Introduction / History
At one time the Domal people were Hindus. They converted to Islam during the Muslim conquest. The Domal are part of the much larger Pashtun people, and in Pakistan they speak Pashtu, the Pashtun language. The Domal are known as warriors who fiercely defend their families and land. Illiteracy is a problem for the Domal as many of them are unable to read and write. The Domal people live in the mountains and valleys of north India in the Jammu and Kashmir state. Another group of Domal live across the border in Pakistan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
The main occupations of the Domal are animal husbandry and agriculture. They live much like their ancestors. They take care of flocks and herds of animals such as sheep, goats and cattle. From the animals, the Domal obtain meat, dairy products and hides. The men take the animals up to the higher ranges in late spring and return to the valleys in autumn. Women and some men engage in agriculture. They grow wheat, barley, potatoes, and vegetables during the warm, short summers of the mountain regions. The Domal trade dairy products and animals for things they cannot make themselves such as weapons, ammunition and tools. The Domal live in rock, wood and mud houses. Many of the Domal do not have access to electricity. This is changing as solar panels on the top of their houses can provide energy to run electrical devices and charge cell phones. Village elders settle legal disputes and deal with outsiders. Unfortunately, violence is common in Domal lands between villages and with other Muslim Pashtun groups. The fighting, droughts and animal losses often keep the Domal living at the subsistence level. Families arrange marriages with the consent of the young people. A man may have more than one wife, but the normal situation is one wife.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The Domal 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 Domal 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 Domal need help in educating their adults and children. They need the benefits of modern medicine and electricity. Most of all, the Domal need to hear and understand the life-changing message of Isa or Jesus Christ. He alone can get their right with the one, true God and give them the inner peace of knowing that their sins are forgiven.
Pray for gospel workers to catch a vision for reaching the Muslim Domal people for Jesus and that in God's sovereign timing their hearts would be open and ready to follow Him. Pray for Jesus movements to bless extended Domal families so the gospel will spread rapidly among this people group. Pray for the spiritual lives of the Domal people to become fruitful as they follow Christ. Pray for the lives and culture of the Domal people to evidence the rule and reign of the Kingdom of God as they open to the gospel, and for the beauty of Jesus to be seen in them.
Scripture Prayers for the Domal in Pakistan.