Day 5. Shaikh in Bangladesh (SHAYK)
The term Shaikh is used in Bangladesh for a sociocultural group that originated with Arab settlers in South Asia. It now includes many subgroups, some of which intermarry with non-Shaikh Bengali Muslims. Islam arrived in the area now known as Pakistan in 711 AD when a Muslim Arab army conquered the northwestern part of the Indus Valley. The families who descended from these Arab Muslim communities now spread across Pakistan, India and Bangladesh.
In Bangladesh Shaikh usually means Muslim trader, not someone of Arab descent. This large group of people are thought to be converts from the warrior caste to Islam. They took on the name Shaikh to identify as Muslims. When not needed to fight, the Shaikh historically took any position in society and changed positions regularly. So, unlike Hindu castes, the Shaikhs are not associated with one particular profession. Here is a common saying about the flexibility of the term Shaikh, “Last year I was a Julaha (weaver); this year I am a Shaikh; next year, if the crops are good, I shall be a Syed (royalty).”
Prayers for the Shaikh families in Bangladesh:
Lord, send whole families following Jesus into the lives of Shaikh families sharing each other’s burdens and learning from each other. Raise up prayer for Shaikh families to be blessed by You and to seek out Your kingdom first.
Lord, bless Your Holy Scriptures (in Bengali-Muslim translations) so Your Holy Word will be read and spoken in the Shaikh homes. Bless communities with confessions of sin and healings in Jesus’ name. Raise up Shaikh leaders to share boldly what You have done for them and their families.
Lord, pour your life and grace into Shaikh households through: Your truths, miracles, dreams, visions, healing, prayer, worship, freedom from sin, broken families made whole in the coming in of Your Spirit and the Government of Your love.
The Blessing of God upon the Shaikh families and clans: For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon Me and come and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. You will seek Me and find Me when you seek Me with all your heart. (Jer. 29:11)