Bahrain is an island nation located in the Persian Gulf. It comprises the main island of Bahrain and several other smaller islands and islets surrounding it. The King Fahd Causeway connects Bahrain to Saudi Arabia. The country hosts a population of around 1,234,571 individuals. Less than 50% of the country’s population is Bahraini and the rest are non-nationals. Bahrain is among the world's most densely populated places.
Religions Practised In Bahrain
According to the CIA World Factbook, Islam is the state religion of Bahrain and is followed by around 70.3% of the population of the country. Most Bahraini citizens are Muslim and most Muslims are Shiites. The country also has a small but significant Christian population. 14.5% of the population of the country adhere to Christianity. Hindus, Buddhists, Jews, and folk religions account for 9.8%, 2.5%, 0.6%, and less than 1% of the total population, and 1.9% of the population is not affiliated to any religion.
Islam In Bahrain
Bahrain was one of the earliest places to accept Islam. Prior to the introduction of this religion in the country, the indigenous people of the area practiced Arabian paganism that involved the worship of idols. Islam arrived in the Arabian region in the 7th century. In 628 AD, the first envoy was sent by Muhammad to the historical region of Bahrain to convince its ruler to accept Islam. The ruler did convert to the religion followed by most of his subjects in Bahrain and Qatar. The Khamis Mosque is believed to be the country’s oldest mosque. Later, in 899, the Ismaili Shia sect occupied Bahrain. They also raided Mecca and Medina and brought the Black Stone to Bahrain where it remained for about 20 years. However, the Abbasids defeated the sect in 976. Today, according to unofficial sources, Sunnis and Shias comprise about 45% and 55% of the Muslim population of Bahrain, respectively. Islamic holidays are strictly observed in the country.
Other Religions In Bahrain
As a large number of foreign workers stay in Bahrain, they practice their own religions in the country. Many of the workers are from the South Asian nations of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh. Some of them are Muslims while others are Hindus or Sikhs. Although the country’s constitution does state that Islam is the official religion, it also allows for freedom of religion. However, this freedom is regulated by the government. The believers in other religions are expected to respect the traditions and culture of the country and act accordingly. Licenses and permits are required for holding religious meetings or establishing religious bodies in the country.