peaceful gatherings in the world. Because of being non-political, it draws people of all persuasion and is attended by devotees from 150 countries. It culminates in the Akheri Munajat or the Concluding Supplication (Final Prayer).
As large numbers of people come to Tongi, the main street of Dhaka especially to attend the Jummah Prayer (Friday Prayer), dedicated prayer grounds are not enough to handle this huge number of people. That’s why the Ijtema ground as well as its surrounding area gets so jam-packed that sometimes people risk their lives climbing up to the top of the buses to stand and pray as they find no other alternative way in the overcrowded region. All the ground transportation and pedestrian crossings are suspended during that time.
All images and text © Joy Saha
By Joy Saha
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