Introduction / History
The name Koiri means "those who cultivate the earth." They had a reputation during colonial days of being exceptionally skilled as cultivators. At one point they were forced to grow opium for the British East India Company. They hold the status of the fourth of four caste blocks, but they have higher status than most other low caste groups. They are a small community that lives in two locations in India’s Uttar Pradesh with an even smaller number of them in Pakistan.
What Are Their Lives Like?
Most Koiri are still farmers or landowners. Many have moved into professional positions as businessmen, engineers, teachers, administrators, and in the defense industry.
What Are Their Beliefs?
The vast majority of the Koiri people are Hindu, and almost all sources focus on this religious community, ignoring the relatively small Muslim community in both India and Pakistan. As Sunni Muslims they believe that the One, 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. 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. The often use charms and amulets to help them with spiritual forces.
What Are Their Needs?
The Muslim Koiri people need to have the chance to hear and respond to the One who offers life to the full to those who call on His name.
Pray for the gospel message to reach the Muslim Koiri people in India, a land where the gospel is not welcome. Pray for them to have ears to hear when they are confronted with the claims of Jesus Christ. Pray for there to be a family-based Disciple Making Movement among them in both India and Pakistan.
Scripture Prayers for the Koiri (Muslim traditions) in India.