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15,000 Muslims gather in Benoni for Ijitima

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Thousands of Muslims from South Africa and abroad gathered in Johannesburg to attend a three-day annual Islamic gathering known as the Ijitima organized by the international Sunni Jamaat Tablighi movement.

“The purpose of Ijitima is to bring Muslims together and remind them about the teachings of Islam and how they can live meaningful lives,’’ said event organizer Mufti Bhoola in Benoni, east of Johannesburg.

He said about 25,000 people attended Friday prayers at the venue of the event in Benoni, marking the start of the three-day spiritual gathering which ends Monday.

“Some of those who attended our Friday prayers have left and returned to their homes. Now we have 15,000 people registered to stay here with us for three days,” he said.
Organizers have also set up several huge tents on a playing field to accommodate the worshippers who have travelled from various parts of South Africa and neighboring countries.

“I came here to learn more about my religion with the aim of turning my life around and following the true path of Islam,’’ Johannesburg resident Rafick Essop told Anadolu Agency.

The annual gathering admits only Muslim males who attend lectures both during the day and at night.

Lectures are translated into different languages to accommodate the needs of the worshippers.

“I’m grateful to be here because I believe by the end of this event my spirituality will be revived,’’ Saidi Mawunde, who traveled by bus with a group of others from Malawi, told Anadolu Agency at the event.

Siraji Ali from the kingdom of Lesotho, who also attended last year’s event, said the gathering has taught him about the importance of Muslim brotherhood and unity.

“We sleep, eat, and pray together in these tents irrespective of our social status in society. This clearly shows that we are all brothers and should be united as one,” he said.

The Jamaat Tabligi, founded in India in the early 1920s, has since developed into an international movement in over 150 countries.
The movement organizes an annual gathering in Bangladesh, known as Bishwa Ijtima, which draws millions of Muslims from across the globe.

Their main objective is to do Dawah (propagate Islam), often reminding Muslims to follow the true path of Islam and live meaningful lives.
Members of the movement from community mosques often visit homes in communities to remind Muslims about the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad.

The gathering focuses on prayers and supplication.
[Source: Hassan Isilow]

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