Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina joined the Akheri Munajat (final prayers) of the 53rd Biswa Ijtema as the first phase of the world's largest Muslim congregation after the holy Hajj ended on the banks of the river Turag at Gazipur’s Tongi.
From her official residence Ganabhaban, the prime minister took part in the prayers on Sunday.
Awami League Presidium Member Advocate Sahara Khatun, Joint General Secretary Dr Dipu Moni and Agriculture Affairs Secretary Faridunnahar Laily, as well as family members and relatives of the premier joined the prayers from Ganabhaban. PM's Principal Secretary Md Nojibur Rahman, Military Secretary Maj Gen Mia Mohammad Zainul Abedin, Press Secretary Ihsanul Karim, Special Assistant Dr Abdus Sobhan Golap and officials and employees of the Prime Minister's Office and Ganabhaban took part in the prayers from there.
A special prayer was offered on the occasion seeking continued peace, progress and welfare of the country as well as the greater unity of the Muslim Ummah.
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Senior-most Imam (Pesh Imam) of Kakrail Jame Mosque Mawlana Md Jubaer conducted the prayer. Both the Akheri Munajat and "hedayeti bayan" were conducted for the first time in Bangla.
Tens of thousands of devotees from 16 districts of the country attended the first phase of the Ijtema. The districts included Dhaka, Narayanganj, Madaripur, Gaibandha, Sherpur, Lakkhipur, Bhola, Jhalakathi, Patuakhali, Narail, Magura, Panchagarh, Nilphamari and Natore.
Some 4,473 devotees from 88 countries joined the first phase of the Ijtema. The devotees from 16 other districts of Bangladesh will participate in the second phase of Biswa Ijtema slated for January 19-21.
In the three-day first phase of Ijtema, noted ulema-mashaekhs in their sermons called for following the guidance of the holy Quran and Sunnah. The sermons were translated into different languages.
The New Delhi-based Tablig-e-Jamaat has been organising the Ijtema since 1967. For managing the growing number of devotees coming from home and abroad, the holy congregation is being held in two phases since the year of 2011.