The Aalmi Tablighi Ijtima, the third biggest annual Islamic congregation of the world that takes place in Bhopal, has been postponed for the first time in 72 years due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Jamats (Muslim religious groups) from across the globe participate in the four-day mega event organised at Bhopal outskirts where religious preachings take place. The event was scheduled to begin on November 2 7and end on 30 this year.
Speaking to the media, Atiqul Islam, spokesperson of the Ijtima Management Committee said that maintaining social distancing, ensuring wearing of masks and sanitisation facilities for such a huge crowd poses is nearly impossible to achieve. Additionally, the risk of infections transmission within such a huge crowd where people from across the world come together also poses a huge threat.
Taking the prevailing situation into consideration, the event has been postponed and fresh dates for the event will be made public once the pandemic in due course, he said.
The Ijtima began in 1949 in the presence of 13 people at Masjid Shakoor Khan in Bhopal. After the construction of Taj-ul-masjid was completed, the congregation took place at the mosque premises for years.
However, due to growing numbers of participants over the years, it was shifted to city outskirts in Eintkhedi in 2005. A few years ago, the three-day event was turned into a four-day affair.
On the last day of every Ijtima, the dates for the next year's congregation are announced and preparations for the event starts two months prior to the event.
According to the organisers, around ten lakh people take part in the congregation every year.
After Haj, the annual Islamic pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia and a similar Ijtima event organised in Bangladesh, Aalmi Tablighi Ijtima of Bhopal is considered the world’s third-largest Islamic religion congregation.