Religions Practised in Bangladesh

Islam is the official religion in Bangladesh and is practiced by some 88 percent of the country's inhabitants. Other religions that are active in Bangladesh include Hinduism, Christianity, Buddhism, animism and tribal belief systems.

The majority of the population who follow Islam pursue the Sunni branch of the Muslim religion whilst a small group are Shia.

Interestingly, Bangladesh is reported to have one of the biggest Muslim communities in the world. It was during the 13th century that masses began converting to Islam and this conversion continued for several centuries. It was the Muslim missionaries and mystics who brought the religion of Islam to the people of Bangladesh.

The Islamic religion in Bangladesh plays a large role in everyday life of the people as is evidenced in the celebration of festivals such as Eid-ul-Fitr, Eid-e-Miladunnabi, Muharram and others. Whilst Muslims in Bangladesh are committed to Islam, adherence to certain rituals and tenets may vary depending on a number of factors. In some rural areas the people have began to incorporate other beliefs into their religion, some of which may not fall in line with orthodox Islam.

Followers of the Hindu religion in Bangladesh amount to around 13% of the country's population. Hindu communities are concentrated in areas such as Barisal, Khulna, Dinajpur, Jessore and Faridpur. Hindu temples can be found scattered throughout the country. Making up 0,5 to 1% of the population are followers of the Theravada school of Buddhism, most of whom reside in the Chittagong Hills. Christians make up another 1% of Bangladesh's population. The majority are part of the Roman Catholic Church. Another prominent church is the Church of Bangladesh, a united church formed by several protestant churches. Tribes in the Chittagong Hills have formed their own religion, a blending of Buddhism and tribal rituals.

Whilst religious tolerance is promoted in the laws of Bangladesh, little is currently being done to protect the rights of Bangladesh's religious minority groups. Hopefully Bangladesh can look forward to a future where everyone can practice their religion without opposition.

When visiting this fascinating country, why not take some time to get to know people from different religions in Bangladesh? You are certain to learn a lot.



User Comments & Reviews: 7 Comment(s)

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Gay-Bangladesh - 2010-09-03 01:57:13

Mohammad Rafique is a fundamentalist religious fanatic terrorist. We Bangladeshi people are not fanatic like you. We respect all the people including Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Buddhist, Baha'i, Bramho everybody. Our Bangladeshi Constitution confirms equality for every people. We Bangladeshi people are very open-minded. Not narrow-minded like Mohammad Rafique and other muslim countries like Pakistan.

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Gay-Bangladesh - 2009-10-05 21:51:43

Mr. Rafiq please don't talk like Al-Qaeda. Bangladesh is a liberal and secular country where more than 80% people are Sunni (Hanafi denomination). And other Muslim sects like Shi'a, Ahle Hadis, Ahmadiyya, Ahle Quran, Progressive Muslims etc. are also visible. SUNNI POPULATION OF BANGLADESH: Sunni is the major religious sect which has 4 sub-sects:Hanafi, Shafei, Maliki & Hanbali. Most of the Bangladeshi Muslims are Hanafi Sunni but there are also some Bangladeshi Muslims who are Shafei. Most of the Shafei Muslims live in the North Bengal region and some live at Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna city. SHI'A POPULATION OF BANGLADESH: Isna Ashari or Jafari Shi'a is the major Shi'a denomination of Bangladesh. Hussaini Dalan, Bakshi Bazaar, Mirpur, Mohammadpur, Wari, Dhanmondi, Jigatola, Tejgaon, Nakhalpara, Armanitola, Bongshal, Lalbagh etc. areas of Dhaka city have very significant Jafari Shi'a population. Manikganj, Sylhet, Khulna, Chittagong, Rangpur, Bogra, Rajshahi, Rajbari, Jessore, Kushtia, Narayanganj, Dinajpur, Ishwardi (Pabna), Saiyedpur (Nilphamari), Hili (Joypurhat), Narail, Satkhira, Magura, Chuadanga etc. areas are very significant for Jafari Shi'a population. The owner of the Ispahani Mirzapore Tea company is one of the prominant Jafari Shi'a. Jafari Shi'a Muslims are highly educated and financially in better position from other communities. There are some divisions in Bangladeshi Jafari Shi'a communities mainly based on languages and cultures. They are: 1. Bihari Shi'a 2. Indian Bengali Shi'a 3. Bangladeshi Bengali Shi'a 4. Non-Bihari Urdu-Speaking Shi'a 5. Gujrati-Marathi-Sindhi or Bombaiya Shi'a 6. Irani Shi'a 1. Bihari Shi'a: Bihari Shi'a Muslims are one of the most important part of ethnic Bihari communities. They are called 'Bihari' because they came from Bihar province of India and its surrounding areas at 1947 after the partition of India and Pakistan as refugees. All Biharis are not Shi'a, only one third of the Bihari community are Shi'a and rest are Sunni (Hanafi), Ahmadiyya, Ahle Quraan, Ahle Hadis and some Biharis are Hindu too. Most of them speak Bhojpuri, Hindi and Urdu as first language but they can speak Bengali fluently and some educated persons can speak English and Farsi. They are urban community and don't live in rural area. 2. Indian Bengali Shi'a: There are many Bengali Shi'a Muslims came from Murshidabad, Hoogley, Kolkata, 24 Parganas, Nadia, Birbhum, Bardhoman, Haora, Medinipur, Maldah and other areas of the West Bengal province of India at 1947 after the partition of India and Pakistan. Most of them are very high educated and intellectuals. They speak Indian Bengali dialect of Bangla. They also speak English, Hindi and Urdu. They are exclusively urban community. 3. Bangladeshi Bengali Shi'a: This community exclusively unique Bangladeshi Shi'a community. Most of them live in rural areas. Such as, in Manikganj, Narail, Benapole (Jessore), Sharsha (Jessore), Rajarhat (Jessore), Parulia (Satkhira), Debhata (Satkhira), Nurnagar (Satkhira), Shamnagar (Satkhira), Kaliganj (Satkhira), Patkelghata (Satkhira), Kaliganj (Jhenidah), Magura, Paikgachha (Khulna), Hili (Joypurhat), Santahar, Parbotipur, Goalondo(Rajbari), Borhanuddin (Bhola), Barisal. These people are native Bangladeshi and Bengali speaking community. Most of them have been converted from Sunni and Ahle Hadis. Around 40% Shi'a of Bangladesh are Bangladeshi Bengali Shi'a and this community is increasing very quickly. There are also a very significant Ismaili Shi'a community visible in Bangladesh, especially in Dhaka, Chittagong and Khulna city. Most of them are the followers of His Royal Highness Prince Karim Agha Khan. Ismaili Shi'a Muslims are non-Bengali. Their first language is Gujrati and Marathi but they can speak Bengali, Hindi, Urdu and English very fluently. Ismaili Shi'a community is the most rich and very high educated among all of the Bangladeshi community. Agha Khan School at Chittagong, Khulna and Dhaka is very famous for their good results in Secondary School Certificate Examination. Other Shi'a Communities like Bohra, Mehman etc. are also existed in Bangladesh. Chittagong, Khulna and Dhaka city have Bohra Communities.

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coco - 2009-09-30 14:57:03


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