Focusing on the Maijbhandari movement in Chittagong, south-eastern Bangladesh, which claims the status of the only Sufi order originated in Bengal and which has gained immense popularity in recent years, this book provides a comprehensive picture of an important aspect of contemporary Bengali Islam in the South Asian context. Expertise in South Asian languages and literatures is combined with ethnographic field work and theoretical formulations from a range of disciplines, including cultural anthropology, Islamic studies and religious studies. Analysing the Maijbhandaris tradition of Bengali spiritual songs, one of the largest popular song traditions in Bengal, the book presents an in-depth study of Bengali Sufi theology, hagiography and Maijbhandari esoteric songs, as well as a discussion of what Bengali Islam is. It is a useful contribution to South Asia Studies, as well as Islamic Studies.
Hans Harder is Professor of Modern South Asian Languages and Literatures in the South Asia Institute at Heidelberg University, Germany. His research interests include South Asian literatures and intellectual history, Bengali Islam, modern Hinduism, and satirical traditions in South Asia.
1. Introduction 2. Structure and Religious Practice 3. Theological and Hagiological Writings 4. Hagiographies 5. Maijbhandari Songs 6. Songs in Contemporary Maijbhandari Interpretations 7. Contextualising Maijbhandar 8. Conclusion: A Note on Bengali Islam