Gulf Times :Kerala gears up to host largest Ramadan congregation

Kerala gears up to host largest Ramadan congregation

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.