Muslim Countries of the World: Bangladesh

mosque in the backdrop bangladesh

Sunni Islam of the Hanafi madhhab is the state religion of Bangladesh. Muslims in Bangladesh adhere to the Maturidi philosophical school, and have a strong gravitation towards Sufism. Sufi tariqas, as well as all kinds of Muslim organizations, are calling for a return to conservative Islam. The state provides all kinds of support to its Muslim citizens, in particular, support in organizing the Hajj, support in paying zakat, and support in resolving financial issues of communities. In its religious policy, Bangladesh maintains close ties with Saudi Arabia and Pakistan.

The People’s Republic of Bangladesh occupies the territory of the Bengal historical region, in the eastern part of India, on the shores of the Bay of Bengal. India surrounds Bangladesh from all sides. States on the territory of Bangladesh have existed since time immemorial.

Islam penetrated the territory of Bangladesh in the 12th century together with Arab Sufi missionaries (hence the traditional leaning towards Sufism). In 1204, Bengal was conquered by the Afghan sultans who founded their dynasty here. At the same time Islam became widespread here. Two and a half centuries later, Bengal became part of the Mughal state. In the 18th century, Bengal came under the control of the British East India Company and exactly one hundred years later, after the Sepoy Mutiny, it became a British colony. After India gained independence, the territory of Bengal was divided into two parts along religious lines: the west of the country went to India, the east passed to Pakistan, which was separated from Bangladesh by the territory of India). As a result of the struggle for independence under the leadership of Sheikh Majibur Rahman, Bangladesh gained independence from Pakistan in 1971.

Despite the fact that Islam is the state religion in Bangladesh, it does not play a dominant role in the life of the country, since it does not determine the national identity of Bengalis. In 1988, the government of the country issued a manifesto “Islamic Way of Life”, which, contrary to expectations, did not cause a national upsurge, although it was highly praised among the Islamic intellectuals as a well-thought-out code of measures to eliminate differences and contradictions at both the national and local levels. In the political life of the country, there are disagreements between Muslim and non-Muslim politicians. The government sees a way out of this situation through the promotion of Islamic culture.

Bangladesh’s judicial system is not Sharia; it is based on the Anglo-Indian civil law system. At the same time, part of the Sharia law is codified in the form of state laws, namely, the laws on the conclusion of a Muslim marriage, the commission of which is carried out by the qazi judges. They, too, deal with the issues of waqfs (donations for the needs of Islam), make decisions on issues of inheritance and divorce. At the same time, the The Muslim Personal Law (Shariat) Application Act, 1937 and the Muslim Family Law Ordinance, 1961 state that Sharia law applies only to those citizens who recognize themselves as Muslims. Non-Muslims in Bangladesh are not subject to Muslim laws.

The Muslims of Bangladesh are presided by the Grand Mufti Noor Ahmad.