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'Purification of Self': Ijtema as a New Islamic Pilgrimage

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Tablighi Jamaat is one of the influential and widespread Islamic movements among the Muslims around the world, which is originated in northern part of India in 1920s by Moulana Muhammad Ilyas Kandhalawi (1885–1944). It has spread to some 165 countries, including Bangladesh. In Bangladesh, its annual three-day mass congregation, commonly known as ijtema near Dhaka attracts more than five million people. Ijtema is an essential part of the Tablighi Jamaat around the world. Ijtema plays a significant role on the lives of many Muslims in Bangladesh. The huge number of engaging people in ijtema shows its popularity. Many countries also celebrate this event in a similar way. The current paper argues that ijtema provides a new idea of pilgrimage among the Muslims in Bangladesh. This paper also shows that participation in ijtema increases religious authority, status and empowerment. Finally, it examines how does ijtema contributes on the Muslim identity through the idea of brotherhood and ummah.



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