Introduction / History
Carpentry has been the traditional source of livelihood for the Sutradhar community. They straddle the worlds of the high caste Brahmins and that of artisans. They provided needed intricate carvings for Hindu temples.
Like many people groups in South Asia, the Sutradhars were all Hindu at one time, but some converted to Islam, splitting the community in two. Needless to say, the Muslims among them no longer work with Hindu temples. They are more likely to design furniture.
Where are they located?
Muslim Sutradhar people live in West Bengal and Bangladesh.
What are their lives like?
The term Sutradhar literally means "thread holder," and they have lived up to their name. The contemporary furniture industry has brought significant changes to the way Sutradhars live and work. Many of them now work under entrepreneurs in urban settings. Some, who can prove their adeptness, can be well paid, but the majority, who are novices, can barely survive on their earnings.
What are their beliefs?
Muslim Sutradhar people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They believe that the One, Supreme God, Allah, spoken through his prophet, Mohammed, and taught mankind how to live a righteous life through the Koran and the Hadith. To live a righteous life, you must utter the Shahada (a statement of faith), pray five times a day facing Mecca, fast from sunup to sundown during the month of Ramadan, give alms to the poor, and make a pilgrimage to Mecca if you have the means. Muslims are prohibited from drinking alcohol, eating pork, gambling, stealing, slandering, and making idols. They gather for corporate prayer on Friday afternoons at a mosque, their place of worship.
The two main holidays for Sunni Muslims are Eid al Fitr, the breaking of the monthly fast and Eid al Adha, the celebration of Abraham's willingness to sacrifice his son to Allah.
In most of the Muslim world, peoples like the Sutradhar depend on the spirit world for their daily needs since they regard Allah as too distant. Allah may determine their eternal salvation, but the spirits determine how well we live in our daily lives. For that reason, they must appease the spirits. The often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
What are their needs?
The Sutradhar people, be they Hindu or Muslim, need a relationship with Jesus Christ that will bring them the abundant life He offers all who become His disciples.
Pray for Muslim Sutradhar culture to be renewed and enhanced by a work of the Holy Spirit and shaped into a God-centered and God-honoring mold.
Pray for the Holy Spirit to move among Muslim Sutradhar family and community leaders to seek His face and enjoy His blessings.
Pray for the Lord to thrust out workers who will be compelled to nurture a disciple-making movement among the Sutradhar people.
Pray that soon the Sutradhar people will have faith that will lead them to live honorable lives that will draw others to the Savior.
ReferencesView Sutradhar (Muslim traditions) in all countries.