Introduction / History
The Changar live in Pakistan, Afghanistan and India. They are among the Rajasthani people cluster. They are also known as the Chagar, Changgar, Chhanggar, or the Chungar. These Urdu speaking Muslims often come together and have a sense of group identity based on Islam, the common Urdu language, and Persian cultural tradition. Urdu is an Indian-Iranian language that comes from the Hindi language. It contains many Persian and Arabic words and is written in a Persian script. There are currently no known believers in this people. They have the Bible in their language as well as Christian radio, the gospel on audiocassettes, God's Story Video, and the JESUS Film.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Urdu speaking Muslims in northwestern India can be found in many aspects of society. Most work in agriculture and animal husbandry. The Changar are found among the poor and the rich, the educated and illiterate, landlords and religious leaders. There is no way to generalize their lifestyles. In the more rural areas, Urdu Muslims live in mud huts that have a separate living space for the women. Women are generally responsible for taking care of the home and children. Some practice purdah, which is the seclusion of women. Women often live separately from their husbands and do not go outside the home without a male family member. They are often required to cover their entire body with only a small screen around the eyes. This is done to protect the honor of both her husband and her father's family.
Sunni Muslims are often taught at an early age that the Bible is in error and they cannot trust Christian doctrines.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Changar people are Sunni, the largest branch of Islam. They try to obey the teachings of the Koran and the prophet Mohammad. They believe that by following the Five Pillars of Islam that they will attain heaven when they die. However, Allah, the supreme God of the universe, determines who enters paradise. Sunnis pray five times a day facing Mecca. They fast the month of Ramadan. They attend mosque services on Friday. If a Muslim has the means, he or she will make a pilgrimage to Mecca once in his or her lifetime. Muslims are also prohibited to drink alcohol, eat pork, gamble, steal, use deceit, slander, and make idols. 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.
What Are Their Needs?
The Changgar people need to put their faith in Christ to cleanse them from their sins. Their women and girls are not allowed an education. The Changar who live in poverty would benefit by learning new job skills and access to modern medicine.
Ask the Lord to a spiritual hunger that will give the Changar people a willingness to listen to the good news of Jesus Christ. Pray for a disciple making movement that will bless the Changar people this decade. Pray for the Lord to send out workers to the Changar people to help them with their spiritual and physical needs.
Scripture Prayers for the Changgar in India.