Date of Graduation

Fall 2023


Master of Arts in Religious Studies


Religious Studies

Committee Chair

Stephen Berkwitz


Firstly, this thesis investigates the syncretistic religious nature of Bangladeshi mausoleums, along with the historical background of the Sufi mausoleums and the flourishment of this syncretistic religiosity. The study explores the contribution of Sufis to the spread of Islam in Bengal. It discusses how the liberal attitude of mausoleum enshrined Sufis toward their followers of diverse faiths patronized syncretism. The study here hypothesizes that the religious practices of Bangladeshi mausoleums are syncretistic; they are neither exclusively Muslim nor Hindu but present a blended identity. It demonstrates how religious syncretism is an undeniable phenomenon in the mausoleums of Bangladesh and how this syncretistic phenomenon works for religious exchange in mausoleums, where people of different faiths come with similar perceptions and aspirations. In order to prove the hypothesis, ethnographic fieldwork has been conducted in three renowned mausoleums of Bangladesh: Fakir Lalon Shah Mausoleum in Kushtia, Shah Ali Baba Mausoleum in Mirpur, and Khan Jahan Ali Mausoleum in Bagerhat. Along with the field study, direct interviews have been conducted in the three aforementioned mausoleums. The field study and interlocuter accounts go with close conformity of the hypothesis. The study further explores how these mausoleums offer a ground for inter-religious harmony along with syncretistic religiosity. The purpose of this study is to appreciate the syncretistic religiosity of mausoleums and the contribution of this syncretistic religiosity in building inter-religious harmony.


Syncretism, Mausoleum, Sufism, Bengal, Islam, Inter-faith harmony, Syncretistic religiosity

Subject Categories

Islamic Studies | Religion


© Sadia Afrin

Open Access