Introduction / History
Large numbers of Muslims speak the Urdu language in Pakistan and North India. It is the primary language in Pakistan. Urdu speaking people began living in Canada around 1960. There was much unemployment where they were living. Those with a good education came to Canada. Many Pakistani Canadians live in Ontario. They speak Urdu and English, among other languages. Toronto is the city with the biggest Pakistani community. Vancouver is growing in the number of Urdu speakers as well.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The Urdu in Canada were concerned that they would lose their culture, so they formed their own community groups. The new lifestyle has caused problems regards keeping their traditional religious way of life. The Urdu in Canada are adjusting well to living in Canada. Their children are doing well in education and in work. They are involved with local politics. Some are involved in the arts, especially poetry. Many are professionals in medicine, and many have their own businesses. There are many Urdu speaking students in Canada. Marriages tend to be arranged by parents, but this will probably become less prominent with future generations. Commonly, their women work and earn their own incomes.
The term Urdu does not adequately describe the Urdu people as such but is merely a language distinction.
What Are Their Beliefs?
Urdu speakers are Sunni Muslims who believe that the supreme God, Allah, spoke 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. Sunni religious practices are staid and simple. They believe that Allah has pre-determined our fates; they minimize free will. In most of the Muslim world, people 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. They often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
Pray that the Christians among the Urdu will lead entire Muslim families to Jesus Christ. Pray that God will give the Urdu dreams and visions showing that Jesus Christ is the way to salvation and lead them as to what to do next. Pray for Urdu speakers to begin their own movement to Christ, and take the only Savior back to South Asia.
Scripture Prayers for the Urdu in Canada.