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Four lakh people take part in prayers at Swalat Nagar

Staff Reporter

Largest Muslim gathering outside Mecca and Medina in Ramzan

MALAPPURAM: A massive Ramzan congregation held here on Sunday night concluded with a fervent prayer for world peace. The prayer meet, organised by Ma'dinu Ssaquafathil Islamiyya at Swalat Nagar, near here, was rated the largest Muslim gathering outside Mecca and Medina in Ramzan.

According to rough estimates, four-lakh people took part in the prayers. Over two-lakh food packets were distributed before the function began at 10.30 p.m., but they reached only a section of the crowds.

There was no long sermon or speech during the four-and-a-half-hour prayers. During his 10-minute introductory remarks, Ma'din chairman Syed Ibrahim Khaleel Bukhari called upon the crowds to make a peace deal with themselves as well as with the world.

"Show mercy to your fellow beings; then, God will be merciful to you," he said. "What we need is an extremism of love and not hatred and terror." Tajul Ulama Syed Abdurahman Bukhari, president of the Samastha Kerala Jamiyyathul Ulama, during his brief speech, asked the faithful not to be misled by the looks.

"Unburden yourself of all kinds of evil thoughts and deeds, and cleanse your hearts. For God looks not at your looks, but into your hearts," he said.

Packed with believers

Extensive arrangements were made for the congregation, which marked the anniversary of swalat (a special prayer) held on Ma'din campus every month. Apart from the main venue, six other grounds were also packed with believers, who watched the proceedings on mega screens. Three of the grounds were exclusively for women.

A large number of people from foreign countries, including those in the Gulf and Sri Lanka, took part in the prayers.

The late-night prayers, anticipating the Lailathul Qadr, or the night of decree, about which the Koran has declared that it is better than a thousand months, included Swalatunnariyyath, Haddad Ratheeb, Tahleel and Touba.

The prayers reached a crescendo when the crowds swung in spiritual ecstasy, chanting "there is no god but God" a thousand times.

With trembling hands raised skywards and tears swelling in their eyes, the crowds sought forgiveness and mercy of Allah. Choruses of `Ameen' rent the air as Mr. Bukhari uttered the words of contrition.

By 3 a.m., they were heading home, many of them carrying a vial of honey as a Tabarruk.

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