Bhopal: The 66th annual Muslim congregation, Aalmi Tablighi Ijtima, began in Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh on Saturday.

The congregation, considered the third largest for Muslims after the Haj gathering in Makkah and Tablighi Ijtima in Bangladesh, will conclude on December 16.

The Ijtima, organised by Tabligh Jamaat, draws about a million people for the grand prayer on the last day of this congregation.

“You need to work hard to understand religion. Religion is not something that you can understand in a day or two... They (the congregation) are asking us to take out time from our busy life to understand Islam and learn,” said Aslam Mir from Karnataka, who is attending this congregation for the fifth time.

One of the scholars participating in the Ijtima, Ahmad Laat Sahab, explained that all beliefs finally zero in on the Creator — Allah.

A tent city, spread over 170 acres, has come up in the outskirts of Bhopal to accommodate hundreds of participants from India and abroad.

The Ijtima organising committee’s chief spokesman Ateeq-ul-Islam said, “We have decided not to allow the use of tobacco and polythene during Ijtima.”

Groups from Indonesia, Malaysia, Brunei, South Africa, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Jordan, Kuwait, UAE, Yemen, USA, France, Thailand, Morocco and other countries are participating in this religious gathering to discuss Islam.