By Ashraf Padanna/Thiruvananthapuram
Kerala will host the country’s largest Ramadan prayer congregation on August 4, where more than half a million faithfuls are expected to take a pledge against terrorism and alcoholism.
The annual event is held at Swalath Nagar in Kerala’s Melmuri village in the Muslim-dominated Malappuram district on the 27th night of the Holy Month.
The event began in 1986 with the aim of spreading the message of love, harmony, tolerance and affection in the pluralistic society of the region.
It has been growing in attendance year after year and this year the organisers are preparing to host at least 700,000 believers, offering them facilities for prayers and breaking the day-long fast.
The joint prayers begin in the evening and spread into the wee hours of the next day.
“With the spiritual experience of the expected Lailat al-Qadr, the night of power, on the day, we teach the people the message of co-existence and moderation,” Sayyid Ibrahimul Khaleel Al Bhukhari, chairman of the Ma’din Academy, organisers of the mammoth meet, told reporters here.
Billed as the third largest congregation of its kind in the world, the organisers say a record 7,00,000 people had offered prayers and more than 1,00,000 attended Iftar last year.
Apart from the main venue, 20 sites on both sides of the national highway passing through the village have been identified to accommodate the devotees where the proceedings at the main venue will be displayed on huge screens.
The entire programme will be webcast live for those who want to join the congregation from across the world while local television channels will telecast the culmination of the prayers live.
Special screening centres have been set up in cities like Chennai, Bangalore, Mumbai and Delhi and other major cities in the Middle East.
Last year, the congregation was held on August 15, coinciding with India’s Independence Day.
The attendees also offered special prayers for world peace.
Last year’s event also witnessed the launch of the Ma’din De-addiction Centre, Manuscript Foundation and Timeline, its house journal in English. “It is a different kind of spiritual experience for all believers,” Bhukhari said. “It is the duty of every individual and socio-religious organisations to fight against the evils in the society. With the spiritual experience of the holy night of Ramadan, we teach them the message of co-existence and moderation”.
Sayyid Abdurahman Al Bukhari Ullal, president of Samastha Kerala Jam Iyyathul Ulama, will preside over the event and Kanthapuram A P Aboobacker Musliyar will inaugurate the conference.
Bhukhari, himself, would lead the closing prayers and administer the pledge against terrorism.
The organisers have trained 5,555 volunteers for the smooth conduct of the programme.
As in the past, local community across religious faith, the district administration, police and fire force are extending their services. The Ma’din Academy runs 28 educational and charity ventures with 16,200 students on its rolls.
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