Eye-witness account of Bangladesh’s (Tableeghi) Ijtema


Shaykh Muhammad Amaan Jami (HA) &

Shaykh Abdul-Kareem Murad (HA)

Eye-witness account of Bangladesh’s (Tableeghi) Ijtema

The Tableeghi Jamaat sent an invitation to Jamia Islamiyya (Madina Munawwara) and requested its attendance to the major Tableeghi Ijtema in Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh. The Jamia accepted the invitation and I (Muhammad Amaan Ibn Ali Jami) from the faculty of Hadeeth and Abdul-Kareem Murad from the faculty of Shariah were sent as representatives.

We departed on Sunday morning, the 10th of Safar 1399 (9th of January 1979) from Madina airport via Jeddah to Karachi (Pakistan).

We arrived at the Jeddah airport at 06:30 and immediately, due to the arrangements made in advance by the President of the Jamia library, Mr. Musfir Zahraani, we reached the office of the Pakistan International Airlines.

The formalities at the airport were completed in less than 10 minutes and we reached the departure lounge in no time to prepare for our departure but there we were informed that due to a technical problem (in the plane), the departure would be delayed.

We kept waiting as we were not given a timeframe for the delay. We prayed Dhohar Salat at the airport since it was not permissible for us to leave the airport premises and we were then invited for lunch, which affirmed to us that the delay will be even longer.

Similarly we waited until after Esha Salah on Monday night and eventually the departure was announced to be at 23:00 and yet the departure actually occurred after midnight. Thus our travel towards Karachi started and since we were exhausted (from all the waiting), we fell fast asleep because this was our rest after a long tiring wait at Jeddah (airport). We woke up with the announcement that we were near Karachi airport.

We praised Allah (SWT) that we reached Karachi safely a little before Subh-Sadiq (true dawn) and prayed our morning prayers at our residence at the hotel. After some rest we made Mushwara on whether to proceed towards Lahore (Pakistan) or Dhaka (Bangladesh) as per the previous program and it was agreed upon to proceed to Dhaka (Bangladesh) to attend the Ijtema so our primary objective is not delayed (in completion).

We spent Wednesday (the 12th of Safar 1399) at the Reservations office hoping to purchase tickets for Thursday however we were told that there were only two flights to Dhaka from Karachi, a Pakistani flight on Tuesday and a Bangladeshi flight on Friday. So we reserved seats for the Friday flight and by the Will of Allah (SWT) after Asar we started our journey and reached Dhaka Airport in the last part of the night.

A Rabita (welcoming) Jamaat was present at the airport to welcome us and other (foreign) attendees and with them there were some Pakistani & Sudani companions with whom we had prior acquaintance. They performed the necessary formalities at the airport and there was special dispensation for Ijtema attendees that we were not to be searched and that included our luggage.

We were then transported to a nearby Masjid so that the guests were directed towards their (temporary residence) during their stay which was close to the Ijtema site. Our assignment was done before Fajar Salah and we even managed to take a little nap before the Adhan of Fajar prayers. After Adhan we performed our Fajar prayers at the nearby Masjid.

This Masjid was a huge hall which was created in an open field and in our estimation it may have been 1 ½ kilometre long and 1 kilometre wide and able to hold 1 million people (for stay as well as prayers) and all of them pray behind one Imam without the use of loudspeakers.

In order to facilitate the sound of the Imam to reach everyone there were many people appointed at various places (to relay the sound) so that people may follow the Imam. I don’t know why they didn’t use loudspeakers for Salah when loud speakers were used for speeches, sending Jamaats and giving them (Jamaats) necessary guidance.

How the setting and arrangement of Ijtema was done and how the material was organised and used, the details are astonishing to hear because the temporary Masjid and lodging of (foreign) guests were all made from light-weight material which was meant to be returned to the shops thus it remained useable and able to be resold. And what was this material? Tin, Bamboo sticks, jute and ropes were the primary constituents, nails are not used so the material remains (reusable) and since the traders and the factory owners have temporarily lent this material they are the ones who do its setting and arrangement and after Ijtema they themselves easily disassemble the whole lot.

To bring (people) to the right path in an Islamic environment this temporary Masjid was astonishing as after prayers people used to form Halaqahs of knowledge which reminded us of Masjids of the earlier generation which were for prayers and acts of worship and they were neither buildings of pride nor elaborately decorated.

After breakfast the talks started and on Saturday around Duha prayers (on the 15th of Safar 1399) there was a special talk in Arabic by Shaykh Umar Palunpuri (RA) and it was a beneficial and comprehensive talk. He elaborated and answered many of the doubts on Tableeghi Jamaat and its methodology of Dawah and the purpose of going out in the path of Allah (SWT).

The summary is to change the environment of those giving the Dawah and those to whom Dawah is being given and not all of those leaving (in the path of Allah (SWT)) are Da’ees rather it is intended for them to reform their lives, and inculcate the love of Islam in their heart and to encourage them towards (good) and to inform them of the matters of Deen which they are (yet) unaware of.

Experience tells us that these things cannot be achieved until a person leaves behind their normal business and engagements of (life of this world) temporarily and joins a righteous and religious environment.

Afterwards, the Arabs were requested to attend the normal talk at the gathering which was to occur after Dhohar Salah. We were requested to deliver this public talk and we accepted with pleasure and thus after Dhohar prayer I gave this talk which was simultaneously translated in various (local) languages while the original speech was in Arabic and afterwards it was announced that on Sunday the 16th of Safar 1399 after Dhohar respected Abdul-Kareem Murad (HA) will be giving a talk.

We were present in all the talks which were translated from Urdu to Arabic (for us). Shaykh Abdul-Kareem Murad (HA) delivered his talk on time and his talk was about “Tauheedul-Ibadah” and he prohibited people from exaggerating the love for the pious and also warned them about making structures on graves.

The Ijtema site was roughly 7 kilometers from the capital (Dhaka) and it was chosen so that people may find some peace (& solace) and also for them to remain at one place (Masjid) and for people like us who arrived (late) wouldn’t have a chance to reach Dhaka before or after the Ijtema.

Monday was the day of giving (leaving) guidance to Jamaats and to bid farewell to the Jamaats and it was a day of mixed emotions (of happiness and sadness). Their happiness and sadness on that day was the proof that their hearts were filled with the love of each other for the sake of Allah (SWT) and that the love of Allah (SWT) had penetrated their hearts.

How the people of Dawah are able to let go (of all other engagements) to connect the hearts of bondsmen to Allah (SWT), [the Alone] and they have no reliance except for Him (SWT) and none worthy of attention expect Him (SWT)!

This is the summary of their talks and and their speeches and their actions and their Zuh’d (asceticism) which is gained after witnessing them and listening to them, on the contrary to people who discuss (their affairs) without recognising them or become ignorant to the reality of (Tableeghi) Jamaat due to some evil (purpose or) reason.

A noteworthy trait of this Jamaat is that this Jamaat concerns itself with matters which other Jamaats don’t find appealing and it is that they take people with them (for reformation) and remain patient (on their excesses) and make their Tarbiyah (nurture them) in an excellent manner and have concern for their guidance.

Their worry and concern is similar to a merciful mother towards her beloved son. Allah (SWT) has guided many kinds of people through them and foremost amongst them are those youth whom we have sent to America & Europe for education and then left them to their (affairs) and not worried about their welfare and Tarbiyah.

Allah (SWT) has deputed this Jamaat for many such individuals when these youngsters had left this (Deen of Islam) after being impressed by the irreligious society around them and I have many such eye witness accounts and stories and it will be too long to write them all so I will suffice with recounting only one incident.

A resident of Riyadh brought a group (Jamaat) of American youth to the Dhaka Ijtema. Allah (SWT) had enabled him to climb out of the abyss (of misguidance) through the work of Jamaat. This youth desired to perform Umrah as he longed for the Umrah to become a means of his (forgiveness of sins) and his distance from his actions (of Jahilliyah).

I congratulated him and told him about the virtues of repentance to which he embarrassingly replied “O Br Muhammad! I intend to perform Umrah but don’t know how to actually perform it and I don’t know what I should do when I reach Makkah and before going to America whatever I had learned in primary (education), I have forgotten and lost it.” I told him to go to one side so we may be away from the (rush of people) and that I may describe the actions of Umrah to him in detail. He requested of me to record it on a cassette to which I replied that if you have a cassette recorder and a cassette then there is nothing preventing us from this matter. So he brought me a cassette and I recorded the actions of Umrah and then also he also asked for a cassette of actions of Hajj and I also summarised those actions for him.

I also encouraged him to visit Masjidun-Nabawi and to also visit Jamia Islamiyya so that he may obtain beneficial books and magazines from there.

The purpose of recounting this incident and other (incidents) which I have presented in your presence and there are many other successes of this Jamaat and the mention of these will be rather long and these success are real (and palpable so that can be touched by hand) and some of other Jamaats which are engaged in Dawah (towards Allah (SWT)) are not able to achieve these and no one (friend or foe, alike) can deny this.

The secret is that this Jamaat has made Dawah-Illallah and the work of reformation of morals (of people) its primary objective (of life) and it is not so that they have taken the work of dawah in their left hand and the (fame and enjoyments due to Dawah) in their right; rather this Jamaat has grasped the work of dawah (itself) with both hands and these people are far from the greed of fame and popularity and to them praise and condemnation is equal until the life of this world has no value in their eyes.

And I suffice at this hint and since the issue is clear so the effects of the Dawah of this nation is also clear as I previously elucidated so the ones to make decisions can do so as the work, its effects and its successes are in front of them to decide.

We spent 3 days in the environment of this Ijtema and on the fourth day on Monday after Dhohar prayers we returned to Karachi and on the 23rd of Safar 1399 on Sunday we returned to Jeddah via our flights and we hope that this journey will be a blessed one, Insha’Allah.

Observations:

1 The name “Tableeghi Jamaat” is not an organised adaptation, rather it is an identity and they didn’t propose but people witnessed their work (of Dawah and Tadhkeer) and gave them (this name).

2 Dawah, discipline and repeated Ijtemaas have inculcated in them skills of organisation and structure which enables to perform their duties in an excellent manner without getting tired.

3 They have the ability to organise and conduct large-scale Ijtemaas in a structure and organised manner and if someone else was to organise such a large scale Ijtema they would need to exert themselves (heavily), require large sums of money while they (Tableeghi Jamaat) are able to do so with the minimum of expenditure except for when they host (long distance foreign) guests.

All participants of Jamaat consider themselves responsible for the work of the Ijtema.

Every person performs his assigned task and presents his belongings (according to his capacity) and performs his duty himself and it is the intention of every individual that he may become a Khaadim (i.e. serve others) and not a ruler and strives to benefit his brothers as to them it is an exalted action, indeed.

Recommendations:

There are clear and apparent qualities and successes associated with this Jamaat (and its work) which we have highlighted and are accepted by friends and foe, alike. Subsequently, we deem it appropriate to present the following recommendations:

1 for benefit and advantage, practical and sincere cooperation with the Jamaat should be done.

2 We recommend that this movement (of Tableegh) should also be present amongst our students so that they may benefit from it and for them to benefit Jamaat. Our students are in need of this blessed Dawah compared to many other people.

3 Jamia Islamiyya (Madina) should frequently (and in great numbers) attend these Ijtemaas and teachers and students alike should be represented here.

We beseech Allah (SWT) to make our actions pure and exclusive for His Benevolent Deity (SWT) and to keep show and fame away from us for surely He (SWT) is the most exalted and the one towards whom beseechment is directed.

Muhammad Amaan Ibn Ali Jami (HA)

10th of Rabiul-Awwal 1399 (8th of February 1979)

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