KERALA - Hundreds of thousands of India Muslims are expected to flow to Swalath Nagar in Malappuram district of Kerala on Sunday, August 4, to mark laylat ul-qadr (the Night of Power) with special prayers, deemed the largest in the world after Makkah and Madinah.
"We expect a crowd of more than six lakh (one hundred thousand) who will congregate through the day, and prayers will conclude early Monday morning," Umer Melmuri, one of the key organizers of the event, told PTI News Agency.
We expect close to two lakh people to be there to take part in the Iftar celebrations Sunday evening.
Located 350 km from the state capital, the venue of the congregation is spread across 10 km.
Muslim worshippers will gather on both sides of National Highway 213.
The gathering, organized Ma'din Academy, one of the premier educational and charity centres in south India, is held annually on the eve of the 27th Ramadan, believed to be laylat ul-qadr (the Night of Power).
In between the prayer sessions, Muslims imams will make a pledge against terrorism and alcoholism.
Moreover, they will be extending a message of harmony, tolerance, love and affection to the wider community.
Ramadan, the holiest month in Islamic calendar, started in India on July 10.
During Ramadan, Muslims dedicate their time during the holy month to become closer to Allah through prayer, self-restraint and good deeds.
The majority of Muslims prefer to pay Zakah for the poor and needy during the month.
Marked annually on the eve of the 27th night of Ramadan, the Night of Power is better than a thousand months.
According to organizers, Kerala's gathering is the third largest prayer gathering after Makkah and Madinah.
Numerous devout Muslims arrive here not only from other parts of India but also abroad.
"This is one event where people from other religions also join to see the smooth conduct of the day-long festivities," Melmuri said.
Of the 14 grounds that are kept for parking of vehicles, eight are maintained by people from other religions in this district. Closed-circuit TVs are kept at various places in and around the place. The day-long program is also webcast.
A special iftar would also be organized during the event.
"The food (including traditional Muslim dishes like pathiri and samosas) that would be served at the Iftar comes from various homes in the district, and the curries that will be served are being prepared at the venue," Melmuri said.
There are some 140 million Muslims in Hindu-majority India, the world's third-largest Muslim population after those of Indonesia and Pakistan.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net