Shaikh in Pakistan






Largest Religion

Main Language


Introduction / History

Islam arrived in the area now known as Pakistan in 711 AD when a Muslim Arab Army conquered the northwestern part of Indus Valley from Kashmir to the Arabian Sea. Technocrats, bureaucrats, soldiers, traders, scientists, architects, teachers, theologians and sufis flocked from the rest of the Arab and Muslim world, to the Islamic Sultanate in South Asia and settled permanently.

The descendants of these Arabs usually go by the title of Shaikh and also known in Pakistan as Muslim Khatri. The Shaikhs of Pakistan, however, claim pre-islamic ancestry. They are a sub-group of the Zamindar group or qoum, traditionally associated with farming, which is one of the two groups making up the Pakistani Punjabis (the other group is the Moeens group or quom, who are traditionally artisans). Shaikh is also a term that is usually attributed to the leaders or elders of Arabian social groups. Other variants of this term are Sheik, Shaykh, Shaikh, Cheikh, Šeih, Šejh, Seyh.

After the advent of Islam in South Asia, some high caste (Brahmins, Muslim Rajputs and Khatris) converted to Islam in the Punjab region and adopted this title. They are known as Punjabi Shaikh (Punjabi). Majority of the Punjabi Shaikhs are urbanized and detached from the traditional agricultural ancestry. However, a few families also cultivate their own land in the western districts of Punjab. The main professions of the urban Punjabi Shaikhs are business and public service, and are stereotyped for their reputation for business acumen. The Khawaja Shaikh, with their sub-division the Chiniotis and the Qanungoh Shaikh are two such communities.

The Sikh Shaikhs living in villages at the Indian border adjoining Pakistan were remnants of the Shaihks who chose to stay after the Independence of of Pakistan in 1947, embracing Sikhism as their religion. They are famous for their lori and dhool a traditional Indian drum.

What Are Their Lives Like?

The Shaikhs are not bound by one particular profession. The Shaikh can be broadly grouped into five communities. Three of these communities are the Siddiks, Farukis and Abbasi who are often descendents of Arab immigrants. The other two are the Chistis and Kuraishis communities who tend to be mainly from converts to Islam. Consequently, the Shaikhs profess Islam and have both Sunni and Shia traditions among them. In Nepal they speak Nepali and either Urdu, Bhojpuri or Maithili in their communities. They are not vegetarian and their common food is rice, mutton and vegetables. Common surnames are Mondal, Siddiqui, Usmani, Faroqui and Sheikh.

What Are Their Needs?

There has been much ministry activity among the Shaikh in India but few works in Nepal. Pray that this largest group of Nepali Muslims will find the truth of the Prophet Isa! There is a lot of potential for gospel growth within the Shaikh community because of relatively few social divisions.



Profile Source:   Toni Tagimacruz  

People Name General Shaikh
People Name in Country Shaikh
Population in Pakistan 12,524,000
World Population 229,702,000
Countries 6
Progress Scale 1.1
Least-Reached Yes
Indigenous Yes
Alternate Names Faraji, Jhiwar, Shaik, Sheikh, Shekhzade
Affinity Bloc South Asian Peoples
People Cluster Bengali
People Name General Shaikh
Ethnic Code CNN25r
People ID 18084
Country Pakistan
Region South Asia
Continent Asia
10/40 Window Yes
Persecution Rank 8  (Open Doors top 50 rank, 1 = highest persecution ranking)
Total States on file:  8  (up to 20 largest shown)
Sindh (7,373,000) Punjab (4,584,000) Azad Kashmir (233,000) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (227,000)
Balochistan (65,000) Islamabad (32,000) Gilgit-Baltistan (5,900) Federally Administer (3,800)
Total States on file:  8  (up to 20 largest shown)
Sindh (7,373,000) Punjab (4,584,000)
Azad Kashmir (233,000) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (227,000)
Balochistan (65,000) Islamabad (32,000)
Gilgit-Baltistan (5,900) Federally Administer (3,800)
Languages & Dialects on file:  28  (up to 20 largest shown)
Sindhi (4,153,000) Panjabi, Western (4,005,000) Urdu (2,480,000) Saraiki (938,000)
Pashto, Northern (67,000) Bagri (63,000) Hindko, Northern (44,000) Shina (31,000)
Dhatki (23,000) Pashto, Southern (22,000) Hindko, Southern (21,000) Koli, Parkari (19,000)
Koli, Wadiyara (16,000) Pashto, Central (13,000) Koli, Kachi (9,300) Gurgula (7,600)
Balochi, Eastern (6,200) Jadgali (6,000) Shina, Kohistani (5,000) Kashmiri (4,300)
Languages & Dialects (speakers if known) - up to 20 shown
Sindhi 4,153,000 Panjabi, Western 4,005,000
Urdu 2,480,000 Saraiki 938,000
Pashto, Northern 67,000 Bagri 63,000
Hindko, Northern 44,000 Shina 31,000
Dhatki 23,000 Pashto, Southern 22,000
Hindko, Southern 21,000 Koli, Parkari 19,000
Koli, Wadiyara 16,000 Pashto, Central 13,000
Koli, Kachi 9,300 Gurgula 7,600
Balochi, Eastern 6,200 Jadgali 6,000
Shina, Kohistani 5,000 Kashmiri 4,300
For Primary Language: Sindhi

Bible Translation Status  (Years)
Bible Portions Yes   (1825-1981)
New Testament Yes   (1890-1992)
Complete Bible Yes   (1954)
Audio Bible Online
Resource Format
Audio Bible teaching (GRN) Audio Recordings
Bible: Common Language New Testament Text / Printed Matter
Got Questions Ministry General
Jesus Film: view in Sindhi Film / Video
Online Bible (Bibles India) Text / Printed Matter
Online New Testament (FCBH) Audio Recordings
Oral Bible Audio Recordings
Story of Jesus audio (Jesus Film Project) Audio Recordings
World Missionary Press Booklets Text / Printed Matter
Primary Religion: Islam

Major Religion Percent
0.00 %
Christianity  (Evangelical 0.00 %)
0.00 %
Ethnic Religions
0.00 %
0.00 %
100.00 %
0.00 %
Other / Small
0.00 %
0.00 %

Christian Segments Percent
0.0 %
0.0 %
0.0 %
Other Christian
0.0 %
0.0 %
Roman Catholic
0.0 %
Photo Source: Steve Evans   Creative Commons  
Map Source: Omid / Joshua Project / Global Mapping Intl  
Profile Source: Toni Tagimacruz  
Data Sources: Data is compiled from various sources. Read more

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