The symbols and sounds of Islam, such as the call to prayer, punctuate daily life. Bangladeshi conceptualizes themselves and others fundamentally through their religious heritage. For example, the nationality of foreigners is considered secondary to their religious identity.
Islam is a part of everyday life in all parts of the country and every single village has at least a small mosque and an imam (prophet). Prayer is supposed to be performed five times daily, but only the committed uphold that standard. Friday afternoon prayer is often the only time that mosques become crowded.Throughout the country there is a belief in spirits that inhabit natural spaces such as trees, hollows, and riverbanks. These beliefs are derided by Islamic religious authorities.
The imam is associated with a mosque and is an important person in both rural and urban society, leading a group of followers. The imam's power is based on his knowledge of the Koran and memorization of phrases in Arabic. An imam's power is based on his ability to persuade groups of men to act in conjunction with Islamic rules. In many villages the imam is believed to have access to the supernatural, with the ability to write charms that protect individuals from evil spirits, imbue liquids with holy healing properties, or ward off or reverse of bad luck.
Rituals and Holy Places
The primary Islamic holidays in Bangladesh include: Eid-ul-Azha (the tenth day of the Muslim month Zilhaj), in which a goat or cow is sacrificed in honor of Allah; Shob-i-Barat (the fourteenth or fifteenth day of Shaban), when Allah records an individual's future for the rest of the year; Ramadan (the month Ramzan), a month-long period of fasting between dawn and dusk; Eid-ul-Fitr (the first day of the month Shawal, following the end of Ramzan), characterized by alms giving to the poor; and Shob-i-Meraz (the twenty-seventh day of Rajab), which commemorates the night when Mohammed ascended to heaven. Islamic holidays are publicly celebrated in afternoon prayers at mosques and outdoor open areas, where many men assemble and move through their prayers in unison.
Death and the After life
Muslims believe that after death the soul is judged and moves to heaven or hell. Funerals require that the body be washed, the nostrils and ears be plugged with cotton or cloth, and the body be wrapped in a white shroud. The body is buried or entombed in a brick or concrete structure.